Sunday, April 30, 2006

read, not read, might read

i've been tagged by sharon hurlbut to reveal my reading habits. check out this list and see how many of these books you've already read, which ones you think you might read someday, and which ones you'll probably never read.

Bold the ones you've read.
Italicize the ones you might read.
Cross out the ones you won't.
Underline the ones on your book shelf.
Place (parentheses) around the ones you've never even heard of.

note from me: i assume that those i have heard of but not enough to decide whether i might or might not read them are left as they are, not crossed out or anything
okay here goes:

The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--Douglas Adams
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
(The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger)
(His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J. K. Rowling
The Life of Pi-Yann Martel

Animal Farm - George Orwell
Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
Lord of the Flies - William Golding
Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
1984 - George Orwell
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban-J.K. Rowling

One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (currently reading)
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
(The Secret History - Donna Tartt)
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis
Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Atonement - Ian McEwan
(The Shadow of The Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon)
The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
Dune - Frank Herbert
(Sula by Toni Morrison)
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
The God of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
The Moor's Last Sigh - Salman Rushdie
(We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Schriver)
Disgrace - JM Coetzee
Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
The Buddha of Suburbia - Hanif Kureishi
Small Island - Andrea Levy
(Titus Groan - Mervyn Peake)

Ivanhoe - Walter Scott
Patrick Suskind - Perfume
(Bernand Shlink - The reader)
(Father and Son - Larry Brown)
(Crooked Hearts - Robert Boswell)
(She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb)
Postcards - E. Annie Proulx
(A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain (stories) - Robert Olen Butler)
(Defiance - Carole Maso)
(Being Dead - Jim Crace)
(And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos, by John Berger)
(Holy the Firm, Annie Dillard)
(Bear Attacks--Their Causes and Avoidance, by Stephen Herrero)
(Desert Notes--Reflections in the Eye of a Raven, by Barry Lopez)
(River Notes--The Dance of Herons, by Barry Lopez)

(Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow)
(The House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus)
The Last of the Just by Andre Schwartz-Bart
Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
(A Bell for Adano by John Hersey)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Herzog by Saul Bellow

War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
The illustrated Man - Ray Bradbury
Anton Chekhov's Short Stories - Anton Chekhov
Roughing It - Mark Twain
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. LeGuin
(The Mistress of Spices - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni)
The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoyesvki
Grendel - John Gardner
A River Runs Through It and other stories - Norman Maclean
(Nobody's Fool - Richard Russo)
(The Worst Journey in the World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard)
The Book of the Thousands Nights and a Night - translated by Sir Richard
F. Burton

Add your own to the list and pass it along.
My additions are:

the little prince - antoine de saint-exupéry
the eyre affair - jasper fforde (and the other thursday next novels)
lolita - vladimir nabokov
making love - marius brill
metamagical themas - douglas hofstadter
neverwhere - neil gaiman
a prayer for owen meany - john irving
kassandra - christa wolf
alice in wonderland
women who run with wolves - clarissa pinkola estes
mother tongue - bill bryson
view with a grain of sand - wislawa szymborska

okay, my turn now to tag:
arlene ang
rachel mallino
sarah sloat
nathan mcclain
and everyone who would like to join in.

after so many books, there has to be a song too, so song of the day: shine on you crazy diamond by pink floyd; for some strange reason i woke up wanting to hear it.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

another yes, a no, and (eek!) my voice

had a note from taj mahal review this morning, informing me that they want to publish my poems café westend and I dream of having a daughter in their june edition, a print publication. i am quite curious about that, actually; some of the poems on their website are a little, um, how do i put it, corny, but i also know that some poets i like have had works in their publications. hm.

poems sent: 11 april 2006
reply received: 27 april 2006

they say that everything needs to be balanced, so that might explain the rejection slip from DIAGRAM magazine which informed me that

"after much discussion and close reading we have decided against the work. We get a lot of high quality submissions and can only take on the few that really hit us just right."
sigh. maybe some other time.

poems sent: 05 march 2006
reply received: 27 april 2006

okay, some of you did indeed ask for this - me reading one of my own poems. i don't know, i might take this down again tomorrow, but for now i'll be brave and put this up. the quality is not that great, i used my mp3 player to record it, so apologies for that. i have never been a fan of my own voice, and i find it very odd listening to this recording, i must say. hm.

