Sunday, March 13, 2011

Pittsburgh in Words: Essays in Honor of the City's 250th Anniversary

I'm originally from Pennsylvania (the South Central portion, near the Maryland border... not Pittsburgh, although my parents are from Johnstown, which is closer) and I've recently heard (from my boss here in Albuquerque, who is from Pittsburgh) that Pittsburgh is a pretty cool place to live these days. I may have the chance to visit it in a week, because I'm going home to attend a wedding in Erie, and the next day I'm flying out of the Pittsburgh airport, which is about two hours away.

I found out through Creative Nonfiction Journal that this year is Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary, and so CNF has put together a website called Pittsburgh in Words to celebrate the city. The website hosts a collection of essays about Pittsburgh. It includes clickable tags so that you can find essays on whatever topic you happen to be looking for. I've had a fun time browsing the site, and thought I'd pass it on. I'll post an update if I end up visiting Pittsburgh this weekend!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kim Addonizio

I'm no poet, and not much of a poetry reader. I absolutely adore Pablo Neruda, and I occasionally browse through poetry collections. I just heard of a poet named Kim Addonizio who seems super cool. I'm interested in checking out her poetry collections; she has also written novels. Another unique thing about her is that she writes about tattoos! So I plan to check her writing out whenever I have the time (oh, time, what a silly, annoying thing to have to plan around!), and I will update with my thoughts.

Here is a great quote from her website:

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
~Ray Bradbury

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Lawyer-Turned-Writer Realizes Dream Despite Disease

Loss of Speech Evokes the Voice of a Writer: An Article on Lawyer-Turned-Writer Neil Selinger

My father has a favorite saying: "Life is short; sometimes, suddenly short." He said it a few months ago when the toddler-aged son of a family he knows from church chocked to death in his sleep, on his own vomit. The parents, of course, never had any warning that his death was coming, and they found him too late to save him. "Life is short; sometimes, suddenly short."

He said it again recently when a girl my family has known for years was involved in a fatal car accident in our hometown. Her sister is my age and was a friend throughout school; she herself was my brother's age and a friend and classmate of his. This girl was riding in her fiance's vehicle, on a main road in that town that they probably traveled on nearly every day, when it collided with another vehicle. She and the driver of the other car, an elderly man, were pronounced dead on the scene. Her fiance was transported by air to an out-of-town hospital where, last I heard, he was in stable condition. "Life is short; sometimes, suddenly short."

Today I saw this article on Neil Selinger in the New York Times Review of Books, about a man who retired early from the practice of law to concentrate on writing, only to be diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Undeterred, he writes on. I could relate to this author, mainly to the following quote: "He went to Columbia University planning to study literature, but practicality won out and he went to law school." I've always loved to write, but I also valued financial independence and security, and so I wanted to write while also working. I went to law school and into the practice of law with the goal of saving up a lot of money so that I could retire early, to just write, and travel. Looking back, that goal may have been a bit naive, as the law, as it has so often been said, is a jealous mistress, who is constantly dangling that carrot and doling out rewards for longer and harder work. Still, I don't plan to be a lawyer forever; I plan to be a "writer." Sometimes, though, I wonder if I'll ever reach that stage. I sent a link containing the article to my family, and my dad responded with his saying. "Life is short; sometimes, suddenly short." At least Mr. Selinger realized his goal of focusing on writing and other pursuits, before it was too late. Therefore I think his story is sad but inspiring.