Saturday, February 25, 2006

Sadly, Another One Bites the Dust

I just learned that one of my favorite book sellers, A Common Reader, is no more. They did business through their catalog and website. I could not have wished for a more articulate and interesting partner in finding new and interesting books. From "thumping good reads" to staff recommendations to challenging new work, A Common Reader was always smart, reliable, and right on target. They leave a void that I cannot imagine how I will fill.

It was only late last year that Keplers, a Menlo Park bookselling institution, declared bankruptcy. The good news for Keplers is that they were able to put together a group of angel investors and stage a comeback. I try to support them with my purchases at every turn. Understandably, their stock is more limited than before but still a good experience.

I hate that original, independent booksellers are increasingly being put out of business. Their idiosyncratic voices are valuable ones. I am truly saddened by the growing lack of these sages in the world of books.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mama Says Om Theme: 20 Things

At Mama says Om this week, the theme is to list 20 things about yourself. I can do that. So here we are.

Note that the capitalization is meant to complement a staggered layout on the page that didn't quite translate to the Blogger environment. C'est la vie.

20 Things (in no particular order) . . .

I love BOOKS

I collect FOUNTAIN PENS, which I use, and JOURNALS, which I too often don’t

I enjoy the ritual of using INK FROM A BOTTLE

I love PHOTOGRAPHY—both MAKING pictures and LOOKING at others’ work

I am trying to learn to DRAW

I could not survive without AUDIO BOOKS, PODCASTS, and NPR

I FLIRT with technology

I adore my husband MARK and my two children, GRAHAM and LAUREN

I desperately want to RENOVATE MY HOUSE

I am INSPIRED by WORDS and want to write

I have LIVED in Decatur, IL, Chicago, IL, Brooklyn, NY, Seattle, WA,
Tokyo, Japan, Rochester, NY, and Palo Alto, CA.

I consider WINE a food group

I love to COOK and confess to being a foodie

I love things JAPANESE

I am promiscuous with TOOTHPASTE brands

I dislike being BAREFOOT

I enjoy my two big, lumbering LABS, Hamish and Isla

I think God intended BAGELS to be savory and MARTINIS to be made only with gin or vodka and vermouth, an olive or a twist of lemon

I love getting up EARLY in the morning and seeing the SUN rise

I sincerely try to do GOOD THINGS in this world

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Checking In--The Artist's Way, Weeks Four and Five

I'm running behind in the AW. I'm okay with it. I have to be. I'll catch up and this is the week.

First, the good news. My Week Four Artist's Date was nothing short of terrific. Stanford offered a haiku workshop for an afternoon and I jumped at it. I found our instructor, Gary Gach, had a quiet but strong presence. He provided a good foundation for the mechanics and the beauty of haiku. Importantly, he was clear about not being bound by the form (e.g., 5-7-5 syllables) if something worked better--even if that something were a single line. Then we walked and wrote. We walked all of 100 feet into a grove of trees. I walked 100 feet or less and had a whole universe open up to me. I wrote a number of poems. We returned to class and Gary read our chosen poems, aloud. This was a first for me. This was stepping outside my comfort zone in a big way. I admit that it felt great.

The two poems I shared with the class are as follows:

Vinca majora
Five purple petals
Signal spring ahead

and, with Gary's advice and counsel,

Reaching across chasm
Of twinned redwood trees
The spider's web

I sincerely hope we have the chance to do another workshop. The afternoon was a pleasure. Whenever I feel the notebook in my pocket, my spirit soars. I will keep seeing and writing.

Week Five was simply lost to me. My father-in-law passed away. My focus has been on my husband, where it needs to be. I hug my children a bit more tightly and whisper "I love you" a bit more frequently. This is a new part of life's journey for us. This is a source of much reflection for me.

No Complaints

Originally uploaded by sharon_delman.

For the second day in a row, my flight from San Francisco to New York City has been cancelled. Completely cancelled. No chance to get out and get to work. I can enjoy this (see photo) or keep struggling to get to NYC and the 22+ inches of snow in Central Park (not that I wouldn't like to see that). Go ahead, twist my arm. I'm staying put. I'm getting to like this California thing.