i've converted the format to wma and now it's working in firefox too, for me (though i think the quality is even worse now); if you want to hear me read, i hope it works for you too; if you don't, count yourself lucky if it doesn't. tee-hee. :)

the poem is conversation with a kitchen sieve.

my muse seems to have gone to sleep - nothing happening on the poetry production front. i seem to have some ideas whizzing around my brain but i cannot seem to grab hold of them yet. arlene's talk about ethel, ellen, and her evil rumours about digby's being married, might do the trick eventually, who knows. they may want to become just as famous as nigel.

speaking of which (no, not whom), perhaps i should write poems about other names i find a bit ... er, well, nigel-like. harvey, for instance. creeeeeeeeeeepy.

i've been sleeping badly lately, lots of dreams, some of them very strange, some of them a bit scary. i wake up way too early every day, too. annoying.

been using my gym bike more often lately, which is good. but not good enough.

song of the day: do you love me, the contours. always makes me want to dance dance dance.

Monday, April 24, 2006

ME, PSR, 50+

the spring issue of mannequin envy is now online, it was about a week late, but waiting for good quality poetry is okay. :) among other poems, you can read my two works april rules of conduct and Far away, clouds lure you to the sea, and rachel mallino's poems. enjoy.

a letter waiting for me in my mailbox this afternoon made my day - it was a reply from poetry salzburg review (print magazine), and though i had expected a no, thanks, the letter seemed too thick for just that. it was the first time i sent them my work, and they accepted three out of the six poems i submitted! two of them are - you guessed it, nigel poems! for a non-existent guy he is becoming quite famous ...

the poems will be published in their autumn 2006 issue, and i'm thrilled to be sharing PSR space with arlene! :)

i was impressed with the quick reply too:
email sub sent: 18 april 2006
snail mail reply received: 24 april 2006

this afternoon from 1 to 4, i had my first lesson of the basic computer course with my "oldies", as i like to call them, fondly. only two of the supposedly three students showed up, two men. good thing is they have already tried a few things on their pcs at home, so they need no mouse training. but most of the basics are still new to them. but - it's brilliant having only a couple of students, that's not so exhausting. next lesson on wednesday.

we went out with two friends on friday, it's always such fun with them - we always come up with the weirdest ideas in that little group. laughter is good though. :)

dyed my hair on the weekend (thanks, sepp!), did some prep work for the next english lesson, spent some time reading, walking, sleeping.

song of the day - concertina, by tori amos. just because.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

reading, watching, working

i am re-reading clarissa pinkola estes' women who run with the wolves. for those women out there who have not read it - go and get your copy. it is fascinating stuff. i first read it six years ago, then dipped into some chapters now and again, and i just felt it was time to read the whole book again. interesting to see where i made small notes six years ago, little exclamation marks etc. some issues (for me) have changed, others are still there, waiting, needing to be tackled. food for thought, and possibly also for the muse.

am also reading marius brill's making love. a book for language lovers - and for those with a slightly weird sense of humour. it is an odd book, but very, very enjoyable, and the language just makes me want to go WOW at times. i find myself laughing out loud and giggling on every page too. good stuff.

watched amadeus and shakespeare in love on the weekend, had seen both before - though it had been a while since my last encounter with amadeus. finally went to see syriana on tuesday. an important film. felt more like a documentary at times than a movie. jeez. it is scary, very scary to get an inkling of what is going on in big business. everything's so complicated and it is hard to see through it all - who knows what, who has what reasons to do what they do, and are they the real reasons or is there more to it, something you don't see immediately. who can you trust. can you trust anyone? it's all very cynical in big business. very. i am glad i saw that film.

my intensive english class has been cancelled - the one that was supposed to start on monday 24th april. instead, i have said yes to an offer to teach senior citizens once again - i have done that once before. it'll be mondays and wednesdays for the next month, starting on the 24th, from 1 to 4 pm. which means it will be stressful on mondays and wednesdays, what with my other class finishing at 12.30. but the good thing is it is not far from one place to the other. i am not crazy about the long days, but i do need the money. and it's only for a month. my other group of senior citizens was lovely, but they all need sooooo much attention and patience. they do want to learn, but there is not one thing you can assume they know. some of them had never even touched a mouse, or switched on a computer. i think it is wonderful that 70 year olds still want to learn, are open to new technologies, and i want to help them as best i can.

this is for arlene: i had my hair cut today. yes, again. *L*

am off to teach english now.

oh and spring is here! spring is here! life is skittles and life is beer! or some such.

still, today's song is feist's when i was a young girl. love it love it love it.

