Friday, June 30, 2006

On My Television Right Now

A hippopotamus mermaid singing I'm not only beautiful, I'm extra extra tough.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I always get a kick out of the nuances of language. Gideon's daycare provider is a non-native English speaker and while her English is pretty good, occasionally I have to pause and consider her meaning. For instance, this morning when she said what a happy boy Gideon is and how yesterday he talked TOO MUCH (twice repeating TOO MUCH), I decided that what she meant was that yesterday he talked ALOT.

But you never know, he is my son afterall.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Glimpse Into My Genius

I'm courting a college pal who used to design covers for St. Martin's press -- hoping he'll lend his talents and do some No Tell Books covers. I gave a brief description of the books, indicated concept ideas by the authors and told him the modest budget set aside to pay him for his labor. He's done lots of really great covers, but I'm getting the sense he's used to dealing with, um, I don't know what you'd call them, fancy spancy book professionals maybe (?) because he keeps asking about the "budget for the images."

This is how I finally explained it to him:

Publishing poetry books is like depression-era cooking -- we get really creative with what we have and in the right hands, it's fabulous, and sometimes, well you barf on an airplane because the possibilities for Jell-O are endless, unusual and quite unequal.

We'll see if I convinced him of the nobility of designing a book cover with a stick of gum and paper clip.

Four hours ago I considered making Jell-O and if I had it would be almost ready to eat. But instead, like an asshole, I made microwave popcorn. Ruing that choice.

Not every photo was Rumble's nether region

Carly and I snapped well over 50 pictures Monday night (yet not one of the rain).

Below are some pictures of Evie & Ken sitting and later reading together (adorable). Ken kept his pants on (during that time).

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Aside from the funky mildew stench coming from (we think) our fireplace, our main weather effect (so far) is being shut inside most of the time.

To make the best of it, we gave Gideon a laptop to assist with Bedside Guide submissions and line edits cause you know what they say about idle hands.

Tied in Knots: Funny Stories from the Wedding Day

Thursday, June 29. Barnes & Noble, Georgetown, Washington, DC

Patty Smith
Suz Redfearn

More Burlesque Pictures

WARNING! Don't view these at work!

Just fucking with you. They're safe.

Cause a girl can never have too many pictures of Ken Rumble's crotch

Monday, June 26, 2006

Fuck Mother Nature!

Burlesque is a GO

So slip on your rubbers and wade out to Bar Rouge to hear Evie Shockley and Ken Rumble tonight at 8 p.m.

Aack! Will there be a reading tonight?

Um, hopefully we'll figure that out soon -- two out-of-state readers driving in today and last I heard from Carly she was in Ohio.

If anyone knows what the drive into the city is like (from any directions, we have people coming in all ways) -- please e-mail me.

This Week at No Tell

Deborah Wardlaw Pattillo is taking your picture without permission this week at No Tell Motel.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Last Week for Bedside Guide Submissions

Guidelines are here

Note: We're not looking specifically for sex poems or erotica -- we're looking for a broad range of playful, passionate and nudge nudge.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Goodnight Show

I selected four of the poems (Boyer, Loudon, Greenstreet and Sims) for an earlier show that never aired. From here on out we will call that The Lost Goodnight Show. Over the years it will become a thing of lore and when I die someone will find the commentary I recorded -- sell it to VH-1 and financially prosper on what I could not.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I Lack the Magic Number

"Sometimes I get tired of feeding the machine." -- Anne Boyer

Lately I'm hesitant to post anything that mentions any part of my life because I don't have the energy or desire to deal (or even receive) certain types of responses. Are such responses, as somebody e-mailed last week, just to be expected? Probably. I suppose I bristle from the "she was asking for it" attitude. A blogger, blogging, with comments!

Am I walking through the bad part of town in a bikini pinned with hundred dollar bills?

The question is keeping me mum.

Should I make up stories portraying me as more sympathetic and identifiable? Hey, the mortgage is due so I've been turning tricks behind the grocery store. I'm a $50 handjob poet of the people!

No, that's not helping. Not one bit.

Somebody is offended that I wrote "handjob." Somebody is offended that I wrote it as one word, instead of two. Somebody is offended that I'd charge $50. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway?

Who the hell indeed.

Some husbands spend their evenings surfing porn, mine is spending this evening cruising ugly dresses.

Should I be concerned?

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Next Week's Burlesque

Evie Shockley, Ken Rumble and Fred Pollack

Monday, June 19, 2006

This Week at No Tell

Dean Gorman plucks Kleenex from a handbag this week at No Tell Motel.

