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BLARGH: April 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

Poem in Praise of Paper

That there device, I hear it’s nice,
And yet I crave it less than lice.

It may not be a piece of crap
But I don’t want it on my lap.

It may upend the universe
But I won’t tote it in my purse.

It may be swell, but here’s the rub
I will not take it in the tub.

And yes, I’d rather drop down dead
Than bring a gadget to my bed.

Object of such abject covet—
iPad? No, I do not love it.

I'm a paper person, see.
Go—roll your eyes, bemoan the tree.

Paper’s passé but here’s the deal:
I love its soft yet grainy feel

No gizmo can eradicate
Paper’s cream and paper’s weight

And yet each page, fashionably thin,
Between my fingers remains in.

Don’t get me started on the ruffle!
Glorious sound! But perhaps best of all

Is the way that paper smells:
Subtle, smart, it shows, not tells.

Go stick your nose inside a book
And inhale. Ah! Mm! Yes… Look,

I know I’m ancient and curmudgeonly,
I’m over, out, behind. Only

As long as I insist on breathing
Books on paper I’ll be reading.

Hardcover and paperback
Here a pile, there a stack.

Clean sheets, black print, bound by a spine.
Give them to me! Mine, all mine!

SWOON comes out in paperback on the 4th day of May in the Year of Our Lord 2010.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Yes, a blargh...

I don’t blog because I write. And writers are boring. What to blog about? Staring off into space, conversing with people who don’t exist, acting out fight scenes with yourself? No one wants to read that.

Today, however, I blog because yesterday I participated in Operation Teen Book Drop, thanks to a random email I got from readergirlz, who are…I’m not sure, girlz, I guess, who read. My directive: “Drop a book off in a public spot for some lucky reader to find.” Which sounded a lot like littering to me, so instead I walked over to Beacon, a high school in New York City.

I’d heard about Beacon. A kid I know applied and was bummed when she didn’t get in. Another kid I know got in, then his mother pulled him out because he was getting in trouble. Apparently, you have to be pretty self-motivated to excel at Beacon, and if you’re not, well, the place does have a reputation as a “weed school” (which is not why I walked over there).

Everyone was super nice. Security was super nice. They let me go up to the library without even checking me for priors. There I met the librarian, who invited me to give a reading—which I really want to do, despite the list of Pulitzer Prize-winning and bestselling authors I’d be following (not intimidating at all).

Then the librarian introduced me to Renata, who’s the editor of Beacon Ink, the literary magazine, which is not the only swell thing about her. Take, for instance, the fact that she asked someone to the prom in brownie (brownie being a dialect of chocolate, the language of love). Renata offered me a piece of the invitational brownie (assuring me it had none of the above-mentioned “weed” in it). Looked mighty tasty, but before I could get my hands on it I got my hands on a copy of Beacon Ink—the best part of my visit.

Because I read a story by Renata that includes the confession “I always wanted someone to be jealous of me” as well as a character named Crayon. Also a story by David that imparted: “Never have a staring contest with an inanimate object; it can’t end well”—advice so sage I suspect it’s actually Confucian. Plus, this big gurgling language orgy by Nate that I nonetheless sort of understood even though it is a poem. And, yes, v.c. photography and illustration aplenty.

So even though Renata charged me $5 and I left without a bite of that brownie, I got such a warm-and-fuzzy about words and the people who worship, wield and mess around with them, I’m glad I “rocked the drop” as the readergirlz say. I’m also glad I didn’t get arrested—like Arlo Guthrie in “Alice’s Restaurant”—for littering. (Oh, the readergirlz say I'm supposed to refer to "the hash tag #operationtbd" in my blog, but if you know anything about me you know I don't know what a hash tag is but am wondering if it's anything like a hash brownie.)

As to the book I dropped, that brings us to the self-promo part of this missive. SWOON. It hits in paperback next month (the hardcover being in its seventh printing!) and I've sworn to do lots of obnoxious yapping (and even blogging) about it. So if you haven’t read it yet I hope you will (hint, hint, Renata).