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I'm ready to admit it. I'm in love with a bookstore. Even though the bus I was on broke down and I was stuck next to route 9 for an extra half hour, and then had to wait on a bench for another hour or so to get home at ten from a seven o'clock reading, I don't care. Because that is one welcoming bookstore with a fabulous selection -- plenty of fiction! plenty of political edge! -- and they have a bunch of just great events. Tonight, there were leaves blown in and scattered on the floor, how endearing is that? It's a workers' coop. They will personally deliver books to Northampton! It's a fabulous store.

And tonight...  )

Lucky

Jul. 30th, 2006 10:54 am
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I had dinner with my friend James last night. He had made a beautiful loaf of sourdough bread, and gave the half that was left after dinner to me, since, he said, it has to be eaten today or it will loose its perfect crust and become too soft.

So I toasted slices for breakfast, and ate them, just now, with pepper chevre from Vermont Butter and Cheese, the last slice of turkey, and good tomatoes. While I ate, I read just a little of The Stone Raft by Jose Saramago, which is about what happens when the Iberian Pennisula (with Spain and Portugal and all the people who don't leave) breaks free of Europe and drifts off into the sea.

I have work to do. Also, for lunch, pesto with basil from my love's garden and another tomato to slice for the bread.
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One of the folks who helped me figure out my problem with the Fat Girl Dances with Rocks files yesterday wrote this book:

The Accidental Techie: Supporting, Managing and Maximizing Your Nonprofit's Technology

And another has been writing brilliant posts about our cities, our bodies.

I just felt like sharing the extravagant bounty that is my friendslist.
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Excellent six pm fireworks in the stuttering, sleeting, snow with women I love. A chubby little boy backing off from the banging, overarching lights; and, his probable grandmother leaning toward them, calling out encouragement.

Homemade sourdough bread to sop up the juices from a Portuguese bean sausage stew, with a wilted spinach salad to start and, to finish, molten chocolate cake and cherry cordial from cherries picked from trees at the university. Half a horror movie, awkward sparklers at midnight, and a ride home.

Now, sweep snow from the steps, make black-eyed peas and greens, work.

Wishing you all passionate craft, work that takes you past boredom and frustration into stark winter gardens of heart, mind, conscience, dirt, root crops, weeds, kale staying green past all expectations, and cold, cold, cold snow. Good rest and good effort, both.
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I ventured out into the snow last night! My beloved friends J&V were making me dinner. They live about a mile away, a straight shot through downtown and up a slight but steady hill. They are fabulous cooks and beautiful, kind company -- not to be missed.

Here's what I wore:
long wool socks
velvet corduroy stirrup leggings
long underwear top
long sleeved purple top
big red cotton sweater
carhart hooded lined jacket
red long coat
polar fleece scarf (inside jacket)
purple shawl
polar fleece hat
gloves (don't match)
fleece-lined boots

It was six degrees Fahrenheit (-14 C). It was snowing and the wind was blowing it into my face, so I couldn't see well. It was light fluffy snow, much easier to walk in than the rain and slush snow we had a week or so ago. I was toasty, toasty warm, all the way to piping hot. I had on so many clothes that I could barely move my arms. I felt sturdy, but I was also very happy when J met me at Smith in his car for a ride for the final stretch.

They had made such lovely food: avocado mousse with shrimp. caramelized cabbage and roasted winter vegetables. pork stuffed with prunes. (I'm telling you -- delicious! Pomegranate juice was involved.) There was spice cake with caramel sauce for dessert. It was still snowing hard and blowing later, so I decided to sleep over in their comfy spare bed. We watched an Agatha Christie DVD -- Miss Marple. I didn't guess the killer. In the morning, there was tea and apricot scones. The snow was still coming -- how many feet? how long did it snow? It was ten degrees f outside, but we heard that the wind chill factor was going to get down to 20 degrees below zero. As soon as it stopped snowing, I put everything on again, and went out. I was instantly in snow past my knees. To plow through to the street, it was up to my waist! But it was sunny, and the wind was at my back, and the street was clear, so the walking there wasn't hard at all. I got a couple of snow blower blasts of blowing snow in my face, but other than that, I made it home in good time, toasty warm all the way, feeling both coddled and adventurous.

