Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fragments 11/25

Saw a truck today: a gorgeous thing, parked on the too green for November in Maine grass in front of a peeling yellow house.

Large, heavy, round hood, curving fenders, the Kate Smith of American trucks circa 1938.


A small square table in a popular downtown eatery with my daughter this morning. I hate the word eatery. I thought you should know.

She appologetically helped herself to my bagel. I drank her Orangina when she got up to get more napkins.

My girl, black leggings, old blue sweatshirt pulled out of shape. Blue wool hat she wears everywhere. Her uncombed hair peaking out from underneath, hat pulled down over her forehead, hat resting on the tops of her glasses, her bemused grin, big teeth and braces...

My girl is teeth, long skinny legs, and a blue wool hat.

Gearing up for the winter, gearing up for Christmas, gearing up for what lies ahead, big mystery, big worry.

What's next.

Over the day, a transparency, a filament of shadow. The girl and I walked and talked, laughed, I carried this fist in my throat.

Blue sky, red brick, blue hat, damn hat, rust and green truck, yellow peeling paint, green grass, smell of coffee, oranges, butter, yeast.

Things feel a little broken on the inside.













Saturday, November 3, 2012

Assy ass.

There are days when I just can not stand to be near myself.

I feel like a lazy ass, a dumb ass, a fat ass. An assy ass.

Today is one of those days.

Yesterday was one of those days.

And the day before.

And also the day before that one.





This ain't no Doll's House and I ain't no doll.

I think it was last year that I decided to blog every day for a month. I think my cool friends Lanna and Edmund inspired me to do this thing. And I think it made me sort of happy. As happy as I get. 

 Maybe I'll try to do this thing again.


I have less time to myself than ever before.

Even when the door to my room is shut, I'm not alone. The voices of upset kids, the hysterical barking of the dog, the ringing phone, all constant reminders that I am needed and my time away alone is time that should be spent attending to everything else. 

I've had a shitty year, looking November last to November now. 

I'm worn down, quite miserable.

I don't much like my own company right now, and yet I long so desperately to be alone.

I recall reading Ibsen's A Doll's House way back in high school or college. I was stunned that a mother would leave her children like that. Only a horrible selfish person would walk away from her own children. 

There are days like today when after giving everything I have to my children I am asked to give just that little bit more and finding my self lacking and completely inadequate I dream of  walking out the door. I think to myself, someone else could do this better than I can. I'm not up to the demands of this job. I can't do this anymore.

Instead I sulk around the house like only  a passive aggressive fuck can, and declare at 4:30 in the afternoon that I am going to bed. I only give into that sort of drama when the spouse is at home to feed and supervise the kids. Just for the record.

I know my display is ridiculous.

In that moment of exasperation, I don't care. 

Thirty seconds later, I care very much and yet at that point it's just too late. 

How I long to place this wedding ring on the scarred dining room table, kiss the sleeping children good bye, and walk out the door. 

I do not want to do this anymore. 

I am tired. 

I am lost. 

This is not my life. 

I am not myself. 



Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Internet Surfer Girl

Ah the 21st Century.

Tonight, thanks to the magic of the internet fairies and the hard work of the hamsters that power my computer, I have been edified and entertained. Well done Internet Fairies, and a heart felt bravo to the hamsters. Remind me to put some oil on that wheel.
 
My early morning insomnia inspired me to hit the net, and I started off with a cursory howdedoo on face book. Then for no particular reason I checked out Boing Boing, just because, and there I read a cool review of a graphic novel for kids which I SO Want to have.

http://www.nobrow.net/9580

On Boing Boing I saw a video parody of "Gangnam Style" by Ai Weiwei. I have a secret crush on him. I watched it. I was confused because I had never watched the original "Gangnam Style" ... so I checked it out. My new favorite song!  I <3 you PSY! Sorry Ai.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9bZkp7q19f0

I then fell in love and cried while I watched Lana Wachowski's brilliant speech.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/lana-wachowski-reveals-suicide-plan-382169

To top off a great night of internet hi jinx, I watched a short clip from the recent episode of The Colbert Report where Stephen Colbert, whom I also love, offers Donald Trump one million dollars under one condition. Do it for the kids, Donald. You know you want to.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_4KpGiVHP6s

 
Really, the wee hours of my morning were well spent.

I am contented. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Angst, a mother son bonding experience, the family who despairs together...

So, what would you say to a 9 year old who is in the midst of an existential crisis that would make Camus weep?


I think this perceptive boy has seen under my veil, knows that I feel my life has no meaning, so encouragement from me rings hollow.

My son says, "Nothing matters. Life is meaningless."

Yes, sure, life has meaning, son. Cough. Cough. Wouldn't you rather know how babies are made?

I want to be happy. I want to be the kind of mother who is always full of light and sunshine, patience and gentleness, Valium and bourbon.

I'm just not that kind of person. I don't have it in me.

I can't even fake it.

I'm a cynic, a gentle soul with a short fuse. I'm a hugger and a yeller. I run on coffee and adrenaline.

I don't think life has meaning.

I don't believe in much.

I don't believe in Karma. If I did I would think I'd done something REALLY REALLY bad in a previous life.

I don't believe in God but I'm not above attempting to quell my son's worries with stories of an all loving all knowing God. God is just one more fictional character used to entertain and manipulate our children. 

Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, and other lies my mother told me. Or, Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and God walked into a bar. The bartender said...

  I don't believe that bullshit, the universe works in mysterious ways. If I did, I might sit up straight and say, Hey, Universe, you passive aggressive fuck. Tell me plainly what it is you expect of me. Don't expect me to decipher the secret  meaning imbued in these weird coincidences and potentially symbolic events. I'm simple and easily confused.


So, if it's all meaningless, why did I have kids?

If I don't believe in anything, why'd I bring them into the world?

Here ya go, new little life. Remember life is suffering, you're born, you live, you die. That's it. The rest is up to you. Have Fun!
 
Did I think that my life's meaning was to be found in motherhood? Some self serving desire to do something  good and profound, raise good kids who grow up to be good people, good people who do good things.

If my legacy is my children, well, fuck me. What a shitty reason to have kids.

No pressure kid, but my entire worth as a human being, my sole purpose for living was to bring you into the world and keep you alive until such time as you could do something extraordinary.


What do I say to a child who looks me in the eye and says, "I wasn't supposed to be born. I shouldn't be here."

My son says things that I've been thinking about myself for years.

I am an error.

I never ever meant for him to see this side of me. I meant to keep this hidden from him. 

I want to tell him what he's seeing is me, he's not looking into a mirror.


We have to make our own meaning.

Then we have to believe it's real even if we know it's not.

