Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sharon Olds, BK Loren, Roscoe, and the Library Hotel

Sharon Olds was recommended to me, and I confess that the first two poems of hers that I read touched me not. But Leaving the Island caught me unawares, and I have been unable to forget it since reading. I've gone on to read much more of her work -- she's published nine volumes of poetry so far. She's been called "raw," and she says that she is not a thinker -- take from that what you will.

Her work touches on almost universal and yet mundane aspects of human existence. If you do click on the above link, be aware that, like a number of her pieces, it almost hurts to read it.


Thanks to the NewPages Blog for linking to the winners of the 2010 New Millenium awards for poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. I discovered BK Loren's Cerberus Sleeps last night, which has also been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

At first, this short story, its language, its images, all seemed somewhat derivative, but within a few paragraphs, I was pulled into in so thoroughly that by the end, Cerberus and his family lived in my head. Loren has imagined a quietly breathtaking story that sneaks up on you, much as my dog does when she knows she is seventy pounds and yet would like to share my lap. The story of the immortal dog Cerberus -- yes, that Cerberus -- found in a pound and adopted by an unknowing family facing problems we all may face in this lifetime is profoundly beautiful and moving.

I especially liked that Loren made Cerberus a pit bull. Next time you're looking for a dog, remember to look at your local shelter. You never know really who may be looking back at you through the bars.


Speaking of dogs, we've had two sick ones here, and I am absolutely drained and still must go to work tomorrow. We're not sure how, but they both have infections in their gut, meaning various bouts of diahrrhea (which, of course, occur either A. when we are gone from the house or B. sleeping), homemade diet each day of boiled turkey and rice, and antibiotics three times a day. Added to that are an imposing number of errands that suddenly had to be done over the last 3-4 days, coinciding with sick dogs, and my other half's desire for a cat reaching peak intensity, and it's all been a bit much.

Good news is that sick dogs are on the mend, errands are caught up, I've decided that being a month away from 38 doesn't mean that I'm not still sexy, and we now have an application in at our local shelter for Roscoe, a cat who didn't check anything off B's list of Cat Requirements, but who we are very excited and hopeful for.

We already have a cat, as many of you know: Miss Callie, who is eight. B wanted another torti, which means female, and he wanted a kitten. Roscoe is a three year old male brown tabby missing one third of his tail, a freakin' enormous head, and personality plus. The Dearborn Animal Shelter found him as a stray, and you can see his pic on their site. Cross your fingers for us. We really want this boy to come live with us.


When I want to escape from it all, I dream about jetting off to NYC and staying at The Library Hotel. Rooms organized by Dewey Decimal system? Employees called "librarians"? A poetry room, reading room, and a writer's den? All in a building with elegant, modern, dark-wood rooms with plenty of windows?

Please, I beg you. Please. Send me here.

Take the virtual tours. You'll be glad you did.


  1. I know it's a cliche, but that doesn't mean it isn't true -- age is just a number. I find myself feeling and acting YOUNGER as I get older... probably because I am becoming more my SELF, and less concerned about other's perceptions of who I am. And I think that I look better now than I did when I was young... more confident, less gawky... and decidedly sexier.

    The Library Hotel looks like my sort of hotel! I'd probably never leave the building, which, considering how misanthropic I can be, seems to be a good idea if I ever find myself in New York.

  2. Thank you for your kind words and insightful review of my story, "Cerberus Sleeps." I'll visit your blog again, for sure. Some good stuff all around on this page. Thanks. --BK Loren

  3. Thank you for writing such a lovely, touching story. It's stayed with me all this time.