Sunday, February 22, 2009

Napa Valley Writer's Conference - 2009

The Napa Valley Writers Conference
is up and running, holey-moley, lickety-split. Once again, a fabulous faculty:

Fiction: Robert Boswell, Antonya Nelson, Peter Ho Davies and ZZ Packer.
Poetry: Elizabeth Alexander, Carl Dennis, Jane Hirshfeld, and David St John.

The application process is structured a bit differently this year, with rolling admissions, beginning March 1st. One advantage: the earlier you apply, the more likely you'll get your first choice. Plus quicker response from us. Another difference: those who have been accepted previously to the conference at least two times won't have to submit a qualifying manuscript; obviously we already know your work! Those applicants (fiction, that is) can then get cracking on their workshop manuscripts.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Environmental History Digital Collection

Snooping around the Jean and Charles Shultz Library (aka the Snoopy Library) website at SSU, I discovered the Environmental History Digital Archive. They've digitized rather an eclectic mix of historical material on Sonoma County: old maps, photos, plans, articles, letters, records pertaining to various contentious issues on the environment. Some unique items.

There's the whole history of the "Hole in the Head," the gaping foundation for a nuclear power plant that was to be built on Bodega Headlands. The plant was not only planned for one of the most beautiful whale-watching bluffs on our gorgeous ocean coast, but was also mere yards from the San Andreas fault. Like that made sense. But it was the 1960's, when suits felt they could do what they wanted and hippies and radical-nut protesters had other ideas and values. The plant was never built, but the shaft dug for the nuclear reactor is still there, a physical and metaphorical hole in the head.

This digital archive also contains two of my Nature's Way pieces, one on owls and ravens (#37), another on Western pond turtles (#51). They had asked permission a few months ago, but I'd neglected to look for them earlier. It's nice to be included.

SSU Historical Archive

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Listening to Lucia

My friend Lucia was interviewed on BlogTalkRadio the other day, the 2/18 Moe Green Poetry Show, "Onword"

Lucia Galloway Interviewed by Rafael Alvarado You have to put up with an ad at the beginning, no way around it, but the rest is fun.

It's a kick to hear her read her work (villanelles, pantoums, sonnets, etc) and to remember those MFA Days in Marina del Rey. She read poems from her chapbook "Playing Outside," from Finishing Line Press, and new work from "Venus and Other Losses" coming out soon from Plain View Press. The conversation is freewheeling, casual and informative in the wonderful way of poets.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Frost and Sweet Pea

Been some pretty whack-a-doodle weather this winter: a few heat-wave days, some weeks of icy windshields and frosty lawns, some mornings foggy and soupy, some afternoons almost too bright and sunny. Yet little-to-none of the usual winter rain. Pretty confusing for the plant kingdom; bloom, not bloom, bloom, freeze your tiny little stamens off. I think we're all glad that ol' Punxsutawney Phil, that prognosticating groundhog, hit the snooze button and headed back to catch more zzzzz’s. Maybe this way, winter will regroup, revise and correct itself.

And maybe it is. Today the sky has been many mutable shades of gray. Over the past week, we've had spates of small, cold, drizzly storms; tonight a real rainstorm is predicted to hit. No one is complaining. If we're lucky, we might gain a few inches. Not much and not enough, but after three very dry winters, we're facing the very real possibility of a mandatory 50% water rationing. Perhaps each inch we receive will be one-percentage point less that we'll be asked to save? Well, I rather doubt it works in that tit-for-tat manner. But I will say that it makes for interesting times.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Double Trouble Birthdays

Happy Birthdays to Charlie Darwin and Abe Lincoln. Hard to know who had more influence on our current life - Lincoln for his vision, inherent humanity and dedication to equality for all or Darwin for his decoding of the process of evolution. Can you imagine a world in which neither of them were around? It seems like science fiction just thinking about it. Surely their discoveries and advancements would be accomplished by someone else but perhaps not in such a timely or fortuitous manner. Definitely an alternate universe.

Now, who's going to write that story?

Nests in Winter

....lordy, lordy almost two weeks have scooted by. Interesting weeks, though. Some of it was putting my keyboard to the grindstone and cranking out a Nature's Way essay titled Nests in Winter that was just published last Monday on NewsBytes. In the process of setting the link here, I discovered that half the links in the NW Archive were broken, so I fixed that. Apologies to any who tried to navigate those corrupted channels.

...and oh, yes! finally, I can watch a press conference again.