Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Nation of Nincompoops

I was having lunch with Rita, her niece Elizabeth and Cindy"Oh My Stars and Garters" Sterling, and Cindy related a grammar story to us today. yesterday Cindy went to (an unnammed bakery) and asked that a message be written on a cake for her mother. "Please have it say, 'Happy Birthday, comma, Dot'." The woman proceeded to write the greeting in icing. The first line said Happy, the second Birthday, and just as the decorator skipped to place the comma on the third line, Cindy stopped her. "It's a personal directive. You place the comma on the same line!"

Granted, most of us do not punctuate our cakes other than an ocasional exclamation point, and many of us may not have noticed the grammatical faux pas and let the woman contunue, and the cake would have read:


Which I think is funnier, but Cindy, and her years of teaching English and grammar, could not in good conscience let it go.
"We're living in a nation of noincompoops," she said at lunch.
So grammar, evn on our pastires, does count people.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

It's the end of the school year, I am in the middle of inventory, ready to grade AP Final projects, have not yet written this week's poem for my poetry workshop, and need to prepare for my YA writer's workshop this Saturday. I need more to do!
This morning I dreamed a complete poem to write for Diane's workshop this week, and in my half sleep it sounded fantatsic. Can I remember any of it? Nope.
I have tons of great opening lines.
By the my father and brother died
I was an expert at sudden death.

Losing weight is like excavating for dinosaur bones.

For a long time she idolized salt like it was Salt God

And these could be titles:
The orange flower of afternoon
Ordinary things worth saving
The brief history of butter
But my brain stops after a few syllbles. Maybe I need a reboot. So Diane,and my fellow poets in workshop, I apologize ahead of time for writing the crappiest poem you will see in a long, long time.
Happy Writing.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Communing with other poets

I am taking the most delightful poetry workshop with my friend Elizabeth. Diane Frank, The group comprises eight of us from all over the country, and we meet online to gather our weekly seed, share our drafts and comments with one another, and get feedback from Diane.

Worskshopping withpeers is important; other poets and writers provide a mirror for you to really see your work, often finding things you didn't realize were there. Others will bring lapses of diction, typos, and verb confusion to your attention. The biggest aid to me is when others point out where they are confused. Never Confuse Your Reader.

One does not grow without being willing to put your work out there and taking ctiticism. You may choose to agree or disagree. Good criticism is NOT a personal reflection; it is a means to make your work better. Some writers are tempted to totally rewrite your work, others offer suggestions and praise. Ultimately, it is up to you, the writer, to decide how to "solve" the writing.

If you are afraid to take a workshop, I highly suggest working with Diane. She does an online, 8 week class in the fall and one in the spring. (her summer workshop takes place in San Francsico for 4 days.) Each week she provides seeds which enable poets to stretch their writing muscles. She also gives gentle, yet accurate criticism on lines and word choices. She demonstrates where one should push the images.
Here is last week's poem: (Several particpants suggested major changes, but Diane liked it as is. I think I will sit on it for awhile and decide.)


In the airport gift shop the words death
and plane crash leap from newspaper headlines.
The opening lines of a novel I pick up announce,
“You are going to die.”

My travel companion recounts last night’s dream.
“You and I attended a poetry reading at a graveyard.
The poets perched their bodies on headstones.”

As a kid I pondered how the world could exist without me,
The infinite universe, my own private amusement park
I controlled by opening and closing my eyes.

Life is an airport hotel.
You fly to a new destination;
Someone else moves into your room.

Laura Moe ©2011

Happy Writing.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Going Postal

Intially I thought my compalint with the post office today had nothing to do with writing, but it does. I was attempting to mail a couple copies of one of my books and a poetry book to a contest winner today, a Saturday, and since it was after 12:00 (I don't move quickly in the mornings unless I have to) I figured I could use the branch at the mall that is open until 1 pm. I arrived around ten minutes after twelve to be be told that the computer was down, and the postal woman couldn't serve me. "Don't you have an old fashioned postal scale? You can weigh the packages, and I can pau you cash."
The woman said she did not usually work there and had no idea where anything was.
My complaint is not with HER, per se, but the postal manager who scheduled someone unfamiliar with the branch, the ONLY branch in town open on Saturday, that was essentially the Titanic. Saturday is the only day I have TIME to stand in line and mail packages, as I imagine did the angry line of people standing behind me.
So yes, I can see why people go postal.
I tried sending the books UPS at Staples, but I could have bought a tank of gas cheaper. So those of you expecting a book frm me, it's going to take a few more days. There IS a postal branch in a flower shop near where I work. I will try them Monday.

Happy Writing.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

painting as zen

I repainted my living room over the weekend, which is labor intensive. The prep work is the hardest part: packing stuff up and moving it into other room so these two rooms looked like an episode of Hoarders, making several trips to Home Depot, or as my friend Cindy calls it, Home Despot, and assembling my supplies. The task of moving the large furniture to the center of the room and covering it with plastic sheeting so it looked like visiting ghosts was also necessary. But saturday we FINALLY had dry weather and it was warm enough to open windows and doors.

the Zen happens during actual painting when brush and paint roller make contact with paint. There is a lovely sentient experience to stirring paint. I love the viscosity of paint, and applying it to a wall. The gradual change to the environment, and how three quarters of the way you feel a new energy being born by the vibrant, friendly color. It's now a mellow coral color. (Behr color Caramal sundae. I stole the color from some friends dining room on Easter Sunday. I felt enveloped in friendly energy and bought a gallon the next day.)
Paint is a cheap and quick way to transform a room. I am sure it will help me create new poems.

Happy Writing.