Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cape May Poetry & Prose Getaway

It's snowing! For Cape May, at least when I'm in town, this is rare. This has been a wonderful weekend of writing and writers at the Grand Hotel, and the snow is just an additional joy. I brought a bagful of folders each containing an idea, and another bagful of books to consult. I'm leaving with an essay that has evolved over the two days into something really interesting. It's not what I had planned but it is better and fuller thanks to the helpful critiques of the members of my group, Jan, Sheila, Dave, Janet, and John, and our insightful teacher, Thomas Peele. We still have tomorrow morning's session, but i'm already looking forward to next year.

I loved my hotel room--an efficiency, really, with a microwave, fridge, electric burners and dishes, flatware, and cookware. This could be my permanent office. I can sit and work at the table and see the ocean OR close the drapes and immerse myself in total seclusion. I will have to do this again next year. (The organizer, Peter Murphy, is also running an event in Wales. Ooh.)

Tonight I attended the Getaway Cafe: participant and teacher book sale and signing, poetry reading by Pulitzer-Prize-Winning poet Stephen Dunn, songs by Nancy Falkow, and DIY ice cream sundaes. I bought one of Stephen Dunn's books and got it signed--in it are poems featuring various long-gone authors visiting contemporary New Jersey shore towns. His poems can make you laugh or rip your heart out--so much meaning in just a few words. I also picked out Robbie Clipper Sethi's The Bride Wore Red: tales of a cross-cultural family. Ms. Sethi and I chatted at the first evening's program. She teaches English at Rider University and got me interested in reading her own work.

All-in-all, it has been a wonderful, productive weekend, and now it's snowing!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


How cool is that--my first in-flight magazine article is in the issue with Alicia Keys on the cover! This article in Go (AirTran Airways magazine) is about Strasburg in Lancaster County, PA, an area I visit frequently for shopping and a phenomenal selection of quilt supplies. Focusing on the railroad destinations was fun: I spent the weekend and stayed one night in the Red Caboose Motel (in a real mail car), and the second night in the Rose Garden B&B. Strasburg seems to be a popular destination for families containing train buffs as I was seeing some of the same people at the various destinations.

Anyhow, there's another post with photos further down this list, and the link to the actual article is in the list to the left. (Click on "Rail Life".) This online version is a bit edited--I'm hoping to score a copy of the print version which will feature a sidebar on the Red Caboose Motel and maybe more photos.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Mummers 2009

I think I may have done permanent damage to my extremities and nervous system by standing out in the freezing cold for four hours watching Mummers strut up Broad Street. I only caught parts of the Comics, the Fancies, and the first few string bands. There was a huge gap in the entertainment before the string bands, and this is when my toes stopped being numb and started hurting in a strange way. I was determined to see some string bands, though, so I stayed strong. I made it through three before I decided the people who came to stand in front of the barricade and in front of my Nikon lens would ruin all my photos. The train station was cold and the train was cold, and of course my car was cold, but my house is warm. I have spent lots of times on the photos I took--it's practically a no-brainer to get colorful unique shots at the Mummers Parade.
In spite of the cold, I had a ball. I stood on the same corner where I used to stand over twenty (!!!) years ago when I lived in Philadelphia and came out to see the string bands. Lucky for me I lived at Broad & Locust, and that is one of the "performance" spots. I even scored two strings of Mummer (Mardi Gras) beads and shared one with Gladys the Sheltie Puppy tonight until I heard this odd crunching sound...
Here are some of my favorite shots: