Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Looking Up

At first the gift to myself was a coffee from a favorite haunt.  

And then I looked up.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

Elisabeth Tova Bailey has a mysterious illness that lasts for many years.  At one point during this illness she is confined to her bed.  She can only sit up or hold a book for minutes at a time.  She has been removed from her beloved farmhouse to a condo in the city so that she can be cared for around the clock.  One day a friend brings Elisabeth a snail that is nestled in a pot of violets.  This is the story of how a snail ferries one woman through countless hours of suffering into a place of wonder-induced healing.

I, too, was swept up in the White-Lipped Forest Snail’s trail of reverence, all at once feeling luminescent with its gooey charm.  The moment the snail emerged from its shell the first day and explored the pot of violets I was completely absorbed.  As the snail nibbled square-shaped holes into unsuspecting scraps of paper and slimed its way into Elisabeth’s vigilant wonder I was breathless with bewilderment and curiosity.

You will gasp and hoot your way through this book as you discover that snails gallop, shoot darts at those they love and inspire biomimicry that may greatly reduce the discomfort of colonoscopies.  You will momentarily forget to breathe as you read the piece about snails offering up their own trails for their loved ones who cannot produce enough slime to propel themselves forward.  And I’m certain you will tell everyone you know about the art of ‘foot drinking’ and snails catching magic carpet rides on leaves.

Elisabeth’s prose is simply magical.  One review brilliantly describes it as "the marriage of science and poetic mysticism." This is not a never-ending mumble of snail trivia.  It is the story of a woman whose life is changed by a snail, and as she illustrates the snail’s impact she decorates the book with stunning interpretations of snail trivia.  Elisabeth also gifts the reader with a plenitude of quotes including the poetry of Billy Collins and Kobayashi Issa and an extensive list of malacology literature with wildly intriguing titles like “Lessons from Snail Tentacles.”  By the end of this book you will be bursting with fondness for gastropods and reading every little nugget of information including her acknowledgements and sources in an effort to never close the book.   

Sunday, September 28, 2014


One of my poems was just published in the I-70 Review Summer/Fall 2014 issue!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pardon me, Mr. Jimmy Durante

Just now, I discovered that a patron who frequents my library sounds a little like Mr. Jimmy Durante.

This particularly charming patron always seems to be losing his prayer cards and can be rather threatening as he demands that the staff scour the building to find them.  He points his elderly yet surprisingly scary finger in our faces and tells us that they could be in this book or that book or any book really and that we should keep looking until we find whatever precious card that is lost that particular day.  

We usually end up finding the prayer cards in our bloodiest mystery books, pictures of glowing Marys surrounded by words like knife and punctured and f*** you Roy there’s only part of him in this dumpster.  

Whenever the prayer cards cannot be found, the patron insists we haven't checked everything in a singsong Durante voice that is totally code for Are you hiding my prayer cards from me?  

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Unsolved Mysteries Pertaining to the Evidence of the Afterlife

While doing some official library business in the stacks yesterday, I had such a strange encounter that I am still stupefied by it.

I was hanging out in the 330's of Nonfiction.  Behind me were the early 300's, and two full rows away were the 100's.  As I was standing there a book hit my shoulder from behind me and fell to the floor.

This was the book:

The rational explanation is that somehow my feet created enough vibration to knock it from the shelf behind me, where it clearly didn't belong (it belongs in the 100's) and may have been misshelved by a patron.  And it happened to fall just where I was standing.

But the rational explanation is so far fetched it leaves me quite puzzled and full of questions for the book. 


1.  How did you travel over 100 numbers past your correct spot? 
2.  How did you happen to be at just the right height to fall on me?
3.  And how did my slipper-like flats on a carpeted floor create enough movement to make you fall?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Funny

A few days ago a patron gave me quite the laugh.

As I was helping him with a computer issue he said,

"You are the most capable person here today, and that's not always the case."

This is the same patron who will occasionally ask for my name, and each time I tell him he always has the follow-up question,

"One name wasn't good enough for you?"