Saturday, December 23, 2017

What I Read in 2017

My resolution for 2017 was to read as much nonfiction as fiction, to get more facts in my life and more credible information about how the world works. ...And I did it!

Well, are poems nonfiction? Are graphic novels fiction? I DON'T KNOW.

With a week to go left in the year, I am reading my 64th book. Here's the breakdown:

Favorites of 2017
  • The Mothers - Brit Bennett
  • The Hired Man - Aminatta Forna
  • SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome - Mary Beard
  • The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead
  • Sword Art Online: Aincrad - Art by Tamao Nakamura, original story by Reki Kawahara
  • The Long Loneliness - Dorothy Day
  • Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin - Paul Hockenos
  • Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body - Roxane Gay
  • Empires of Light: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse and the Race to Electrify the World - Jill Jonnes
  • Displacement: Poems - Leslie Harrison
**** Read during the last week of 2017, I am adding: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika. L. Sanchez.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Crochet A Baby Blanket in 8 Steps!

 You too can invest in a pattern, put it off for half a decade, and then slowly but surely bring it to life!

Step One: Buy a pattern on Etsy in January 2012. Get wrapped up in other projects and put off learning to crochet. (I learned how to knit first, which I think was my downfall.)

Step Two: Have your (patient) mother attempt to teach you crochet once every six months for the next five years. Get frustrated and throw your yarn in a corner.

Step Three: Your patient mom learns the crochet pattern so she can lead you through it step by step. It only takes two weeks of hands-on demonstrations to get it down.

Step Four: You still can't read patterns so you write out your own interpretation of the pattern.


Step Six: Podcast and stitch. Podcast and stitch.

Step Seven: Put it all together in a way you just invented because you still cannot read that pattern and what YouTube is telling you to do is unintelligible.

Step Eight: OMG THIS BABY.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

When life is uncertain

What do you do when things are changing but most of the details are still uncertain?

And you're getting a year older, I mean you're always getting older but this time there's a milestone marker in your week?

And the parts of your day or identity that you took for granted are shifting, and you're trying to remember who you are at the core of you, without the externalizes, and it's weird and uncomfortable but necessary?

You could panic. You could despair.

Or, you could relish your neighborhood and sip a coffee in a courtyard.

You could walk. Yeah, you should walk.

You could read on the beach.

You could visit friends and family. Maybe get some sun and float in the water.

You could hold a beautiful, perfect, brand-new sleepy baby.

You could read poetry.

You could go to open-to-the-public collaborative poetry events at the library. Yeah, that's a much better option.

You could write. And dream. And hope. And wait.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Spring Awakening

Creativity is all around me. It feels like the world is waking up after a long winter.

 I am making myself a quilt this time, and I love it already:

The release party for a journal that published a dear friend's poem:

 The kids are alright: They form rock bands and play at the talent show:

 Trying to walk for at least an hour every day brings me to some beautiful sights:

Roosevelt Park, Edison NJ

The Spring Lake boardwalk is one of my favorite places to walk and think:

...but it always comes back.

Work brings beautiful cultural celebrations into my life. Cinco de Mayo 2017:

And sometimes you gotta go to Medival Times:

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What I Read in 2016

I'm glad I keep track of what I read; by the end of a year, there are things I forget. I leave 2016 concerned about many things, but in particular: my participation in echo-chambers, my use of entertainment as escapism, and my obligation to seek out facts, reliable news sources, and the truth (above all).

My 2017 New Years Resolution, in part, is to read 50/50 fiction/nonfiction for fun, especially books about science. The resolution stands, and yet. I forgot how much nonfiction I read this year! And poetry, I read great poetry. And lush,beautiful graphic novels. Yum.

I also had Ferrante Fever and read all four of the Neapolitan Novels. (I had one dose of Knausgaard and it was ENOUGH.)

