It's not the planes I love. It's the hangar.


today i am blogging about emily.

mb: so, emily, what do you want to tell the blogworld?

emily: they should all come and help me paint my house.

mb: you have a house? tell me about your house!

emily: it's a darling little bluish grey three bedroom two bath with hardwood floors and a yard.

mb: how long have you lived there?

emily: two! whole! weeks!

mb: how are your cats adjusting to the change?

emily: they're a little crazy, but they always were!

mb: what is one major decorative change you will make to your new abode?

emily: well, we already painted the kitchen a nice alpaca color, which isn't too major... (interrupted by beep from the oven signifying the end of the scones' ...never mind. they need another minute) and we'll be painting most of the other rooms as well. other than that, it's just small things here and there.

mb: where do you find your greatest inspiration?

emily: pottery barn. no, i'm kidding. my greatest inspiration for what? what are you putting. everything i just said.

mb: your greatest inspiration for anything. whatever inspires you to be you!!

emily: target. lately.

mb: from where do you derive your energy and ...shtuff.

emily: i drink lots of coffee in the mornings. and my husband and my kitties......
(clarification: she is not implying that she drinks husband and kitties. transcription confuses things obvious in conversation.)

this is a very boring interview. i would like to further clarify that emily is the opposite of a boring person. there you go.


Book of the Week: The Hunger Games

If Cynthia Voigt had written science fiction, it probably would have looked something like The Hunger Games. In Suzanne Collins's newest novel, we meet a protagonist who seems remarkably familiar. Like Voigt's heroines, we understand her story because she seems so much like ourselves - no matter how strenuous or bizarre the circumstances, we feel certain our story would be the same. We, too, would have those resources, that practicality, that certain sensitivity that separates us from the masses. I don't say this critically - it is the book's strongest feature that it identifies with every one of its readers and says 'this could be your story.'

It is not just its portrayal of Katniss Everdeen, the novel's heroine, that is familiar. The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic North American nation, Panem. It is a country held together by fear - a fear instilled by the capitol into each of its twelve districts and maintained by a yearly event called the Hunger Games. Each year, one boy and one girl are randomly selected from each of the districts to be thrown into a large 'arena' for a fight-to-the-death. If the Roman Colosseum met the show Survivor, this is what you'd get. And this is precisely what seems so eerily familiar about this book. Despite the fact that it's clearly a futuristic novel, the story has all the rusty barbarism of something very old. Except for the cameras and plastic surgery and hovercrafts, this could almost be historical fiction. It is not only a strange mixture of what was and what could be, it is remarkably relevant for today's paparazzi-culture. The contestants in the Hunger Games are the only examples of celebrities in this imaginative culture - and they are made famous for killing or being killed. Think of a reality TV show gone horribly awry.

But in case you think you'll be plodding through another Fahrenheit 451 or 1984 or some other work of social-criticism-thinly-veiled-as-science-fiction, think again. It's an adventure story - a story about loyalty and fashion and eating roots and shooting arrows and trying to decide between two very eligible young men. There are explosions and kisses, genetically-altered bees and numerous near-death experiences. You will not want to put this one down. Which is actually a problem, because this book is the first in a series. You might be tempted to write Suzanne Collins a thank-you letter, but please think again. Let's not interrupt her while she's working on book two. The sooner it's out, the better.


