Seeing Things and then “Seeing Things”


“Fish” by jpbohannon, 2017

One of Seamus Heaney’s later collections of poetry was entitled Seeing Things, and indeed the Irish poet was a master of detailed observation.  His career was built on seeing and noticing things.

Seeing Things

Andrew Barker, in his on-line lecture on Heaney’s early poem “Digging,”  comments on the phrase “seeing things,” saying that we usually mean one of two things when we say it.

The first is what he is emphasizing in Heaney’s poems, the art of closely observing detail: in the case of “Digging,” the sound of a spade sliding through gravel, the squelch of the turf being sliced from the bog, the coolness of potatoes fresh from the ground.

But, Barker points out, there is also another meaning of someone “seeing things”– where it does not refer to someone with keenness of perception, but to someone who sees things that are not there. “He’s seeing things” quite often means that someone is seeing things that are not visible to others, someone who is delusional or fantasizing.

And then Barker names the poet William Butler Yeats as one who sees things that are not there.

I’ve let that percolate in my mind for a while.  And then I thought of Yeats’ poem, “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” perhaps my favorite poem of all and one that I can recite at will.

The poem goes like this:

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread.
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name.
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done,
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Apart from the subtle rhymes (“wand” and “wood” or “moon” and “sun”) or the beautiful images of “moth like stars” and “a glimmering girl/with apple blossom in her hair,” the poem is notable because Yeats is seeing things that are not necessarily visible.

(Do I need to mention that a silver trout transforms into a human female as the speaker turns to “blow the fire a-flame.”)

And yet there is a larger truth sitting on that cottage floor and running out the door. A larger truth that has the speaker spending his lifetime chasing that vision–and believing that he will catch it.

I used the word “vision” purposefully,  for it is in that unseen vision that Yeats reveals a truth, a truth about passion, aspiration, dreams and goals. It is the dream of what one wants and the dedication of following that dream, of chasing that dream “till time and times are done.”  For it is in chasing the dream–not in catching it– that a full life resides.

Yeats saw that truth…and saw it in a way not visible to most. (Never mind, that Yeats actually spent much of his life chasing after his “glimmering girl,” Maude Gonne.  That’s beside the point!)

Certainly, we are all not going to fully realize our dreams; we will not all achieve what we set out to do. And often times not attaining what we thought we wanted may be the best thing to happens to us.  But the chase must continue –and it defines our lives.  If we are not looking forward–through “hollow lands and hilly lands”–if we have given up on that “glimmering girl,” then we are merely alive.

As I have said, this is one of my favorite poems–and it has often been put to music. If you search YouTube for “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” you will find scores of versions done by everyone from Christy Moore or The Waterboys to Dave Van Ronk and Judy Collins. Donovan did a version, as did Don MacLean on banjo.

Anyway, below is my favorite version, by Christy Moore.  Give it a listen…


“I’m Baaaaack”: lists, reading, blogging, and Halloween

I'm Back

Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

It’s been 10 months tomorrow since I last posted on this blog, though it seems much longer than that. These are trying times, indeed.

I came back to this web site partly because of a column I read in the New York Times’ Book Review last Sunday.  In it,  the writer “reviewed” the web pages of the authors whose books currently sit on the fiction best seller list.

The first, Mitch Albom’s, dealt with lists… the 15 best movies, the 10 best songs, etc. This was a bit coincidental as I was to begin teaching Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity the very next day, which is a novel founded on the idea of “best of…” lists.  Hornby’s lists are amusing and fun, from the 5 best Dustin Hoffman movies to the 5 best songs to play on a rainy Monday (depending on whether you want to lift your spirits or wallow in the gloom.)

And speaking of coincidences, one the last pieces I had posted last year was a piece on Jess Kidd’s wonderful novel Himself,  which I have just finished teaching a week earlier. (Perhaps the pile of 60-plus essays that I am carrying around to grade is really what’s driving me back to the blog. Procrastination is a great inspiration for doing things other than the tasks at hand. As one writer once said, “My house is never cleaner than when I am working on a novel.”)

Himself book cover

Himself by Jess Kidd

Anyway, let me reach out to any and all readers to find a copy of Himself. (It came out in paperback this summer.) It is a wonderful, magical, and darkly comic read.

