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Elmaz Abinader's Blog

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Nothing can console me—no number of petitions, of drawings and quotations, of speeches, or Daily Show sketches. No Black History Month memories, or speeches, or McHistories on the radio. No poems, no tears, no head shaking, no silent president, no chorus in my head that there’s a promise land. I...
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You Make Me Miserable, Thank You   I know the idea of isolation is exciting to writers (many, not all), especially writers who are not endowed by benefactors and  are given lovely garden studios and a stipend, but who, instead, are looking at papers to review, rather than pages to write....
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I bicycle. I am not a racer, recreational biker or sports biker, although I do teach indoor cycling at the Y in Oakland. I bicycle to places. As a matter of fact, I believed for many years that I could bike (or grab a train) to anywhere I needed to go, and given the right panniers, backpacks,...
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November 5, 2013   I am sitting in a hotel on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s where I go to use the Internet, across from my artist-in-residency apartment over Verkamp’s Visitor’s Center. The apartment is spacious and rustic and modern at the same time. The main rooms have a view of...
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  How We Read…Now I have been known to run races, short ones, do bike rides, sometimes centuries and in these efforts, the pace, the rate of accomplishment, the distance covered and the amount remaining loom over me—a perpetual cloud that drives the cadence of my effort, the inner monologue,...
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In the Garden
I. Resident And Tourist   El Bruc in Cataluña is a town that’s easy to miss. You might drive through it on your way to the monastery at Montserrat or touring the north of Spain. The town has 500 people a handful of nice restaurants, a super mercat, a beautiful swimming pool and a view of the...
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News or No News   Traveling Without the International Herald Tribune Elmaz Abinader   The man across the compartment clutched the edges of his tabloid-sized newspaper as he read. His eyes swelled and his nose dripped—he was perfectly still as he wept. My sister and I, on vacation from...
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museum elmaz
      It’s arbitrary and don’t let anyone tell you differently. At least in my subject area it is. Grading. Reading those last brilliant attempts to do what she said: make the character more viable, give us a point of entry, make your reader walk away thinking about your story…any...
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I became a writer in the middle of the night. Waking suddenly at two am, nothing particularly stirring in my brain or mounting on the list of things to do, I found myself in aware of the little bit of light in the darkness. Awake. For no real reason. My brother had bought me a transistor radio...
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The BART train climbed out of the Lake Merritt station toward Fruitvale. Along this route, we see the place where the city stashes its stuff—tires and palates, barrels and construction vehicles. It’s the city’s junk drawer. The clutter of the flatlands rises up to the hills and their golden chain...
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Telling the Story: Invitation   I A dear friend, Tony K,  gave me a Tarot reading on Friday night. He asked me if I wanted the reading to be one of “letting go” or one of “invitation.” In the history of our readings over the last twenty years, we always talked about the question inside of...
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The Return of the Gaze   We witnessed the moment. Big enough to change us, at least make us stop and wonder.  My mother’s strong body had changed, her once tough spine, her powerful arms, had withered, causing a small hunch in her back, crumbling her stature to a snail back. Her open...
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Morning   I see one car, the newspaper delivery. He goes up the hill, makes a U turn, darts down, stopping and throwing the paper out and moving off; the car jets in and out of side streets and seems to be noiseless except for the thunk of the paper. The BART train, which is unheard because of...
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We Are Writers
Why We Must Talk Without You.   BaRbRa’s smile was bright, her voice clear, although it stuttered and came through intermittently, tears streamed down her face but she read on. The poem was called, The First Time In P.I. and what was in her body and what was in the poem were coming from...
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The Color of Camping   The guy two sites over quite couldn’t believe it. He stood, holding his pit bull’s leash tightly, his white belly uncovered, his face pink and wide, a cigarette hanging from his mouth. He commanded Ryder to be still and was rough with him. The dog barked as Anthony, my...
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