Finally, finally, finally come up with a topic for the nonfiction book request because in the current Titanic-going-down publishing climate, one should be grateful for requests from a high-class house. Then work on it!
Don't be lazy. Send out those dratted little white envelopes now and then. I still hate submitting poetry and am glad some magazines have online submissions.
Work on collecting a book of stories.
Don't be lazy, no. 2; do something about What Sits on the Shelf.
Don't be lazy no. 3; do more readings.
Another long narrative poem? More poems, definitely and already.
Write a ghost tale worthy of M. R. James and Henry James. Perhaps a few other stories.
NEW YEAR'S EVE
I usually post our dinner menu (8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. this year), but I don't seem to have kept track of wines and champagne and drinks. Unless I extract them from my husband later, you'll just have to keep imagining the stars in the glass...
It was a bit like Epiphany, as we had three Kings from afar for dinner--one from Australia, one originally from Canada, and one who was born on runway nine at Heathrow, back when it was a village and not an airport. Peter King, the runway child of 86, is one of the funniest men of my acquaintance and gives me hope that elder ages can be joyful.
with wasabi mayonaise dipping sauce
on greens with olive oil and vinegar
Gorgonzola, wild mushroom and shallot polenta
SOME QUOTES FROM ELECTRIC DELIGHTS BY WILLIAM PLOMER
The electric delight of admiring what is admirable. --Charlotte Bronte, Shirley
Plomer puts me to shame, genre-wise. In these days of uniform packaged goods, I am inconvenient because I don't stick to one thing but write lyric poetry, long narrative poetry, novellas, stories, and novels. But Plomer! Poetry, novels, stories, biographies, autobiographies, children's book, libretti (with the great Benjamin Britten), and diaries (as editor). What a time that was, when one could be anything!
Although he declares that "poetry is simply an art to which the special gifts of women, who excel in so many things, are not as rule adapted," he is clearly in love with Christina Rossetti's poems and biography: "We have seen what that experience was: it was the experience of a woman of deep feeling who was frustrated in love and continally oppressed by illness, and whose heart and mind were subjected to a religious discipline, but who could not help singing; her sensuousness, her playfulness, her longings and regrets, her dreams and fears and fantasies, all found expression in her poetry. She has been called morbid, and if it is morbid not to take an easy way out of one's difficulties, not to except life on the cheap and easy terms that are good enough for most people, not to compromise, not to be ashamed to be sad and admit it; if it is morbid to be oppressed by the vanity of human wishes and worldly shows, well, then, she was morbid, and morbid in good company. But in reading her, we do well never to lose sight of the religious discipline, which causes her to strike often a strong and stoic note."
"A poet is liable to be a kind of exile in his own country or time: the consciousness of difference, and the effort to communicate it, may provide his motive power as a poet."
"It is needful for a serious writer to try and measure his own limitations; it must be his hope and it may be his luck to transcend them. Much of the verse offered to editors and publishers, and some of the verse they cause to be printed, is deformed by the inability of its authors to harmonize what they intend to say with their way of saying it, or to convince even the well-disposed reader that it is worth saying. Looking for poetry, that reader is often confronted with feeble or facile or bardic posturings, empty rhetoric, strainings after effect, reach-me-down diction, turgidity, false simplicity or false complexity." That was a passage from a positive review of R. S. Thomas in 1956. I wonder how he would sum up poetry's weaknesses in our time. It seems to me that ours are far greater than these.ILLUSTRATION
That's a quick doodle by R, a few years back. She must have been around 15. I'm on my husband's computer and found it in his collection of pictures... And today is a Snow Day, free of school.