But back to the NYT Book Review, the number two best seller’s blog tracked the number of profanities in his novels (compiled by his son) and number three’s blog focuses on houses–both real and fictional–and their architecture. The deal is that most publishers want their authors to have some on-line presence and this is what is presented.

And so I re-examined my own blog. At one time I was posting four times a week: a post on books, one on movies, one on music and one of commentary. But I can’t promise that anymore. Either, I am too disorganized or there are less hours in a day these days.  But, I am, once again, going to take working on my postings as a serious venture.

And so it is that after 10 months I decide to post again and on Halloween no less which is why I featured the frightening picture of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance in The Shining.

Halloween is undoubtedly the greatest holiday in my neighborhood for both young and old. For example, last year between 5:30 p.m. and 7:15 p.m., we gave out over 800 pieces of candy. Four and five of our neighbors sit together on the sidewalk, sharing wine and


My treat for this night of tricks and treats.

beer and catering to a constant stream of children that parade by. (I have two bottles of Witching Hour red blend and my wife has a six-pack of pumpkin beer for the occasion.)

Some of the costumes are wonderful and clever and imaginative, and some are pretty lame, but everyone is happy.

After we run out of candy—although there are still many people walking by and many people handing out treats—we head up the street to another neighbor’s who is hosting his annual Halloween party. His own costume is often the talk of the neighborhood for the next few days. (i.e. Walter White in his briefs with a pistol in the waist band, Jack Torrance himself with a full door framed around his head, a priest dressed as Elvis.)

The party—and the entire night—is festive, but more importantly it is communal.

And god knows we certainly need that these days.

Book Review: Honeymoon by Patrick Modiano


Book Cover for Honeymoon by Patrick Mondiano

It is perhaps a sad testimony to how parochial my reading has become.  There was once a time where I knew almost every Nobel Prize for Literature winner–would have yearly bets with colleagues and follow the London odds makers’ short lists.  And while my knowledge was primarily eurocentric/american, I was an early reader of the Egyptian Naguib Mahfouz before he won and I understood that his time was eminent and important. (My sister, after a trip to Egypt, had turned me on to him. I don’t know how, but she brought me back two uncorrected proofs of his novels.)

But again, I am increasingly ignorant of the world’s literature.

Which is why discovering Patrick Modiano is such a wonderful treat. The French Modiano is the 2014 Nobel Prize for Literature winner. And until a New Yorker review of his most recent novel, I had not heard of him nor his winning. Lately, I must have my head very deeply buried in the sand.


Patrick Modiano illustration by Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Media

Honeymoon (published in 1990 in France/1995 in the U.S.) is the novel I decided to start out on. The language is direct, bare and sparse–reminding me much of the first half of Camus’ The Stranger. But the story is intricate and convoluted, told in such an honest style that makes the intricacies and coincidences of life seem matter-of-fact.

There are two stories that braid themselves around two middle and connected ones. On the first page the narrator discovers that a woman in the hotel in Milan where he is staying has committed suicide.  He then learns that he had known her once decades when she and her husband had picked him up hitchhiking and had taken him in and cared for him for several days.

This coincidence sets the man on a quest–of sorts. After his wife and his business partner (her lover) drop him off at the airport where he is to fly to Rio de Janeiro for business, he disappears. He takes a plane back to Milan and then returns to Paris, where he goes to ground and hides in the outer arrondissements.

His purpose is to make sense of the woman’s suicide, of her life.

We find that he has been obsessed with this couple for a long time, ever since his youth, long before the knowledge of her death. He has taken numerous notes, cut out clippings, and prepared to write a memoir of the couple, and so he tells us of their hardships and trials during the Nazi occupation of France.

While we at the same time are following his exploits in the Parisian neighborhoods, aware of his wife’s comings and goings, and preparing for a new life in his rougher world.

