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I recently fell back in love with fountain pens. We’d been on the outs for a while. My trusty AG Spalding & Bros, my companion for many years, was being petulant and non-communicative. I thought it was me and my left-handedness. We ceased to bond. After many furtive attempts to normalize relations, and one smear campaign too many, I put my Spalding away. I returned to my old-friend Sarasa, color mahogany, intimate yet disposable, and I continued on my merry way for the last 2 years.

But in putting away my fountain pens, I had ceased the letter writing that has seen Sailor and I through this marriage. I ceased writing in my journal. I ceased the diligent note taking that has seen me through school.

Quite frankly, I’ve been a bit lost.

A small shop here in State College carries a very limited supply of writing tools, mostly Lamy pens that the engineers on campus seem to prefer, and the inexpensive but reputation as dependable Retro 1951, of which, I was unfamiliar, but always wanted to try, so I bought a stainless steel model with a .7mm nib. I immediately liked the balance, the heft of this dense pen. I also purchased a 3-pack of Moleskin notebooks with kraft-paper covers for the new school term. Good pens with good inks are only truly appreciated when joined to great paper.

Out of practice, I was holding my hand in an angle that assured everything I would would be smeared. I wasn’t crazy about the ink that came with the pens. Mostly because it was black ink from Private Reserve (a brand I not fond of) and the color black should be relegated to little black dresses and Edward Gorey drawings.

I decided to change the cartridge and found a tin of J. Herbin ink lurking in my desk drawer. I flushed the pen of the black plague and replaced it with the Lierre Sauvage color that Sailor likes to use. Further scrounging awarded me a lone cartridge of Terre de Feu, a particularly Moroccan shade of red I’ve always been mad about, and suddenly, I am pulling out my old Spalding, giving it a thorough cleaning, inserting the cartridge and it is love reborn.

Writing for me has a very tactile quality. As much as I like blogging, without my preferred shade of red, I don’t seem to recognize myself. Recognition is strong sentiment with me when I write or read the works of others. Blogger, Suicide Blond, clearly thinks in pictures and her recent forays that incorporate that element more thoroughly into her posts makes her recent scribblings seem more complete to me.

Memory has always been a hallmark of Girlgriot. She travels back into the recesses of her recollections and you are right back there with her, every step of the way. I always wonder at how she manages to capture that feeling so perfectly.

Twisty Faster at I Blame the Patriarchy can always be counted on for the invention of new words or the re-invention of what you thought was a word and is now your new mantra. I read her posts and those unusual but still perfectly grammatically correct sentences just jump off the freakin page…

Sigh…slightly jealous I am.

But at least I’ve been blogging more recently. That’s a start. Maybe I just need a blog redesign. Again. Maybe I need a redesign. Again. Although I think a blog with a Terre de Feu font color would be simultaneously both awesome and obnoxious to read. If there was just some way to combine my actual writing life with my online writing life, I’d feel more at home.



I don’t know what’s gotten into the water lately, but it seems like a lot of new bloggers are popping up onto the scene.

As I’ve written previously, while going back to school I somehow manage to acquire a small group of ducklings to mentor. Said ducklings, or at least a few of them, have struck out on their own into the big bad world and recently started up blogs. It makes a lot of sense, the idea of blogging at that age. You’re just out of college, a newly minted citizen at the Grown Up Table, and you’re starting to figure out who you are in this world. Writing is a great discipline and if you are honest with yourself, you will discover the weird and strange sides of your intellect when you communicate with the mice in your brain.

So, here’s a few I encourage you to check out:

The Urban Liberal: This young woman came into my life two years ago like Category 5 hurricane and my proverbial trees she knocked down have been slowly growing back ever since. I see a lot of myself in her: brash, occasionally reckless but essentially good-natured, open to discovery and not afraid to fall to on her face in the process. She’s discovering her voice as a dyed-in-the-wool liberal and it’s a terrifically interesting process to behold. But reader beware, you pick a fight with this chick and she will argue with you to the end of time. I’ve witnessed many a nasty Facebook fights and she stands swinging for days.

Ethan Johns: an exceptional young man I know attending Mercyhurst College. He’s been going through a tough year and yet he handles it with grace and perseverance. He’s only posted one entry, but that’s the first step! I’m hoping he continues to write. Do him a favor and post a comment to urge him along.

