I absolutely loved my BENDING GENRES class. Twelve super-talented writers (many known to me or whose work was known to me) produced twenty-four simply amazing flash. It was inspiring, and though that was a lot to comment on in one weekend, they came in at different times, which made it easier than a batch of papers in a university class. I'm so glad I did this, and I'm looking forward to teaching more (maybe through CRAFT, a program under discussion).
I got a hefty payment in Paypal and I'm already spending it. I signed up for a two hour class with Aimee Bender this Saturday, whose work I love. The topic seems perfect for me also, "A Sense of Play: How to Free Things Up and Surprise Yourself on the Page." Here's the description: "Link and materials will be emailed at least 30 minutes before class. This workshop will involve a lot of play, writing exercises, talk about approaches, and how to follow what’s happening on the page, all in service of thinking about what we can do to free up the work, and let it emerge on its own terms." I'm as interested in the design and teaching as I am in trying this kind of writing. I remember reading a book of her short stories and sitting down immediately to write a crazy flash (can't remember which one); Meg's class gave me a welcome injection of crazy too.
I geek out over birds. In sixth grade I wanted to be an ornithologist. For some reason growing up in New Jersey I always wanted to see a cedar waxwing, and I was really excited in California when a migrating flock of cedar waxwings descended on the small tree outside our family room window to eat the orange berries on a small tree there. (After twenty years in this house, you'd think I'd know the name of the tree, but I don't.) This past week, two amazing sightings. A heavy-footed creature on our sitting room roof that sent me outside to investigate turned out to be an honest-to-God raven. Much larger than the local crows, it had a breathtakingly large wingspan. When it flew off, it soared in the sky like a hawk. And the second sighting was in San Francisco of all places. We get a lot of Red-Tailed Hawks in the East Bay. They're always soaring and circling high up in the sky along with the turkey buzzards. We saw one only about five or six feet away in San Francisco. Sitting in traffic on Bush Street, driving home from Ben's place in the early afternoon, we spied it right outside the car window, perched on a traffic sign. Gorgeous, with streaky white and reddish brown feathers on its breast and brown and white striped wings which it lifted and spread out twice before flying to a nearby fire escape, a small gray pigeon clutched in its talons.