Don't read this while drinking anything or you'll have a mess on your hands/screen. Crash blossoms happen when we mistake nouns for verbs and v/v, taken from this perfect example: "Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms." Well done, Ben Zimmer of NY Times.
Big news from Solstice. No more Summer Writers' Conferences but it appears that some practical weekend-long workshops will take their place. Here's the latest--this first one is very appealing!
Dear Solstice Friend:
We would like to invite you to take part in the first Solstice Seminar — Writing for Stage & Screen — to be held on the Pine Manor College campus October 15 and 16, 2010.
The Seminars, weekend-long intensives designed to build upon and expand the concentrations of the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program, will replace the annual Solstice Summer Writers’ Conference with an affordable, high impact, and low time-commitment alternative for busy working writers. For more information about our Seminar faculty and programming, please go to: www.pmc.edu/mfa.
The Solstice Seminars will be offered in addition to our bi-annual course audit program, which welcomes members of the New England writing community to audit graduate-level courses at our Solstice MFA Program’s summer and winter residencies. As one local writer said: "…Solstice MFA classes can fill an unmet need — to provide bursts of momentum to working writers who may not want the intensity of instruction found in a long-term advanced level workshop but can benefit immensely from individual master classes.” To see descriptions of classes offered at our January, 2010 MFA Residency, go to: www.pmc.edu/mfa-classes-for-audit. We will be posting a list of auditable courses for our July Residency at the end of April.
Like the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing and the Solstice Summer Writers’ Conference, the Solstice Seminars will provide a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We would like to thank all of the faculty members, guest writers, and participants who contributed to the Solstice Summer Writers’ Conference, along with a special shout out to all of those who generously donated funds so that other writers could attend. To see a list of our past donors, go to our site.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Tanya Whiton Assistant Director Solstice Creative Writing Programs of Pine Manor College 400 Heath Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 (617) 731-7697
The praise is pouring from the skies around the world, the tributes, the pure joy at someone of Howard Zinn's commitment, brilliance, and warmth being posted more quickly than Google can even keep up. You must click on that first link before going any further to see a truly beautiful picture of this man.
My tiny reminiscence with the reminder to always say hello. Always.
In one of those funny coincidences of life, I nearly always see Howard when I go to the nearby Whole Foods. By which I don't mean occasionally. I mean it's rare that I go -- and I go a lot, grocery shopping being the sole shopping experience that I enjoy (I know, I'm bad for the consumer economy of the U.S.) -- to the store and don't bump into Howard.
Almost always (read on), I say hi, sometimes exchange a few words, complimenting him on his latest triumph/publicity/appearance-on-Jon-Stewart. Even if we haven't stopped to speak, we smile back and forth. He was just a lovely man, unmissable because he was so tall, in astonishingly good shape and very handsome, with thick wavy hair, even at 87, straight spine, moving gracefully through the vegetables and fruits, wheeling past the dairy department.
About a week ago, I was in a rush and so as I grabbed for some grapes and noticed Howard out of the corner of my eye near the cucumbers, I made that split-second decision to not stop, not engage, just to keep moving because I was on a schedule.
On a schedule that I can't even remember now. I have no idea why I was in such a rush that I couldn't smile at Howard for the last time, remind him how much he'd inspired me to keep doing my work, and to say something nice about his daughter and son-in-law, Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn, with whom we share the same karass.
Smiling now for all you gave and for staying the course. And sending love to the whole family.
I don't know who came up with the brilliant idea but, after my first experience with urgent care last week, I'm awarding them an Endless Knot*. Terrific concept and in this case well executed.
The situation: suspected norovirus strikes family-wide, felling four adults in less than 24 hours. Unknown cause but current suspect is Colonel Mustard in the library with the cupcake, i.e. it's possible someone with the virus had touched something in the food area where three of us indulged in small sweets. But it also could have been the friend who stopped by or the business advisor with whom we met that day or the box of arugula...you get the point. No way to know.
Regardless, it was so bad for one of us that we called the doctor's office, where we were advised to go to "urgent care." I'd never heard of such a thing.
"You mean the ER?"
No, not the ER at all, which, as we all know, only really functions in emergency mode for real emergencies and, in situations like ours, unpleasant and miserable for the sufferers but unlikely to be truly life-threatening, would have meant a rather prolonged agony.
Off to the closest urgent care, in this case, Newton-Wellesley Hospital Urgent Care, located neither in Newton nor Wellesley nor at the hospital but about five minutes from my house in Waltham, Mass. Now how to describe the building? Imagine an old, say, shoe factory that's now occupied by a bunch of different shoe stores--one for kids, one for adults, one for people needing prosthetic shoes. My passenger kept saying, "This can't be it," as we followed the directions and drove up to the old Waltham Hospital, since the biggest sign said "Children's Hospital." Another sign, a bit further along the building facade, said "Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center." Then, in smaller letters, between these two parts of the building, I noticed some lettering that said "Newton-Wellesley Urgent Care." Dropped passenger off, parked car...
Although I thought all I was doing was providing transport, I quickly realized that things were deteriorating, point being that two of us checked in, were immediately treated (IV fluids, medications), very kind staff, and four hours later we were on our way back home, all systems stable, fevers in the tolerable range and such.
Astonished at the efficiency, I asked the attending physician, Dr. Barry Ehrlich, about how this place had come to be (it opened the day after Waltham Hospital was shuttered in 2003), remarking on how excellent the service was. I have to hand it to Dr. Ehrlich for honesty. He said that we were really lucky, that often the wait is an hour or more, and that we'd hit it just right. I'm glad and if the place is typically understaffed, then I'll have to take back half an Endless Knot.
Regardless, urgent care centers are a great idea...and helped put our family back on the road to health, uh, urgently.
