Monday, December 31, 2007


eat more locally. listen to my body. stop renting movies to impress the hip clerks at videoport. be open. subscribe to more magazines. send thank you cards. visit my family. believe myself. do work that i love. hang out with people i like. make the backyard garden. stop hanging out with people who make me feel bad. do nice things for myself. watch less tv. talk to that nice librarian. write ten new stories. keep a book log. visit out of portland friends. return library books on time. do nice things for my daughter. get out of the house. go to the movies. cook dinner.


Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hasty Pronouncements

I may be cursing myself by calling it too early, but I think that my eye twitch might be completely gone.

Which is good, because it's hard to convince people (least of all myself) that I am a competent and sane human being when the giant bag under my eye is disco-dancing all around.

In case you didn't get to see it, I assure you that this twitch was no ordinary "hey everyone I can feel my eye twitch but you can't see it" situation. This was a full-blown "ohmygod is she going to pull out a gun" kind of twitch. People--people who claimed to love me--would get distracted in the middle of our conversations to stare at the thing. Which was helpful in relaxation, I assure you.

Causes for the demise of The Twitch
Christmas Over
Presents Finished and Distributed
Sleep Averaging Seven Hours
Normal Food
Thesis Done
Deadlines Met
Family Met and Made Merry
Birthday Survived
Solstice Party Success

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Thesis Head

Thesis due Thursday... can't two words string sentences to together make...

Book List of Graduate School Reading Experience, for aforementioned thesis:

Agard, Nadema. “Art as a Vehicle for Empowerment” in Voices of Color: Art and Society in the Americas. Phoebe Farris-Dufrene, ed. New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1997.

Alexie, Sherman. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. New York: HarperPerennial, 1994.

Allison, Dorothy. Bastard Out of Carolina. New York: Dutton, 1992.

Allison, Dorothy. Trash: Stories. New York: Plume. 2002.

Allison, Dorothy. Skin: Talking About Sex, Class, and Literature. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1994.

Anderson, Sherwood. Winesburg, Ohio. New York: Viking Press. 1960.

Arizona Department of Education. “Causes of Homelessness: Substance Abuse.” Educating Homeless Children. March 31, 2007. <>

Auster, Paul. The Brooklyn Follies. New York: Henry Holt. 2006.

Baldwin, James. Giovanni’s Room. New York: Dell, 1956.

Baldwin, James. Going to Meet the Man. New York: Dial Press, 1965.

Balfour, Michael, ed. Theatre in Prison: Theory and Practice. Portland OR: Intellect Books, 2004.

Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz. New York: Macmillan, 1962.

Brockmeier, Kevin. The Truth About Celia. New York : Vintage Books, 2004.

Brown, Rosellen. Before and After. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1993.

Butler, Octavia. Kindred. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979.

Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Sower. New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 1993.

Butler, Octavia. Parable of the Talents: A Novel. New York: Seven Stories Press, 1998.

Butler, Robert Olen. A Good Scent From a Strange Mountain: Stories. New York : Penguin Books, 1993.

Carson, Anne. Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998.

Casares, Oscar. Brownsville: Stories. Boston: Back Bay Books, 2003.

Chabon, Michael. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: A Novel. New York: Picador. 2000.

Chabon, Michael. The Best American Short Stories, 2005. Boston : Houghton Mifflin. 2005.

Chabon, Michael. Chen, M. Keith & Jesse M. Shapiro. "Does Prison Harden Inmates? A Discontinuity-based Approach," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1450, Cowles Foundation, Yale University. 2003.

Chevigny, Bell Gale. “Introduction: Doing Time at Century’s End.” in Doing Time: 25 years of Prison Writing. Bell Gale Chevigny, ed. NY: Arcade Publishing, 1999.

Chute, Carolyn. The Beans of Egypt, Maine. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1985.

Chute, Carolyn. Letourneau’s Used Auto Parts. New York: Ticknor & Fields, 1988.

Chute, Carolyn. Merry Men. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1994.

Cisneros, Sandra. Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Random House, 1991.

Coetzee, J.M. Disgrace. New York: Viking, 1999.

Crais, Robert. Demolition Angel. New York: Doubleday, 2000.

Crane, Elizabeth. All This Heavenly Glory. New York: Little, Brown, 2005.

Crane, Elizabeth. When the Messenger is Hot. Boston: Little, Brown, 2003.

Day, Cathy. The Circus in Winter. Orlando: Harcourt, 2004.

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine: A Novel. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 1984.

“The Facts Behind the Faces.” A Fact Sheet from the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless. Winter 2004-05. Chicago Coalition for the Homeless <>

Faulkner, William. Go Down, Moses. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.

