Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Originally uploaded by odelapaz.
Happy Halloween!

Back to the world of Broadband

So I caved. Yesterday, the people came to our house and installed a satellite dish, thus granting us broadband access. Yes, for nearly two years I've been using dial-up at home. It's been painful after having gotten used to cable internet speeds. Alas, our house is so far out in the country we can't have DSL or Cable internet. Satellite was the only option and it was a pricey one. The dish itself is $400, then they have to install the thing which is another $300 (and believe me, installing one doesn't look easy). And then there's the monthly cost of the subscription . . .. On top of all that, it's not as fast as cable or DSL.

But it's broadband and Meredith and I are back to our wireless ways. The network is up and running.


We won't be getting trick-or-treaters this year. We're just too remote. That doesn't stop us from buying candy, though. You can tell a lot about a person by what type of candy they give out to trick-or-treaters. I liked giving out the mini Snickers pieces or even Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The peanut butter cups mean I'm a generous and kind soul. Hard candy people . . . tsk tsk tsk.


Recovering from a tough last week. Loved the visit from Cornshake, though. Too bad she couldn't stay longer and see more of the sights. All told, I made four trips down to Seattle which, from my house, is roughly 120 miles, one way. I'm looking forward to staying put.


One sport ends and another begins.

The World Series outcome was as I expected, though I would've preferred it to go on a couple of games longer. I thought for sure Colorado could steal at least one win at home.

I'm quite excited about the new NBA season. Should be interesting--I want the trio of KG, Allen, and Pierce to do well in Bean Town.


Really sleepy. I made the decision to, instead of going to the gym, grab a Pizza Hut pizza. Good decision before a meeting, don't you think? Now I need a big time nap.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

I get shouted out . . .

. . . here on the Poetry Foundation website. Thank you, Rigoberto!


So it happened. The most embarassing thing ever at a reading. This Tuesday at the Hugo House, Crab Creek Review held its journal launch reading (lovely, by the way).

I'm up there, reading my poem and then an eardrum shattering beep erupted. And then another. And then another. Meanwhile, I'm trying to slog through this last poem while the beeping continues. I see someone get up out of the corner of my eye, and leave the room. I finish. I sit down. That someone who left the room comes back with my bag. MY BAG. My freaking cell phone rang in the middle of my own reading. . .

. . .

And then, the next reader came up to read. So, I'm leaning back in my chair while the other poet's reading. And then something else happened. No, not the phone.

Coins start falling out of my pocket and rolling on the hardwood floor. You know the loud coin that rolls and rolls and never stops? Those were my coins.

Nightmare. Big big nightmare.

So, if you're reading this, Jenifer, thank you for grabbing my bag and diffusing the situation. And thank you to the woman who stopped some of my coins from continuing to roll. And thank you Crab Creek Review . . . I promise to be less disruptive next time. And thank you, Hugo House, for having such shiny floors and such echoey reading spaces.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Upcoming Readings

At the Richard Hugo House: "Roots and Writers"

Crab Creek Review presents an evening of poetry and prose.

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007, 7:00 PM

And at Open Books: A Poem Emporium

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 07:30 PM

Furious Lullaby, Oliver de la Paz's second volume ($15.95 Southern Illinois) is richly sensual yet etched by a sharp reckoning with loss. The collection includes a number of versions of the aubade, a poem that greets the dawn but can also serve as a wistful acknowledgement of the parting of lovers at daybreak. The new day brings both a beginning and an end -- "We are gathered back into the things of this world / and turn away from the sore-red sun, moved / to deny who we will be when we are awakened." Mysterious and resonant, the poems pulse with light and shadow, revealing not so much a narrative but an intensity of feeling, a questing of the mind, a longing in the body -- "Uncertain where the glare is from, I stare / and stare."

Aimee Nezhukumatathil's second collection, At the Drive-In Volcano ($16.95 Tupelo), can be as vivid as a lava flow and as cool and keen-edged as obsidian, sometimes in the same poem. The varied world is a presence in her work, certainly the Philippines and India, the lands of her parents, but also Austria, New Orleans, St. Lucia, a bus station in the Midwest. Perhaps most vivid is the landscape of love, with its smooth and rocky terrain. "I will curl around you like / a pilot shrimp and you will wonder / where all this sand is coming from." Direct in tone and sentiment, her work is laced with humor -- "The honeymoon is over / and we find a dead lizard / in our luggage," and pragmatically hopeful -- "Even in this darkness / there is so much light."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The "Rest" Gene. The "Guilt" Gene.

I'm fighting off a cold.