All the plot threads, in a way, revolve around a single newspaper clipping from the 1940s searching for the woman who suddenly went missing when she was sixteen years old. (From what I have learned, the actual clipping is what sent Modiano himself to fashion his story.) She had simply stepped out of the Metro and  moved from one world–a constricting and dangerous world in Nazi occupied Paris–to another. Her abrupt relocation parallels the narrator’s who moves from his bourgeoise life as a documentary filmmaker married to a high-fashion model to an uncertain world in the boondocks of Paris, seeking for understanding of the couple who once showed him much kindness.

I said that I had started out on Patrick Modiano by selecting Honeymoon It is only a starting point. I look forward to picking up another.


Quote #49: “Be a good steward…” Jane Kenyon

White Daffodils
illustration 2015 by jpbohannon

“Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.”

Jane Kenyon, from A Hundred White Daffodils

words and pictures (part 2) …and the power of MUSIC

Music...Art...Literature Illustration 2014 by jpbohannon

Illustration 2014 by jpbohannon

Yesterday, I wrote a post about the film Words and Music, a sweet romance about a battle between an Art teacher and an English teacher. The film had interesting examples about the power of words and magnificent examples of the power of “pictures.”  But what I forgot about was the part that held it together and in a way redeemed it:

The Power of Music

In the film. after the male protagonist has made a bollocks of things and the female protagonist has had enough of his destructive behavior, it is music that is the most evocative, most informative, most powerful…and most healing.

Scene after scene the male (Jack Marcus) tries to contact the female (Dina Delsanto) to apologize for the drunken mess he made of her art. Scene after scene we see her aggressively stop his attempts or stoically ignore them. Until the moment, when she opens an e-mail and there is an audio attachment.  The piece–written for the film by Paul Grabowsky—is a chamber piece for piano, cello and clarinet entitled “I am a Small Poem.”  (This is also the name of the poem that Markus steals from his son.)  It is rich and resonant and connects with Delsanto more than any words or pictures could.

It is what saves their seemingly destroyed relationship.

I wish I could embed the music that was played when Delsanto opened her e-mail. but I can’t.  It isn’t available yet.  So instead, I will give you this: an extraordiary piece by Fauvre. It is what I often listen to when I am writing:

A while back, a music teacher (Manny DelPizzo), an art teacher (Jackie White) and I got together to make plans for a large project. (The educators call this kind of thing “Project Based Learning.”)  I was going to get my Creative Writing Students to submit their best work and the art teacher and music teacher would each have their students interpret it and we would have a performance.  Our ambitions were high–this seemed like the best outlet for student creativity– but the realities of schedules and time and curricula put many roadblocks in our way and we let it fizzle out.

The “performance” that the fictional students in Words and Pictures was much like what we were hoping for, minus the music. Our music component would have made it better.

A new school term is starting in a couple of weeks. I am newly energized (though not as drunken as Jack Marcus) and am excited about trying this for real. It doesn’t have to be a battle–as it was in the film–but a really cool examination of the power of words, of art, and of music–a real exercise in Creativity

The End of April and National Poetry Month, part 3: To Keep Love Blurry by Craig Morgan Teicher

To-Keep-Love-BlurryI must say that I did not enjoy Craig Morgan Teicher’s third collection of poems.  That is not to say that they are not technically brilliant, that they are not impressively raw and honest, nor that there are not many moments that just knock you open. I admire it greatly; however, I do not like it.  Even Teicher understands the sadness and dysfunction and sourness inherent in his verses.  Here is his dedication:

To Cal and Simone–you should know that it’s a lot more fun than these poems suggest–

for Brenda, who knows…

Brenda is Teicher’s wife, who makes many appearances in the collection (actually throughout his work– his first collection was entitled Brenda is in the Room and other poems.)

To Keep Love Blurry is tied together by two major themes. One his mother and father, particularly after his mother’s death. And two, his marriage to Brenda, their (apparently) special-needs son, and Teicher’s sullen acceptance of love.  Indeed, for Teicher love–both familial and marital– is more of an anchor than a source of flight. Here is he about motherhood:

My wife is not my mom. My mom is not
my mom. My father is not my mom. My boss
is not my mom. She is a tooth with rot,
a flower pressed between the pages of a lost
book. My son is not my mom. She is a mare
crushing my skull beneath her hoof. She is forever
starved. I ride to the edge of the earth clutching her hair.
Get it over with. It’s never OK, not ever.
Fuck it, whatever.  If Robert Frost is my mom,
then so is Robert Lowell. She taught me to talk.
She is where I’m headed, a bomb
crater. She forgives me like a hunting hawk.
Maybe she’s my boss’s boss, my wife’s other other lover,
my son’s midnight cough. She loves me like a brother.