I envy those who believe in stuff, gods, or karma, or the mysterious unfolding of the universe.


What do I believe in enough to call real?

Nothing was meant to be and yet here we all are. 

If that isn't a  miracle there are no miracles.



Saturday, October 13, 2012

Define Sleep.

At some point in this crazy fun house ride called parenthood, I figured I'd get a break, I figured that when the kids reached a certain age I would be able to get a normal nights sleep. But no.
I've been averaging between 4 and 5 hours of sleep a night which provides me with enough manic adrenaline induced energy to make it through the first 6 hours of the day. With well timed caffeine injections boosting me along I'm good for about 6 more hours. However, after that, it's all over. I can't sleep but I'm not really functioning as a conscious person.

I drool on the couch, grunt to my kids, raise my eyebrows at my husband and pray for sleep or death, which ever comes first.


By 9 p.m. I'm a quivering bowl of something that quivers in a bowl...like maybe, tomato aspic with beef tongue.

I digress.  

By 9 p.m. most good little girls and boys are in bed fast asleep, but because my kids are neither good nor little -- they are both so much better than good and tall for their ages-- I find myself stumbling, mumbling, incoherent but awake trying to herd them up stairs, chanting, "Pajamas. Teeth. Bed. Mercy. Uncle."

At at midnight, my son and I are finally able to drift away to slumberland snugged together in his twin size bed. Immobilized, wedged between a sweaty giant of a boy and a smelly giant of a dog, I sink and smother to sleep.


I pop awake from dreams of premature burial in time to shuffle into my own bigger bed. I need my down blankie, I need my feather pillow.  The dog usually follows me and I find myself once again wedged between a big smelly guy and a big smelly dog but I'm too tired to care. I cling to Blankie and Pillowy. It's going to be okay.


At 5 a.m. my alarm goes off and I jump out of bed, panicked, ready for a brawl, or a quick sprint away from whatever monster is obviously trying to kill me. After a cup of coffee, I've quelled my fight or flight response and I'm resigned to my fate.


Time to get moving, wrangle kids, nag, make breakfasts, do dishes, run off to work, run back home, figure out what the hell to make for dinner, help with homework, do the laundry, drool on the couch, dreaming of sleep with my eyes open.


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Trying to get back in the swing of things

But I'm mad and tired.

I'm brimming with mad and tired.

So.

My brain has jammed.

I can't write about what's really going on.

And I can't think of anything else.

I've been reduced to fishing for writing prompts.

Which brings out the surly school girl...truant, pissed off.

Only now I'm a surly middle aged woman with a neck wattle. Don't fucking tell neck wattle woman what to do even though neck wattle woman is begging someone to tell her what to do.

Mercurial.

Full of contradictions.

Also an asshole.

So, if I had gotten this particular writing prompt as a pissed of girl in high school this is what I would have written.



Writing prompt.

"My dog is really special because"

I don't want to tell you about my dog, what do you think this is, fucking kindergarten?

What a waste of time.


My dog is really special because he eats his own shit and he tries to hump the cat.

My dog is really special because he's a shit eating cat humper.
 
There.

Done. 



I think I need to tap back into that younger me.

I like her.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sher-shit-out-of-Luck

The kids have been sick with a cold for a few days now and should be feeling somewhat better today, once they trip trap down the stairs I'll see if I'm right about that.

In the meantime, I am coming down with this delightful virus.

I understand how viruses work, but there is that part of my underdeveloped villager brain that thinks this cold is God's divine plan and he want to make me suffer twice. Once while catering to sick children, picking up countless dirty tissues off the floor, the table, and the arm of the couch, and watching the same 3 episodes of Myth Busters over and over and over again. 
 
The second round of punishment, when my kids are well and need me to continue to wash their clothes, clean the house, cook meals and play referee and coach,with my head full of snot and lungs full of phlegm and body aches and a fever. 
 
What I'd really like to do is sit  on the couch, blow my nose, leave my dirty tissues everywhere and watch episodes of the BBC series Sherlock, over and over and over again.
 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Stirred not Shaken

"We become sad in the first place because we have nothing stirring to do."  Herman Melville

 

"Find things that stir you. Open yourself. Get stirred."  Margaret Miller-Finch

Take that anyway you want. Sounds like it could be sort of fun.   

 

When the children were new and small and wondrous, before their brilliance burned me blind, I was happy.


Well, perhaps I'm waxing nostalgic. That's the only sort of waxing I do, neither legs nor floors, only nostalgia.

Thinking back on the blur of early motherhood,  an image of myself  flickers before my eyes. Linda Blaire and Mother Theresa in one body, looming there in the shadows. Lurking, menacing, yet humble and loving. 

 

One moment lovingly bathing the child with lavender scented bubbles and warm water, patiently dressing and diapering the child, gently rocking him to sleep, tucking the sleeping babe in his cozy crib.

 

The next, smashing and stomping and kicking apart the wooden rocking chair in the living room, until all I had left was a pile of kindling wood, a badly bruised heel, and several splinters.  

 

I guess the months of sleepless nights, inadequate nutrition, and the constant cling and suck of a 15 lb 3 month old on my boob sort of got to me. 

I murdered a chair in cold wood. I admit it but I am not a complete monster. The chair had it coming.

 

My husband worked nights and when he finally came home from work in the wee hours of the morning, he asked, "Hey, uh...where's the rocking chair?" 

I recall saying something like, "Rocking chair? What rocking chair. We don't own a rocking chair. I don't know what you're talking about. Oh, by the way, watch out for that pile of sticks in the living room."

The memory of my crazed outburst does take the sheen off of my newly waxed nostalgia. 

I was going to say that motherhood stirs me. I was going to say that  being a mother was enough.

Sometimes parenthood is profound.  Spiritual, perfect. Moments of pure love. Pure joy, so beautiful you want to press it and keep it holy.

Then there is the routine, the mind numbing monotony, the mundane reality as you hoist the wet sheets from the washer to the dryer and approach the sink and prepare to wash the 3rd round of dishes for the day, sweep the floor, take out the trash. 

We should not lose sight of the possibility of grace every day and yet we should not hang our every joy and happiness on our children.  

That's too much pressure for a kid and you're cheating yourself.

You deserve to be an autonomous person. Not defined by any other person, no matter how cute he is after a bath. 

As parents we need to make reasonable sacrifices for our children.

By the same token we can't sacrifice everything.

We need to teach our kids that it is important for them to explore the world and find the things they feel they were meant to do, find the things that enliven them and make them happy.


The only way to teach this is by example.


It's not selfish to want to be happy.


Pursue your dreams.

Get stirred.  

 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Musings on love, intelligence and other big things...


I'm smart enough to realize I am not brilliant but not dumb enough to be happy.

