My daughter decided to start doing these monthly updates and I thought it was a great idea. I even decided to join the What I’m Into link party at Leigh Kramer. :D
Almost everything I’ve been reading this month is required reading for the MFA Program. Some of the reading is excellent. Some of it is … um … well … super strange? Welcome to the literary “art” world. ;)
Here’s a list of books I read in January for classes, in case you’re interested (in no particular order — this is just how they sit on my shelf right now):
- Bluets by Maggie Nelson
- Urban Tumbleweed by Harryette Mullen
- Sixty Morning Walks by Andy Fitch
- The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino
- Sleeping with the Dictionary by Harryette Mullen
- Looking Up Harryette Mullen by Barbara Henning
- Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein
- A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon by CA Conrad
- An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris by Georges Perec
- Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer
Although I’ve come to have an appreciation for each of these works, the only one I truly enjoyed reading and would’ve read on my own was Urban Tumbleweed. Actually, now that I think about it, that book wasn’t required reading for the MFA program. I chose to read it because after researching Harryette Mullen for a class presentation, I thought it sounded like something I might enjoy. Mullen wrote tankas (5 line Japanese poems) after taking walks in her local city parks.
After reading it, I even tried my hand at writing some tankas after walking in my own local parks.
I’m sure there are probably other things I’ve read this past month that I’m forgetting offhand.
To start off, I don’t have any television reception. No cable. No antennae. Nada.
Partly because I can’t really afford cable at the moment, but also because I know how easily I can get sucked into TV sitcoms, reality shows, The Voice, and even the evening news. I have too much going on since I returned to school to spend much time watching the tube. I’ve made an active, conscious choice to not have TV at this time in my life.
BUT … (yes, there’s a “but”) … I binge watch shows on Amazon Instant Video and Netflix from time to time. ;-)
I finished all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation just before school started back up in early January. Then I started watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine about two weeks ago. Whenever I need a break from homework or from reading super “artsy” materials, it seems to be a good way to cleanse my palette for the next course. I was surprised to discover that Next Generation is my all-time favorite Star Trek series so far. I didn’t particularly enjoy it when it first came on TV back in the 80’s, so I only watched it sporadically then. For some unknown reason, I LOVE it now. Maybe I’m just more accustomed to Patrick Stewart and tend to love anything he’s in?
I don’t normally watch the NBC reality show, The Biggest Loser, but this season the son of a long-time friend was on the show. I watched every week, even though it meant waiting until the next day because I have classes on Thursday nights (and I also had to wait for the network to put the current episode onto their website). My friend’s son, Jordan, was the At-Home Winner! He took home $100K for all his hard work! Way to go, Jordan Alicandro! You’re truly an inspiration!
You can watch highlights of Jordan’s journey here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeybA5e3x4w
Oh, and I watched the SuperBowl, but had to go to my oldest daughter’s place to see the game. I’m not a big sports fan, but I do try to watch the SuperBowl every year (especially when the Seahawks are playing). :)
- Club Pogo (I like to play Boggle Bash, Scrabble, and Dice City Roller)
Sad to say that I don’t listen to music much these days. Usually just in the car while driving to and from school. And even then, I just usually listen to one CD over and over again for a couple of weeks. :-)
Current CD on constant replay in the car is Joe Strummer and the Mescalero’s Global-a-Go-Go
Before that, it was Paul McCartney’s Good Evening New York City
And of course I’m always singing the random can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head songs that haunt my days: Rubber Ducky has been the main ear worm this month ;-)
I made Confetti Salad for one of our SuperBowl treats this year. It’s always a favorite around here.
I finally feel like I’m getting into the swing of things. The first quarter of the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics was challenging for me (numerous reasons but mainly health-related), but this second quarter seems to be going much better.
For a brief update on how the MFA program is going: Reflections After Fall Quarter
I put together an Oral History report on my grandmother, Madeline Taylor (as of this past month, she’s now 104 years young!). I gave assorted friends and family bound copies for Christmas gifts.
Then, just for fun, I decided in January — in honor of her birthday — to put Grandma’s story on the web. Yes, my grandma now has her own domain. The photo is Grandma and me when I was about two at their house on Lake Washington.
Stop by and read about Grandma’s life when you have time. She’s a fascinating woman who has lived a long and interesting life:
I’ve also been adding some of the writing experiments I’ve been doing in my classes to my personal “just-for-fun” blog. Check it out. It’s all very experimental and not my normal writing style by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s kinda fun to shake things up a bit.
I’ll be trying to remember to post one of these monthly wrap-ups at the end of each month this year. I’m not really updating this blog regularly right now with all my school-related things going on, so I thought this could be a nice way to keep in touch a little bit more.
Hope everyone’s well! Leave a comment and let me know if you’re still out there. :)