Creativity

Colder stars

stars on a cold night

Where do we go from here,

when it is nightfall,

when soon the cold stars will spin,

the moon will die again,

and the marsh peeper

will call out to his coy lover,

who may or may not appear?

Must I beg for that last drink of you,

that spilling grace,

or for the touch of

a cool hand?

Longing can become a dark dog

awakening briefly to an emptied bowl.

If I leave here tonight unwhole,

will a smaller god follow me,

whining,

back home?

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Changes Afoot

a foot

Some of you might have noticed that Ruminationville has a new look. And, so it does. Three years ago I chose a WordPress theme (template) that struck my fancy, but I knew next to nothing about WordPress or about website design. Though I feel great affection for the design I chose, I recently found myself wanting something a little more expansive, unbounded—and au courant, as we French like to say.

I was able to transfer all of the content from my previous site—even the many photos and videos I have posted. A big hurrah for that. You might notice, though, that some of the images—particularly with older posts—seem too small or otherwise wonky for this new design; the same goes for alignment of certain poems with the visuals and the titles. In the coming days I will be addressing these minor snags as best I can.

I’m also hard at work on another website, a writing & an esl tutoring business developed with “the very busy” in mind. Among other writing services, I will be offering “creative consultations” for those who would like to discuss their works of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry as well “academic consultations” for those who are writing masters’ theses and doctoral dissertations. And, some clients might be interested in the blog posts, articles, LinkedIn profiles, website content, newsletters, press releases, resumes (and more!) that I can write for them.

I am also very excited about expanding my existing tutoring services for adult, non-native English speakers. In-person English language sessions will continue to be available for those living in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, but I will soon be able to offer Skype sessions to those living around the globe. My focus will continue to be on helping English language learners develop or improve their speaking, listening, reading, and writing/grammar skills in ways that will be relevant to their own lives and experiences.

I will be launching the site soon and will let you know when you can mosey on over and have a peek.

UPDATE: I have launched leslielass.com. Go and have a look!

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It’s snowing and I’m thinking.

Noreaster-snow-storm-

Last night I received an email from a friend who told me she had just finished reading Jenny Offill’s 2014 novel Dept. of Speculation. “Somehow, it reminds me of you,” she wrote. There is such mystery embedded in these six words that I searched for it at once on Amazon.

Happily, I was able to “Look Inside!↓” and read a few selected pages of the book. Though I couldn’t determine from these pages what in them might have reminded her of me, I did come upon a passage that made me think of something I wrote in 2012 on painter Lucian Freud. More a piece about what one needs innerly to live an artist’s life than it is about Freud himself, though, “An Ode to Selfishness” gave me an opportunity to reflect briefly on qualities that seem to make the difference between those who sustain the life of an artist — in the very broadest sense of the word — and those who do not.

Freud was a prodigious talent; he was also a prodigious philanderer who was rumored to have fathered as many as 40 children. A man who has a predilection for spilling his seed across continents is of interest anthropologically, yes, but what was most fascinating to me about him was, as I wrote, “his single-minded devotion to his art and…his devil-may-care attitude over what others thought of him….”

As I have gotten older, I have become much less preoccupied with what others might think about me, but I don’t imagine I will ever fully abandon my need for another’s good opinion. This craving, I have come to think, stands in the way of what it takes, in my case, to be a writer worth her salt.

In her novel, Offill has her narrator reflect more deeply on this idea and on how it is related to gender. “My plan was to never get married,” she says. “I was going to be an art monster instead. Women almost never become art monsters because art monsters only concern themselves with art, never mundane things. Nabokov didn’t even fold his own umbrella. Vera licked his stamps for him.”

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