It's sort of like being tall enough to see up in the cupboard but too short to reach the can of beans on the top shelf.

I can get a step stool, or even clamber onto the counter like a middle aged monkey, stand to my staggering 5' 5" with my dirty feet planted firmly on the counter top and grab the beans, but I'm not motivated enough to do that.

Not for beans.

Chocolate yes.

My son has somehow come to the conclusion that he is stupid.

He says it dozens of times every day.

"I'm stupid."

My son has been asking questions about intelligence. He's heard about the IQ test.

He wants to put himself in a place.

He wants a score, a grade. 

He wants to prove he's either as smart as he thinks he is or as dumb as he feels.

My son took an IQ test in 1st grade as part of the assessment to determine the nature of his learning difficulties.

What we found was a kid with a big vocabulary and great spacial reasoning skills who has a couple of areas that are challenging to him.

In short we found a human being.

Despite the gap in his abilities, he still managed to do well on the test, better than average.

He would love to know what his IQ is. But I will not tell him his score.

Actually I haven't told him he's taken the test.

He doesn't need to worry about it.

It's a distraction. 

The number doesn't do his brilliance justice. If he knew he'd start putting himself in a place and defining himself as better or not as good as everyone else depending on where he fell on the line.

I can look at my bright son and know he's something special.

Funny thing is though,  like my son, I crave tangible proof of my intellectual worth to show the world, "See?! Me so smart like!"
When I was a kid it seemed that intelligence was a finite resource.

I come from a long line of Intellectual Calvinists.  

It became clear early on that I was doomed to snort and root in the mud of ignorance forever. I was damned to be dumb and frankly it was no better than I deserved.

At some point in my public school career I was given an IQ test and at some other point I got a hold of the score. I was surprised.

I was not, according to this measuring stick anyway, stupid. 

There are people behind me and people ahead of me.

I have some skills and some not very skills, and that makes me pretty human. 

Sometimes I feel greater than and sometimes I feel less than but I never feel equal to. 

The other night I was bored and I was wondering what my IQ is now that I'm in my forties. I am at the cusp of something, I can feel my memory fading and lots of stuff I should remember how to do I have forgotten. It's not likely my IQ will get any higher, I figured I ought to take an inventory of my intellect, hold fast to that and never try to take another IQ test again.

So I sidled up to the computer and did a little Google search.

I typed: Free IQ Test

Up popped scads of tests and I chose one at random.

The information leading me up to the test promised that by learning my IQ score, I would be gaining valuable insight into the workings of my mind which would lead me to greater understanding. Okay. I can't sleep, I've got nothing better to do than the dishes. Let's get started.

Section One: Spacial Reasoning

Not my strong suit. My lack of spacial reasoning skills is one of the reasons I don't drive. But I figured that since I was sitting in front of the computer and not behind the wheel of a car, and no one was going to be killed by my incompetent driving, if I just took my time and remained calm, I'd be able to do well enough.


Section Two: Mathematical Reasoning 

Fuuuuccckkkkkkkkk....I began to panic.

I could hear my synapses shriek, that high pitched screaming sound a car makes when the breaks are hit hard, the sound right before the sickening smash of metal on metal and breaking glass.  All those numbers, all that logic shit and mathematical notation smacking into my skull, making impact, mangling and smashing.


I couldn't  breath. I couldn't  see. I could no longer count to 5.

Fuck if I knew the answer to any of the math questions.

I drooled stupidly on the keyboard trying to figure out what Y represented:  It's a fucking LETTER.

Y is a LETTER...Yam, yak, yarmulke, yaw, yew, yarrow.

Damn you crazy math people! And what is  4 x 4? Four groups of 4, and if 4 + 4 is uh...8. Add 4 + 4 and oh fuck it, the answer is uhh...I should know this, why can't I EVER remember this? It's shit! Who cares!

I guessed wildly, picking answers as quickly as I could.

Anything to get me out of the intellectual house of horrors.  

Section Three: Word Stuff

The sweat on my brow began to dry, my breathing normalized.

Analogies, Words, Fun!

I laughed! I was giddy! Easy easy easy!

I stopped.

I thought for a moment.

If the verbal part of this test was simple it is likely that the rest of the test was at the same level of difficulty.

Grade school stuff.

Plenty of people out there snapping through the spacial stuff and the math stuff and as easy as fucking pie, which I don't recommend, for the record.

Back to humiliation and humility.

Using logic and reasoning skills, I tried to assess my performance on the test. I reasoned that, the logic spacial reasoning/math scores would show my IQ somewhere in the belly button lint to toe jam range.

I continued on, rationally using logic logically: when my sub-par spacial reasoning/math scores were added to my above average verbal awesomeness score, the combined score could be okay. 

While these moronic thoughts swirled around like so much shit in a toilet, a message appeared on the screen informing me that if I wanted to see the results of the test I would have to pay a fee.

But wait, the test was supposed to be free! I said to myself, indignant. 

Then it dawned on me, pretty quickly really, give me some credit, well, shit.

The test was free, no one ever said that the results would be.

If I paid a stupid amount of money to get the results of my test what would I learn about myself?

That I'm a fool?

That I suck at math?

Would having a new IQ score make me feel smart enough?

Not likely.

At some point our opinions of ourselves become marred and distorted.

When did our view of ourselves begin to contort and bend?

When did we stop feeling good about being in our heads and start feeling stupid.

I look at my son. 

I wish he could see himself as I see him. 

He didn't always think he was stupid.

When he was a little guy he had no awareness of smart of dumb, worthy or worthless.

He was happy to just be and he learned easily and joyfully.

My son is brilliant, quirky, complex, compassionate, gentle.

He is kind, he is delightful, he is good.

Not something to be rendered, reduced or distilled into a tidy sum.

Nobody can be compacted to fit into such a small space.

Nobody.

Not me.

Not you.

Nobody.

Some numbers are useless.

The numbers on the scale, the number inside the waistband of your jeans, the balance in your bank account, or the score on an IQ test. 

We're always trying to reduce something incomprehensibly vast and unquantifiable into a simple equation with a concrete value, right, wrong.

It must be real and it must be either right or wrong. 

Attempt to quantify the infinite- "how loved, how smart, how much potential"

Attempt to deny the vastness of the infinite- "I've got that answer for you right here"

Like trying to record the weight of a soul

or the depth of a mother's love.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Writing Stuff: just thinking

I've been working on some stuff, writing stuff.

Not necessarily blog stuff, just stuff stuff.

The danger is that if I don't just write in a flurry and put it out there I don't finish anything.

I write something.

I put it away.

I come back to it.

I re-read.

I fix things that really need fixing.

Stupid grammatical errors, stupid spelling mistakes. 

