Category Archives: Uncategorized

Poem-maker, home-maker: Airbnb

Poets don’t expect to make a living practicing the craft. And as most scribblers know, writing from home can lead to all kinds of mess. At least on and around the desk. For those of us who like playing house (decorating, redecorating, rearranging, praise from guests) what a boon, then to have to keep it tidy and earn along the way. Ergo Airbnb. Since the DNC landed in Philly last July, when hotel rooms were scarce, I’ve enjoyed the perks of income, a better-kept home, and great guests from all over the map.

The payoff: more time to write than the adjunct posts or other jobs I’ve tried for with fair-to-middling success.

I’d like to share some of my hosting adventures in coming blogs, maintaining, of course, the privacy of truly fascinating guests.

Mankell: Whose Troubles Comforted Us

http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-34442252

At 67, this isn’t fair. No more Mankell. No more Wallender. And yes, I know the Swedish writer retired his  chief detective inspector with the final book in the series, The Troubled Man, the one I read first, the one that started me on the spare and splendid series. Those of us who loved the moody character always hoped he would return, we couldn’t get enough of Kurt Wallender. We binged on Kenneth Branagh’s “Wallender,” then preferred the Swedish version: Krister Henricksson who to my inner ear and eye best caught the ever-searching, love clumsy policeman. Continue reading Mankell: Whose Troubles Comforted Us

Novelistic Intelligence aka the Telling Detail

If you want to know what novelistic intelligence is you might compare a page or two of Hilary Mantel’s work with worthy historical fiction by Peter Ackyrod or Susan Sontag. They are intelligent but they are not novelistically intelligent. –Andrea Barrett, “Dust,” the Paris Review, 209, Summer, 2014

Why “one perfectly chosen detail works better than an army of dutifully transcribed facts.”  Advice we cannot hear too often as we struggle to write the compelling story, the portrait, the poem. 

What do you want? ..Write it!

Look Closely
My dog Ben isn’t the brightest bulb but he knows what he wants. Even if he can’t have it (two balls at one catch!) he enjoys getting close.. like my writing practice, getting almost to the place I’m aiming for: chasing one or another delight or fear or obsession.

Writing is like that. Find a pleasure or an itch and scratch it until it doesn’t itch anymore. Then find something else to scratch, to pursue. There are so many wonders out there. So many wounds in need of healing scabs.

The main thing: write. Free yourself to discover. They say dogs don’t smile. Look closely at my pit-pointer. Ben may not be smiling but he looks content: almost achieving his dream of two-balls at one catch.