Thursday, December 27, 2012

In Massage Limbo Exercise is Desk Jockey's Friend

Ever since our favorite massage therapists moved, one out of state, another to the north end of town while we moved to the south side, another all the way to Olympia, we've been in massage limbo. I've tried licensed massage therapists near our present home, but so far I haven't found anyone who comes close to the way Lori, Teddy or Marla made our limps, muscles, mind, i.e. our whole being feel better.

Everybody can use a good massage, but writers and musicians, people who sit in one position while at work, really need to be kneaded some times, not to get into trouble.

Once in a while I take advantage of a Groupon, Living Social or Amazon deals that involve manual therapy, and each time we've been in for a surprise. Be it the location, the massage itself, or the practitioner. We've found ourselves in an undecorated office complex in the industrial part of town, and in a musty basement. A female former carpenter worked miracles on one shoulder only, making me leave lopsided. On the other hand, a gruff male who called me into his studio, while I had expected a woman, helped me breathe and move easier, and reminded me to do exercises that should help my poor writer's fingers, wrists and shoulders.

No massage in the stars? Exercise is good for anybody, especially bodies that sit behind a computer, typing a lot. 

Mr. Gruff asked if I stretched enough. He told me to stand in a doorway, my hands on the jamb, and to lean in, squeezing my shoulders together, thus widening or opening my chest. Sam below shows exercises writers ought to practice every ten minutes. And if that's too often, because you're going with The Flow, do it at least once every hour.

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Not at Loss for Words

is pink and orange and yellow THIS SADNESS is dressed up with bows and ribbons THIS SADNESS is satiny and smooth skinned and curly haired THIS SADNESS is dancing and jumping rope and being licked in the face by grown-up dogs THIS SADNESS is bare legs and little sneakers THIS SADNESS is knit sweaters and wet sheets and Mickey Mouse comforter covers THIS SADNESS is rosy cheeks and scarves and mittens and learning how to read THIS SADNESS is stringing beads and cutting lampoons out of colored paper and trimming the tree THIS SADNESS is carrots in a clog and sugar candy in return THIS SADNESS is Sinterklaas and awkward poems and surprise packages of gifts hidden in detergent cartons THIS SADNESS is lighting tiny Hanukkah candles in little girl's favorite colors THIS SADNESS is sticky and sweet and dark brown of chocolate covered cheeks and wet smelly kisses that leave their mark THIS SADNESS is warm and snugly with candy cane stockings and leather soled socks THIS SADNESS is high pitched screams and whispered secrets in my ear THIS SADNESS is rubbing noses and telling stories seated on the dining room floor THIS SADNESS is watching the squirrels and being ticklish and loving to sing THIS SADNESS is riding horsy on daddy's shoulders and drumming his hat with both hands THIS SADNESS is talking to strangers and thanking the bus-driver and skipping rope THIS SADNESS is saying no to sprouts and yes to potatoes and possibly olives THIS SADNESS is making no a powerful tool THIS SADNESS is cookie cutters and flour on the floor and spaghetti on the wall THIS SADNESS is too much laundry and sleepless nights THIS SADNESS is blowing out candles THIS SADNESS is one more year added THIS SADNESS is never ending

Judith van Praag
December 1996

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Power of Basketball, Poetry and Preservation of Mohave Language

A few weeks back Elliott Bay Books' chief book buyer Rick Simonson (who was a ball boy for the Sonics at 14) and author Sherman Alexie were shooting hoops with the poet (and former professional basket ball player) Natalie Diaz, authors Shann Ray and Jess Walter. Alexie had chosen this playful setting to present his latest novel "Blasphemy". 

Four on the Floor, a literary sparring game hosted by Seattle University, Elliott Bay Books and the Seattle Public Library called for volunteer runners, and I was game; a rare opportunity to wear basketball shoes or at least sneakers as an SPL volunteer. 

The sound on this unusual stage leaves a lot to be desired, the timbre of Alexie's voice made it hard for me to hear what he said, especially when he sat on a chair in the far corner of the North Court, but once the writers took position behind the microphone center stage, all voices came through loud and clear. 

This was the first time I heard Natalie Diaz read.  A Mohave, she seeks ways to preserve her People's native language and stories. She left the Reservation to attend Old Dominion University in Virginia, where she started to write poetry. With her book "When My Brother was an Aztec", she delivers harsh truth as myth, reinventing images.

Diaz has returned home to help preserve the Mohave language, recording stories and songs, hosting workshops with elders and tribe members of all ages. In a PBS interview On a Mission for Preservation Diaz explains how in Mohave everything comes through to people in dreams. And maybe the dreams are coming to the kids in Mohave, and they don't understand what they should be doing, because they don't understand the language. An important reason to keep the language alive and pass it on. 

This work by Judith van Praag is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License