Sunday, March 29, 2020

Department of Self-Centered Silver Linings: Publishing in the Time of COVID19

Pointillisme: blurry new leaves through the rain from Le Select in Montparnasse

Often enough, I've complained about the long long times some editors need to review submissions. I try to be empathic and understanding:  I know (I hope) they have rich and full lives, and that editing a poetry journal is very much a side hustle; I appreciate the devotion to poetry; I try not to be too put out when they can't manage a form email to notify me that they didn't want my poems. Quarantine / house arrest is having one unexpected benefit, though. Apparently, reading backed-up submissions is less aversive than housework. I have received several verdicts on batches of poems, much more swiftly than I had been led to expect. It's disorienting! It's confusing! It's really nice!! It doesn't hurt that there are some acceptances in there too.

Monday, March 16, 2020

And to think that we saw it on Pasqual Street!

Before we were asked to do social isolation, before we were asked to limit trips to essentials, before we were told to stay home, a friend and I visited the Huntington Gardens, which are very close to the Los Angeles Arboretum. The Arboretum is home to a whole lotta peafowl. They come and beg if you're having a picnic. If there's a concert performance, they sing along, especially with the women (a peacock's cry sounds like someone's yelling "HELP!"). And, they visit the neighbors. As we drove back to my friend's home, we spotted about 15 in someone's front yard. And we witnessed the above spectacle.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Quotes of the week

TV screen of empty bar whose proprietor is watching an old French movie

Tiny new potatoes

Overheard after a performance of the Messiah, singalong:

"Wrinkles and laxity are wrinkles and laxity."

"I am a living, breathing, walking, talking potato."

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

It's ART, for heaven's sake, not widgets

A paying market is a rare place. I understand the economic realities of publishing poetry; supply/demand comes to mind. But it is art, and it's hand-made, so to speak, and we folk who work on writing it give a lot of time and devotion to bringing it forth. And not only is poetry art, we write it essentially for the love of it, for free. How dreadfully hard can it be to send out an individual email to the rejected writer? or the accepted one, for that matter? Just two months ago, I nearly missed an acceptance from  B O D Y, a very cool venue that is open to some of my weirder productions. And these editors are extraordinarily gracious and supportive. They paid me the compliment of rejecting an earlier submission by telling me that the work wasn't as good as my best work, so they weren't going to take it. And they were right!

So OK. I've incorporated checking my Submittable account into my daily routine. But I do miss the one-to-one notifications, and I do not find the new efficiency an improvement. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Something completely different...

.for my blog is trying out products and reporting on them. Paperless Post contacted me, praised my blog and its appearance (OK, I'm susceptible, all right?), and offered me free coin to try out the site and post about it by today. So, now it's today, and here I go.

Paperless Post is dedicated to flyers and invitations--announcements, if you will--for events. There are also cards, filed under occasions and events, and I had to bat around for a bit to determine this. I'm always rather dense about new sites, so it is to the credit of their interface that I managed to find my way around.

You get many choices in pleasant styles--nothing too edgy, nothing too stodgy--and different levels of formality. Attractive contemporary designs. You may feel decision fatigue setting in, so remember:  Perfection is the enemy of the good. I had a good time trying out different combinations.

I was able to assemble a pretty and unique card for my friend, and, thanks to the magic of multiple windows, able to send it to her in good time. The site also links up with your address book, so really I didn't need to have resorted to multiple windows. I have mixed feelings about this, but we've been trading convenience for privacy for years, so why balk here?

Thank you, Helen Chuchak, for sending this my way. It makes a good addition to the other options in my repertory.

They can be found at this URL

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The movies in my head

No really suitable photo for this post. This morning, for the first time since my husband's death, I got back to my old style of dreaming. To wit: longish, detailed, complicated but coherent plots, featuring a mixture of real people, celebrities, and previously unknown people, doing improbable or metaphorically interesting activities. Walter called them three-reelers, and I could always help him fall asleep by telling him a dream (or made-up dream) in a monotone. Or I could just share them and entertain him. Like the time I attended a book signing of George Clooney, who had just published a book of poetry entitled "I'm Just Like You, Only Cooler." George knew my writing buddy Judith Terzi. I couldn't find any pants that didn't have cat hair on them.

But back to our sheep. This morning I slept well and long enough, and woke retaining this dream. Excellent, I thought, stretching, Walter will love this. And then I realized that he was gone, and would never get to laugh and exclaim over this dream. And my dear friend and former analyst Meredith Mitchell had died in 2017. And I don't know anyone--anyone--who has the right combination of intimacy and psychological interest to appreciate this dream. This is the first time in literally 50 years that I've had nowhere to take a dream. I collapse a little bit inside, then a little more.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

One of the many hard things about losing my beloved husband Walter is that I can no longer share new experiences or old memories. Inspired by my friend Diane Schifrin, who created a page on Pinterest for her late father, I have established such a page on Facebook. The URL below does not create a link, but you can paste it into your browser.

If you like, visit to see what he used to like and might have liked now. You might like those things too.

Walter had been a photographer since his early 20s, when he took up photography to take advantage of the air-conditioned dark room at his Army base in Bixby, Arizona. He got a big kick out of the sillier composition errors, such as trees or fountains or flower arrangements growing out of people's heads.