Friday, December 17, 2010

The End of Sitka

Only two days left of my time at Sitka.
My work here has been different than I expected, and I will be walking away with new stories I did not anticipate.
The land here is so beautiful it's both distracting and nourishing, which I think is the idea of a residency.
If it were all as simple as meeting your agenda, you might as well stay home.

So here's to Sitka and Cascade Head and the pygmy owl and the breaching whale and the bald eagles and the seals and sea lions and the herons on the river. This time has been unforgettable.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

You Don't Miss Your Water

A Rag, A Bone, And A Hank Of Hair

I'm sitting alone with my father at the funeral parlor.
Viewing hours have just begun, but it's midday work
week, and for a few hours it'll be just me and him, the
first time I've laid eyes on him since the phone call
woke me up.

I'm doing what a son is supposed to do, or so I've
been told, but it's hard work, sitting with what used
to love and trouble you.

Of course, his body is a bright lie in its casket,
everything that has brought him here carefully
hidden or rearranged.

Is there something I want to tell him? Anything I
can forgive?

I can only sit and wait and listen to the gospel
music as it buzzes through the speakers. Jesus, Jesus,
Jesus. All his time, all his struggles that I still call life.

All his trials.

- Cornelius Eady

Monday, November 29, 2010

"I Do Not Sleep To Dream"

Mahmoud Darwish wrote:

Your feet knock against my heart like a rifle
as you shut the door.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why don't you read this poem

This is the end of Other Deaths from Bite Every Sorrow

For twenty years we lost touch,
but I still remember the front hall of his house on Hillman Street,
its empty shell, the way our footsteps echoed on the bare boards,
the way his mother said, "One toy at a time,"
the high school dance when he asked me gently
why I was shaking.
Did he think about me, other deaths,
men angry at being pallbearers all this time,
while women got to carry life?
It's too late to ask him where he thinks the sky ends,
if he still believes in God. The night he died
I felt snakes moving up my back
and in the dream they made the sound of rainsticks.
It's too late to go back, to arrive at the kitchen door,
too late for him to say, "Come in and wash your hair in the sink,
if you want." As if by this familiar bending
I could bow to what love we had in common.

- Barbara Ras

Friday, November 26, 2010

One more reason I love William Stafford

He said, "I would give up every poem I've ever written for the next one, the one I haven't written."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Hello dear reader (Brian: don't cook anything while you're reading this),

This is where I am:

I cannot imagine what good deed in a past life allowed for me to be writing here now.
I am grateful, so much gratitude that it's obscene. A little raunchy, really.

Here is a little poetry for you from The Death Notebooks:

"Out of the mournful sweetness of touching
comes love
like breakfast."

Friday, October 8, 2010

Change is afoot.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If Not For Kidnap

Hello Dear Reader (Read: Brian)

I'd like to urge you to come to SE Portland this evening for tonight's If Not For Kidnap Poetry reading.

Be here by 8pm. I'll be reading with poet Kaia Sand, and there will be musical accompaniment by Karen Hepner.

Hope you can make it out.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Loyal Reader (read: Brian),

I am thirty-six-and-a-half today. And I am a firm believer in the importance of celebrating the half birthday. Why not feel the joys of aging multiple times a year?

In an effort to occasionally act my age while simultaneously elevating my spoken language, I will attempt to remove the following words from my vocabulary:

like, as in
Informal . (used esp. in speech, often nonvolitionally or habitually, to preface a sentence, to fill a pause, to express uncertainty, or to intensify or neutralize a following adjective): Like, why didn't you write to me? The music was, like, really great, you know?

thing, as in
some entity, object, or creature that is not or cannot be specifically designated or precisely described: The stick had a brass thing on it.

awesome, as in
Slang . very impressive: That new white convertible is totally awesome.

and finally
interesting, as in
Adjective. (used in place of a word or words that better expresses what you mean because you're lazy and the word "interesting" is just easier to find in your brain, or as used to lie about a person, place or thing that you actually find totally dull but wish not to offend the speaker with the truth): Yes, that story about your awesome thing is, like, totally interesting.

Wish me luck, dear reader.
Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Toilet Mug

I know.
I posted this on facebook already, but I can't get enough of the toilet mug.
I heart the toilet mug.

That is all for today.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

The King of the Birds

"Many people, I have found, are congenitally unable to appreciate the sight of a peacock."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Larry Levis


You are the sweet, pregnant,
teen-age blonde thrown from the speeding car.

You are a dead, clean-shaven astronaut
orbiting perfectly forever.

You are America.
You are nobody.
I made you up.
I take pills and drive a flammable truck
until I drop.

I am the nicest guy in the world,
closing his switchblade and whistling.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Birthday Letters

From The Shot:

You were gold-jacketed, solid silver,
Nickel-tipped. Trajectory perfect
As through ether. Even the cheek-scar,
Where you seemed to have side-swiped concrete,
Served as a rifling groove
To keep you true.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Frederick Exley

Page 35: "And finally, I wanted love - or said that I did, though I know now that what I wanted was the adulation of the crowd, and that love was just a word that crowded so many other, more appropriate words off the tongue."