Monday, April 17, 2006

easter x 3

little michi's first easter, 1972

michi, dad, and the easter bunny, 1973

easter 1982 with my brother markus and our cousins anna-maria (l) and katrin (r) - aka the freak show *L*

two more photo albums online now:
little michi 2
little michi 3

and photos have been added to the teenage album. very 80s, i'm warning you. again. *L*

gardening yesterday, on sepp's balcony. planted lots of flowers, carrots, chives, radishes. we'll see how it goes this year - last year was not the best. even the morning glory let us down. watched three aardman animations - a grand day out, the wrong trousers, a close shave (yes, a sheep called shawn). so funny, so cute. the little sheep had me in stitches, again.

song of the day - at the hop? no. run rabbit run? no, no. hung bunny? no, definitely not. it's actually mannen i den vita hatten by kent.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

easter, teddy! cure-ious?

modern art --
colouring easter eggs, not sure what year, maybe 1977

me & my teddy --
again, not sure what year, maybe 1976/77

this one's for rachel (i have a better one somewhere, probably at my parents')

me dressed as the cure's robert smith, 1990

more photo albums online soon.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

waaah. a pic. mannequin envy.

i honestly cannot remember when i've last been as completely and all-around tired as this week - physically, mentally, emotionally tired. ugh. the weather did not exactly help either - after monday's pleasant 20°C, there was rain, sleet and snow (!) on tuesday. it's been rather cold all week, and mostly grey and rainy and very, very windy. today it's sunny, blue sky this morning, but now clouds are moving in again. going for a walk soon, meeting up with gudrun and her family.

we finally managed to meet up yesterday, but instead of the playground it was mostly indoors because the rain set in soon after we'd arrived at the park. here's a pic taken with gudrun's phone, of simon and me reading a paper.

two of my poems - april rules of conduct, Far away, clouds lure you to the sea (content warning!) - can be found in the new issue of mannequin envy which will go online this weekend. i am thrilled! congrats to rachel mallino too, she's sharing zine space with me.

happy egg-searching. happy bunnying. happy chocolate-munching.

song of the day: birdhouse in your soul, they might be giants. old but still good.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

bean-picker, notting hill, tonga, or: tagged again!

so i have been tagged again - by my singaporean friend atiah. i don't want to be a spoilsport, so here goes:

The Four Things About Me

Four jobs I've had in my life
1. asslembly-line worker in a baking factory (during holidays)
2. bean-picker (australia)
3. web designer
4. computer skills teacher (for unemployed adults, senior citizens - current job)

Four movies I would watch over and over
1. the apartment
2. amélie
3. notting hill
4. the piano

Four places that I have lived
1. spittal/drau, austria
2. not sure if this counts, but mildura, australia for a few weeks while picking beans during my travels
3. vienna's 2nd district
4. vienna's 10th district

Four TV shows I love to watch
1. gilmore girls!
2. friends
3. mcleod's daughters
4. south park

Four places that I have been on vacation (only four, that is difficult!)
1. canada (ontario, québec, new brunswick, nova scotia, prince edward island, british columbia)
2. tonga
3. île de la réunion
4. new zealand (both islands)

Four websites that i visit daily
1. google
3. inside the writer's studio
4. the guardian

Four places i would rather be right now
1. hammock on the verandah of the villa, a backpacker's on new zealand's south island
2. neiafu, main settlement of tonga's vava'u group
3. barossa valley, australia
4. malta's gozo island

Four friends who i have tagged who i think will respond
1. sharon
2. colleen
3. arlene
4. rachael