What We do with the Time Given to Us: Miss Megan, oh, what to say? A new college grad living in DC and getting her feet wet. She makes so many stringent, stringent rules for herself and I would love nothing more in this life than to see her start breaking some of the rules. I would also like her to stop constantly analyzing where she fits into a situation or whatever group dynamic around her, and instead, just enjoy the moment. C’mon Megan! Step on a crack and break yo mama’s back!

There is a rule in Wikipedia culture that I rather enjoy: don’t be mean to the newbies. This rule is meant to protect those who are new to the environment. This is not to say that one should not question, debate, and comment on the younglings’ offerings, but to think first before coming down on the young ones like a ton of bricks.

These are young, bright, emotional beings who deserve a chance to paddle in the pool before going off into the deep end. They’re figuring out their beliefs, refining their thought processes, and will do so a hundred times over in the next few years. That being said: be nice, dammit!

As I am not currently spending any quality time in Erie, PA anymore, I think it best to rename this blog.

I have yet to come up with anything good but the current list of “also-rans” center around central Pennsylvania and my PhD program.

I won’t promise that I will clean up my act. It is highly likely that I remain a spotty and uneven blogger writing about whatever the mice in my brain tell me to.

That being said, I am open to suggestions!

Emma over at Eriepressible tagged me for the Honest Scrap Award, to which I say danke schoen, Darling, danke schoen.

The Award and Rules:

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.

Regurgitation of the Rules:

1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.

2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.

3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!*

So here’s my list:

1. Blonder Than You. I like this blog because it’s gleefully naughty, terrifically dirty, and almost always cheeky. But I LOVE this blog because Suicide Blond is fantastic at throwing emotional curveballs when you least expect it.

2. Ill-Doctrine: Yeah, I know, it’s a video blog, but Jay Smooth rocks my world with his ability to tackle complicated social politics in a way I thought had disappeared when Dave Chapelle left television. And the man does it with great humor, integrity and style…sorry, Dave, the torch has been passed.

3. Indexed. Anyone who reads this blog regularly enough knows I loves me my geekery. The broad who writes this blog is a genius at combining elements of social studies, basic logic, and pure snarkery

4. Saudi Eve. A Saudi Arabian female trying to tackle work and and a personal life in a society I simply wouldn’t ever want to live in. I first came across her during the Israel bombing of Lebanon in 2006. Her entry for that time crushed me and I know I haven’t looked at that region in the same way since.

5. If you Want Kin… Who would have ever thought that white girl from Detroit would have so much in common with a teacher from Brooklyn of Jamaican descent? But time and time again, I find my thoughts, favorite poets, writers, movies, and other life passions reflected in her writing. I don’t know this woman, but I feel a stronger kinship with her than I do with most my blood relatives.

6. Fox and Maus. My buddy ole pal from my little island off the coast of Maine. I like Turkish Prawn’s New England sensibility, plus he gives me news from home.

7. Computer Nerd Composer. What can I say? Hildi is my favorite Viking from one of my favorite countries.

And my 10 Honest Confessions:

1. Walk by my house on a summer evening and you can usually hear me rocking out, top of my lungs while doing whatever it is I am doing inside. Sometimes it’s Opera, sometimes it’s Irish ballads, lately, it has been  a lot of Elton John, circa 1970’s.

2. While I appreciate Aretha Franklin, I really don’t think she is the greatest female rock singer. And to be really honest, I think she kind of sucks. I can easily list dozens of other women with better voices.

3. The older I get the more I want to go back in time and be even more reckless than I was already.

4. I’m honest to the point of being mean. I’m trying to work on that.

5. When Sailor is gone, I can go months without shaving my legs…in the winter anyway…

6. Despite the tattoos, dirty jokes, and perceived social aggressiveness, I’m actually a little conservative and can be quite shy.

