Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Bathtub is Falling

The bathtub is falling, the bathtub is falling!

We live in an old house, the cracks around the tub and wall have noticeably widened since the last two earthquakes. There's been a permeable odor of mold that I can't seem to locate or eradicate. I scrub the tub and shower curtain, spray the cracked grouting with a bleach solution and think perhaps it's the walls or the sub-flooring that is rotting.

I had an odd thought while showering. Perhaps it was a dream fragment. What if the heavy enamel iron tub just fell through the floor to the basement below while I was bathing? I couldn't walk out the basement as the crawlspace is too low, and the little trap door below the front porch is locked from the outside.

I'd be barefoot, naked and wet in a crawlspace where I normally wouldn't want to be fully clothed. Spiders, cobwebs, small rodent carcasses. Maybe even a cat or an under Brooke's house...

Even if I could get to the outside of the house, then what? I'd be wet, buckass-naked (not a pretty sight at my age) nearly 55, gimpy-kneed and dirty, standing outside on my front porch, locked out of my house. Then what? Wait for the mailman to come? And run away screaming? Though my hair falls iin a thick mane to below my waist, I was never exactly Bottacelli's Venus on the half shell. And at the rate my hair grows, it'll be another half-century before it falls to my knees.

Or I could just stand in the fallen subterranean tub and scream or wait. But then who would hear me or who would hoist me up? I couldn't crawl out. I'd have to wait until this evening when Neil gets home. Throw me a rope. Naked, vulnerable, unkempt—sort of like the process of writing. And why was I thinking of all this with myself in the third person? She. Sidhe, as in otherworld barrow—what is beneath the surface.

Back to an audience of one hand clapping, from what I can tell, not even the mice are reading my blogs. So who is my audience? From what I can tell, according to the Technorati and Google spiders and webcrawlers, I'm the only one reading my own work. I got irritated when Technorati kept listing my blogs as unclaimed. Hey, it's mine—even if no one but the spiders are reading it.

Doesn't that defeat the purpose? Do I invite people to read my blogs? Or do I remain hidden in the crowd behind the hordes of some 3 million bloggers out there? No, make that nearly 4 million. The Technorati count was 3 million mid- August. Who is reading all this stuff anyway? Technorati spiders seem to only pick up the pages with typos and even after I revise and correct them, the offending pages stay up for all the world to see my imperfect art.

No one leaves any comments on my pages. I actually put a site visitor counter on my blog, but, as I suspected, I was the only one who was triggering the counter with all that obsessive editing. I took the counter off, disenheartened. After all, it's better not to know who isn't reading this. And so I end this one on a double negative. But at least it's progress.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

LITERRATA or Veritas and the art of Memoir

As I explore the region of bloggerdom I am confronted by a few truths. A few questions: Namely, who is my audience? Who am I writing for, and why? After numerous revisions and trying to make sure I've taken care of my audience (such as it is—an audience of one?) in my first real blog, my Sausalito memoir piece (not yet posted at Blogger as I'm jumping ship from the cyber chaos of Myspace, blog by blog), I found that my first blog had swelled to a whopping 2500 words, even after vicious pruning and revision.

I also realized that an essay of 2500 words was far too long for the art of blogging. A blog needs to be of necessary length, but what is it? Most blogs seem to be 500 words or less. A good art form.

The challenge: Can you tell a story in 500 words or less? Probably not—as I like to gab on, and I love specific, concrete details in writing—that's what sustains and slays me. Maybe 750 to 100 words is of necessary length. But does it have a beginning, middle and end or does it begin in medias res?

Blogging is a continuous, serial medium, that builds upon its own momentum, but like TV reruns, each piece should also stand on its own. Blogging also offers freedom in that it doesn't have to be a finished piece, a poem, polished to death. It can be process as well as product.

I began to see that as I wrote and revised my blog. that discrete stories buried within stories emerged. But when I lifted them out of context and created separate little blogeens—Juanita, Lloyd Bridges, Sinatra/Darrin— that they too needed revision....explanation, etc., in order to stand alone.

Then the journalist within took over. Research the facts, bring in background information to anchor the piece in time and place as well as to sustain its platform/stance. Does the timeline hold? Phew! I existed, therefore I am. Then I began to fear that with all this attempt at truth or veritas, that I was killing off the lively integrity of the original pieces. Authenticity of voice is important to me.

Why blog? Blogging offers a social distance so that I may view my writing objectively. It's bad enough that I'm dyslexic and think circuitiously, my narrative, a Celtic knot, so writing is a constant unwrapping of layers and tangents, like peeling an onion. Revision is hell. Seeing a blog published offers objectivity. How is it different than seeing your work privately published on your own desktop? Imagined audience. The pressure is on.

And then there's Authenticity: I nearly went crazy trying to authenticate my story within a story that I've since extracted from my first blog, about Lloyd Bridges because the actual events I cannot corroborate on the internet. But I do have my memories. But does it serve me or do I serve it in order to tell the story?

Which led me to ponder the concept of the art of memoir. In my modern Celtic Studies class at UC Berkekey (2002), Professor Melia had us read Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes." I hated it. I felt I was being manipulated but I couldn't quite put my finger on what was bothering me wasn't the specific stories that disturbed me so much as the meta-language behind the stories.

