Louise Nayer's Blog (16)

Watsonville Vacation and The Dogs

In Watsonville, California house sitting among the redwoods for our friends who are in Maine. The house has a beautiful swimming pool and a hot tub. Yesterday , the sun was shining and I swam laps and then when I was chilly, got into the hot tub. It was luxurious—a true vacation. Jim read a Wendell Berry novel(great writing but not much happening) and I read a mystery by Cara Black, transported back to France where I lived  in 1969-70 during my junior year of college. I’ve never been back to…


Added by Louise Nayer on August 10, 2011 at 10:36am — No Comments


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Added by Louise Nayer on April 17, 2011 at 7:22pm — No Comments

Sweet or Sour

Sweet or Sour

Walking down Bosworth Street to the BART(subway) two young children were turned around in the back seat of their parents’ car, waving wildly, trying to see who would wave back. "Sweet or Sour” was the game my children played and I played before them.

Who will wave back? I smiled, a big, broad smile and waved at them as if they were my long lost cousins. For a minute they were taken aback, the car stopped at a stop sign, but then, even through the window glass… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on December 2, 2010 at 9:55pm — No Comments

Story Telling

My parents were burned in an explosion when I was four—and I grew up during the silent fifties—the era of pop tarts, toaster ovens, Maytag washer/dryers and frozen dinners--when little was talked about since so many were coming home from war and America wanted to forget the pain. In a poem I wrote, I called America a “kiss it and make it better country—and the children wanted band aids on everything even the slightest scratch—band aids with stars and stripes.” We all wanted to cover our pain.… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on September 2, 2010 at 2:25pm — 1 Comment

Ceremonies with my community college students


I haven’t been blogging lately(what a great 21st century verb—blogging) because I’m in the throes of the last part of my semester as an English Professor at a community college—quite large classes and of course mounds of compositions to grade. I feel like a waitress in the rush time lately—every day marking, getting back papers—in-putting grades into the computer—keeping track of odds and ends—talking with students who had deaths, or illnesses and still are trying to… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on May 20, 2010 at 8:59am — No Comments

Book Tour

Giving readings of Burned: A Memoir across the country: first at Bird and Beckett Bookstore, my local San Francisco Glen Park haunt—filled to the brim with friends, colleagues, students. In Conn. at R.J. Julia Bookstore, I was introduced by the director of an organization that deals with childhood trauma(Clifford Beers). The room was filled with friends of my step-daughter's—therapists—family—an old high school friend. In NYC at Borders Park Ave.—a big sign in the window with the picture of my… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on May 3, 2010 at 9:17pm — No Comments


I went to see my therapist today and punched in my passcode(673). I’ve changed the #’s in case you know where I go to therapy and will break into the building and steal my records: panic attacks, hypervigilance, regular old neuroses and sometimes eating problems). Then I went to Starbucks to get a Chai Latte(my latest addiction) and to grade papers. I had to go to the restroom. Guess what? I needed to put in a passcode: 2,4,6,8, who do you appreciate. I remembered it from last week. I was so… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on March 31, 2010 at 10:47am — 1 Comment

Spring--My mother's final face

As I think of Spring and my memoir coming out in April, I think of my mother walking down the long, winding road of Peter Cooper Village where we lived in New York City—and my face pressed to the windowpane on the second floor of the apartment building. I wanted to see her final face from the window and hoped that she would finally look like all the other mothers.

My parents were burned in a gas explosion in the basement of a rental cottage(while my sister and I slept upstairs). My… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on March 20, 2010 at 12:44pm — No Comments

Creating A Room of One's Own and Teaching at a Community College

Creating A Room of One’s Own—

I’ve been teaching Woolf’s famous work over the last month. I teach at an enormous urban community college—I’m trying to relate the book to my mostly working-class non-white(first generation college students). All but one has heard of Jane Austen or Oxford College. Most don’t have the luxury of a separate room to dream in and no one has a stipend that rains down like mana from heaven. They have trouble with the language(I also have a lot of international… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on March 11, 2010 at 10:51am — No Comments

110% 24/7--Is this the World we Want?

I was in Starbucks in the West Portal district of San Francisco the other day, grading papers and saw a woman with a very cute little boy(of about four or five) come into the café. He was a bit shy, pulling on his mother’s hand and asking if he could have some chocolate milk. She let him get it. He then dropped the milk box and then quickly picked it up and turned around. When he did, I saw his t-shirt. It said, “I give 110%” and had a picture of a football. The football picture was fading, but… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on March 4, 2010 at 2:38pm — No Comments

The Solidity of Rocks

In Yosemite visiting my younger daughter and I wonder what the rocks remember? They are not preserved in special mylar-like material(my daughter works as a historical archivist up here). The rocks, whether they tumble across the road, change color from weather are just there—solid and immutable. They do not panic at the sight of a bear or a mountain lion but neither do they feel the soft pads of an animal’s feet, feet which leap lightly over their granite backs.

Though the rock is… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on March 2, 2010 at 1:33pm — 1 Comment

Healing Baths

Driving back to the Yosemite Bug Hostel to our “barn” house in the driving sleet. I’m not driving but alert—aware of the windows alternately fogging up, my husband’s hands steady on the wheel, aware of the water rushing across the road, the Merced River flowing to the right under the grand rocks. But we have low visibility—found out later that one of our front lights was out, made this driving home so much harder.

I think of a warm bath, my solace, my obsession during the period when… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on February 28, 2010 at 10:38pm — No Comments


I’m looking at an abstract painting in my writing room(I’m so lucky to have a space to write). The painting, a deep pink with midnight blue stripes, some dots and a brush of deep red through the middle, reminds me that there are so many things we don’t know. That life is mysterious. I don’t know what exactly lives inside the middle of that painting, or what has lived in the mind of the nun, Sister Mary Corita, who painted it. I know she wanted world peace. I know she loved poetry. In my class… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on February 24, 2010 at 5:17pm — No Comments

My Almost Published Book and the Bhudda

February 19, 2010, 6:11 pm

It's now the end of February, and I'm getting closer to cradling the final copy of my book in my hands. Sometimes, in the rush of trying to get readings, podcasting, doing blogs, etc. etc. I lose sight of the incredibly long journey that has taken me to this very place. Of course it's a memoir, so I can thank my family for being the "characters"--which is why the adjective"long" for the journey is apt--delving into the past, reshaping it.

At the… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on February 20, 2010 at 8:49am — No Comments

Memoir writing--Ten Things I learned in 2009

1. That persistence can work--I mean over ten years of writing, rewriting, changing point of view twice and almost giving up. I learned that the book sold on Valentine's Day, while I was at the AWP conference in Chicago--the phone to my ear inside a Kinko's as the wind blew outside. It was heaven, even in the chill.

2. That even though a part of me would have loved to share my finished, published book with my parents when they were alive, that their deaths(at 91 and 93 after good,… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on December 31, 2009 at 10:59am — No Comments


When my father was beginning to wane at the age of 92, on the skilled nursing floor and later in the hospital, he suddenly went into a psychotic break. His body seemed to be on super-drive. He saw Latin poetry floating in the air; he recited poems he memorized in German. He didn’t recognize either my sister or me when we came to visit him. Once, though, he said to my sister, “You look sad” and she burst out crying. Sometimes he saw music floating through the air, an Oliver Sachs moment. They… Continue

Added by Louise Nayer on December 20, 2009 at 2:35pm — No Comments

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