On Mars, the news of late is bad. Broken cars, long distance tows and insurance hassles. With every turn, I have serenely looked for the bright side. “Yes the car’s engine failed but it failed in the parking lot, not on the way to Ivan’s school in busy morning traffic.” “Yes, it’s going to be the coldest week of the winter – but at least Monday was warm for a super fun Metro Transit outing!” “Okay, so I have to have the car towed to Albany, 90 miles from here, but I’m getting a really good deal from a mechanic I trust.” Well, all this Pollyanna crap is making by pigtails hurt. Life’s giving me lemons, and I refuse to make lemonade. I’m sucking on that lemon and making a sour, mean face. So there.
On the other hand, this blogging enterprise sure is a hoot! Just this week, the very first week ever for House on Mars, I find out my blog is “Possibly Related” to a rancher in Austrailia, that it is blocked in Burma (awesome!) and that my friend Roni thinks I’m a Stylish Blogger. So yeah, I’ve got that going for me.
In return, I need to nominate 5 other Stylish Bloggers, and follow a bunch of other directions. So I’m gonna do that now.
1. Make this post and link back to the person who gave the award to me.
2. Share 7 things about myself.
3. Award 5 great bloggers.
4. Contact the bloggers to tell them they’ve won!
Seven Things Sure to Fascinate:
1. I used to be called, almost exclusively, Corn. It was a nickname I accepted with all the grace afforded to one associated with a vegetable. In college, I had a Philosophy professor, the venerable “Spuds” Hanniford. I felt a kinship with my vegetable brethren, and a relief that my nickname didn’t necessarily presage a life spent in Loserville. Just when I think I’ve dodged this nickname for good, I let slip to someone that I used be called Corn, and then it starts all over again. Like, for instance, now.
2. I’m a Unitarian. Look it up.
3. I collect glass birds.
4. I pathologically kill houseplants.
5. I used to teach poetry to high school kids, just after college. This is something I forget about, all the time, and then I run across lesson plans, and photo copied poems and all this evidence of having done it, and I’m reminded it actually happened. My most successful was the “Teen Angst Workshop” (yes, I really called it that) that I held at my own alma mater, Hartford Union High School.
I had advertised with flyers around the school, and when the first after-school session arrived, only 3 kids showed up. So I said, “Wait here,” and I walked to the art room. As suspected, there were a half dozen ner do well art room kids, hunched over scratch-boards or gazing meaningfully into each others eyes or drawing on each others jeans. “Who in here writes poetry?” Nothing. “Come on, I know you do.” They all raise their hands. “Come with me then. Just for today, and you can decide if you want to keep coming.” I waived the $6 fee the Hartford Rec Department wanted me to collect and spent the next hour convincing them I was sufficiently cool, and also a poet. They came back, and they brought friends.
They were the most earnest, hard working group of kids. I read to them, and they were absolutely rapt. I met with them individually in the hallway and pored over their terrible poems, helping them turn them into pretty good poems. I had to write notes to parents who didn’t believe their kids weren’t staying late for detention. The Milwaukee Journal did an article about us, and one kid said their parents never thought they would be in the paper for anything but breaking the law. Shit like this made me cry. At the end of the 12 week workshop we published a little photocopied chapbook and had a reading at a local cafe, which also made me cry. It is one of the only times I have ever seen that look of recognition, that change in expression that reveals you have actually gotten your idea across to a student. A fleeting brightening of the eyes that says “learning is happening.” That I won’t forget.
6. My high-school prom date took LSD – yes, at prom – without telling me.
7. My first pet was a goldfish named Ivan. This is also the name of my son. I totally forgot that I had him (the goldfish), until I found a note tucked in a book that gave instructions on his care and feeding while I was on spring break. I think the fish was named after a character in a Dostoyevski novel (PRETENSION ALERT!). My son was not.
Whew! Ok. Now for 5 STYLISH BLOGGERS:
Roni @ minivanorclowncar
Greg @The Nothing Box
Anastasia @ Dr Frankenbaby
Allie @ Hyperbole and a Half
Kat @ I’m a Fucking Writer
And pretty much everyone over on the right hand side of the page, but I am feeling lazy about adding any more, and I’ve gone on much too long already. Thanks Roni, for inadvertently making me think about that old poetry workshop instead of my stupid car.