Thursday, March 29, 2012

Adrienne Rich

Adrienne Rich died on Tuesday. As some of you may know, I work for the agency that represents her. I wrote a paper on her poem "Storm Warnings" in high school, and her name was one of the reasons I applied for my job. I was lucky enough to work with her on occasion, mostly on boring logistical things, and to have met her when she came to the agency a couple of years ago during a trip to New York. I escorted her back to her hotel which was a couple blocks away, and I remember having the impulse to tell everyone we passed that they were standing just inches away from a living legend.

At the end of the day I barely knew her, but in addition to being a brave and powerful voice for those who couldn't always speak for themselves, she was as lovely a person as one could imagine. In the acknowledgments of her last book she was kind enough to name everyone at our small agency including me who, as I mentioned, she had only met twice. Her contributions to poetry, and humanity, were remarkable and she will be missed.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Storm Warnings by Adrienne Rich

The glass has been falling all the afternoon,
And knowing better than the instrument
What winds are walking overhead, what zone
Of grey unrest is moving across the land,
I leave the book upon a pillowed chair
And walk from window to closed window, watching
Boughs strain against the sky

And think again, as often when the air
Moves inward toward a silent core of waiting,
How with a single purpose time has traveled
By secret currents of the undiscerned
Into this polar realm. Weather abroad
And weather in the heart alike come on
Regardless of prediction.

Between foreseeing and averting change
Lies all the mastery of elements
Which clocks and weatherglasses cannot alter.
Time in the hand is not control of time,
Nor shattered fragments of an instrument
A proof against the wind; the wind will rise,
We can only close the shutters.

I draw the curtains as the sky goes black
And set a match to candles sheathed in glass
Against the keyhole draught, the insistent whine
Of weather through the unsealed aperture.
This is our sole defense against the season;
These are the things we have learned to do
Who live in troubled regions.

          -Adrienne Rich

Friday, March 23, 2012

Comfort Books

For book club next month we're reading KING LEOPOLD'S GHOST. We've been meeting for almost two years and this is our first non-fiction selection. I was initally excited about it because it's about the Belgian occupation of the Congo and I am generally totally on board with reading horribly depressing books about awful things that happened in Africa (see: WE WISH TO INFORM YOU THAT TOMORROW WE WILL BE KILLED WITH OUR FAMILIES). I was getting along just fine for about the first hundred pages, but this week I seem to have hit a wall.

For various reasons, the last three months have been a disaster of pretty insane proportions. More and more I find that the only things I want to read are comfort books, books that are mostly very sad but that in their sadness also reaffirm my recently shaken faith in people's ability to connect to one another in times of profound awfulness.

Here is my personal reading list for when everything sucks:

Reasons to Live by Amy Hempel
The Father by Sharon Olds
A River Runs Through It by Norman McLean
Self-Help and Anagrams by Lorrie Moore
All This Heavenly Glory by Elizabeth Crane
New and Selected Poems 1974-1994 by Stephen Dunn
W.H. Auden: Selected Poems
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
Monkeys by Susan Minot

Monday, March 19, 2012

Yes I Know It's Gorgeous Out

Last week I told my therapist that spring makes me depressed. (Is revealing you have a therapist even personal anymore? Doesn't everyone have a therapist?) Eventually I come around to the whole beautiful weather and blossoming flowers thing and start to enjoy it as much as anyone else, but the transition from winter always makes me feel down. Apparently this isn't that weird. If you're not feeling that awesome to begin with, the weather getting warmer and the sun staying up can just make your inside world feel more at odds with the outside one.

I like fall. Maybe because I was born in October or because that sense of back to school anticipation never wore off for me. More than spring, it feels like a time of new beginnings. When you have the chance to completely reinvent yourself starting with the chunky Steve Madden loafers your dad got you at the mall. Spring is just life starting over for everything else trees, animals having babies. I can't see how any of that relates to me.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


Yesterday one of my co-workers asked me what I was doing for St. Patrick's Day. I explained that I hate St. Patrick's Day and my plan was to not leave the apartment.
Imagine my amazement when I watched 30 Rock last night and heard Liz Lemon tell her boss "I don't leave my house on St. Patrick's Day."
I have long suspected that were Liz Lemon to give into her exhibishionist impulses and develop a love for rhinestones and crying, we would officially be the same person. This was confirmed a few months ago when I was hanging out with my boyfriend and pulled a Costco cookie wrapped in a napkin out of my purse that I had taken from work as a snack.
I wonder how long it will be before I start walking around in shorteralls and eating off-brand Mexican Cheetos for lunch.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I Am Very Important

This afternoon I spent 20 minutes exploring the seedy world of the online office supply black market because the Rolodex cards my boss uses are so old they no longer make them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reading this Week

I'm reading this Friday with Derangement of the Senses, a reading and performance series organized every month by Kevin Carter of Fiction Circus. As the poster indicates there will also be an abundance of cats and hallucinogenic drugs available. Kidding! But there will be alcohol as the event is in a bar and possibly some kind of electronic DJ setup as that has been involved in the past. I've read and performed burlesque with them a few times and always have a lot of fun.

Where: Happy Endings Lounge
302 Broome St.
When: 7:30