Every one of my annual juried intensive poetry workshops here in June has a private FB group, but getting all the poets on to it generally takes a week and is almost a fulltime job. At the present, for instance, I’m one of the managers of the private Fb group, but Fb won’t let me add people. Woody has to. That’s a problem I haven’t had in the previous nine years of creating of workshop. FB tells a British poem that she isn’t herself. So she can’t get into the group. Another we have successfully friended each other, but FB doesn’t recognize the friendship for anything useful, although he’s listed as a friend. On and on and on. It’s important to get everyone on as that’s how I communicate with them about lodging, travel, what’s expected of them, how it all will work. And it’s how they first meet each other. Every private FB group still functions after the workshop ends. Often people continue to share work and news for years. It’s part of what the workshop provides for participants. Often they continue to share work with each other.
I did my first Skype interview ever Thursday afternoon. I was speaking with two Spanish women who work for the publishing house in Spain that is publishing WOMAN ON THE EDGE OF TIME. I also just got the contract for my new poetry book that should be out next September, ON THE WAY OUT, TURN OFF THE LIGHT. I have to read it tonight. It’s hard to do an interview about a novel that came out in 1976, but I still have the gift of improvising readily. Still a good rabble rouser. They seemed very pleased with the video. It was a little difficult as I had trouble at times with their accents, understanding what they were saying. Up to 1971 when I moved to Cape Cod, I used Spanish every day in NYC. I spoke to the woman who ran the bodega across the street, to the guys in my building from the Dominican Republic, to the drycleaning guy, etc etc in Spanish every day. I was so fluent then, I could manage political arguments in Spanish when I was in Cuba. Now I haven’t spoken Spanish since I moved here. Portuguese would be of far more use on Cape Cod. I thought of trying to use Spanish with the interviewers, but I’m too rusty. I mix up French and Spanish sometimes. We were ridiculously proud of ourselves for managing to do a Skype interview, as neither of us had ever before used that technology. Now I know I can do it, and Woody knows he can set it up on his fancy new laptop.
The weather was very warm for winter here up until Wednesday, when it started to cool. Thursday was nippier yet and very, very windy. I mean up to 50 mile an hour gusts. It is going way down tonight and will stay very cold for much of the coming week.
We took Xena to the vet Thursday morning for her annual rabies shot, exam and blood work. Of course even though we got up late to minimize the time before the appointment and tried to act normal, she caught on and hid. Woody couldn’t find her, but I remembered where she sometimes hides, three places. She was in the first. Hauled out, stuffed in a carrier and taken by car to the vet. She is normally a quiet cat communicating very efficiently through body language and an occasional soft short cry.
This morning in the car on the way, she yowled the whole time. Her normal voice when she bothers to use it is a soft soprano. This was more like a baritone or basso than a treble. She never stopped until we took her into the vet’s office. Then she was quiet amd very well behaved. She is a big strong cat but let them manhandle her. When we got home, she let us know what she’d gone through — being shaved to create a bare patch to draw blood and give her the shot really annoyed her. She has washed that area since perhaps 50 times.
I am still reading poetry submissions, but sometime after MLK day next week, I should be getting at least a hundred poems that were submitted to the regional contrast and even more to the national contest. I eliminated the first readers as their tastes were too academic and they didn’t seem to value diversity as I do.