Friday, January 09, 2009

Not Quite Dead Yet . . .

After so many days of being sick I am happy to say that I finally feel better again. In spite of my struggling with a head cold (and the medicine that “may cause dizziness”), I managed to work through a rough draft of my new chapbook and get it submitted to the competition. Now let’s be honest . . . do I really think I can win this thing? Hell no! I’ve seen the rough drafts of some of the other people’s works and I know there’s no way my little Vertigo Verses is going to rise to the top let alone be the one that rises above the rest. There are a few good pieces in the collection but over all . . . I prefer my To the Virgin: Manifestation to this chapbook. Unfortunately, it remains in a limbo of unrevision. There's a long self-pitying story behind that and I won't go into it. Amazingly enough, although I had a head cold which usually results in my gaining weight, I’ve lost a few pounds. I’ve been drinking a lot of water and changed my eating habits radically because Rob and I agreed to do the Body and Soul 35 Day Challenge. He didn’t even make it through the first day while I have managed to stick to the rigid diet each and every day. (I’ll put the food plan at the end of this post.) I’ve done quite a bit of reading so there will be some book reviews coming (not surprisingly) and I’m hoping to actually update about the dogs, albeit they haven’t been doing anything lately. I think it’s because Romanov found out that his ex is having puppies by some other Siberian Husky and he’s in a funk. Snowdoll, who did not even know Romanov had a past let alone a girlfriend before her, is still pretty oblivious. Nothing much has changed in her world, after all. She still insists on cuddling. He still growls about it but puts up with it because he’s too lazy to get up and move. And while I’m at it, it seems that FOX, after asking Joss Whedon to re-shoot the pilot for Dollhouse, decided to postpone it’s airing from 5 January to sometime in February. Something similar happened when FOX had him re-shoot the pilot for Firefly, which he did. They then aired episodes out of order, would air two or three shows and then pre-empt programming for a few weeks, then air a few other out-of-order episodes, making it virtually impossible for fans to get a handle on the show or for it to have a strong showing in the ratings. Here’s hoping that Dollhouse doesn’t suffer the same fate. Albeit, I am tempted to just wait until it comes out on dvd. If the show is a success then I can watch the first season before the second season begins. If it is not successful, at least I won’t have to wonder when the next episode will air and if it will make any sequential sense in the narrative arch of the characters. (A curious aside. My mother had me buy Rei a graphic novel. I was unable to find a title that Rei specifically requested so I was searching blind, trying to find a title that would appeal to her without coincidentally buying her one she already had. A daunting task as her tastes lie way off of the popular and more into the underground and alternative. So I was shuffling through the racks and Barnes & Noble racks but whose name should I see? Joss Whedon’s! I figure I can’t go too wrong with buying a comic that has his name on it and we’re good. It isn’t until I’m wrapping it that I realize the graphic novel I bought is actually a collection of later comics of a longer collection. In other words, instead of getting her a collection of issues 1-5 or something like that, I had chosen a collection that had comics somewhere in the teens. Not cool, right? Wrong! Christmas day she opens it and what do I learn? She has all of the previous comics, nicely bound in a single graphic novel, and she needed this graphic novel, so incidentally chosen, to update her collection. Proving once again, that Joss Whedon saves the day!!!) And this blog post proves that if it were not for inane small talk, I would have no blog at all. I guess the whole Finland thing is out for me now. Oh well.
Morning: room temp water with juice of ¼ lemon Breakfast: 1 cup oatmeal and 1 cup fruit w/ green tea Snack: fruit (apple or pear) and 10 almonds Lunch: 1 cup each: brown rice, lentils, vegetable from brasilla family w/ spice tea Snack: celery and carrot with 2 T hummus Dinner: 1 cup brown rice and 2 cups mixed veggies w/ spice tea Evening: room temp water with juice of ¼ lemon