My students gave me this cold. Of that, I'm certain. So I've been taking it easy, which is really hard for me. I don't like resting. I prefer waking up than going to sleep. I prefer moving rather than staying still. This is probably why going to a writing colony would be bad for me. I'd do everyone's laundry, cook all their meals, and chop their firewood . . . I don't have the "Rest" Gene. In fact, I'm very much like mother in this regard. She wakes up at 3AM (she goes to bed at 9PM), and does laundry, walks on her treadmill, and does any other household chore that needs doing. I'm the same way (though I don't get up at 3AM and I don't go to bed until 11ish). I like my mornings. I like go-go-going as soon as I wake up. And when I'm hit with a cold, the world ends.

I'm feeling guilty about resting, so I'm confessing to you, dear reader.

I am a self-proclaimed gym rat. I love going to the gym. I go five days a week. I have a very particular routine. And even when I know I'm supposed to take a rest day from the gym, I find some way to exercise, whether it's running the dog, doing some housework, or some other activity. This past week has been extremely hard for my psyche. My brain tells me that this coming week is going to be tough . . . my sister in-law visiting, two readings, teaching, an advisory commitee meeting, Aimee visiting, and a speaking engagement on campus for which I have not prepared. And none of this includes my usual grading and academic advising . . ..

So, take a week off from the gym, Oliver. Right? Well, my "Guilt" Gene is taking over. Most Catholics (lapsed or faithful) have this gene. Perhaps it's also a Filipino gene. Right now, I've got the tail-end of the sniffles and I'm thinking about lifting weights . . . I'm also thinking about how disappointed I'll be if I don't lift my normal weight with my normal reps. It's a seriously bad gene to have "turned on."


Happy Birthday, Mom.


Book trades are wonderful things. I traded Rebecca Seiferle a copy of my new book for Wild Tongue. Lovely book. And it's really big, so again, the guilt gene switched on and I immediately felt that to even the exchange I should've sent her two copies of my book.

I'm ill.


Tis the rainy season. I re-seeded my lawn and I'm seeing little tiny bits of stubble poking out from the ground. This makes me extremely happy. Before, the lawn was mostly clover, dog poop, and moss. Now, it's clover, moss, dog poop, and grass.


Mere n' I had our anniversary celebration a week ago, though our anniversary's actually much earlier in October. In honor of our marital bliss, we bought a new front-loading washer and dryer set. I'm so in love with them. I watched most of the very first load go round and round in the washer.


Okay, I'm going to the gym . . . that's it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lee gets

. . . shouted out on Harriet.

Good things, Lee. Good things.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Thank you all, for your advice. I did read some newer poems which, I think, the audience liked.

It was good to see my students and my colleagues at the reading last night. I was REALLY nervous before the reading and I felt a little unprepared.

I noticed some things which bothered me:

I don't know my own book. Yes, I wrote it and I lived with it for many years, but I don't know it. It's still a strange thing to me, and I'm sure that'll all change with more readings.

I felt that I read too fast and consequently, I fumbled my words in places.

I also felt that tonally, I need more variety. It's a really dark book. I mean, it's dark . . . especially when you look at it compared to NAMES ABOVE HOUSES. So . . . I'm trying to think of ways to add tonal variety. I don't want to force something into the "set list" that certainly doesn't belong, though.


I have time to tweak my performance. Next reading's on the 23rd at The Hugo House: Roots and Writers and another with Aimee Nezhukumatathil at Open Books.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Set List

So as I mentioned earlier, the very first reading from Furious Lullaby will be tonight. I'm contending with a weird issue at the moment. . .

If one is promoting a new book, is it bad to read new stuff not in the book?

And if it's not a good time, when is a good time to "move on" so to speak?

Anyway, books are often anachronisms, and I wonder if a more accurate display of time as it pertains to a writing life would be to read from a range of projects (yes, I'm trying to justify reading new work).


Suddenly obsessed with football. The Seahawks are faring miserably and have, perhaps, exceeded their shelf-life as a viable contender. It's sad, too, because my favorite workhorse player, Mack Strong, had a spinal cord injury (I heard he broke his neck) last week and had to retire.

Such a violent sport.


Meredith and I purchased a new front loading washer and dryer set this weekend to celebrate our second anniversary. It only gets better from here. ;-) XOXO

Friday, October 12, 2007


Someone will be delivering a frozen manicotti to my office. I'm very excited for this. It is a good beacon for these dark Fall days.


I've been getting rejection notes. This is to be expected. So far, three.


The first reading from my book takes place on Monday at 7:00PM at Village Books in Bellingham. I'm kind of weirded out by the whole thing.

I haven't even scanned through the poems in the book yet. I'm not sure what I'm going to read. Any suggestions? I'm guessing my not looking at the book apart from gazing at the cover is a normal thing, yes?


I finished playing Halo 3's single player campaign. I am cool.