Back From Pittsburgh

Written on a van down the street from my father's house:

That's using your head Ben!


Attended my first baseball game in over a decade.

Every time a foul ball came our direction:

Protect me!

Because my face is all I have left.


Surprise 70th birthday party for my grandmother on Sunday.

But the surprise was on us.

It was her 71st birthday.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

While I'm Showing Off How Connected I Am

Speaking of the Great Poet Hall, on previous occasions Hall has grabbed both my and my husband's ass. I could do another coffee table book of all the asses the Great Poet Hall blessed with touch. I could call it HOT AS HALL or ALL HALL BREAKS LOOSE or THERE WILL BE HALL TO PAY (IN THE MORNING).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Let Me Know When You're Impressed

Not only have I been to our new poet laureate's home at Eagle Pond -- I've used his toilet.

I am a paper dolls!
Find your own pose!

This past week I put together the first round of proofs for Bruce Covey's Elapsing Speedway Organism and I keep telling him he needs to change the title to Elapsing Speedway Orgasm cause this book is hot. It's no secret I'm drawn to the playful and the smart and as I get more and more intimate with this collection, well, whew, my fluttering heart.

Will it be cheating when I start on PF's and Rebecca's proofs?

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

OK, Show's Over

No more comments about that -- I've never turned off comments on a post before, but enough.

To recap, this blog is for me to write about whatever I wish. Often my thoughts will touch upon my "personal" life and that includes family, friends, how I live my life, what I had for dinner, how I spent my day, what I like, what I don't, what showed up in my mailbox and anything else I feel like discussing.

This blog is not a referendum on whether or not I'm a good person, good parent, good wife, good poet, good editor, good friend, good cat owner, etc. My existence in physical form extends to my blog existence. I have the freedom to exist how I please and if a stranger at the grocery store gleams something by the way I'm dressed, something I say, or whatever and takes it upon himself to point out what he perceives as my shortcomings, flaws, selfishness, I don't care how passionate he is about Jesus Christ his savior, I'm going to tell him to go fuck himself.

If my existence, the way I live my life, the decisions I make for my son and family, how I spend my money, if these things are an affront to your existence, to your beliefs, to all things you hold near and dear -- please, for the sanctity of your own soul, don't visit this blog. I don't advertise it. I don't ask people to visit. You'll never see this URL on the side of a bus, written in the sky or in your spam filter. You will not be forced to read it for class or on a plane. I warn you, I will write more about my creative projects, I will talk more of No Tell Motel, No Tell Books, my poems, my manuscripts and my other projects. I will be travelling this year to give readings, speak on panels, sell books and promote these projects and in almost all of these cases I will not have my son with me. He will be with his father, his grandmothers, his aunts and with a lovely woman who manages a home daycare in my bourgeois neighborhood where we have garbage pick-up twice a week. I don't consider that a tradeoff -- I think it's fucking great.

You don't have to think it's great. You can think whatever you like. I'm not asking you to think anything. I'm not asking you.

Also, I will purchase items I don't really need. In most cases, I will pay retail. I may pay someone to give me a pedicure even though I'm physically capable of giving myself one and already own all the products to do so. I will eat at restaurants even though I have a kitchen. I will curse even though it's not especially becoming of a lady. I will occasionally consume alcohol even though it has the potential to make me ill. Sometimes I will play nickel slots and roulette and 9 times out of 10 lose all the money I brought along.

Please, nobody follow my example. I make no assertions of my role model-ness. I do not exist to inspire your greatness.

So unless I specifically ask "Do these pants make my ass look fat?" do not presume it is your place to inform me on the status of my ass.

I will not change into another pair. I will not respond kindly.

New issue of 32 Poems available.

Monday, June 12, 2006

And Pittsburgh has a collective coronary as Ben learns the hard way.

