25 Bookish Things About Me

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My most recent acquisitions. All about the art.

Thanks to LKD over at Gin & Lemonade – With a Twist for inadvertently giving me a really fun writing exercise for this lovely Saturday morning. You can read her elegant and funny list by clicking HERE.

  1. I don’t finish books that I’m not enjoying.
  2. This sometimes creates an embarrassing gap in my book list.
  3. I’ve kept a list of the books I read for probably three decades.
  4. I don’t usually give in to jealousy, but the green goblin squeezed my heart when I read about Pamela Paul’s My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Life Ensues.
  5. I will eventually have to read said book.
  6. I read most of my books on my Kindle Fire
  7. I read most of my fiction in bed, and I sleep better since the Kindle Fire, as it turns itself off and I don’t end up with the lights on all night.
  8. Most of what I read is borrowed from the library.
  9. I assuage my guilt about this by buying hard copies of books I like as gifts, mostly for my mother.
  10. I make a conscious effort to buy books because I know that the library won’t have new books if we don’t support publishing. Plus I love authors.
  11. The subject matter of most of the physical books I’ve bought recently is art inspiration/instruction, travel, history, and writing.
  12. Literary historical fiction is my favorite.
  13. I love the way that I find parts of myself even in books that seem to be about people very different from me, like Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
  14. Years ago, I decided to read books by both men and women, but to mostly buy books by women. I don’t mind if you judge me for this.
  15. I usually have 2-3 books in progress. Or four.
  16. I love when a book sweeps me off my feet like a lover who knows how to dance. These books never last quite long enough.
  17. I spent a lot of the summer between eighth and ninth grade reading The Count of Monte Cristo while sitting in the arms of a huge tree, congratulating myself on the fact that I really enjoyed it.
  18. I still like reading outside, but I seldom do so.
  19. I don’t have reading snacks like Lorna does, but if I did it would be coffee and chocolate. Or tea and homemade shortbread. Or iced tea and orange slices.
  20. I wrote a book and an agent shopped it around, and I’m deeply ashamed at how much the rejection rocked my faith.
  21. I have written more than 50,000 words on three additional books, but have not finished them. This still brings tears to my eyes.
  22. I have filled more than 50 notebooks since I started journaling when I was 13 (same age as Anne Frank). I know that they are nobody’s treasures but my own. I still write.
  23. The first authors I followed were Marguerite Henry and Ray Bradbury.
  24. I get a big thrill out of adding a new book to Goodreads.
  25. My Mom taught me that with a some effort what you read in books can lead to what happens in real life.

Okay, now tell me something bookish about you. Or make your own bookish list and post it on your blog or in the comments here.

I’m also so very open to book recommendations.  Pretty please?

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Tender is the Night

Yeah,  when I visited the Keats-Shelley Memorial House in Rome I bought a tee shirt imprinted with this quote from “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats. What would he think, I wonder, of us traipsing around in our underwear?

Big John Keats fan as a teen. I transcribed the opening lines of one of his poems onto butcher paper and hung them on my bedroom wall. 

“… I have fears that I may cease to be, Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,  Before high-piled books in charact’ry,  Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain…”

Ah tragic youth! There was also a quote from a play about Joan of Arc. Ego much?

Only Light Can Do That

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“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

The creation of this anthology verges on the mythical.

In the words of Michelle Franke, the founding editor of The Rattling Wall and Executive Dirctor of PEN Center USA, “On November 9, 2016, The Rattling Wall and PEN Center USA put out a call for post-election poems, stories, and essays. People had six days to send their ‘protest, promise, rage, and wonder.’ Work poured in from across the country. Not just from writers, but from teachers, doctors, activists, analysts, moms, dads, even school kids.”

Michelle edited “Only Light Can Do That: 100 Post-Election Poems, Stories & Essays,” found a designer, and arranged for a reading at The Last Bookstore in downtown Los Angeles on the one-month anniversary of the election. She and her husband picked the books up from the printer the night before the reading.

Michelle said yes to every contributor who volunteered to perform her or his work. Forty writers gathered for one of the most dynamic and inspiring readings I’ve ever witnessed. I was lucky enough to be among those who took the stage to read my poem, “Casting.” The variety of voices was thrilling.

“We are doing this thing!” Michelle announced when we were down to the last five readers. Forty gut-felt pieces in about an hour and fifteen minutes.

May I add that Michelle is expecting a baby in three weeks?  Talk about female power.

Congratulations to Michelle and her literary family, which is broad and deep, on an amazing task well accomplished.

But don’t just take my word for it. Read it for yourself! It may just help you get through the hours of uncertainty and fear that the coming administration has visited on so many of us. It’s available for $15 from the  PEN Center USA Bookstore.