It was a good and sweet, simple Christmas. We woke up, and had the usual Christmas morning snacks--smoked salmon, oysters, a duck pate, cheeses of sorts, bread, crackers, a nice Italian blood orange sparkling something or other. Stocking presents, gifts. Jesse was quite happy with his chosen harmonica and new ukulele, surprised by Slipknot and Coheed and Cambria tablature books (interesting to think of those two bands on a ukulele, but he mainly was playing his own songs). With the uke, Jesse is becoming a young man of many stringed instruments, from the above, to guitars to mandolin. He gave Katherine and me each a personalized cd (this the answer to why he'd spent the day before Christmas quizzing us about our favorites of the songs he has written).
Afterwards, Jesse decided to stay at home and Katherine and I went to the movies, Sherlock Holmes, Not a great movie, but a whole lot of fun. Then we took a long walk in Prospect Park. The snow disappeared yesterday in the rain but Christmas day it was all still there, shimmering under the lights.
Yesterday as the snow disappeared in the rain, we walked around a little and then I went over to the bookstore and did some post-Christmas shopping (my gift was to be able to do this). Bought some Chekhov short stories, the correspondence of Rilke and Lou Andreas-Salome, Andamios, a novel and El amor, las mujeres y la vida, a poetry collection by Mario Benedetti, Lituma en los Andes, a novel by Vargas Llosa, short stories by John Fante, Of This World, a poetry collection by John Stroud whose work I don't know very well, and Suite Francaise, by Irene Nemirovsky, which Katherine is reading in the original French these days. Very happy to have these books. Along with Conrad's Nostromo, and a few other things here and there, these are the books I expect to be reading for the rest of the winter break (school starts again on January 25th).
Most of these are coming with me to the VCCA which I leave for tomorrow morning. Very excited by this. Should arrive in the evening, with luck in time for dinner. If I do make dinner, the plan will be to set up my studio afterwards and be ready to think and work as soon as I can Tuesday morning. My hope is to work on poems I started last summer, return to Hinojosa (a big push on Flor de California). Without setting it all in stone, I'm hoping to get started on work that will continue after I come back on the 4th, take me through the rest of the break and give me some clear vision for the writing I can do this semester. It's always hard to do that, write during the semester, but I want to make that push this spring, a nice lead in to the summer (can I really be thinking that far ahead?). In the middle of all this will be readings from Tourist at a Miracle (keep eyes peeled for those on this blog and elsewhere).
Of note: received word from Dennis Tobenski that there will be a performance of Echoes on Wednesday, January 27 at 9:30 pm in the West Village. He says that he'll be singing the poems himself, which makes it a real treat indeed.