T’was the night before Easter and time to dye eggs a holiday activity for which my daughter always begs. Because we’re just three a dozen’s all I bought. Not enough to share both my daughter and I thought. So I said she could do them, each one and all, and I would watch her, and we’d have a ball.
She makes them precisely. It takes her all night, and so I’m not bored, I decided to write. I got out the words to make me a poem, and we both took our time it was really slow goin’.
Now she has her eggs, and I have some words. They say Easter’s for bunnies; I think it’s for the birds.
And now, without further ado, I present… my poem!
Of course, with magnetic poetry you’re limited to the words they give you, but, sometimes, just having a physical word there, in your hand, moves your brain.
This is my (final version of my ) poem, as I would type it out, and adding, in a few bits that I could not find magnetized:
The Persistence of My Memory
Hello remembered rain, flowering my vision with your pattering against a delicate purple window of poetry called the past- each yesterday going easily slow, always abundant, full filled delicious, fluid with music.
But the photos- the photos contrast, look rough, ugly, taste weird. No poetry of purple flowering, just tarnished silver halide- No rain pattering- no sound on muck mucky gelatin emulsion. And Kodak never lies.
Screw memory, that drunk companion not at all companionable, & a week’s worth of wages for an empty seat lugged around forever, and forever again tangling up the turnstiles, a heavy, broken, ghost.
Wanna submit to the Horror Writers Association (HWA) for their horror book of poetry? If you are published in HALLOWEEN PARTY, you can. Gravelight PressDevil’s Party Press family, and we pay every author in HALLOWEEN PARTY $25 (and give each author a free copy of the anthology), and that $25 check is enough to qualify for membership in the HWA.
Here’s a little horror ditty (I’m not saying it’s very pretty…).
Little Bo Weep (by D.Pearce)
Now I lay me down to sleep and thinking ’bout dismembering sheep. No hooves to leap no baaaaahs to bleep just nightmares in the meadow’s deep. Like a tea with too much steep the blood into the wool will seep. I chopping chopping as she weeps that simpering whimpering dopey BoPeep. Then I round the herd will creep for bones and fuzz and tails to sweep And when the sheep are in a heap what will be the reap I reap? At lastly long and blissful sleep.
For better or for worse for Anthony Doyle, I am/was his editor for HIBERNACULUM. I read it when it first came in as a submission, and I read it awhile back, probably pre-2021, and I read it again this year and part of last, as we got it (at long last) ready to go. Anthony is exceedingly kind and patient as we did all our DPP move stuff. And, in this case, I do think it served him as we’re a better publisher over on this coast than we were on the last coast. But that’s aLways the way. As I said to the poets of Old Scratch Press as they prepared to choose their first three books for publication, (more or less my direct quotation): the one who goes first gets his/her/their book done right away, which is a huge relief, and so exciting, and, as the press grows and changes and moves forward it will get (hopefully) better at everything, and so the later books will benefit from that.
Delayed gratification is a bitch; it is true, but it is also true that things usually improve when they have experience behind them to lead the way.
HIBERNACULUM now, is getting a better company than the company it found and signed up with. And I am glad of that.
As part of that, HIBERNACULUM is going to get some advertising, some paid, and some social. And today, for the social, I went back through the book again, looking for good quotations to make into ads. For me, that meant re-reading it (I’m a fairly fast reader), not the whole thing, but substantial chunks.
I collected a fair few quotations, by which I mean over 30. The book is so damn quotable.
Dave and I made a deal with each other a while back that if we were going to keep doing all the work associated with publishing people, we were going to have to love, like this: LUV!! the books.
Anthony’s writing would make the cut easily six times over.
And here’s the thing about this damn book.
It starts out like most books, neat, clean, crisp white pages, chapters, titles, headers, all nice and normal.
And it ends like this:
It ends on notebook paper, torn from a spiral notebook, and hidden.
The book is fiction, and there is all story there, and you get to know and love the characters very well and much. But Anthony digs in. And so, why would the world come to have places where people could go to hibernate? Why would we need human hibernation? The answers range, and include vanity, conservation, rest, but also poverty, desperation, and ending up on notebook paper. Which humans get which kind of hibernation?
And that’s always the question in life, which humans get which kind of life, right?
