Instant Bluebird! Six Months of Bluebird Blvd. in Six Posts (With Anecdotes! With Love!)

1960s woman stands in front of postal delivery boxes, trying to figure out which one to use.

Where's the mailbox for Bluebird Blvd.?

Today I am celebrating the six month anniversary of Bluebird Blvd.

Thank you so much for being here today!

Would you like a cup of coffee? I just put on a fresh pot.

I thought to celebrate today’s mini-milestone, I’d offer you six quick links to six different touchpoint posts on Bluebird Blvd— with extra special personal anecdotes! Anecdotes that ran much longer than I originally intended! They’re more like megadotes!

Here’s your coffee! Feel free to skim my mega-anecdotes, my friend.

Ready? Steady! Go!
My first writing post was an essay about my early childhood— I was a dreamy child. Since many of my first readers were real life friends and colleagues, it cheered me greatly to have their support and their voice on my blog. Starting a blog was a terrifying prospect. I really had never written in this form before— my background is in print publications. Having so much support so quickly gave me hope that Bluebird Blvd. might be my new home.

Although I started playing around with my regular feature, The Marriage Interpreter, early on here at Bluebird Blvd., it wasn’t until The Marriage Interpreter (No. 3) that I felt as though I had hit my stride. In this dialogue, The Husband speaks to me in his sleep. I was so surprised that night. This never happens. I ran off to my notebook to take notes. He didn’t remember having said any of this at all.

In the first few months of Bluebird Blvd., I published a lot of drawings. I have been studying drawing off and on for most of my life, but studied art somewhat seriously in college. Vic improves his mind is a landmark for me in a number of ways— it’s my first full-scale pastel drawing; one of my first drawings to be shown to the public; and it was a point at which I started to feel really at home with drawing again. (Of course, I haven’t done any drawing in the last two months. You’ll be seeing more quite soon. Instead, I’ve been posting photography— an art form that is my first true love.)

Another regular feature I started quite early is A Bluebird Dictionary. I love to make up words. Coinage is a large part of my writing process. What I had never done, though, is write down these words and create dictionary-like entries for my coined language. Because This Word Should Be In The Dictionary— fooky-mooky was my first Bluebird Dictionary entry. I’ve had great reception on these posts, and I love to write them.

One of my biggest surprises, personally, has been the popularity of Bluebird Blvd.’s 5-Minute Dance Party— I have a dance party every day, and a secret dance party on Friday nights. (Shh! Tell everybody!) My plan this year is to have no single repeats of artists in this feature. I have a large catalogue of music that I listen to at home, and I am constantly seeking out new sounds and thrills. This unusual post is one of my favorites so far— 5-Minute Dance Party | Le Snob.

On January 3rd of this year, two months after starting Bluebird Blvd., my essay The Condiments of My Childhood was “Freshly Pressed” by WordPress. In just four days of “Freshly Pressed,” Bluebird Blvd. hosted over 7,000 visitors. Nearly 10,000 visitors stopped by to read this essay in a two week timeframe. I made a lot of new friends that week— friends that I have to this day. WordPress is wonderful— I am grateful for the friends I’ve made this first six months, and I look forward to making new friends as Bluebird Blvd. spreads her wings.

What I didn’t realize when I started Bluebird Blvd. six months ago was how much I would love doing everything involved in blogging.

Unlike writing for newspapers and magazines (which I adore), writing for Bluebird Blvd. is both immediate and intimate— I’m not merely a freelance writer typing away at home and talking by phone with editors (whom I adore)— I get to talk to you— my lovely friend, my fellow writer, my companion blogger, my stout-hearted reader— every day.

Because of you, I sit down to work in my office every day of the week knowing that I get to interact with some of the best people on the planet— literally and figuratively.

I am one lucky Bluebird. Thank you so much for everything.

Would you like me to refresh your cup of coffee now?

Instant Bluebird! Famous Poetry Out Loud


Jean Weil in ABC studio making international phone call


One gorgeous pleasure of the internet is the amount of art available right beneath your keyboard-tapping fingers.

The problem, of course, is that there’s so much art! Everywhere! And for some special items, you have to dig and dig. (And dig!)