He made us read every word on the was quite some time before we were able to pinpoint it. The significance of the word "Memoir." How we view ourselves within a given specific culture (Irish), against a larger culture ( Irish American), and finally, against pop culture (American). That's three mistresses to appease who are at odds with each other.

When was it written? Who is the audience? What is the slant? Point of view? What is truth?

Memoir: An account of the personal experiences of an author.

Is memoir based on fact or is it by very definition fiction posing as truth? Or is it a bit of both? As a poet and writer, I strive for truth. This is why the concept of writing novels is so alien to me, though I've certainly been encouraged to try my hand at stories. I seem to be stuck on telling the truth, no matter how imperfectly I might remember it, I continues to obsessively excavate, revise and rewrite until my head fairly hurts.

In some languages, the word poet either means liar or teller of absolute truth, In Irish and other Celtic languages, a filidhe (file), or poet, was considered to be a truth-sayer, if not a soothsayer, or seer. In the Germanic languages, especially the Scandinavian branches (and ultimately English), Poet or scop, means teller of tales (as in tall tales), or more specifically—liar, or truth-slayer. So if I write in English words with an Irish sensibility towards my art form, is it truth or lies? Yes to both. As in Memoir.

Ironic too, is the urge to write the memoir after age 50, when memory serves one less well than it once did. At 70, my aunt collapses the past into the nearest equivalent storyline. It is hard to separate her truncated timeline into sequential uniits. I am lucky in that I've been writing a daily journal since I was 30) with the exception of the past ten years—Death took a holiday) so I can go back and verify many older events. When I do, I am astounded to find my memory serves me quite well. My memory is like an elephant's. Scary.

Let's get back to point of view. It reminds me of the story of the three blind men feeling different parts of the elephant variously describing it as a rope, a tree, a wall, etc.

So much depends upon our perspective and life experience. I write the truth as I see it. I try to encompass the larger picture while remaining true to my vision. When it is at odds with others' view of truth, do I revise it or let it stand? Stet?

What if my truth is the truth? And if others' memory is flawed, then what? Or if they don't remember, does that negate my truth as if it never happened? Do I ameliorate it? Change the storyline to make it cohesive? Interesting dilemma. Luckily, I'm stubborn enough to believe in my truth and to tell it as it is, but ultimately it is still all memoir. I'll probably be constantly revising and editing these pieces until I weary of them—or until they abandon me.

Hopefully, in the process, I will learn something new, uncover a gem—the constantly evolving Lloyd Bridges piece is a case in point. When I began writing down the memoy, I had little to go on, an image or two. I wrote what I remembered and the more I wrote the more I remembeered. Fragments began to emerge and form a quilt. I discovered that I saw Lloyd Bridges in "Guys and Dolls" in Sacramento. Wow!

In my attempt to post a blog a day, I will be posting some old prose (mea culpea) as well as generating new prose to see how the old work stands up to time. To see it with a new eye, as in re: vision. The ultimate goal of this exercise it to create a body of work for my MFA thesis which is due sometime next year.

© 2007 Maureen Hurley
On Blogger since January 2007
However, I didn't begin actually blogging until August 20, 2007. My grandmother's birthday—because I had stories to tell.

FYI In case you haven't started blogging yourself yet, read Guy Kawasaki's The Art of Blogging. I wish I'd known about it when I started this mess. It was ultimately Guy's evangelism that got me to create this blog in 2007. Then I let it sit fallow (the proverbial blank page—I couldn't bring myself to sully the perfection of the cyberpage—until August 20, 2008. Talk about a dry period.)

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Varied Bios of Character

Some bios for anthologies....

Maureen Hurley who lives near Fort Ross on the Russian River in Northern California, never dreamed she'd travel to Russia. “After the Coup” was written in California (after a 3-day/nite marathon with CNN ), and polished in Russia during October. She returned from her third trip in December just as the USSR ceased to exist. And yes, the legendary Russian empty shelves and lines are a long-standing clichés. She has work forthcoming in both countries including Chaminade Literary Review, First Leaves, Tin Ear, and Maverick. Having been called a ho-bag, she's learning to speak self-defensive Kentuckyin’ from her friend, poet Celia Woloch, who knows the streets of Louisville like the lines on her own palm.

After the Coup was written during the fall of the USSR. A child of the Cold War, Maureen Hurley has spent considerable time in the former USSR as a cultural worker—before, during, and after the climatic events which unfolded Aug. 21, 1991—coming to terms with, and sleeping with “the ememy”, she discovered the stories were the same on both sides.

Maureen Hurley lives in Forestville, near the redwoods along the Russian River, less than 50 miles as a crow flies from her native village, Forest Knolls, Marin County, where her family settled in 1909. She still painfully recalls the ex-moviestar-governor-cum-president claiming, “When you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all.” About the only thing she has in common with said ex-politician is a love of quarter horses; but prefers her ex-presidents drawn and quartered.