And HIBERNACULUM makes me cry a little, every time, and it’s not because it’s bleak, but because it’s such great writing. I mean, think of the genius of David Sedaris. He makes most people laugh, but he makes me cry too, because the writing is so damn good.
So I go on an innocent hunt through HIBERNACULUM looking for quotable parts, and I end up all welled up, and wishing I could just, gosh, when I was a kid I would take a glass of ice water and a book into the back yard and lay on an old webbed lounge in the sun, and read until I was skin-cancer red, and I wish I could do that with this book right now, take it out to the yard, to the beach, on a long subway ride, in a hot tub, somewhere with no one to talk to me, with the fuck-off I’m reading signals just beaming around me like a cone of silence, and just read, and read, until I had read the whole thing. Again.
Dave, my spouse Dave, that one, makes fun of me because I get so excited about the books we choose to publish, and also some of the ones I edit-for-hire.
Well, what can I say, it is true.
And maybe that’s why I’m not worried about AI, because, even without AI, people are out there self-publishing a hot lot of crap writing. And I can spot it a mile away. Tropes, cliches, interruptions to the flow, 8.9% dashes without knowing what the hell dashes are for, no semi-colons, predictable tripe.
This damn book, this HIBERNACULUM starts like a day at the spa, or MOMA, and ends on, well, not even on notebook paper, but I’m not giving it completely away. It sparks thought; it glows, and it swims in my mind, and I come back to it again, and again, and-
I want to say that I have been watching KITCHEN NIGHTMARES, the original series, for the first time, and Gordon Ramsey has turned up my obscenity settings, and they were already pretty high, but I just mention it in case because-
HIBERNACULUM, this is a fucking great book.
And Devil’s Party Press, a company started by an old lady and her reluctant? but talented spouse, may never be Random House or Doubleday.
But Doubleday and Random House didn’t get HIBERNACULUM.
And, if you like to read, if you like reading that sticks with you, that you’ll have to tell people about, I hope you choose HIBERNACULUM instead of some big bestseller that has all the breaks a guy like Anthony deserves, but couldn’t get through the noise to find. It would be a literary crime if this book wasn’t published.
HIBERNACULUM is on Kindle Vella right now, and it’s pre-ordering for July, with special goodies for folks who pre-order.
If you read it, would you let me know? I want to know which part really stuck with you… see if we match up.
What would my life have been like if I hadn’t started doing this? What would Anthony’s be like? Would his book have ever gotten out?
Of course, the title of this blog was not written by me; I have better grammar. Snooty response, I know, and I also have better compassion.
What happened here, in the United States?
When I was a kid I remember my dad would pull over any time he saw anyone having car trouble, and he was right there to help them. Granted, he could fix cars, but it didn’t matter, in my memory, who it was, he helped them. Help didn’t have a nationality, or a religion, or a gender, or a team.
But perhaps memory is faulty.
I remember, and long for, a United States where people had more of a “We’re all in the same boat” ethos. Of course, Trumpers and the loud part of the Republican Party, the white male part and their female supporters who feel like those poor white men need protection from the rest of us, remember something different. They seem to remember a United States that only had white people in it, and everyone listened to the father in the household, and everyone had his or her place and stuck to it.
I also remember, from back in those halcyon days, not nice things about my family: driving around to look at Christmas lights, and my parents pointing out the houses without them and saying, “Those people are Jewish,” like it was something that smelled bad. Of course, when I was under the age of ten, I didn’t even know what Jewish meant. In fact, one of the childhood jokes on me was that my best friend was Catholic, and went to Catholic school, and when she asked me what I was I said, “Oh I’m public,” because I went to public school (We went to a Methodist church, but it wasn’t how I defined myself. I was much more about school.). My mother, of course, thought this was hysterical, but also wanted me to be sure I told everyone we were Methodist. Much later in life I had a student at Golden West College tell me she was Christian, and I asked, “What kind?” And she said, “Christian.” And I said, “I know, but what kind? Catholic? Protestant, Baptist?” And she said, “No. Christian. I don’t know what those other things are. I go to the True Jesus church, and we’re the only church that is Christian and loves Jesus.”
I guess I’ve never been good at teams.
