Friday, May 6, 2016

AWP 2016, part 5: some images

I wish I had not seen this man, so obviously discharged from some hospital to Skid Row.
Pretty sure Baudelaire had something like this in mind.
Sad yet darkly comical vision of someone carefully pacing off 85 feet.
The Braille tells the story, however.

Monday, May 2, 2016

AWP 2016, part 4: Nowhere to hide

Fatigue or despair, who knows?

Who knows, really, what is happening in other people? I was at the Book Fair, staffing the booth of Inlandia, a journal and arts collective of the Inland Empire of California. Yes, seriously. I chatted with people who were there to sign their books, I took money and gave change, and all the while I watched this young man drifting around the booth across the aisle. He picked up an item or two and glanced through, put them back. Suddenly he crouched, then sat on the ground. He huddled into himself and, apparently, fell asleep. Intrusively and carefully I watched him. No signs of sobbing or sighing. Also no inclination to seem the marginally more comfortable chairs or benches scattered around the Convention Center. He was still there when I left 30 minutes later. We will never know.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

AWP 2016, part 3: introverts rampant

See, you got some 20,000 people (I think) roaming all over, up and down the escalators and stairs and over from the Los Angeles Convention Center to the Marriott Hotel, approximately next-door but only by Los Angeles standards (my phone app claims that I walked six miles the first day), and I would guess that more than the usual proportion are introverts. So, you have many people getting very excited at making social contact, very nice, but people who then require some quiet time to replenish.

Some people found islands of quiet in noisy places. Some resorted to the Emily Dickinson Quiet Space. That is, the people who were able to find it. I did find it; it was mostly empty, which was fine, but it was also cold and white, a small banquet room, which was weird. Ten large round tables with ten hard chairs at each one; each table used by only one person; people who jumped and glared when I sneezed, or clicked. No photos came out, btw; what is there to show about starched linen? I had hoped for comfy chairs, even a sofa or two. At least I could prop my chin on my hands and shut my eyes. And I swear:  I have never seen so many blank books in one smallish space, particularly being scribbled into diligently.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

AWP 2016, part 2: cardboard cutouts are people too.

This lovely black and white stand-up cutout smiled back at me as I stood talking to the editors of diode. They thought I was snapping a shot of them and obligingly posed and smiled. My actual subject remained unselfconscious and elegant.

Stand-up cardboard cutouts were a popular booth accessory all over the Book Fair. Here, Mountie with obligatory mustache at the booth for University of British Columbia's creative writing program.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

AWP 2016: Is it better in Los Angeles?

This photo shows the view from our 7h floor room in Seattle, 2014, at the AWP conference. Or is it convention? I was awake at 4 am because I had broken out in hives 2" across the night before, and had been prescribed PREDNISONE by one of Seattle's Urgent Care centers. Hives itch demoniacally, besides looking scary, and the MD on call gave me IV Benadryl as well as Prednisone. My retired pediatrician publisher, Sammy Greenspan, thought they were a reaction to something I ate, but my GP at home shook his head and said, "Stress can do it all by itself." This year the convention is in Los Angeles, some 45 miles down the road from me. All nearby hotel rooms were booked pretty much instantly, so I'm commuting from home by train and bus (or cab or Lyft, whatever). It will be two very long days without a real break for lunch, and I'll be out of the house pretty much from dawn to dusk. O how convenient a nearby room would be, for a midday nap. There will be no midday nap unless I snatch one in the Emily Dickinson Quiet Room (not making this up). Many panels sound really good, but if they disappoint, there's always the Book Fair, or texting a friend and seeing what they are up to. I'll be back soon or later with photos and reports of odd moments.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

*~*P I*~*~*~* D A Y*~*

In case you're wondering, it's an apple pie.


The basic settings on Windows 10

do not include a graceful symbol for pi.

Happily, Wikipedia has one.

Image result for symbol pi

Much better. Happy Pi Day!

May all you squares become a little bit irrational.

May all you circles go on forever.

May we all extend from our centers.

Friday, February 26, 2016

One is not the other, part 1

Nosy insects and one large snail

Deforestation may disappear if we don't all do our part

You've probably seen the T-shirt reading "I am silently correcting your grammar." I do that. I also flinch when people use one word but clearly mean another similar-sounding word. I think it comes from learning the words only by listening and not by reading. That is the charitable explanation; other days, I think it comes from wanting to be impressive, wanting to make an impression, more than from meaning what you are saying. Hall of annoying examples:

1. uninterested for disinterested. Disinterested is having no stake in the outcome. Uninterested is not being interested. Antonin Scalia often failed to recuse himself from cases in which he had an interest, in which he was not disinterested. Clarence Thomas often looks uninterested, as when he seems not to be paying attention. You may want the executor of your will to be disinterested. Your heirs will want them not to be uninterested.

2. decimate for, oh, slaughter, annihilate. Decimate meant originally to kill one out of every ten. Still does, with metaphorical leeway on the killing. There remain nine to behold the dead one. Ebola did not decimate populations; it killed nine out of ten, leaving but the one. Those communities were not decimated. It was much much worse than that.

3. livid for enraged, furious, boiling mad. Thing is, livid means pale. To be pale with rage is to be coldly, even chillingly angry, ready to act, not impulsively. Most of the time, we are red with rage, ready to do something harsh (and possibly but not necessarily stupid).

That's enough for now. I'll store up some more as they occur. Oh, this is so much better than merely *thinking* the correction.