Remember when I said I planned to read new poetry every day? That has certainly gone by the board. I’m busy with what I came here to do; no time to read. All those Poetry magazines and old issues of Poets & Writers. The only one I’ve opened is the last; I’ve underlined all the presses I can send my manuscripts to. These days have run together. Day before yesterday I spent much of my time typing and arranging samples of Hollywood poems for the proposed anthology. With my letter to the presses I plan to include a packet of poems. It’s now the weekend.
Allie, my granddaughter, brought a picnic to my studio yesterday, and we enjoyed deli sandwiches and baked chips. She brought flowers, gerbera daisies that match the décor—orange, yellow and, of course, greens to go with the bouquet. We took a tour of Montalvo, umbrellas in hand. It’s a magnificent property—the Villa, Garden Theatre, Carriage House and Project Space, the gallery, which was open on Sunday. On exhibit was a project proposed for the grounds here, a slender platform sloping outward from the hillside and intended to float somewhere above the Garden Theatre sited on one of the hiking trails. It’s a project between “now and then,” the artist says. The platform seems to be made of bamboo or some very light wood.
I brought Roget’s Thesaurus as well as a dictionary (the studio has one) and a few books to read. I like Li-Young Lee, but what I brought turns out to be a memoir. Choose what you bring to a residency carefully. I live close by; I’ve been home twice to pick up this or that. The latest magazines are here now and ready to go. So I am searching through Poets & Writers for places to send my poems. One thing I don’t do is send out enough poems. They’ll never be published if I don’t. I did just that when I began to write and chose to contact some of the lesser-known journals. I have yet to send anything to prestigious small presses, so that’s another goal.
One catalog or book that would make a good reference is the publication put out every year that lists small presses, what they’re looking for, and what they’re not interested in. The local library could have one available, but I’d like to mark pages and keep it handy. That might be worth investing in.
It’s time for me to take up my yellow highlighter and look for a match between publisher and poet. Trees are tossing their limbs, the sky is dark, and spots of raindrops slant in on my picture window. We are waiting for a storm.
The storm came swirling in at 6:15 a.m. Lightning, thunder, and slashing rain. At 7:30 it’s still a downpour, and the trees outside my window bend and toss. A good day to curl up with one of my poetry books or magazines.
Today a guest, Sally Ashton, is joining me. We will work together on some of what I’m here for. We plan to have conversations about the Hollywood anthology and my latest manuscript. While she’s looking both over, I intend to go over old scribbles. So far I may have found one poem. Some of the writing I’ll transcribe later to tell my kids what it was like when they were small. One guest is free at the artist residency. For two or more Montalvo requests a $20 payment.. We’ve been dining much as we would at Chez Panisse or Zuni’s. Wonderful food. Basmati rice. Vegetables seasoned with curry leaves. Farro, an ancient wheat, chewy and filling. No dessert last night: I am losing weight.
Tonight four kinds of pizza, and we had a piece of each. Will gain that weight right back. A lettuce salad, but never just lettuce. Always some exotic leaf with a simple dressing. Olive oil is of great importance to Michelle. She is trying several to find the one she’ll buy in bulk. She’s here for a full year and making the most of it. The salad today had a wintergreen taste, but that could have been the dressing. Always different, always delicious.
We set the table with china, silver, wine glasses, and our own napkins with napkin rings marked to match our studios. Some who like to cook help Michelle. After dinner we are all in the kitchen on clean-up duty. A pleasant and efficient set-up.