Friday, February 1, 2013
In long: Karen Rile is a creative force, a tireless teacher, a super-human funny one, a jaw-dropping mom, a friend. She paved the way for me as an adjunct at the University of Pennsylvania (Beth: Karen, where do you file the grades? Karen: I will call you and explain. Beth: What do you do with jubilant procrastinators? Karen: I will call you and explain. Beth: What do you do if your students don't all fit in your room? Karen: I will call you and explain.) She joins me in writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer (Karen's stuff goes viral while my stuff remains rooted in a petri dish). She had four children to my one and every single one of them is a star. She sends hysterical, private riffs regarding various Facebook commentaries that upend my dark moods of injustice. For that alone, she's priceless.
Karen Rile and me: we're friends.
When she told me that she and two of her daughters (Lauren and Pascale) were launching a new literary magazine (Cleaver: cutting-edge words), I had two thoughts:
* now Karen will never sleep, and
* this will be outstanding.
Friends, I was right. This inventive, thrilling, wow-whooping magazine has just been released in its .5 preview version and it crosses many spectra—art, poetry, fiction, essays, and the chop-chop stuff in between—while featuring my own other personal friends like Elizabeth Mosier, Lynn Levin, and Rachel Pastin. It's also beautifully designed. It's also technologically advanced. Choose your channel (HTML, Text, Mobile), sit back, and receive.
Also, judging from the fact that Karen is sending me emails at 3 AM and I am answering shortly thereafter, I was not exaggerating the no-sleep stuff.
I was lucky enough to be included in this first issue (click click). I like this, Karen wrote to me, when she received my piece. But, um, what is it, exactly?
I don't actually know. You'll have to judge for yourself. It starts like this, below, and it ends here.
I said it would be nice (look how simple I made it: nice) not to be marooned in the blue-black of night with my thoughts, I said the corrugated squares of the downstairs quilt accuse me, I said the sofa pillows are gape-jawed, I said there are fine red hairs in the Pier 1 rug that will dislodge and drown in my lungs, I said I can’t breathe, I said, Please.
Go chill with Cleaver.