January 28, 2009

Everything Goes Down Better with a Hot Toddy in Hand

When it is snowing, I eat handfuls of saltines. When it is snowing I crave oranges. When it is snowing, I walk down the street with the umbrella's curve resting partially on the back of my head--the Hollywood umbrella technique. A posture that surely allows more snow into my face than necessary, and yet I can't resist.

When it is snowing each flake fizzes against the skylights in my apartment. When it is snowing it puts me in the mood for memoirs.


The Post Office is threatening to cut a day of mail service due to budgetary strains. On first read I was very disturbed. Most writers have had periods of living for that daily mail drop--opening the thin envelopes and occasionally, if you're lucky, finding a thicker one. It is an emotional ritual, and I frequently rail against the tardy mail service on our street (11 AM...nothing...3 PM...nothing; 4:45 PM...still nothing...5:30 PM...nope), much to the amusement of my boyfriend.

The last time I lived on this street, not only did the postman skip whole DAYS of service (I could tell by the postmark), but he pulled the utterly creepy move of taking outgoing mail from me one day by hand--and using said mail to find out my apartment number, then show up outside my door at 7 PM that night looking for a date. It took a half-hour of waiting (and hoping he did not test the deadbolt, which was set in rotting wood) for him to give up and leave.

Anyway. On first read this story was disheartening; on second read, not so bad. Most acceptances come by email nowadays (and big news, like prizes of fellowships, by phone). And I've always liked the sensation of getting mail after an "off day"--Sunday, or some Federal holiday--when there is the implicit promise you'll have twice as much good stuff.


A few months back I posted a call for submissions for a new literary journal, the White Whale Review. Issue 1.1 is up now featuring Liam Callanan, Jennifer Barber, George Kalogeris, Daniele Pantano, Rachel Coye, Stephanie Goehring, and Michael Lynch. Go check it out--admirable visual design. Witty, and yet the top nav bar's categories still make sense to a user. I like the display of multiple prose columns across the horizontal page.


Collin Kelley said...

I think mail service has already been cut back. I cannot tell you how slow delivery has been lately, at least here in Atlanta. I sent a priority package last week, should have arrived in a day or two, but wound up taking a week. Something I ordered online took nearly two weeks. That's why I love email -- instant gratification.

Stephanie Goehring said...

I really enjoyed this entry and not just because of the plug (though that is, of course, greatly appreciated).

I love "When it is snowing, I eat handfuls of saltines. When it is snowing I crave oranges."

And that mailman story is both incredibly creepy and fascinating.

Bernadette Geyer said...

I had not heard that about the post office! It makes me think that one day we will look back at this period of time and say "How quaint... Someone bringing mail to your mailbox every day! Why didn't they just use email or text message?"

Steve Rogers said...

The price of postage will continue to go up and the services will continue to be cut. This sure is a sad state of affairs. And then I read this morning that the Washington Post's "Book World" will cease publication on February 22. The powers that be found that it does not generate enough revenue to justify its existence. I guess it always will come down to dollars and cents (certainly not "sense").

Matthew Thorburn said...

Hey Sandra, I was disheartened by the news that the mail may get cut back a day too. My wife laughs at me, but I am always excited to see what poetry news might be in the mail. It's true, more and more of the good news comes by email or phone. But not all of it. I found out about the Witter Bynner by opening an envelope...