(“My Mom, d. 1994”)

The perfection of form–a modern Shakespearean sonnet with A-B-A-B…rhyme scheme, a regular rhythm, an unusual octet, quatrain, couplet construction–is made inconspicuous by the language, the odd identifications of motherhood, with unusually negative words: “tooth with rot,” “a mare crushing my skull,” ” a bomb crater,” “my wife’s other other lover.”  What exactly are his feelings?  “Loves me like a brother” does not cut it for me.  Perhaps the secret lies in the allusion to Robert Frost and Robert Lowell.  Teicher quotes a Lowell poem as an epigraph to his collection:

“Those blessed structures, plot and rhyme–
why are they no help to me now…”

Perhaps Teicher is saying that the “blessed structures” of poetry–with which he is extraordiaryily adept–are no longer to sufficient to buoy one in the sourness of modern life.  Here he is similarly on friendship, marriage and love:

In just the couple years since two by two
we all began to partner off,
already we’ve practically retired, passing though
apartment doors shut tighter than a cough.
There used to be long, wasted hours of talk,
nothing secret between us, not even skin;
at the conclusion of a wandering walk,
the flirtatious dark would set in.
Is marriage lonely by design,
in hopes that obeying an age-old law

of I am only hers, she is only mine
forms a brittle scab over the always-raw
wound of too much intimacy between friends
in favor of a duller aching that never ends.


Again, the “plot and structure” to which Lowell refers are exquisite: a Shakespearean sonnet, intricately wrought and patterned. But for the speaker, the poetry is subsumed by the “duller aching” and “brittle scab.”

Mixed among the villanelles and sonnets, the rhyming couplets and the longer verse, there is a series of prose ruminations on the death of his mother and the subsequent loneliness of his father. These too are notable for their raw honesty, their unflinching introspection.

Well-wrought and linguistically daring, To Keep Love Blurry is evidence of Teicher’s impressive talent. However, I found it sullen and pouty and self-indulgent. Nevertheless, such is Teicher’s poetic cleverness and adroitness that I will surely keep my eye out for his future work.

Reading, writing, and laughing with Anne Lamott

A woman I work with is teaching a course in Creative Writing that I will be teaching in January. She has assigned a book for her students to read: bird by bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott.

And in a marvelous feat of procrastination, I decided to begin reading it as well–instead of the three other books that I need to be reading right now for the classes I am currently teaching.

And it was a good decision.  I have not yet completed it–but I have laughed through much of it.  Lamott has a voice–a way with words– that seems nurturing, real, wise and funny.

For instance: “We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so very little.”
Where in the world did those “sheep lice” come from? But better yet, look at the next to the last word–“very.”  How perfect is “very” in this instance.

She gives us a bit of her own background, her bookish parents, her father the writer, her feelings of insecurity and isolation–the gist of many a writer’s baggage. And she gives us episodes from the writing courses she teaches.  Many of her students, it seems, don’t want to write, they want to be published. They want the fame, the riches, the sense of satisfaction that they believe they will attain when they are published.  And they are so wrong.  And yet, time and again in her courses questions about agents, editors and publishers  maddeningly outnumber questions about writing.  She tells them to try to get a refund on their tuition!

There are no special formulas, secret tricks, magic keys that will get you published, she tells them. And to illustrate that she tells this story:

My son, Sam, at three and a half, had these keys to a set of plastic handcuffs, and one morning he intentionally locked himself out of the house. I was sitting on the couch reading the newspaper when I heard him stick his plastic keys into the doorknob and try to open the door. Then I heard him say, “Oh, shit.” My whole face widened, like the guy in Edvard Munch’s Scream. After a moment I got up and opened the front door.

“Honey,” I said, “what’d you just say?”

I said, ‘Oh, shit,” he said.

“But, honey, that’s a naughty word. Both of us have absolutely got to stop using it. Okay?”

