Saturday, February 12, 2011

A Strange Handful of Valentines

Last year, it was the Valentine Ball.  This year, we had too much else going on--travelling, Glen's job interviews, and what not--to throw a party.  We decided to stay home (and the world threw us a valentine party, the demonstrations for freedom in Egypt rocking my heart; check out this video~!)

Usually I write a valentine for Glen every year.   This year, so far I've been more than preoccupied with a poem for the Phi Beta Kappa dinner at Yale I've agreed to write.  I am still hoping to get to the annual romantic penning--but in the meantime, I have had a trilogy of somewhat unusual Valentine experiences: I'm participating in a wonderful art event called The Jar Project, where I decided to fill a jar with anniversary rosepetals, romantic mementoes, and lines from my poem "Paravaledellentine"; I was interviewed for a newspaper article about how to write valentines; and then a TV show interviewed me on the same topic.   Now I just have to take my own Valentine advice!  And look back with joy on last year's Valentine Ball.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Housekeeping and Snow: Happy Imbolc!

Some good Imbolc thoughts from Jane Galer, forwarded by my very first publisher, Robert McDowell: 

"Imbolc (pronounced Im-olc) is the ancient Celtic day that marks the halfway point between the solstice and the equinox. This is a cross-quarter day then, a reminder that time is moving and we have obligations. In ancient times, perhaps we simply cleaned out our fireplace, set aside a burning taper, cleaned out the ashes, and then kindled the warming fires of winter again. This was a safety issue, a housekeeping issue, and yet it has deeper implications. This is a night time moment, a time to clear out the “ashes” of our lives, kindle a stronger fire, a stronger sense of purpose for ourselves. This is a time to notice whether we have done the work of winter. Have we told the stories we need to tell? Have we rested, feasted, and shared our hearth with our larger community?"

Some of my most memorable Imbolcs have been spent making candles for the following year and burying them in the snow to harden, or fashioning Brigid's crosses to hang on the door.  But this year, it is a matter of snow endlessly falling, a fire inside, being delayed from heading to the AWP conference in DC, and doing all sorts of literary housekeeping, much involving poems I have committed to write.  It's a time of tending.  Let's put our own houses in order.