Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Opening Doors: Girls Write Now Party!

You have heard me rave and rave and rave about Girls Write Now. If you are in New York and want to see for yourself why it's such an amazing organization, why it continually inspires me, and why I'm taking a quick break from writing to celebrate with them, why not stop by their new space next Tuesday, October 5th? I'll be there!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Community Soccer, Jersey Style

My seven-year-old is playing community soccer for the first time this year. Her team is sponsored by the Friendly Son’s of St. Patrick. I both love and cringe at the apostrophe error on the back of her uniform. With her blue eyes and freckles, she certainly has the map of Ireland on her face much more than I do and that makes her very cute indeed in that dark green jersey. 

So, last night, I sat on the aluminum bleachers and watched her first practice. Two men, looking like extras from central casting for “Jersey dad/Sopranos extra” called out “Hey, kick the ball at the goal!” to their son, and I began to fear a season of coaching from the sidelines. (It’s actually decent advice, of course, and not very aggressive, but I am a timid mommy when it comes to sports.) Still stereotyping all these strangers, I glanced at the Patagonia-clad, athletic-professional dad for support, but he didn’t look at me. A few minutes later, his beautiful daughter came to him in tears. She had been hit in the face with a ball. He gave her a sip of water and a hug and then, confirming she was o.k., sent her back on the field, “all right now, go out there and kick someone else in the face.”

Jersey is as Jersey does.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Room of Her Own Foundation: Kenny Fries Scholarship

If you would like to support a woman writer with disabilities or if you ARE (or know) such a woman whose writing would benefit from a retreat, here is a great opportunity:

In honor of my friend, the writer and disabilities advocate Kenny Fries' 50th birthday, A Room of Her Own Foundation (AROHO) is sponsoring a scholarship for a disabled writer who without financial support could not attend the AROHO 2011 Retreat for Women Writers. Kenny will choose the recipient in an open application process.

AROHO is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that champions women writers. The suggested donation is $45. But any amount, even $5 or $10, will help us come closer to a fully funded scholarship. Donations to AROHO are tax-deductible. You can give online by choosing "Kenny Fries Scholarship" from the drop-down menu here, which will take you to PayPal. If you prefer you can mail a check to AROHO, PO Box 778, Placitas, NM 87043, mentioning that the check is for the Kenny Fries Scholarship for a Writer with a Disability.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Flu at Sissinghurst

Vita Sackville-West to Leonard Woolf, January, 1940: 
“Dear Leonard, I ought to have answered your letter long ago, but both the boys came home fro 24 hours leave and immediately took to their beds with ‘flu. You may imagine that Sissinghurst is at no time an ideal place for invalids, but when it means carrying trays, hot water bottles and other requirements through snowdrifts some sixteen times a day it is really hell….Pipes froze; lavatories ceased to function; snow came through the roof and dripped on to my bed. So perhaps you will forgive the delay.”
From Adam Nicolson's Sissinghurst.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And one in URUGUAY!

I was interested to see that the University of Montevideo in Uruguay was dedicating its 7th annual literature conference to Virginia Woolf this coming June, 2011. The call for papers (due February 28th, 2011) makes lovely use of the South American setting of The Voyage Out to explain the thinking behind the focus.

But I cannot remember a more exciting email ever than the one I got a few weeks later inviting me to give one of the talks there. I am still gobsmacked and very excited.

All my fantasies of Tobermory are on hold as I imagine the reality of a few days in Montevideo next June. Wow. In honor of the trip, my student sent me the song "Skipping Down the Street" by My Little Pony which includes the lyric If I'd fallen in love in Montevideo....

I’ll be speaking about The Common Reader and eating a chivito, the national sandwich.

From the CFP:
These South American places imagined by Woolf are an invitation to the possibility of reflecting on her work from a transatlantic perspective, as Victoria Ocampo did in 1929 when she first read A Room of One´s Own. The essay confirmed many of Ocampo´s ideas on the woman-writer, and inspired her to promote critical readings and translations of Virginia Woolf´s work in the River Plate, especially through Sur, the literary journal she founded in Buenos Aires in 1931.
Seventy years after Virginia Woolf´s death, Montevideana VII calls for papers presenting innovative readings, translations, and exchanges in connection with the multiple dialogues which her work continues to establish, either directly or indirectly, with this part of the world.
Abstracts should be submitted by February 28th 2011.
For further information click or email.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Two New York Appearances

Part of the quiet around here comes from the overwhelming wave of adminstration that crashed upon my head at the end of my sabbatical. Part of it comes from my need to prepare for two upcoming public events. If you're in New York--or inclined to visit--please come to one or both--and say hello!

On Tuesday, October 16th, I’ll be participating in the post-matinee talk-back of Orlando, Sarah Ruhl’s adaptation of Woolf’s novel. It’s in previews now. 

Then, on Thursday, October 21st at 4:00, I’ll be giving a free, public lecture on my ongoing work as the editor of the Cambridge University Press edition of Mrs. Dalloway at the New York Public Library on 42nd & 5th. My lecture will be the third in a 3-day festival of lectures on Woolf: Jean Mills will speak on Woolf and Jane Harrison on Tuesday at 4:00 and Isaac Gewirtz will speak on the proofs of A Room of One's Own on Wednesday at 4:00. 

Barbara Holland, RIP

Why do I not know her work? She is my new hero. From the Times obit, via the Woolf listserv:
Her fight for ground to stand on as a young woman remained central to her reading of the world. A steady paycheck and self-respect were the keys to her brand of feminism, not the allowance and room of one’s own proposed by Virginia Woolf. “No, Mrs. Woolf,” she wrote in her memoir. “A job, Mrs. Woolf.”
Holland was the author of the essay collection “Endangered Pleasures: In Defense of Naps, Bacon, Martinis, Profanity, and Other Indulgences” (1995) which has risen to the top of my TBR pile. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sissinghurst, again

Having loved the op-ed on Sissinghurst earlier this summer, I’m writing a review-essay on Adam Nicolson’s Sissinghurst, a very engaging book about his life as a donor-tenant on the NT site. How engaging is it? As an aristocrat who doesn’t use his title and who lives as a tenant in his grandma’s castle, Nicolson has a wonderfully wry sense of humor about other lords, as here, in a description of a National Trust committee meeting:
When a man called John Smith was proposed as a member, the chairman, Viscount Esher, said ‘I suppose it is a good thing to have a proletarian name on the Committee—anyone know him?’ ‘Yes,’ said the earl of Euston, ‘he is my brother-in-law.’
As the descendant of a long, long line of New Hampshire Smiths (I have the forehead to show it), I loved this.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Almanzo Wilder's Farm

Blogging is light because sabbatical is over and administration is heavy. Still, you can get one last taste of summer by clicking on over to Writer's Houses to read my guest post on our visit to Almanzo Wilder's farm.