I move things around that need to be moved.

I tweak and shuffle and rethink and rework

and I cut things.

I cut things I like and that stings a little but not as much as it used to.

This process continues and more and more things fall away.

Is this bit necessary?

Too wordy? repetitive?

Yes?

cut cut cut cut cut

Eventually I've got one word on the page,

fuck.

Fuck.

No surprise there but it is one of my favorite words. 

It's effective, it's sharp, it's simple.

But perhaps it's still too much.

Perhaps the fffff is unnecessary, or the uh, or the ck.

It's been said, the sounds have all been made before.

Maybe the desire for clarity and perfection is really an effort to keep my self quiet.

My internalized glare and admonition, be quiet.

Or maybe it's a lesson.

Maybe in response to the mindless jabber of our times, my deeper self realizes I'm just one more voice adding to the din and confusion.

No one is really listening.

No one is listening. 



the best writing is

a blank white page

Maybe the most profound thing we can say is nothing at all.



 
 





Thursday, September 6, 2012

Do not go gentle into that fucking fucked up shitty night, rage and piss and moan, kick people, damn it.

I haven't written anything in a week. 

I've been cranky.

I've been a cranky bitch and when I'm not being a cranky bitch, I'm sucking down huge quantities of carbs. I'm sucking carbs like a ... like a fucking carb sucking machine.

I'm telling you now, do not piss off the pissed off perimenopausal woman with PMS. 

Do not. 

I've had to deal with a larger number of ass holes than usual recently. 

They have only themselves to blame, being all ass holey near me when I'm in all my carb sucking cranky bitch glory.

If only they knew how much restraint I was showing. 

So my eyes glowed red and the tendons in my neck were taut, I raised my voice and may or may not have punched a wall or thrown a thing....

I didn't actually bite anyone, hard. 

Anyway, 

I'm feeling some better but, Jesus, this middle age thing is shit. 

Arthritis is acting up in my knee, in my foot, in my hands.

I'm all stiff and achy. 

I want to kick cute things. 


My sister took my elderly mom to the grocery store today and the tale she tells isn't pretty.

Mom giving nice people the hairy eyeball. 
Mom purposely crashing into other people's carts.
Mom saying mean things to the nice old man in the bread aisle. 
Mom saying mean things to the cashier. 
Mom saying mean things to everyone.
Mom, angry at the world, equal opportunity misanthrope.
 
As much as I want to run from the truth, I am my mother's daughter and it's not a stretch imagining myself in her place. 

I think there is a bitter old lady inside me clawing her gnarled stiff talon-hands, trying to get out. 

Like in Aliens. Only scarier. 

I think the bitter old lady just ate the skinny lady who has, until recently, inhabited my inner-self. 

The skinny lady had been patiently waiting to pop out all svelte and sexy at some point when that 60 pounds of baby weight I've been hauling around with me since my son was born nine years ago, shut up,  miraculously melted away.  

My cannibalistic internal cranky old woman is complaining that her recent meal of latent skinny lady was inadequate, was lacking in quantity and flavor and she's passing gas and belching loudly, like they do.

There is an angry old lady inside me just itching to get out.

She's complaining about the accommodations; cramped and and somehow drafty. 

She's complaining about the food; makes her sick and gassy.

She's waiting. 

Waiting. 

Getting ready to creak and groan and slip out of me and into my mother's orthopedic shoes. 

I don't like it.

It's sort of pissing me off.



Monday, August 27, 2012

Just don't call me Late to Dinner

A friend recently asked if I was ever called Maggie or if I'd always been a Margaret.

That got me thinking about my name.

I hate my name. 

Hate it.

I have never liked my name.

It seems fine to call other people Margaret.

It sounds agreeable enough when I say hello to another Margaret.

"Hello, Margaret!" I might say. And the name doesn't offend me.

It doesn't make me recoil or wretch.

It's just a name.

And a fine name at that.

But it's not for me.

I don't feel like a Margaret.

It doesn't fit me well. 

Hangs off me all funny and weird.

Can't ever seem to wear it comfortably.

I don't like to be called by name.

Frankly, it makes me feel sort of sick. 



When I was a chubby 3rd grader I decided I wanted to go by a nickname.
 
Peggy.

I wrote it in my clumsy curly cursive on the front inside cover of my books.

 
I said it out loud to myself in the mirror.

Peggy.

Peggy!

I liked it.

First of all Peggy doesn't sound anything like Margaret.

Margaret made me think of old ladies with tissues tucked in their cardigan sleeves.

I had recently made the acquaintance of  my name sake, my Great Aunt Margaret.

My deceased Aunt Margaret lying stiff and cold in a coffin.

Sitting on the hard shiny  wooden pew in the little church full of flowers and quietly weeping elderly relatives, my mother leaned over and whispered in my ear while nodding sadly toward the cold grey person in the hard shiny wooden coffin, "You were named after that lady." 

Well, what do you say to that? Nice to meet you?  Wish I had had the pleasure to meet you when you only had one foot in the grave?


Being a Margaret gave me the willies.

Peggy sounded fun and full of verve to me.

I desperately wanted to be fun and full of verve. 

Peggy sounded alive.

Alive was good.

So, one day early in the school year, not long after attending the funeral of Dear Old Dead Dead Dead Aunt Margaret, I stood in front of my class and said,  "I would like to be called Peggy from now on. Thank-you."


Peggy might have sounded alive and all that but really, Peggy isn't a good choice for a fat kid.


I might as well have handed the bullies a big stick and asked them to beat me. 

A few days later I  was back in front of the class, "I no longer wish to be called Piggy...Peggy. Please please stop. Please."

My classmates had short attention spans and it wasn't long before they started brutalizing a poor girl named Regina. 

But at least the chorus of Piggy snorts that followed me around the playground eventually subsided.

So that was good.


I guess.

I still wonder what happened to poor Regina. Anyway. 

I could never really shake the feeling that my name was dusty and old and cold and dead and smelled like moth balls.

But at least Margaret doesn't rhyme with vagina. 

 
Later in college, I met a nice young man.

He called me Nut Meg.

Meg is a nickname for Margaret obviously and I was completely fucking mad, so it worked.

He kindly dropped the Nut part. Not because I was suddenly not crazy but because he was a nice guy.

He called me Meg for a long time.

It almost stuck.

But then we broke up and I became Margaret again.

Dry as the grave covered in cobwebs Margaret.


I had a friend who called me Maggie.

I like Maggie, but Maggie sounds like a fun happy person.

Unlike my 8 year old self who wanted a vibrant name full of life and laughs, my 18 year old self was morose and macabre.

Maggie seemed too chipper.

Maggie seemed too perky.

