30 March 2011

A Poem For A Day in March

It's not new, but it's something that hasn't been read before at least.

How to Sit Quietly With Love

Well, it overtakes you, like laughter, gurgling.
Like swallowing water wrongly down your trachea,
a feeling you're going to drown-
you must cough,
and everyone knows you're choking.
You spit, spew and hack;
someone kindly slaps you,
hard, on the back.
It makes signs
pointing to your head and chest.
Some of them flash.
If, accidentally, you let a small sound escape,
only those paying attention-
which is to say, few-
will notice.
Now and then, you may touch it-
as you might a bruise -
just to see -
When you're alone, inking words or wind-walking,
let it rustle and slush, spin you round -
a pinwheel whirling through this world.
Otherwise, carry a bottlecap in your pocket
or a hairband on your arm,
and when you surge to let it seep,
just thumb the jagged edge flesh-deep
or snap
elastic band to tender wrist.
~Ali O'Rourke

"If you read the letters of the painter Van Gogh you will see what his creative impulse was. It was just this: he loved something - the sky, say. He loved human beings. He wanted to show human beings how beautiful the sky was. So he painted it for them. And that was all there was to it." ~ Brenda Ueland from If You Want to Write

07 January 2011

The Winter Ritual

It's that time of year again, folks.

No, not that. I'm talking about a more intellectual activity.

No, I mean, one that can actually be achieved by human beings. Normal ones.

Yes, you've got it now, I'm applying to grad school. Again. They say third time's a charm, right. Well, whoever said that had better be correct, or I'm going to hunt them down and take out my frustrations. And not in a leather and feather kind of way.

Many of you (ok, there aren't actually many of you reading this, but of those - ) many of my friends helped me decide which poems to submit for my grad school application last winter. I appreciate your help, readers of great, and otherwise, literature. I'll be applying again over the next few weeks. I'm not asking any favors of you this time, other than just send out good vibes, prayers, wishes, hopeful thoughts and the like in the direction of grad schools all over the southeast region. I probably won't post again until I've gotten the applications completed, so if you don't hear from me, don't worry - it won't be another six years. If any of you - if all four of you reading this - care to see what I'm submitting, comment or send me an email and I'll send you the verses that will, byallthingsholy, convince some higher authority-

no, I mean these guys-

to allow me to pursue my education and career. Ok, to pursue my dream.

And hey, if it turns out 2011 isn't my year to wallow in letters and fill my mouth and mind with the mellifluous music of professors of creative writing, well, I'll just keep scratching in the attic of ink and fibers, and try again in 2012.

A poet looks at the world the way a man looks at a woman.
~Wallace Stevens

03 January 2011

Beneath the Winter Moon
I Do Return Again

It's strange to see I haven't posted a blog in six years. All those social internet-community websites took up the space in my brain and time at hand (which wasn't much to begin with), and life changed so drastically that blogging just halted.
I'd like to it to begin again. I'd like to start it over, in fact.

Except, I just read my initial post on this blog, my intentions for it, and I'm rather pleased to see that I still agree with my self - I continue to want this to be a refuge of light, a source of beauty, a good place to go to find something comical, a whimsical world where anything might happen; in short, an inspiration - even if only to myself.

So. I'm keeping the name - Grey Shangri La - and the general format, but I'
m going to include some new items. A friend of mine blogs about her time volunteering. I'm going to include my volunteer time, photos of the silliness pervading the nearest space/time continuum, and encouraging quotes from people smarter (or at least more famous) than I am, as well as the usual poetry, reviews of movies, new crafts I've recently completed, recipes, observations, discussions about books and other mystical creations, as well as anything anyone would like to talk about. I need an outlet again, I guess is the point. So thank you, wander-bloggers, whoever you are.

"For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return."
~ Leonardo da Vinci

22 November 2005

Recently PUBLISHED... Yes, Yours Truly

In the most recent issue of The North Carolina Literary Review. Third time's a charm, right?

Poem on a Photograph in an Exhibit About Appalachia
Those are my knees from behind the porch pole.
Dirty, I know.
You don’t see my face – I’m turned to James Wilson-
he’s two and has to be held.
Mama looks skinnier than I remembered,
I guess we all do,
though I never thought we was thin—
with flowers in pails on the porch rail.
I do recall how the sun always shone off her skin –
she gave that to us.
Our shadows reached halfway to the steps.
The cats always curled around them, and us,
to get at the warm.
The picture was took summer ’fore I started school.
The porch smelled of bees and dust,
and, well, sweat of course,
and when a stranger came, of mint,
cause he wouldn’t know to walk around the small plant of it
just to the right of the first step.
I was scratchin a skeeter bite behind my knee,
the boys was watchin the dogs run,
starin at the photographer’s shiny car.
But Mama’s hoverin and holdin and fixin us
to be neat for him.
She’s not smiling but I remember her happy then.
I know she’d be proud now,
to see her flowers all there on the porch,
in the sun.

