Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Perfect Gift

O.K. you’re flummoxed on what to get someone for Christmas, their birthday, as thanks for watering your dieffenbachia while you were away, or just to be nice. It may be a neighbor, shirttail friend, teacher, or the eccentric old lady down the block. So, you wish to give them all a little present. The question to ask yourself is do they own a cat? Or, have they ever been friendly to a cat… maybe pet one a couple of times until the purring startled them. These, and others you know, are perfect candidates for a book I put together, Meow Poetry: Fun, Fabulous, Feline Verse. This is an anthology of accessible and enjoyable cat poetry written by established poets and newcomers. For $10.75 you can give them a thoughtful gift that shows what a cool and dimensional person you really are. Meow Poetry can be easily purchased through Amazon or

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jot This Down

I have this problem, although I don’t think of it as being a problem—others do. I buy cool notebooks. Most of them remain blank. It’s not that I don’t have anything to write in them; I’ve got plenty to say. It’s just that I want to make sure that if I write something in a specific notebook that my writing is worthy of being in that particular wonderful notebook. My cool notebooks include a slim, green hardbound notebook that measures about the size of small index card that I bought at a stationers shop somewhere in Ireland. I also have two similar-size notebooks from China that have lightweight brown paper pages but really interesting covers showing ancient Asian scenes and Chinese writing (which probably translates to “notebook”). Any of these smaller notebooks are ideal for making grocery lists or writing reminder notes to myself—but it seems sacrilegious to defile a notebook brought home thousands of miles from a distant land with something as mundane as butter, broccoli, apples, toilet paper, and pasta scrawled in it. I just can’t do it. There are countless other notebooks tucked among books on my bookshelves or stashed in drawers. They’re all blank. Untouched because of my phobia about misusing them. One cool notebook I own is made with the covers of an old hardbound book. I got it from Open Books—an online shop that creatively recycles “vintage books into modern day treasures. Each unique book contains 75+ blank OR lined sheets.” I couldn’t resist adding a notebook they made from a Mitchell Goodman book entitled, “The End of It.” I just couldn’t resist. And yes, it remains unfilled. On the other hand, I do have a notebook I use everyday. Purchased from a local office supply mega-store, my everyday notebook is where I write notes, poems, TO DO lists, short stories, phone numbers, ideas, directions to places, and odd words I want to learn. It has to be spiral bound with the spiral wide enough to accept a slim pen and look professional enough that I could carry it into a business meeting. The notebook has to be lined and the paper has to be heavy enough so there’s no bleed through when I use a rollerball or fountain pen. The ideal size is approximately 8- x 6-inches. For me this is the utilitarian, go-to notebook where I can collect the stuff of my life, much like the kitchen junk drawer. Unlike notebooks from high school or college days, my everyday notebook gets filled—cover to cover.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Word of the Hour

The word of current—right now—is: meritocracy. According to Merriam-Webster, it means:

1 : a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement

2 : leadership selected on the basis of intellectual criteria

I’ve heard or read the word thrice in the past couple of weeks. Before that, I’m not sure I’ve encountered it at all. Apparently, the term was first used in Michael Young's 1958 book Rise of the Meritocracy, where it was intended to be pejorative. His book is set in a dreary, dismal future in which one's social place is determined by IQ plus effort.