Republicans know how to run a rally. Certainly Trump does, and he taught them all to do it. Loud slogans, us against them, and us are the righteous underdogs. And people will adopt that mantra in a hot second, and it doesn’t matter if you’re being persecuted in another country, besieged by wars or drug cartels, can’t get medical care for a terrible disease, can’t get food for your kids, can’t find work or a place to live and be safe, can’t stop and invader from knocking on your door, so what? In the words of my Facebook detractor: “Ummm because I worked for it? Others are not my problem nor responsibility.” AND the implied, but not stated, message is: not only did I work for it, but I worked for it harder, for less pay, with less fanfare, and less for my family than any of those other people, and, And, AND, I deserve it more, because I am a TRUE American, and NO ONE ELSE IS.
I’m getting a little sick of it and sick of them.
I’m getting a little sick of the hate.
I’m getting well and truly sick of teams, and “OUR side.”
I am sick of righteousness.
And, I fully admit, as I sit here and try to just keep-on keeping on, raise my daughter with my values, do my work, pay my bills, I am not just sick of those people, I am afraid of them.
I think that they think that they have the tiger by the tail, that they have this thing almost licked, this thing called the “Wrong America” that they are going to make “Right” again. I mean, there are, literally, more of people like me than people like them. BUT, they are loud; they are mean; they are selfish; they are bandwagon groupies, and they have the tiger by the tail, and they don’t seem to care, as evidenced by them crawling all over the Capital like roaches and punching out police, who they take out in the process of hammering America into a bastion of white male supremacy.
I don’t know what to do about it. But I know what I want.
I want immigrants from all over the world who are in jeopardy in some way in their home countries to be able to come here, and have our love and support when they do. I do not want us judging who is worthy or not. I want us helping them, and using some of the corporate tax profits to give them aid and resources and get them set up for success, and offer them a pathway to citizenship, or a helping hand to start over in their home country, if that’s what they need and want. I want my taxes, and Walmart’s teeny little bit of taxes, and, in my plan, we’re going to tax the churches too, and we’re going to use those taxes for that.
And I want trans kids and queer kids and different kids, different from those norms people imagine from the past, free, free to be who they are, and not who some guy and his wife in Florida think they should be. I WANT THAT.
And, OF COURSE, I want Maya Angelou taught in school, and Maus, and whatever else kids need or want to read. I want kids to read Rubyfruit Jungle, as I did, and, guess what, stayed straight anyway, because I’m straight. Rita Mae Brown wrote a great book, and it didn’t turn me into what I’m not. People don’t get turned into something else by books, except for more educated. Good sweet mercy, let people read books and figure it out for themselves.
And hands off women’s bodies. Our bodies belong to us, and not to that same couple in Florida trying to push the rest of us around.
434 MILLION GUNS FLOATING AROUND IN THE USA.
I mean, what if the roaches attack the Capital again, but this time do it with 434 million guns?
According to that opinion piece on the latest school shooting:
Is your kid in school? Mine is. And I am terrified.
And why do Republicans keep doubling down on guns, aside from the money they get paid to sell guns for the gun companies?
Because it is part of the rally. White guys, you are under siege, and only you can stop the rampaging horde. Get guns for yourself and your family, because, ultimately, “… Others are not my problem nor responsibility.”
And there you have it.
So, I had to blog about this today, because I am tired, not sleepy, but tired, my spirits are flagging over the “Others are not my problem nor responsibility.”
And though I don’t believe in teams, and rally bullshit, there will have to be a consistent pushing back by those of us who don’t want or condone the hate, proliferation of guns, or control.
We are the quiet ones.
We are the “live and let lives.”
We are the lovers of our children as they are and not only as we wish them to be.
We are the haters of violence to solve things.
We are the respecters of women.
We are the promotors of the sanctity of all families, not just the ones we like the look of.
And if we don’t push back, if we don’t stand up at school board meetings, those same meetings that we don’t have time to go to, if we don’t get out and vote in those elections that they make harder for us to get to, if we don’t tell Aunt Sally that we don’t want her using those words in front of our children, and tell Uncle Jack that he cannot bring his gun or his hate to our holiday dinner, if we don’t push back on jokes and comments that are mean and cruel and inciting, if we don’t ask for those books they don’t want us to read and share them, if we don’t pay for National Public Radio so people in Fox News Land can get access to some free and balanced reporting on what is happening in the world, if we don’t take the time to stand up for immigrants and LGBTQ folk, and ME TOO and Black Lives Matter, if we don’t do every small but mighty little thing that we can possibly do in our quiet way, we’re going to lose to the loudmouths. And, though it is tough to get all those things in, it is much tougher to get the world back after it’s been locked down.
