Tag Archives: As Sweet As Honey Tour

Bags and Bags of Books

Chilmark Reception Site/Vineyard Gazette

When one comes back from a book festival, one’s arms are loaded with books.  Mine were, along with a goodie bag full of chocolates, more books, and cloth bags.  I also carried back a gallon of raw milk, and two large tubs of yogurt.  Bliss.  Of course I cut a comical scene with my bags slipping off each other every few paces, my arms threatening to fall off, but soon, I reached home, after one of the most invigorating and fun weekends I’d had in along while.

The Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival is offered up every two years, and this year was presented in two locations, in Edgartown, and in Chilmark.  A heartfelt thank you to Suellen Lazarus and Bunch of Grapes Bookstore for organizing the events so seamlessly and so generously, and to Maggie Shipstead, Kitty Pilgrim, and J.Courtney Sullivan, plus our gracious tour-guide Howard for being such good company. And a shout-out to the lovely Joan Nathan who set the ball rolling.

Festivities for the authors included a number of receptions and breakfasts, including one in the very palatial yet discreet place that rumour has the Obamas staying at on their vacation.  I sipped mineral water and wondered what it would be like to wake up with the ocean in one’s backyard.

Very nice indeed, I imagine.  Very nice indeed.

When the Hummingbird Looks You in the Eye

© Conchasdiver | Dreamstime.com

© Conchasdiver | Dreamstime.com

You blink.  It is hard to believe this bullet shaped body, green like a parrots, hovering in front you  and beating its wings so fast, the sound is as thick as a bee hive.  It wanted the lavender astilbe which finally decided to bloom, the specific bloom I was standing next to.  It looked at the bloom, then at me. I f I reached out my hand just a little, I could try to touch it, but I stood still, thinking it would surely move on.  We had a human to bird face-down, I waiting for it to move, and it for me.  I spoke to it all the while, and maybe my voice kept it hovering.  When it finally darted away, I stepped through the garden and turned from the stairs to watch.  It perched on a tree, and only when the coast was clear, waded in.  My metaphors are mixed because the hummingbird is a mix of a bird and bee to me.  I will post the video from last year of the boy and his rescue of a hummingbird below.

Meanwhile, I attended two phenomenal literary events.  One was the Wequassett Literary Luncheon, presented by the Where the Sidewalk Ends Bookstore on Cape Cod.  Every summer,week by week,  guests fill the banquet halls to lunch with old friends and hear various writers talk and read from their new books.  I accompanied J.Courtney Sullivan, author of The Engagements, a book that is engaging from the first page, and Ann Hood, whose most recent book is The Obituary Writer.  It was a lively event, with an audience who listened intently, loving books so much to spend a summer day inside. My table was filled by multi-generational members of a family tree and friends, with makes true the notion books create literal and figurative companions.

Wequassett Inn Literary Luncheon, 2013

Wequassett Inn Literary Luncheon, 2013

Boy& Hummingbird http://youtu.be/LvrcdQWzH-8

a place for an imaginary journey


I trekked back to Sag Harbor, where I once had a home, to teach a workshop on imaginary geographies. The landscape flying past my train windows was very much real, a study in contrasts of lush marsh grass hosting a heron or two, to the power plants in the horizon. It was a new train in the LIRR fleet, and all was smooth, easy-going.

At Bridgehampton, I was picked up by a workshop participant, one of six lively women who gathered to write for four hours. In a close circle, we wrote through exercises about the place and self, beginning with settings of familiarity to those of the imagination. After a delicious lunch provided by the host bookstore, Canio’s, we drew imaginary cities and villages on portions of a map of Paris. One by one, the participants revealed their public markets, their factories, their slaughterhouses, and cafes.

We discussed using setting like character, using setting as plot.  We spoke of how characters move through settings, and I wonder now if I mentioned that while in real life, what happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas, in fiction, it cannot.

Three days later, I sit at a cafe in the seaport in Boston, where I can glimpse planes taking off, their underbellies gleaming like whales. Melville mentioned Sag Harbor in Moby Dick, a port of trade and business. Here, all is tourism and relaxation, as the temperature climbs toward 95 F, and I wait for a ferry to take me home.

Should we have traveled or stayed at home? In the film, Reaching for the Moon, Elizabeth Bishop walks with Robert Lowell, struggling to compose “The Art of Losing.” Only by traveling into the interior, of a country and her heart, can she complete the poem.

There is a fierce need to complete poems, to complete acts of arts, and to travel, if only to return home, more capable of understanding ourselves and others.

Indira Ganesan, Heading Home, 2013

Indira Ganesan, Heading Home, 2013