Monday, October 31, 2005

Arrgh! Still no hard drive!

I still don't have a hard drive-- I'm limping along going from computer to computer, Andy’s for the Internet, and Joel’s I think in the end is going to be useless, because there’s nothing it does that Andy’s doesn’t, and his has the Internet besides. But writing on my clunky aged IBM Thinkpad that no longer gives the correct date, where the dictionary program doesn't work, where the floppy gets stuck and you have to pry it out, etc. etc. But it's in my office (where I blew a fuse of some sort, or maybe it is something with one of the surge protectors.) Sigh...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Software Crash!

Yikes! I'm in the middle of all kinds of things that need computer attention-- and I have had a crash that appears to be major software failure. I can't get windows to start. Writing this from Andy's computer.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Parrots galore!

Okay, I admit I've always loved parrots. My aunt and uncle had one that actually said, "Polly want a cracker" when I was a tiny girl, and I have owned parakeets and tried to put at least one parrot or parrot image in each of my novels. So take all that into account as I share my enthusiasm for this website, which was mentioned in today's New York Times. This is a guy who's more obsessed, and a much better photographer, than I am: His interest is the wild monk parrots of Brooklyn, but we've got them in New Jersey as well.

The photo is In Memoriam, Charley Brown.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Successful species

Here's something a little more philosophical than the things I usually write on this blog. I imagine sometimes taking a little vacation and sitting down with all the good reviews and nice comments people have made about my books (and none of the not nice ones!). To lie back in that warm bath of love. Only, it's not love-- that was a slip– not love, but a substitute. I don't think other animals do so many things to get back to the sensation of unconditional love as we do: we do drink, drugs, sex, reading our good reviews.

The cat, writes Borges, lives now: " lives in time, in successiveness, while the magical animal lives in the present, in the eternity of the instant."

It is both our lust for the future and our powerful nostalgia for the past that so cripple us. If you judge the success of a species by the happiness of the individual, then, I think cats and English sparrows probably beat us hands down.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

I'm hitting one of my periods when writing
seems the least of the things I do. I've got teaching, but mainly,
at this moment, endless tasks and conundrums and relationships within
the South Orange Maplewood Community
Coalition on Race
. Chairing this large, vital, wonderful oganization
has been like a half time job. For which I don't get paid. And which
fills computer time, writing time. This week there were committee
meetings, one-on-one meetings, a crisis or two, which always means
many phone calls, many e-mails, plus drafting and mailing letters,
more e-mails, today giving a tour to people in Leadership
New Jersey
-- it goes on and on.

I'm working on a YA novel, maybe YA,
and it makes me aware of how much I want to focus on literature again,
and yet at the same time these other things have raised my admiration
for people who are activists, in the world, not just observers of
the world. It makes me see that literature, too, is limited, is one
small part of the world of thinking and acting, not the whole thing.
Balance never easy. Not to mention the drain on family finances from
Our Ivy.

October 16, 2005

Just back from Parents' Week-end at Brown, where we spent time with Joel and Sarah Zakowski. Below: MSW, Joel, Sarah, & Andy. The usual excellent good time-- meals at Rue de l'Espoir, Adesso, and Mill's Tavern-- lectures by Brown faculty, continental breakfasts compliments of the university, a tour of Providence as loved by H.P. Lovecraft the horror writer, speeches by President Ruth Simmons and parent Candice Bergen, a play, Joel's "What's On Tap" open rehearsal. And now back to things besides eating and drinking and taking in culture...

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Socializing over the week-end

We had a lovely small birthday supper for Andy with Sciainos, and Joel came home too! He was on his way to Rutgers to see WVU beat New Jersey's University--visiting Doug Parsons-- but he stopped off for Friday evening. We're on our way to Brown in a couple of days to see him again for parents' week-end. Chocolate raspberry cake AND apple pie with apples from our ancient tree.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Rain, football, motorcycle mamas

LOTS of rain. Rain last night and rain all day. We drove Joel down to the Busch campus of Rutgers where he will be visiting with friend Doug Parsons for the night and tomorrow--then he's dashing back to NYC to get his ride back to Brown. They went (in the rain) to see Rutgers lose to WVU. WVU happens to be (it turns out) Joel's favorite college team. This may be his deepest connection with my home state, except for my family, see below. Joel borrowed a WVU hat from Andy and intended to be a WVU supporter at the game. I wonder if anyone attempted to drown him.

Speaking of sports: My mother (born April 17, 1919) went for a motorcycle ride last week with her pastor Reverend Ivan Hawkins, who is a lovely man who happens to ride a motorcycle, and he offerred, and she accepted. These Baptists.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Names, anyone?

Well, here's a funny site (thanks to an article in the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators Newsletter) -- a random name generator, and boy are some of them random!

Norberto Skilski, anyone?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

October 2
Boe spoke about religious extremism today, and quoted extensively from Yeats's "Slouching Toward Bethlehem," which remains one of the creepiest poems ever--wonderful, but scary:

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

And then later, when theThing comes, it comes

moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

Then I came home and built a new cold frame, picked the yellow sunflowerlike blossoms of the Jerusalem artichokes.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

New Month, Beautiful Day

This is the new month, the early fall always a favorite for me, because I actually get more work done, both because of clement weather weather and teaching's slow start-up in my life, and a general industriousness of the people around me. I've been working on a new story, sending off some potential projects, finishing up with my new book for children, to be published in January.
And it's a beautiful day.