Posts tagged ‘travel’

May 1, 2016

One of Those Days

by lisa st john

Maybe it’s the rain. Maybe it’s my internal work clock (quarter four has begun). Maybe I really, honestly, thought I would get my sabbatical. Strike that last one. That would mean I no longer expect the worst in order to appreciate what I actually get. That hasn’t changed. Has it?IMG_4422

I could have gone to a writer’s retreat this weekend but I was beyond tired. I am glad I stayed home to rest but at the same time I am angry for not pushing myself.

Pushy Me versus Tired Me: A Conversation

“How are you going to be a writer AND a teacher if you can’t muster up the energy to drive four hours to Boston?”
“My hematocrit was 33! They wouldn’t let me donate blood. I must be anemic again.”
“Blah, blah, blah… .”
“I just got back from a long weekend in Cincitucky
           “Did you get any writing done?”
“No, but it was such a beautiful time—it felt so good to hang out with my son and see him thriving in his adult world and—
“Travel is good. Travel is fodder for writing.”
“Gee, thanks. I am going to Isla Mujeres the day after graduation, and to Provincetown in July, and to San Miguel de Allende in August and LBI after that and–
“What the fuck are you running from?”
“I am not running from. I’m running towards.”

Anaïs Nin said that we write to “taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” Maybe Iraintulip2’m not ready. Maybe I’m too ready. Maybe Stephen King was correct about writing and teaching (not compatible). We’ll just have to see.

Until then, I live off the crumbs of what I can muster. A blog here, a poetry reading there, the Chronogram Word Café series, The Bard College Institute for Writing and Thinking, you know. Here and there.

  1. POETRY READING Friday, May 6, 6 pm in the Reference Room of Stone Ridge Library. Join us as Tina Barry, Patricia Carlin and Lisa St. John read from their latest works. A reception will follow the readings!
  2. TRAVEL, write, rinse, repeat… .

p.s. (Was SO PROUD to be a part of Chronogram’s Poetry Roundup. Thank you Ninraintulipa Shengold, for your fab review. My favorite line: “Ponderings debuts a nonpareil poetic voice, lithe, quirky, and fanged.” I’ve always wanted fangs.)

Snippet from a poem that doesn’t quite exist yet:

I will buy the $110.00 bra without a coupon—without even checking with Ebates. Feel the power? The dollars I


away don’t count somehow. This much to the students in Isla Mujeres whose mother is homeless; this much to GOFUNDME so Mrs. ___ can stay home with her husband while he dies; this much to Amanda Palmer’s latest Kickstarter because without art what’s the fucking point?

This phase is supposed to be over. Hospice therapist said so.

Ponderings is available at Finishinglinepress or you can get a signed copy from me directly 15.00.

March 1, 2011

Two Squared

by lisa st john

“Cleo found a sausage link.”
“What!? Where?”
“She must have found it under the stove.”
“She can’t fit under the stove; she’s a 15 pound cat. She’s too big.”
“Remember when she hid in the Holiday Inn hotel room for 3 days?
She’s a cat. She’s big but she can get small.”

I would rather watch House reruns than the Oscars, and I admit to adding lettuce to my croutons in order to make the dreaded salad. A really good cheeseburger tastes much better than a filet mignon and the only exercise I truly enjoy is sleeping (rapid eye MOVEMENT, hel-LO…). Extremes and contradictions. Where would we be without them?

I cannot make small talk to save my life (thank you technology for letting me pretend to text rather than meet a new person), but I love going to work where I talk with people (teenagers actually) all day long. I enjoy (can and have) wearing pajamas and not leaving my house for 72 hours straight. However, I also love traveling with my husband Kent and staying in hotels. Not making the bed is a favorite perk.

A recent jaunt to Beantown got me thinking about dualities. Blue collar dudes in Carhart are eating next to white collar Prada skirts everywhere you look. It’s a town of blending opposites.

A congruency does exist, however with the Museum of Fine Arts and the pattern of Boston streets in general. Circular, seemingly aimless and difficult to transverse, Boston’s MFA is also extraordinarily complex but well worth the passage. Their Modernist photography exhibit made me sigh with delight. Someone recently remarked that they didn’t know enough about art to enjoy it and I wonder if that is like my love of mathematics although, ironically, I don’t speak the language. I have a somewhat rational fear of Alzheimer’s, and I think that if I learn mathematics I may keep my brain awake and alive for a little longer.

The weird duality of my respect for math and my ignorance of it is confounding and annoying. I am fascinated by physics, and I know that I cannot truly understand it without speaking its number-y language but the task seems daunting. Maybe I’ll try learning Chinese instead. At least I am not afraid of numbers like ridiculously superstitious people. We stayed in room 1313 on the 13th floor of the Liberty Hotel in Boston and guess what horrible thing happened? NOTHING! I didn’t even need to sprinkle salt over my shoulder or spit on the floor. The proverbial black cat was crossing my path while I was under the ladder and I admit to regularly opening umbrellas indoors. But that is a thought for another post. Until then I will continue finding the closest parking spot to the gym entrance and ordering diet Coke with my french fries (side of mayo please).

February 27, 2011

Room of My Own

by lisa st john

He bought me a pen at the museum shop and made sure I had enough hot water and bath salts. He brought me morning coffee and smiles. After all these years I am finally walking through the door he has been building into a room of my own.

It wasn’t just the free ticket into the New York Times Travel Show that a stranger handed me because she “didn’t need it,” it was the smile she had when she registered my shocked “Thank you.” Little interactions like these in The City (as those of us lucky enough to live nearby call her) always propel me to write.

The Sunday morning light banging on the doors of a brownstone, the preponderance of dogs walking their humans in Hell’s Kitchen, the delicacy of a stranger returning a dropped glove to a passerby; these vignettes are New York. The line outside of Amy’s Bread on 9th Avenue reminds me that quality is as important as time. The discussions at Lolita’s on the Lower East Side take me back to a time when I actually liked talking face to face. I do not know how I found my niche in the world as an educator since I tend not to like most people (I have very few friends), but I guess it’s because teenagers are a different breed of human. A much more interesting one. Usually.

These contradictory thoughts are the impetus to my starting this blog. I want to explore them, and I think much better in words than I do out loud (in the traditional, verbal sense of the phrase). I like to see my words on the page. I like to ignore or challenge the little green squiggles from Microsoft Word (I’ll use that fragment if I want to!). I realize that I think in Times New Roman, and I despise silly fonts. Maybe that’s the academic in me or the purist, I do not know. I do know that I welcome the paradigm shift away from typewritten Courier. Staying at ink48 got these thoughts rattling also since their theme is the written word (and fonts in particular). They have a dog welcome station out front with snacks and water bowls. I like that. I don’t have a dog, but if I did I would want him to be welcomed at the hotel. It’s like being glad that there are “expectant mothers” and “handicapped” parking spots. I don’t use them, but I am glad they are there. Although…in my memory “expectant mother” is just a euphemism for “totally freaking terrified portal for another human being.” And the fact that there are drive-thru ATMs in Braille just plain makes me scared.

Anyway, ciao to The City for now. I left my husband Kent a present from the Little Pie Company in the room before I left. Monday comes earlier than other days for some reason. The same explanation why waiting ten minutes for a much needed bathroom stall is much longer than ten minutes of a massage I suppose. Wow. I think I just finished my first blog post.

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