looking ahead

a lot has happened and is beginning to happen again. i am writing and looking forward.


oh glorious day

one of my dearest trench-mates, and fellow bread-loafer has an article appearing today in the new york times--yes, the new york times. the world feels just right.


"26 bones" in glimmer train

my short story, "26 bones," appears in the current (fall 2011) issue of glimmer train stories. this story comes a long way. at the time i was working on it--mostly not writing it--i trudged through an incredibly hard time. i am so grateful to be on this side of things. i still feel tremendously joyful when i remember that linda swanson-davies and susan burmeister-brown said "yes!" when i least expected, and most needed to receive it.


loaves and fishes: berkeley and rona jaffe

it's been a long while since i felt like i belong in a place. i am in love with berkely, and want to make it home.

and in good, sustaining news: in about two weeks, i get to attend the bread loaf writers' conference as the bread loaf-rona jaffe foundation scholar in fiction. i am tremendously grateful  to both organizations for supporting me and my work. i'm even more grateful for the changes ahead.


god, i love oatmeal!

and (yes!) so does she.

for economic and temporal reasons, about a year ago, i began eating some kind of oatmeal almost every-single-morning, even during the warmer months. if i had it to do over again, it's an oatmeal blog i'd write. oatmeal for breakfast is so underutilized; i think it's because most people are used to their boring childhood variety of it. oh, but no more, no more.

fully committed to never having a boring food morning, i've come up with endless concoctions of cooked oats, fruits, nuts, milk, and nut butter. the yummy(!) secret is to cook the oats with water and some form of milk (soy, almond, rice, cow, etc.); this makes for a richer, creamier, oatmeal which is how i love it: rich and creamy.

                                        photo credit: www.everybodylikessandwiches.com
you can use any kind of oats (irish, steel cut, instant, old-fashioned) you like, but if you want rich and creamy, and you want the oats to cook quickly, then the texture of the raw oats  should be closer to powder than whole (either buy oats labeled as instant (more nutritious oat varieties now come in instant.) or use a grinder to make the texture finer). my breakfast this morning:

peanut butter banana and walnuts oatmeal (not pictured above):

in a small pot, combine:

a little bit of oats
a little bit of water
a little bit of milk
a half or whole banana
about a tablespoon of peanut butter
a little bit of walnuts

cook on medium heat for several minutes, until you've achieved: rich and creamy.

sigh. there! one of my favorite morning things.


la diffference

i'm here and well. i've been focusing most of my efforts on my creative writing, which is going well. (i have some good news upcoming.)

this beautiful tune by salif keita, la difference (i know a minuscule amount of french, so all i understand in the song is the line, "la difference," which means "the difference," of course.), makes me think about a couple of things that are now different for me:

* i finally get--really get--why my mother told me, in my youth, not to give mind to what people think/say about me: it does not affect my destiny. i used to care very much; i don't as much now. i feel freer.

* i'm much less dismayed by what doesn't come: i finally believe--really believe--that i'm being saved from disaster. (rumi of course understood this long before i was conceived.) today, i am thankful for each thing that didn't come when i so wanted it; in its place, i made room for more fitting things.

meanwhile, i'm enjoying la difference.


in the smallest things

this morning, i am so grateful.  here is why:

i woke up quite early, got fabulously ready, and packed my lunch (and breakfast) for the day. i got to the bus stop at least two minutes before its arrival time, but alas, the bus didn't come, and i had to wait about 45 minutes for the next one. i almost  began lamenting the sort of day this would be, until i remembered that in the past, this kind of delay has brought something good and unexpected. i was hopeful.

sure enough, at the cafe, as i looked around for a place to sit--where i'd also be able to plug in my computer--a gentleman (a stranger), without a word, moved a large table and a set of chairs from the other side of the room so that i could sit in a spot where i could easily plug in my computer. and then: the barista gave me my large cup of oh-so-good coffee gratis.

i am grateful for these sweet and wonderful things.



fix you

this is one of those songs that can make you just as happy as it can, melancholic...or maybe click a lighter in the air, and (do the obligatory) sway from side to side.


the centaur

one thing i love about buying old, used books is finding what (hopefully, something) a previous owner has scribbled inside. it's especially sweet when a note is written to the person to whom the book is given.

earlier today, i bought john updike's 1963 novel,  the centaur. at the top of its opening page, written in pencil: "across the street under the woven doormat on the right are the remainder of the tokens i had earlier."


