Monday, February 16, 2009

The Month in Review and AWP in Brief

Well, it's been a while - there's no escaping that; there've been so many things I've wanted to post about, but one of the traps of blogging that I fear falling into is writing on topics that everybody's already covered ad nauseum. There've been quite a few over the past almost-month since I've written here, but I feel remiss in leaving them unaddressed, so here goes:

That Octuplet Thing: Well, damn. I mean, I think we can all acknowledge that the bitch is crazy, and has more serious codependency issues than a nationwide Alanon convention; I also understand the outrage and the judgment, for more reasons than really need to be listed here - but death threats to her publicist? Damn.
That Heroic Captain in the Plane Crash Sully Thing: This was awesome, don't get me wrong - but still. I smell a slow news cycle. Or rather, when was that pesky Gaza thing going on again?
That Grammys Thing: Usually, I ignore these entirely. But this year, MIA was performing, which led me to seek out her performance on the intarwebs, which led me to exposure to a bunch of insane shit that I just hadn't expected. The Jonas Brothers with Stevie Wonder? Good God. I mean, honestly, Stevie can do whatever the hell he wants - he's Stevie. But those little turdlings were terrible, as expected. Sweet jebus. Also, I've always known MIA was batshit insane, which is one of the reasons why I love her - but I sure am glad she didn't go into labor on stage. Plus, what's up with all these big hip hop names sampling ethnic indie chicks? Santogold, MIA - I think Jay-Z was involved with both, actually. I was trying to explain who MIA is to someone recently, and started singing a little from "Paper Planes," since it seems like Pineapple Express and more recently (and appropriately) Slumdog Millionaire has made it famous; the person was like, "Oh, that sounds like 'Swagga Like Us'." :headdesk: But most importantly maybe - Radiohead at the Grammys?! No, guys, no - quick, go back to the sidestream and quasi-obscurity - your tickets are hard enough to get as it is, damnit!!! (Though for real, with the USC Marching Band behind them, I could only think that they should have been a way better Superbowl Halftime Show - if such a thing wouldn't have made me kill myself [and probably Thom Yorke too - ha!])
That Chris Brown-Rihanna thing: Classy. What a douchebag.
That Slumdog Thing: Wow, what a great movie. I hear there's been criticism because of the bright colors used in the depiction of the slums and the weeding out of some of the really hardcore stuff; I say that's no different than Boyz in the Hood. Without giving too much away, how much harsher did you want it to be? It was beautiful. That's good enough for me.
That Rural Broadband Stimulus Thing: Broadband internet access should be available to everyone. I mean, yes, it's important for educational and health care purposes as it opens up the worlds of art, science, literature, and technology to people whose socio-economic positions and simple geographical locations prevent them from the kind of access to these things that people in cities and suburbs get - but truly, can we say we live in a nation where all men are created equal if not everyone has access to YouTube and lolcats? Srsly.

Okay, so that's a few things.

Beyond that, yesterday I got back from a five-night trip to Chicago for the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) conference. It was in downtown Chicago (The Loop!), and wow, I love that city. We seriously lucked out with the weather, since I don't think it dropped below thirty while we were there - and the day we arrived, it was 61 degrees. Amazing! Beside walking around Grant Park, getting in trouble for walking across the stage at the Millenium Park Pavilion (we were looking for the bathroom!), and seeing the Art Institute (where I saw my first Van Goghs in person, as well as a Seurat on which I'd based a really awful pointalist painting I'd done in high school), the conference was great. I went to a good number of workshops, sold a bunch of issues of Redivider, talked to tons of interesting people, and got Mark Doty to sign a copy of his most recent book for me! (I'm so pleased he's going to be teaching at Rutgers - though if I'd known he was coming, I need to say, I might have seriously considered putting off graduation for another year and a half... LOL...) Another thing I need to say is that he stands as a prime example of a writer who is NOT an asshole - he was super friendly both times I saw him, kind and really cool, and he even remembered meeting me back at Rutgers.

Okay, enough Doty-gush.

One of my favorite panels was one featuring Marie Ponsot, Major Jackson, and Paul Muldoon, the topic of which was "The Duty of the Writer" - each of them had some really insightful things to say, and they answered questions and comments thoughtfully and thoroughly. (And of course, I asked a question about high art versus low art, and 'purifying the language of the tribe,' which Muldoon said is one of the duties of the writer/poet. What was cool about this was Marie Ponsot's total delight when she was discussing hip hop, and expressing her enthusiasm for it - and her suggestion that "hip hoppers would benefit from Emily Dickinson!")

Anyway, all this stuff really reinspired me, and I gained real insight into the whole business of writering - which is pretty awesome. I've returned excited and expanded, and with renewed enthusiasm for the work and the play of it all.

But now, I need to get back to some homework. Ha!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Don't forget Fail Blog -- everyone with a sense of humor (and frankly, those who don't have one) NEEDS broadband access to that.

  3. OMG, so true - it's inhuman to keep people from FailBlog!