Yesterday we stopped by a church used book sale -- the last 15 minutes of the last day. A very picked over selection, but I did find two musty anthologies that looked interesting:

A Controversy of Poets Eds. Paris Leahy and Robert Kelly (1965)
The New American Poetry Ed. Donald M. Allen (1960)

C. Dale at the Poetry Foundation this week:

“We always find time to do the things we want to do.” Is there a more true statement? We always find the time. I carried that statement with me all throughout medical school, internship, residency, all the way into my current practice of medicine. There have been times when I have felt overwhelmed by the study or practice of medicine, but I rarely worried about poetry. I knew I would always find my way back to it, that I would always find the time to write, no matter how small or scattered that time was. I learned slowly what Don Justice already knew: I could not and cannot not write poems. Medicine taught me discipline as a writer, but what made me survive as a poet was Don’s simple statement. He somehow knew I belonged in Medicine. I think he knew also, while I sat in his office so many years ago, that I might have given up that dream and that responsibility in order to write poems, when really I didn’t need to give up either. In a strange way the man, and his statement, gave me permission to do what I needed to do, what I have continued to do.

This Week at No Tell

Gary L. McDowell curls into a hard new language this week at No Tell Motel.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I'm putting "Harrlynn's" comment top level not because I wish to discuss, defend myself or engage her any further -- but to offer this explicit example that succinctly expresses a sentiment encountered by all poet-parents at one time or another (or sadly, in some cases, quite often) -- especially poet-mothers. I correspond with a lot of writer parents and writers who are considering/planning on having children -- these discussions go all over the board; about balance, time management, choices, sources of strength and dealing with outside attitudes.

Attitudes like:

* One's work is only valuable based on its financial viability and/or ability to generate personal "fame."

* Mothers should not pursue any interests, vocations, professions if takes away any time from their children -- unless its financially necessary.

* A mother choosing to do anything that is not an option for all mothers is threatening/insulting/disrespecting them.

* A mother can never sacrifice or suffer enough -- that is her designated role.


At 5:32 PM, Harrlynn said...

i think what i'm arguing here for is personal responsibility and good fiscal sense.

there's no way reb is making any money writing--and is probably, in fact, spending quite a bit on her poetry habit. and now she's made the decision to invest more money in her poetry habit, at the expense of having an actual--and usually available--parent care for the child in question.

there's nothing wrong with daycare when you're feeling overwhelmed by 3 or 4 young children, or if you're a single mother struggling to make a life for you and your child. or, if both parents are working, your careers more than cover the substantial costs of daycare.

in reb's case, the case of the unknown writer, paying somebody else to take care of her kid, when she's already home, seems like a terrible investment--spiritually, financially, cosmically, and karmically--or at least an affront to hard working people everywhere who don't have the luxury to make the decision that reb so proudly announced.


You can accept these sentiments and feel the guilt and shame they're intended to provoke -- or you can recognize the destructiveness, the desperate attempt at societal control over the individual, the source of the self-loathing and why its being lobbed your way in the first place.

You can remember your own values, the reasons you first came to poetry, writing and art. You can impart these lessons, ideas and examples on your own children so they don't grow up and become the type of person shown above.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Speaking of Trolls & Conflict

My stars must have been aligned for it on Friday cause there was no reprieve -- it continued to seek me out.

On our way home from dinner, two speeding cars in the oncoming lane both made unexpected u-turns into our lane about 30 feet in front of us. The smaller car cleared the turn, but the SUV barreled over the curb and onto the sidewalk exploding the passenger side tire. Chris had to jam on the brakes not to collide. At first we thought it was teenagers goofing around, but when the SUV pulled over we saw a woman crying with her dog inside. Our impression changed to that she was a victim of some kind of freakish road rage and was run off. So we turned around to help.

Chris asked if she was OK, handed her his cell phone and started changing her tire. She took his phone -- but she didn't call the police, or AAA or a friend or family member -- she called the person driving the other car -- her boyfriend or husband who she was in the middle of breaking up with. Something about another woman. Didn't catch all the details. The SUV driver didn't just call him once. He'd hang up and she'd call again -- to continue the argument. After a few calls, Chris took back his phone and five minutes later she asked for it again and called the boyfriend.

Fifteen minutes later, he came back, didn't offer to take over or help Chris with the tire -- instead they argued some more while Chris finished.

Apparently it didn't occur to either that their road rage tiff almost wrecked into a family with a small child. No, no, don't mind us. What are a few random casualties when it comes to a lovers' quarrel?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Legitimate Mothering (or VOTE FOR REB!)

A year before Gideon, there was this Dr. Phil episode -- a studio audience full of mothers: "stay-at-home" moms versus "working" moms. The "stay-at-home" moms were "lame losers with nothing going on in their sad little lives except their children -- these women weren't good at anything and lacked ambition and that's why they had kids" and the working moms were "selfish, uncaring, unloving and treated children as if they were fashion accessories -- these women loved themselves more than they loved their children."


