Of Swans, Stuttering Kings, Fearsome Fighters, and Facebook.

I watched the Critic’s Choice Awards last night, including the Red Carpet lead-in.  My first reaction was that the people assembled – both before and during the ceremony – had a level of enthusiasm akin to a group of patients awaiting root canal.

It was quite deadly. And normally I am all over these shows: I have watched them forever- and always unapologetically – ever since I curled up at my mother’s feet and watched with her on our little black and white set as the impossibly glamorous Susan Hayward accepted her Oscar in 1958 for “I Want to Live.”

It didn’t help that one of the pre-show interviewers last night was pouring forth pure valley-speak, pronouncing “didn’t” as “dih-unt,” and seemed to be not quite sure of where she was. I am not kidding. Kind of blunts the patina, eh what?

Arnold Schwarzenegger (sp) who opened the show, acquitted himself quite well actually (will wonders ne’er cease?). “Any movie about ballerinas that can get me to sit through it three times has my vote.“ He also said that with his governorship behind him he is looking for acting jobs and that HE should have been the selection to play someone who couldn’t speak properly, NOT Colin Firth as the stuttering king.

Ba da bing! Oh, Arnold, no you dih-unt!

The gowns – and cleavage – were stunning, nevertheless, the Botox and Cartier brazenly on display, and no shortage of Moet Chandon being quaffed at the tables.

Here’s a rundown of who got what: Natalie Portman won Best Actress as expected for Black Swan. Colin Firth won Best Actor for the K-k-k-k-ing’s Speech(my bad). He had the most gracious and entertaining acceptance speech of them all, talking about the gloves being off for the evening, at least until tomorrow when Hollywood retrenches for the next awards go-round. He also said he hoped to have another 20 years with his wife but it would not be nearly enough. Pure class. Christian Bale and Melissa Leo got Best Supporting nods for the Fighter. (Can’t wait to see that! Love Marky Mark.) And finally, the Big Kahuna: The Social Network walked away with Best Picture, predicted by many pundits.

Funniest bit of the night was by Jimmy Kimmel, and as I said, the crowd gave him no props at ALL. He did a good cop-bad cop thing with Emily Blunt, presenting a humanitarian award to Matt Damon for his work in bringing fresh water to the third world through water.org.

Emily B waxed rhapsodic about Damon’s selflessness and worthiness while Jimmy volleyed back derisively.

“I see you’ve got some Evian on the table there, Matt. No shortage of water there, eh?’’

And, “Matt Damon: Star of the Bourne Identity, the Bourne Ultimatum, and the Boring Supremacy.”

“Sean Penn? Listen, Damon, he is in Haiti right now, carrying heavy things!”

Jimmy, I, for one, laughed out loud.

Backwards

It is not the sunrise
that awakens in us a yearning
for the fresh start,
to take yet another look
at the possibility of things.

These days it is the sunset
that prompts reflecting back
on just how much is left
still to be done
before the light is gone.

Mute

The saddest sound in the world is
silence
where there were once words.
No answer
when I know you’re home.
Me
watching you walk away.

Baby, It’s Cold Out There!

We’re up in Haliburton today. I am looking down at the lake and it is a winter wonderland. There I did it, used the “w” words. Deer tracks are everywhere; wwe spotted two big ones gazing down at us from the hillside this morning. They are the definition of serene. How can they be so composed in 10 degrees Fahrenheit?

When we got here last night and opened the place up I could see my breath – inside! Started building a fire and kept our coats on the entire evening. I went to bed fully clothed as my two westies gazed longingly at my filled hot water bottle.

No wonder past generations took so few baths. Remember, no central heating! Can you imagine the effort to heat up enough water – bucket by bucket – to fill a tub – and the courage to take off all those clothes?

Only a few days til the big one. Cannot wait!

Post Book Launch.

My Book Launch on Saturday was even more than I hoped for. About 50 people joined me for a day of celebration and support for my new book, “Nothing Gold Can Stay.”

Releasing the book feels a little like sending one of your small children out into the world. On a cold day. Without mittens. I am protective and a bit apprehensive, but I realize the work must stand on its own if it is to succeed. So off it goes on a wing and a prayer.