With that issue in mind, let me give you one set of quick links to poets reading their own work as well as other famous folks reading (or singing!) poetry:

Have you ever wondered what Robert Frost sounds like reading his own haunting “The Road Not Taken”?, the main site for The Academy of American poets, has a free reading of this famous poem by Frost himself, and so much more.
One of the poets I adore is Phillip Levine— his work is tactile and unexpected. Levine is a featured poet on The Poetry Foundation’s audio recordings of Essential American Poets, which you can listen to right here.
When I went scrambling around looking for Frank O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died” (one of my favorite poems of all time), I found this fantastic audio recording of O’Hara’s poem read by poet Phillip Levine! (Thanks synchronicity!) Courtesy of the WNYC radio station, you can hear this breathless piece of poetry yourself on the radio station’s website.
Now that I think about it, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of my favorite ’90s recordings of Vanessa Daou reading/singing Erica Jong’s poetry on her full-length recording, Zipless. This poem in song, “Autumn Perspective,” is a delish delight I break out every October:
And! Wow! I have a special treat for you all! This rare recording of Bollywood star Lata Mangeshkar singing a ghazal, which is the most famous (and the most strict) form of poetry in ten languages!
Poetry was first designed for the ear, then for the page. The best poets can straddle the distance between the two. On the page, you’re dazzled by what you “hear” internally. Out loud, you “see” what may appear on the page. It can be magical.
For today, today though, I tried to sift through famous poets and others famous folks reading well-known poems in a way that I hope will grab gently at your imagination. (The Bollywood clip is famous in context of Indian film, not poetry, per se.)
Ah! Yes! Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to go listen to some intoxicating poetry.

Care to join me, my friends?  YAY!  Let’s listen to some POETRY!


HAR-de-HAR-HARRR UPDATE: I was poking around the internet (when I should be writing) and I found that a big famous blogger-type person had posted a link (I really should be writing right now, y’all), and I scurried right over here to share it with you (because after I post this, I need to start doing some heavy-lifting type writing and revising):

McSweeney’s Internet Tendency presents Poetry FAQ.

(Or, as I am going to call it, everything you remember about poetry in college, and oh!, so much more.)


Instant Bluebird! Four Little Things to Improve Your Monday


Hoover's Happy Hustling Helpers--County Agent, A.R. Chase and County Supt. C.T. Bonney with the Wasco County Canning Team, ca. 1917


Laugh loudly on Monday and Friday will be right around the corner laughing with you!

That’s my theory, anyway.
So, quickly, now let me give you a few things to help you up your happiness quotient for the day:
Joyfully, I thought of Lynda Barry first thing this morning. If you still haven’t had a chance to read One! Hundred! Demons!, you can start at’s Lynda Barry page for a taster of a little Lynda Barry magic! (Lynda Barry rocks! I’ve written about her quite a bit!)
Luckily, I saw this amazing collection of circus photographs from the mid-20th Century a few months ago on Retronaut. (A major burst of happiness for everyone!)
Strangely enough, if nothing else is doing the trick, this one page might fix your day. (I promise, it will help!)
Finally, I have been informed by Phillip Lozano that Community is coming back mid-season!

To celebrate the first day of the week, I give you this clip of a parody of an ’80s movie done by one of my favorite shows!

(Bonus— The Husband and I do this bit all the time! Lurves it!)


Instant Bluebird! Five Concepts about Texas on the Day of the Republic’s 175th Anniversary

A woman in 1906 levels her pistol at the camera lens.

1) All native Texans believe the following:

You are Texan first,

American second,

and everything else a distant third.

2) Young residents of Texas must take Texas history three times while attending school—

a semester in fourth grade (equivalent to Year Four in standard UK primary school);

a full year of pre-history-to-1877 in eighth grade (equivalent to Year Eight/UK);

and finally, a full freshman high school year of Texas History post-1877-to-present-day(equivalent to Year Nine/UK).

3) Of course, history can be a slippery, funky slope.  Generally speaking, there are “histories,” plural, not a single history.

With that in mind, consider that the board of education and teachers’ curricula may vary.

If you are interested in studying Texas, may I suggest this jewel of a poetic history of recent vintage: Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation   (John Phillip Santos)

4) Mythic structure is part of the larger schema of Texan lore.

Instead, chew on these facts:

Texas is the second largest-in-size state in the U.S.,  after Alaska.

Texas can now claim to be the second most populated state,  after California.

Three Texas cities fall under the top-ten most populated cities in America,  according to the 2010 U.S. Census.*  The only other state that can claim three in the top ten?   California.

5) Because Texas was a republic before it became a state,  and it was another country before it became a republic,  Texan attitudes will generally reflect a sense of intense selfhood.

The words “native Texan” carry weight here. A great example is this link discussing various Texas presidents. Their native Texan roots are emphasized, where applicable.

To finish out our Instant Bluebird Texas Tour,  let me offer you Girl In A Coma,  all native Texans,  as directed by Robert Rodriguez,  also a native Texan.

Recognize this cover?  (A lovely take on David Bowie, don’t you think?)

*All of these facts either come from, or were verified through, the most recent 2011-12 U.S. Census data.