Saturday, July 26, 2014

Garden Patio Win, Anthology News, and When Fairs Go Wrong

You know how tiny houses have become all the rage? I think I’m going to start a new trend of tiny gardens. Last month, I planted the world’s teensiest vegetable garden on my patio. Figuring simplicity would be the key to this black-thumbed typist’s success, I didn’t get fancy. I stuck with the seed packets my friend gave me and planted two pots of leaf lettuce and three pots of beans. A week ago I added an herb card. What’s an herb card, you ask? Well, it’s literally a card filled with herbs. A departing volunteer at work gave me a card thanking me for my mentorship (which was quite sweet-- I love getting little parting gifts from my volunteers), and at first I thought the card was just made of very bumpy, textured paper, but it turns out it was bumpy because it was filled with herb seeds. You’re supposed to plant the card. So I did! And I’m extra proud of myself because I engineered my own pot for it since I couldn’t find one it would fit in. It even has its own drain tray! Garden Update: Two thriving pots of beans, one and a half relatively successful pots of lettuce, one dud pot, and zero herbs. (I think I covered the herb card with too much soil; I put two inches over the top of it. Maybe they’ll struggle through one day.) I feel all earth-mothery and back-to-the-landish. Win!

In writing news, one of my poems from The Acme Employee Handbook was selected for an anthology by a local publisher, Lost Horse Press. The anthology, “Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace”, should be out in a few months, and there will be lots of local readings and promotional events surrounding its release, so I’ll keep you posted!

Recently I told a friend that I don’t go to outdoor concerts because I don’t like music, people, or the outdoors, which is true enough--but I do make one exception. Every July, Mr. Typist and I sunscreen the hell out of our chalky Irish skin and head out to the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering at the Enumclaw fairgrounds. Our favorite part is watching the massing of the pipes and drums—as many as forty pipe bands from Alaska and the Northwest marching and playing in unison. It’s a spectacle that always makes me tear up, no matter how many times I see it. We usually see the Wicked Tinkers, a punk/tribal Celtic band who put on an awesome show, and on whose portly long-haired drummer I have a giddy crush. Then we just wander around eating bangers and mash, poking around in the booths, and wandering over to check in on the Caber Toss. It’s always been a fun, laid-back affair, and even though I’m deeply crowd-phobic, the number of people at this event has always felt manageable to me.

But Something Has Gone Terribly Wrong. We didn’t go last summer, so we resolved to make it this year, and holy bejesus, it was a mess. I don’t know what happened, but somehow in the last two years, the entire state of Washington must have gotten wind that this is the event of the summer, and now it’s completely ruined. In all the years we’ve attended, we’ve never waited in line more than three or four minutes to get tickets. This time, the line was almost two blocks long. It was so backed up they had to add an extra ticket booth to a back entrance, and even that line was a thirty-minute wait. Almost all of the makeshift parking lots were full. The crowds were so thick, it was impossible to get into to any of the booths. Sadly, I didn’t want to go into them anyway, because everything being sold was utter crap. There were no artists or real crafts people anymore, just vendors selling mass-produced silver jewelry, T-shirts, used books, and shoddy dresses from overseas. The food booths had impossibly long lines, the pipe band ceremony was a little sloppy, and the whole thing felt like just another tacky, bland, summer fair with a perfunctory nod to Celtic culture. I don’t know what happened! Mr. Typist and I both left feeling like our quirky little summer festival had been eaten and regurgitated by Walmart. So, this is probably our last year. Eh, who needs to leave the house anyway? It’s nice and dark in here and we have the internet.

But, it wasn’t a total loss. The Wicked Tinkers played a great set, made all the better by a seven year old girl in a long red velvet dress, who tottered right up to edge of the stage, gazed at the band with frank, aching adoration, and declared, “I love you all so much!” Then she danced like wild woman through every song.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

John Socrates said...

Fabulous post! And congrats on getting another one of your poems published. That's magnificent. Keep up the good work and keep the successes coming in!