Saturday, March 30, 2013

My Town Friday Shoot Out- Through Glass

The theme this week is Through Glass, and I thought about it last week when hubs and I went out for a much needed relaxing date of Jazz and martinis. You can see our garlic fries through the martini glass. Otherwise I have to go through my files, been a busy week for me with work and open mics.

Not sure if this counts, but looking through a window while I waited inside, I decided it was a good shot of the outside weather and expresses the cold melting snowy conditions while in Boston for writers conference.

Right before landing in Hawaii last October, I captured Oahu Island through the plane window. 

Once again I feature food through my glass. I know, I know, not the same as a window. But wine goggles are not a bad way to see things when you need to relax from a super busy week.

Now go check out the others 'Through Glass' submissions for My Town Friday Shoot Out

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ormand Plantation and Natasha Tretheway

After reading Bellocq's Ophelia by Natasha Trethewey, I began thinking of my own mulatto mother. I read the entire book on the plan to NOLA. Once I checked into Ormond Plantation, and found my way to the room, then the entire place inspired many drafts.

This is also an attempt to load photos from the plantation and tell a story with photos and my poetry. Above is the fireplace view of my huge room. I was amazed at the chamber pot and how the condition was so good. Can you imagine have to use it all night, or even day, and the maids had to empty and clean them. Yeah.

Natasha's book mentions about Bellocq, a white French Creole man born into wealth. He chose to become a photographer, which I am sure was a luxury hobby back then. He made his second hobby going around and photographing prostitutes and life in the opium dens. Many of the girls he found his favorites were light skinned mulatto and creole women. She creates a character for her poems, Ophelia, and writes from a perspective in the Storyville area. Many of the brothels were have said to been good to the women they kept. There is much history on-line about this area of NOLA.

At breakfast the next morning, I imagined Ophelia and Natasha having breakfast with me. I was, totally alone with only my thoughts...

Breakfast with Apparitions
                     Ormond Plantation 2013

Grandmother had called me back from the grave,
on the plane I was introduced to Ophelia
by Natasha, a new poet. After arriving we met
for breakfast. The breakfast table was set for
twelve, but I sat at the head nearest the entrance.

Disturbed by an early morning train and its
whistle, I had found myself wandering the halls.
The high back chairs brought comfort to an
aching back of travel and no means. Slaves were
hustling about in the kitchen, in the empty
manor as I waited for others two to arrive.

Ophelia, still living in the 1800’s came
modestly dressed. I saw her gown of satin,
almost golden like the surrounding room.
Her skin was no contrast to the dark mahogany
furnishings against the wall. She could not
smile, and kept her head down toward the
table. It was as though her mind was in
another place. Hardships of Storyville, circa
1911; seduced by promises of a purse fattened
by French suitors baring expensive champagne,
and frocks of silk. My wearing pants and
cotton t-shirts with a padded vest may have
frightened her, as I was a ghost of the future.

A bowl of fresh fruit, pineapple and strawberries
would have delighted my father who was
not welcome; his wordy male tongue of
vulgar indecencies was not welcome at this table.
His navy and tin can recollections were indulgences
would never touch my lips again, they tasted
much sweeter in my youth.

I wanted Natasha to sit in the parlor after eating,
to discuss the nature of life in bondage to a
society of the only true freedom for people
of color. Women after all had chosen this
profession for centuries, and had no other
way to support themselves otherwise. I
heard the staff prattling toward the table again
and new my time with these ladies was coming
to a close. My grandmother waited to be released;
her body would be placed next to her latest
husband, prayers would be lifted to follow in
ascension, greeted by cherubs, as in this
room, covered in gold paint, bodies of the past
and present, you knew breakfast had come to a close.          

This is a work of prose in progress. I still have many more in my notebook to get into the files. I was so fascinated by the history of where my grandfather called home for most of his life, the people, and most of all those who survived its many travesties. This will be removed within a week or so.

If you have not read Natasha Tretheway's work, you should. The mere mention of her name to a young writer Maurice Ruffin in Boston this February set us to talking for hours. I would love to sit down and talk to her, as I mention in the prose. She has inspired me in so many ways.

Friday, March 22, 2013

My Town Friday Shoot Out- Childhood Pleasures

Snowy did snow in Texas, still does, but not like it does here in New Jersey. Eventually the snow left and was replaced by icy roads. I hear they get it, but it melts too quickly.
Reading..this is my clients daughter, and boy does she love to read. I have begun opening up books with her and the older sister while the food cooks, and point to a picture and we make up our own story. She loves that. I love their laughter, because it reminds me of my own children when they were this age. Fun times!
Childhood friends...these two girls are twins I grew up with and am still friends with today. Their mother had to work full time to make ends meet, so they stayed across from us, with their grandparents. I can still hear grandpa yell "Sister!" to them when it was time to go in for dinner. I love these two. We are like one big happy family still.
Fishing, and with my father. I still fish today, but with my husband. We were in Hawaii fishing with some friends when I took this. Truly paradise, and double times after you pull in a fish!

Pets! We all had them growing up, or at least something. Remember pet rocks? This is my handsome son Aaron with his dog Logan.

