One way to help victims of family violence

Here’s a way to help the Family Violence Prevention Center in Xenia, Ohio. Donate items to Xenia or Beavercreek Goodwill, and keep the receipts. Circle the number of bags or boxes you donated, and include sure your name, address and signature are on the receipt. Send receipts to: FVPC, 380 Bellbrook Avenue, Xenia, OH 45385.

For more information, visit their website.

 

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Mark your calendars: (Free!) Writer’s Play Time in September

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(Photo: Venice, Italy, June 2017. Activity: anywhere, anytime.)

I’m thrilled to offer WRITER’S PLAY TIME, a FREE (!) WORKSHOP AT YELLOW SPRINGS LIBRARY, Sunday, September 10, 2017. In other words:

Rediscover and liberate your sense of play! Unleash your creative spark! Demystify and disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding you back! Nourish any creative process. Inspired by the work of Lynda Barry (Artist and author of WHAT IT IS and SYLLABUS) we will write and draw and move. Please wear comfortable clothing. 13 yrs and older.

Limited space—Registration opens on August 20. For more information, please visit the library event page.

Speedboat, by Renata Adler

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(view from Peggy Guggenheim’s window)

Adler, Renata. Speedboat. New York: New York Review Books, 2013.

This novel blows me away. I stole a copy from a rental apartment in Venice last month, trading one of the books I brought from home (which I have tried, unsuccessfully, several times to read); I stole it feeling justified, not short-changing Italy on English books.

How had I not heard of Renata Adler?

Speedboat is knit from fragments, snapshots. They read like postage-stamp-sized essays. And the accumulation of these bits make up an incredibly compelling voice. To my ear, Adler’s prose is no less perfect than Joan Didion’s.

Here are two gems: little windows, little story starts. I could have plucked any paragraph from this book and it would have tasted as sweet, but it was delicious to type up these passages.

From p. 144:

“The clerk of the morgue of this paper is an irascible man. Reporters are always taking his files away, forgetting to sign for them, keeping them, losing them, throwing them away. Over the years, it has made the clerk ill. I signed for a file, took the folder to my desk, and then took it home. Everybody does it. It is against the rules. After four days, I brought the folder back. The clerk of the morgue was incensed. What, he demanded to know, if the man whose file it was had died in those four days; what, in the absence of the file, would the obituary have been constructed from—had I considered that at all? Well, I said, since I had signed for the file, if the man whose file it was had died, somebody could have called me up. I would have brought the folder back. True, the clerk said, but there were questions of another sort. What if, in those four days, a new fact about the man had come to light, a fact that ought quite surely to be added to the file; what, in the absence of the file, was there to add the fact to, what rubric, category, or place was there to put the new fact in—had I considered that at all, had I given it one moment’s thought? I said I had not. The clerk, becoming pale with rage, said he might have to raise the matter with management. People seem to be unhappy in so many different ways. I’ve always liked the wrathful keepers of the files.”

From p. 168:

“When Dan rode his bicycle over a cliff, we all behaved in characteristic ways. We were in Central Park. There was intense competition for calm, for sane instructions. Cover him, take his pulse, call a doctor, get an ambulance, stand back, raise his head, don’t move him, leave him room and air. He had been riding his bicycle at full speed, with a kind of Western-yodel whoop, over the cliff edge. It had been a dare. He was out quite cold. In the rush to help, Jeff and Lee—who are the nicest of us, really—quietly returned all the bicycles, including Dan’s, with its bent frame and mangled wheel, to the store from which we had rented them for the day. Two uniformed men appeared. They told Dan to get up. He opened his eyes. “Lie still,” we said. “Wait for the ambulance.” One of the uniformed men said, “He, man, we are the ambulance.” Dan blinked. He tottered up a steep hill to their car. He sat on a stretcher. They let him sit up, occasionally bumping his head lightly against the root, all the way to the hospital. He mumbled apologies. Ralph’s girl, in a helpless daze of solicitude, held Dan’s shoe in her lap. Situps aside, it is possible that we are really a group of invalids, hypochondriacs, and misfits. I don’t know. Even our people who stay fit with yoga seem to be, more than others, subject to the flu.”

(Ode to the inner critic, Monday)

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Venice (June 2017)

(By Andrea Davis Pinkney, from her book, The Red Pencil. This poem seems to be a sort of ode to the inner critic.)

ERASE

At the red pencil’s end
stands a hard lump of clay.
I do not like its green.
So ugly, its green.

And pointy.

A baby snake’s head.
A thistle’s pricker.

A sick fish,
this green.

My speaking is still in snippets.

I ask Old Anwar,
“What to do with this clump?”

He tries to explain.
“An eraser.”

He shows me how
the baby snake’s head
can fade the red’s bright lines,
leaving smears
on the yellow page,
and green dust in its wake.

