Friday, November 27, 2015

The Megastore Recommends: Sick Day Edition.

Sure, go ahead and bust it out, finish that epic swath of student conferences and come home late, fall on the bed, breathe, whatnot. Go ahead, think I only have to make beans and brussels sprouts to take to Thanksgiving. Go ahead, ignore that little sniffle that hangs on like a bad thought, like a nagging, insistent pop song. Just wait. By the end of the beautiful, family-filled night, it'll just be you and your sinuses driving home, and you'll be all mucinex mucinex mucinex, like it's the most beautiful line of dactylic trimeter you ever did sing/sniff.

Well, come the next day, you're going to need a few recommendations, and I'm here to give 'em to you.

1. Accept that the bed is your destiny. Sure, you might think, hey, I don't feel so dang bad when you're still horizontal and the day is young. And you might sit up and let all that sinus action sort itself out. And walk tentatively into the kitchen, and make oatmeal.

But then? Well, it's time to go back to bed, you and your Mucinex, because you're achey and a little sniffy and by golly it feels a little chilly out there in the world, outside the blankets. So lie down again. It's okay.

2. Accept the dog as your nurse. Sure, he doesn't actually do things like get you a glass of water or bring you that magazine or adjust the covers or remind you when it's time to take the next dose of Mucinex. But he does lie down on the bed beside you, and he sighs when you sigh, and when the magazine falls from you hand and you slip into sick-sleep, he is right there with you. Dog-accompanied sick-sleep just may be more restful than regular sick-sleep. Actually, we have a trial for this going on. I'll let you know our findings.

3. Soup. Soup is the answer.

No: Soup is The Answer. That's better.

We ventured out at the end of the day to our local Indian restaurant, where they brought us complimentary saag shorba, and it soothed our souls, and also my sick.

4. Don't bother being aspirational. That's the medicine talking right there. No, you can't sort through your sweaters. Or revise your manuscript. Or grade, really. Pretty much all you're good for is clicking through the channels and maybe finding something on Netflix. Truthfully? what you're really good for is watching something you've watched a million times before. When you're sick, the familiar jokes and anticipating the good parts of something you've watched a million times before is remarkably fulfilling. A cure for what ails you? it just might be.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beautiful things.

The Willamette River Historical Stream Channels

"This visually replaces the relatively flat landscape of the valley floor with vivid historical channels, showing the dynamic movements the river has made in recent millennia."

This poem:
...For once the shells split and sapphire 
And fire-opal fledge in their filth  
And six or seven small spurts of flame  
Are tumbled out into the dazzle

micro press with approximately the most beautiful landing page ever:

This little glory of bookmaking:

(Charlotte's picture of things in progress)

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

Today I walked into my building at 10:30 a.m., and walked out at 7 p.m. In between, I graded and talked to many many students. Waited in vain for a few of them. Talked to colleagues who were cheerfully doing the day-before-a-holiday work of talking and waiting. Worked with Charlotte on the book project--so many steps!

I feel lucky about my work, all of it, the teaching and the planning and the writing and the dreaming. I am lucky in my friends, the ones I have known since I was a half-formed girl, and the ones I am lucky enough to work with every day. I feel lucky in my family: the big, beautiful chaos of it, the history of songs and movies and love and argument, the people from whom I come and the people who come, in part, from me. I'm lucky in love, in my marriage, in my home, in the solace and shelter I find there. The world is unendurable and unbearably beautiful. It's mystifying, it is terrible, it strikes awe. I am tired, I am impatient, I am alive.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Conversations that must be had.

It's late in the semester. That means there are projects to bring to fruition, or closer to fruition, or, you know, not as far from fruition as they were, like, yesterday. Projects. Today, we had a meeting to talk about projects and I took loads of notes, both digital and mental, including this one: holy shit, I have a lot to do. Then I rambled with my people down to the Publication Center to check up on another project. Whew. It's moving along, and it will keep moving along, and we will finish it, and then it will be grading/wedding/Christmas whoa!

Meanwhile, as I left the building in the dark and light, fading, and I saw the lights still on in the historian's office. So I went back in to say hi/bye.

We talked for a few about the thises and thats of our respective days, and then I got this text from my youngest son, on his way to Vegas to have Thanksgiving with his dad:

'Walker just texted me and asked me who is my favorite movie director,' I said, casually, as if I didn't even care whatsoever.

My thought process, from this moment forward, was like this:

1. [rubs hands together with glee]

I began:

I had to think about Paul Thomas Anderson. My thought process was

2. [what's that guy what's that guy what's that guy There Will be Blood Inherent VICE!!!]
3. [starts texting again:]

I looked up. "This question is, like, crack to me. Irresistible," I said.

And the historian laughed.

n.b.: if anyone wants to know my complete list of favorite movie directors, I will have it ready for your perusal tomorrow. by noon. there will be mexican directors, and chinese directors, fyi.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Snapshots of work at home day.

1. Did the same core workout that, last week, made my abdominal muscles complain for days. 

2. Ate buckwheat pancakes, the breakfast of the righteous.

3. Read and graded student work in preparation for

4. Two hours of online conferences. 

5. Worried about students who are still hoping that I can provide them with the magical words for finish the semester when they haven't really finished the work. 

6. Second workout.

Son: Why are you going to work on work at home day?
Me: I'm going to work out. [pause]  Also, I'm going to work.
Son: Seems like you always go to work on work at home day.
Me: It's the end of the semester. So there's projects to finish.
Son: PROJECTS? (may or may not be what he actually said)

7. School. For projects:                                                                          

...with The Charlotte. These are carefully assembled covers for books.
Oh the meticulousness and the glue!
8. Read ten poetry manuscripts, as I'm pre-screening for a book contest. Felt the despair and nihilism of this effort.
9. Lay down to contemplate my muscles and also the Sundance Catalog. AND the last part of Home Alone, the part with all the ouches but also all the gut laughs. AND Remember the Titans, what? #footballmovie  P.S., Also, does anyone remember that Ryan Gosling and Wood Harris, aka Avon Barksdale,  are in this movie? And Hayden Panettiere? 

Friday, November 20, 2015

the light.

 Yesterday, I drove home in the gloom. The gloaming, I guess they sometimes call it.

We're in it now--the late fall, just a month away from the solstice, the light getting dimmer earlier. Leaving work and walking to my car as it gets colder. 

As I drove south on the long road before I turn onto my street, I glanced to the east. I saw light on the Wasatch. I looked west, and saw the sun sinking into the Oquirrhs. East, the high peaks white with snow, white with last light. West, the orange pink coral streaking the clouds. 

I thought, in two minutes, that light on the Wasatch will be gone. I thought, I maybe can grab my camera before it disappears. I raced into the house, threw down my stuff, grabbed my camera.

By the time I got back outside, the light in the east was gone. But the pink in the west was still tangled in the trees.


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