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

RAWS Potpourri

I am mixing it up in this Read Along With Satia because I can so there is fiction, memoir, and inspirational/self-help this time. The Tale of Genji is still here mostly because I still want to read it. However, I have considered dedicating another year to reading only literature written by women and if I haven't read this by then (then being 2011) then I'll read it at that time. Still . . . if anyone out there wanted to read it now I wouldn't say no to the idea. First novel ever written was written by a woman living in Japan. It is a massive book and when you consider that this was all written in kanji, by hand, it seems impossible to imagine. I would love to someday see the original manuscript, just to get a full appreciation of the scope of this epic endeavor. The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens is one of those novels I've wanted to read since I was a teenager. I don't really know why I haven't read it already. I remember being curious about it when Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth were so fond of it, wondering what it was they found so enchanting. So I guess we have Little Women to thank for my endless curiosity about this novel. I've actually considered trying to read all of Dickens' works, the ones I haven't read already, that is. Truth is, I'm not sure that his writing merits that kind of commitment given his propensity for going on and on, to get every penny out of every word he could. I have the habit of rambling without that being reinforced in my reading. But how much could one novel hurt? God is No Laughing Matter by Julia Cameron because I love her book The Artist's Way and I'm sure this will not measure up but I would like to give it a read through to see if it can live up to my lowered expectations. This is not to say that Cameron can't possibly write another great book but I think that TAW transcended into iconic status so immediately that it will be hard for Cameron to ever manage it again. I rather like the title of this book and I am curious because the reviews suggest that the title is misleading. In any event, I've a feeling this is a book I'd rather read along with someone than on my own and yet I also know I would like to read just to see how Cameron manages to live up to the brilliance of TAW. Red Azalea by Anchee Min is a memoir about Min's experiences growing up in communist China. I heard her in an interview on NPR and read her novel Katherine which is loosely based on her personal experience. I would love to read her memoir to see just how loose the novel is compare with the memoir. She also published a novel about Chairman Mao's wife (the title of which completely eludes me at the moment) and I obviously liked her first novel well enough to want to read her memoir. I've a feeling that this is one that would make for some great discussion/dialogue. The Ecology of a Cracker Childhood by Janisse Ray is a memoir I've had sitting on my shelf for entirely too long. I bought it for a book group that never met to discuss it. In the meantime, it's been sitting on my shelf unread and taking up space. I either need to read it or rid my shelf of it. Naturally, I would prefer to do the former. The memoir sounds rather uplifting and with reviewers using words like "lyrical" and "must read," it is hard to just not say I read it. It feels like a waste to have bought it and not to at least give it a try.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Identical by Ellen Hopkins is a young adult novel written in verse. I didn’t realize this when I grabbed it at the library. I read the inside jacket flap and just grabbed it out of curiosity. Boy, am I glad I did! The basic premise is that Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical twins of a man who is a judge and a mother who is running for congress. And the family has a secret. Actually, the family has several secrets, layered one upon the other. The girls' stories are told in free verse, with an occasional concrete verse thrown in. The poems are often parallel in tone and voice and are literally mirrored when shifting from one sister to the other. As I read, I found what I thought were plot complications which Hopkins quite effectively ties up by the end. The closer to the conclusion, the more complicated things become as the family gradually unravels due to the secrets that are beginning to come out. The main secret is an obvious one and has been done so many times one wonders what new can be said or done and yet Hopkins manages to bring something new to the table. Above all else, she communicates the confused feelings a young girl has about herself, her family, and just how dangerous it can be to hold these too many secrets inside. I would highly recommend this book to older teenagers, especially ones who say they don’t like poetry.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

An Open Letter

Dear Body; While I appreciate that December was an unusually busy time for you and maybe even a little stressful, what with the trip to New Jersey to see the family and all and the holidays at home with the home family . . . Nevertheless, you already indulged in having a head cold at the beginning of December. I think it is excessive for you to indulge in yet another head cold at the end of the same month. And we are now four days into the New Year and the next month so I believe that it would be only proper for you to cooperate and get over this head cold asap. We have things to do, people to see, places to go. To that end, I promise you a cup of hot tea every evening before we go to bed. I know you are partial to ginger tea and I am willing to slow down at the end of the day to indulge in a mindful and soothing cup of ginger tea at the end of the day. If you should agree with me, please allow me the ability to breathe through both nostrils first thing tomorrow morning. I shall take this as a sign that we have a contract in place and no further signature or response will be required. Yours Truly, Satia