Feinberg, Leslie. Stone Butch Blues: A Novel. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1993.

Flynn, Nick. Another Bullshit Night in Suck City: A Memoir. New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2004.

Foer, Jonathan Safran. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 2005.

Gaiman, Neil. Coraline. New York: Harper Collins, 2002.

Gaiman, Neil. Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions. New York, NY: Perennial, 2001.

Gibbons, Kaye. Ellen Foster. New York: Vintage Books, 1990.

Golden, Arthur. Memoirs of a Geisha: A Novel. New York: Knopf, 1997.

Goodman, Allegra. The Family Markowitz. New York: Washington Square Press, 1997.

Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. New York: Vintage Contemporaries. 2004.

Harris, Thomas. Silence of the Lambs. New York: St. Martin’s, 1989.

How Many People Experience Homelessness: NCH Fact Sheet #2. June 2006. National Coalition for the Homeless. April 2, 2007. publications/facts/How_Many.pdf

Johnson, Denis. Jesus’ Son: Stories. New York: HarperPerrennial, 1993.

Johnson, James Weldon. Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. New York: Dover Publications, Inc, 1995.

Joseph, Cliff. “Reflections on the Inescapable Political Dimensions of Art and Life” in Voices of Color: Art and Society in the Americas. Phoebe Farris-Dufrene, ed. New Jersey: Humanities Press, 1997.

Kelly, James Patrick. Burn. San Francisco, CA: Tachyon. 2005.

Kelly, James Patrick and John Kessel, eds. Feeling Very Strange: The Slipstream Anthology. San Francisco: Tachyon Pub, 2006.

Key Data Concerning Homeless Persons in America. June 2006. National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. March 30, 2007. / HomelessPersonsinAmerica.pdf

King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Scribner, 2000.

Kornfeld, Phyllis. Cellblock Visions: Prison Art in America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1997.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Namesake. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

LeGuin, Ursula. The Wave in the Mind: Talks and Essays on the Writer, the Reader, and the Imagination. Boston: Shambhala, 2004.

Lemos, Gerard. “More Than a Place to Stay.” Community Care 6/29/2006 Issue 1629. p 34-35.

Lethem, Jonathan. The Fortress of Solitude. New York: Doubleday. 2003.

Lewisjohn, James, ed. At the Ninth Hour: A Book of Prison Poems. Thomaston, ME: Maine State Prison, 1977.

Lewisjohn, James, ed. Out of the Depths… A Book of Prison Poems. Thomaston, ME: Maine State Prison, 1977.

Lewisjohn, James and William Hollifield, eds. On the Seventh Day: A Book of Prison Poems and Graphics. Ellsworth, ME: Downeast Graphics, 1978.

Link, Kelly. Magic For Beginners. Northampton, MA: Small Beer Press, 2005.

Lodge, David. The Art of Fiction. New York: Viking/Penguin Books, 1993.

Matalene, Carolyn. “Experience as Evidence: Teaching Students to Write Honestly and Knowledgeably about Public Issues” in The Writing Teacher’s Sourcebook. (Fourth Edition). Corbett, Edward P. J. et al, eds. NY: Oxford University Press, 2000. p.180-190.

McCarthy, Cormac. The Road. New York : Alfred A. Knopf. 2006.

McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics. Northampton, MA : Tundra Pub. 1993.

Miéville, China. Looking for Jake: Stories. New York: Del Ray, 2005.

Miéville, China. Perdido Street Station. New York: Del Ray, 2001.

Miéville, China. The Scar. New York: Ballantine Books, 2002.

Miller, D. Quentin, ed. Prose and Cons: Essays on Prison Literature in the United States. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. Inc., 2005.

Minot, Susan. Monkeys. New York: Dutton, 1986.

Moore, Lorrie. Birds of America. New York: Random House. 1998.

Moore, Lorrie. Self-Help: Stories. New York : Random House, 1985.

Mosher, Howard Frank. A Stranger in the Kingdom. New York: Doubleday, 1989.

Mulvey-Roberts, Marie. Writing for Their Lives: Death Row USA. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007.

Munro, Alice. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

Munro, Alice. The Love of a Good Woman. New York: Knopf. 1998.

Munro, Alice. Runaway: Stories. New York: Knopf, 2004.

Munro, Alice. Selected Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1996.

Murakami, Haruki. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: Twenty-four Stories. New York: Knopf, 2006.

Naylor, Gloria. The Women of Brewster Place. New York: Penguin Books, 1982.

Neal, Brandi. “The Long Road Home: Billy Woolverton Finds His Way Back—to a Long Lost Family.” in The Blue Room v2 i8 Feb/Mar 2007. p. 10-15.