"Tocaloma Road," & "Sixth of August" came out of early memories—California poet Maureen Hurley remembers how the words Korean War reverbrated when her uncle said he was going away. She learned other names: a second cousin had worked on the Manhattan Project; her neighbor's ship was bombed on the Meikong Delta. When choosing poems for this anthology, she discovered it wasn't clear where WWII ended and Korea began—let alone Vietnam.

A child of the Cold War, N. California poet Maureen Hurley has lived in the former USSR—as a cultural worker—before, during, and after the 1991 coup. Coming to terms with, and sleeping with “the ememy”, she discovered the Cold War stories were the same on both sides. A relative of hers worked on a secret Cold War project, code name, Manhattan Project, and subsequently died of cancer.

The poem Horseflesh came intact from a dream Maureen Hurley had one full moonlit night while traveling with former partner John Oliver Simon in Baja, California Sur, Mexico. The ancestors referred to in the poem are his.

Maureen Hurley lives in Forestville, near the redwoods along the Russian River, in northern California. Her poems have appeared in Maverick Press’s Paisano, Culebra! and numerous journals and anthologies including Atomic Ghost, & Hermit Kingdom. Poetry awards include Negative Capability, Chester H. Jones, Kalliopea, National Writers’ Union, National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and two regional NEA fellowships. “Feeding the Minotaur” grapples with the unconscious dendritic history buried within her personal mythopoetics.

Widely published poet & artist, Maureen Hurley has won many grants, awards and fellowships; she is finishing up her MA in Creative Writing, and plans to upgrade to the MFA program at SFSU this fall. "Entprophy" was a visual found poem of longing for a relative stranger's past, came from an empty house she & a Dutch photographer stayed in while documenting AIDS stories one bleak winter. An artist in residence, she teaches kids poetry & art, and and caters on the weekends.


My plan to write a blog a day has long since run afoul of my blond ambition when I discovered that the act of prose writing is much more time consuming than I expected.

On average, each blog is taking me several hours to write a first draft. It's so labor-intensive that my head hurts and I'm becoming an Advil junkie. Plus, I'm so far behind on my quota, that one of these days, I'm liable to meet myself both coming and going.

On top of that, I'm an endless (if dyslexic) revisionist, so each story is edited several times over. I can't see what needs to be revised, or where the spelling/punctuation errors are during the draft process. I have to publish it, then reread it several times over.

But by then I'm so sick of the piece, that I can't read it. Skimming it is pointless. The only thing to do is to leave it be. Stet. Back off. Read it again in a few days.

I repeat this process at least ten times before I'm satisfied, and even then, it's only a first final draft once removed. Well, maybe a second draft. But now I'm so tired of writing that I'm reduced to writing about writing. Or I've run out of time and steam.

Meanwhile, does it have a beginning, middle and end? Then there's the Ur, the root-reason why I'm writing this particular story in that particular style or manner. Most are arrived at by the haaphazard approach. Just begin writing anywhere, hope a storyline emerges.

What new connections arise out of the intense labor of writing? If it's already written in my head, what's the point of writing it? In the act of writing, I have to discover sometrhing new, or make new connections between a series of unrelated memories and events (Mouse Wars). Otherwise it's merely self-indulgent. Are writers as self-absorbed with their own words as actors are with themselves?

And the larger question begs, why am I writing it anyway? Who is reading it? More on that later.

Meanwhile, I've fallen even farther behind on my blog a day promise because I'm endlessly editing my old blogs. I envy those who can write effortlessly. I can write copiously but everything has to be unwrapped and repackaged. At least with poetry the unwrapping and reordering process is easy, or, easier than with prose. I'm like a driver trying to pick up the right reins on a Wells Fargo stagecoach with a runaway team.

FYI In case you haven't actually (gawdess forbid!) started blogging yourself yet, read Guy Kawasaki's very informative blog, How to Change the World in 120 Days on the Art of Blogging. I wish I'd known about it when I first started. It might have saved some hassle.


 (It looks like this was last updated in 2010. The odd placement in 2007, was once at the beginning of my blog, before I discovered I could backdate it.)

