Am Reading: Maureen Eppstein’s Poetry

Greensboro, North Carolina: Marsh Street Press, 2007

Greensboro, North Carolina: Marsh Street Press, 2007

Curves

by Maureen Eppstein

Head down against the wind,
surf pounding to my right, I notice
the pattern the sand makes
as it blows along the beach,
filling in footprints,
covering chevron streaks
left by the falling tide.
The sand moves
like smoke from a chimney,
or water-weed in a smoothly flowing stream,
or the curve — I forget its name —
drawn by tying a pencil
to a thread unwinding from a spool.
There are connections here.
My mind struggles clumsily, glimpsing
an elegance I long to comprehend.

Maureen Eppstein is a New Zealander now living in Mendocino, California, where she helps run the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

2666: Moving BACKWARDS

Today, self awoke in near-dark (pretty much par for the course, the past week).

She reached for Roberto Bolaño.

Decided to quote from the page she’s on.

Checked the last post she wrote on Roberto Bolaño.

Amazing, she’s apparently moved backwards.

lol

Without further ado:

She sat at the windowsill and looked out at the city. A sea of flickering lights stretched toward the south. If she leaned half her body out the window, the humming stopped. The air was cold and felt good.

– Roberto Bolaño, 2666, p. 108

Yesterday, self stood at the bottom of Ukiah Street, staring at the headlands. And it was cold. And there was a chill wind. And she felt it whipping her thin hair practically off her scalp.

The cold that self has felt building up for days finally arrived in earnest. And she can even point to the exact time it hit: Thursday, 8:09 a.m.

She ended up running to Corners of the Mouth Organic Market and telling Vicki: I am going to be extremely busy in the coming week. And I feel something coming on. Can you give me something that will at least keep me ambulatory.

Here’s what she ended up giving self: zinc lozenges; Elderberry Syrup; Lung & Throat Herbal Drops; Macro-Biotic Nasal Spray; two fresh lemons to squeeze into her tea.

But the best, the absolutely best cold remedy? Peeta Mellark. Thank God for fan fiction. Would that she could spend all day in bed, just reading.

You know, she only brought a few books with her to Mendocino. In two months, she’s read exactly 2 1/4 books. (In the long-ago time of her fulsome-ness, she would have whipped through about eight)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“The Lost Coast”: Sunset Magazine, September 2014

Self is re-reading an article that appeared in the September 2014 issue of Sunset Magazine, an article about “The Lost Coast” — “the remote 200-plus-mile stretch (80 miles of which is called the Lost Coast) between the Oregon border and the logging town of Fort Bragg.”

The Lost Coast is where you encounter (culling from the article):

  • rain-soaked forest
  • mysterious little towns
  • rogue marijuana farms
  • elk
  • campgrounds “hidden in the dense forest and brush”
  • estuaries
  • rocky headlands
  • long sandbars
  • Sitka spruces
  • good local Sangiovese
  • local Humboldt Fog cheese
  • Redwood National Park

Well, there is still time for self to cross off a few of the things on that list, starting with good, local Sangiovese.

Two days ago, she had to borrow 30 cents from a teen-ager working the concession stand at the Fort Bragg Coast Cinema. Yes, she has sunk so low.

She drove there to see “Focus” starring her Number 1 Male Chest of all time, Will Smith (Margot Robbie is in it, and also has a chest, for those of you who play on the other team). And when she got there, she found out she had just enough for the movie ticket, and $2. And she had left her credit card in her apartment.

@@##!!

And to think she had been anticipating stuffing her face with buttery popcorn, since any Will Smith movie these days is cause for celebration, but the smallest popcorn cost $4.50, and the girl said why not have a candy bar instead? Self could have a giant Kit Kat bar or Maltesers or M&Ms for $2.50.

So self emptied out the entire contents of her coin purse, right there on the counter. And she was only able to come up with 20 cents, even counting pennies. So she was still short 30 cents. And bless that young girl, for she said: “Oh, just choose a candy bar. Never mind the 30 cents.”

##@@!!!

Self, You are despicable.

“Are you sure?” Self practically squealed. “I’ll come back tomorrow and pay you back! What’s your name? What time are you working?”

The girl just laughed and waved self off.

Damn! Self is going to go back there right now, newly armed with cash.

AND she’s going to post a glowing review of Coast Cinema, Fort Bragg, on Yelp.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Food Rewards

Oh the sun is shining, and the world is fine.

Self is sticking to the Photo Challenge this week, REWARD.

Two of these fine establishments are at most a 15-minute walk from the Mendocino Art Center.

Seafood Fettucine from The Mendocino Café, last Saturday

Seafood Fettucine from The Mendocino Café, last Saturday

Garden Bakery, between Ukiah and Albion Street, Mendocino

Garden Bakery, between Ukiah and Albion Street, Mendocino

And here’s a place where self used to hang out in, when son was still going to school in Sacred Heart Prep: Ann’s Coffee Shop. Parents would arrange to meet here for breakfast, after dropping their kids off at school.

