Tuesday, April 29, 2008

a first attempt

My first stab at a six-word memoir:

Yes, I can. And I do.

Given that this is a memoir, i.e. written description of what has happened in the past, it should probably be, "Yes, I could. And I did." Hmmm. I'm probably going to try again.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

napomo treasure

Every day, I receive an email with a poem. As mentioned before, despite my apparent love for poetry, often when a hundred are thrown at me, only one or two will stick. I guess it's simply a matter of which topics and feelings I best relate to. Sometimes, though, the wordplay alone is enough to capture me, even if I don't wholly jive with the rest.

Today's email poem was "Balance" by Adam Zagajewski. It includes phrases such as "...a certain sort of snowy wasteland bursts from a surfeit of happiness" and "pale grass plagued by winter and the wind." I liked the idea of the alternate existence of being on a plane versus the harshness of reality once landed.

"The darkness of daily wanderings resumed, the day's sweet darkness, the darkness of the voice that counts and measures, remembers and forgets."

So I went a little further. Followed links to other poems written by Mr. Zagajewski (and translated by Clare Cavanagh). "My Aunts" is quite intriguing, but it is his "Self-Portrait" that most caught my ear.


by Adam Zagajewski
Translated by Clare Cavanagh

Between the computer, a pencil, and a typewriter
half my day passes. One day it will be half a century.
I live in strange cities and sometimes talk
with strangers about matters strange to me.
I listen to music a lot: Bach, Mahler, Chopin, Shostakovich.
I see three elements in music: weakness, power, and pain.
The fourth has no name.
I read poets, living and dead, who teach me
tenacity, faith, and pride. I try to understand
the great philosophers--but usually catch just
scraps of their precious thoughts.
I like to take long walks on Paris streets
and watch my fellow creatures, quickened by envy,
anger, desire; to trace a silver coin
passing from hand to hand as it slowly
loses its round shape (the emperor's profile is erased).
Beside me trees expressing nothing
but a green, indifferent perfection.
Black birds pace the fields,
waiting patiently like Spanish widows.
I'm no longer young, but someone else is always older.
I like deep sleep, when I cease to exist,
and fast bike rides on country roads when poplars and houses
dissolve like cumuli on sunny days.
Sometimes in museums the paintings speak to me
and irony suddenly vanishes.
I love gazing at my wife's face.
Every Sunday I call my father.
Every other week I meet with friends,
thus proving my fidelity.
My country freed itself from one evil. I wish
another liberation would follow.
Could I help in this? I don't know.
I'm truly not a child of the ocean,
as Antonio Machado wrote about himself,
but a child of air, mint and cello
and not all the ways of the high world
cross paths with the life that--so far--
belongs to me.
Oh, how lovely. I truly feel as though I know him better now. And what's not to love about phrases like "... a child of air, mint and cello...?" Wonderful.

Mr. Zagajewski's work evoked the idea of a six word memoir. You're familiar with this phenomenon? Here is a slide show from NPR that showcases a number of the memoirs. I've included one here, though the caption is very small. It is, "Naively expected logical world. Acted foolishly." It was written by Emily Thieler.

Sometimes, I think about trying to encapsulate my life in six words. Sometimes, it seems insurmountably difficult to squeeze it all into just six words. Sometimes, six seems all together too many words. Perhaps someday I'll actually give it a try.

Until then, the only attempts at creative writing I make are Tweets in the Westernized form of haiku. Hardly noteworthy. There is a Haiku Writing Center near my house. Ted keeps encouraging me to go knock on the door. I nearly did, the other day on my walk. But I haven't done it yet.

Just around the corner, tomorrow, is Jazzmouth: The Seacoast Poetry and Jazz Festival. Did I mention that jazz is one of my favorite genres of music? And you know about my love of poetry. Why is it I didn't read about this festival until yesterday? And Billy Collins is going to be there! Can I make it to any of the events? Tomorrow's show isn't sold out: I must simply decide whether or not to spend money on my ethereal longing at a time when employment eludes me. Might I go to one of the free sessions? Alas, I have already scheduled my weekend to the teeth. Could I rearrange the calendar to allow? Alas, it is previous rearrangement that has me in my current pickle -- the one which requires me to work all weekend.

Perhaps it is fitting that the poetry and jazz which I seek and which seems so close is so elusive, feeding my longing. Hmm. Perhaps.

I leave you with Mr. Collins. Not only is the animation a unique way to experience this poem, the subject matter hits particularly close to home for me these days. Frighteningly so. And it is that connection that gives poetry its potency. For me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

roller skate tuesday

Falling back on the old reliable, YouTube, for blogging purposes.

First, Fred and Ginger.