MFA, English, Playwriting San Francisco State University (thesis due)
MA, English, Creative Writing, Plays, San Francisco State University, 2003
Attended U.C. Berkeley Celtic Studies, and Folklore 1999-2003
BA, Art Studio, Expressive Arts minor, Sonoma State University, 1977
AA, Art Studio, Painting & Ceramics, theater minor, College of Marin, 1975 (Continuing education: Adult Ed. certification classes at SFSU 2009—2010)
TEACHING EXPERIENCE: Artist in Residence (AIR—poetry, art, performance) at Bay Area schools including: Monte Vista HS, Mt. Diablo HS, Dougherty HS, Amador Valley HS, Oakland School for the Arts, Oakland Military Institute, Deer Valley HS (Poetry Out Loud); Archway ES, Lakeview ES, Buri-Buri ES, Alexander Valley ES, Willard MS, Montera MS, Wornick Jewish Day School, Beach ES, ER Taylor 2009-10; Longfellow ES, El Dorado ES, Olinda ES Cleveland ES 2006-09; Complete list available on request. AIR (silk painter & storyteller—adults & kids) The Queen Mary Scottish Festival, Long Beach 2010, 2011; Ardenwood Tartan Day 2010, 2011, Ardenwood Celtic Festival, Fremont, CA 2006; SF Caledonian Club Highland Games  2004—present; awarded an Oakland Cultural Arts grant in 2009, and two (PBS) KQED/SPARK AIR grants (visual arts and silk [painting) at Cleveland Elementary School, Oakland (2006 and 2007); Teacher training facilitator, Sonoma County Arts Council, 2006; teacher training, KQED SPARK/ SF Arts Educators; and KQED/SPARK & Young Audiences. Mentor Artist, ArtStart, Santa Rosa, CA 2005. Memoirs group/oral history with senior citizens, Merrill Gardens/Westlake Country Inn, Fremont, CA: 2004—present Poetry, Unconservatory School of Music, readings in Cape Cod, MA, 2008; Sebastopol & Santa Rosa, CA, 2006, and Miami-Dade schools, FL, 2004, 2005; Storyteller &  AIR (silk painting) at the SF Caledonian Club Scottish Highland Games, 2004—present; AIR: Young Audiences of Northern CA 1998—present; Storyteller, Oakland  Public Library; 2004; Storyteller, Oakland Unified School District’s Family Reading Night, 2002—2005. California Museum of Art, Santa Rosa, 1992. Area Coordinator, California Poets in the Schools (CPITS), 1984—1997. Poet-teacher 1979—present. California  Museum of Art, Santa Rosa, 1992. (See attached schools list). Guest Artist in Residence: Hancock Park School, Los Angeles, 1992. Six California Arts Council (CAC) Artist in Residency grants, Mark West School, Santa Rosa, CA, 1983 - 86, 88 - 91. Also taught workshops at the Los Angeles County Museum, CA, School Number One, Cherkassy, Ukraine, USSR 1990. CAC Artist in Libraries grant, Napa State Hospital, Napa, CA, 1987. Taught institutionalized patients. Director, "Poetry Across Frontiers" heritage project, Rincon Valley School District, Santa Rosa, CA 1987 - 88. 1980 - 1997; Montana Arts Council grants, 1991—1995. Residencies & teacher in services in 50+ schools (pre-school to university level) in N. California and abroad, with a variety of populations including Bilingual, Learning Disabled, Gifted & Talented, incarcerated students; teachers; Adult Ed; Elderhostel. Classes and seminars taught include journalism, creative writing and visual arts workshops, California history, natural history, science and art, ancient civilizations, folklore, storytelling, etc.).

PRESENTER/LITERARY & VISUAL ARTS CONSULTANT: 1980—present: Clients include Poetry Out Loud coordinator, Alameda County; poet-coach: Alameda County, Contra Costa Co. (student placed 3rd in state finals) 2010-present, ArtStart (Santa Rosa), KQED’s SPARK inservices SF Arts Education Commission; SF Art Educators Alliance, Cultural Arts Council of Sonoma County, Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, The Unconservatory School of Music, FL; Ardenwood 2006, 2010, 2011, Caledonian Club Scottish Highland Games 2004—present, Westlake/ Merrill Gardens Retirement Center, 2004-2006; U C Berkeley Celtic Colloquium Conferences, CA, 2001, 2003: Young Audiences of the Bay Area Talent Showcase, 2000—present; National Poetry Association; California  Confederation  of the Arts, CPITS; California Literature Project; California Arts Project; California Media Librarian's Association; California Association for the Gifted; California Art Educators Association; Rural Arts Services; Northern California County Offices of Education & many regional Arts Councils; Sonoma Gateways & Santa Clara Reading Councils; Pi Beta Lambda Society; Bahamas, & Napa College Poetry Conferences; Sonoma State University English, Art, & Education Depts., & Soviet schools.

JOURNALISM/PHOTOGRAPHY: Photographs: California Revels website; Medusa's Kitchen 2011-2010;  Life of Crime, Poltroon Press 2010; What the World Hears; Full Circle 2009; Caledonian Club Highland Games program, 2007-2010; Livermore Highland Games program, 2006; CD cover, “The Scotch Melody Maker,” 2005; Arts feature writer, photographer for The Western Sonoma County PAPER, Jim Carroll, editor, Freestone, CA 1982—1997. Duties included darkroom lab work, PMT copy camera work. Freelance writer—features, stories, reviews, essays, photo-journalism for newspapers & periodicals including Poets&Writers; ROTOR (USSR), Poetry Flash; San Francisco Chronicle Book Review; Ridge Review; Creative Discourse; American Poetry Review; Poet News/Sacramento Literary Journal; Poetry SF/National Poetry Association, National Poetry Week; Folio; Mexico City News; Senior Spectrum; Oakland Museum Magazine; ARC, Radius: Rural Arts Services; California Arts Advocate; Napa Register; Nassau Tribune; City Arts Magazine; Russian River News; Sebastopol Times; Sonoma Index Tribune; Press Democrat; & Sonoma County Stump. Television writer—PBS/KRCB Cotati, Artscan, "Mary Silverwood" 1989.

