Try 101

Practice — Process — Projects

Month: September, 2012

30 Things I Love Right Now

by laura didyk

1. My new Ikea chair [no company gave money to support this item on my list]

2. West Wing (“It’s all you, Kiddo” —Martin Sheen/Jed Bartlet, from Laura’s Dream in 2003). For example:

3. This practice: Not complaining. About anything. For at least 48 hours. (Starting now.)

4. New part time job, here.

5. A grant, awarded, to me. Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, I kiss your feet.

6. “Heartbroken Forever” by Tender Forever (go ahead, play it, you can listen while you read the rest of my list)

7. Sudoko. No kidding. On my phone. Moderate level of difficulty (but not harder than that).

8. Close Is Fine, short stories by Eliot Treichel. From “Good Potato Soil”:

We’d finally bagged the mess of our kitchen. We’d cleared everything, the dirty plates, every cup, all the food-encrusted cookware. Even if it wasn’t spoiled, or wrecked, or ours, it all got put in trash bags and moved to the top of the barn wall. That was what we had—a warm summer night, and some moment of starlight and will.

9. Saturday mornings.

10. A neatly made bed.

11. A neatly made morning.

12. A neatly made mess.

13. Cup of coffee #2.

14. Salmon (later).

15. The word: “jaguar.”

16. Being half-way through (some good things behind, and who knows what ahead).

17. Fall.

18. Thursday night sundae: Vanilla frozen yogurt + hot fudge + rainbow sprinkles (the sprinkles remind me of childhood, the good parts)

19. Deep breaths.

20. Realization that I’m an enjambment addict in my poetry.

21. Knowing that while enjambment is well
and good when used rightly, it becomes
an accomplice to the Self—all the breaking
a distraction so you don’t know that
I don’t know what my Self is saying.

23. Mail.

24. Singing “Round Here” by the Counting Crows while I drive places.

25. The Talking Heads (always and ever)

26. This quote about the Talking Heads by Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers during the TH’s induction into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame:

[My friend] put on ‘Psychokiller,’ and I absolutely freaked out. I made him play that song over and over and over again because it was like nothing else I had ever heard and it made me feel like nothing else I had ever felt. Some very strange things happened to me… For one thing, I felt smart.


28. Music!

29. More music!

30. Gag reels:

Listing for Fun: List of Lists

by tjbeitelman

List of things about J.D. Salinger.
List of things about 1948.
List of things about WWII.
List of films I want to teach.
List of films my students want me to teach.
List of novels I want to teach.
List of novels my students want me to teach.
List of students I will recommend highly for various accolades and opportunities.
List of things that make places places.
List of things that make time time.
List of imagined and/or imminent lists.


Quotes To Write By: Playwriting

by theyogaofcake

I believe the way to write a good play is to convince yourself it is easy to do–then go ahead and do it with ease. Don’t maul, don’t suffer, don’t groan till the first draft is finished. A play is a pheonix and it dies a thousand deaths. Usually at night. In the morning it springs up again from its ashes and crows like a happy rooster. It is never as bad as you think, it is never as good. It is somewhere in between, and success or failure depends on which end of your emotional gamut concerning its value it approaches more closely. But it is much more likely to be good if you think it is wonderful while you are writing the first draft. An artist must believe in himself. Your belief is contagious. Others may say he is vain, but they are affected.


Quotes to Write, Create, Make Things By: Twyla Tharp

by laura didyk

Dance is a tough life (and a tougher way to make a living). Choreography is even more brutal because there is no way to carry our history forward. Our creations disappear the moment we finish performing them. It’s tough to preserve a legacy, create a history for yourself and others. But I put all that aside and pursued my gut instinct anyway. I became my own rebellion. Going with your head makes it arbitrary. Going with your gut means you have no choice.

–Twyla Tharp, from THE CREATIVE HABIT

How am I becoming my own rebellion? How are you becoming yours?

30 Things: An Invitation

by tjbeitelman

Hear ye, hear ye:

We humbly invite you to grace us with a list of 30 Things You Love Right Now.

Here’s a quick 30 Things primer (what it is, what it does, etc.)

And here’s an exemplary 30 Things, penned and offered up by Angela last week.

We hope that the comments section becomes a cascade of lovable things, offered up by you (and you and you and you…).