*Endless Knot--new feature on the blog whereby things that are really great and deserving of awards get one.
When she lived, women could not study at Harvard. Her gaining admission to use its libraries was a first. So when Margaret Fuller's Bicentennial was launched last Thursday in Harvard's Houghton Library, the event all but sank with meaning.
The Houghton is the Little Library that Corning Glass Works built. It's where Harvard houses its rare books and manuscripts. It's gorgeous. The room where Margaret's exhibit is laid out (it's on display until March 25) is the Amy Lowell Room, which houses Lowell's personal library. (I noticed her paperback edition of Typee.) Across the hall is an extraordinary collection of the work of Samuel Johnson, amassed over sixty years by Donald and Mary Hyde (principally by her as she outlived her first husband by nearly forty years) in another spectacular room. And on it goes. I felt as if I were back at Oxford. (Which, of course, was pictured in the Johnson room, a ceiling painting of Pembroke College, attended, naturally, by my hubby.)
Now for the program itself: Heather Cole, assistant curator at the Houghton, welcomed an astonishingly large crowd. Imagine ninety people showing up in the year 2147 (when mine will be--get ready) without benefit of much publicity on a very cold winter night. Dorothy Emerson, co-chair of the MF Bicentennial in New England, followed, explaining the year of activities we have planned. I, as the other co-chair, was up next, and I'm not sure what I said except there was a lot of smiling involved, including my being able to mention that I'd named Daughter #1 for a character in Margaret's writing and that I could point out said daughter as she happened to be standing in the doorway as she was visiting from New York with her tiny twin sons, who also came to honor Margaret (they reclined for the festivities...).
Then the main performance, a brilliant, funny, and insightful talk by guest curator, Rob Velella, on Margaret as more than a feminist. It's my favorite view of her. Feminist, without doubt, but any hackneyed, misguided view of "women first" feminism does not square with Margaret's view (never mind that of most thoughtful people writing about women). Rob managed to capture the very best of Margaret in a quite succinct way, while lobbing in some of my very favorite of her quotes (for example, bloggers, "If you have knowledge, let others light their candles with it") and, all the while, explaining why he'd chosen the pieces he had for the four-cabinet exhibit. Rob, please publish your talk--and give it many times more. You get Margaret.
Now the exhibit: The Dial issue in which Margaret's signature essay, "The Great Lawsuit: Man vs Men, Woman vs Women," along with the first edition of the essay as the book, Woman in the Nineteenth Century; a letter she wrote; an essay (or something, sorry for imprecision) from her diaries where Emerson scribbled some, as I recall, admonishing words across the top; a lock of her hair, in a curl, lighter brown that I'd ever imagined.
And more. I need to go back and commune with this extraordinary display of certain remarkable bits from the life of this woman who has no peer.
NB: There are no pictures with this post because the Houghton doesn't allow pictures to be taken. I understand but I wish it had been different.
Maybe there are a thousand of these online but first I've seen. You can read "Alpha and Omega," a poem in Tower Journal's premier issue randomly or "in a linear way." The transition between the two alone is worth the click. (Once you've clicked, choose "Alpha and Omega.")
Received this very nice note from Jackie Katzenstein of Wild & Woolly, the great yarn store in Lexington, Mass., which is an example of one reason writers write. Six years ago, I gave Jackie a draft of my short story, "Endless Knots," because of her interest in literature and because her store is referred to in it. The story was published in 2007 by Global City Review--and then out of the blue on Mon of this week, I got this email, reprinted here with Jackie's permission:
In going through my papers, none of which I ever seem to be able to discard, I came across Endless Knots, which you had sent me in 2004 --- I loved rereading it -- still cannot throw it away -- and found your blog on Google... in the morass of boring stuff, it brightened my snow-dimmed day..
Thanks again -- will follow your blog (I am not a blog reader -- too many out there) with enthusiasm..may I put you on the email list? It's brief, but as entertaining as I can make it -- Thursday or Friday..a quasi-mini-blog some days..
Excellent, to-the-point post about volunteer opportunities in Haiti by Diane Herbst on Tonic. Lists possibilities both short-term, i.e. right this second because of the desperate need for medical people, and long-term, rebuilding from the ground up, ultimately restarting the economy and all that follows from that.
Personal note: Many years ago, we had two extraordinary babysitters, refugees from Mashhad, Iran, who had the courage to come here in 1979 at the ages of 16 and 17. As students of Iran's history know, Bah'ai communities have been severely persecuted there. The two young women were peaceful presences, always optimistic, and our little girls loved them. Several years later, Ferial married and moved to Haiti where she and her husband were pillars of the Bah'ai community. (Farzanah married too but stayed in Boston.) We've lost touch but of course my thoughts keep returning to them. Remarkably, or maybe not so, as I've been looking for papers and photos in the past few days for another purpose, I keep running into pictures of them.
Thoughtful piece by Brent Frei on why work-at-a-distance works--and will work for eons to come. His trends are in the "yes, of course," category (principally, technology advances from greater availability of broadband to use of mobile devices) but he manages to pick the best of the lot for his list; his predictions are, likewise, from the general pool of discussion about this but he finds the pick of the litter. Together, they should make the new class of migrant information workers who pack their portfolios with presentations past feel they're on the right track:
1. Migration of professional people from high tax & regulation states to low tax & low regulation states.
2. Explosive expansion of work marketplaces and paid crowdsourcing for all kinds of jobs.
3. More productive people will work for themselves by shopping their
considerable talents around the world via work marketplaces.
4. Job performance and work quality will become transparent as people’s work is reviewed online much as products are today.
5. Average earnings for high performers will be more than double the average earnings in their category.