EDITOR/PUBLISHER: Editor: WESTWARD EDEN, (novel) Joaquin Batista (Armando Gomez) 2001; Poem for a Russian Child 1991; The Gift of Dreams 1990; A Night Full of Doves 1989; Still Writing on Rocks 1988; The Power of the Reckless Sleeper 1987; Someone Inside Me 1986; The Poem is the Person's Life 1985 (student poetry/art anthologies). Co-editor/ Translator—Uniting the World Through Poetry, National Poetry Association, with Herman Berlandt 1990—1998; vol. 1, Soviet Poetry Since Glasnost, with Oleg Atbashian 1990. Co-editorThis Poem Knows You; Tracks in the Widest Orbit: Collected Poems by J. H. Montrose 1985; Obligatory Hug, poetry newsletter 1983 - 85; Seeds Deep in the Earth, 1982; Sonoma Mandala, 1979 - 81; & numerous chapbooks. Sonoma County Stump Newspaper, Entertainment/Poetry editor, 1980 - 82. Judge: Poetry Out Loud Competition, Alameda County 2010. San Francisco Bay Guardian poetry contest 1988; Chaminade Literary Review Unterecker Prize 1992, Jive 3 Contest, The Sonoma Co. Independent, 1993.

PRIZES, GRANTS AND AWARDS:  Teaching—Individual: Oakland Cultural Arts Council grant 2008 - 09; (PBS) KQED/SPARK artist in residency award 2006; Six CAC/Artist in Residency awards 1983 - 86, 1988 - 91; CAC Artists in Libraries, 1987; California Educational Initiatives Fund 1987- 88. Group: project member—National Endowment for the Arts(NEA) preschool programs, Santa Rosa 1985 - 86; CAC/Arts & Education project, & Multi-Artists in Residency awards, Healdsburg & Windsor School Districts 1980 - 84. Poems—San Francisco Bay Guardian awards (3) 1987, 1990. San Francisco Arts Commission Bay Area Artist Achievement Poetry Award 1986. Poetry:SF/ National Poetry Association awards 1988 - 90. Honorable Mention, Richard Eberhardt Poetry Prize, Florida State University; and the Chester H. Jones National Poetry Competition 1992. Three Honorable Mentions, National Writers' Union, 1989, 89 - 90. Nominated: Golden Bell Award, & Celebrate Sonoma Artists Achievement Award 1990. Fellowships—Awarded two NEA/Sonoma County Community Foundation Literature Fellowships 1990 & 92.

SELECTED PUBLICATIONS Poetry: Medusa’s Kitchen blog 2010, 2011; CPITS December Newsletter 2010; What the World Hears, 2009-10; Full Circle 2009; Changing Perspectives: California Poets in the Schools, 2008; Healing Waters, Healing Words, 2007; Walker Creek: Collected Poems, 2006; Voices in Wartime, 2004. Zimmerzine; Poets against the War (webzine); "My America" (anthology) 2003; Elemental Portraits: 12 poems, Unconservatory (webzine) 2001;Transfer, Fourteen Hills, 2000-2002; Tin Ear, Sundog, Maverick, Chaminade Literary Review, Louisville Review, Santa Clara Review, First Leaves, Green Fuse, Sacred River: A Women's Journal, Apostrofe! (Ukrainian), Shaman's Drum 1992; Poem for a Russian Child, Poet, San Francisco Bay Guardian, San Geronimo Valley Resource Guide, Sculpture Gardens Review, Sing Heavenly Muse, The Western Sonoma County Paper 1991; A Stone's Throw: A Literary Review of Sonoma County's Russian River Writers' Guild, Green Fuse, Haight Ashbury Literary Quarterly, Looking for Home: Women Writing About Exile, Poet News/ Sacramento Poetry Review, Poetry SF/USA Quarterly, Red Bluff Daily News, Sonoma Mandala Literary Review, Sparrowgrass, Starlight Poets *1, The Gift of Dreams, Tight, Catalyst, (Cherkassy Crai, Molod Cherkashini, Phantom, ROTOR—in Russian) 1990; A Night Full of Doves, Caribbean Writer, Chaminade Literary Review, Creative Discourse, First Leaves, Green Fuse, Gulf Stream, New Hope International, Outerbridge, Poetry SF Quarterly, Sculpture Gardens Review, Stone Soup, The Press Democrat, Women's Voices, Cherkassy Pravda (USSR) 1989; Blue Window, Castles in the Sky, Catalyst, Chaminade Literary Review, Creative Discourse California State Poetry Quarterly- CQ, Electrum, Green Fuse, Marin Poetry Center Review, More Than Words, Poet News, Power of the Reckless Sleeper, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Sculpture Gardens Review, The Paper, Thread Winding the Loom, Women's Voices 1987 - 88; Falling to Sea Level, Marin Poetry Center Review, Poetic Space, Someone Inside Me, The Poem is the Person's Life, Under the Bridge of Silence, Poets of the Vineyard, The Napa Review, More Than Words 1985 - 86; Across the Generations 1985; Napa Poetry Review, Marin Poetry Review 1984 - 86; MAGABARK/Medicine Bundle, Deepest Valley Review 1984.

