Tonight we experienced a wonderful literary experience. At the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at the Arizona State, we heard Maggie Smith read her poetry. It was in the evening, outdoors in Arizona. I was comfortable, Maggie Smith was hot (she lives in Ohio). I'm sure most who read this entry have heard or read her poem "Good Bones". It has been consumed by more than a million people. Ah-h-h-h . . . the power of poetry. Sitting outside and listening to such a fine craftsperson, what struck me was the atmosphere in which the poems were delivered. In the backdrop was the sound of a city of more than four and a half million and the sounds of a nearby airport, the kinds of sounds people walk through day and night without a thought. People, worldwide, do want to live in cities. The air was thick with urbanity and in the middle of an apocalypse rehearsal rose the voice of a poet that shocked the senses. As familiar as everything was, I was on a journey to somewhere I'd never been. Her poem fit the atmosphere beautifully. Thank you, Maggie.
Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
estimate, though I keep this from my children.
For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
is at least half terrible, and for every kind
stranger, there is one who would break you,
though I keep this from my children. I am trying
to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
right? You could make this place beautiful.
Recently spent a splendid week in Nashville. We visited their public library and it was very impressive. I must say, this library portrayed below in China may have it beat. I doubt my books are in there, but still.
Some may have heard of Pernassus Book Store, situated in Nashville, TN. It is an iconic, independent bookstore owned and operated by Ann Patchett. It was a brave act to open such a store six years ago, going against the strong current of a mighty river. There was a reading the night we attended. Joan Silber reading from her novel Improvement. It was a delightful evening. Hard to not like a bookstore with such friendly staff and a dog running around like he owned the place.
The Nashville Predators almost won the Stanley Cup last year. Almost. I guess the next best thing is rigging a Stanley Cup replica up with strings to play in a honky tonk bar in downtown Nashville. Priceless.
As a writer, when you win anything you feel blessed. Today, I feel truly honoured.
Interesting fact. One transport truck travelling at 65 miles per hour passing another transport truck travelling 64 miles per hour takes 61 seconds to completion. Time is everything.
Well, when you hear you've been shortlisted for the Great B.C. Novel Contest with Mother Tongue publishing you have to consider yourself blessed. It's down to three now. I guess if the lottery had such odds, I'd consider buying myself a ticket. Hell, I might buy two tickets.
Recently, we attended a poetry reading featuring American poet, Ocean Vuong. Look at his picture. He is so unassuming in his demeanour, so articulate in his speech and riveting on the page. I highly recommend his work and hearing him read is truly inspirational. Ah-h-h-h-h the wisdom of poets.