It's this blog's one hundredth post! While the balloons are falling from the ceiling onto your heads, let's take care of some business and provide some updates and random thoughts:
1. Following Christopher's suggestion, I invite you to submit, in the comment section for the 50 Pounds of Flour post, your estimate of how many loaves of bread I can make with 50 lbs. of flour. If you want to get fancy, you can tell me how many loaves, pizza crusts, pie crusts, pancakes, cookies, waffles and bagels it will make. But loaves of bread will do. A loaf of bread (possibly challah) will go to the person with the closest guess. Out of town readers may enter the contest, but the bread won't be fresh when it gets to you in the mail!
2. Lenore Hart's Becky, which I was given as an Advanced Reading Copy as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, was released on Tuesday, January 8, and is now available in bookstores (including the online variety). I've only finished reading about half the novel. One of the problems is that my reading always falls off when things are going well with my own writing. I need to get all the other voices out of my head and concentrate on my own voice. That's what's been happening since about the middle of December. Today, between 9:00 and 10:00 am, I wrote one thousand words.
3. Tomorrow night, Clara and I are joining a bunch of friends for the premiere of Northfield playwright Brendon Etter's series of short plays, collectively and provocatively titled Sex With Seven Women. The event is billed as a benefit for the Northfield Arts Guild. Even before opening night, the play has generated controversy because of the title's orgiastic connotations. Brendon has a wicked sense of humor, a dirty mind, a fondness for good Anglo-Saxon words, and a shitload of talent. I first encountered Brendon's work when he read his great piece about his native place, "I Hate the Iron Range," at a Northfield Arts Guild Writers' Night in 2005. That piece, full of humor and pathos, is available in PDF format here (in the Sense of Place ezine, beginning on page 7). Since 2005, Brendon has been astoundingly prolific, as the series of 365 daily plays on his Play a Day blog bears witness. I'm looking forward to Sex With Seven Women. Yeah, that does sound bad, doesn't it?
4. Over on the left, you'll see my Top of the Pod. That's what's currently getting the most plays on my iPod. Neko Case's Canadian Amp, previously available only at her gigs, is a great CD. Eight songs, all of them great. The second song on the disc is a Neil Young cover: "Dreamin' Man," from his Harvest Moon album (1992). I have to confess that I've never liked Neil Young. My inner redneck was always kind of glad Lynyrd Skynyrd tanned his Northern hide in "Sweet Home Alabama." You can hear Young doing his own live version of "Dreamin' Man" here. It's a good song, sung tenderly by an old man with an annoying voice. Matched to the voice of Neko Case, it sounds like the classic songwriting it is.
5. Two nights ago, we started watching season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I know some people who think that the decline of BtVS began with the introduction, at the end of the first episode of season 5, of Buffy's little sister Dawn. But here's something interesting: Peter, who at thirteen has shown no interest in the show and goes off to practice his trombone whenever we sit down to watch it, thinks Dawn is the only good character. Since she appeared, he's started watching with us. Is it because, as a thirteen-year old boy, he finds the then fourteen-year old Michelle Trachtenberg as cute as a button? Or is it (as Clara thinks) because the incomparable Joss Whedon and Co. captured so uncannily well the plight of a tween younger child with a talented and charismatic older sibling? Any thoughts? Any other Dawn defenders out there?
My poem " Phrasebook " has been published online in Ergon: Greek/American Arts and Letters .
The frontispiece from Countee Cullen's The Black Christ and Other Poems (1929). Illustration by Charles Cullen. Click to enlarge. On...
Here's the poem I wrote and read for the student-organized International Day of Peace gathering in Bridge Square on Wednesday, Septembe...
In early August, the director of the Northfield Public Library, Teresa Jensen, asked me to write a poem to be displayed prominently in the...