Sunday, February 10, 2008

Interstitial serindipity

It was my triboro day.

MANHATTAN, Upper West Side: It was wonderful to be in a room full of creative, accomplished, fascinating, and decidedly unconventional people discussing ways to enlarge the reach of an organization dedicated to works and artists that fall between genres. We introduced ourselves as puppeteers, editors, readers, poets, graphic novelists, translators, performers, novelists, film makers, educators, sculptors...who each do at least three other creative things. We sat in a book-lined living room--Edwardian flavor--with a view of park, piano, and walls and tables filled with art. So many of us said we had been told to do only one thing! If nothing else, we applauded our right to engage outside labels. I loved that group energy, there ought to be a name for that creative fusion. Half networking, half synergy. Creative Units? Whatever it is, it makes me want to grab paper to draw and write.

I was there because I ran into Ellen Kushner at AWP and she introduced me to Lawrence Schimel. Between us we had Irish tea, beer, halvah, and mashed potatoes as we discussed the oddness of presenting our works at both literary and fantasy/scifi conventions. A seemingly uncrossable divide. No so, said Ellen... she told me about her organization and invited me (and my friend Deborah Atherton) to come to a tea at her and Delia's home (as in Delia Sherman) and be part of a brain storming session for the Interstital Arts Foundation which she and Delia helped found a few years ago.

Deborah and I walked to Broadway, on our ways home, and agreed we felt like we fit right in. Deborah is a perfect example of a multi-talented, cross-genre artist, she's a literary short story writer, librettist (one opera was based on her science fiction novel another on Mary Shelley--with monster as a thematic character), novelist, co-author of an upcoming non-fiction book on creativity, writing coach, occasional tarot card reader, and a grants writer. She and I have been in River Writers, our writing workshop, since it was founded.

QUEENS, Rego Park: Before the tea, I had been to a baby shower for Glenn Mathes and Ryoko in Queens. I even got to wave hello to Jayme Adelson-Goldstein and Jane Spigarelli, authors of several books I designed for Oxford U. Press, because they video called Glenn (one of their editors) and watched Glenn and Ryoko open gifts. I blew kisses to California. Ryoko had hands drawn on her belly. A nice touch. Jayme and Jane held their hands out as if they could touch her and mini-man within. I also ate carmelized bacon. Who knew you could do that to bacon? It was salty and sweet and crunched like a crème brûlée.

BROOKLYN, Borough Hall: In the morning, I'd had my first pilates session with poet/editor/pilates instructor Barbara Elovic. After the workout, as I waited for my body to stop feeling like limp pasta, we talked about feminism, poetry, and the oddness that muscles have both greek and roman names. She gave me a copy of To Genesis, a poetry book she part of, four poets exploring old testament stories. Like Poets' Grimm, the old tales make a great framework to explore current lives and beliefs.

I felt as if I had traveled everywhere, my pedometer logged nearly 10,000 steps. And as promised, today I am not sore from the pilates workout.

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