It’s a long thread but interesting. The term “maroon” comes from the Spanish meaning, “untamed.” It is not, as one might think, a reference to skin color. In my historic fiction manuscript, three characters run away to a maroon community in Cane Creek. This was a real place in the swamps west of Charleston.
Category Archives: Out and About
How it’s going
Forty-seven queries. Started last February. There have been lots of lapses but still, that means it’s been a year of looking for an agent for my novel and coming up empty-handed.
Today: a new record. An agent rejected me THE DAY AFTER I sent my query. No wonder I identify with the cruddy, soiled, forlorn-looking toy kicked to the curb!
And I keep getting sidetracked. I’m doing ANOTHER RUN THROUGH and am on page 87 of 200+. That’s edits of edits of edits. I keep an eye on word count, subtracting unnecessary words wherever I can (they’re everywhere).
In other news, birthday celebrations are ongoing! I kid you not. A friend is taking me out for dinner tonight and in March, two other friends and I will see a play together. Yet another friend ordered me a birdbath, which is not only generous but puts me in mind of spring!
K and I went to the Berkshires for two nights which was mostly fun (falling on the pavement near MassMOCA was not fun, to be specific, and the falafel at our first dinner was inedible). But otherwise! Fun.
We enjoyed staying at The Porches, a funky inn near MassMOCA, and for our dinner in Lenox, we lucked out with a table at a popular Italian joint. I had cod topped with sautéed red peppers and artichoke hearts atop the biggest pile of mashed potatoes I’ve ever been served (garlic infused). There was a mass of wilted spinach too. Yum!
There were times when I thought the structure was cooler and more interesting than the exhibits.
Perhaps more on that tomorrow.
Black History, a selection
From The 1619 Project, EPISODE TWO: “Rape was so prevalent during slavery that today 1/4 of the genetic makeup of Black Americans can be traced back to Europe through the paternal line.”
Colonial governments made descent of children of enslaved women matrilineal in order to ensure that any children they bore were slaves (even the mixed race children, say, of their owner).
The episode goes on to examine the lopsided health care that contemporary Black women receive, tying the shameful conditions directly back to slavery.
FACT: Black women die in childbirth at THREE TIMES the rate of white women.
FACT: Black infants die at TWICE the rate of whites babies, a discrepancy that disappears when the OB is Black.
FACTS: Black patients are under-treated for pain, as if there were biological differences between Black and white people. Furthermore, their life expectancies are shorter and they’re often blamed for their health issues.
Slave owners always had an economic interest in the reproduction of their slaves, but after Congress banned the importation of Africans in 1808, it became an even more important way to preserve and build wealth.
In the amazing novel WASH, by Margaret Wrinkle, the white slave owning protagonist hires out the enslaved character named Wash for the purpose of procreation. Keeps meticulous records. Is paid for the “exchange.” One of many poignant moments occurs towards the end when Wash burns that ledger and lets those flames then take a barn down.
I know from my research that in South Carolina in the mid-eighteenth century, slave owners believed that breeding Africans with Native Americans would produce stock better adapted to winters.
And BTW, another source of wealth for early colonizers as to round up, kidnap, and sell Native Americans to slave markets in the West Indies. Native Americans were not favored as slaves in South Carolina because they had family in the area and knew the landscape better than anyone, heightening the chances of their escape.
XGames / found poetry
When you’re five feet tall at the Aspen XGames, you might not see much!
Holding up my phone, I could capture a bit of the slopes. At one point, I felt bold and knifed through the crowd declaring, “Five-footer coming through!” But I didn’t stay up front for long. Some ditzy woman high on something waggled and hooted and flung her arms about in a way that made me fear for my safety. Gawd.
Even though I couldn’t see much, I’m glad we went. It was an experience. Maybe not an experience of viewing elite snowboarders doing astonishing things, but an experience nevertheless.
