Monthly Archives: September 2013

Aside
 Books are Magic Carpets
1. When I was a kid it was my book nook corner that I would pull a book off the shelf, open it, and go to ancient Egypt to the Greek Goddesses to the Arabian Nights to Lancelot
2.  Now that I have written my own books, they are magic carpets, bringing me into communities, to readers around the world, and will transport me through time and place and generations.
Here are questions for writers  and students who conference with me:
What is your main writing goal? What’s the biggest challenge in your writing process? Have you recited your work at open mic’s? On campus? Off campus? Have you sent your writing out to journals? on campus? off? What’s your next most ‘genuine risk’ you need to take in your writing and public readings? To support your personal needs during writing process, have you visited the on-campus counselor? Or another counselor? Who else is your support team, as you write through the muck? Practice visualizing your life five years from now. What do you see? Can your carve out a peaceful time and hours as a gift for yourself to write, daydream, draw? What mantra, phrase, saying, lyric, empowers you right now?
What is your main writing goal?
What’s the biggest challenge in your writing process?
Have you recited your work at open mic’s?
Have you sent your writing out to journals?
What’s your next most ‘genuine risk’ you need to take in your writing and public readings?
To support your personal needs during the writing process, do you see a counselor, support group, etc?
Who else is your support team?  Who can take the 3AM phone call?  As you write the muck…
Practice visualizing your life five years from now.  What do you see?
Can you carve out a peaceful time and hours as a gift for yourself to write, daydream, draw?
What books are your magic carpets.  Tell detail.
What mantra, phrase, lyric, saying, empowers you right now?

Books are Magic Carpets

REMEMBER THE ALAMO

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Date:    Sat, 21 Sep 2013 10:20:09 -0400
From:    annie lanzillotto <lanzillotto@GMAIL.COM>
Subject: coraggio

Hi All,
Just a note of “coraggio” and fortitude.
When I was being discharged from Sloan-Kettering this week after a lung
infection, I said to the young attending, “In order to be discharged here
is my list of demands” and I handed her a beautifully magic markered paper
— including my demand for a one month supply of Xopenex (nebulizer med
that is about $2000/month and only covered if you’re in a nursing home —
it’s considered by ins companies as “life support”)  —  Now, I don’t
understand the economics of pharmaceutical companies and insurance
companies and how this gets communicated down to pharmacists and doctors
and patients —  but nevertheless, I knew I was wheezing bad and green
lung gunk — and that Xopenex keeps me breathing hence alive.
Twenty hours later, I got the medicine bag.  After visits and “no’s” from
everyone.  I called in the Rabbi, the Pharmacist, the Social Worker, The
Patient Advocate, numerous doctors, etc.  I simply refused to leave.  The
language I used was all from my days as an AIDS ACT-UP Activist.  “I will
handcuff myself to the bed until I get my meds.”  “Remember the Alamo.”  I
was calm.  Sitting Bull.  Just kept ordering breakfast lunch and dinner.  I
pulled out my I.V., bandaged my arm, read, wrote poetry, painted, and
continued to get my nebulizer treatment.  The bottom line is this.  In 3
minutes of an acute asthma attack I could be dead.  I refused that.  At all
costs.  The attending was stunned when the pharmacy came through with the
bag of meds.  The attending at one point said to me “As a compromise, maybe
we can get you one box of the meds.”  What compromise?  Is death a
compromise?  Is this a business negotiation?  Have I survived 32 years at
Sloan, to die because the breathing med is expensive?  How does this all
work?  How can I benefit others with this story?  I have always been an
advocate / activist for people to get med care.  I studied Medical
Anthropology at Brown.  I went to Egypt to study how peasants with
Schistosomiasis get treated or not and why.  And how this turns to bladder
cancer.  I was an AIDS activist in the 80’s.  And now it all comes down to
3 minutes and my own irradiated scarred fibrotic reactive lungs and
brochial tubes.  my alveoli
Love and Power
Annie
HD 86
Thy 97
damages galore

Poetic Mead

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Villanella 4:

 

On the moon I bleed.

O! Blue moon soul!

One more swig of Poetic Mead.

 

The creek bends around the cabin where I write and read.

Silver moon reigns tug my blood right out of my hole.

On the moon I bleed.

 

I rest when my heart’s ache says my soul has the need

to stave off death’s ax, but of that swing I know we have zero control.

One more swig of Poetic Mead.

 

In my fever it’s always Lancelot who pounds in on his muscular white steed.

My pen leaves tracks of life on this paper, one magnificent scroll.

On the moon I bleed.

 

Earth spins so fast I can’t feel the speed.

Overhead heavens pass, as onward another generation of lives roll.

One more swig of Poetic Mead.

 

The city stands up to Heaven on the good welder’s bead,

I slow down to pay the toll.

On the moon I bleed.

One more swig of Poetic Mead.

 

copyright 2013 Annie Lanzillotto

 

Above is my first draft of a new villanella.  “Poetic Mead” is the drink of poetic inspiration.  The nectar that we need and then need to give to others.  It’s forged of the suffering of our lives and the moments of spirit ecstacy.  As writers, we sip the poetic mead and keep making songs out of life.

One good thing about being sick is I quiet down, put the brakes on other’s needs of me, and create solitude, necessary for the writing life.  I feel my heart talking to me, saying lay down, pull up the covers, breathe, let go of all worry, listen to the soul talkin’.   

What does your soul say?  

What scroll would you love to leave behind?

If, as my poem above says, your pen is leaving tracks of this life on the paper, if in one life, you get to leave behind one magnificent scroll, 

take the pen to paper

and let the soul speak. 

What does your heart tell you?  

When you take the time to rest and listen to your heart, what is being said?