A Matthea Harvey image, corresponding to a poem

Top 10 of 2016
The Argonauts — Maggie Nelson
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek — Annie Dillard
If the Tabloids Are True What Are You? — Matthea Harvey
At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom — Amy Hempel
The Vegetarian — Han Kang
The Girls — Emma Cline
Here — Richard McGuire
Bright Dead Things — Ada Limon
Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel
The Neapolitan Novels — Elena Ferrante

1. Garments Against Women — Anne Boyer (poetry)
2. Bad Feminist — Roxane Gay (essay collection)
3. Citizen — Claudia Rankine (poetry)
4. Abaddon's Gate (The Expanse) —  James S.A. Correy (Sci-Fi)
5. Cibola Burn (The Expanse) — James S.A. Correy (Sci-Fi)
6. Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom — John O'Donohue (Spiritual... Essay? ...By a poet?)
7. Dune — Frank Herbert (Sci-Fi)
8. Boy, Snow, Bird: A Novel — Helen Oyeyemi (fiction)
9. In the American Grain — William Carlos Williams (essay? cultural... something)
10. The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted — Elizabeth Berg (mehhhh short story collection)
11. Junky — William S. Burroughs (fiction)
12. The Argonauts — Maggie Nelson (nonfiction/essay)
13. We Should All Be Feminists — Chimaamanda Ngozi Adiche (a speech transcript / essay)
14. Fire: From "A Journal of Love" The Unexpurgated Diary of Ana├»s Nin, 1934-1937 — Anais Nin (diary)
15. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek — Annie Dillard (nonfiction/essay)
16. My Brilliant Friend: Neapolitan Novels, Book One — Elena Ferrante (fiction)
17. My Struggle: Book 1 — Karl Ove Knausgaard (fiction?)
18. The Traitor Baru Cormorant — Seth Dickinson (fantasy)
19. If the Tabloids Are True What Are You?: Poems and Artwork — Matthea Harvey (poetry)
20. Faithful and Virtuous Night: Poems — Louise Gluck (poetry)
21. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City — Matthew Desmond (nonfiction / investigative journalism)
22. Nanjing Requiem: A Novel — Ha Jin (fiction)
23. The Story of a New Name: Neapolitan Novels, Book Two — Elena Ferrante (fiction)
24. The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial — Maggie Nelson (nonfiction/essay)
25. The Rules of Life: A Novella — Faye Weldon (fiction)
26.Reasons to Live — Amy Hempel (short story collection)
27. At The Gates Of The Animal Kingdom: Stories — Amy Hempel (short story collection)
28. The Walls They Left Us — M.J. Gette (poetry chapbook)
29. Autobiography of Red — Anne Carson (poetry)
30. Autobiography of Red — Chinua Achebe (essay collection)
31. Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman — Lindy West (memoir)
32. Underworld — Don DeLillo ("epic" novel, I don't get it)
33. The Girls — Emma Cline (fiction)
34. Lake Wobegon Days — Garrison Keillor (fiction)
35. Kill 'Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul — James McBride (biography)
36. Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay: Neapolitan Novels, Book Three — Elena Ferrante (fiction)
37. Saga Volume 6 — Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples (graphic novel)
38. Anil's Ghost — Michael Ondaatje (fiction)
39. The Vegetarian — Han Kang (fiction)
40. Heartbreaker: Stories — Maryse Meijer (short story collection)
41. Summer Blonde — Adrian Tomine (graphic novel short story collection)
42. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany (screenplay)
43. The Ugly Side of Beautiful: Rethinking Race and Prison in America — Bryonn Bain (essay/nonfiction)
44. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay — Michael Chabon (fiction)
45. The Story of the Lost Child: Neapolitan Novels, Book Four  — Elena Ferrante (fiction)
46. Memnoch the Devil — Anne Rice (horror/fantasy)
47. Land of Enchantment — Leigh Stein
48. Prince Lestat — Anne Rice (horror/fantasy)
49. The Shipping News — Annie Proulx (fiction)
50. The Last Thing He Wanted — Joan Didion (fiction)
51. and then we became — devorah major (poetry)
52. Here — Richard McGuire (graphic novel)
53. The Lonely Hearts Club — Elizabeth Eulberg (YA Fiction)
54. Gorilla, My Love — Toni Cade Bambara (short story collection)
55. Bright Dead Things — Ada Limon (poetry)
56. The Vampire Armand — Anne Rice (horror/fantasy)
57. 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East — Naomi Shihab Nye (poetry)
58. Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis — Anne Rice (horror/fantasy)
59. Horseshoe Crabs and Velvet Worms: The Story of the Animals and Plants That Time Has Left Behind — Richard Fortey (nonfiction)
60. Station Eleven — Emily St. John Mandel (fiction)
61. Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet — Oliver Morton (nonfiction)
62. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.D. Vance