Then my one true love (sorry honey!), Gene Kelly.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

fruit on my head and a song in my heart

In a previous post, I mentioned having made two South Park avatars and that I was saving one for a particularly kooky mood. No time like the present. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Kelly Miranda!

Please note the Hawaiian shirt (which makes me long to go back to that marvelous place), the omnipresent iPod (did I mention I have one just for my kitchen now.. like the old days of a kitchen radio, except mine is a kitchen iPod?), and the seriously wacky eyebrows (I refuse to pluck!). Also, although my hair is about this length now, the red has generally disappeared, leaving me with my natural darkish brown with random wiry greys (that often stand on end) and a spectacular star burst of silver over the right side of my forehead. And of course, my mouth is wide open. I'd say given the music machine and millinery, I'm singing Ethel Merman... loudly (the only way to sing her).

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

out with the old...

Previous words of wisdom are below. New are at the top of the column on the right. No rhyme or reason for the picture at left. I just thought the marble tile medallions were pretty. Peace.

"Activity suggests a life filled with purpose."
- Christopher Plummer as Captain Georg von Trapp, in The Sound of Music

Monday, April 14, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

naturally 7

I saw these guys in concert last night, and they are incredible. Seriously. I mean, whoa. Bobby McFerrin and Take 6 rolled into a fresh, new 21st century vibe. Way, way cool. You must watch!

Friday, April 04, 2008


This is amazing. Follow the link, and spend the 8½ minutes. Completely wonderful. More info here.

Thursday, April 03, 2008


It's National Poetry Month. Love this picture. Anyway. It's slightly less ambitious than NaNoWriMo, and perhaps a touch more esoteric than NoBloPoMo, but nonetheless it's a month dedicated to a specific form of writing, and so it earns the weirdly abbreviated name NaPoMo.

I love poetry, which is an odd thing to say because quite often, I'll only really enjoy about 10% of any given anthology. But I find great satisfaction, comfort, and pleasure in the pieces I do enjoy. There are some poets whose words all find welcome in my heart. There are some things written by absolutely obscure poets that rank among my favorite writings in the world. In truth, the vast majority of poets are unknown. Superstar poets are rare, though I grew up in a town where one such master once lived. A town which now includes West Running Brook school and Promises to Keep wedding hall.

Once, I wrote poetry. In my youth, regularly and with much self-importance and melodrama. The closest I come now is tweeting in haiku form. C'est la vie.

In honor of NaPoMo, here is a piece that combines two of my favorite writing forms -- poetry and journaling.

What's in My Journal by William Stafford

Odd things, like a button drawer. Mean
things, fishhooks, barbs in your hand.
But marbles too. A genius for being agreeable.
Junkyard crucifixes, voluptuous
discards. Space for knickknacks, and for
Alaska. Evidence to hang me, or to beatify.
Clues that lead nowhere, that never connected
anyway. Deliberate obfuscation, the kind
that takes genius. Chasms in character.
Loud omissions. Mornings that yawn above
a new grave. Pages you know exist
but you can't find them. Someone's terribly
inevitable life story, maybe mine.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

workin' for a living

I'm searching for the next step in my career. It was 1994 the last time I enacted a major job search (other than the occasional change within the company where I worked for 13 years). Back then, the best tools in one's job-searching arsenal were access to a nice word processing typewriter, a stack of 24# eggshell linen paper (with matching 9" x 12" envelopes), and a copy of What Color is My Parachute? When all was said and done, I landed a position at the aforementioned company through a temp agency.

The tools this time around are much more interesting. There are websites like LinkedIn, The Ladders, and Jobs 4.0. There's the more casual online connectivity of Facebook, MySpace, and Plaxo. And what if a potential employer finds this silly little blog? But wait, that's a conversation for another day.

So, one of the sites I found is Jobfox. It differentiates itself from the others by bombarding the potential candidate with approximately two kajillion questions and analyzes the results. Apparently, it does something similar with job postings from potential employers, and then magically finds the strongest points of similarity, thus directing the perfect candidate to the perfect job (or the perfect employer to the perfect candidate). Kind of like eJobHarmony.

Amongst the tools Jobfox provides for the eager jobseeker is this interactive chart.

Ooooo... cool. Now, what do I do with it? Oh well. Off to do some more work.

But before I go, Happy April Fool's Day! Here are a couple things I found online that were particularly amusing:

A collaborative effort from Richard Branson and our friends at Google: Virgle. You simply must read the detail on every page. Follow every link.

And the always entertaining Motley Fool, whose entire site was loaded with silliness such as sections on "Kittens and Puppies," "Guitar Hero 101," and "Spatulas and You: A Buying Guide." This "ad" is also on the home page.