Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Reading Update

I seem to have read a lot of forgettable rubbish lately.  I'm embarrassed to include some of them in my list, but here they are:

Book #39 of the year was NOT forgettable rubbish.  It was a reread, Invitation to Tears: A Guide to Grieving Well, by Jonalyn Fincher and Aubrie Hills.  I am sure I will read it again at some point.  It is a quick and helpful book.

Book #40 was Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures, by Amber Dusick.  I really liked her book on marriage, which I thought was hilarious, but this one was just so-so.  This could be because I read a lot of it in waiting rooms and exam rooms during my whole summer biopsy scare.

Book #41 was Bossypants, by Tina Fey.  There was some good stuff in this book.  This blog post by Jonalyn Fincher on how Tina Fey taught her to love her body put the book on my radar, and I enjoyed that section of the book.  I also liked the parts where Fey talked about her stint playing Sarah Palin.  But most of this one didn't make much sense to me because I hadn't seen any of the movies or shows it talked about.

Book #42 was The Furious Longing of God, by Brennan Manning, another exception to the forgettable label, and another one that I'll read again.  I love Manning's focus on grace, grace, grace.  God loves us so much!

Book #43 was Harvesting the Heart, by Jodi Picoult.  Just OK.

Book #44 was Little Earthquakes, by Jennifer Weiner.  Not good.  Don't bother with it.

Book #45 was Dead Time, by Stephen White.  I enjoy this series of thrillers about a clinical psychologist and the messes he gets himself into.  What I like best about them is their ongoing character development.  This one was pretty good.

I'm reading All the Light We Cannot See right now, so things are looking up for my reading.

Friday, August 07, 2015

Poetry Friday: Shakespeare

It's Poetry Friday again!  I have been working in my classroom all week, getting ready for school to start next week.  We are going to start late, due to concerns about election aftermath (we have voting on Sunday).  It's a good thing, because I am not ready for school yet.  And a couple of days after school starts, I'm leaving to take my daughter to college.

There's been some beweeping going on.

And yet I am thankful for the people I have in my life, for my long-suffering husband, my children, my parents and brothers, my friends.  I was thinking of these words this morning: "thy sweet love remembered." When I think of all the human love in my life, both past and present, I really do "scorn to change my state with Kings."

It's hard to say goodbye to people because we love them.  If we didn't love them, how barren would our lives be?  Love and loss - Shakespeare understood.

Sonnet XXIX
William Shakespeare

When, in disgrace with Fortune and men's eyes
I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself, and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possest,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising -
Haply I think on thee: and then my state,
Like to the Lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at Heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love rememb'red such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with Kings.

Here's today's roundup.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Poetry Friday - Repelling Skunk

I missed a whole month of Poetry Fridays!  I am back home now, ready to enjoy the last few days of summer before I go back to work.  The summer did not go exactly as I had imagined.  For one thing, I had a rather unpleasant experience about which I wrote two poems.  The first one was called "Biopsy," but thankfully the second was called "I Don't Have Cancer Day."

I'm not going to share those poems today, but I did want to share an original one.  I wrote this one several years ago, but the friend who had told me the story felt shy about me posting it.  This summer the same friend had an encounter with a raccoon, and that got us talking about the earlier encounter and the poem, and I ended up getting his permission to make the poem public.  I'm glad, because I very much enjoyed writing this one, and I hope my PF buddies like it too.

(By the way, writers, how do you deal with this?  A lot of my poems are written for someone.  In cases like that, I always feel I need the person's permission to share the piece, even if it's a less, well, intimate subject than this one.  Do you feel the same?  Or are you more of the Anne Lamott persuasion, that whatever you experience or hear about is fair game for your writing?   Anne says, “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”  Well, this one isn't about bad behavior, and it didn't exactly happen to me, but I am still curious to know your experiences with this aspect of writing, if you'd like to share in the comments.)

Repelling Skunk

The black and white unwelcome visitor
Poked around on the back porch,
And got up on hind legs to peer in the door.

Internet research turned up some useful information:
Pee repels skunks.
So Paul, early morning groggy,
Staggered out back
To do the necessary.

At first he felt self-conscious;
What if neighbors were watching?
But when he started to pee with a purpose,
He couldn't help enjoying it,
Outside, in the morning,
In the chilly September air.

He had plenty of pee,
So he kept on going and going,
Feeling free and like a kid again.
The word "whizzing" came to mind
And he wondered when he'd last used that one.
He thought about traveling as a boy,
A twelve-hour trip with no rest stops except bushes.
He thought about camping trips in the woods.
He thought about winter and yellow snow.

He felt briefly invincible
Summoning the mighty powers of pee,
Considered making the rounds of the neighborhood,
Ensuring a skunk-free environment for all.
But then he remembered his age and
Position in the community
And went back indoors instead.

The black and white unwelcome visitor
Only stayed briefly the next time
Before ambling off;
Was it the pee that repelled the skunk?
Paul likes to think so.

Ruth, from thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

Here's today's Poetry Friday roundup.

(By the way, as though to remind me that I am home in Haiti, there was a long time between the beginning of this post and the end.  Our backup batteries died, and I had to wait to get the generator going.  It's going now, and I'm going to publish...)

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Two Missed Weeks of Poetry Friday!

This has turned out to be a more eventful summer than anticipated.  Here are the links to the last two Poetry Friday roundups.  I'll be back posting regularly soon. 

July 10th

July 17th

Hope you're having a good summer!

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Poetry Saturday

I completely missed that yesterday was Friday.  Such is a teacher's summer.  Here is yesterday's roundup, since apparently some people knew what day it was.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Poetry Friday: Adlestrop

I shared this poem once before back in 2008. I love how specific it is, and how it places us in one unrepeatable moment.


Edward Thomas

Yes, I remember Adlestrop –
The name because one afternoon
Of heat the express-train drew up there
Unwontedly. It was late June.
The steam hissed. Someone cleared his throat.
No one left and no one came
On the bare platform. What I saw
Was Adlestrop – only the name

And willows, willow-herb, and grass,
And meadowsweet, and haycocks dry,
No whit less still and lonely fair
Than the high cloudlets in the sky.

And for that minute a blackbird sang
Close by, and round him, mistier,
Farther and farther, all the birds
Of Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Here's today's roundup.