Readings, more readings, and a book review

 A brief “Hi Mom,” moment to my Uncle Tom, who I found out is reading my blog.  And a real “Hi Mom,” to my actual mom, who probably sent him to it.

My colleague, poet and fractal artist, Terry Wright, gave an astounding reading at the Clinton Presidential Library Sunday.  Terry’s readings are always a great example of audience awareness, as in, he’s aware that there is one and he’s got to keep them entertained.  He reads one of his poems with the gusto of a Shakespearean actor and keeps you riveted to the content. 

He also kept us on our toes by handing a poem to an audience member after he read it.  It was the artsy equivalent of being at an Arkansas Travelers game and wondering if that fly ball is going to come to you.  Very cool.

Last night, I went to a fantastically well attended reading sponsored by the Vortex, our literary magazine.  Students read some great stuff while Nosferatu played on the Jumbotron in the background (they wanted to do this last year but were rained out).  We may have witnessed a first too–a student read a poem from his cell phone!!! 


78 Reasons Why Your Book May Never Be Published and 14 Reasons Why It Just Might
Pat Walsh

***** out of 5 stars

As you might guess from the title, Pat Walsh is not about cozying up to the reader.  In fact, it feels at times as if he’s chewing you out.  But that’s not exactly a criticism–I stayed riveted to the book and I’m not a masochist.  Walsh, an editor at McAdam/Cage, just wants to save us from making all the mistakes that writers who’ve submitted to him have made over the years.  And give us LOTS of excellent advice for navigating the often-mystifying world of publishing.  Seriously folks, this is a top notch book, in fact, perhaps the best insight I’ve read on publishing so far.  Read it when you’re ready, really ready, to start thinking about publishing.  But not till then.  Till then, work on your writing because that’s all that REALLY matters.


Monday and Tuesday passed without wardrobe incident (the rents are beginning to clue in on the value of plain ol’ sweat pants).  However,this morning I held my breath as Will pulled on the new, tres cool (I thought) shirt I’d gotten him last week.  Sigh.  He appeared in front of me with his hands on his hips.
“Mom, this is, like, for a nine year old!” (he’s seven) 

Ok, it was a tad big (I got it at a garage sale and you can’t exactly choose your sizes).  But just a tad.   You could roll up the sleeves a bit and it was fine. Really.  I wouldn’t send my kid, especially this one, out in public in a shirt five sizes to big for him.  It was one of those “he’ll grow into it” decisions, and it really was a nice, current-style skateboarder shirt. 

  Took some convincing but he finally agreed.  Then he moved on to the cargo pants.  Unfortunately, these actually/accidentally were his brother’s and about six inches too long and they were simply not going to fly, I could see that.  So out came the old standbys, the gray sweatpants.  And all was well.  Phew. 

But tonight is Halloween.  Lots of opportunities for sartorial angst.  We shall see.


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3 responses to “Readings, more readings, and a book review

  1. Bri

    Thanks for the review! I was actually talking to Cathy about this in the Center on Friday. Before she left we decided the most important thing was that she enjoyed her writing – and that she could worry about the dreaded attempts at publication at a later date.

    Also – a poem from a cell phone sound intriguing. 😀

  2. I know, I saw you mention something about it on your blog. It is so difficult to get people to understand how the writing itself has to be for the sake of writing–that publishing must be totally separate. And need not even necessarily be a goal.

  3. Hi Steph,

    Thanks for your kind words about my reading at the Clinton Library. Not sure that I’m actually in the “Shakespearian actor” category though. My mother used to call this aspect of my personality the “ham bone factor.”

    I like using multi-media (displaying stuff) and handing out tactile items (like “artifacts”) at a poetry reading. It’s like catching a fly ball, yes, or maybe receiving a door prize. I used to read anti-war poems and hand out green plastic army men — except that I’d gone to the trouble of mangling them by melting parts of their plastic limbs with a soldering iron. Several people have written me over the years to say they still have those “wounded” army men.


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