Book of the Week

I am very good at having favorites. Every week during storytime, I tell the kids: 'this is one of my favorites!' and then inwardly roll my eyes. They are all 'my favorites'. But there are a few that really are. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, for example. Or Lewis's Till We Have Faces. I could read these books twenty times over and still feel that they are new to me. Among my true favorites, there are few picture books. Not because I am a snob about chapters, but it's difficult for me to put picture books in the same category as chapter books to begin with - and then to compare them? It just seems awkward.
But let me tell you about The Rough-Faced Girl. If I can. The little blurb on the inside flap calls it a Cinderella story, and I suppose it is that. More than suppose - there's a girl who sits by the cinders, who is mocked by her two proud sisters, who is chosen by the 'prince' instead of them, who is rescued from penury and obscurity by his love. So it's a Cinderella story. It's also a reminder that the Cinderella story is universal precisely because it is the human story. When reading The Rough-Faced Girl, you know yourself to be the mocked and scarred daughter, lost among the ashes. And you know yourself to be the proud sisters, arrogantly assuming the love of the Invisible Being without ever having seen his face - never having sought it! But you know, and you hope. And hope is not an inclination or even a determination, but a faith. And so, again, you are the rough-faced girl.
Reading The Rough-Faced Girl is rather like reading the verses from the book of Hebrews that tell you to approach the throne of grace with confidence. Confidently vulnerable, having seen his face.
I was surprised, picking it up just now, to see that David Shannon did the illustrations. I just read How I Became a Pirate an hour ago for storytime (I love saying 'scurvy dog'), and I cannot imagine less-related images than Braid Beard's motley crew and the powerful illustrations of this Algonquin legend. Kudos, Mr. Shannon. Three cheers and a bottle of brandy. Anyway, read the book. And buy it. And give it to everyone for Christmas.


First I read this by Walter Ong:

In contending with Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Derrida is of course quite right in rejecting the persuasion that writing is no more than incidental to the spoken word. But to try to construct a logic of writing without investigation in depth of the orality out of which writing emerged and in which writing is permanently and ineluctably grounded is to limit one's understanding, although it does produce at the same time effects that are brilliantly intriguing but also at time psychedelic, that is, due to sensory distortions....

then I pick up The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and read this:

Nervousness seeps into terror as I anticipate what is to come. I could be dead, flat-out dead, in an hour. Not even. My fingers obsessively trace the hard little lump on my forearm where the woman injected the tracking device. I press on it, even though it hurts, I press on it so hard a small bruise begins to form....

This is my dilemma.


in case you didn't get enough.

Eve, or september 12th.

i know it's a shame,
the proportion of the pain,
but there's one thing i can do
on this day that has both name
and gain.

i can take this bitten body
warm between my two palms,
and cleaning house from top to bottom,
give her balm.

what's one more mourner or less
on this day of second deaths,
and what has my grief got to do
with the towers and the rest?
i have not lost a soul,
just the trust of this small thing
warm and shaking, claw and purring
from the pain -
not from the trains
or the rains
or the memories of mayhem one september -

this twelfth, all i see
is the calm misery
pouring out of these two animal eyes
as she twitches and whines
with hives and parasites
between my palms.

good grief knows when to weep
over one thing at a time.


I have a love affair with windmills.


p.s. i am so beyond over this layout. if anyone feels like helping me pimp my page to better reflect its content, please tell me how to outdo blogger's paltry template selection. my internetal creativity is nonexistent.


mom: 'all these halloween ideas. more different ways to make a bug out of food...'


remember when i reached for paper? this was why...

watch me bust at the seams
to offer you praise
and if my dance seems epileptic,
know my heart is full of grace,
full of grace.

my sparkles are gangley and gauche
cheap cheesy kitsch and unholy
but holy's your business -
it's you drawing breath from my lungs.

in this near particular, all I can give
is a song that will break all your crystal
will rise to the rafters and ruffle the wings of the owls.

and everyone watching cries
what a shame!
that such music should come from one
so overweight
that these notes make their way through
my messes of hair
or emerge from between these
crooked teeth.

they'll wonder in silence
because they are decent
enough not to announce it
in front of themselves
(let alone their neighbors):
how could He be quite pleased
how the Lord be satisfied
or the man with the microphone brazen to try

to ignore all our eyes
and the skin he stands in
thick in the way of the aria
fit for a king -

such contradiction
of praise and praiser

oh, we all have our highs
we all have our lows.
we carry our growths
on the sides of our faces
and maybe they know
and maybe they don't
but we all limp and shudder
we tramp and we hulk.

and the bones that aren't broken
they still quake like we're choking
the voice that we sing with
fits us like an epileptic. look full on my face
bless the place where I stand
and draw one last note
out of my throat
to hold in your enormous hand.


still working, reading, and sleeping. in that order and with little reprieve. be back soon.
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