“Erase,” he says.
“Why erase?” I ask.
“For mistakes,” he says,
still trying to explain.

Mistakes?
My sparrow
sees no mistakes.

My sparrow sees only what
it sees.

Erase?

To me,
that is the mistake—to erase.

 

Embodied Creativity: A Yoga, Writing, & Drawing Workshop

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“La Grande Madre” (Alberto Viani, 1966, bronze, at Ca’ Pesaro, Venice)

Dear friends,

Melissa Tinker and I will offer a 3-hour workshop called EMBODIED CREATIVITY on Saturday, July 8, from 2-5pm, at Into The Blue Yoga (126 East Main Street, Springfield, OH 45502). It’s going to be a great afternoon! The cost is $45. You can register by going here.

Check the Into The Blue Yoga website and Facebook page for more information. The description is below. Please pass this on to anyone you think might be interested.

Love,

Rebecca

 

EMBODIED CREATIVITY: yoga, writing, drawing.

Are you looking to (re)ignite that creative spark? Life can be so serious, but we are most open to joy and creativity when we make space for play. Using yoga, creative writing, and drawing, we’ll rediscover our sense of play, unleash the creative spark, demystify and disarm the inner critical voice that’s holding us back, and nourish creative living. We’ll begin with a yoga flow practice designed to connect us with our bodies and our breath, then we’ll move into writing and drawing practices that are fun and alive! Finally, we’ll end with some restorative poses to nourish the body and soul.  This workshop is for those who are beginning their yoga and creative practice as well as for seasoned practitioners. Please come prepared to move and bring an open mind and heart. We will provide paper and pens.

Lunch Ticket Interview with Tara Ison

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Tara Ison

My friend Melissa’s interview with the fabulous writer, Tara Ison (whose essays I blogged about here), is up on Lunch Ticket. What a great interview! Read the interview here. Cheers!

(p.s. Not sure I got the commas right in what I wrote above. Not going to overthink it.)

Existence & if it were another world

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Ancient and modern: An ancestor of Jon Langford? (Benvenuto Cellini’s bust of Cosimo I de Medici, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Firenze.)

Listening to the Mekons EXISTENTIALISM this morning, I spoke parts of the following to my husband…jet-lagged, and not as precise as I’d like to think is my usual, here’s an attempt to capture my words/thoughts, after a little more caffeine:

I can’t believe I never knew of the Mekons until I met [you] my husband. Not because I knew so many bands, but because the music of the Mekons goes straight into the body, to reach the tender bit that is humanity, or something else I can’t articulate. Anyway, their music feeds that part. As I listened this morning, I thought, why doesn’t everyone see this? Maybe it’s just an inescapable fact of independent art-making, the small batches that come from not being a Big Famous Commercial Commodity. Microbrew of sound. An acquired taste? We should all acquire it. If the world were just, their sounds would spill out to all humanity. We’d hear the Mekons piped through the air in sports bars and over sidewalks. (Wouldn’t that be a different world?) If that happened, we’d have to wake from complacency and consumption; I wonder if we’d ever get anything “done.” If the trains could possibly still run on time, if making and selling widgets would still be relevant, or if our inner parts would thrive better, if we’d get off our rumps beyond widget-making, and make art.

…help me answer these and other raggedy questions by purchasing EXISTENTIALISM from Bloodshot Records here. (And add the most excellent ANCIENT AND MODERN for just $8.95 more!)

(Who are the Mekons? If you’ve never heard of them, now’s the time.)

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Cosmio I, is that you?

Summer reading’s even sweeter

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Behold a great summer sale at Undertow Publications: Go here!

For just $50 (shipping included) you can get all four of our fantastic 2016 titles:

Meet Me in The Middle of The Air, by Eric Schaller (Starred review in Publishers Weekly)

Almost Insentient, Almost Divine, by D.P. Watt (Shirley Jackson Award Finalist)

Singing With All My Skin and Bone, by Sunny Moraine (“… beautiful terror.” -Gemma Files)

Year’s Best Weird Fiction, Vol. 3, edited by Simon Strantzas and Michael Kelly (“A triumph!” -Nathan Ballingrud)

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Photo stolen from my mother

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Cloth pads!

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Beauty Sleeper (by Party In My Pants)

If you want to try some well-made, long-lasting, environmentally friendly cloth menstrual pads, I recommend Party In My Pants. Their pads are great, and their customer service is, too. (And look at that adorable sleep mask!) If you’re curious about how cloth pads work, check out their Frequently Asked Questions.

If you want to shop there and save a little money, you can use this code for a 10% discount: RebeccaK10. Just type it in at checkout for 10% off of orders equal to or over $3.99. It can only be used once per customer and has no expiration date.

(And yes, this post is mercenary: for each 10 customer who use that code, I benefit by getting $10 off my next order. However, you know me. I would only endorse a company and product that I feel 100% great about. This is them.)