Friday, January 29, 2010


Our ballet class.
Two members.

They are the teachers.
These are their "moves";
or if you like, these are their ballet "pasickins" [positions].

The Ends.

"We are the music-makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;
World-losers and world-forsakers
On whom the pale moon gleams;
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems."

-Arthur O'Shaughnessy

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

On Jane Austen and Mothering

A friend pointed me to a very clever, crafty-mom blog the other day.
I've found a few of these blogs from women who sculpt, sew, cook gourmet meals, write novels, do clever things with their kids, plus bring in the bacon, too.
I got to thinking - is this a joke for gullible folks like myself?
I am seriously slack-jawed at these women who manage to do it all.

For I already attain to a world
where myself and my (ten) children in snowy white frocks (which I've made) live in a Jane Austen setting,
where we all frolic in delighted states of repose -
running, sitting and laughing happily in front of our small and slightly rundown manor house (near-castle),
wherein the children rarely cry, and if so, it lasts but a minute before their mama circumvents disaster,
all the while sketching and painting Mary Cassatt-quality works of the little darlings
(who never vomit or poop).
I teach them to sing in the style of Maria from The Sound of Music,
and spend spare hours scribbling away on manuscripts like Jo in Little Women, all the while looking surprisingly shapely for one who has borne ten children.
Let us not forget my dabbles in the illuminated works of the Bible, my triathlon training,
my regular visits to the sick and poor with baskets of homemade/hand-picked apple berry plumcot whole-grain antioxidant-laden muffins and pies and breads and hand-plucked roast hens.
And of course I try to live perfectly, patiently, lovingly. At all times.
The fantasy comes crashing down when profanity slips from my mouth after hearing my daughter confess she's peed in the restaurant high chair. To add to the joy, my other daughter has dumped the basket of tortilla chips on her head.

And that's only one small moment
of many such failures in my real world
that never quite lives up to the other one.

Jane Austen, watching me from afar, just fainted.
Someone is reviving her with smelling salts and escorting her to a chair.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Glass Beach

There is buried treasure in the cliffs near us.
When we long for a good hunt,
it's off to the steep slopes of Junk Beach to find old bottles and rusty spoons,
and to Glass Beach for smooth jewels of those same bottles and the hints of their past lives.

My take on the past life of a bottle:

Time at work.

a bottle thrown on a cliff side dump shatters,
to slip slowly downwards,
shifting, sifting
slumped into sand and drifts,
beckoned by waves
pounding hardness
into small soft gleams of the past,
fuzzy windows of what-was

pocketed up by seekers
and taken home.

our light-holders.


Friday, January 22, 2010

Empty Novel Syndrome?

So my novel is being sent around to different publishers by my agent, Rubin Pfeffer of East/West Literary Agency. It's a very thrilling thing.

But I'm wondering.

I said "go out and make your way in the world," and my novel is grown and gone. This six-year world is suddenly empty and I find myself curiously lonely and puzzled.

What do I write now?

Surely those of you who have experienced this know just what to do. You had another manuscript on the back burner. You had several. You're working on your tri-quels. But this is all very new to me. Never wrote a long story before. Never thought anyone would want to see it.

I kind of miss my characters, my places, my plot.

Maybe this is what Empty Nest Syndrome feels like.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Sacred Dirt: Finding Joy in the Everyday Grit

I am on a search to find sunlight in the daily drudgery.

I love to write and paint and scribble and sing, leaving tangible expressions behind me.
But at this season in life I only have tiny windows of time for such things because my world is full up with dishes and diapers and laundry.

My dad calls these "The Golden Years" : fleeting years, full of golden moments.
So I am on a hunt to treasure a different kind of gold.

It's nothing impressive or glamorous; just messes and sticky fingers.
Every day I get to hang out with the most precious people I know, and they are growing at an incredible rate.

I am rich.

Refrigerator Scrabble

I love words.

Lots of them. I like to try them on like fancy boas or moustache glasses. I love to play word games.
One of the ways I unwind after the kids go to bed:

Speed Scrabble on the fridge.

It has to be after the kids go to bed so nobody will snatch away those precious "E"s and "T"s, or ask "why are you playing with the magnets we got for our birthday present?" If I play after bedtime, I don't have to confess that I really bought those magnets for their mother.

Ivan the Coffee-Drinking-Boot-Wearer

"fools delight in airing their own opinions"
- a proverb

And so, I've started a blog.

We all have words doing dances in our heads. Some of us hope those words will become beautifully-strung pearls, laid out gracefully on the page.

We call ourselves writers.

We have a lot to say, sometimes to a fault.

We ask questions, often aloud.

An example:

"I wonder what that tall man walking into the coffee shop just muttered. What kind of drink do you think he's going to order? Does he love his mother? And why was he wearing boots?" "I think I'm going to call him Ivan."

We get crazy looks.

We have smudgy, inky fingers, or glassy, keyboard eyes.
We carry bent notebooks in our pockets and purses and cars, often unable to find any of them when a great thought comes along. Voila! Coffee-stained napkin doubles as novel fodder.

We have ruined at least four items of clothing or bed linens due to pen leakage.

We find ourselves reciting clever just-coined phrases to an empty room.
We hear voices. Lots of them. We're not nuts, just making lots of notes.

We refer to ourselves as "we".

Oh, wait, that's just me.


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