Coconut Cream Pie, Freshly Baked: Ann's Coffee Shop in downtown Menlo Park

Coconut Cream Pie, Freshly Baked: Ann’s Coffee Shop in downtown Menlo Park

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

More Rewards in Mendocino

The WordPress Photo Challenge this week is REWARD.

The prompt, in its entirety, reads:

Reward is filthy with possibility: it could be your third grader’s beaming smile after reading her first chapter book, a steaming mug of chicken soup after a long run in the cold, a photo of your brand-new baby — your reward for patience during nine months of construction, or your extended family gathered the dinner table.

Food is its own reward. Right? Right?

First, Queenie’s Road House in Elk. Worth driving 20 miles from Mendocino for.

DSCN8766

Strawberry waffles rule!

DSCN8765

Saturday brunch: The Mendocino Café on Lansing:

Thai Hotpot at The Mendocino Café, Saturday Feb. 28

Thai Hotpot at The Mendocino Café, Saturday Feb. 28

Everything yummy.

Stay tuned.

Roberto Bolaño: 2666

As they left the airport, the three of them noticed how bright it was in Sonora. It was as if the light were buried in the Pacific Ocean, producing an enormous curvature of space. It made a person hungry to travel in that light, although also, and maybe more insistently, thought Norton, it made you want to bear your hunger until the end.

2666, pp. 110 -111

 

Surrounding Oneself with Positive Images Is Very Rewarding

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: REWARD.

Here’s a reward: being able to smell the flowers!

Beautiful Arrangement! Saw this today.

Beautiful Arrangement! Saw this today.

Wider-Angle View of Same

Wider-Angle View of Same

Self was able to cross off one of the items on her list of things to do before she leaves Mendocino: She finally experienced the excellence of breakfast at Queenie’s Road House in Elk (It closes every winter but re-opened a few weeks ago). She had strawberry waffles.

Queenie’s is definitely where the locals hang out: it was crowded. Thankfully, there was room for a solitary diner.

If your destination isn't on this signpost, change it for one of these (Seen on the side of the road in Elk, CA)

If your destination isn’t on this signpost, change it for one of these (Seen on the side of the road in Elk, CA)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reward: WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge

This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is REWARD.

When one has spent a hard couple of days writing, applying to grants, and commenting on student writing, one needs to reward oneself with . . .

Gelato!

Since self’s favorite gelato place is all the way in Palo Alto, however, self has to be content with walking around the Mendocino business district, which has all kinds of quaint businesses, like this one:

Lansing Street, Mendocino

Lansing Street, Mendocino

Her first week here, self heard a woman calling out: “Wif-Fi! No! Wi-Fi!” Turned out Wi-Fi was the name of her pooch. But at first self thought she was bewailing the state of the wi-fi connections here. Then, self had no complaints.

Now, it’s self’s turn to cry, “Wi-Fi! No Wi-Fi! No!” It took her 10 minutes just to upload one picture.

 

Stay tuned.

Hunger Games Fan Fiction Reading of the Day

The internet is crap today.

Crap. Crap. Crap.

Do you know how hard it is to teach an on-line class when each page takes about 5 minutes to refresh, and it takes at least 10 seconds for auto-fill ? At this rate, she’ll still be in front of her computer, still in her pajamas, until midnight. Tomorrow, too.

Time for a break. So wonderful that all she needs to do is switch windows and she lands on her fan fiction reading of the day.

Katniss is a lone Victor of her games. One day, while out foraging in the woods, she encounters a starving and beaten Peeta, and invites him to come home with her to be “her baker.”

There is no Prim. No Mrs. Everdeen. Only a Mellark family so cruel they could be lifted directly from the Brothers Grimm.

In the meantime, Katniss wanders to Town to get Peeta some new clothes. The ones he’s wearing are completely ripped and torn, as if he’s been set upon by wild animals. While Katniss is in town, she bumps into Madge Undersee. At which point:

“It’s good to see you,” Madge continues.

Is it? Katniss doesn’t answer, just adjusts the strap of her bag and gives her a fake smile. The kind she’s perfected for her Capitol audience, who want her to be happy but don’t care, really, if she is or not.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

 

Eunoia Review: Last Wednesday of February 2015

By the time we fled our house
and the jackals
we’d become expert thieves,
really wonderful liars.
We smiled and told people how happy we were
while picking their pockets.

– excerpt from “Muscle Memory,” by Len Kuntz

*     *     *     *     *

For special occasions we ate
Glorified Rice,
white rice slathered with whipped cream and pineapple chunks.
Before that was German food,
hamburger baked inside dough,
fried dough and potatoes

– excerpt from “Glorified Rice,” by Len Kuntz

Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and the author of the story collection Dark Sunshine (Connotation Press).

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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