Showing posts from September, 2021

Let's Draw a Book Together!

I'm excited to start drawing with kids! Today I purchased supplies for the Joaquin Miller Art, Nature & Song project. These pristine notebooks will be filled with sketches and paintings by Oakland's kids. Together, we'll build a book around a song! " Joaquin Miller Went Walkin'"  is about all the things the poet who planted all the trees in this park saw while he was hiking around, writing poetry. He saw trees, birds, animals, plants, and water...all the things that make up the ecosystem of the hills. I wrote it after taking a field trip with Bay Area Writing Project teacher Evan Nichols, who really got kids engaged. That day, I thought, "Who's Joaquin Miller and why isn't there a song about him?" The muses dropped this nugget into my brain the following week, and I sang it a lot that year! I'll be hosting monthly workshops for groups of six kids (ages 5-15) and adults. Why kids and adults? Because I want this to be an experience tha

Climate Champions...

A busy day today promoting the upcoming  Song Project and I'm tired because I was up late listening to " This Changes Everything " by Naomi Klein. The chapter where all the billionaires eat Al Gore's presentation up with a spoon in 2005 and by 2015 have increased their company emissions a hundredfold!!! Ack! A crucial read. Meanwhile here's the best invention yet... Hug one today!

The Bohemian Roots of JMP

The park seems noisy today. Dogs bark and play on the trails and in the dog park beyond those trees. Snippets of conversation float above the roar of freeway and air traffic, an ocean of sound underneath the forest's daily goings-on. Dogs are called with clickers, shouts, and whistles worthy of the piccolo line. A chickadee rumble bursts out near me, four little birds attacking each viciously, emitting the most adorable flurry of angry peeps. A lone crow's got something to talk about. A maintenance truck crunches down the road. And that's all outside my head...the inside is full of poetry! This weekend I attended the Gatsby Summer Afternoon, a historic recreation of the Jazz Age (a term coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald, did you know?), where I co-hosted a literary circle where we did readings from The Great Gatsby and poets of the era .  While I was researching "Art Deco Lit: a collection of Modernist poets," the little anthology I put together for the Art Deco Socie

October 9th, 2021 - The Waters & Words Flow!

I came to the park today with a head full of words, just looking for a place to work. The fist three picnic tables near the ranger center were occupied, so I kept moving until I found one on a little hill where I can watch people get into and out of their cars and talk to their dogs. It’s funny how people talk to their dogs. I wonder if, in a year, I could write at every single picnic table in the park? Today I’m very excited to announce my kick-off event with FOJMP and CWC next month. On October 9th, the former will be holding their annual meeting (OUR annual meeting; I’m part of this group) at noon on the steps. At 12:30, something very exciting happens: the water comes on! The restoration committee has managed to get the water flowing again! Here’s the flyer for that: After that event, we’ll all spread our blankets at the Fire Circle and enjoy “A Blanket and a Basket of Chow.” This catch phrase has been used by the CWC for decades, hearkening back to Joaquin Miller’s invitation to

Sequoia Bayview: Have You Heard the Redwoods Sing?

Today my writing residency begins! My program has been talked up by the California Writers Club and Friends of Joaquin Miller Park , the two organizations between which I shall weave a story this year. Welcome visitors and readers! I hope to bring a breath of adventure to this weekly(ish) blog, in which I shall bravely drive the five minutes up from the city each week, park my car and look around a bit before getting some work done. The path I walk today is meaningful. The first walk I ever took in Joaquin Miller Park, in the late 1980s, was along Sequoia Bayview trail. I didn’t know that was the trail's name back then; we called it “Richard’s Run” because my uncle would come up for exercise after work. Back then there was a stretch of it where you could actually see the Bay. These days you can’t blink or you’ll miss the view; it’s in the gap between the laurels and oaks where the bike path comes down the hill.  This is a nice flat trail, and on a day like this when it’s not too