Sunday, November 3, 2019

Tobi Alfier - Making Lemonade…

Happy November!! The calendar is changed, Halloween is over, and things haven’t started to get too crazy yet for Thanksgiving. Even if good deeds are always on your mind, there’s time to do some little things that will have big impact without running yourself ragged. Some ideas:

  1. 1. Speaking of calendars, most of you have already gotten your 2020 calendar by now. If you haven’t, it’s time to order it. Many presses have calendars, and you might find one you like. Order it from there—not only will you read poems and see photographs that you like, it’s a nice thing to do for a press.
I must admit that we have a classic car calendar, and 2020 is already on the wall behind 2019. If we didn’t have it, I’d order mine from Clare Songbird Press. I like the press, and poet friend Jeff Santosuosso’s poem is published in August.

For those of you who are beautiful artists, or photographers, or who are skilled in everything, you can make custom calendars for just yourself, for family, or for sale. Most presses that have custom items usually have them made from Vista Print, or Café Press. I don’t know the costs but they do beautiful work (years ago my mom made me a calendar with pictures of my little son, now 21. I still have it).

  1. Think about one thing you can give to one person this week. If you’ve been reading my posts for a while, you know my Dentist has copies of all my books. I’m not suggesting you give books to your Dentist. Mine knows that I write and always asks me about it, I knew his brother studied poetry at the Sarbonne—it was kind of a no-brainer to bring him my books. I know they are on his fireplace, and I know he and his wife entertain a lot. I hope their friends have looked at my books, and hopefully someone has bought one (or five).
Not long ago, his office clerk who I’ve known for 25 years, said “How come you give him books but you don’t give any to me?” So now she has some of my books. I know her. She’s definitely shown them to friends.

Every single person who has a book or a piece of art from you, has the ability to market for you.

  1. So now you know I’ve lemonaded the Dentist. Let’s lemonade Physical Therapy! Last week Jeff mentioned he saw two poetry books on the shelf in the waiting room. They were written by a poet whose classes I’ve taken at UCLA Extension, and whose work I highly respect. Next week I’m going to bring a book for the waiting room too. Hopefully my teacher will see it, patients who come early will see it, and people who are waiting for patients will see it. If one person likes my book, they will hopefully go home and look me up. They will hopefully buy a book. That’s one more than none!
If you find yourself in waiting rooms, you know those magazine are from the year one. Bring a copy of something of yours, and just leave it there. Make sure you are reachable (your name, website, ISBN, etc.) so you can be contacted if anyone wants to see more.

  1. Ask your local library if they have a donation program. Ask your local independent bookstore if they have a shelf for local authors. Ask Rich if he needs any books for his library. Do it before you’re planning dinner for twenty.
I’m not saying be pushy. I’m saying sometimes people don’t know what they don’t have. You are kindly offering a small piece of yourself for the enjoyment of others.

  1. Speaking of donation programs, you may have assisted living facilities near you. The one near us has bookshelves in the front lobby/sitting area only one step up from a doctor’s waiting room. You may wish to ask if they’d like donations, and bring them a few of your books.
I know you all do kind things every day. I am so thankful I got to meet some of you when Jeff and I read last January. I know I’m not saying things you don’t already know. It’s just I say for myself, when life gives me lemons, make lemonade. If lemonade doesn’t work, make Limoncello. If that doesn’t work, go straight to moonshine. I don’t know what happens after that, eat all the leftover Halloween candy and the entire pint of Bourbon Vanilla Truffle ice cream in the freezer?  I don’t know. All I know is I stayed on “lemonade” this past week, and I hope you did too.

For those of you who are starting to obsess about Thanksgiving, a delicious and no-cook recipe for you:

 Cranberry and Dried-Cherry Relish
 Bon Appetit November, 2001

Go to web page
So good – and no cooking required.  Prepare the relish at least a day ahead, and add more cardamom before serving if you’d like a stronger flavor.

Makes 2 Cups

1 12-ounce package fresh cranberries
1 C dried tart cherries (about 5 ounces)
1 C (packed) golden brown sugar
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix all ingredients in large bowl.  Place half of mixture in processor.  Using on/off turns, process until coarsely chopped.  Transfer to medium bowl.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.  Chill at least 1 day and up to 2 days, stirring occasionally (I put this in a glass mason jar and just turned it over a couple of times a day)

And in the kind words of Mela Blust, a beautiful soul and wonderful poet:

I'm moving forward with love. That's all I can do.

Have a wonderful week xo

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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Slices Of Alice. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

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