The Gallanough Library was the perfect setting for the event. Books everywhere, on shelves, stacked on tables and wherever there was space. Everyone arrived by 2:30 and I began signing books right away at my signing table, which was bedecked with off white roses and scented candles glowing. And, of course, a bowl of chocolates. Writer’s cramp set in after number 50 but I wasn’t complaining: I was thrilled.

The food was divine: wraps and nibbles, dips and wine. And a sweets table to boot.

About midway through the afternoon, my brother Scott asked everyone to gather around. He was in fine form as M.C. opening with the surprise news that this was actually not my first book, that I had written three others. He then produced three hefty books from a bag, with these titles taped over the real ones. The first was called “My Brother, My Hero.” Second, “Did I Tell You About My Brother?” and third, “How Great Is My Brother?” Scott is irrepressible.

Two close friends and my two sisters took turns addressing the crowd in very eloquent presentations. I drank it all in, of course.

And then it was my turn. I spoke briefly about the therapy that poetry offers, to both the writer and the reader, and then read three pieces from the book.

Everyone there seemed so genuinely thrilled for me and I think that was the sweetest gift of all.

I’ve always said that writing in and of itself is worthwhile, regardless of whether it achieves commercial or public success of any kind. Should my book catch fire and sell well I would be absolutely elated. But this is secondary to me. To have sent it out into the world as a tribute to my lovely mother and father is truly what means the most.

My Book Launch!

I am just getting ready to head off to my Book Launch and I am so excited. It is simpy the best Christmas present I could ever have. A long time in coming but worth the wait.

The weather is cooperating for those coming in from out of town with a huge storm holding off for tomorrow. My thanks to whatever/whomever is responsible.

I’ll be reading from the book, my brother Scott will be the M.C. and a few friends and family will weigh in also.

Not sure what I’ll say.. think I’ll just go with the moment.. but here’s a quote of Eudora Welty’s that I will probably include in my comments..

“The charm of poetry is that it rejects the edifying cathedral and, instead, indelibly photographs the small boy on the steps outside chewing a hunk of melon in the dust.”

Isn’t that perfection?

Here I go… wish me luck!

On the radio, Oh, oh, oh,oh…

What a great experience. I was interviewed yesterday on the local radio station about my writing and my upcoming book. It was so relaxed and the interviewer was truly interested in my answers. She made it feel like a conversation we were having in my living room. We talked about the value of poetry in my life and how much it has helped me through my darkest days.

It was not all downbeat though… lots of laughs and lighter moments too. as when I said I couldn’t resist an interview that came with donuts and coffee.

It’s my first marketing foray for my book of poems to be published this fall, entitled “Nothing Gold Can Stay: A Mother and Father Remembered.” I am just over the moon about doing it.

I’ll be selling copies on my website.

Stay tuned.

Second Thoughts

You think you’re writing poetry
and then you read one in a New Yorker,
about elephants,
tied together, heads down,
being traipsed in a line through the Queen’s midtown tunnel after midnight,
on their way to Ringling Brothers downtown,
forever away from their home and the wild,
and you just want to stop writing what,
for all these years,
you’ve been calling poetry.

Because someone asked for a poem for their wedding day…

The Unspoken Vows

For Jim and Becky on their Wedding Day.

You stand before one another today

Expectant, full of love,

And recite the traditional vows so many have before you,

And will after.

The simple, elegant vows of marriage, each word chosen with such care

To convey precise meaning, not one wasted,

Romantic, timeless,

Lovely.

 

But there is much they leave unsaid;

It may be the only limitation of the ceremony.

So much that the two of you will give to one another down through the years

In the name of love,

So much that you vow to each other, unknowingly, today.

 

Shall we speak of them now?

While we may?

Those nights when sleep won’t come and the other offers to make tea,

Dark days that weigh you down and the other gently lifts you up,

When your child needs guidance and the other finds the time,

The times she will see beauty in you when you see none in yourself.

How he’ll want others to see everything that you are, and can be.

 

It’s these unspoken vows that will see you through

day to day, year to year,

Side by side,

And speak volumes in their silence.

Tricia McCallum
April 8, 2010

Entreaties

My gums are bleeding again.

There’s a stack of papers that need attention

But I can’t find my glasses.

My truck is making that funny noise.

 

I sleep too late,

There’s no one here to wake me.

I don’t write,

Seems it’s all been said.

 

Your point’s been made:

I am selfish and fickle,

Say what you like.

Come home.