Surviving the London Book Fair

Originally posted on Scribe Doll's Musings:

I’ve pinned my badge to my jacket lapel:

Katherine Gregor

Literary Translator

Freelance 

United Kingdom

The security man scans it.  A thin, red line crawls over it like a single spider leg.  I step  into the giant, dome-shaped Olympia building.  I think: Dante’s Inferno.  No, Purgatory, since there’s hope of redemption and success in all who enter.

Three days of a huge market crammed with stalls, displays, banners, desks, stages and counters, heaving with people buying, selling, promoting, negotiating, haggling.  Hundreds of voices rise to the vault and blend into a unique, steady drone that fills your skull and continues buzzing in your ears even when you go to bed at night.

In the central aisle, a row of young men and women in turquoise T-shirts offer a shoulder massage.  A few minutes’ relief from the tension within and without.  On my first morning, I breeze past them.  On…

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The Bulbs Know – Part Two

I emptied my parka’s pockets today, removing three pair of gloves; the 30 below-zero pair, the fleece pair, and the brightly flowered garden gloves, along with the ubitquitous crumpled (but clean) tissues. At different times during the past week, sometimes in the same day, I’ve worn all three pair.

A half dozen daffodils are blooming along the front walk, amidst the leaves I raked from the bed a few days ago, which have since blown back. As I accept the inevitable, the reprise of my leaf-raking performance with three costume changes, I imagine a conversation between the daffodils and the leaves. “It’s going to be cold, again, tonight. Tuck us in, will ya’?”

“I’ll let you sleep in, until the weekend,” I interrupt, acutely aware I’m talking to myself, rather than to bunches of stems, leaves and blossoms, “then I’ll strip away the covers. Sleep well, my darlings.”

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Flying Down to Rio

Originally posted on Writer's Cramp:

IMG_20150119_080731On sort of a whim my daughter and I spent a few hours at the historic KiMo Theater in downtown Albuquerque watching Fred and Ginger dance the Carioca in a classic old musical, Flying Down to Rio.

I’ll talk about the theater in a while but first let me try to make sense of the movie. Flying Down to Rio was  made in 1933 at the height of the depression. There was a bunch of escapist musicals produced during those years and Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers were a big part of that era. This movie was the first one they were paired up to do although each had been in earlier films. You will notice from the poster that Ginger Rogers got higher billing than did Fred Astaire. I hope she enjoyed it because that never happened again.

Essentially this is a little story about a struggling dance band that…

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O Happy Morning

Originally posted on In Transition:

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On my morning walk, I spied

a snowy white ibis, walking like a king,

a flock of blue birds, brighter than the April sky,

and a wily, red fox trotting jauntily down the sidewalk,

looking for his breakfast.

©annettealaine 2015

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Boat Ride Blur

Originally posted on Virginia's World:

 In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Blur.”

On a boatride into the caves at Trang An – Ninh Binh Province, Vietnam, about 2 1/2 outside of Hanoi.  Spectacular and magnificent viewing of the limestone karst!

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PTL and pass the chocolate

“I don’t eat anything that used to be cute.”

“I don’t eat anything that swims.” (Or swam.)

“I don’t eat anything in its natural habitat.” (Please remove the lobster, mussels, oysters, clams, scallops and shrimp from their shells.)

“I’ll eat turkey, but not chicken.”

“I gave up eating pork products years ago, when I realized pigs are more intelligent than humans.”

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Winter is a (Big Fat) Liar

Originally posted on Eva Lesko Natiello:

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photo by Luigi Torreggiani

Winter drags its massive lumbering heels on its way to meet Spring. Its hair has grown long, its thick woolly layers are tattered and dirty. Spring should be close, should be here, but it’s impossible to see. Not with Winter’s defiant air—harsh and billowing, relentless—it bullies the sweet, green Spring away.

Winter fingers the baton tight in its grasp. Teasing. Torturing. It curls its grip narrower while its gate is weighed down with spite and beef stew. In the thick of Winter are roasts and chowders. Noodles and gratins soothe the deepest darkest cold. Desserts piled high with whipped cream, warm pies, chortle at Spring. Arrogant. Impudent. As though they’ll never meet. Layers of comfort expand under Winter’s heavy coats; then Winter’s promise goes cold. Threatening to turn its shoulder on Spring. Snuff it with one gruff callused hand. Groaning, moaning. Solace is taken in crackling…

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Scrubs

Originally posted on From the Laundry Room:

I am a writer.

When asked, upon meeting someone new, “What do you do?” these four words are tough for me.  Lately, I’ve been wondering why.

“I am a writer,” sounds silly, whimsical, not quite, “I’m a circus performer,” but close.  They are fine words, even great, when I am in front of my computer, or when I close my eyes at night and wonder what the hell I’m doing.  I tell myself, “I am a writer.”  It’s what I do, but it doesn’t seem to ring glorious and confident out in the world, the real word.

The declaration, “I’m a writer,” is often met with, “Ah…” or “Really!?”

See?  Sort of the circus performer or the ballerina response.

After the initial surprise, the next step is what I call The Legitimizer.  People need to know if I am really a writer, a legitimate writer, and that always revolves around…you guessed it.

“Are…

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Rate Yourself As A Mom On A Scale of 1 To 10

Originally posted on Eva Lesko Natiello:

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photo by Alio Viera

The other night at dinner, I sat at the kitchen table with my teenage daughter. Some nights, “family dinner” means just us two. I’ve been getting used to making dinners that are easy to scoop out and reheat in a flash. Teenagers are here one minute, gone the next. And I’m just referring to the dinner hour.

My daughter has always loved to ask the hypothetical questions. The “what-ifs” and the “what would you dos.” And as philosophical as they may be, she likes her hypotheticals quantifiable. She likes answers that are in percentages, or on her famous “scale of 1 to 10.”

Between forkfuls of asparagus risotto, she asked, “What if someone asked you to rate yourself as a mother? What would you say, on a scale of 1 to 10?” read more

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My New Book!

Originally posted on The Backpack Press:

Welcome to “Prayer Beads on the Train!”

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I am very excited to announce the publication of my second collection of stories written on the MTA – the New York Transportation Authority, also known as the bus and the subway.

It is available for purchase here on Create Space and here on Amazon

And I will be a featured writer on the monthly We Heart NYC Writers night at The Parkside Lounge in Manhattan on April 9, 2015. If you come by, I can sign your copy of the book!

I am also the author of “A Marshmallow on the Bus” which is on sale at the NY Transit Museum Shop and Q.E.D. Astoria.

Look at it this way, now you’ve got something fun to read on your morning commute.

Ultreia!

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