I wanted to slap myself whenever someone called me Maggie. 


Of all the nicknames I've had, Meg has suited me best I think.

Crazy Bitch is a close second, but it's sort of clunky. Doesn't roll off the tongue quite as well as Meg. 


At my age it seems silly to start going by a different name.

I'm getting closer and closer to the age when I'll be stuffing wads of Kleenex in my sweater sleeves. 

Eventually my name will fit me.

Soon.

Soon enough.
 


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bad case of the stupids going around

Someone please make the stupid stop.

I can't even believe the crap that's been in the news lately.

This Todd Akin dude and his comments about "legitimate rape" not leading to pregnancy because women physiologically have ways to "deal with that"---

On a good day I have to work hard at being coherent, but when I 'm pissed, like now, and I've been simmering at high heat in pissy with the lid on tight the top blows and I want to lash out and start calling names and throwing punches.


Todd Akin is a miserable ass.

He's a douche-bag.

No, wait, he's not good enough to be a douche bag.

I actually can't think of a word that adequately conveys the depth of my disgust for the enormity of his stupidity.


This is what we get when we let science go by the wayside, basic science at that.

Was Todd excused from health class the day they explained all about the lady parts and the feller parts and the ins and outs of reproduction?

Rape is bad.

Rape isn't about reproduction, it's not about sex even. 

All rape is violence.

There is no "legitimate" rape.

All rapists are vile scum sucking shit holes and all victims of rape are victims of a violent heinous crime. 

No one can make a distinction which rapes count as real rape and which rapes don't fit the definition.
 
Rape is rape.

What part of that is difficult to comprehend.
 
More stupid...

idiots who start yammering on about  their Bible and God and how marriage equality is morally wrong.

First, I know gay Christians and they are such good Christians they don't hate anyone. Not even the people who hate them.

I am not a Christian and this whole God says this God says that is bunk to me.

I don't CARE.

The foundation of our democracy is the Constitution not a book of fairy tales and bed time stories.

Time is not on the side of the narrow-minded and hateful.

Those who seek to deny equal rights to people today are going to look like the greasy haired baton weilding thugs who were certain God didn't want black children in school with their dear little white angels or that eating at the same lunch counter was against God's grand plan back during the fight for civil rights for African Americans in the 60s.

I look back at the photos of these hateful assholes and I'm shocked and appalled.  Shocked by their stupidity, appalled by their hatred.

Eventually  when footage of  the homophobics shrieking hysterically about the danger of gay marriage is featured in the inevitable Ken Burns documentary about LGBT civil rights, those bigots are going to look like backward neanderthal shits.

Also people are going to make fun of their hair and clothes, but that's beside the point.

Clothes and hairdos go out of fashion.

I wish stupidity and hatred would go out of style too.


There's a lot more stupid going around.

An epidemic of stupid is spreading across the land.

I can't delve further. It's overwhelming. 

I want nothing more than to cover my ears and close my eyes and have all the stupid go away.

That's not going to happen.



Stupid is as stupid does.

Seems like stupid has been very busy lately. 


 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Some thoughts about motherhood, housework and attempting to live a creative life

There is this popular self published writer who has a writing blog. He has written a couple of e-books about being a writer and recently finished a book of fiction which is available on Amazon.

I know because he has mentioned it several times in his blog. In case I somehow missed it the first 15 times he brought it up.

He's marketed himself and inspired a lot of people and he's inspired me, I'll admit it.

I have to say though the fact that he is a well read blogger and self published author shouldn't make him a guru. He does seem to fashion himself as an expert and that grates on me. But hey, he's doing something right.


Basically his good advice is as follows:

Find the thing you want to do, say, to be a writer.

Label yourself. I'm a writer!

Keep writing.

Write everyday, put yourself out there were people can see your work, be consistent be prolific be self disciplined.

So far so good.

Today however, in my inbox there is a  little "this is my process, this is my morning writing routine you should have a writing routine too" blog piece and it hit me wrong.

He lost me at the first.

He gets up when his infant son wakes up hungry, around 5 a.m. or so, he hands the babe off to mother to be fed and the Super Writer Man is off to shower, drink his coffee, make himself a nice high protein breakfast and write.

As a mother and someone who likes to write, as a mostly stay at home mom who makes some extra dough on the side doing manual labor, as a woman who's pretty much offered up the last 14 years of my life to the needs of my children, his list of 10 things he does every morning leaves me chapped.

If  his baby son is breast fed, well, of course, he can't feed the baby.

And maybe when he's making his high protein breakfast he makes a nice omelet for his wife and french presses her a cup of coffee too before he heads into his sacred writing lair to seek out his muse so he can write his very important blog posts and ebooks.

Quite frankly though, I'm jealous. 

As a mother, unpublished writer, wife, manual laborer, I will now embark on sharing the core of my morning writing ritual.


1. Wake up. Wearing yesterday's clothes. Too tired last night after writing all night to change into pjs.

2. Try to smile and sincerely welcome my children to their new day.

3. Prepare a healthy high protein breakfast for the children. Start making a cup of coffee.

4. Let the dog out, feed the dog. Feed the cats.

5. Pop the first load of laundry into the washing machine.

6. Realize I have not finished making my cup of coffee.

7. Spill coffee grounds on floor.

8. Sweep floor.

9. Empty the dishwasher in order to fill it with the breakfast dishes.

10. Realize I have not yet finished making that cup of coffee.

11. Help my son find underwear.

12. Insist he put them on.

13. and so on. 


Now since I write catch as catch can, perhaps I could relate my night time writing routine.


1. Get kids into bed no later than 10 p.m.

2. Sit down to write.

3. Ideas begin to materialize as I recall the adventures I've had during the day. The scintillating episode with    the coffee grounds on the floor, or the underwear thing.  That's good stuff. I dig in.

4. Moments later, consciously register that a child is yelling at me.

5. Holler, I'll be there in a minute!

6. Try to write one more sentence before the child yells louder.

7.  Process the sound of a child yelling louder.

8. Holler louder, I'll be there in a MINUTE!

9. Try to speed type that one fabulous sentence or articulate that one key idea before the child yells louder still.

10. Run upstairs to get kid water or tuck the covers in better or turn on the night light or turn off  the night light or turn the night light on again or off. Realize I'm being duped. Sigh. Kiss forehead of naughty child.

11. Remember they need lunches packed for tomorrow.

12. Run down and pack lunches.

13. Think, what the fuck am I doing with my life. Jesus Chriminy Christmas.

14. Throw the final load of laundry into the washer.

15. Pile clean dry laundry on the couch and start folding.

16. Think, I could do all this faster if I had a cup of coffee or two. Or three.

17. Register that it is nearly 11 p.m. and drinking a cup of coffee or three will keep me up through the night.

18. Decide it's ok because at least the kids will be asleep and I'll be able to think about something besides
my children and their needs.