Quote: "When we deliberately alter our consciousness in any way, we're trying to find the Self. When the alcoholic collapses in the gutter, that voice that tells him, "I'll save you," comes from the Self.
The Self is our deepest being.
The Self is united to God." ~ Steven Pressfield, The War of Art

01 May 2005

Tag – Lit. You’re It.

I got tagged by Alix in Wunderland ~ a lovely thought from her.
Thanks, Alix!

~You're stuck inside Fahrenheit 451...
which book do you want to be?
I've always worried that I could never memorize word for word any book. But now, I think that maybe if I were limited to five books in my life - to sneaking them into my life like rare and savory lovers back in the day - I just might be able to memorize them. And the parts I didn't remember? Well, you know I'd make them better. So here they are:
-Paradise Lost by Milton: the best book I ever read for a college class. I adored this book; cried over it. Canonical texts rarely did that to me.
-The Time Travel Series by Madeliene L’Engle. This includes: A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, An Acceptable Time. My favorites as a young person. My best friends from way back.
-And finally, since I won’t cop out and say one of Norton’s Anthologies, Good Poems, edited by Garison Kealor. Maybe it’s just the Midwesterner coming out in me, but I love this collection. The whole idea that began this book – reading poetry on the radio that regular people could (and should be able to) relate to – inspires and rivets me. Some of my favorite poets and poems can be found here, not a few that I didn’t know before I bought this book. It’s lovely.
-Ok, and one other adolescent lit series I couldn’t live without knowing: The Dark Is Rising Series, by Susan Cooper. I’d MAKE myself memorize all of them. I swear.
-Hell, I’ll just make it five for a nice number. How about Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Yeah, that’s perfect.

~Have you ever had a crush on a fictional character?
I'm going to take this to mean a literary fictional character, rather than include anyone from film. As I said earlier in Wunderland, I have always been SUCH A DORK

that there are so many old crushes I won’t be able to list them all.
-Laurie in Little Women began the whole thing. I was so angry when Jo refused him that I refused to finish reading the book (for a few weeks at least) [5th grade].
-Mac from Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom, also by Louisa May Alcott (I imagine few of you have read these – they are SO old fashioned). He’s bookish, nerdy, super-intelligent and ends up writing poetry [7th grade]. Do I really need to explain?
-I had a HUGE crush on Adam Wellington from A Ring of Endless Light. He was studying to be a marine-biologist and took the protagonist out to swim with dolphins and look at the stars. This boy, I was sure, was my destiny [9th grade].
-Barney Snaith from The Blue Castle. He’s perceived as a rougue (like Logan in X-Men: mmmmhhhmmm) and very misunderstood. All through my lonely (and not so lonely) highschool years, I dreampt of marrying this nature-loving, book-writing man. [Actually, L.M. Montgomery was very good at this – so many of her heroinnes’ lovers I desperately wanted to find in life – Gilbert Blythe, Teddy Kent – all of them intelligent, sensitive, trustworthy, sensual. On reflection I think Montgomery helped shape my ideal of manhood. Nerdy. I know.]
Finally, Griffin, from Griffin and Sabine. It’s not so much that I had a crush on him as it is that my sleeping-dreams of people I did not know awake became so much more frequent and intense – and the same people would continually reappear in my dreams. Like blogworld, except asleep and with less drama and more... love. Are they real? Does it matter as long as I’m learning from them or from the experience? I love the concept behind the little gems in this series.

~The last book you bought is...?
The Foxfire Book #1 (a gift from JB). I am sooooooooo excited about reading all of this one (and the rest of them). I love Appalachian Lit.

~What are you currently reading?
...other than Foxfire and random poetry from day to day:
-Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
-The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
-Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (I have to read it in order to call myself an English teacher)
-In the Cherry Tree by Dan Pope
-futureproof by N. Frank Daniels (though it breaks my fucking heart)
-Steppenwolf by Herman Hesse (again, feels like I ought to have read this by now)
-Literary Trips edited by Victoria Brooks
-The Physics of Star Trek by Lawrence M. Krauss
Not to mention sooooooooo many others – probably six or seven more that I have begun since Christmas and sincerely hope to finish soon. As soon as I have a few weeks of summer I will be so much more informed. Or at least, more fulfilled.

~Five books you’d take on a deserted island:
1 The Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary – with Bible thin paper amounting to 2230 pages. (This has always been my first choice for the whole deserted island scenario.)
2 The Complete Signet Classic Shakespeare – with notes and everything the bard ever wrote, and some of the stuff they just attribute to him (I’m WAY behind on my Shakespeare).
3 Some kind of huge tome on linguistics and languages of all sorts – from Gaelic to Japanese to Cherokee, from Welsh to Ebu to Portuguese; I want words.
4 Ok, now I’m going to cheat and say the most recent Norton’s Anthology of Poetry.
5 I have to cheat again and steal Alix’s idea: A photo album of all my loved ones. This would also include PLENTY of space to write in for my own mental health on said deserted island.

