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Oz: Anywhere Out of this World!

It was Baudelaire, not Baum, who said, "Anywhere out of this world!" He recommended that poets stay drunk, "on wine, on virtue," by any means. Ordinary life for him was torture. Of course, he had syphilis, and the attack on his brain and body probably didn't help him feel more comfortable on earth. But he was a fan of voyages out, altered states of consciousness, achieved in poetry. He created poems that created alternate universes, worlds of music and connectedness.

Ordinarily I like ordinary life. There are some situations, however, that make we want "out." The ruby slippers, or the ruby Bordeaux 2005, please. Mostly these situations involve the politics of the office. In meetings, in petty disagreements with representatives of the patriarchy (the South will rise again!) I want the tornado to come down and lift up certain self-important men. This is bad karma, I know, and I try to visualize waterfalls and crystals instead.

And then, to be more constructive, I plan my writing residencies in Hawai'i, and in SouthWest France--better than Oz! Much less scary, but still far out. Which reminds me--come with me to France this May! I'll show you around, I'll translate for you, I'll buy the first bottle of glistening ruby Bordeaux. Your writing will flourish in the gilded sun of that other world, the not-ordinary, the extraordinary. The world of your next book perhaps?