You watch these tricks (when you can at last see them watching YouTube from the couch) and wonder: how? Not only how is such a feat possible, but how does one practice it? There are precipices involved, speed, and heart-stopping defiance of gravity. You gasp. And since records keep being broken you also wonder, is there a limit? Three spins, four. Is five next?
But I’m not here to discuss sports. I’m here to appreciate vocabulary, in particular the kind of specialized vocabulary that grows around something unique and novel. It’s musical even when you haven’t got a clue what they’re talking about.
I recorded some announcer comments one evening. It’s a found poem of sorts.
My rules for found poetry (I’ve posted some here before) are: no added words and words must be in the order that they were uttered. Enjoy!
XGames 2023 Found Poem
I guess that was a drifting back rodeo?
That was the definition of air awareness!
He’s going way too big and yet somehow he’s still alive.
Sometimes you get away with it.
Does a butter.
What’s he got for Run Four?
Who needs a grab?
You heard that collective groan.
‘Course he’ll get another chance.
That’s the great thing about Knuckle Huck.
This is overall impression.
I like the hand touch behind the back.
That’s my favorite part, the sway.
Almost a double clutch.
We’re under the two minute warning.
Double tango from the Icelandic legend there.
Just to take a regular run on a forked bird is haunting.
Being the dude at the bottom.
I woulda rolled out of the way.
Cap off Chipotle Knuckle Huck with Marcus Cleveland.
That’s a 1440.
That was absolutely ridiculous.
If you want to gasp yourselves, YouTube has tons of footage.
** Erasure Poems are a form of found poetry that start with a source document. I used a letter from Eliza Lucas Pinckney to her father HERE to create a few variations.
And here’s a poem made from football game commentary.
Hello! It’s cold
Temps plummeting here so I made Finn a coat. It’s already been modified since its debut.
There’s a polar fleece underlayer and a top layer of gorgeous Irish wool. I know, I know. High quality imported wool for the dog?
Well, yes and why not? It’s been sitting in a bin for twenty-plus years. I think my mother gave it to me. Or it was hers and ended up with me. Since this picture was taken, I revamped the neck edge and moved the straps forward. Not ideal but it will work for the next walk in 7 degrees. Going to -10 overnight. Whew!
We went to Colorado last week. Saw the boys. We enjoyed it, our first gathering in EIGHTEEN MONTHS. One evening at the XGames in Aspen was a bit of a scene and memorable, other nights in front of a fire more relaxed (with YouTube offering much better viewing of the boarding events). C had a GoPro camera strapped to his chest on their days on the slopes, so even though I wasn’t skiing, I was treated to video of their descents.
I’m proud to say that we shopped the first day for what seemed like a huge amount of food, but we very nearly consumed it all. Except for the acorn squash. For some reason, on no night did I feel like stuffed acorn squash. I brought them home in my suitcase!
Our flights out of Aspen were cancelled because of a localized storm, so we ended up driving to Denver. Everyone made it home safe and sound. And no, the passes through Loveland and Breckenridge were not the white-knuckling, guard-rail-free nightmares I was anticipating.
I will never not be amazed by flying. That’s one of the Great Lakes above. K and I got four upgrades to first class. Sigh. The end of an era, since his Global Services status is due to expire. He may try to squeeze a couple of trips to China in before he retires, but given the ferocity of their Covid outbreak, it’s a problematic idea.
You used to have to quarantine upon arrival in China for seven to fourteen days, depending. Even if you quarantined in one city, say Beijing, you’d have to quarantine all over again if you traveled elsewhere, say Shanghai. They’ve dropped those requirements.
It is so odd how China went from imposing the most draconian disease management protocols to having none at all. In our country, we seem to be suffering from a similar lack of will — or is it delusion? Covid is no longer an emergency? Oh really? Is that why 2,000 to 4,000 Americans are dying EVERY WEEK, not to mention the drastic effects of Long Covid beginning to be documented to a horrifying degree?
Two men behind me on the flight home coughed the entire trip.