19. Leave the laundry half folded.

20. Make a cup of coffee.

21. Sit at computer.

22. Write about my kids.

23. Stay up all night.

24. Ponder the worth of sleeping from 4:00 a.m. to 6 a.m.

25. Slump into bed wearing the same clothes. Realize I might want to get around to changing my clothes tomorrow, which is really today.

26. As I close my eyes, Curse the fuck who hands his hungry baby to his wife so he can go and write.


Muddled Thoughts at 3:46 Monday Morning.



I don't want to think about anything real.

I don't want to talk to anyone.

I don't want to hear anything,

I don't want to read anything,

I sure as hell don't want to write anything.

I don't want to be a wife or a parent or a daughter.

I long for my youth and my single chin and my neck.

I really miss  having a neck...

you walk around thinking,

Hey, I'm ok and then you see pictures of yourself and think, well FUHHHHCK.

How the hell did I pick up all these extra chins and where's my neck?



My friend Ruth passed away.

She recently turned 88.

She misplaced a couple of years and maintained she was 86 but no. 

I could kick myself for not ever getting around to making poor dear Ruth the popcorn I promised to bring her weeks ago.

Isn't that they way  though. Regret. You forgot the lessons you learned before.

I forgot I do not have all the time in the world.

My time is up.

I lied to the kids who also felt guilty for not bringing Ruth her popcorn.

Told them the doctors said she couldn't have it.

If lying to spare my children guilt on top of grief makes me a bad mother, so be it.


I want to run away and hide.

I feel that I must shore my self up, box myself in, close my self off, shut down.


I'm all past raging and arm waving.

All I can hear is the tick of that cheap clock Mom gave me, the one she won at bingo.

All I can hear is the clang and crash of the dishes in the kitchen,
the hum of the dryer.

Back to real life, back to it.

Back to daily visits with my aging mother.

Doing her laundry, taking out her trash, changing the cat litter, running to the store to buy more fucking cat food.

If I wasn't sort of nice I'd drop kick those furry little shit dispensers through the window.

It's back to being the good one, the nice one, the patient one.


Everything feels significant.


Maybe it's the late hour.

Maybe it's loss.

Maybe it's the cheap clock marking the seconds passing.

This is your life passing,

TICK. TICK. TICK.

Crooked face, awkward jerking arms.

HERE. YOU. ARE. 



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Random thoughts about vacation and stuff...

I don't think I've been on a real vacation since I was a kid.

And even that was rare. 

My husband and I spent a long weekend away for our honeymoon.

A friend got us a night in a bed and breakfast and then we spent 2 days in Portland, Maine. Went to a record shop, ate at a Greek restaurant and went to a book store.

Since we've been married we've taken a  few trips to Salt Lake City, Utah to visit my mother in law.

That my dears was not a vacation.

Unless a week in hell with Satan herself is a vacation.

We'd be miserable the moment we got there and about ready to have ourselves volentarily committed when we returned. I am not even exagerating.

We have spent a nice few days camping with the kids. That's a vacation. Except we're so friggin poor that we'd worry about having enough gas money to get home, we'd wonder how we were going to pay the entrance fee into the National Park. We'd worry if we'd have enough food for the kids and enough money for the camp fire wood...but other than that it was fun.

This year my husband and his closest dearest friends from high school turned 50.

My husband and his friends are all born in a two week period spanning the end of July and into the first week of August.

My husband's good friend who has done well working in the computer industry on the west coast invited Brad to a big birthday party at his home in Hood River, Oregon.

If we can't afford the entrance fee to Acadia National Park in Maine, there is no way we can afford to fly Brad out to the west coast for a birthday party.

And his friend said, don't worry about it Brad. I'll get you all out here.

And so, we went.

And it was the most wonderful 10 days ever.

EVER.


Harry's birthday party was a blast.

No cheese curls and macaroni salad but other than that, it was grand. And despite the fact that I am a pudgy gal with bad hair and cheap clothes and I work sporadically cleaning toilets, these successful folks were kind, didn't treat me like a dumb ass. There were wealthy people dressed in gorgeous clothes, there were wealthy folks wearing gym socks sandles and shorts. There were not rich folks hanging out and ultimately you couldn't tell who was who.

It dawned on me. These successful folks are mostly nerds who have made their money with their big brains. Nerds are not often known for their fashion choices.

People don't seem to make the same assumptions about one another out there.

I can't imagine showing up at a catered shindig here in Maine and not feeling completely out of place. Many people in Maine who have wealth are old money, trust fund kids, or they own a landfill and build big ugly houses and hang tight to the class structure with an I made it big and now I'm the top of the heap attitude.

An exception would of course be Stephen and Tabitha King, but that's not where I'm going with my little story.

Class issues here in Maine are difficult.

You either come from the right family or you don't.

There aren't many places a smart kid can go here in Maine and make a good living using their super nerd skills.



Going west was a nice chance to spend time with Brad's wonderful friends, but it was also an opportunity to see my oldest brother whom I haven't seen in almost 20 years.

My brother recently married and I would be meeting my sister-in-law for the first time and I was pretty excited.

My brother and sister in law took us on a drive to see the Pacific Ocean and it was wonderful in every way.

There were caves and trails to explore and anemones and star fish and what seemed like miles of soft white sand that squeaked like January snow underfoot.

We had a great time and my kids enjoyed their Uncle Jack and Aunt Onie and the feelings were mutual. 

No baggage, no judging, but a healthy kids will be kids approach to my quirky children.

And I was grateful.

With Uncle Jack and Aunt Onie we headed off into a trendy neighborhood in Portland known as the Alphabet District, cafes, up scale boutiques..

I was ready to be eyeballed by the staff of these little shops, the usual greeting one seems to get in sheeshee establishments in Maine, the look, "Can you afford to buy anything here? I think not."

But no.

Into Gooran Brother's hat shop.

These hats are gorgeous and fucking expensive.

In Maine we would have been followed around the store by an imperious vulture of a sales clerk, but there the staff were chatty and personable and didn't wince when the kids tried on hats.

The soap shop staff washed our arms and applied pricy lotions and didn't seem put out when we didn't buy anything. Being from New England where we don't touch loved ones in public much less strangers, this physical contact with the young staff at the soap place left me speechless.And it didn't seem weird. Hey, let's have your arm. You've got to try this stuff...


The thing I noticed on our vacation is that people just don't look at each other funny out west like they do here.

Gym socks loafers and shorts? Cool.

Greased handle bar mustache and fedora? Cool.