A practice, a habit, a consistent commitment to staying open to what (who, where, when, and why, too) we love. And, you know, to sharing said love in the process…

The comments section awaits! Hope you’ll join us there…

Living Where I Live

by theyogaofcake

I have a feeling I’ve done everything. I know that’s not really the case it’s just a feeling and I hear feelings are not facts. When I was 14 we moved into this house during my mother’s second divorce. It’s 13 years later and today I am living in this house. I have been walking in circles. I didn’t ever think I would be here not during this time of my life. I see people from my past in the grocery store they are married and having babies. I am serving sushi and practicing living while standing still. What I’m hearing is there is an art to it. Living.

I wouldn’t change a thing. Not even the color of that f*cking door.

Writing Exercise: Fairy Tales Anew

by ajanefountas


Write: Copy the story, word by word, slowly. What do you see that you didn’t see when you read it to yourself?

ReadTHE PRINCESS AND THE PEA by Hans Christian Andersen and THE SEVEN RAVENS by the Brothers Grimm

Write: Choose one to rewrite. Follow it closely, each sentence and plot point, but make it anew. In essence, retell the tale, line by line—sort of a translation into your own language.

Bonus: Read the brilliant essay “Fairy Tale Is Form, Form Is Fairy Tale” by Kate Bernheimer for more on THE ROSEBUD and to get inside of fairy tales and be thrilled by them.

30 Things I Love Right Now

by ajanefountas

(1) Bright orange sun in the morning sky | (2) So many days of sunshine in Seattle (even though they came late) | (3) Backpacking on the Olympic Peninsula (even though we had to ford a river twice) | (4) Rain forests | (5) Moss hanging on trees | (6) Little squirrels in the forest | (7) A big soaking tub post-20 miles in two days | (8) Tomatoes from the backyard | (9) Apples from the farmers market | (10) Little pepper tree in the window | (11) Being back to writing fashion tales | (12) Doru Olowu’s collection | (13) Looking forward to Mary Katrantzou in London | (14) Looking forward to Prada in Milan | (15) Looking forward to Chanel in Paris | (16) Researching female Irish immigrants | (17) Looking forward to hearing Lidia Yuknavitch read from Dora: A Headcase at Elliott Bay Book Co. | (18) Looking forward to starting to read Dora: A Headcase in my head | (19) Looking forward to classes on genealogical research | (20) U.S. 1940 census online | (21) Census records of my maternal grandparents | (22) Puzzling together family history | (23) A Room of One’s Own original book cover as matchbook cover sitting on my desk | (24) My desk | (25) Writing at my desk | (26) Having more time to write | (27) Writing fashion tales every day (for now) | (28) Summer turning to fall (did I really list that?) | (29) The last days of summer | (30) Waiting to wear my new boots

Living Where I Live: A Box

by tjbeitelman

A box came to my house yesterday. (My house is kind of boxy in its own right.) Anyway, I opened the box. My dog didn’t care either way what was in the box. The day before the box came, I learned I have two compression fractures in my neck. (This is painful though somewhat less debilitating than one might suspect.) I woke the day the box came not knowing the box would come (in fact suspecting the box would never come) but knowing it was the day my mother would have turned 75. On my way to work, I thought and almost said out loud, “I wonder if Mom’s paying much attention to me these days.” I think I thought I knew the answer. And then, that evening, the box came. I opened it. My dog didn’t care either way. This is how she (my dog and also probably my mom) keeps me honest.

Living Where I Live: Raccoons

by ajanefountas

Two fat raccoons just crossed our backyard. Mind you, it’s 10:00 a.m. and the sun is shining, which isn’t always the case in Seattle. I imagine they had a late night. I wonder if one lost a glass slipper somewhere.

Our cat has gotten into standoffs with these cat-like creatures. They always back off, thankfully.

On New Year’s Eve, I was watching Alice in the Cities, a Wim Wender’s film (1974), when I heard a loud crash on the side of the house. It spooked me: I was alone and it was late. When I looked out the window I saw three raccoons raiding the garbage. I guess this was their idea of a New Year’s Eve party.

We often catch a raccoon in the headlights.

Last summer, the balcony door was open late one evening and I heard what sounded like animals talking to each other. They were, they were raccoons. I saw the eyes of one glowing at the base of a very tall pine tree. She (I think a mother) kept her eyes on me. A while later, I saw a smaller raccoon climbing back down this very tall tree. Then another. And another. And another. Her kids, I’m sure. She, the mother, continued to keep her eyes on me while each kid made its way over the fence. This is where all of the raccoons we see in the yard eventually disappear: over the fence.

Raccoons in pure daylight. This world never ceases to amaze me.