Alice Osborn has reviewed my chapbook Kin Types for the new Winter 2019 issue of Main Street Rag.
I love how she calls the book a “labor of love.”
It’s a beautiful issue with fiction and poetry, an essay, and quite a few book reviews, and best yet, it’s only $6! Click this link.
KIN TYPES IS AVAILABLE AT AMAZON:
Remember my kitty Tiger, star of The Bitch’s Tale? She has gotten a bit skinny, so I took her to the vet for bloodwork and urinalysis. Her kidney and liver values are now elevated, and she had to have an add-on test for pancreatitis. Please send positive vibes and prayers for Tiger that she just has slow aging issues and not a serious illness. I had thought Tiger was 14, but after recalculating and conferring with my son, we believe she is at least 15.
I had a couple of requests for a Perry update, so as tough (hahaha) as it is to write about him, here it is.
We’ve moved way beyond the “give me your paw” trick. His next move was to head butt my face and rub against me when I was on the floor to feed him.
Soon after, he indicated he wanted me to scratch his cheeks. Then pet his sides and the length of his tail.
Now he has added in a squishy and slobbery nose rub and even a little kiss-kiss.
He also keeps rolling on his back and trying to get me to pet his stomach, but with those “natural length” claws of his, I am not that stupid. Gotta get those nails trimmed somehow, but I don’t want to spook him and have a setback.
My son and ND (new daughter or, as some would have it, daughter-in-law) gave me the sweetest little instant camera for my birthday. It doesn’t take the place of my iPhone camera, of course, but I can snap a cute pic of a cat and put the photo into a little frame within a minute. Those little pet frames always beg tiny pix, so these are just right at 2″ or so. I’ve been learning how to use it, and Perry is the model.
My first attempt with the instant camera: I had to learn to use the little buttons
Today is the day I have to take Perry’s poo in for the final check in the deworming process. If it’s negative, I plan to be paranoid and do it again in another week or two. That is because the first time I had it checked, it was negative and then look what I’ve gone through because that was just a lull in the worm cycle. Ugh.
If it’s negative, we put the gate up at the bedroom door so the cats can meet. I’ll try to feed him on one side of the gate another couple of cats on the other side–at the same time. Over the gate I will hang a sheet. That is enough for most cats: gate and sheet and they think they are stuck in there.
Kana and Perry did have a little meeting the other night though. The hall outside Perry’s bedroom was so dark I couldn’t see anything and when I opened the door, suddenly there were two cats in the bedroom! I thought I was seeing double. But Perry was running away and Kana was sniffing Perry’s toys. I picked up Kana, and she managed to graze her teeth on my hand because she was unhappy in the extreme to be removed. What a stinker. She is the trouble-maker of the house, for sure. That is why when I go away, she has to go into her bedroom for the duration. That’s ok, it’s my office and it is the nicest room in the house IN MY OPINION.
Since Perry is in the bedroom all the time, I have certain times of the day I spend with him. My daughter shipped me her old laptop so I can get some work done while I’m in with him.
Probably because he is young, Perry loves his dolls. Sometimes his teeth or claws start holes in the dolls and I have to take them away or stitch them, but that is just him loving them ;).
I’m not used to having a cat so young. It’s been many years since 17-year-old Pear was that young! Perry likes to shred tissues and other paper. That ought to be great when he’s got the run of the house with all our business and writing paper lying about (yikes).
I noticed the other day that Perry is now filling out. I suspect that means that the worms are gone and that he is absorbing his food better. He’s going to be a fairly large long-haired cat. And now that I am petting him, I can verify that his fur is super soft!
Perry and an interactive doll:
There was a speck on the lens that shows up in the video. Does anybody know how to remove something like that through Windows Movie Maker?
KIN TYPES IS NOW AVAILABLE AT AMAZON! Copies should be arriving soon (I hope)!
Poet Nicole Cooley, in her introduction to The Doll Collection, makes the connection for readers:
I have always thought that dolls and poems are a natural combination. Ever since I was a child, my dolls were part of my writing, as I arranged them into orphanages with my sister and wrote my own stories and poems about them. Now, I love to bring images of dolls to my poetry workshops for writing exercises.
I am as excited about bringing dolls and poetry together as Cooley seems to be. But she has taken it a step further by bringing dolls into the writing classroom. In the beginning, her students are reluctant to take dolls seriously as a muse for writing. But then she describes how they end up creating “uncanny, strange, frightening, and beautiful images.”
Diane Lockward chose this subject for the first book of her new press, Terrapin Books, and she has edited with great care. Because no poet has more than one poem in the anthology the variety of styles and subjects piques the imagination. I’ve never read an anthology where I felt such excitement at each turn of the page.
My favorite poem in the book—and realize that this is saying a whole heckuva lot because the poems are stunning—is Christopher Citro’s “The Secret Lives of Little Girls.” This is a poem I wish I had written. I’m achingly jealous of it.
The Secret Lives of Little Girls
How loudly you can groan if you just use your eyes.
Children are adept at this, twelve-year-old girls especially.
Alone, high in mountain caves along cliffsides
accessible solely by toeholds and birds of prey,
they deflate and slouch a bit in ease.
At such times they might play jacks or jump a rope,
its woven line slapping the cave roof, freeing
gypsum flowers to flutter down in fragments
over reeking hides and doll parts piled in corners,
a sleeping area of matted glossy magazines,
a fire ring of rolled socks in parti-colored balls,
simple flint implements, a clamshell for stripping pelts,
small animal bones for holding a bow in the hair,
a pompom here and there caked with glitter and mud.
Hidden in the back beyond reach of firelight, a dollhouse—
perfectly split down the center as eggs rarely are—
where the gods live. The mommy god and the daddy god
stand facing each other either side of a four-poster bed,
a cellophane fire in the living room hearth below.
A dining room table set for three, three plates, three napkins,
and cutlery—a clear plastic goblet at each place.
In the daughter chair, an acorn balanced atop an acorn.
A smile scraped into the top one,
presumably by sharpened antler bone.
I’m imagining a little girl’s room as an eagle’s aerie—a difficult-to-reach, glamorous, gritty, dangerous space.
But there are so many other showstoppers. Do you know what a Frozen Charlotte is? Nicole brings up this doll in her introduction, and Susan de Sola’s “Frozen Charlotte” explores this doll/dead girl. Read the book to find out the story behind the doll.
“Doll Heads,” by Richard Garcia, will rip your guts out with its brutal reality.
There is even a poem, written by Susan Elbe, about Colleen Moore’s dollhouse at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. My own book Doll God might have its roots in that dollhouse. When I was a kid, we used to visit the museum regularly—and each time I refused to leave until we toured the doll house, just once more.
You will love these poems. They will grab you at a visceral level and not let you go.
If I told you there is a new poetry collection about dolls out, you would say that is news I’ve been spouting for a long time, right? But this isn’t my book that I’m talking about. This is an anthology of poems by dozens and dozens of poets–and every poem is about a doll or dolls. The book is appropriately titled The Doll Collection.
The minute I opened the book to the table of contents I got excited. Dream dolls, paper dolls, Barbies, doll makers, puppets, mother’s doll, and doll heads. There is even a poem about the doll I have written about in my unfinished memoir: the red riding hood doll that flips around to be the wolf and/or the grandma! There is a pregnant doll. There are dark poems about loss and violence. There are poems brimming with heart or compassion or longing.
The pens behind these poems were held by a large variety of poets (OK, give me a little poetic license on that one–we can pretty much figure most were written on keyboards), including many luminaries like Chana Bloch, Kelly Cherry, Denise Duhamel, Jeffrey Harrison, and many more.
Oh, and there is a poem from Doll God in there, too: “Marriage Doll.” Woot!
What a wonderful book for anybody who loves beautiful, accessible poems–and particularly for anybody who has ever loved a doll.
LIGHTBULB FLASH!!! Or a cooler idea yet would be to buy a pair of books: The Doll Collection and Doll God. What a great gift! Mother’s Day? Spring birthday? Just because?
Weddings plans are in the works for son and his fiancee! They are looking a year out, but lots of preparation is already going on!
We went to California again. I’ll try to post a couple of photos of that hideous drive later this week. Hahahaha.
Marie from 1WriteWay and I are finishing up our Flash Essay course. We’ll be posting about it before too long. I’ve had a very full work and personal (not fun stuff) schedule this summer, so adding that course was a bit much, but it did get me writing again. That’s always a good thing, even if just for my mental outlook.
I’m enjoying having Nakana part of the household but because of travel and a non-recorded leukemia test on Nakana I’ve had to wait to introduce her to the other cats. I’m sure they wonder who that is behind the closed door! Tiger is especially curious and waits in the hall for me when I’m with Nakana.
I’m reading two books right now. One is Writing Our Way Home, a collection of writings by people who have been homeless, edited by WordPress blogger and Southern writer Ellen Morris Prewitt. I’m going slow and savoring.
The other book I’m reading is one suggested for class: The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction:
Because I am way too overtired this summer, I am falling asleep the minute I sit or lie down, so reading books where I can read in digestible chunks is wonderful. These are both well worth putting on your list.
As I move into the August hubbub and end of summer doldrums (brief pause to hurriedly look up “doldrums”–yup, that fits–“a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or depression,” but I think I also meant dog days, which are the hottest days and a period of sluggishness), I might post less regularly. I try to usually post Mondays and Thursdays, although sometimes I add in an extra or switch a Thursday for Wednesday or Friday. But I don’t plan on sticking to any particular schedule in August. Then I’ll re-start my regular schedule in September. I’ll be checking on your blogs as I get online!
If you are still thinking of picking up a copy of Doll God, it’s also a book that can be read in small chunks–a poem a day, for instance.
About summer in Arizona, Doll God has this to say:
the heat hints at its future
when all will be blue blue blue.
Blue sky over everything. Only here in Phoenix is blue not a cool color, but a FLAME HOT color!