Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Ever wonder about that gap between my front teeth?

My daughter asked me about the space between my front teeth, and I was at a loss. I didn't know the names and terminology to explain what the procedure was that was done to me as a child. Today I did the research. Here's more than you ever wanted to know:

"The Labial Frenum is a little tag of tissue in the center of the upper and the lower lip that attaches the lip to the gums. It too is not especially useful, and sometimes causes orthodontic or periodontal problems if the attachment on the gums is too close to the teeth. If it becomes a problem, we usually simply cut it. This is most often done on children if the attachment of the frenum is too "high" and causes a diastema (space) between the adult teeth. The procedure is called a "frenectomy". An interesting thing to note is that a glancing blow to the face will generally rip this structure, and a ripped labial frenum, in combination with other "recurrent" bodily injuries is considered to be a legal indication of child abuse."

(Source: http://www.doctorspiller.com/oral%20anatomy.htm)
I had the labial frenum removed as a child at my mother's insistance. While I was recovering from the procedure, another child hit me in the face with a stick and knocked my stitches out. I bled for hours and was finally taken to the hospital. I remember another long wait at the hospital while we waited for a dentist to be called in. To this day I have a gap between my 2 front teeth. A year or two later, I fell on the playground and injured those front teeth. One tooth was chipped, and the other later needed a root canal. So yeah, that small area of my face has taken some damage.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Becky Birtha again

I finished the Becky Birtha book ("Lover's Choice") over the weekend. Short stories are so easy to read when I actually have time. "Baby Town" was kind of creepy to read, but I liked "Ice Castle" and most of the other ones. "Both Ways" and "Past Halfway" were good too. I really liked "In the Deep Heart's Core". That really struck me, or maybe it was just the character's name "Sahara". All of the stories were written from a distinctive feminist viewpoint I guess you could say. Some of the stories were chilly (one was about a mother taking her family on an all-night bus ride just to stay warm). Others were just kind of sad and lonely feeling. "In the Deep Heart's Core" actually had a fairly upbeat ending, and I liked that one maybe the best.

Becky has moved on to write children's books and other things. This book was from 1987 so not exactly current reading, but still worth checking out from the library or used book store. I liked it.

Charles Bernstein "All the Whiskey in Heaven"

I'm going to get back to Becky Birtha in a minute, but before I do, I want to take a moment to mention Charles Bernstein "All the Whiskey in Heaven". The title of this book comes from the first line of the last poem in the book. The book is comprised of previously published poems and prose by the author. If you want a taste of what Mr. Bernstein is all about, then this is a good book to read. You can read it, see what you like, then delve deeper into the full length books that the pieces are excerpted from. I'd never read him before, so it was nice to get a view of his writing over the years all in one convenient place.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Becky Birtha

Next on my list is a book called "Lover's Choice" by Becky Birthda. This is a collection of short stories that I picked up from the library randomly one day when I was up in the stacks.

Last night I read the story "Johnnieruth", a story about a 14 year old girl living in the city who is slowly becoming aware that she is different from the people around her.

Here's what someone else had to say about the story:

"In Becky Birtha's short story of the same title, the character Johnnieruth undergoes a process of self-discovery during adolescence that climaxes in heightened awareness and joy when she views two women stealing a clandestine kiss in the park.

Johnnieruth is narrated by the title character. A skinny as a �knifeblade turned sideways� young black girl, Johnnieruth acts more, feels more like, and fits in better with the boys than the other girls. The other girls in the neighborhood exhibit less adventure and curiosity than Johnnieruth, content to stay in the neighborhood in the evening �watching babies and running they mouth� (Birtha 201).

Johnnieruth is not content to stay in the neighborhood. She does not fit in with this crowd of people. She feels estranged from the other girls, the heavyset ladies who spend hours hiding their real self behind Sunday�s couture and makeup facades, and even her mother � �you just can�t please her� (Birtha 203). Johnnieruth is not quite sure why she is driven to seek out a place where she will be more fulfilled, but she is quite sure there is such a place.

Johnnieruth knows she is different from the other children. She is not interested in babies or husbands, in fact she wonders why any woman would desire a husband only to make sure �she keep[s] on having babies� (Birtha 201). Johnnieruth is also more at home playing with the boys or riding her bike in the evening like the boys do. She does not enjoy the idle and mindless..."

You can buy used copies of the book on Amazon here:

Wendell Barry again

I just want to add that the book I just read was
"Traveling at Home". Press Alley, 1988; North Point 1989.

Here is the Wikipedia link about Wendell Berry for anyone who is interested in learning more about him-


Thursday, April 15, 2010

I wonder what his story is-

Every day I see a man with no legs, in a wheelchair, sitting at one of the computers. He is scanning in pages of a book. I have no idea why, or what book. I have seen him in the elevator too. He seems nice enough, but we haven't really talked.

A lot of work has been done recently on the Adaptive Technologies room, but I don't see him in there, and I'm not sure if he really needs it. He seems fine doing his thing, whatever his thing is.

I wonder what his story is. Who is he? What is he scanning? Is he a student, a writer, or a researcher? I don't even know his name.

Wendell Barry

So I read some stories and poetry by Wendell Barry in one of his books. At first I was looking too closely at the words. "This doesn't rhyme" I said. "How can this be poetry?" I asked. Then I let go, and just read. Pictures formed in my mind. I've never been to Fort Royal, Kentucky but I could see it in my mind. This is poetry, this is good stuff, this is better than the junk I write. This is beautiful. I have more to read I know, but it's a good start.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

trying to find some inspiration

At 4pm I realized I still had some time to kill in the work day, and no one would really notice if I went up to the book floors. So up I went armed with only a call number of a book that was by an author that I thought might be interesting. Seriously! I was ordering books today, saw something that looked vaguely enticing, and then checked to see if we had other books by the same author and off I went.

So if you have a Library of Congress library, then I'll tell you I went up to the PS3552... section, poetry basically I guess. I found a book I was looking for, but not another one that I had on my short list. Then I randomly started picking up books based on their title or author. Wendell Barry was there, someone whose first name was Becky, and others. I skimmed through them a bit, and then brought them down to my desk. They are in a pile now. I probably won't check them out until tomorrow. We'll see. I know I will raise eyebrows from my husband if I go home with a dozen books today. So I'll skim through them some more and narrow down the pile a bit tomorrow.

Anyway, reading inspires me. If these writings are considered "good" and "publishable" then I guess the drivel I write isn't so bad. I just need to get off the pot and start doing it. Or something like that.

I am a writer, I need to write, and stop thinking about how I will write LATER, someday, etc. I need to do it NOW.

So I will read, and I will write... right after the kid has her birthday and the taxes get done. Or maybe I will write tonight.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


It's pathetic how out of date this blog is. I'm really sorry folks. It just hasn't been at the top of the list. With Facebook, the Toddler Mom board, email, etc.. I feel like most people are getting a pretty good dose of me already. I have a Twitter account that I never use, and this... maybe sometime I will figure out what to do with this again. Just haven't had a lot to blog about I guess.