He hung his head for a moment, nodded, and said, “Okay, Mom.” Then he leaned forward and said confidentially, “But i’ll tell you why I said ‘shit.’ I said Okay, and he said, “Because of the fucking keys!”

There are no “fucking keys” that will get you in, she tells her students–and some get it and some don’t.

The best advice she says she ever received about writing–and which she passes on to her students–came from  the writer Natalie Goldberg.  When asked for the best possible writing advice, Goldberg picked up a pad of paper and mimicked the act of writing, page after page after page. The best advice?  Write and write and write and write.

So I am enjoying this book immensely but not necessarily for its writerly advice. I am enjoying Lamott’s voice, the natural flow of her words, the wise humor of her thought.

In describing, a person she does not like, whom she believes even God dislikes, she repeats this observation that a priest friend of hers passed on: “…you can safely assume you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

How perfect.

Book Review: Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee

A new acquaintance of mine asked if I had ever read the book Disgrace by J. M. Coetzee.  I hadn’t, though I had read several others by the South African writer.  We talked about many things that morning, and, to be truthful, I had forgotten all about the book until about a week later, when a package arrived in the mail with a gift-wrapped book. Inside was a copy of Disgrace with the note: “I hope you enjoy this half as much as I did.”

And so I began.

Disgrace is the story of David Lurie, a 52 year-old, twice-divorced, white South African professor of Communications and Romantic poetry.  Quite early in the novel he is forced to resign from his university under the disgrace of having sex with one of his students.  As Lurie  rationalizes to himself, the sex itself was not rape, but it certainly wasn’t completely consensual.  He admits guilt but not contrition–which infuriates even those trying to help him.

In disgrace, hounded by reporters, and bereft of his job, Lurie leaves town and drives out into the eastern countryside of the Cape. There his daughter has some land where she raises flowers and kennels dogs.  He is there presumably to write an opera on Byron, Byron’s mistress Teresa, and her husband.  But it is not the most conducive area for such refined creation: it is a hard land and an area still simmering in the afterbirth of the post-apartheid era.

As Lurie settles into the rhythms of country-life, of physical labor and simple pleasures, even volunteering in an animal shelter, his life is once again shattered when he and his daughter are attacked by three men.  All the dogs are slaughtered, Lurie is doused in alcohol and set on fire, and his daughter is gang-raped (and impregnated) by the three men.  The very crime for which Lurie was censured has been visited trebly on his daughter.  The very world he has known–the power he has always arrogantly assumed for himself–has been violently wrenched away.

As both father and daughter try to come to terms with the horrors that have visited them, as they learn more and more about the identity of their attackers and their relations to people they know, and as they struggle with the essential character of each other’s personalities, Lurie comes to better realize the nature of the world around him.  His views on racism, on feminism, even on animal rights, must be examined and re-calibrated.  The world he has known is, simply, no longer.

I knew nothing of the book when I opened it. I thought it was contemporary, not published in 1999–a mere five years after the historic elections in which the African National Congress overwhelmingly won and from which apartheid’s demise can best be dated. The difficulties that Lurie has in understanding the new order, the distrust, fear and violence among the various peoples, even the “modernization” of the University all make better sense. (Lurie’s teaching of Communication is in itself ironic–Communication skills are what this country and its people are badly in need of.  An expert in the British romantic poets–those type of courses are considered fluff in the new university structure–Lurie teaches both Communications 101 and Communications 201. The one Romantic Poets course he teaches is a salve that the administration gives its older professors.) In many ways the novel is a reflection of the birth pangs of the new country: it is violent, bloody, and at times deadly.

Does everything get resolved?  Of course, not.  Is Lurie a better person at the end?  I’m not sure.  I think he is. Early in the novel when a tribunal is questioning Lurie on his womanizing, he states that he believes that every woman he has bedded has “enriched” him in some way.  The question at the end of the novel then must be  “has the violence and catastrophe that he has suffered also enriched him?”  Again, I don’t know. But he is a different man than he was at the beginning of the novel.

J.M. Coetzee

And while the summary of the plot seems rather dark, the novel itself is quick moving and understated.  It is a very subtle but easy read, and it sucks you into its disparate worlds–the urbane world of the university and the stark world of the South African countryside–quite easily.