Saturday, April 08, 2006

1973. 1974. 1978.

i have finally begun to scan pictures of me as a baby, child, teen. am putting (some of) them in a photo album online.

this one was taken at christmas 1973. i seem to have enjoyed myself.

here's one of me taken in 1974, hiking on goldeck, the mountain you can reach by cable-car from my hometown, spittal. i look like a little boy - and exactly like my youngest brother martin.

and here's a black and white pic which i really love, it looks like a scene out of some astrid lindgren film or some such. it shows me, my brother markus and my friend conny (right) in september 1978.

here you can find more pics of little michi. i will add more over the next months, occasionally post some here. (if the link does not work, do let me know.)

there aren't many teenage pics yet. soon. promise. oh and do bear in mind - it was the eighties. be prepared. *L*

song of the day: velveteen, transvision vamp. i am living in the past today. :)

Friday, April 07, 2006

link. link. tag.

here are two cool links:

wondering what to give me for my next birthday? how about this, the I/O Brush? i'd love one!

ever asked yourself what vienna is like? or amsterdam? try this to check out cool capitals.

and - i've been tagged, by mail. i'll post it here instead.
arlene, sharon, lauren, sepp, bo, martin - if you read this: do consider yourselves tagged! *G* (that does not mean others cannot join in the fun!)

7 things to do before I die --

1- go to alaska
2- get a full length poetry collection published
3- have children
4- burn my diaries, all 60+ of them
5- learn, always
6- unlearn a few unhealthy habits, patterns, etc
7- beat sepp at tennis (ha! as if)

7 things I can’t do --

1- mathematics
2- drive
3- handstands
4- eat vanilla pudding
5- go without laughing or at least smiling for 24 hours
6- resist chocolate
7- stop writing poetry

7 things I say often --

1- X is totally overrated
2- du bist komisch (you are strange) (mostly to my husband)
3- durchgeknallt (mad, off one's trolley) (often about myself)
4- irgendwie (somehow)
5- waaaaahhhhhh!!!!
6- ich weiß nicht (i don't know)
7- ich hab dich lieb (i like/love you, am fond of you)

7 books I love -- (only seven??)

1- alice in wonderland / through the looking glass
2- the little prince
3- mother tongue
4- wuthering heights
5- the thursday next series
6- view with a grain of sand
7- the mists of avalon

7 movies I can watch over and over again -- (again, only seven??)

1- the apartment
2- the piano
3- ice age
4- notting hill
5- pulp fiction
6- amélie
7- shawshank redemption

song of the day: kiss me, sixpence none the richer. just because. spring is so close.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

adam, todd, and tilly

i finally have a spare minute to talk a little about the adam green concert on sunday. i know there are a lot of people who think the guy is a) completely nuts and b) totally unnecessary. just today i read a discussion thread on my favourite austrian newspaper der standard's website where supposedly sophisticated people discussed adam green and the standard review of green's latest album. i couldn't help wondering what's wrong with fun, with a little un-PC lyrics, with a little craziness? and that is what you get from adam green. most of those who had contributed to that thread claimed that adam's fans are older teenage girls who only like him because he looks rather cute or cute-ish and/or because he is a bit of a clown. not exactly who i saw at the concert. yes, of course there were those girlies in front of the stage, but there were people from, i'd say, 16 to 56, and i don't think the majority was that young, younger than, say, 23.

anyway. i'd seen adam green before - that was almost exactly one year ago, but at a much smaller venue. which was perfect for him. i prefer smaller venues anyway, they're a lot more intimate. but adam green has outgrown them, he has too many fans.

when he appeared on stage to the music of vangelis (made me chuckle), the first thing i asked myself (and i am sure i was not the only one) whether there was anything illegal left to smoke in all of vienna that evening. but when you think about it, he cannot have been completely stoned or high or whatever, because he did not miss a tone, he did not miss a cue, his timing was spot-on. and i have seen other artists forget a line of their songs before. (the sweetest was tori amos once, at a vienna concert. and can you blame adam green for forgetting a line when he has written so many songs within only a few years? come on.)