We have to find the time, and the bandwidth, to do it, and we don’t need a team or a rally to make a difference.
Push back. Stand up. Donate. Support. Say something. Vote.
I am a huge fan of yogurt, and when the world went Greek, I went Greek. But, dear Greece, as much as I long to visit you, you are not my #1 anymore. My #1 is skyr.
To begin with, things I do not want in a yogurt: runny artificial sweeteners, xylitol, stevia, any of that crap that fakes sweet and leaves a weird taste. No. No. No. I’d rather be hungry. Hunks of fruit. Not really a fan, I gotta say. No thank you. Too sugary: nope.
In fact, my favorite flavor of yogurt is probably… plain.
A long time ago I had a friend from Turkey who truly opened my eyes to yogurt when she introduced me to two things: Mante: delicious sort of tortellini, meat-filled, and served in garlic yogurt with some of the starchy pasta water. What? Carbs made more carby and, I don’t know, just CARBY-tasting with that starch-water and thick garlic and butter yogurt? I literally have never said this before (and, hopefully, since, because it is uber-dorky) but, whoooo-haaaa! who-ha! OhMylord it is good. And then she gave me a salty lassi.
Now, before you spit your breakfast on your device, a salty lassi can be good, if, like me, you adore salt and would like to marry it and have little half-salt-half-human babies with it. I want that. Me. I do. And can I have a dish of olive and a few anchovies to go with it? And maybe a warm from the oven salt bagel?
I like salt.
Hello, salty lassi.
Go savory with your yogurt for a change, and not sweet. After all, paneer is made from it… I think. Or can be. Or is just made from milk, but I love paneer too. Whatever, dairy.
Why am I not the size of a grain elevator?
Skyr. It is thicker than Greek. It is less wet. It is denser. It is smoother, somehow.
And it is less sweet, and made with sugar, the white stuff, or the slightly tan stuff that can become the white stuff. And not too much of it. Just a touch.
Or the plain, which is just like soooo much better than sour cream.
Two brands I recommend: Icelandic Provisions Siggi’s
Both are awesome.
Siggi’s has the benefit of being more widely (at least in my area) available, and I love the plain, and the black cherry is okay too, more squash fruit than chunks, and barely sweet. If you like those waters with a “hint” of berry, that’s the amount of flavor I’m talking.
Icelandic Provisions has wonderful plain, and this freaking amazing coffee flavor to go with your third cup of morning coffee.
And here’s another thought, before I leave you to lick out the container (I mean I never shove my face in and get stuff on my nose and embarrassingly lick out a container!):
Spicy food. Do you like it? I do. Can you eat it? I cannot really eat very much of it, and yet, I find it quite very tasty.
Ta-da! Yogurt to the rescue. Throw down some skyr on that flaming mo-fo and you are in like Flint! And what other cliches can I toss out here? I’m sorry; I’m just distracted by yogurt. And there is a rapidly cooling cup of Joe also calling my name.
One other thing I sometimes do: you made some pasta, like orecchiette, or, my new favorite, casarecce. And now you have left over, and it is the next day. And you are hungry, man, hungry! Warm up a tsp of olive oil in a frying pan, and add some of your pasta from the fridge, all gross and stuck in a blob. Add some water, little by little, to separate the pasta slowly, and have the pan over low to medium heat. When you feel your pasta is unstuck and getting warm, sprinkle on a little ground black pepper, a little basil (dried flakes are fine) and garlic powder, and then add in a little scoop (tbsp) of skyr. Plain skyr. Slowly and gently mix it into the water to coat the pasta and become like a slightly sour cream sauce. Then add about two cups more. No. That would be gluttony; don’t do that. Just add enough, slowly, on a low heat, that you feel like you have a creamy sauce for your re-awakend pasta, and that you have the temp low enough that you don’t make paneer. IF YOU MAKE PANEER, can I have some? No, seriously, it is okay to make paneer, but then just lower the heat and try, gently, again. Put it on a pretty plate, or in one of those “I don’t know if I am a bowl or a plate” plates, but a pretty one. And enjoy. Maybe watch some Kitchen Nightmares re-runs. Why not? Gordon is fun.
