The Quick and dirty:
-I’m teaching a workshop called Writing from Art at the Multnomah Arts Center on Saturday, January 17th, from 10-3. Space still available. (After April, I’ll be teaching a regular weekly Monday night class at MAC)
-My essay “Warning Label” is up and available to read on the Los Angeles Review blog.
-Bilingual Reading of Translations of Boris Slutsky on April 21st at the Oregon Jewish Museum, funded in part by a Regional Arts and Culture Council Project Grant (followed by two more readings this fall.)
Hello friends, peers, and teachers,
First a wish: May you be warm. May you be happy, healthful, and grateful. May you care yourself as your mother—maybe not exactly your mother, but some archetypal mother—would. May you notice the beauty where you walk, may you build extra moments—hours,days, weeks— to recognize the beauty as you go.
And go! New years resolutions aside, this year kicked into fifth gear fast with a large amount of work (I’m seeking grant writing opportunities and have been working overtime—friends, keep your eyes out & email me if you know of organizations who might want this sort of help), a move to the Montavilla neighborhood with my honey, and chugging ahead, thanks to a project grant from the Regional Arts and Cultural Council, to translate Russian poetry and host three bilingual readings with Reed Professor Marat Grinberg this year!
Getting opportunities that you want can be complicated, since great gifts like project grants compel great responsibility. This grant removes obstacles (other than my personal doubts and fears) so that I can move forward in the direction of my dreams. Even if Russian poetry always functioned for me as a hobby, rather than something I ever wanted to speak to big groups about, here’s a chance to step into the discomfort zone.
Some of my great gratitudes of 2014: my writing friends, all who are generous, clear-sighted, and accepting. Friends who read writings I send out. People who showed up at readings. People who tell me about great books. Writers in my classes who took flashlights to beautiful caverns they found inside themselves through writing. The kids who I directed in the musical “Annie, Jr.”—yes , I directed “Annie, Jr.” last summer—who showed me that your openness to trying new things will take you 3/4 of the way to glory. (Here's them singing the finale of Tomorrow like the champions they are.)There are those gratitudes that I don’t have a handle on yet: Brevity Magazine, a very fine and well-respected journal of short prose, published this craft essay with my slightly free-wheeling thoughts on free-writing and personal training. Four months after I wrote it, I’m not sure whether I agree with myself.
And there are those gratitudes that initially resembled shortcomings: in 2014, I tracked my submissions to literary journals and set an arbitrary goal of submitting 75 poems, essays, and applications for fellowships or grants. Guess how many I did? 51. At first I was sad about it, and then someone pointed out that I had done nearly one submission a week and I realized that that was pretty okay, and actually not unimpressive.
Gratitude is not a given, but an orientation. Just think about Elvis. I’m sure Elvis felt misgivings about life often, yes, for he was human (though I guess some say otherwise, or that he was abducted by aliens or something.) But look at the man putting on a show and bringing his A-Game here--
He’s in the danger zone for sure. Not every year is, nor should it be, a year of stretching personally, but I’m hoping that by stepping into the discomfort, whether by giving a speech about translation or wearing a power suit, I’ll get to learn what an A-Game looks like on me while reading poetry of historical cataclysms by Boris Slutsky.
With love and best wishes for 2015,