Some things you can have

Copyright 2013 Anne Campagnet-Reed

Copyright 2013 Anne Campagnet-Reed

Some things you can have

And some you can’t;

Sometimes love comes in unsustainable packaging

that is toxic to the environment.


Me and Hemingway at the DMV


(A Site-Specific Book Review)

I went three different times during the week, and twice I turned away, but today I was determined and prepared. I had brought Hemingway with me. Yes, it was Monday, their busiest day, and yes, there was that line half a block long, leading into the parking lot. But today I had no other commitments, and I wouldn’t have another day like this soon, so it had to be today. It was 9:30 a.m. I had decided that however long it took, I was going to wait for my turn, and get my license renewed before it expired.

The thermometer at home said 51º. But this was Daly City. As I approached my spot at the end of the line, I was aware of the brisk chill in the gray air. No problem: I had a turtleneck on, underneath my wool tweed Galway jacket, and a hooded rainshell over that. I had considered the elements. The leather gloves were still in my car, as I had judged that they would be overkill. But after about five minutes out there, I wished I had put them on. I was holding The Sun Also Rises in my left hand, reading while keeping my right hand in my pocket. When my left hand started to feel numb with cold, I switched the book to my right, warming the left in my pocket. I switched off several times before noticing that my head was cold, too. I put up the hood of my rainshell. It afforded a good amount of protection from the chilling breeze that insisted and seeped nonetheless.

The small throng ahead of me mostly had that waiting-in-line look about them: bored, but resigned. They shifted their feet, looking back and forward, at everything and at nothing in particular, as if there were something they could do to mitigate the tedium. Some made small talk with their line neighbors. The man in front of me, medium-build, Asian, was paging through his netbook. He seemed intent and absorbed, and actually looked happy. As I turned around, I began to notice that I was no longer last in line; a handful of people took up their places behind me. I continued my perusal of Hemingway, in order to pass the time, all the while becoming more erudite. Continue reading

Have you ever…

Have you ever

Walked down a road and felt

Excited, bursting at the temples

To borrow the texture of branches against sky;

To lift the bright green chevrons off bushes,

To kidnap the fecund floridity of pink magnolias

And covet the thrusting spokes of newly-sprung sea-grass?

And steal away home with them,

To release them in

the curtained sky

Of your imagination?

Pablo Neruda’s “The Me Bird” Sings from the Afterlife

This beautiful animated video, titled “The Me Bird”, created by Bazilian studio 18bis, was inspired by the late Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s poem of the same name. Apart from being recognized as one of the greatest Latin American poets of the 20th century, Neruda has made international headlines lately, as his body is set to be exhumed and autopsied by Chilean authorities on April 8, 40 years after his death. The exhumation was ordered by Chilean judge Mario Carroza, in response to intelligence that Neruda had been poisoned by the former Pinochet regime, instead of dying from prostate cancer as previously believed.

You can learn more about the animated film from this Huffington Post article.

You make me live


You make me live
Carlos, your guitar strokes the harmonics of my chakras
The line builds, taking my soul up to the rarified region
Where I breathe in the sublime notes, like soothing nectar
From the tropical flowers of my tears
And the tears of all humanity
Your siren’s muse
Plucking at my soul and seducing my sadness to sway,
a sensual samba whose inescapable love flows all through me
and makes me whole,
yet still wanting …

(in appreciation of Carlos Santana)

Great Films for Writers

I teach literature and creative writing in my after-school classes, to high school students. One thing that they really enjoy is good films; films with substance. All of the following films have a protagonist who writes, or include writing as a major theme. My current repertoire includes:

The Kite Runner
Finding Forrester
Stranger Than Fiction
Freedom Writers
The Life of Pi

You can do all the same kinds of writing activities with films as you can with books.



mudflat texture

There has been too much time since my last post. What is time? It is the gray webbed matter past which we try to see what may be beyond. It is an introspective matrix through which we color our future (our passage toward that which we will).

That’s why it goes by so fast. The self tries to make sense of the passage of the self. Either you have a goal or you don’t. When you don’t have a goal it is because you are observing what is already passing before your eyes. Perhaps you analyze, try to place in context. Perhaps you sit dumb-founded, marveling or just wondering at the things the way they are (or seem to be).

If you do have a goal, it seems to take forever to get there; you use external yardsticks to measure your progress. You need a calendar, a computer program, a personal secretary, friends, school, etc.

If you don’t have a goal, you are persuaded to feel foolish and to hate yourself.

Time really does not exist. It has been proven.

But society demands a timeline. A resume, a CV, list of accomplishments, a work history. You learn the game, and you play it. With varying degrees of satisfaction. You write down the sequence of events and store it in a cool, dark place.

What really satisfies is not judging yourself. Because there is no objective measure of success.

Why are we here?

There can be only one explanation. To entertain one another. And ourselves.