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Can I just tell you that I am so excited that so many Asian actors won Oscars? Not that my Asian daughter wants to act, but I am glad that more Asian people are getting recognized for their contributions to the American/United States world. That is damn great!
AND another damn great thing is that Dave and I are almost finished with Anthony Doyle and his novel, Hibernaculum.
So, let’s discuss this a moment. In truth I never want to be finished with Hibernaculum.
I publish, I realized over the weekend, between individual pieces and full-length pieces, a fair amount of writing by other people. and I usually don’t publish it unless it really speaks to me.
And a funny thing about me, as a human, is that, whether through editing or editing for publication, I sometimes get really excited, really really excited, like so excited! over a book, or a poem, or a whatever… could be a small piece, something that I am lucky enough to work with. And when I am excited I tell everybody in my small circle about it. I wax rhapsodic, as they say. Truly! A woman whose book I recently finished editing wrote a book that also really excited me, and she told me that her spouse asked her, “Why doesn’t Dianne just marry (name of book) she loves it so much?” Oooo, snarky! And, do you know what… my husband asked me the same damn thing. WTH People? Listen, it’s amazing writing, and you can’t stop love! I love her book! And I don’t care who knows it!
And my husband also asked me why I don’t just marry Hibernaculum. So, yeah, Anthony Doyle, I do wanna marry your book. It’s a freaking great book!
Soon we will begin to reveal Anthony’s book, bit by bit. And we have done quite a lot of fun stuff to, and with, his book, not our stuff, really, but Anthony’s stuff, that we have “made flesh” for him, and I cannot wait to see the world’s reaction to it!
And I gotta toot our DPP horn for a hot minute here. We are small, but we are scrappy, and definitely author-centered.
I was at a writing conference guest over the weekend, my second in six months, and the publishing company is flourishing, and my child is flourishing, and the pets are all healthy, and I just ate a great tomato sandwich, and there is always plenty of coffee.
Tuesdays can be boring, and they’re not even “hump day,” so they can lack some pizazz.
But today I want to give Tuesday its due.
We just sent five wonderful books off to Midwest Review of Books and two we just sent off to the proofreader. Yes, we use a proofreader, because one or the other of us (usually me) edits the book, and the author goes over it, and then it needs fresh eyes, and we do not have the eye-time to spare. So we have a proofreader we trust, and we employ her. Freelance, but still, that’s how I edit, so…. I am so proud that we not only give authors publication, we also are able to give a freelancer work. I want to help authors who deserve it get published, and I want to give people work.
It’s Tuesday, and I am excited we’re doing that.
And I am thrilled to say we also have brewing:
~The poetry collection, A Break in the Field, that is well-underway by my new friend and talented poet Ellis Elliot. ~The wonderful surprise that Ellis is planning for the folks kind enough to pre-order some poetry! Oh yes, there is going to be fun there too! ~The poetry collective that is well-underway due to the really generous hearts of some gifted and moving authors who I also think of as friends. ~The kind authors who have trusted me as their editors, hired me freelance, and shared with me their books and stories, and who I also think of as friends now, and who I am rooting for as much as I am rooting for the folks we publish. ~The fantastic Hardboiled and Loaded with Sin noir anthology that is coming your way soon! ~A “cozy” surprise due to announce in… early April? ~A whole new genre of book we’ve cooked up with an editing client who I just had to find a way to work with! ~A little touch of something classic…. ~A Fall we plan to fill up with horror! I love reading horror when the leaves turn; don’t you??
~And the wonderful Hibernaculum.
And, HEY! You wanna know all about the cool Hibernaculum stuff don’t you? I know I do. We’re making it a fun ride, people. Get your tushie over to Devil’s Party Press and sign up for our newsletter, because much of it is going to be secret, special stuff for the newsletter only! The next newsletter comes out this weekend! Get in that group now!
So, on this Tuesday, though I have no notion or idea of if anyone reads my comically self-important blog (and I suspect not), I have to just use this space to tell you how excited I am. Thanks for reading!