Loveliness

Jul. 5th, 2004 08:48 am
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Belgian waffles with hand picked strawberries and homemade preserves with J&V
the gift of a ride to the grocery store from J and help carrying stuff up the stairs
email from a friend getting surprise lessons in Swahili and about to take a 24 hour bus trip
the beautiful hens of Chesterfield, and popovers made with their eggs
early beans, blueberry bushes, and not too many potato bugs
exuberant dogs and familiar kindness
scratching the back of a hairy old goat I knew well before she made it through being mauled by a bear
tough old affections and their gorgeous, dizzying depths

insistent work that I want to do
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Minna Bromberg in a river is a sight to see! She's that beautiful, and she's a smart, inventive, fun, original, folk-based musician. A singing sociologist! About to study to be a rabbi!

The first time I met Minna was at a fat feminist conference -- in Connecticut, I think -- many years ago. Everybody got very excited about her songs -- a lot of them about sailing, ships, and the water, (she's been an activist around cleaning up polluted waters) all of them emotionally complex and interesting -- and then she let folks sit in a circle with her and her guitar for hours while she played just about any song anybody asked for -- pretty amazing. We haven't spent a bunch of time together, but it's been lovely everytime we have, and she included something I said to her while we were sitting on the steps outside City Hall in one of her songs -- I mean, is that cool or what?

And even though it's been years since we've spoken, she's just offered to let me stay with her in June during BookExpoAmerica, the big gathering for the publishing industry in Chicago. That, and the fact that my friends are helping me raise money means that I get to go. (Click the "support this artist's work" button here if you'd like to contribute.

That's a big deal in a lot of ways. I get to go to the Lambda Literary Award dinner -- I've never been. There may be a reading, and I've never read in Chicago. And there are just tons of good things about showing up and participating in the life of the publishing industry, whether they invite me to the party, or not. I keep getting amazed about how much the far-flung community of smart, tough-minded, variously brilliant fat girls, writers and artists, radical economists and various other delicious weirdos is offering in support of getting this work out into the world.
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[livejournal.com profile] amarama wrote a beautiful, harrowing post, and something she said in response to my comment made me write this about some of the unexpected (to previously ignorant me) pleasures I've found on lj:

I feel lucky, myself. I feel like I'm coming late to this big truth and beauty party. I got onto lj thanks to [livejournal.com profile] beccawrites, and through her, I've found a bunch of really good writers working hard to do tough, honest, elegant, live writing about the things that are most central or the most difficult or the most underexamined in their lives -- and with lots of wit and exchange thrown in. It's quite something. It raises all sorts of questions for me in relation to writing, memoir, critical and emotional distance -- but it's hot, strong, powerful stuff -- often both contemplative and immediate, and, yeah, I like reading it.

[livejournal.com profile] anarqueso, [livejournal.com profile] gordonzola -- writers and cheesemongers -- are two more of my favorites. [livejournal.com profile] beelavender, too.

Yeah, and then there are the mysteries of just who might be reading it -- I just learned that one of my most beloved friends, who lives across the continent from me, checks in on a regular basis, unbeknownst to me. And my publisher told me that she reads, too. I'd be been thinking it was just our little gang here, but, really, who even knows who might be passing by. It's unsettling and wonderful, both.
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Whoo hoo! Some of my friends are pulling together a houseparty to help me raise money for travel so that I can take advantage of the momentum generated by the release of Venus of Chalk.

That's amazing in SO many ways! Concrete kindness backed up with work and material support. The relief of acknowledging the fact that I, along with so many other writers, end up in this bind where we want to get out there and do everything we can to get behind the work we care enormously about and have spent years creating (for this book, for me, something like ten years), but we are often paid nothing or next to nothing for our work, so can't afford the expense of doing something like showing up at the huge gathering of the publishing industry in Chicago, where the award ceremony for the lammies happens and which is an important part of becoming an acknowledged part of the world of publishing in so many ways. Thanks to the [livejournal.com profile] hardpressed community for helping me see that I need to try to get to BookExpoAmerica. And small presses, great as they are -- and Firebrand is being wonderful and working hard to get me where I need to be -- often just can't afford to support a book tour in the way that bigger presses can.

I'll write more about the travel in another post -- the places I am or might go are looking really exciting -- but it's the way my friends can clearly see how hard this is and are stepping up to try to make it possible for me to get the books more out there into the world -- oh, it's truly an amazing thing.

Now, if I could just figure out a way to afford the dentist -- nirvana!

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