“In My Neighborhood” Review“In My Neighborhood” Review

I’ve updated this review a bit.

Giovanna and I grew up together, so I’d been looking forward to this book. I’m very happy to share some thoughts.

“In My Neighborhood” is divided into three sections. In the first, Giovanna tells stories of growing up in an Italian neighborhood. The reader is steeped in the sights, sounds, and smells of these experiences and I found myself getting hungry for some good Italian food. Here is an excerpt from “Angela Maria, My Grandmother.”

There were countless garments you sewed
with your 5 daughters, including my mother
everyone sitting at the kitchen table
hand stitching collars and sleeves onto sweaters.

You picked bushels full of red tomatoes
grown in a backyard garden
You’d chop an simmer them fresh in a pan
with basil, garlic, and onions
always making your Sunday sauce from scratch.

At the butcher shop
you hand selected live chickens
feeling their necks till you found a fat one.

In the second section, our narrator leaves home, begins to explore her sexuality, and what it means to take your family and culture with you out into the world and how that changes over time.

The third section tells of leaving home and how, sometimes, our families love us even when they don’t understand us.

The tales told in these poems and stories are strong, identifiable, and honest. I highly recommend Giovanna Capone’s work.

The first rule of Poetry Club…is that you talk about itThe first rule of Poetry Club…is that you talk about it

I’ve been running a Meetup called The Great Yellow Rose in Your Brain for about two years. I inherited the group from someone who got us off to a great start but then had her life explode. The group attendance eventually slowed to a crawl, despite attempts at various ways to get folks involved, and I was all set to shut it down when marvelous happenstance inspired me.

I was looking for information on another writer’s group that I’d heard met at the Marilyn J. Praisner Library in Burtonsville, MD, not far from me. Upon investigation, I found out that the woman running that group had retired and they didn’t meet anymore. I also learned that their small meeting room, which usually had a rental fee, would be free if the library was sponsoring the event. Aha! So the Great Yellow Rose is morphing and melding into the Poetry Club, which begins meeting this Wednesday, May 27, 2015, and will meet the fourth Wednesday of the month. We’re meeting at 7:00 pm, which hopefully gives folks a chance to get there after work. Since the Poetry Club is listed on the library’s website and the GYRIYB Meetup page points to it, I hope to have a lot of folks show up to share the fun.

Great Yellow Rose in Your Brain

Marilyn J. Praisner Library Poetry Club

Aberration LabyrinthAberration Labyrinth

I’ve just had one of my poems, “Shopping for Souls,” published in issue 7 of the online journal Aberration Labyrinth. There was a hiccup on my end and the last verse of the poem is missing from the journal, but has been added in the comments. In reality, I’m pleased that they liked both versions of the poem. Check out the journal. There’s some good stuff there. Aside from my own, I recommend “Ragnarok” by Robert F. Gross.

Visit Aberration Labyrinth

Tea Bottle ShakersTea Bottle Shakers

I was looking for an inexpensive way to add to my percussion instruments, in anticipation of leading some drum circles. I discovered that Lipton Pure Leaf tea bottles (the 18.5 oz. ones) fit really nicely in my hand as a shaker. I realized this while I was at work and threw a few paper clips in as a test. I liked the sound, so I decided to make up several shakers using paper clips and other items for the noise part and using some fun duct tape to cover the outside. Some possible items for the noise maker part are:

  • paper clips
  • rice
  • beans
  • plastic beads
  • jingle bells

I suggest you play around with some different items to put in the bottle and the amount, as that will also affect the sound. Once you are satisfied with that, have fun with some duct tape. It comes in some fun colors and patterns now. Here is a picture of two shakers I made.

Tea Bottle Shakers


I have recently come to appreciate limits. Not limits imposed by outside, but limits we find in ourselves. It is the process of recognizing our limits, accepting our limits (that is, accepting them as OUR limits, not belonging to anyone else or because of anyone else), and then finding out how to surpass those limits, that makes us grow. Odds are, it may hurt a bit, but that goes with the territory. It is stretching and pushing against our own personal envelopes that gets us to be able to fly.

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World Book NightWorld Book Night

World Book Night is April 23, 2012. The WBN folks make available free books to be distributed by volunteers, with the purpose being to get books, and maybe some inspiration, into the hands of folks that don’t read, or at least not frequently. There’s a list of the books that are available, and a form to submit to offer to be a volunteer. I think this is a really cool idea. You can find them at World Book Night.