~What 3 people will you tag, and why?
With Blogs:
JB because he’s not around to ask in person and I think you all should know. Plus, I'll use any excuse to blog about him ;).
Lefty because he just seems like he’d have some interesting things to say (not that I necessarily think he’ll reply until the new blog is up and running).
Skrambled because I want to know what kind of stuff he reads.
Without Blogs:
, because I should already know his answers to these, and it might get him thinking about the real stuff again.
Carrie, because we are destined to live connected lives.
Bobbins and Thread, because I miss her.

Please, comment on the ones you like and dislike (oh you lovely critics). Ask me about them. Tell me YOUR favorites. Tell me if you post this quiz. I LOVE to talk about books. Seriously. [Did I mention my utter dorkiness?] Also, bonus points to name the sculptures/sculptor and bonus bonus points to name my desert island of choice pictured above. Even if you don’t have that much to say, just put the quiz on your blog. It’ll make you look smart.

And now, a totally off-subject Poem by Emily Dickinson, origianally discussed with JB about how apt a poem can be, even 150 years later. Brought to mind again by Skrambled Ramblings, and his Dickinson poem. I have altered it by one letter only, for blogworld (oh yes, My Pretties, I have been contemplating you):

I'm Nobody! Who are you?
Are you - Nobody - Too?
Then there's a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise - you know!

How dreary - to be - Somebody!
How public - like a Frog -
To tell one's name - the livelong June -
To an admiring B[l]og!

30 April 2005

Update on the 25 things
I color-coded the items in that old post (2 down) to let anyone who gives a rat's ass see which were true. Here's the code: Orange = False. Green = True. Lilac = A Half Truth. Items in brackets = Explainations.

16 April 2005

"Se La Vie," said the Old Folks,
"It Goes to Show You Never Can Tell."

As another twist on another recent blogtrend I have seen floating around (I got this from Retarius): I am going to make a list. The typical list tells one hundred (self-perceived) truths about the blogger. In my version, it is going to be more like those get-to-know-you games in college, where you tell some truths and some lies and people just have to figure out for themselves which is which. And no, I don't believe I'm going to let any of you in on which are which. ~ Evil gg rides again.
Update: Orange = False. Green = True. Lilac = A Half Truth. Items in brackets = Explainations.
1. I was born with six toes on each foot. The extra toe-nubs were removed at four days of age. [My feet just look that way.]
2. At the moment, I have fifteen siblings. [Including steps.]
3. I have had a "letter" published in Penthouse. (The letter was a bit exaggerated, I admit). [I just like reading them.]
4. A thirteen year-old recently came on to me. It took me a moment to realize that that was what he was doing.
5. #4 was the only time I have been embarrassed so far this year (2005).
6. Tonight is the only time I have been bored so far this year.

7. I am very excited about my latest acquisition - a leaf blower. [I'm not excited about it.] 8. Andy Goldsworthy is my favorite artist.
9. There are at least three men in their 70's that I would gladly get to know (see the biblical definition).
10. I love listening to the sound of the highway in my backyard at night - it puts me right to sleep.
11. My daughter has five names.
12. One of my son's names is a number.
13. One of my cousin's names is a different number.
14. I was once mugged at machete-point.
15. One of my English professors in college slept on his floor even though he had rats in his house.

16. I once streaked the audience at one of the performances of our highschool musical "South Pacific".
17. I am acquainted with one of Willie Nelson's main "suppliers".
18. To this day, I must cover my ears with my hair or blankets when I sleep in order to make it more difficult for insects to crawl in and lay eggs in my ear canal or brain. [I did this for so long as a kid that now it is just habit.]
19. I love working with power tools.
20. I was the first female ever to accolite in my church.

21. I have been "the squirter" on hog-cutting day. [I've seen it done and I was invited to be the squirter but I politely declined.]
22. When I met Woody Harrelson, he thought I was going to mug him. [He had to remind me to give him back the stuff he asked me to hold. I was 14, awestruck and just forgot.]
23. I have traveled to 49 of the 50 United States. [Airports only not included my number is 34/50.]
24. I am a Rocky Horror Virgin. [I've seen it, in a theatre but I was never de-virginized.] 25. The only trouble I ever got into in highschool was for setting a girl's hair on fire (she was my nemisis). [I got in trouble for my high number of absences every year (around 40 each year). I didn't get caught with this one because my evil plan didn't work.]

There you go, the first installment of "You Never Can Tell."
Any guesses as to which of these beauties is true? Not that it matters...

"There is no spoon." - The Matrix