Friday, May 30, 2008

I am so thrilled to be included in this amazing new anthology, The Maternal is Political: Women Writers at the Intersection of Motherhood and Social Change. When the book arrived in the mail a couple of days ago, I was stunned to see my name on the cover, in such incredible company. I have a feeling people will pick up the book and nod as they read every name. Then they'll come to mine, do a double take, and say "Who?" I almost feel as if the inclusion of my name on the cover is a joke--I suppose it's sort of the way I used to feel when I went into a bookstore and saw my work on the shelf and figured the bookseller was just humoring me by having it there. It didn't seem possible to me that I was actually a full-fledged author with a real book that people could buy and read. It still sometimes doesn't seem possible to me! I'm very honored and grateful to be part of this new collection--it's a book that will inspire you (maybe even move you to action!)

Every once in a while, I check my stats to see what search terms have brought people to this blog. Most of the (few) people who end up here seem--to my amusement--to come for reasons that have nothing to do with me or my work. Many are searching for the Calvin and Hobbes dead bird comic strip. A bunch lately have been looking for poems about turning 40. Someone recently was looking for "Halfway the 90th century shell started to realize that there had to be more socially responsible for the society" (I suppose it's nice to know that in the future, shells will be socially responsible!) So amidst such entries, I was quite tickled when today I discovered that someone in Italy did a search for "'gayle brandeis' confection."

Most likely, they were looking for my poem, comfit, but it's fun to imagine what a gayle brandeis confection would look like, what it would taste like. I hope it would be frosted the color of jacaranda blossoms, which are blooming everywhere right now and are making me so happy (although I guess I have to stop rhapsodizing about them. My daughter told me "Enough with the jacarandas" the other day when I couldn't stop my oohing and ahhing on the way to school.) A gayle brandeis confection wouldn't necessarily be as pretty as this painting, though. It might be a little bit sloppy. A bit undercooked. Maybe with a salt crystal embedded somewhere inside. That sounds good to me--I love caramels spiked with sea salt. A bite of sharp mixed with the sweet.

If you did come here because you were actually searching for me, and not because you're looking for a comic strip or poem or strangely translated sentence, you can find a little profile of me in the Homer News (I'll be in Homer, Alaska a week from today!)

If you were a candy, what kind would you be?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The lovely Madame Mayo graciously invited me to be a guest-blogger on her site. Guest-blogs there, more often than not, are centered around a list of 5 things, based on the guest-bloggers' whim (recent ones include 5 Whale Music Links, 5 Favorite Baja Writers' Websites, and Top 5 Research Sites for Historical Novelists). As I played around with potential list subjects, I remembered my favorite grouping of five: the senses. You can read the resulting list, Five Works of Fiction that Explore the Senses in Fresh Strange Ways, here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I've been going through a sad and confusing time lately, a time of much change, much transition. Along with all the heartbreak, though, there is the rush of new beginnings, and I am trying to say YES to my future with a wide open heart.

A couple of weeks ago, I wore the YES necklace that my sister gave me for my birthday. When my friend and colleague Judy Kronenfeld saw it, she asked if I had read Muriel Rukeyser's Yes poem. I hadn't--which surprises me, given my love of Rukeyser and all my YES research as I wrote Self Storage--so she whipped out a copy. Here it is:

It’s like a tap dance
Or a new pink dress
A shit-naïve feeling
Saying Yes.

Some say Good morning
Some say God bless-
Some say Possibly
Others say Yes.

Some say Never
Some say Unless
It’s stupid and lovely
To rush into Yes.

What can it mean?
It’s just like life
One thing to you
One to your wife.

Some go local
Some go express
Some can’t wait
To answer Yes.

Some complain
Of strain and stress
The answer may be
No for Yes.

Some like failure
Some like success
Some like Yes Yes
Yes Yes Yes.

Open your eyes,
Dream but don’t guess.
Your biggest surprise
Comes after Yes.

Life is full of so many surprises right now. I am trying to approach them with curiosity, with open eyes, instead of fear; I am trying to approach them with an attitude of YES. Not always easy, I admit. I find myself weeping at the oddest moments. But then that passes and I feel clear and strong and eager to see what will happen next. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes.
A few weeks ago, this editorial, Protests Only Embarrass Troops, appeared in the Press-Enterprise, and I couldn't not respond. You'll find my rebuttal (quite heavily edited by the paper) here.

Friday, May 09, 2008

CODEPINK is most notorious for our outrageous acts of activism--disrupting congressional hearings, dropping huge "pink slips" from sides of buildings, etc.--so sometimes our more quiet acts don't get as much attention, even though they are equally (and sometimes even more) powerful. I am very proud of our current campaign to help Iraq refugees. Here you can see the latest alert I wrote to encourage people to honor the original anti-war intention of Mother's Day by donating to help the displaced mothers of Iraq.

Monday, May 05, 2008

A few more events on the horizon:

-Tuesday, May 13th, 6pm: Covina Library
-Sunday, May 18th, 3pm: Raqs LA Dance Festival
-Thursday, May 29, 11am: Brandeis Women's Book and Author Luncheon, Rancho Santa Fe
-Friday, June 6-Tuesday, June 10: Kachemak Bay Writers Conference, Homer, Alaska
-Monday, June 16, 6:30pm Buena Park Library
-Wednesday, June 18, , 6pm, Alta Dena Library
-Thursday, June 19, 5pm, Bay Shore Library (Long Beach)
-Saturday, June 21, Arcadia Library, 2pm (I think I'll also be reading at Antioch University that evening)

I have more to add, but I'll do that when the time draws nearer. I still can't believe I'm going to Alaska (and racing home to get to my son's high school graduation)! June should be a rich and crazy month; May already is...

Saturday, May 03, 2008

A brief note to let you know where you can find me over the next few days:

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 4th, at 2:30pm, I will be moderating a panel on the "Spirit and Craft of Writing: Finding What Works" with Alex Espinoza, Kathryn Jordan, and Marisa Silver at the Palm Springs Book Festival. The festival runs from 10am-6pm and is chock full of great readings and panels, even cooking demonstrations!

Tuesday, May 6th, at 11am, I will be giving the keynote address at San Bernardino Valley College's Humanities Day.

I hope some of you can come and make funny faces at me while I'm on stage! :)