of course not everything he said was incredibly rich in content, not everything was deeply philosophical, some of it was funny, some of it very tongue-in-cheek, some of it was not incredibly funny, and he could have spared us a couple of comments. but he talks to the audience, and i like that in artists. i like people who click with their audiences. i don't like people who walk on stage, play some songs, and then bugger off again without having said a word. makes you feel like they haven't even really noticed there is anybody out there.

so what did he play? a lot. he's got rather short songs, so he can fit a whole lot of them into a couple of hours. he played songs off all his albums, some of them really big hits, some of them quieter, not so well-known songs. and you've got to hand it to him: he is not a bad singer at all. i said the same thing last time. i like his voice, i like what he does with it. and i do like many of his quirky lyrics. but of course i do - i am, after all, a poet who writes conversations with kitchen utensils.

i was happy to hear we're not supposed to be lovers, one of my favourite adam green songs; i have actually borrowed a few lines from the song for the epigraph of today's poem. we got to hear jessica -

Jessica Simpson, where has your love gone, it's not in your music, no. [...]
Jessica, Jessica Simpson, you've got it all wrong. Your fraudulent smile ...
and this quite nice line
My body's in shambles encrusted with brambles that sharpen the air I breathe.
he played emily, of course, carolina, hollywood bowl (off the new album), gemstones, and his first big hit here: friends of mine.

he once interrupted himself, singing "i don't want to play this song anymore ..." - which was not so new for those who had been to other adam green concerts. he does that sometimes. he improvised a little, though not as much as last time i saw him. he sang half of the oldie my girl, high notes and all. quite funny.

when he came back for encores, he finally started asking the audience what they wanted to hear. someone suggested baby's gonna die tonight, and he said the band did not know that one, but then he decided to sing it on his own, a cappella. how many artists would do that? i think a lot of fans were waiting for kokomo, but he did not sing it this time. *sobsob* but, as they say, you can't have it all.

i enjoyed myself. so did my husband. and a friend we met after the concert. there is nothing wrong with having a little - and occasionally un-PC - fun on a sunday night. has some pictures if you are interested, including pics of support acts only son and jeffrey lewis band.

other news: i finished my fifth round of 30 poems today. finally. i thought it'd never end! *G* i have been mostly braindead for the last days, and i do need a break, though i am not sure how long it will be. last time my time-out lasted nearly two months. today's poem is called Plucking Daisy Petals. here's an excerpt
Still, you pick a dandelion every day,
blow its gauzy carcass southward, and I
build castles with unwritten letters, walls
crawling with your name. In spartan
bedrooms, we're in league with the devil.

had to edit in, because i just received word from don levin that not only one, but three of my poems will be used in the anthology From the Garden of the Gods! it was the fastest acceptance note i ever had, everything happened in the space of a few hours. i am thrilled! and i already know i will be in very good company!

we have set up the computer again after that virus intermezzo - a lot of hours of work went into that. sigh.

had a look at todd goldman's artwork again today. i just adore the characters. if you are not familiar with him, check out this site.

song of the day ... the ice storm, big gust and you by tilly & the wall. i am addicted to them and their tap-dancing. they put a smile on my face every time i listen to them.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

tired, rejected, and published

so this has not been my week, no, it hasn't. i feel like i've been tied into approximately 27 knots and left like that for about 13 hours. does it sound uncomfortable? good. *L*

the good news is that i have three poems published in the new issue of unlikely 2.0:
how to behave in someone else's dream
(part of that loooong rules series)
conversation with a tea mug
(the first of the kitchen utensil conversations)
grado, 1951
(for my father)

eclectica is supposed to go online this weekend with one of my poems, Nigel Is Fuming. i wrote it for their word challenge.

FRiGG sent a rejection note on thursday, telling me that

Because we receive many more submissions than we can publish, invariably we must return many well-written poems.
maybe next time.

here's an excerpt from one of my latest poems, inspired by the arcade fire song whose lyrics i posted earlier. (i had to delete the rest as the poem is under consideration for publication.)
Dreams feed on the after-image of your
smile shivering across the canvas of my
eyelids, like sleepers seen from hurried
trains. There is no room for maybes,
they starve like undernourished flames.

song of the day: the walkabouts, solex in a slipshod style, brilliant cover version.