Transsexual coffee house waitress? Cool.

Chatty little boy making fart jokes in a fancy restaurant? Cool.


My daughter wore bright pink shorts, a bright blue t-shirt, green and grey knee high socks, sport sandles, and a beautiful white straw cloche hat, a gift from Uncle Jack and Aunt Onie.

Here in Maine, she'd have gotten stared at, she'd have gotten side long glances and smirky smirks.

Not in Portland, Oregon.

Not one judgematal look, not one snicker. NOT ONE.



And if you think Maine is a beautiful place you should go take a look at western Oregon.
 
Everywhere you look it's gorgeous.

The beaches in Hood River are free and open to the public.

The beaches on the coast are free and open to the public.
 
Start from Portland, head west drive an hour and 1/2 and you're running along the beautiful sandy beaches of the Pacific Ocean.

Starting in Portland, head East and you come to the breathtaking Multanoma falls, drive a little further and in less than an hour you are on the shores of the Hood River.
 
You can swim, you can kayak, wind surf, kite board, paddle board or just sit on a rock and take it all in.

While we were there the temps were often in the high 90s. But there was no humidity, so while the locals were talking about being uncomfortable in the heat I, some one who detests summer weather and hot sunny days, I was thinking, gosh, this is pretty nice.

You get hot you sweat, the breeze blows, you feel cooler.

Here in Maine, you get hot, you sweat, the humidity is 80% there is no breeze, you feel greasy and sticky and hate everybody.

Coming back to Maine is depressing.

It's stifling here.

Things feel stagnant and cramped and bleak.

There is a down side to a great vacation.

It's called going home.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A little cat poem today because cats make the world more beautiful...

unless they happen to be horking up a hairball. 
Nobody can be gorgeous all the time.

A little cat poem about a little cat



The cat sleeps in my chair

at the table

I tip the chair slowly

imagining  she will slip gently down

land easily on her feet

and find another spot to lick her paws

and loll and purr and sleep


her claws cling to the wicker seat

with the tenacity of a burdock in a wool sock

fibers of the wicker chair snag and snap

enough for her to lose her grip

the cat stands for a moment

indignant

she slinks off

there are more comfortable places to sleep

couch

or

bed

I sit with my toast and my book

realize

I have left my coffee in the kitchen

30 seconds

or less

to walk to the kitchen and walk

back

I return

to find

the cat

curled and sleeping

in my chair


Sunday, July 22, 2012

I'm with Camus on this one: At the very least, He's left the building


I never went to church as a kid.

I sort of wanted to go to church at one point, but being the type of person who chafes and bucks at rules, being the sort of person who gets cranky when told what to do, I got over the desire to pursue a religion pretty quickly.

Not long after I graduated from high school, I ran into an old school friend who was a very pious born again Christian.

She had recently started college at a small Christian school and she glowed with a happiness that was and still is completely foreign to me. Her faith warmed her, it fed her.  

She told me this little story about how good God was to her.

Seems her school was just sqeeking by, there wasn't much money for niceties like food, heat, and toilet paper.

The girls dorm was out of toilet paper, when behold! Somehow, God provided! A case of squeezably soft Charmine appeared, was delivered right to their door.

Wow! Isn't God good?! Exclaimed my beatific friend.

This story seemed somewhat anti-climactic.

I had heard stories of water into wine, bread into fishes, manna from heaven.

Toilet paper just didn't seem to be in the same league. Although really now that I think of it, conjuring toilet paper out of the ether is a significant accomplishment.

Also, I was thinking that while the college girls were squeeling in delight over the God given gift of toilet tissue, the actual real person who bought and delivered the stuff might have felt somewhat ignored and neglected.

Moving on.

I have often wondered what it would be like to be a person of faith
I imagine there would be a wonderful calm, a sense of rightness in the world, things unfolding and happening according to God's plan if you only follow God's will, God's word.

Anything bad that happens is God's will, a test of your faith, and nothing you can't endure.

Anything good that happens is attributed to a loving God bestowing His gifts upon a deserving disciple.

Anything bad that happens to people of another faith or no faith at all, is just desserts, punishment for not believing. 

I have a friend who is a Born Again Christian.

I love my friend's optimism. 

Nothing seems to slow her down, dampen her spirits.

After all, God is on her side.

It's like when you had the best kickball player in the 5th grade on your team, you didn't worry, you knew no matter what, your team was going to walk back in from recess heads held high, victorious.

My friend believes in miracles.

She feels that God answers her prayers daily.

Examples of these daily miracles include:

getting an unexpected check in the mail. What a generous God!

finding a parking place close to the store. You're a rockin' god, God!

Scoring the last bottle of Tide Fresh Scent detergent at the Walmart! Oops, He did it again!

The cantaloupe ripens right in time for Sunday brunch! Woot in the name of the Lord!

She chalks all these coincidences to her unshakable belief in the All Mighty.

I am not mocking her.

Well, I sort of am, but I'm not trying to be mean.

Her life is good, she is happy, she feels connected to a loving God.

For a moment I think, Wow! Maybe there is something to this miracle thing.

But being a skeptic with not one ounce of faith in a traditional God, I can't go there.

I can't believe.

I mean, why would God be involved in these mundane details? Parking places? Soap?

I would think that after a few thousand years of this sort of miracle granting, He would get bored.

I would think God would be busy elsewhere. 

I think of the young woman who narrowly escaped being shot by a crazed gunman in a Toronto mall only to be shot and killed by another crazed gunman in a movie theater in another country a few weeks later.

I think of the woman shot in the throat, lying paralyzed, in a coma, unaware that her 6 year old daughter is dead.

I think of the others who were shot and killed in that movie theater that night.
Popcorn, teargas, gun fire. 

I think of all of the atrocities that occur every moment of every day all over the world.
Someone somewhere is hurting, hungry, frightened
Right now. Right now.

Where are you God?

Are you there, God?

Yeah, I'm gonna say it:

It's Me, Margaret.

Are You wasting Your time bestowing cheap gifts on Your devotees while all around You people suffer?

Many of those suffering love You deeply and pray to You. Why do You ignore their entreaties for food, shelter, relief from pain?
 
So, hey, God, Big Guy, I have to ask you a personal question.

Are You Omnipotent or impotent? 

Are You the God of the Cosmos or the god of the sandbox. 

You are either all powerful and don't intervene when You are most needed because You do not care or you care but are not all powerful.

God if You can deliver cases of toilet paper and checks and parking places and laundry soap, why can't You stop bad people from killing innocent people?

Why didn't You push that innocent child out of harms way, stop the bullet that killed a young man defending the woman he loved.

Why did You choose not to grant a young woman enough grace to escape with her life a second time?

