zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
My week so far has included the rejection of eight poems (though one was a near-miss) and some aggravation (both of the near-to-firing-a-firm kind and the dammit-I-left-my-badge-on-the-piano variety), not to mention truly atrocious fantasy tennis results. But, I seem to be providing pleasure to assorted Kei Nishikori fans, there was plenty of butter and black pepper to mash into the neeps I boiled for supper, and I'm closing my evening with a glass of Beaujolais (slightly rough, but sanding down a bit of jag as I sip) and assorted phrases for pieces.

Also, Rattle published a poem on Sunday, both in text and audio form: "Look at that, you son of a bitch"

I also keep meaning to mention "Some Who Wander Become Lost," which the SFPA posted online a few months ago.

My calendars contain crossouts and calculations. So, for that matter, do the cards and scraps of paper containing what I might write or shape next. In the meantime, there are roses everywhere -- I saw some near a curb on Valentine's Day, just as I was about to cross White Station Road:

White Station Road, Memphis

The back of the card I picked up was blank. It has me wondering about roses not sent. It brings back memories of roses I have sent, and thrown, and pressed, and attempted to propagate (not yet successfully). Not every Emily Dickinson poem pairs up well with "Yellow Rose of Texas" ("So much of Heaven has gone from earth"? No), but it's not as if the ghosts of Amherst or Austin ever insisted on that. Perhaps the roses really want to grow. Perhaps the mallows will survive this morning's freezing fog. There is more than snow between the glass and the huge roses. There is more to work than work. Earlier this week, a colleague and I talked about trading plants later this year -- succulents for peppers. The dog knocked over one of my pots while I was away, and happily hoovered up asparagus stubs two nights ago. Cleaning. Digging. Dreaming.


A name for a new rose: Mozart.
That's what I'd call the first rose on the moon,
If I got there to grow it.

-- Robert Nye, "Travelling to My Second Marriage on the Day of the First Moonshot"
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
1. The urge to create a version of the mushroom-and-cheese "nem" (spring roll) at Boris Bistro.

2. Jars of confiture from Maison Christoph Faure.

Maison Christian Faure Maison Christian Faure

3. A program and ticket stubs from this year's Coupe Rogers tournament, where Jeremy Chardy saved about 70,000 match points vs. John Isner, Kei Nishikori scored a tweener lob against David Goffin, Karlovic aced Raonic a bunch of times, and Mikhail Youzhny earned a standing ovation after winning a spectacular point during his loss to Rafael Nadal. We also saw two Djokovic matches, as well as Andy Murray in both singles and doubles.

Andy Murray on Court 5

4. A Rodin exhibition catalogue. So much to revisit and to write about...

5. A list of places for next time -- costume institute, marchés, parcs...

6. A longing to improve my French skillz...

7. as well as my photography and lettering chops, what with being surrounded by so much art inside the hotel as well as on the street and in cathedrals, shops, and galleries...

Plensa Outside LHotel LHotel Down the street

8. and stories to spin, someday, about jazz in the square across from organ practice in the basilica:

Doxas Brothers Trio

9. An ocean-scented facial mask from a hostess at the Chinese restaurant where we'd just consumed spicy jade tofu and sauteed sweet pea greens. I couldn't help wondering if I really looked crazy-haggard, but I suspect she just couldn't resist the possibility of future sales ("If you like it, come back..."). My companion did in fact enjoy the greens so much that we discussed returning to the restaurant again, but that plan got hosed (so to speak) by rain delays at Stade Uniprix the next afternoon.
zirconium: French word for "light" (on wall of Cheekwood Mansion) (lumière)
In a bit of synchroncity, today's prompt from Kat McNally is:

What are you really proud that you made happen in 2014, despite the gremlins? And what will you do anyway in 2015?


...and the slip in today's fortune cookie from Chinatown tells me, "Try it, you may like it."

Wednesday, Court 9

A big first for me this year was covering the Cincinnati Open as credentialed media, for Tennis Buzz. Read more... )
(I have been writing a post in my head for some months now about Ma Ingalls hating sewing and yet being fearless about cutting into delicate fabric because she had made so many dresses by the time Laura was old enough to bring home the very pretty lawn. Someday...)
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
My current gig at the Western and Southern Tennis Open was the kick in the pants I needed to get the long-overdue better camera. Here are some of the shots I've been taking with it:

Sara Errani Sara Errani

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

Cincy Open marshal
A marshal, aka security, aka making sure only properly credentialed folk run up and down the stairwell to the player areas and media center.

grinding

Jul. 13th, 2014 08:43 am
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
For reals:
grinding out some green

Some other goings-on:

  • The 2015 Texas Poetry Calendar is now available. It includes my poem "Texas Instruments."