You know, cause if you're not conducting your life exactly like I'm conducting my life or how I think I would conduct it if I was in your position, you're my enemy or at the very least, deserving of my scorn. Cause not only do I have an opinion, I think its OK to impose my judgement on others -- especially strangers because I know much more about their personal situations than they do.

While I watched what is probably my least favorite episode, all I could think was what the fuck is wrong with these people? Why does the existence of one have to be so threatening to the other? Why all or nothing?

One of the painful lessons motherhood has taught me is that everything is political and try as I might to avoid it, I can't. I had no idea of the extent. It's not merely whether or not you work, it's are you breastfeeding and if so are you really breastfeeding or are you taking the easy out and supplementing with a bottle of formula once in a while or pumping and how long are you doing it, a month, six months, a year, two years, longer? After three nurses and two lacatation consultants, I decided (to the last consultant's chagrin) to exclusively pump and her response, "Well, you're still technically a breastfeeding mom." Um, fuck you, I don't care if I get to be part of the club or not. I'm just trying to do a good job under difficult circumstances.

Then there's the whole how you birth your baby political lines. No, we can't just accept that a successful birth is one done as close to the mother's wishes as possible and resulting in a healthy child. No, we feel it our duty to try to convince others whether or not they should use any pain killers or if its more appropriate to birth in a hospital or at home. No, no, we can't even let this most personal of decisions go by without our outsider know-it-all judgement. We got to get as many people on our "side" else we might lose the Top Mommy election.

Omigod, I can't believe Beverly made it to the final round. She took Tylenol with Codeine while in labor AND she only breast fed for six months. What's wrong with America? She's practically Mary Kay Letourneau!

And there's organic vs. processed foods, TV versus none, public school vs. private vs. home, cloth vs. disposable, co-sleeping vs. crib, one vs. four, soccer vs. football, spanking vs. caning, immunizations vs. the plague . . .

These aren't personal choices. You'd think they were, well I thought they were, but no they're something we have to furiously advocate for, argue and condemn. Apparently this is what sets us apart. This is us versus them. We can't simply listen and consider somebody's experience and perception -- it's a snippy Well then, if you're not going to agree with me we'll have to agree to disagree. Harumph!

Just like politics, it's the moderates, the majority, who suffer the most insult -- I guess cause we're swing voters?

Working from home while raising a small child -- let's see, it's lame and not really working because it's not going someplace and interacting with adults and it's not like I have to write and edit and publish. Oh wait, no, it's selfish because that means I'm taking away a certain amount of time from my son and lord knows if I give him so much a minute to play solo amongst his toys or let someone else watch him on occasion, it's neglect. If he ever catches on that I have additional interests and priorities, other things going on in my life aside from him, well, he'll probably grow up and shoot the president to impress a girl. (Which we all know is really just a metaphor for the absense of a mother's love.)

So dear strangers who know better than I (and take heart, there have been quite a few of you), when my son is that deranged psychopath sobbing on the therapist's chair If only my mother loved me instead of her poems and projects. If only she brought me along everywhere she went, tended to my every desire of my every waking moment instead of abandoning me with my father and aunts and grandmothers and the neighbor who ran that home daycare. . . I could have been a contender! -- THEN make your obnoxious unsolicited comments.

But until that time arrives, keep it to your God damn self.

Time to Change the Sheets: Somes Words About the Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel

p.s. In response the comments at the end of the review, we took the reviewer's poems because we liked them. We sent out numerous review copies, if we took work from every potential reviewer just to garner goodwill, that's all we'd have room to publish.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

OK, blogger is really pissing me off.

Yesterday Gideon started part-time daycare. Two days a week. Awesome.

I wrote a novel. Sweet precious time is MINE!

The daycare provider commented on how unusual it was that he didn't cry on his first day.

That's because I told him that if he cried, I wasn't coming back.

Ssshhhhh -- that's one of my super-secret parenting tips. Consider it a freebie. To learn the rest you'll have to buy my parenting book. I'm writing that this afternoon.

It's gonna knock Lulu's socks.

Now that I understand the basics (for what I need to do) of InDesign -- it's really wonderful. Layed out a draft of Bruce's manuscript in a fraction of the time it took to do the Bedside Guide.

Is that a baby I hear crying in the distance?

Nope. The house is pregnant with silence. Beautiful silence.

Don't call me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

My Google Search for the Day

how to tell if your son is the anti-christ

Shoot, nothing appropriate. Somebody really should have put together one of those helpful online quizzes.