7. Although I love my family, with the exception of my sister, I don’t like them very much as people.

8. I won the freakin’ lottery in the In-Law departent. My mother and father in-law rock.

9. My husband is so nice, so thoughtful and so good to other people that I feel unworthy sometimes.

10. My dog is my longest and most successful relationship.

Believe it or not, I learned this poem sophomore year of Catholic high school. To date, this remains one my favorite naughty poems. Do keep in mind this is posted by woman whose husband is away at sea…

(ponder,darling,these busted statues
of yon motheaten forum be aware
notice what hath remained
–the stone cringes
clinging to the stone,how obsolete

lips utter their extant smile . . . .

a few deleted of texture
or meaning monuments and dolls

resist Them Greediest Paws of careful
time all of which is extremely
unimportant)whereas Life

matters if or

when the your-and my-
idle vertical worthless
self unite in a peculiarly

partnership(to instigate
business . . . . even so,let us make haste
–consider well this ruined aqueduct

which used to lead something into somewhere)

ee cummings

Sailor reads more poetry than any person I have ever met. He tackles poets I wouldn’t dream of reading unless I had the backup of a college professor. He can quote any number of poets at the drop of a hat. He is my own personal library card catalogue. All I have to ask is “Hey, what’s that one about the fork?” and he knows it.

Similarly, I’ve probably made more mixed tapes than anyone I know. I do a damned good mixed tape. Ask anyone who has received one from me. I like to craft a collection that is thematic. Like an old fashioned record album. I want to tell a story with the music I gather into one place. Like Sailor, hum a few bars for me or give me a a word or two and I am the grand champion of Name That Tune.

So I’m trying to apply my mixed tape mentality to this week’s poems. This next poem isn’t so much about love, but about letting someone into the inner workings of your noggin. A little exposure if you will. And as far Sailor is concerned, if you’re reading this, I am sure this isn’t anything you don’t already know about me.

I Have Been Her Kind

Anne Sexton

have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.

In an effort to focus on something positive other than an election I am wary of, a financial crisis that enrages me, and the massive frustration of life in general, I’ve been indulging in some escapism. Now I have to admit up front that the book I’m going to go on and on about was written by a friend of long standing. However, as said friend can attest, had the book sucked, I would have told him so and would be writing a completely different entry right now warning all of you of the soul-crushing properties the novel contains. Fortunately, in the most simplified terms, the book rocks.

When I was a kid, my favorite stories hadda-kinda scare the crap out of me while humoring me at the same time. In the books and films I loved most, the adults were silly, slightly deranged, and gleefully endangered the lives of children who were serious and often more mature. Aside from inspiring a sense of wonder about the world, they also taught me to be wary of it. The movie Fantasia with the axe scene (careful what you wish for), Willy Wonka with the fantastic dispensing of all the annoying brats (everything in moderation), and hell, just about any fairy tale not involving a princess can be added to the list. Hansel and Gretel being my favorite, mostly because I believe the witch got a bad rap. If two little porkers came around eating my dream house of candy, you can be damn sure I’d be tossing their heaving fannies into the oven.

The unfortunate part of growing older though, lies in that fact that most escapist fiction for the older audience tends to be written from a science fiction perspective. Consequently, escapist fiction for kids tends to be rather insipid. Science fiction certainly has it’s place, but when I really want to escape from the world at large, I want straight up fantasy, no hi-tech gadgetry need apply, thanks. Lemony Snicket picked up the mantle with his “Series of Unfortunate Events” that appealed to all ages, but since the saga has ended, I have been left wanting. That is until now.

James Kennedy wrote “The Order of Odd Fish” some time ago. I remember when he emailed it to me after Sailor and I first moved to Maine. I spent a fantastic few days lying on my deck overlooking the graveyard with crows flying about reading of the trial and tribulations of Jo Laurouche in the alternate universe of Eldritch City. Rightly, the book was published and released in August.

I of course read it again, this time in proper binding, and was amazed the second time around at small nuances I had somehow missed before. I’ve read the book two more times since then picking out words and phrases that I know Kennedy has been fermenting in that noggin of his since high school. You got that, Kennedy? 2 MORE TIMES! What am I doing? You don’t even read this blog.

I’m not going to even bother trying to explain the plot, so instead I shall list all the things you don’t want to miss:

1. A Russian colonel who lives his life by his intuitive digestive system.

2. Sub-villain Ken Kiang, whom I always picture as Wyle E. Coyote with his “Superior Genius” whenever he appears.

3. The Belgian Prankster. THE BELGIAN PRANKSTER!. In a world of Osama Bin Laden and al’Qaeda, I find this super-villain name particularly enjoyable.

