Tuesday, July 29, 2008

ATTN: ALL IUSB writers and artists!

I would like to apply for Art Beat with the idea of showcasing Analecta, the preface, and other shool publication in Downtown South Bend. It is a great chance to introduce IUSB creative world! Please let me know your ideas and opinions even though you cannot participate. And of course, please let me know if you are interested in participating this event.

Art Beat is a free, community-wide celebration of the arts, open to all. The mission of Art Beat is to showcase South Bend and its surrounding community’s variety of local performing, visual and culinary artists and create awareness for the roles that the downtown organizations and businesses play in the promotion and success of the arts.

Art Beat is scheduled to take place on Thursday, September 4 from 4 to 8:30 p.m. Scenes for Art Beat will be west of the River along Michigan Street in the downtown area with one Scene across the Colfax Bridge on the Rink Lot at Colfax and Sycamore.

Art Beat requires a $25.00 refundable check to hold a reservation.

more information: www.artbeatsouthbend.org

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Empty Suitcase: L-ead it
“Could you give me a shit of paper,” which is probably what all of my co-students hear when I ask for handout in an English class. “Give me one shi-t, yes that pink shi-t. Thank you, very nice. It smells f-lesh of carbon. The professor just printed the shi-ts.” Of course some new classmates who are not used to my accent show me a smile or weird face. Then I realize again that I cannot pronounce certain words co-llectly; perhaps, co-rrectly.

I automatically switch “she to shi” and “R to L” and some other particular pronunciations. As an excuse, my mother tongue is Japanese, and Japanese does not have tongue-twisted words with blowing air out of your mouth. So I cannot pronounce certain English words appropriately like “sheet”— I’m getting much better than before but still my tongue seems to never understand the certain position when it pronounces a word, as a kitten that has never understood where her litter box is— it is an absolutely shitty condition. I want to pronounce English words perfectly.

“Thank you for supporting my English writing carrier,” I wrote the sentence in official documents all the time; perhaps, I might have done it many times without noticing. I cannot spell words correctly but I am willing to step up for my writing career. I carry strong ambition on my back when I type words.

I realized that my Japanese accent is slowing taking over—shitting over—my spelling words.

Maybe I am just inpatient. Maybe I am very careless in finding mistakes even though I proofread the documents aloud. After I finish writing, I read aloud any of my writings. Reading aloud my stories are my precious moments— the symbol of ending the writing process— if I am thirsty, I can open a bottle of Canadian beer, my new treat; or if I am hungry, I can order Chinese food to pick up. Especially, I like to read my column with background music of “Suddenly I see” by K.T. Tunstall. Her music tempo and the length of the song are great for my 700-some words column.

Her music never disappoints my ‘writing carrier’—her up-tempo, energetic beats make my story flow like an opening in some cheery chick-flick movie— and it carries my writing tempo to finish 700 words at once. But obviously, “writing carrier” is a fatal misspelling in official documents; especially if I am representing myself as a writer. I am a writer who cannot spell. Am I going to have a bright future for my writing career while carrying those misspelling situations?

After I finish some writing, I had Chinese takeout. I usually open a couple of fortune cookies right away in the car before I sit down at my dining table. I take out the fortune and throw the cookie away— ‘Your life becomes better: Learn Chinese, good,’ ‘Your brain has a bright future: Learn Chinese, hope,’ ‘Your door is open for heaven: Learn Chinese, Climb’— what do those messages want to tell me? Those published words from god-like cookies have nationwide readers. The fortune cookies are part of a bestselling publication that ignores appropriate English. Even readers do not care about reading meaningless words or wrong grammar; perhaps, some misspelling.

If I become a failure of a writer, I still can try to be a writer for fortune cookies. There is no expectation of showing smart opinions, perfectly educated English phrases, or beautiful poetic language. Of course; making fortune cookies also has conflict and I understand that nothing is easy. So I am mastering these things for my writing carrier。。。

"Disconnected" by Naoko Fujimoto

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The advanced poetry class at ND is cancelled. I hope that there is solution for this unfortunated situation. I am really disappointed right now. However, the fall semester has not started yet!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I am accepted by an advanced poetry class with Professor Orlando Menes at the University of Notre Dame! I am very excited.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Empty Suitcase (Practice writing summer)

I am sorry for the long absence in updating my blog— to tell the truth, I did not write anything except checks for a new bedspread for my new apartment, groceries for my appetite, and ridiculously expensive gas for my 1999 ‘Caroline’ after the spring semester was over— So hopefully, I would like to have a couple of writing practices before the Empty Suitcase starts this fall semester. As for writing poetry, I have my own projects going on. I am drawing ten pictures for my ten selected poetry. By the end of this year, I would like to make my own picture book, and have the only one which exists in the world. But I promise I will write some new poetry and post them.