  • The Changeover published my essay "Accounting for Tennis Prize Money," and Sports Illustrated noticed.

  • Also now available: the 2014 Dwarf Stars anthology, which includes my poems "Even an Empty Life Can Hold Water," "Newest Amsterdam," and "Making Rice Dance."


  • Also, three rejections, the usual bug bites, half of my horses finishing third (which is useless when you're making win-place picks), and two hours in a waiting room with a TV on (but at least it was tuned to HGTV, which I find more tolerable than what's usually on). And a dress I bought just last month is not working out, but is already stained in multiple spots, so into the ragbag it went.

    But at least I figured the not-working-out on second wearing, which was a quicker scramble out of the denial swamp (aka making-do morass) than my usual wrangle with buyer's regret. Also, I won a gold medal in Green Acres (fantasy tennis tournament) and drafted a new poem on my phone while sipping a free glass of prosecco at a neighborhood bar. And now it's back to the drawing board...

    pleasures

    Jun. 26th, 2014 09:00 pm
    zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
    1. Putting together breakfast this morning for a friend from grade school and his wife, which mainly consisted of stopping by Sweet 16th for four to go.

    2. The Straight to Ale beer tasting at Woodland Wine Merchant. My favorite was Unobtainium. Rich (their sales manager) was fun to chat with; Tyler talked me into picking up a bottle of Ransom gin (I'm not a fan of most gins, but I do like jenever, and I like whisky, and the Ransom reportedly has elements of both); and staying to the end of the tasting meant that Rich poured me an exceedingly generous portion of Monkeynaut, which I sipped while reading picture books such as Maira Kalman's Chicken Soup, Boots and Sasek's This Is Paris.

    Also, a neighbor and I and Rich started chatting about space monkeys (Straight to Ale is based in Huntsville, hence beers named after Laika and the like), and the neighbor reminisced about taking her daughter to the US Space and Rocket Center while the monkeys were still there, and one of the monkeys playing pattycake with her daughter through the barrier for twenty minutes.

    Also, another neighbor showed up with a super-sweet lovey-dovey doggie.

    3. Speaking of picture books, I happened on Gloria Houston and Barbara Cooney's The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story at the library. It is a beautiful story, with a strong woman who is not its central character and yet is its true heroine.

    4. On my walk to the library, I passed a young boy (eight years old or thereabouts) calling out "Have fun at banjo!" to a girl about to enter a house a few doors down. She cheerfully replied, "Thank you!" I just -- this is Nashville, and I have the heart of a mountain troll, and yet, God, it was just so unbelievably cute and real.

    5. My micro-poem "Five Finger Frustration" was published by unFold today.

    6. Coming home in time to see Roger Federer slam down three aces in a row.

    7. Reviewing the proof for the 2014 Dwarf Stars anthology, which will include three of my poems.

    8. World Cup mania = soccer on the TVs in waiting rooms and the like. A vast improvement over the usual daytime fare, imnsho.

    9. I'm still alive in the Wimbledon men's suicide pool. (I consider making it past the first day an occasion worthy of champagne, and I may well treat myself to a jeroboam if I get to the second week.)

    momentum

    Jun. 14th, 2013 10:03 am
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    Two days ago, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I had copyediting and lettering targets I'd planned to meet, but I also had a headache, and I haven't gotten past the "eek!" part of the current calligraphy thing, so scrubbing the tub and sanitizing pots and making a new batch of basil toner seemed way, way easier than putting pencil to paper.

    Yesterday, I started copyediting after breakfast and worked flat through lunchtime (which almost never happens, because I loooooooove food and get very, very cranky when I'm running on fumes) and didn't stop until 2:45 pm, when I yelped, "Eek!" and rushed out the door to meet my hiking partner. (There are times when I curse pre-scheduled exercise because it disrupts my grooves, but we saw two fawns at the lake, and the ridge that always kicks my ass does seem to be getting slightly easier to climb.)