I saw the trailer for the new Omen movie and thought "That's just Gideon with a little Grecian Formula."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Heh -- that last post wasn't about my no longer reading your blog. I'm probably still reading it. There's still over 100 blogs in my RSS feed that I'll continue reading. I'm an obsessive person and was trying to keep up with too much and wearing myself out. Just cutting out the stuff that drives me nuts.

This blog is the first Google result for animal poems that don't suck.

Take what I can get, I guess.

Been doing a lot of pruning of how I spend my online time. My quest for "keeping up" was getting out of hand. I can't read everything. I don't want to read everything. A couple months ago I started removing blogs from my RSS feed that bothered, annoyed, upset or bored me. Just like going through poetry submissions -- the first set is always easy -- obvious, unpleasant stuff. Now I'm making more difficult cuts -- liking the blogger, but not his/her blog or occasionally finding something valuable but it not being worth the trouble. All subjective, I know.

Now I'm considering the handful of listserves I subscribe -- each offers something I'm interested in, hence the reason I signed-up in the first place. But are a handful of helpful messages worth the numerous nasty, dumb or unnecessarily political rest? If feeling "bad" is a regular result of belonging to something, maybe I don't really belong and should move on. I feel like an outsider practically all the time -- why sign up for more alienation?


This summer I'll be laying out and editing three or (hopefully) four No Tell books: Elapsing Speedway Organism by Bruce Covey, The Attention Lesson by PF Potvin, Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home (chapbook) by Rebecca Loudon and hopefully a collaborative chapbook called Wanton Textiles. I'm arranging an early December northeast book tour to promote those books. In January No Tell Books will publish the second Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel and Shafer Hall's Never Cry Woof. I have several manuscripts I'm considering for 2007 and have been embarassingly slow getting back to folks.

Also this summer, I'm reading Bedside Guide submissions (and still going through general No Tell submissions sent last month and a handful from April). Those who've sent work will hear back later this summer.

The reading period for general No Tell submissions will resume in October, not September. We have more than enough work (and then some) to schedule the rest of the year.

Now I'm going to review the book contracts Tender Buttons put together. She's working off all that free rent from years long ago.

Home ownership has its privileges.

This Week at No Tell

Salwa C. Jabado sends fish and flesh to bed this week at No Tell Motel.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

A book release our whole family is anticipating. Cutpurse and gentleman, indeed!

Saw the book at BEA -- fancy cover.

paranoid question before bed

Do I give off "that hippie vibe"?

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Hey, who wants an AWP Platinum Plus credit line?

"The goal was simple: provide a credit card program for The Association of Writers and Writing Programs so superior to existing premium cards it would establish a new standard of excellence."

No annual fee! 0% APR! 24 hour customer service! A credit limit that MAY go as high as $100,000!!!!!!!!

Fucking A!

Thanks for selling my name and address to yet another soliciter. My daily average of four credit card applications wasn't enough and I've been holding out for exactly that new standard of excellence.

So very thrilled for all the amazing new offers in the pipe line for "Reb Livingston of No Tell Motel/The Canary."

Nothing makes a girl happier than a mailbox full of crap.

p.s. Hey -- you have my e-mail address too, perhaps I might be interested in a pill for my penis?

One of my most recent angry dreams involved Chris taking liberties with my doughnuts. I asked him to heat one in in the microwave and instead he stuff it with nuts and turned it into a bear claw.

Yes, I woke up angry.

Yes, I'm aware of the disturbing symbolism.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Varmint Family Update

I haven't seen or heard them since last week when I took those photos! Maybe they found a better roof and moved? I'm a little hurt.

Recently Acquired By My Grubby Hands

Parade Rain by Michael Koshkin (Big Game Books)

Do Not Awaken Them With Hammers by Lidija Dimkovska (Ugly Duckling Presse)
Saint Ghetto of the Loans Grimoire by Gabriel Pomerand (Ugly Duckling Presse)

The History of My World Tonight by Daniel Nester (BlazeVOX Books)

Why Cinco De Mayo Love You by Jon Lee (big package tiny chaps)
It Was Real Close and Squishy: the little anthology of Baltimore poetry (big package tiny chaps)

5AM (Issue #24)


My Zodiac Prediction for the day:

You will be drawn to matters relating to foreign land. It may be relating to your vocation or profession. You may be pleasantly surprised in that area. Go ahead and make the best of the day. You will not regret it. Otherwise you will waste all your positive energy.