4. The telling of the history of the The Very Polite War.

5. The all powerful Box of Inconvenience.

But here’s what I love most about the book: it’s so fantastically out there. And I do mean out there. Suspend all disbelief if you plan to get through it. And while this is a novel geared towards young adults, come prepared with your dictionary. Kennedy does not deign to dumb it down for anyone. There’s a strict motto here: you’re along for the ride-all of it-or you’re not along at all.

In short, the book assumes the reader is of a certain amount of intelligence and in this age of micro-attention spans, text message spelling errors, and idiot celebu-tweens, I think it’s a rare joy to find a book that both adult and teen can enjoy for the fantasy and for its devilishly clever humor.

Note to Kennedy: you better get crackin’ on that sequel. I want to know the back story on Lily and Karsokov, and what the hell ever became of the Box of Inconvenience???

Dagnabbit! I’ve been memed! Again! But since it’s Turkish Prawn, who graciously loaned me the use of a shower and power tools (not together) while I was camping out at the house in Maine, I feel I can’t pass this up.

So here’s the run-down:

The idea is to write your memoir or epitaph in six words. If you can add an image to go along with it, so much the better. Then, simply sneak up behind 5 unsuspecting friends and whap them in the back of the head with it. Links need to be provided to the person who whapped you and to the originator of the meme, so they can see how far the thing goes. You can check out the place where it all began for a better explanation of the rules.

However, being a red head, and thus, somewhat ADHD with the mood swings, I couldn’t decide on just one submission.

First, The Kinda-Haiku style memior:

Scary Red Hair

Fiercer Than You

Second: The Action Memoir:

Quaffing! Ranting! Plotting! Thinking! Lifting! Drinking!

Lastly, the Favorite Things Memoir:

Music, Cartoons, Comics, Risk, Whiskey, Sailor-Man

I know, I know, breaking “the rules”, but my blog, my choice! But here’s the problem now: everyone I know has already done this damn thing so I have no idea who to pass it on to. So if there’s any volunteers…??? Hildigunnur? Have you been victimized with this yet??? If anyone should come up with something terribly thoughtful and interesting, I’m putting my money on our Icelandic friend here…

I’m not a girly-girl. Never have been. I love flowers, but I detest roses, especially red ones. I hate greeting cards and would rather you just send me a funny email instead. Jewelry? I adore jewelry, but I’m so particular, Sailor Man doesn’t dare try to surprise me. And while dark chocolate remains to be the best damn thing ever, why relegate its delivery to just one day a year? You want to curl my toes? I mean really curl my toes? Give me a pair of wool socks. Seriously. Not the knitted, scratchy kind, but expedition weight, wool, hiking socks from a sports store. Greatest thing next to chocolate I tell ya.

That and a smutty poem.

A fabulous tradition began back in Detroit back in the late 1980’s where people gathered together on Valentine’s Day and held an Erotic Poetry Festival. No love poems to be found here. All naughty, all smut, all the time. It was magnificent. Sitting in a dark bar, drink in hand, listening to someone with a smoky voice recite an erotic piece of poetry…wow….a good poem is a dangerous weapon in the mouth of someone who truly knows how to deliver it.

I borrowed the tradition when I was living in a small southern town below the Mason-Dixon Line running an old theatre. It was an open mic and I was truly thrilled at the number of persons who came out of the woodwork. Talk about community bonding. I hear the festival still lives on.

So in honor of the tradition, keeping it alive and spreading the good (and smutty) word, here’s one of my erotic favorites from that delightfully seductive old codger, ee cummings:

i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite a new thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh . . . . And eyes big love-crumbs,

and possibly i like the thrill

of under me you quite so new

Happy Valentines Day.

Read a dirty poem to the one you love.

And give them a pair of really good wool socks…it’s cold out, eh?

Is there anything more disheartening than the death of a beloved blogger? By death, I mean one who has put down their proverbial pen and signed off for good. I am in mourning today for one such blog: the final farewell from John Mayer.

Yes, that John mayer, whatever your opinion about his music, he is a well-spoken, highly intelligent, twisted, and snarky scribe. I started reading his blog a year ago after hearing his interview with Bob Edwards on NPR.

If you require any proof if his blogging excellence, I think his ruminations on being called a “douchebag” says it all. Unfortunately, you will be directed to Perez Hilton’s site to see it.

For whatever reason, (maybe it was his recent defense of Jessica Simpson/Tony Romolo) John has issued a final post and has deleted the rest. And I for one am truly sad for this.