Monday, December 19, 2022

Books are here!

Home Turf, A Bestiary of Sonoma State

Those boxes of books I ordered for readings arrived a whole two weeks early!   So I thought I'd park myself at Aqus Cafe in Petaluma, 189 H Street (in The Foundry Wharf), for a few hours, (let's say 3 - 5 p.m.?)  on Tuesday afternoon (Dec 20th) for folks who'd be interested in picking them up from me. 

(I'm also happy to sign books you've already received, if you're so inclined.)

The cost is the same as online: $15 - and I can take Venmo (@ lakin-khan) or cash. This is really a nice little book for those who enjoy birds, creatures, walks in nature - or who have some connection to Sonoma State University - or any campus, really.  It's the perfect size, if I do say so myself, for the Icelandic (also Finnish and other Scandihoovian) tradition of Jolabokaflod (The Christmas Book Flood): that is, giving and reading books on Christmas Eve, everyone cozy with warm throws and slippers, a few hot drinks, perhaps a woodstove or fireplace, cranking it out. Oh yeah!

 It's a slim little book, with lovely illustrations by Shane Weare, Professor Emeritus from SSU - the book is made by these illustrations.

Here I am, goofing off on campus, wings provided by an installation artist as their end-of-the-year project, sometime in the early aughts. 

But -- also here's the Amazon link  , just in case. 

Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Bestiary is now live on Amazon!

( cover of the proof copy)
 ... and available to you all!  Here's the link to the book on Amazon.....

Home Turf,  a Bestiary of Sonoma State 

I'm pretty darn excited, I will say.  What's a bestiary, you say? It's a compendium of beasts, a collection of tales about animals and what they mean to us. This book looks at the animals ( and a few other natural phenomenon) on the campus of Sonoma State University, up in the North Bay, in Northern California. 

 Medieval bestiaries were usually illustrated, sometimes with gold leaf.  I was so fortunate to have artist and print master Shane Weare illustrate this book with exquisite drawings. He really made the book a bestiary.

Feel free to share this link with any whom might be interested in a book that gently explores the varied animals finding a home on a suburban campus

Home Turf,  a Bestiary of Sonoma State



Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Whatever they say, we didn't .

No matter what they said, we didn’t. Nope, no way, Jose. 

It might have looked like we did. It was summer and you know, things get out of control in summer. Those wild songs were playing. Santana. You’ve got to change your wicked ways, baby. The infectious beat, you just had to dance, shimmy the hips, chop the beat with your feet, sun pouring through the car windows, the radio blaring. We always turned it up, beat on the outside of the car doors,  bare arms through the open windows, tee-shirt sleeves rolled up, hems tied tight around our midriffs,  or left loose over bathing suits.  

We bumped over the rutted farm road, unmarked but well-known, out to the swimming hole, along the west side of the Niagara River, parking in the heat of the meadow, grasses already bent with seeds, or flattened by cars, by cows, by us dancing over to the big rocks . We’d jump off into the deep dark pool, an eddy of the main pull of the river, the one that could drag you over the falls. Yes, those Falls.

A boombox turned up as high as it could go, we’d bump and shout, we’d want to hold hands, we’d change our evil ways, plunging into the cold, jumping to the bursts of the saxophones, the wail of the guitar licks plugged straight into our brains, the cold swirling water, the hot rocks, the whir of the grasshoppers, the rising song of the cicadas measuring out the heat, the beat of the timbales, Oye como ova, mi ritmo. We’d sashay, we’d prance, we’d shimmy and shake, we’d parade, do silly jumps, dive down as far as we could.

The water was dark and cold, mysterious, a black magic of its own. It set the table for all that happened later, all the things we didn’t do, all the things it was assumed we did.

(This is a small piece written to prompts from Jumpstart Writing Workshop, November, 2022. )

Monday, November 21, 2022

Almost Published! Home Turf!

Home Turf,  A Bestiary of Sonoma State, that little book I've been working on for years and years, is about to see the light of day! Here's the cover - and I'll be looking at the proof copy the day after Thanksgiving. Whoooieee mama!

Friday, October 7, 2022

The Wind Is Up - Sept 28, 2022


 The wind is up tonight, rattling everyone’s cages. We have all been cranky the past few days, un-nerved in some way.  Like the air is crackling and everything we say to each other is sparked with static and misunderstandings. Like the slip of paper in the fortune cookie says, We throw dirt at each other, but  it just means we are losing ground.


The cats are janky too; cross with each other and tussling at a moment’s notice. Oscar, the grouchy one, the boss, the patron, the don, who stalks around with the rolling gait of a sailor ready to prove his authority, is laid up with an infection along his jaw. Antibiotics are pretty much saving him, but he’s not 100 % yet, except for the grouchy part.  He sleeps a lot, but at least he’s eager for his food now. I’d like to think that flattery would improve his mood, but he isn’t having any of it. Kind of like the rest of the crew.


Perhaps we aren’t quite ready to give up on summer, as hot and vicious as it was at times. We sense the enclosings of winter, the cinching-up of the season, the tightening. 


This year, spider mites ate up most of the roses, ran amuck among the tomatoes, challenged the baby oak tree. We discovered the magic of neem oil, sprayed everything with a deep oily sheen, but the spiders attacks have  delayed the growth of plants, the blooming of flowers. The joys of the flowers, the blessings of the open sky and big clouds seemed to be snatched from us – the way we snatch the tiny snakes from the kittens, thwarting them of their fun and diversions. They look at us as if we are just about too stupid to be their gods and stalk off, tails switching.


The wind is up and chafing at the tie-downs of the umbrellas. The canopies ruffle and luff, ripple and snap under the gusts. We are folding ourselves over the fence-edge of the equinox, crossing the stile, to step into the soil of another season, and we’re not quite ready yet.