How can I not post something without including food! Pickled Okra and cucumbers. Something my mom made and I still do today. Don't you just feel the pucker as it hits your mouth!

Thanks for coming over and sharing with me...I would add more photos, but the post can get too long, but here are a few other things I loved as a child...tomatoes, fried and fresh sliced; bikes; pizza; soccer and tennis, swimming, and so much more!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My Town Shoot Out- Friday, and I am back!

I decided it was time to get back into the point and click swing of things, and combine a few photos from my old files.

The theme this week is 'Remember When'...the photo above is self explanatory. We often loaded into the car and went to the Gemini Theater off Central Expressway and Coit Road. It is gone now, but this theater is down in South Jersey.

Does this count? In humor I am adding it. I was driving around looking for some interesting sites to capture on film and saw this. I remember pumpkins of a holiday gone past.

This one is kind of sad; it was part of Long Beach Island before Hurricane Sandy hit last October. I took it with my new cell phone.

I hope you enjoyed my 'I Remember When' photos...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

New Poem Is Up

Over on

I submitted A Cowgirl at the River Bottom and its sequel prose to a journal yesterday, so I needed to take them down. Curio Poetry had already published the first one anyways.

These days are bringing on insomnia and a writing storm, so I go with it.

Unfortunately I have been hit with illness and it is taking its toll on my body. I woke up with food poisoning from something my son and I ate the day before. He did not eat as much, but my stomach is not made of lead like his.

Hope all is well and peace follows you always....

Monday, March 11, 2013

AWP 2013- Boston Recap

I am actually too tired to write about things I just spent hours doing for a magazine. I was asked before I left if there was a possibility that a piece could capture the event for an editor/writer friend Val Russel, and of course I said yes.

The whole event was a huge undertaking, for AWP organizers and attendees. I am pooped. But came home with so much under my belt. I made new friends, and hooked up with semi-old ones. Athena and I are planning our next adventure in Seattle, and that's all she wrote. At least for now. I will catch up with my NOLA haunted plantation pics and posts. It is forefront on my mind as I made friends with some NOLA fiction writers, mainly Maurice Ruffin via the Seamus Heaney/Derrick Walcott keynote event Thursday evening, who are a part of Peauxdunque Writers Alliance, say that three times, all of whom were naturally southern friendly, because they consented to having dinner and drinks with us, which lead to a long night. We were invited to an after after party, but tired as we were no was said. If I was only ten years younger!

I also made a connection to more poets out of NYC, and one has coined a new phrase for me 'Literary Band', which now I can share with Flora, my partner in poetry jazz rhyme. The group Rough Magic lead by Cornelius Eady has consented to perform at WAMPP in May out of North Jersey. Yay! I also made friends with a group of Nipmuck Native Indian (north eastern tribe) Poets who have consented to perform in the future and to submit to my Cowboy Poetry Journal. Larry Spotted Crow Mann perform his tribal drum (a sacred honor for his people) and I find it is still popping along with Book of Hooks guitar and violin.

So much, so little energy to keep going...

I will say I have finalized not one, but two new manuscripts that are going out this week; one is for a contest I was just encouraged to try for through Finishing Line Press, and the other I will publish through Red Dashboard Publishing has begun to receive feedback in my email file. Lots of excitement, but there is always dark before the storm, and I am learning to forge my character and reactions according to the fires temperature. All is good and well.

I will post when the article appears, and any other submission I just sent out today.

(photo above is Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic performing at AWP 2013- featuring Cornelius Eady top right, writer Robin Messing top left, and bottom composer/guitarist,  Charlie Rauh, and violinist Concetta Abatte. Book of Hooks poetry chapbook and CD's)

Saturday, March 9, 2013

AWP 2013, Boston- Almost Over

It has been a journey. And one that has so many things going on, ones head spins.

My roommate Athena has been a good experience. She tends to be a bit shy around people, and with the apartment situation, she on one end, me on the other, everything has worked out.

There has been lots of snow here, making it hard to get around, and that has been  a challenge for me physically. Water puddles as people slush through, my shoes full of icy fallout, and still fighting residual flu cough. I actually think now it has turned into bronchitis. Thank goodness the doctor gives me extra antibiotics just in case.

I will go home later today and with a pile of books. The readings have been great, and the classes and panels even better. Networking is the name of the game here. I will most definitely go next year. A few people have already been notified of my arrival. Yes, I am a planner! Athena and I have decided to have a table together at the bookfair. Maybe even Jessie Carty will join us- Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Red Dashboard Publishing, and Jessie Carty books.

How are all of you? May your last days of winter be filled with peace and forgiveness...

(photo above- Towne Restaurant with new friends, left to right, Maurice, Athena, Terri, Me, and Seema)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

AWP 2013, Boston

Freakin Yes! American Writers Poets Conference (Association of Writers and Writing Programs)

I am having a blast so far. Lots to do and see with friends here. Athena and I are rocking my bro in laws apartment in the Back Bay-Bay Village area. Will post a few things as we go...still coughing, but hopefully we will move on with feeling fantastic surrounded by all the creative juices!

We had dinner in North End, and found it bland, but she got some pastries at Mikes, a well known Italian bakery. I passed, but the canoli options were an eye full