ESSAYS & PROSE—“Jazz Artists” feature, Amie Street Music, 2007 (mini reviews-2007-2010); articles and memoir on several websites 2006-2008. ”Helgar the Horrible,” for Step it Up: Icelandic Horse Journal, Wales, GB, 2004. ”Censorship,” Teachers & Writers Magazine; My America (anthology) BlueBarnHouse Press, 2003; Writing the Rails: Train Adventures by the World’s Best Loved Writers, Workman; Killing the Buddha (webzine) 2001-02; House on Via Gombito: Women Writing Abroad, New Rivers Press 1990; True Wonders, CPITS Press, 1988; Creative Discourse, 1987 - 88; Under the Bridge of Silence, CPITS Press, More Than Words, CPITS Press, 1986; Sonoma Mandala 1980. Also numerous articles, reviews and features for The Western Sonoma County Paper  1982 - 1996. Chapbooks—Klaarlicht, (bilingual English-Dutch, Amsterdam Press); We Are Not Swans, with poet Celia Woloch, (Fortunate Daughter Press); Falling to Sea Level, with poet John Oliver Simon,  (bilingual Spanish/English, Aldebaran Review/Russian River Writers' Guild 1986, fourth ed. 1988).

SELECTED READINGS: Sacramento Poetry Center, The Book Collector/Rattlesnake Press 2010; California Poets in the Schools 45th Symposium, Santa Barbara, 2009, Poetry & Pizza SF; The Unconservatory Cranberry Coast Concerts III, Cape Cod, MA 2008 (several venues); Sebastopol & Santa Rosa, CA 2006, in Miami, FL, (several venues)  2005, 2004; Crossroads Irish American Festival, San Francisco, CA 2006; The Starry Plough, Berkeley, CA, 2005; Barnes & Noble, Fremont, CA 2004. The Black Box, Oakland, 2003; San Francisco State University Poetry Center, 1999, 2000,-03; Humboldt State University, Venice Sculpture Gardens, Los Angeles; National Poetry Week, San Francisco, La Peña, Berkeley 1990 - 92; The Multiverse Project, Copperfield's Bookstore, Petaluma, 1988; Sacramento Poetry Center, Artrium, & Guest Lecture Series, Santa Rosa Jr. College, 1987; Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco; Laguna Beach Poets, Venice Sculpture Gardens, San Pedro Angel's Gate Art Center, Los Angeles, 1986; Marin Poetry Center, 1984 - 86; Russian River Writers Guild, 1980 - 88; Napa Valley Poetry Conference, Napa Valley College, 1984 - 85; Petaluma Museum 1985; Peralta Community College, Quincy, 1984; Sonoma State University, 1979 - 88. Out of CA: Ukraine, USSR, Cherkassy Region Library, 1989, Cherkassy Art Gallery, 1991; Lima, Peru, 1988; College of the Bahamas, 1985; Maui Zen Center, Hawaii, 1984; Port Townsend, Washington, 1981.

BIBLIOGRAPHY/MEDIA: TV/Video—Reading, ”Maureen Hurley reads To My Poetry Students,” YouTube, 2010; Interview & poetry reading, KALX FM (90.7) UC Berkeley, “Sunday Morning Culture Show” with Rahid 2006; Extra (patient) & voiceover for indie short, “Doing Time,” 48-Hour Film Project 2005; WLRN /PBS “ArtStreet” interview, poetry reading, Miami, FL, 2004. Extra (news photographer) for “Nash Bridges,” and for national AT&T commercial 1999; Voice-over: documentary on the earthquake for Poetry Film Archives, National Poetry Association, 1992; Performance: Cherkassy Cable TV, (also interviewed by TASS news agency), 1991; Alameda Cable TV, National Poetry Week 1990; Multiverse Project, Cloudhouse Poetry Archives 1988; North Bay Poets (three programs) M.L. Media Cable TV, Rohnert Park, CA, 1987; documentary, En Camino KRCB/ PBS Cotati-Rohnert Park, CA, 1986; Ear to the Ground, Sonoma State University, 1980. Radio—performance: Poetry Slam Finals with Gary Glazner, 1992; Interview: Cherkassy radio, 1991; performance/ interview: Soviet Poetry Since Glasnost with Jack Foley, Poetry with Joyce Jenkins, Art & Censorship with Joan Marler & Green Fuse with Joan Marler (KPFA FM, Berkeley, CA); Poetry with Dan Roberts (KZYX FM, Booneville, CA),1990; Poetry in the Schools with Stephen Kessler, (KUSP FM, Santa Cruz, CA) 1985; North Coast Poets (KMFB FM, Mendocino, CA) 1983; Sonoma State University, (KSUN Rohnert Park, CA) 1980. Periodicals—Interviews: Cherkassy Crai, 1991; Larkfield Times, 1989 - 90; Cherkassy Pravda, Cherkassy Youth Magazine, ROTOR & Köstior Magazine, (USSR), The Press Democrat, 1989; The Western Sonoma County Paper, 1987, 1991. Book Review, Poet News/Sacramento Literary Journal, 1987; Press Democrat, 1985.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS: California Poets in the Schools Area Coordinator: Alameda and Contra Costa Counties 2009—present; former Board Member, Sonoma-Napa County Area Coordinator 1980-1997. Mentor teacher, Young Audiences of Northern California 2000—present; founding Board Member, SFSU’s MA Program student organization, WordSmiths Guild; founder of Artists in the Schools of Sonoma County; past Executive Director of the Russian River Writers Guild 1980-1997; Listed in The International Who's Who in Poetry; & Poet's Encyclopedia 1992—present, Who’s Who in Writers, Poets & Editors, United States & Canada 1992—present, A Directory of American Poets & Fiction Writers, Poets & Writers 1989—present; The California Art Review, American References 1988.

