Monday, January 19, 2009

Books, feet and haibuns

First off, here’s this morning’s meditation poem:

Meditation 51

The things I recall:
corn crushed to nothing,

olive oil, bread,
salt for preservation

and the extraordinary lack
of honey.

Where life should be,
death lies waiting,

barely noticed
amongst yeast and memory.

Hmm, ideal musing indeed for what appears to be Blue Monday, as it’s supposed to be the most depressing day of the year today. Seems not too bad so far, but heck there’s still time for various disasters to develop …

However, as an antidote to the blues, the lovely Sue from the Health Centre is going to be reading Thorn in the Flesh at her March book group and I’ve been invited to attend – so thanks for that, Sue, and I hope I can make the date.

And there are other exciting literary announcement too. Charles at Ink Sweat and Tears webzine has been kind enough to publish my lesbian haibun, The Secret Smell of Lemons today, so do pop along and have a read. Thanks, Charles! Added to that is the fact that Haruah Magazine have accepted two of my Meditation Poems for publication and are also interested in reviewing A Stranger's Table and my cup indeed runneth over. Thank you, Rochita - I really appreciate that too.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the AUA conference information has turned up – rather earlier than usual, if memory serves me – so I can have fun working out what I might be able to do at the sessions. If I can understand what the titles mean, that is.

This lunchtime, I had another blissful reflexology session with Emily – so that chilled me out for the afternoon. Which was greatly needed as it’s term-time once more and therefore a 5.30pm finish. Ah it’s that last half-hour that breaks the back, you know … Mind you, I had to walk back to the office after the session in the pouring rain, so that took the edge off it somewhat. Sigh.

And tonight, I’m leading the University Book Group in a discussion of Tania Hershman’s short story collection, The White Road and Other Stories. I’ve had to fiddle my approach a bit, as I’m not sure whether they’ll have been able to get hold of copies as I know there’s been an issue with the printing of the second edition – but I’ve tried to cover for all eventualities by thinking up questions I can ask if none of them have read it and questions I can ask if they have. It’s all done by smoke and mirrors, as ever. UPDATE - it was wonderful. We had a great discussion - even the man who didn't like short stories, science or magic realism said it made him think and widened his reading horizons. Plus they asked me to read out Heavy Bones (as the general group favourite in the book) in my usual Essex accent which I did and they loved the story even more. Ah, I knew my accent would come in handy one day, you know ... Those of them who didn't manage to get hold of the book are now going to do so and read it, and they're more open to looking at short stories again because of it so a great success and thank you to Tania for writing such a great collection.

At home, I’m planning to do as little as possible, though I will watch the final part of Hunter. Lord H thought yesterday’s sudden revelation of the identity of the criminal at the very end of Part One would have been better if it had just been hinted at, so there would have been more to speculate about for tonight’s denouement. Really, he should be a drama consultant – he’s definitely got the gift.

And this week’s hero (by a majority opinion we’re only allowed one this week) is Barack Obama – mainly because Andrea thinks he’s truly wonderful. Which I’m sure he is, of course – but it’s politics and I’m sorry but I can’t get hugely excited about it. The cynical side of me says give him a couple of years and you won’t tell the difference from the last one (hush my mouth!), but I appreciate I’m a lone voice! Again.

I've also just finished reading Fiona Sampson's utterly stunning poetry collection, Uncommon Prayer. Frankly it's wonderful - a rich and intricate layering of humanity and our relationship with the world of the senses. If you read anything this year, please read this one. Sometimes you have to think and focus on what she's saying but really it's worth it every time. A tour-de-force of poems.

Today’s nice things:

1. Poetry
2. Thorn being in a book group schedule
3. Reflexology
4. The University book group
5. TV
6. My haibun being published
7. Two of my Meditation Poems being accepted
8. An offer to review A Stranger's Table
9. Uncommon Prayer.

Anne Brooke
Anne's website - thoroughly enjoying the day

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