Showing posts from 2011

A particular clear shade of blue

My grandmother died on Wednesday morning. She was 93 and it was good that she finally went. She was ready; had been ready for a while, but her puritan sense of duty probably kept her going even when the rest of her wanted to lay down the burden. Mary Tyrrell Ritchie Thayer was a complicated woman, not without contradictions and difficult angles. Her influence on my life has been enormous, incalculable really.

The work I do in my day job now, for reproductive justice, was directly influenced by her own commitment to women's health and intentional motherhood. I will keep analyzing all the ways she shaped me for years to come. I have a feeling there is a book in it. But her influence on me was perhaps most strongly felt in the simple gifts she brought to my topsy turvy childhood.

The following is something I wrote for a memory book my aunt made when Mary turned 90. It was intended for a family audience, so references may be obscure. Don't be too alarmed by the joint. It was the e…

Waking the magpie

I am remiss.

And also busy.

A recent Facebook conversation reminded me that I should return here. Shiny Things was conceived as something quick and random, a collection of things that interest me. I vow to wake the magpie.

In the meantime, here is a link to something I wrote somewhere else recently.


Quick note to say I just put the essay I read at Arts Collinwood last Sunday in the mail. (Yes, I should have made an announcement about the reading here, on my blog, for cripessake. I told you, I am still, slowly, getting the hang of this.)

Please send it loving thoughts as it tries to make its way in the world.

The Sent heading will, I hope, become more frequent on this blog.

More soonish.

In Celebration of Crazy Hybrid Postmodern Beauty, and Black History Month.

I have a lot of stuff weighing me down right now. A beloved cat has gone missing, and despite everyone's kind reassurances that cats are good survivors, I have very little hope. I am wrestling with my worklife - I am working way too much and trying to decide what to put down, coming once again to the conclusion that adjuncting isn't worth it, even if I do love teaching. Oh, and I just found out that three of my second grade daughter's peers are leaving the school in the next month. And the Republicans have officially gone woman/child-hating insane all over this country, not to mention poor people-hating, public employee-hating, art-hating, and so forth. I may blog about some of these topics. I have so many thoughts gnawing at my skull, I had better write them down somewhere, here or elsewhere.

Oh, and my beloved grandmother is declining, and I can only watch from afar as my mother is sucked into caretaker overload. I am feeling very, extraordinarily not shiny.

Then in the …

You need to read these people! (Lists from AWP 2011 - ep. 1)

Some people engage in live blogging. I blog 10 days after the fact. That's just the way I roll up in here.

In my first 3 hours at the AWP conference, I discovered 8 writers that I (and by extension, you) need to read.

First I went to a session on "Short Story into Novel." There I encountered these six people (books, and bitly-ed amazon listings included):

Alan Heathcock – VOLT - (In his words, 2 failed novels became the bulk of this collection. He is a funny self-deprecating guy in a porkpie hat. I have the impression his stories are bigger than that.)
Heidi Durrow – The Girl Who Fell from the Sky - (Girl was rejected 48 times before it landed a publisher, and now is on the bestseller list. Of particular interest to me: it has “three beginnings” because of multiple perspectives, which is something I am struggling with in my BiP, too.)
Alexi Zentner – Touch - (Zentner has such lovely sensitivity to language just when speaking off the top of his head, I expect his prose t…

We All Have to Wear Clothes

Clothes are very important to me, though not as important as shoes, and not as important as they are to the woman who writes What I Wore Today (or the many other blogs with similar titles) ... or even as they are to guys over at Fuck Yeah Menswear (which is brilliantly funny).

In my freshman year of high school, I prided myself on never wearing the same outfit twice, and I could tell you the story behind every one of them. (I might have been given to calling them "ensembles" then ... a few years ago at my brother-in-law's wedding in Minnesota I ran into a woman I'd gone to high school with in Athens, OH, who still recalled my influential lecture on the critical difference between outfits and ensembles. I blush.)  I managed to do this by thrifting (bargain bag day at Volunteers of America, oh yeah!) and frequenting the local vintage shop so much that they finally hired me to dress their windows.

When I was 17 and temporarily living in Atlanta, Dick Hebdige's book on…