    I worry about losing touch with people. I worry about people dying before I make time to bake the pie and find my crocheting to take over for a long catch-up chat. I worry about not getting around to planting the seeds I bought this year, or the ones I've put in the "plant later" tray because it's already too hot. I worry about the energy evaporating from the sketches of poems I don't have time to amplify or revise right now. I worry that when I finally throw out the bags of tomato seeds my mother tried to preserve -- I tested a few this spring, and nothing came up -- I'll wish I had them on hand a week later when the poem about Rorschach seed patterns on scraps of Bounty finally gels (I could take pictures -- I will take pictures -- but they aren't going to retain the layers or up-closeness of the actual thing. I could keep just one. I could work on the dang poem after all if I'm gonna think aloud about it this much).

    I fret about how everything, but everything, expands into a million marigold petals when I touch it. I want to scrape at the scale on my bathroom faucet with a toothpick, and to paint my living room myself, and to redo every inch of my yard. I plan to find the pillow for the cover that's been made out of my wedding dress, and the upholsterer I'd hoped to ask about recovering my dining room chairs has gone out of business. I resent work for taking time away from studying. I am breathless whenever I spend an hour studying, awed at how much more there will always be to learn. I get deep into a manuscript and it reminds me of how much I actually already know, just from the years I've put in and how they've developed that editorial "sixth sense" that tells me when a name is probably misspelled or that something on page 38 isn't in sync with what the author says on page 83, as well as being hyper-conscious of all the little cues and nuances that separate a professionally designed book from a document assembled by an amateur. (Nothing against amateur efforts, mind--as long as the professionals are getting their due.) I miss learning new music, but not enough to rejoin my old ensembles or start the trio I sometimes dream about pulling together.

    I am delighted by Cathy Yardley's review of my book. I'm singing along with madrigals in the car to de-rust my voice (I'm leading hymns at the early service this Sunday). I found a Spanish-language copy of Isabel Allende's Zorro at a used bookstore, and gave it to a GA delegate in my congregation to take to Louisville for the library to be established there. I saw that the bookstore had copies of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in both the Reading List and Agriculture sections, and that some of the copies in the Ag section were slightly cheaper, which was intel my hiking partner (and mom of a schoolkid) found useful when she went shopping there a few days later. My E player in fantasy tennis (the delightfully sassy Donna Vekic) has made a surprising run to the semifinals in Birmingham (UK), and I'm still alive in Survival at the Shore (horseracing predictions) -- ranked 1118th, true (my second-best day got negated by a cyberglitch, woe), but I haven't let myself dive deep into researching the ponies, so I'm fine with merely swimming along. Go Chocolate Drops! Go Zealous on the Run! Go Toute Allure! I'm amused by this interview of Charleston chef Robert Stehling, happy to hear reports that Husk Nashville is living up to the hype, and, in the bath, reading a 1996 Baedeker guide to Canada that used to live on the shelves of the Charlotte public library.

    (And now it's been more than fifteen minutes since I applied sunscreen, and I've been asked to deliver a shirt and a gallon of water to my favorite motorcycle repair shop. Time to move from inventory to service! :-) )
    zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
    I'm nowhere near as compulsive about note-taking as I used to be, but it's still my default setting. I was reminded of my jottings during the matches in Bercy a year ago...

    Taking notes

    Taking notes

    ... while reading this bit over at Mary's:


    Last night I lay down with the second volume of Susan Sontag's notebooks, As consciousness is harnessed to flesh and, I confess, I was surprised that it really was a notebook, phrases and words jotted down, with the editor valiantly attempting to point out which parts were written in the margins and who was meant by her initialing scheme. I found it nearly impossible to read.

    In an odd way, it made me glad to have this journal and my paper one. There were certainly some wonderful phrases and ideas in Sontag's notes and I hope she developed those in her for-public works. I'm glad to have both, to play here and on paper in separate ways, with different stakes, and be able to transition from one to the other.


    Over the weekend, I also read Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling. The opening paragraph is a winner:


    As humans, we've invented a lot of things. Most of these inventions are stupid and pointless (the Pet Rock; Count Chocula cereal; abstinence as a form of birth control). A lot of them are fun (video games; board games; head games). Some of them are convenient and make our lives easier (cheese graters; beer widgets; toilet brushes). And, every so often, a Truly Great Invention comes along that changes our culture and the very way we live on this planet (irrigation; the printing press; beer).
    zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
    * one workout
    * two big detour-loops (once when picking up roomie at airport, once on our way back from Key Biscayne to the hotel. Florida, your signage sucks).
    * a glass of Malbec, lamb samosas, lamb biryani, and shrimp apna curry. And freshly fried papadum w/bright red peppers, at Ayesha (thanks, Tripadvisor!).
    * tennis! (and bubble tea)

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