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It’s true! We finally finished up the raid quest for the fancy stick! Shrove has a legendary! After collecting all kinds of seething this and fiery that, and the various pieces parts or monsters, a little less than a year after I won that fateful roll*, Shrove is now wielding Dragonwrath, Tarecgosa’s Rest** \o/

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Class of 2016

Summer is officially here – it’s Solstice, school has let out, and summer camp begins on Monday. And soon we shall install Pretty Pretty Princess Land* in order to beat the heat.

Our Man Cub is now officially a high school student! The middle school held a ceremony for the leaving eighth-graders yesterday, and I totally got weepy when they all filed into the auditorium. It felt like when he was graduated from grade school two years ago, and it felt like when all the kindergarteners were lined up at the end of the year and paraded around. He’s growing up.

I’m excited for him, and I’m scared for him, this gangly, tall, hairy-legged boy. And I hear that’s right about where I should be, as a parent.  This year brings a new school, new bus, new classes and friends, and a new sense of freedom. It’s huge. (Also, I’m freaked out about driving and about the costs of college, but that’s a different story.** )

The most exciting/scary part of this all is remembering what business I got myself into in to high school. Dude. I did some stuff – a lot of it reckless, a lot of it without permission, all of it without experience. I drove into some things with my car. *** I cut some classes.† I smoked on the sly. I had sexy times. I drank some drinks that my friends said were harmless.†† Really, the least of my trouble-making was the part my parents complained most about, dressing in black and listening to Bauhaus at volume.

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Earlier today I posted up about my new camera (phone), and in the notes at the bottom, I mentioned that I’ve been working on Something. And I’ve made that Something.

I’ve desired for a while to make poetry videos that are not performance based (meaning videos that do not focus on the poet reading to the camera or the audience). And now that I have the camera (ok, phone), I’ve had the chance to try it. I started this project thinking that I would shoot some footage of the area around No. 208, have some friends climb up on the roof, and film them, blah blah blah. But I struggled with it, and it didn’t turn out. In a fit of aggravation, I turned to what I know best: my scraps table. I currently* know little to nothing about shooting a video, but I do know how to make a collage. And so that’s what I did.**

Here it is; I humbly offer you my very first video –

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When I was little, there was a darkroom off the living room – I’m pretty sure it had once been a closet. It was my father’s darkroom, built with his own two hands. There was a red light, and there was equipment and paper in there, and it smelled of chemicals that I came to associate with my dad and with grownup stuff. My dad carried his camera pretty much everywhere when I was little – it may or may not have been a Minolta. Whatever the camera was, he took some truly bitchin’ black and white photos, and he processed them himself (I was really impressed by this when I was little – I still remain impressed, to be honest) over the course of my childhood, in a series of smallish rooms cordoned off in every house we lived in. When the digital age arrived, he moved on to digital cameras, of course, and the darkrooms disappeared. At some point he picked other hobbies,* and really only shoots pictures now at family events or when he and my mom go on vacation. They’re still really good pictures, just not as many.

Me, I never got into photography that much. When I was thirteen, I ended up with a Minolta that had once been my dad’s. I dropped it directly on its lens onto a brick sidewalk in Princeton, NJ, and the cap got jammed so tight it had to be taken to a camera shop to get fixed, and I had to borrow two weeks of allowance in order to do it. I brought the camera home from that outing in tears – I was mortified, and also afraid to pick it up ever again. I think I shot something like two rolls of film, all told. When my son was born, I shot lots of pictures for, like, two years – but I never had the money to develop them,** and once it became apparent that I took pictures and never developed them, I stopped taking pictures altogether.

But now, zomg, I got a phone.

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Good morning, rainy Wednesday! I overslept and so some projects are going to wait for me, but that’s fine for today; I’ll get into them in a bit. But I wanted to pop by and tell you about a neat thing.

Do you know about Suzi Banks Baum’s Laundry Line Divine? She’s been in the blogroll over on the left for a little while now, because I just adore reading her. The blog is split into a bunch of rad pages, the main one being her musings on creativity and daily living and motherhood, accompanied by her fantastic photographs  and collage illustrations. It’s some of the most authentic and delicious stuff I read on a regular basis – the kind of work that makes one’s soul pleased to walk the earth, knowing there are kindred upon the same ground.

And Suzi does something else with her blog, as well – she brings together women who are blogging, printing them up in a collection called Out of the Mouths of Babes*. If you scroll down a little bit on her page and peek in the middle column, you’ll find links to pages that she’s collected of posts from these osm writers about everything from radio to food to inspiration, hung them all out in a line like laundry, and hence the name of her blog.  It’s a very very cool thing.

And I am filled with gratitude this rainy Wednesday to announce that I have been honored with a spot in the line, a repost of a blog entry that I did after coming home from a retreat at Kripalu with Karen Arp-Sandel in the springtime. You can see it here. Better yet, grab some delicious context by starting here with the post from Suzi that jumps to mine at the end.

May your day find a little sugar spilled on it today =)

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I know that no one lasts forever, and that death is a fact of life. But it’s still no fun to hear about the passing of an artist who demanded one’s deepest respect. This morning’s news brought word of the passing of Ray Bradbury, and I am seriously bummed.*

When I was growing up, there was The Bookshelf in my father’s office.** The Bookshelf reached almost the ceiling, and when I was really little and still monkey-limbed, climbable.*** And on The Bookshelf was all kinds of business – everything from my mother’s college textbooks, to a big set of books on how to take and develop photographs, to a full set of World Book Encyclopedias (you remember when encyclopedias were on paper and bound in fancy covers and took up a bunch of space, right?)  And nestled into the shelves was my father’s science fiction collection –  Heinlein, Asimov, Robert E Howard, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K LeGuinn, Ray Bradbury, and a bunch of others. I made it my task to gobble up as many of those books as I possibly could, while avoiding the Conan the Barbarian paperbacks, because they seemed a little sketchy to me.† I like think that I got a right good education from that Bookshelf.

My favorite, from an early age, was Bradbury. Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed, originally published as The Naming of Names in the book The Martian Chronicles, literally changed my life. From the moment I finished that story, my perspective  was different – I wanted now to find mystery in ordinary things, and sought it out at every chance. I also made it my business to read as much Ray Bradbury as I could possibly get my paws on.

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June 2012