And so much dovetails together within the novel: the womanizing man of letters writing about that grand literary womanizer Byron; the mirrored rapes; his evolving attitudes towards women underpinning his new understanding of animals; his role as both teacher and father. It all comes together seamlessly and wonderfully, not like a patchwork quilt, but a beautifully woven cloth–like the Ashanti patterned bedspread that Lurie’s daughter presents to the woman living on her land.

J.M. Coetzee won the Booker Prize for Disgrace in 1999, four years before winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. His writing is succinct and accessible. In many ways he is a quiet writer, not at all flashy. (Not surprising, considering that his dissertation was on Beckett.)  Intelligent, subtle, and layered, the writing is satisfying and rewarding from the very first, and ages richly with subsequent reading.

Rejection: a writer’s two-way street


Ah rejection! It is the most certain part of the writer’s life. And we all have had our share. Putting something out there, for someone else to judge, to deem suitable for his or her journal/magazine/anthology/contest, is risky. The odds of receiving a “no” are much larger than receiving a “yes.”

At least they are for the less established writers. Which is the majority of us.

Having said that, however, 2012 has been a particularly successful year for me. Even Duotrope–the wonderful submission/market site that I use– congratulated me saying that my “acceptance ratio” is higher than average for users who have submitted to similar markets. And my rate for both fiction and poetry is a measly 21.4%!

But lately, I’ve hit a fallow patch. Stories going out, rejections coming back.  Indeed, one journal (who in fairness won’t be named) e-mailed the same rejection to me three times in one day! Talk about Churchill’s black dog in the afternoon!

So at the moment, I have eleven pieces out there awaiting some editor’s thumbs up or thumbs down. Two have been out there for five months.  If I continue at my current above average pace (hah!) then I can expect two of the eleven pieces to get the okay.

And when that happens all the self-doubt and depression (understandable with a three-pronged rejection) disappears and one once again fantasizes about quitting the day job and really getting it done fill an hour or two of my daydreams.

♦     ♦     ♦

Now, the other side of the coin is that we as writers must do our fair share of rejection, as well, if we are to do the task well.  I believe it was Hemingway who once said that he knew he had had a productive day if in the morning he had three pages of manuscript and by afternoon he had only one. That’s a lot of rejection. That’s a lot of concision. That’s a lot of word choice.

Someone once told me that if I really love a particular phrase or passage, I should probably discard it! Reject it! My love of it is a signal that it is too”special” and doesn’t belong in the work. And he is probably right. Be careful when you are feeling particularly “writerly.”  Not a good portent for good writing.

Another story I heard was that the writer Ray Bradbury would complete a piece, date it, and file it away for a year to the day to begin editing it. He believed that when he first completed a piece, he was too enamored with it to critically re-write, edit, and polish.

But who has that kind of time?

I know one of my many faults is to believe something is finished well before it is. I do not edit well on a computer screen and there is a certain part of me that cringes at printing out drafts.

So my August 1 resolution will be to do better editing, better re-writing. Maybe I’ll even start printing out my work to look over…but certainly on both sides.

♦     ♦     ♦

P.S. Originally I had no  graphics in this post because

I wrote it on my iPad on a cross-country plane with WiFi from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.

How cool is that?

But when I got home my interior clock was a bit askew, so I returned and added some images.

Next Post

I thought this was an interesting post. She seems an intelligent and thoughtful writer, and I am going to try to track down her book.

ph.d. in creative writing

As writers, we live double lives: lived once in the world of others, and again, in the quiet of our own minds. It takes a certain amount of will and courage to leave with regularity the circle of humanity in order to enact a kind of theft, which is one aspect of what the writing life seems to be.

Anne Germanacos is the author of the short story collection In the Time of Girls (BOA Editions). Born in San Francisco, she has lived in Greece for over thirty years. Together with her husband, Nick Germanacos, she ran the Ithaka Cultural Studies Program on the islands of Kalymnos and Crete, and taught writing, literature, and Modern Greek. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her work has appeared in over eighty literary reviews and anthologies, including Dzanc’s Best of the Web 2009. She and her husband have four…

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