"going solo"

the current glimmer train bulletin is out, and along with essays by peter ho davies and others, it features my essay, "going solo." in the piece, i discuss--quite candidly--some of the ups/downs i've experienced since i began writing creatively, as well as some things i'm still learning about trusting the season of waiting. here's a tiny snip:

"In the wake of being thoroughly rejected from each program, and again, with no alternative plan and even less cash than before, I sold all of my things in Florida, bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco, without work or housing awaiting me here. Within two weeks of my arrival, I found paid work and a shared space, and eventually, more ups, downs, and in-betweens than I’d ever thought probable in a one-year period."   [click here for the full essay]


bring it down

"this might be my favorite song by fleetwood mac; for sure, my favorite live performance by stevie nicks. there is this marvelous moment at the 3:31 mark where lindsey puts his hand to his face, and looks at stevie just as stevie sings, "well, maybe..."

staged or not, it's sweet.


"talk on elekuro street"

another of my short stories, appears in the current issue of stand (volume 9(4)). and my name is actually on the cover!


i've been thinking a lot about how i got here.

the following post, which i made more than two years ago, helps me to understand even more, where i've been:

a week or so away from home, i returned yesterday to find my (assumed) dead plants in the earliest stages of renewal: the elephant ear whose 5ft. stature had crumbled to a stump and the four o'clock whose flowers had dropped one by one until nothing remained but the plastic bucket of earth, had sprouted several new stalks and leaves.

i thought first of the natural life cycle; then, of the premature abandonment of matters that are simply in gestation. i remembered that perhaps in those moments we're most doubtful, the circumstance is merely turning over into itself, preparing for something new; that maybe if we just let go for a bit--understand that some things are outside of our immediate control, and demand our patience--we might be surprised by life's impending generosity.

i am so grateful to be here.


before and after

an early morning conversation with a friend reminds me that...

"we could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest entered changes. we can't say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens."

- letters to a young poet, rainer maria rilke


i am remembering...

how i fell in love with words. an old post from august 2007 :

so long a letter by mariama ba has long been a treasure of african fiction writing, and women's fiction writing. i first read this novel some years ago as an undergraduate in a post-colonial literature course. since then, i've reread it twice, and last evening, i went to it again to rediscover what it is that makes this eighty-something page novel so rich and enduring. i think in part, it's ba's lyrical writing, which so beautifully captures that inimitable love between women friends. from the opening page:

"If over the years, and passing through the realities of life, dreams die, I still keep intact my memories, the salt of remembrance.

I conjure you up. The past is reborn, along with its procession of emotions. I close my eyes. Ebb and tide of feeling: heat and dazzlement, the woodfires, the sharp green mango, bitten into in turns, a delicacy in our greedy mouths. I close my eyes. Ebb and tide of images: drops of sweat beading your mother's ochre-coloured face as she emerges from the kitchen, the procession of young wet girls chattering on their way back from the springs.

We walked the same paths from adolescence to maturity, where the past begets the present. My friend, my friend, my friend. I call on you three times."


"the more it is doubted, censored, contained, the tenderer it grows, the more effusive; then it overwhelms its source. it tarnishes nothing. the purest moment is when desire is not requited; when it is only an expectation, a belief, a quiet emotion.

desire is like hunger. it attacks the body and makes it bend."

- the stone virgins, yvonne vera


'the most enduring human quality; the most imprecise human element.'

-the stone virgins, yvonne vera



my short story, "26 Bones," has won the 1st place prize in the glimmer train short story award for new writers. the competition is open to writers whose fiction has not appeared in a print publication with a circulation over 5,000. i receive $1,200 and publication in the fall 2011 issue of glimmer train stories. i've written seven short stories since i began writing about five years ago; "26 bones" marks my fifth short story acceptance (publication). i'm so grateful to have the opportunity to share my work in this way.

here i am, featured on the writer's digest website; there is more forthcoming...