O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried. New York: Broadway Books, 1998.

O’Connor, Flannery. Everything That Rises Must Converge. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1965.

Olsen, Tillie. Tell Me a Riddle. New York: Dell, 1989.

Ozeki, Ruth. My Year of Meats. New York: Viking. 1998.

Ozick, Cynthia. The Shawl. New York: Knopf, 1989.

Pelletier, Cathie. The Funeral Makers. New York: Collier Books. 1986.

Pelletier, Cathie. Once Upon a Time on the Banks. New York: Pocket Books, 1991.

Pelletier, Cathie. The Weight of Winter. New York: Viking, 1991.

Pettit, Becky and Bruce Western. “Mass Imprisonment and the Life Course: Race and Class Inequality in US Incarceration.” American Sociological Review, 2004. accessed at on March 8, 2007.

Proulx, Annie. Close Range: Wyoming Stories. New York: Scribner, 1999.

Reagan, Michael and Donald M. Stoughton. School Behind Bars: A Descriptive Overview of Correctional Education in the American Prison System. Metuchen, NJ: The Scarecrow Press, Inc, 1976

Robson, Ruthann. Cecile: Stories. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand Books, 1991.

Roskelly, Hephzibah. “The Risky Business of Group Work.” in The Writing Teacher’s Sourcebook. (Fourth Edition). Corbett, Edward P. J. et al, eds. NY: Oxford University Press, 2000. p.123-128.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.

Russo, Richard. Empire Falls. New York: Vintage Books. 2002.

Russo, Richard. Nobody’s Fool. New York: Random House. 1993.

Russo, Richard. The Whore’s Child and Other Stories. New York: Knopf. 2002.

Salzman, Mark. True Notebooks. New York: Knopf, 2003.

Silko, Leslie Marmon. Ceremony. New York: Penguin Books, 1986.

Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. New York : New American Library. 1963.

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. New York: Penguin Books, 1993.

Tartt, Donna. The Secret History. New York: Knopf, 1992.

Wagner, David. Checkerboard Square: Culture and Resistance in a Homeless Community. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993.

Wallace, David Foster. A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments. Boston: Little, Brown and Co, 1998.

Welty, Eudora. The Golden Apples. New York: Harcourt, Brace. 1949.

Welty, Eudora. Stories, essays & memoir. New York: Library of America, 1998.

White, Michael C. The Blind Side of the Heart. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.

Words from the Curbs: Writing from Preble Street Resource Center. v3 i1. Portland, ME. Fall 2005.

Words from the Curbs: Writing from Preble Street Resource Center. v3 i2. Portland, ME. Spring 2006.

Monday, December 10, 2007

All Joking Aside

You'd never guess it from reading this blog, but it's been a pretty serious Fall over at the Jen household. The implosion of my live-in relationship, health issues and surgery, some challenges at work and financial squeezing, and then the fucking darkness and ugliness of this time of year have all conspired to make me feel, well, more than a little blue.

I don't talk about it too much, because it's not often appropriate to work "so, hey, I'm experiencing depression" into a casual conversation. I'm trying to lean into the feeling, as a friend recently suggested, acknowledge the reality of what's happening and honor it. But it's a scary thing to lean into, friends, and I'm resisting that advice. Almost as scary as writing about it here and knowing that you will be reading it.

It also has to do with my connotations of this time of year. It's just death. Everyone I know who has died has done it in the late fall/early winter season, and with the dying garden, the browning world, the coldness--it all speaks to me of the temporary nature of our time here, of the sadness of things passing on. Today, for example, is the second anniversary of my friend Meg's death. S and I marked the day appropriately, I think: I lit some candles and then we danced and made brownies, because Meg loved fun intensely.

There are some good things happening this winter (my birthday, holiday gatherings, graduation) and I'm looking forward to welcoming back the sun on the solstice, but for now I'm just feeling... mortal.

And leaning... leaning...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

If the Last Two Weeks of My Life Were Written as Headlines from the National Enquirer

Dramatic Neck Cramp Traced to Season 5 Sopranos Marathon

Sleepless Scandal! Long Dark Days Having Reverse Effect, Writer Claims

Not Taking This Squash-For-Dinner Abuse Any Longer, Daughter Declares

Denial December: Thesis Deadline "Not Really Happening"

Gay-for-Pay Expose: More Work Than Wages in Nonprofit World

Jen's Medical Nightmare, Not-Quite-Flu-Feeling Lingers

Ice Lady Change of Heart, Kitten Planned for Daughter's Christmas Miracle


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