Saturday, May 8, 2010


I am here at Soapstone for one glorious week.

I'm in the cube.

Out the circular window in front of me:
the pointy roof tip of the other writing cabin, spring green tree leaves, white birch bark, cloudless blue sky.

Out the circular window to the left of me:
rolling white river water over rocks, green moss on the trunks of trees, insects zipping by at top speed.

Out the circular window to the right of me:
the sound of a car or two passing on the highway, a big red sign that says EAT, and green, green, green.

I'd tell you about the circular window in back of me, but that one's dirty and needs to be washed.

Loyal reader, (that's you Brian), ahoy from my cube. And good day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Future of Publishing?

I just went to a panel on the future of publishing.
After 75 minutes, I'm left with two very specific lessons:

1. The big houses swallowed the little houses and most of them are now owned by hedgefunds who do not know how to manage a bookstore, let alone a publishing print. So your best bet as an author is to go with a smaller independent press because they will really get behind your work - at neither location (big or small) should you plan to make any money at all. So go with the guys that love your book and will promote it.

2. I think we as book buyers should boycott Amazon.
I learned some terrible terrible things about that I'd never known before. Amazon doesn't charge sales tax (ostensibly this means they're able to bring the cost of the book down for the consumer). However, a few states in the last couple years have started to pass legislation demanding that Amazon pay sales tax in their states, due to the serious budget cuts and tax revenue deficits most states are dealing with lately. In response, Amazon now refuses to deal with any smaller, used and antiquarian bookstores that had previously used their site to sell their books. It's really very petty. Think of the amount of money that amazon might make off those mom and pop stores, probably almost nothing, pennies. And they're pulling their access to a larger global consumer base because the states they happen to live and work in have changed their tax laws. It's obnoxious.

And that's just ONE of the things I learned about amazon at the panel.

Anyway, I'd love your thoughts.
I know Amazon has also done some good things (right? haven't they?) for writers and the publishing industry. Making books and publishing more accessible, etc.

I don't know what to think.
And then to make matters worse, as I logged on to post this entry, at the top of Blogger, it said this:

New! Do you link to Amazon in your blog posts? Our Amazon Associates integration makes linking easier, and can even earn you some money! Details here.

Is it a sign?
And if so, of what?

This has been today's dispatch from the front.
Thanks for listening.

For more info here's a starters link
Here is another one

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Forgive my absence

Though I continue not to blog, I did want to mention that I had one of those incredible nights last night (not THAT kind of night) where a person remembers why food and friends and a big heart are important. (Please don't fault me for putting the food first. Really, that was just happenstance).

I count myself lucky that I am able to be surrounded by so many wonderful, kind and talented people.


Friday, February 19, 2010

Attention Loyal Readers!

It's me Margaret.

Please cancel whatever it is that you're doing tonight and plan on attending the Brad Rosen Benefit show @ the Blue Monk on Belmont.

Wonderful writers reading their work (me included) and three bands and for the low price of eight dollars you can help us raise money to support our friend's bills after his life-threatening spinal infection.

It's Reading Local's book event of the day!

And featured in the Mercury:

And Willamette Week:

And elsewhere on the web.

And if you can't make it, please consider donating to the Bradley Rosen Fund at any Wells Fargo branch near you.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Quiche is delicious.
I wanted to spread the word about that.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I am nothing but grateful

i've had this amazing month.
so amazing, i haven't had time to not blog about it.

now that i have some free time (read: at work), here's what january has looked like -
1st week - i won an oregon literary fellowship in fiction (what the hell!)
2nd week - i completed my graduate school applications and sent them in (a simple enough sentence to write, but applying to grad school is so sucky, i'm praying i get in mostly so i don't have to go through the application process again)
3rd week - was interviewed by reading local: portland, read some new work @ true stories @ mississippi studios (thanks courtenay) & it was my birthday
4th week - i'm leaving for puerto rico for my friend's wedding & to drink tropical cocktails oceanside.

i'm well aware of the incredible good fortune (and hard work too) that made this last month possible.

i am nothing but grateful.

also, there is this quote which i cannot get out of my head since hearing it:

"if you work hard, and if you are kind, amazing things will happen."
conan o'brien said that to his audience in the final minutes of his final show.
he could have said anything.
he could have told his young angry audience to boycott universal & comcast.
he could have told nbc to fuck off.
but he didn't.

so in honor of conan, (and of anvil) i'm going to keep working hard, keep aiming for kindness, and keep believing in the possibility of the amazing.

i hope you do too.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

this guy i married

he's amazing
& supportive.
he regularly brushes his teeth! (a recent development)
he's disciplined, and in the face of adversity, he succeeds.

go here to see his latest finished short film

brian padian, you kick ass!

Friday, January 8, 2010

what the ?!

Margaret is shocked to report that she is the recipient of an 2010 Oregon Literary Fellowship in fiction.

Now she has to write her butt off.

She wonders... will this eat into her time previously devoted to blogging?

Further, will she now only refer to herself in the third person?