As you know, I am facing the hell class right now but in the early summer, I faced the inexorable process of aging in Japan.

It was getting difficult to have conversations with my grandparents in the dining room; perhaps, in the bed, the hospital for people who wait for death. With the smell of feces and gelatin—my grandfather lost his front tooth, hearing, weight, and brightness on his cheeks— he is stubborn as hell. So my grandmother and parents have gotten tired of taking care of him and my grandmother recently has been in the hospital herself.

But there is true love between them that I want to believe— like my grandfather who wanted to meet my grandmother in the hospital. He waited for a taxi on a rainy day in a wheelchair while escaping from his hospital— but his spirit, love— goes around in circles. Because of his love; perhaps, the irresponsible, selfish attitude that all nurses, doctors, and others complained about, my family is hurting by the reality of taking care of old people.

I usually do not cry in front of my family when I am in the airport, which may be a similar feeling as I do not write any poetry in Japanese. But in between the security booth and the exodus, when I cannot see them waving at me from the security gate, and when I remember my grandparents’ skinny hands with bruises, I feel my doubt coming back to America. I am always in hell between the booth and the exodus.

But I am also excited to be in South Bend. As for good news, I became the editor of Analecta for this school year. I would like to create the magazine in a more artistic way and try not to destroy the quality of the magazine that Talia, Vince, and other editors have created. So please tell, email me if you have ideas, opinions, etc about Analecta. I would like to organize open mic nights, reading events, and creative fiestas with bottles of beer beyond the school with IUSB students and community members. By the way, thank you, Tom, for your all information and ideas about the poetry reading.

These fall and spring semesters are going to be my last year. I will earn my graduate degree so I cannot stay in South Bend as an IUSB student because of my visa status. I kind of decided not to apply for any MFA programs. Not because I lost interest of being in the MFA programs but I am ready to see the world outside institutions— I have been in college since I was eighteen years old— by graduation day next year, I will do whatever I would like to try in my second home, South Bend.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Poetry about HELL

Milton’s Paradise Lost
Stanford’s The Light the Dead See
Rimbaud’s a Season in Hell
C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce
William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
Franz Wright

Thank you and I am glad to hear from people who emailed and posted ideas and comments.
I am still looking for poetry about hell. So please let me know if you have a grear idea about the topic...

Monday, July 14, 2008

I am taking a literature class— welcome to hell class with Professor Chaney—and researching about poetry about hell and heaven. If someone has some suggestion or recommendation for those topics, please let me know. I will very happy to hear any kind of information from you...

Thank you very much for great ideas, Talia and Charmi.
William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Franz Wright.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

"Distance" and "Grandmother" are accepted by Big Scream Spring 2009!


I sank into a florescent pink—
green margarita. A stubborn,

modern artist scribbled the colors
into my mouth, throat, stomach… Prickly

grains of salt
on the rim of the glass and a crescent

green lime abused
my lips and tongue.

I drained half a gallon of colors into
a toilet. While a stranger rubbed my back, I saw

Dove soap, my mother’s smell.
She was in a lemon nightgown when I left.

She held me, radiating
a heavenly aura of motherhood

like saints in religious art surrounded
by a halo of holy light.

A scab remained
on the harsh outline of my drunken face.

I picked and flicked it away with my long nails.
I wished I could be the scab.



My grandmother wears a faded green apron
in the kitchen and always eats

pickled Japanese radishes

grains of rice

or oranges

but she is losing her weight
for the paulownia casket

no ash for her bones

she writes sales slips but no letters
with her earthworm-like hand writing
her parchment fingers

she gives me a lump of sugar

no expiration date for sugar

I receive the lump
the million pieces conceal my tongue
they taste bitter

like falling ash
from a cremation

sunlight comes through the blue blinds
and a sugar jar in a Chinese cabinet

she still writes the slips, worries about money

in the smallest kitchen
the smallest island

where I was born
Reading July 12th, 2008

More pictures, Talia, Charmi, and Rebecca.

Thank you for the reading opotunity, Rebecca and Charmi!
I had a really good time to listen to all the fabulous music, creative stories, and poetry.

P.S. Arigato for making the dress, Mama!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sat. the 12th at 3:00 p.m.,

The Chicory Cafe

"A Body of Work" - Women Writers performing original works, featuring Rebecca Waring-Crane, and including Charmi Keranen, April Lidinsky, Rachel Custer, Talia Reed, Naoko Fujimoto, & Judy Berg. If you're a woman and would like to be included in the lineup, drop me a line.

P.S. I will write some new stories (poetry) soon, soon...soon.