Hotel Alexis

packed and readyWoke up Saturday morning ready to give H a ride to the airport so he could wing his way to Mexico– only to find out that Dallas is mostly shut down due to ice.  I always have issues when trying to fly through Texas and this bodes poorly for my leg of the journey next week when I fly out to meet him.  Still, we’ve discovered a few things.  Waiting on hold is no longer necessary– the airline will call you back when your turn in line comes up. This meant a couple more hours of sleep– and also resulted in the second discovery– H gets absolutely no cell service in my apartment.  Cue a cozy Greta and a chilly H, trying to re-book his flights– me shivering out to the car to bring coffee and sit for a while before scurrying back inside to scan over poetry and stress out about what I’ll be reading on Tuesday. (He’ll leave later tonight– fingers crossed that my part of the trip is a little smoother.)

It’s always strange when you find yourself caught in a place after you had planned to leave.  I know it’s happened to me a few times– I’m never sure if I should deal with Real Life things that might not have been tended to, or I should act like I’m already gone, considering I should have been.  I always end up feeling like a ghost-person, not entirely present where I am yet not yet where I’m headed– days of not-quite-anywhere-solid. It’s a frustrating place to be, and I’m glad at least that we found out about the cancelled flight before getting to SeaTac, and that his flight was cancelled before he got to DFW to sit stranded with the thousand other travelers, watching ice glint and searching for outlets and places to sit.

Throughout the day H’s stuff slowly spread around my apartment– it was supposed to be unpacked under a Mexican sun and yet here he was, under the bright cold Seattle sky, digging through for running clothing so we could shiver around Green Lake. I think he was the first to say Hotel Alexis and it seems a good name for my home right now.  Tomorrow I’ll pick up Nicelle and we’ll read together at the Hugo House.  The next day it’s planes for us and out of town, but E. will be coming in from Denver and staying at my place while I’m gone.  I come back, he leaves to cat-sit for another friend, and a few days later B comes back to stay for an indeterminate time.  Then AWP hits town and I have already told my friends that I will help find couch/bed/floor space for everyone. I am throwing my secret lair open and inviting people into my bubble.  I have the spare sheets folded, a stack of clean towels, a stash of extra toothbrushes and enough needle and thread to fix everyone’s torn things.  Welcome to the Hotel Alexis, I hope everyone enjoys their stay!

 

Collections that work (and those that don’t)

Have I mentioned how much I adore book club?  We read work that I love, work that I have difficulty with, and sometimes work that just isn’t up to par.  I have to say I’m not too thrilled with my selection this time around.  Still, after talking with Carrie this morning (sipping coffee, feeling the way-too-cool breeze off of Green Lake) I again realized how important it is to read both the good and the bad.  It’s all well and good to fall in love with books, but I think it’s the ones that don’t quite work that are almost more helpful.  If you can see into a book and watch its moving parts as it stumbles along it’s a bit easier to see how to fix it.  Or at least, how the errors of the book can be avoided in our own collections.  A flawless book works so smoothly it’s difficult to remember that it is still working.

My own progression on projects is going in starts and stops, but after a very encouraging Heroes meeting last night, talking to more amazing people at the Hugo House and helping a handful of third graders write poems yesterday I’m feeling all sorts of excited.  I’m already making plans to go climbing on Sunday and the weather seems to finally be taking a warmer turn.

On a personal note, I had my final day in the classroom up at Olympic Hills Elementary. Waving goodbye to class I’ve been helping tutor was a little sad.  Girls came up to hug me and ask me to stay, and as I walked toward the bus stop, past the playground, a few jogged along waving and shouting goodbye.  I’ll miss them, even though I was only there for a few weeks.  It’s hard to not feel like I abandoned them to the summer, and I don’t know if I’ll see any of them again, or if they’ll even remember me if I do.  I feel like I was really helping a few of them, and I was even able to dazzle the boys with my X-Men knowledge.  I wish them all the best.

Tea and Friends

I’m starting to really love going to Kuan Yin for meetings.  It’s always the same girl behind the counter and she’s always friendly but not in a chipper way.  The tea smells wonderful, and after a day of drinking coffee and keeping myself awake at work, Lemon Verbena is perfect.  There’s something about meeting at a Place that makes things feel more productive for me.  Perhaps it’s the glass table tops, or the way other people’s conversations spill around the corners of your own.

Most recently I met with the wonderful Carrie Purcell to talk about her book. (I can’t wait to hold it in my hands when it comes out, because I’m sure the finished collection will find a home.)  I haven’t worked with a collection in a long time, so it was wonderful to look at arcs and lyric lines and themes again.  It was a long meeting, and I came home both exhausted and exhilarated.  Carrie also helped me think through a few things, and I think I am very lucky to have met her.

The Poetry Northwest release party was a wonderful affair, and I got to see not only old friends, but some new ones as well.  I met Abby volunteering for the Hugo House a while back and everyone should read her blogging for the Hugo House and say hi to her, or to girls you think might be her.  (There was a confusing evening where I insisted to a girl that she’d just been to Iceland and that she knew me.  She used to take the bus with me, she was not the girl I knew, but it took me a day for the faces and names to click properly…. more on that story if you want it.)  It was nice to talk to her and not have to juggle a ticket basket and stacks of programs, though that was fun too.  The night was full of music and a bit of reading and people I throughly enjoy.

I return to tutoring tomorrow, and then a weekend of volunteering at the Hugo House and dinner with my family (house) and family (blood).  It’s raining again, and my legs are still vividly bruised from climbing, but these are things that aren’t problems.  So I bruise easily, so it’s wet outside.  It isn’t going to stop me.

(Photo borrowed from my Scottish friend, I hope he doesn’t mind.  It’s a funny time difference, so I can’t exactly call him to ask.)