Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Envelope Please...

Drumroll. I am very happy to announce the winners of our 3 Things Before 40 Contest. The winners will receive a signed copy of The May Queen with my gratitude for expressing interest in our little contest.

Congratulations to Gena Hymowech of Brooklyn, Linda Good of San Francisco, and Kelly Bridget McHugh of Fort Edward, New York.

Gena’s 3 Things:
1. Get paid what I am worth
2. Be able to marry my girlfriend legally (I am a girl)
3. See the end of terrorism

Linda’s 3(4) Things:
1. Run a marathon
2. Finish a short story collection (and by that, I don't mean I'll be soliciting money for a short story, although now that I think of it, that could work, too)
3. Learn French, Spanish, and the Guitar
4. Sing onstage -- and not karaoke

Kelly’s 3 Things:
1. Climb the highest mountain in New York State
2. Finish my dissertation
3. Buy more land

Editing The May Queen took me on a journey. I met some incredible women during the many months I spent reading and compiling the essays for the collection. Thankfully, I found a generous and persistent agent who worked very hard to sell the book to my editor. Along the way, I learned a lot about the business of creating a book.

Writing this blog has been a fun way to share some of my passions, adventures, and thoughts about the anthology. Now that I have committed to teaching a class with the Families For Literacy program as a part of Marin Literacy Program, I will have much less time for blogging. So I'm afraid it's time to stop for now. I always love to hear what people think of The May Queen. So please email me and let me know. Thanks for reading and be sure to join us on November 6 at Madrone Lounge!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Get The Scoop

One of Kim's many blogs is Style Scoop- a delicious boule of what's cool in fashion and a part of her day job with FIDM. She conducted a really fun interview and walk down memory lane with me. I mention among other topics my lingering sentimental attachment to certain old clothes and my style icon, the Great Kate Hepburn. This is a publicity shot of KH as Tracy Lord in her delightful film The Philadelphia Story- one of my all-time favorites. I have a signed letter from her in response to a fan letter (a high school assignment) I sent back in 1989. On her embossed stationery, it reads in red at the top, "Katharine Houghton Hepburn V-31-1989 Dear Ms. Richesin --Thank you for your enthusiasm" -- signed Katharine Hepburn. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to receive her letter.
A worthy cause forwarded to me this morning that Kim read on Daily Candy. We should all support Spa Radiance's efforts.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

A Wolf In Sheep's Clothing

I finally saw the trailer for Fur in a theatre last night. It's an eerie fantasy come to live. Can't wait!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Sometimes The Darkness Moves Through You

Seven years ago, a package mysteriously appeared on my doorstep at my Panhandle apartment in San Francisco. When I opened it, a copy of Thomas Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49 tumbled out. I thought it was odd, but placed the small volume on the shelf with my other books and really thought nothing more of it. Until now. We're reading the novel for our book club this month. From the back cover, The highly, original satire about Oedipa Mass, a woman who finds herself enmeshed in a worldwide conspiracy, meets some extremely interesting characters, and attains a not inconsiderable amount of self-knowledge. Was the anonymous package sender trying to tell me something- do I play a part in the conspiracy? Or perhaps now I'm finally ready for the deep self-knowledge reading this book will impart to me.

Now for a poem by Dean Young that he wrote for Brenda Hillman.

Bright Window
I was born through a bright window.
Winged faces, docile lions, the usual
heliocentric wires. The gods loved playing
tricks then, festooned with rags,
making the wine dregs pour forever,
switching the reels so midway through
Children of Paradise, Wile E. Coyote
creams himself again. Meep, meep,

everyone in a hurry in clouds of ink
like frightened squid. I had a friend
who spun in the rain until her makeup
melted and a scar remains on my retina.
I had a friend who thought the secret
was in turning a turntable backwards.
One pill made you stronger, one pill
and you could fly. I had a friend
who crashed us through a cornfield
and all the husks could do was sing
but that was all right, it was singing
that mattered to us, had weight,
occcupied space, in motion tended
to stay in motion, at rest rest.

You start with a darkness to move through
but sometimes the darkness moves through you.

I loved those cold May mornings
stalling the wisteria,
none of the oils yet, just sketch,
the million buds of I don't know what
waiting by the stairway where no one's crying
yet, or laughing, not one leap yet in the dance,
it's almost impossible to be afraid,
the furnace kicking on one last time,
the animal dragging itself a short way
from its birth.

Sometimes I sit for hours watching people
struggle with the big glass doors,
trying to fit small lids on large cups.

You can't have it back, says the fire
affectionately. You never needed it
anyway, promises the earth.

From Skid

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Crazy Water and Cookies

At the top of my holiday wish list this season is Diana Henry's Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons cookbook. The Mediterranean recipes are grouped by theme, so that every chapter has recipes that share common ingredients and have whimsical names like Fruits of Longing, Of Sea and Salt, and Fragrance of the Earth. Some of the mouth-watering recipes include: Duck Breast with Walnut and Pomegranate Sauce Lavender, Baked Sweet Potatoes with Marinated Feta and Black Olives, Roast Lamb stuffed with Figs, and Spiced Quinces with Crema Catalana.
Another cookbook I have enjoyed drooling over is Plenty by Sarah McLachlan's personal chef Jaime Laurita. When you need a little boost to help you write, these scrumptious cookies do the trick.

Writer's Block Oatmeal Cookies
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, slightly softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup raisins*
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine brown sugar and butter in large mixer bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy (1 to 2 minutes). Add eggs, water and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Reduce speed to low. Add all remaining ingredients except oats and raisins; beat until well mixed (1 to 2 minutes). Stir in oats and raisins by hand.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets. Cool completely.* Substitute chocolate chips.
Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Coming Soon To A Theatre Near You

I am eagerly awaiting the November 10 release of MQ Erin Cressida Wilson's new film Fur. Also in November, Erin's piece Milk Dress: A Nursing Song from The May Queen will appear in Nerve's new online magazine for the urban parent. The first issue will feature Erin's story among other personal essays, a few columns, and a blog. Regular columns will include bad parenting, childbirth memoirs, and tales of the worst advice offered by parents and friends. Look for it then!

Speaking of Fur's unusual leading man Mr. Downey who co-starred in another fantastic film Wonder Boys six years ago... I just finished Michael Chabon's fantastic romp and soul search through academia and adulthood responsbility for a mostly stoned, washed-up codger daylighting as a professor and one-time author. Chabon is a master of metaphor and as Kim so aptly put it, "I know, something about his writing is just so... sexy. " I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tales of Motherhood

As a mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, I have taken great comfort (both pre and post Lily's birth) in certain motherhood books. When my mama friends recently recommended their current favorite Mother Shock to me, I fondly recalled all the books that helped me along my road to becoming a mom. I haven't gotten to this one yet, but here is my list of books on motherhood that one shouldn't miss.

Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood- From Salon editors, Camille Peri and Kate Moses (I also adored Kate's book Wintering about an imagined period in Sylvia Plath's life), these are thoughtful stories from women in the thick of their lives as mothers.

Because I Said So: 33 Mothers Write About Children, Sex, Men, Aging, Faith, Race, and Themselves- In their follow-up collection of personal essays, the contributors tackle weightier issues. I was quite taken and deeply moved by Mariane Pearl and Kate Moses's stories.

Spiritual Midwifery- Written by Ina May Gaskin of The Farm in Summertown, TN, this is an instructional manual any pregnant woman would do well to add to her library. I especially loved the photos and personal stories by the families who Ina May helped to deliver their babies on the commune.

Increase- This is a lyrical journal by poet Lia Purpura during her pregnancy. A luminating and deeply reverent book.

Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year- Annie Lamott always writes at her best and most amusingly when she writes of her own personal journey as she does in Bird by Bird. With her deadpan, self-deprecating voice, you feel as if you're reading the experience of an old friend whom you wish you still knew. This book is a hilarious and heartfelt exploration of all the feelings and adjustments one must go through as a first-time mother.

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