FINE ARTS PUBLICATIONS:  Silk paintings, drawings, pastels, and photography on various web sites 2005-present. Photographs—Life of Crime, Poltroon Press 2010; Drawings—Catalyst, 1988; The Western Sonoma County PAPER, Marin Poetry Review, 1984 - 86; Sonoma County Stump, Shadow Box, Sonoma Mandala, 1979 - 81. Photographs—Twelve book covers & texts including: Un Técho del Tamaño del Mundo, 1987, It Begins With Me, 1986, & Dancing on the Brink of the World, 1985, California Heritage Poetry Curriculum, Napa Poetry Review, 1984, 85 - 86. Also dust jackets/book covers, brochures & cards for organizations including Young Audiences, California Poets in the Schools, The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, California Confederation of the Arts, & individual clients.

FINE ARTS EXHIBITIONS/PERFORMANCE: “Art from the Heart” (multi-media: drawings, silk painting, collage, watercolor, pastel, photography) Sonoma State University Art Gallery, Cotati, CA. 1985 - 99; 2002-06, 2008—present: Silk collaborative art project at (PBS) KQED, 2005 (Deborah Gibbon); SPIN Santa Fe Silk 2004 group wall hanging & prose, exhibited in England, New Mexico, Iceland, Australia (still traveling); "Micky's Quilt" Siddha Yoga Ashram, 2004. Art From the Heart, national invitational group show & art auction, Summer Arts Project for Children at the California Museum of Art  at the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa CA. (Masks & poetry performance). Dream Vessels, installation/ performance with Marsha Connell, "The California Arts Project," Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA. (Poetry & performance). Women Artists of Sonoma County, invitational, Tweet's Gallery, Women's Learning Center, (photographs), Santa Rosa, CA.(Watercolor, collage, photography & poetry). 1992 - 1999. . 1990—Young Artists & Marsha Connell with Maureen Hurley, Artists in Residence, California Museum of Art, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA. (Silk paintings, poetry, & performance). 1988—Mail Art, invitational group show, Creative Discourse, Petaluma CA. (Collage & poetry). From California to Guatemala: Poetry, Song & Art: Maureen Hurley, with Jórge Luján & John Oliver Simon, Copperfield's Bookstore, Petaluma, CA. (Watercolor crayons, photos & poetry/performance). 1987—Sonoma County Artists' Showcase, juried, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa, CA. (Watercolor). Recent Work, Mexico, solo invitational, Napa State Hospital Clients' Library, Napa, CA. (Watercolor, photography & poetry). Tropical Visions, solo invitational multi-media art & performance, San Geronimo Valley Art Center, San Geronimo, CA. (Poetry, watercolor, watercolor crayons, colored & hand-tinted photos). 1986—We Are The Children: A Photography Exhibit Illustrating Sonoma County's Ethnic Diversity, group invitational, featuring six artists, Santa Rosa City Council Chambers, Santa Rosa, CA. (Poetry/ performance, photographs). Artists Who Teach: Artwork from members of Artists in the Schools of Sonoma County, group invitational multi-media event, Santa Rosa City Council Chambers, Santa Rosa, CA. (Watercolor crayon, poetry broadsides & performance). The Northern California Landscape/Artists & Poets, R. Salazar Library, Sonoma State University, Cotati, CA. (Poetry). 1985—Portraits, juried exhibition, Falkirk Center, San Rafael, CA. (Black & white photography). 1984—MAGABARK/Medicine Bundle: Poets & Artists Collaborate, with artist Ann Faught, William T. Wiley: invitational multi-media group event, Falkirk Center, San Rafael, CA. (Poetry broadside, & performance).

TALENT: listed with Beau Bonneau Talent Agency, SF Casting, Nancy Hayes Casting. Skills: skiing; swimming; horseback riding (taught/showed professionally); drive stick shift. Bilingual Spanish; some Portuguese, Russian, can sing in Irish.

OTHER MISC.: Continuing Education: Adult Education teaching/certification classes; Trader Joe’s crew member 2011—present; caterer, server, sous chef, bartender/barista: Fred Martin Caterers; Top Dog Catering, Blue Heron; Melon’s; Taste; Celtic Catering; UC Berkeley Celtic Colloquium Conference; Swing Cafe, and other venues. Also worked as a waitress in a Swiss resort during Junior year abroad a very long time ago.


