Friends of the unreal blog –
The past couple of years have been intense ones for me personally and creatively. Being locked down so far away from family and friends in California but having the comfort of my spouse, Larry, I engaged in some very deep introspection and memory and wrote like crazy. As an only child, I learned early to entertain myself for hours making up stories and acting them out with my dolls, singing and dancing along to records, coloring in my coloring books and playing dress up with the clothes in a Bloomingdales shopping bag in the closet.
My new novel Pretend Plumber – which I began a long time ago – came into being during this time, as did my novella sequel to the Puppet Turners, Journey to Merveilleux City, which will come out this year or early next.
At the same time I was involved with a different, highly personal writing project: recalling and writing about my experiences with the outside. Being outside is an obvious state of affairs for most of you, but for me, the outside represented and still represents something very different. As a Manhattanite, I was an inhabitant of small apartments, without backyards and automobiles. The outside I got to know first was the playground at Central Park. My out-of-doors was not a trail but a street. Yet, that street resonated for me just as powerfully and naturally as any garden or any state or federal reserve resonated for you.
My new poetry collection CITY SLICKER is a mini-memoir that engages with memories of and current experiences of the outside. Although I am a city person, my experience of the urban is not always positive, and my experience of the rural is not always negative (although it’s often comical). That said, I do note that, recently, my experience of outside reflects the unease I feel around others in the place where I currently reside. Perhaps you feel it too, where you live: the sense of moving through hostile territory, even if you are – like me – abled, white, cis gender, heterosexual and European-looking. If you are a BIPOC person and/or a LGBTQIA person, then I’m guessing the surroundings may bee threatening if not downright scary*.
In my introductory essay to the forthcoming issue of SHARK REEF literary magazine, I address this issue from an immediate, personal perspective, and I’ll link to it when it goes live.
Murray Bookchin writes that whenever we talk about Nature we are really talking about our relationships with each other, and that our views of Nature over time are no more and no less than a projection of our social-economic connections – what we feel we owe to each other.
My collection explores this paradox. Wherever we go, we are always in relation to other people. Looking at a pine tree in Coupeville or standing in line for frozen yogurt on the corner of Olympic Boulevard and Westwood.
Please consider pre-ordering CITY SLICKER. If you preorder, email me, and I’ll send you the curated spotify playlist that accompanies the collection AND I’ll send you a special prompt so you can make your own poem.
Below is a trailer created by Dennis Callaci that gives you a taste of one of the poems in the collection:
Happy July – stay safe and remember that fireworks are triggering to both Military veterans and our beloved domestic animals.
*a disabled friend observed that they felt hostility in that wherever they went they created extra work and “problems” for people in the form of extra time and extra effort.