Archive for SJ’s Photos

The pond at the edge of the 100-acre wood

The Wisconsin Writers’ Association Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp, where I’m Writer-in-Residence, is held at the Cedar Valley Retreat Center. 100 acres of woods and streams surround the buildings, which include the main building where the guest rooms and classes are held, a larger meeting house, a chapel, and a small screened outdoor room. Here’s the pond, where a pair of killdeer are nesting on shore and the trees are full of tweeting, chirping, chipping, and singing. A certain amount of honking and quacking can also be heard.

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Teaching in Wisconsin

Spending a week at the the Wisconsin Writers’ Association Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp. Thought you’d like to see my office.

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Nineteenth Saturday

Across the river
Streetlamps glow into gray day.
Single red light blinks.

Ferry churns thick wake
Passing before sharp white tents
Against green hillside.

Water laps seawall.
Runners’ feet slap stone pathway.
Fog melts towers’ tops.

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Career Day

Spent yesterday morning at PS 124 in Chinatown, the Yung Wing school, at Career Day. This is the invention of the school’s unstoppable principal, Alice Hom, and boy, all schools should only have principals like her. Lots of great creative things go on down there. For Career Day she’s managed to strongarm fifty or so grownups — most, like me, not parents at the school but only peripherally connected (I have a friend whose daughter goes there) to show up at 7:30 in the morning, march in and sit in rows of chairs on the auditorium stage and be introduced, including our professions, one by one to cheers from the 4th and 5th grades (that’s where the photo comes from, while I was up there) and then listen to a keynote speaker tells the kids about his/her journey and deliver the day’s message: kids can grow up to be anything they want to be. Then it’s off to a classroom, two or three grownups per, where three groups of kids cycle in and each grownup does a presentation about what she/he does for a living and the kids ask questions. When they go back to their classrooms they share what they’ve heard, so they see and hear about lots of different career paths by the end of the day. I’ve done this for the past couple of years and I have a whole song and dance by now. I bring a book, and they’re impressed enough that there’s a book with my name on the cover. Then I whip out the scribbled-on, marked-up, 600 page manuscript it came from. 600 pages! OMG! I tell them how I do research by eavesdropping and interviewing people — chefs, doctors, prisoners — and their eyes get wide. I always figure, if I reach that one kid who wants to write, my job is done. After the presentations, our reward is a Chinese lunch. Long live Career Day!

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Bella the Cat

Bella packs herself into the knapsack, in case there’s someplace to go.

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Sixteenth Saturday, two days late

Brant geese at pilings
Fattening for the trip north
Speed-eating that moss.

Sharp contrail in sky
Cuts across thin smudgy clouds —
Chalk line on blackboard.

Construction cranes still
Scattered on far shore’s skyline
At resting angles.

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter…

…from my hotel room window at sunrise.

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Turtle and giant carp, LA

Just thought you might like to see what’s in the pool at the Hilton.

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Thirteenth Saturday

Seagull circles, lands,
Pecks at food scrap, changes mind,
Floats on rippling waves.

Second gull soars in,
Tries same scrap. Same opinion.
Bobs beside his bud.

Big blackback swoops down.
Others lift off, flap away.
Empty kingdom’s his.

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Twelfth Saturday

Pearl water reflects
Red rim surrounding far clock,
Palest blue of sky.

Looking for breakfast
Geese zig-zag through piling field.
Slow-motion pinball.

In sunlight spotlight
Tanker powers upriver.
Two white gulls follow.

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