lunes, diciembre 31, 2007

Nina Simone, Feeling Good

Birds flyin' high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by, you know how I feel
It's a new dawn; it's a new day; it's a new life for me;

Fish in the sea, you know how I feel
River runnin' free you know how I feel
Blossom on the tree you know how I feel
It's a new dawn; it's a new day; it's a new life for me;
And I'm feeling good

Dragonfly out in the sun, you know what I mean
Butterflies all havin' fun, you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when day is done; that's what I mean
And this old world is a new world and a bold world for me

Stars when you shine, you know how I feel
Scent of a pine, you know how I feel
Freedom is mine, and I know how I feel
It's a new dawn; it's a new day; it's a new life for me;

domingo, diciembre 30, 2007

Assisted Living

Sheila Ortiz Taylor's mystery is a delightful novel, a cozy, a comedy-of-manners, and a new take on industry growth in the aging of Baby Boomers.

As a long-time reader of Ortiz-Taylor's fiction, I was thrilled to see in Violet March a reincarnation of the sharp and witty Aunt Vi from Faultline (1982). With her purple state-of-the-art walker, which she can turn on a dime, Violet March is an intrepid sleuth. The ensemble of supporting characters includes Diana Reyes, a Chicana lesbian accountant with a suspicion that someone is cooking the books. (Violet occasional envisions Death himself as an accountant.) I particularly like the sympathetic ways Ortiz Taylor portrays the different aged inhabitants of Casa de Sueños: a musician composes in his mind an Opera on Aging. I'm fascinated by the cosmology of the grounds (modeled on either Dante's Inferno or Paradiso, depending on your perspective). No doubt that is why people are dying to get in. and get out.

You'll enjoy this novel if you're looking for a murder mystery with a quirky heroine. Or, if you've just finished reading Ortiz Taylor's other novels, including Coachella, Faultline, or Outrageous, you'll be happy to reach for Assisted Living.

I really want to recommend this novel to specific people who I think would like it, but I'm afraid they might take it as some comment on their age...

martes, diciembre 04, 2007

Novel knitting news...

Okay, we're four days into December, and I need to fess up. I did not finish my novel. I did not write 50,000 words. I did write 25,000 words, (about 95 pages) and generated some cool ideas, interesting situations, and characters I really care about. La BendyPalm is a most fabulous writing partner, and we swapped drafts pretty much daily.

I discovered my own penchant for blowing things up, high drama scenes, crazy xikana nationalism, and adventurous women. And there were these crowds of supporting characters: prostitutes, children, drag queens, nannies...

In the meantime, my house is not that clean. My inner Stepford Wife** has been locked in a closet writing, but yesterday I let her out to clean the front entryway.

L* has been very patient with me through all this.

My progress was solid until around the middle of the month, when I had stacks of grading that my students actually expected would be returned to them, graded. Then I traveled to New Mexico for the guajolote days, and was fully engaged with all my family there. I wrote a story with my niece and youngest nephew about all the rest of the familia. My mom's comadre cooked us up an enormous traditional feast, complete with homemade, yeast biscuits. She made a cherry pie and my sister made a pecan pie, and everyone lavished me with lots of tender-lovin'-care.

And I brought back chile. Lots of chile. Not as much as if we had a decent freezer: five red, three green. And last night my love made us black bean chilequiles filled with chard and bañados in New Mexico red. Oh, what a joy! Oh, what a delight! We licked our bowls clean and then went back in the kitchen to scrape tastes from the baking dish. Let's just say, my L* is one in a million.

Alas, no leftovers for lunch today.

It snowed when I was in Roswell, and they don't ordinarily get much snow, so it just must be me (last year when L* and I tried to go to New Mexico after chirstmas we were completely snowed out. I mean they closed the interstate!)

Now it's back to work full time for the last great push. It's going to be quite a month, as our international familia is coming to town with the newest grandbaby.

I just wanted to let y'all know that the novel didn't kill me.

**don't take that Stepford Wife stuff too seriously. I'm just so spacey and pokey when it comes to housekeeping that I practically need to join a cult just to remember to put away things when I take them out, do my laundry, empty the trash before it spills on the floor, and so forth. and I ask for a lot of praise for these little tasks! everybody tell me how good I'm being!!