\Writing: Poetry/Prose:

Photos: People/Events:

Places where you can find my work online

Myspace: see pics: 4 albums (art & photos)
Elemental Portraits (12 poems) :
Small View (poem) :
Mary TallMountain (poem):
Mantra for the Mujadeen (prose) :
Raw at Creation (prose) :
My America (chapbook-anthology) :
Speak Memory (poem) :

Maureen Hurley is listed in Poets & Writers
Maureen Hurley's student poems online at:
Young Audiences, Vince Cianci
Joshua Terry, Silence of the Heart
Glenn Ingersoll

Monday, January 1, 2007


What stands between my self and my e-self is a blog, a bit of cyber-literatia, or maybe cyber-inventia—maybe dementia—something I've resisted. A gimped knee has me web bound, Resistance is futile. The time is present. No time like...

Like the Beat poet Bobby Kaufman, it's as if I took a ten-year vow of silence, but the trance was merely a purgatorial haven or hell of my own creation. Initially, I blamed the silence on a near-fatal car accident (no, my life did not flash before my eyes), or I blamed the silence on grad school. Someone said they quit writing poetry in grad school. It burns it right out of you. With my MFA thesis's seven-year grace period about to expire, I know that one all to well.

But it comes down to this: who am I writing to and what for? The what for is what haunts me. Nihilism raises its ugly head.

Everything is post 2001 now. My old voice has fled, a victim of the mujadeen or the al Queda. Tired of writing about lovers gone bad (BTDT, been there, done that, the tee shirt is a holy rag or more like a holy cow), I grew weary of the rhetoric that inevitably follows writing with a political stance, I turned inward and with a number two pencil eraser, began to erase the inner markings, the deliniations of the soul, that force which drives us to create, to send our prodigal names out there into the world. But even that imploded.

At first, I was physically exhausted from a near-fatal car accident in June of 1997. I hadn't counted on the post-traumatic stress lasting for so long. Or my brain to go south for an extended winter. But I found that a punctured lung weakens more than the breath —for breath, the source of inspiration, is the root of creativity. Not as in God has breathed into, In-spire as in spiritus, but not sanctus. I'm a recovered Catholic enrolled in a two-step program sacred and profane.

Then it was onto to grad school to waken my slothful brain. I was fulfilling a decade old dream. And then I took the deepening vow of poverty a la Dante's Inferno–a poet and a student replete with student loans. Which was followed by a rebuilding of a life, such as it was. A decade of reinvention of the self from Ground Zero has led me back to my first fragile love, art. Poetry has gone on holiday. All that's left are the unformed stories.

And so, couch-bound by a bum knee and stuck in time present, I began to surf. I surfed my name to see how I fared during that decade of near silence and I was surprised to see that I actually had a web presence, though I'd never actively sought one. In fact, I shunned it. All my co writers and classmates were deep into the publish or perish frenzy while I was happy listing in the doledrums. (Been there, done that. Even seeing my name in print no longer inspires or thrills the way it once did. In my 30s and 40s, I was driven by a dark ambition.)

Fooled into thinking I'd find the time later to do what I want—all those big, unnameable projects looming on the horizon—but the horizon is dressed in death's robes and the passage of time is akin to snake-wrestling with cobras. Spit in your eye. Leave you with a Homeric blindness and no story to tell. Life and relationships have a way of taking over. It comes down to who does the housework. Who does the dishes, or scrubs the toilet. Poor Sylvia Plath, I'm beginning to understand her dark fascination with the oven. Did Ted Hughes metamorphose into the sly fox of art and escape domestic responsibility in order to achieve a fragile immortality of words?

But even now, I am afraid to let my cybernalia loose into the world, This blogless blog is bogged down in its aimlessness. Shiftless. No point of view. No goal. Who will read it? And why? Get a job. Going to the bog. Full of shyte. Call it initiation. Baptism. Begin. Regardless. Or take the anywhere approach and see the music of what happens.

Poets Mike Tuggle and Sharon Doubiago each said to write the stories down, you're a storyteller, I said no to that, thinking my stories weren't worth much. But then I said no to poetry too and perversely, it said yes to me, then shamelessly ran off with a lover. I don't know where. I don't have a burning urge to file a missing poems report. But I have to finish my MFA theses. Write anything. See where it leads. Jilted prose redux is what promises to follow during these august daze.

© 2007 Maureen Hurley
NOTE BENE) This blog post was indeed written in August 2007, but I had so much revised and new material to upload there was a logjam so I reorganized the blogs as I had created this site in January and then forgot about it. There was all this perfectly good cyberspace going to waste and I found that I could move the files around by date. And so I did. Since most of it is older work being revised, it really isn't date specific. So I opted for the genre approach. It's still evolving but Feb-Mar is early memory stuff, April is poetry month, May is mostly USSR stuff, July is reserved for my many MFA plays and monologues... then it's sort of calendar specific. I imagine it will keep evolving and shifting until I find an organic order. Drive the Technorati spiders crazy I suppose.

Guy Kawasaki says to write a blog like it's a book, good advice but the physics of it are all wrong as people stumbling upon it are not going to begin at the beginning. They'll either join in by subject matter or by newest way to read a book. SO there's no chronological attempt. Merely thematic.

To see some of my art go to
Maureen Hurley at MySpace.