Why did You even let this deranged monster start shooting?

You could have smote him.

You have a record of doing that smiting thing.

You could have jammed the gun before he had a chance to fire off the first round

You could have intervened and prevented this abomination from being born.

A powerful and loving God would do that.

If there is a God, and I doubt there is, and He is indeed All Mighty but chooses not to intervene on behalf of the innocent, I want no part of him.

If there is a God, and I doubt there is, I think he is a small god, a charlatan, a slight of hand conman,  bestowing cheap gifts in exchange for blind devotion.

In the name of all who suffered and begged for mercy, who crouched in terror in the dark and called out, in the name of those who have prayed to a deaf god, 

Amen. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I'm so nearsighted that when I take off my glasses I can't see anything.
I can't make out the facial features of those around me, can't see pictures on the wall.

The whole world is out of focus and frankly, it I feel adrift and a bit lost. 

I can see my hands if I hold them very close to my face, though.

When my glasses are off, I stare at my hands. It's strangely comforting.

The other evening I had taken off my glasses while sitting at the table talking with my daughter.

My daughter brought this weird hand staring thing to my attention, like a 13 year old daughter would.

Anyway, 
____________________________________________________________________________

thick knuckled
callused
from scrubbing
and sweeping
and lifting
and digging

have
bathed babies,
wiped bottoms,
wiped noses,
smoothed the damp hair of a fevered son and daughter,

have
reached down into
dark places
dirty toilets
clogged drains

are scarred
and marked

wedding ring slipped on my finger
when I was a different person
with different hands
holds my left ring finger like a belt cinched too tight.

Clenched to fists,
have pounded tables,
punched at doors,

Cupped,
have held water
have caressed the beloved curve of a beloved face

Fingers outstretched
reach toward
another hand
a small hand
a cool hand
to hold
to twine fingers
for a moment
before pulling away 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I learned a lesson years ago.

It wasn't a good lesson and it hasn't served me well in the long run, but in the short term it was useful and made my life easier.

The lesson, might as well spit it out already, was this:

Do not try very hard.

Eventually people will expect less of you.

You can slide by while exerting minimal effort, you hardly need break a sweat.

If things don't turn out very well you have the convenient excuse, "Well, it wasn't my best effort" or "I wasn't really trying."

Anything less than a perfect result when I was really trying  left me thinking, that's the BEST I can  do?
I imagined others around me were shaking their heads and chuckling in disbelief, Wow, if that's the best she's got, whoa! God help her!

Put on a nice dress, comb my hair, do the make-up and look in the mirror.  That's the BEST I can do? Woof!

Write a story, put my heart and soul into it and wind up with a  piece of drivel? 

Why bother?

If the best I have to offer is substandard, why offer my best?

My 10th best effort is nearly as good as piece of poo as my soul exposing sweat soaked best best effort.

I can easily brush off the criticism with a hearty guffaw and  a breezy little, I know it sucked! I wasn't really trying anyway.

The lesson I learned was, knock yourself around before anyone else has a chance to.

Anyone who wants to hurt you will look at the bruises and realize there's no sport in knocking you around a bit more.

And they'll move on.

The only problem with my little plan is that I haven't gotten anywhere.

I've gotten lazy.

I care too much what other people think.

And that's not good.

I'm paralyzed by mediocrity and terrified of trying to succeed for fear I'll fail.

I'm afraid my best isn't very good. 

So, anyhow.

The Unicycle is in for a bit of a make over.

I'm going to try something new.

I'm going to drop the, Hey, I'm a sucky loser, so nahnahnah, you can't hurt me, facade.

It's only covering a wimpering weeping insecure gal who may or may not have much to offer.

I really don't know.

I don't know what's in there.

Might be better than I imagined.

I won't bother to explore other options.

The other options I'm not going to explore (watch me pretend not to explore them) are the ones that prove that I'm really nothing more than a sucky loser, or that my best effort is crap.

I'm not going to go there.

It's going to take a while to figure it all out.

But I'll give it my best effort.

It'll have to be good enough. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Life is sort of a game of solitaire sometimes maybe

I've hit a bit of a dry spot.

I know that if I want to write, I can't just sit around playing solitaire on my Kindle and then lie to myself that I'm not writing because I'm too busy.

I think I'm not writing this week because everything feels too big and scary and I don't want to think about the big and the scary.

I want to put the Queen of Hearts on the King of Clubs and the two of spades on the ace of diamonds and call it a day.

Recently I went into a little book store here in my little town and while looking for a travel guide they didn't have, I found a nice book about writing, The Writer's Idea Book, by Jack Heffron.

He's a good writer.

It's good to read about writing because I can fool myself into thinking I'm working on my writing.

But really I'm lying on my bed with the fan on, casually flipping pages and letting every helpful bit of writerly advice evaporate away as soon as I get to the end of each paragraph.

So tonight I have a few minutes with my thoughts and I'm fighting the urge to pull up a nice mind numbing game of Solitaire.

In an effort to focus on writing, I'm blocking the sounds of my children with headphones and some distracting music. No irony there.

And I've poured myself a glass of wine, a gift from a friend, so it's actually good wine, not like what I buy myself. See me continue to distract myself.

Clever of me.

I have pulled out Mr. Jack Heffron's book in the hopes he'll help me come up with an idea that has nothing to do with the big scary stuff that keeps hounding me.

The prompt that I opened the book to was, "Explain your philosophy of life..." and then he offered a paragraph of very good suggestions for the task, but I'm too antsy to read the rest of the paragraph.

So, here it is, off the cuff.

My philosophy of life.

Uh.

Hum.

I'm imagining that I should write the idealized version of my philosophy, not what my philosophy looks like in action.

I could check back with Jack, but I think I'll just wing it.

And so:

1. Just wing it. I believe in just winging it instead of planning too far ahead.
 Life is unpredictable, why waste precious time making plans when you could be playing solitaire.

2. Hug your kids. You may suck as a parent most of the time, but if you hug those dear little weasels, hopefully they will forgive you when they are 40 years old and sitting in their therapists office. You'll likely be dead or senile by then, but hey.

3. Tell the truth.

4. Re-define truth to suit your needs when ever necessary.

5. No, number 4 is a joke.

6. Remember you are not perfect. You're not even close. Strive every day to be as perfectly imperfect as you can be.

7. When you feel sad, listen to music.

8.  Sing to your kids.

9.  Books are good. Surround yourself with books. Also, read them. 

10.  Attempt to forgive assholes.

11. Give yourself credit for at least trying to forgive assholes.

12. Attempt to forgive yourself when you realize you've been an asshole.

13. Try hard not to be an asshole.

14. Admit when you are wrong.

15. Take responsibility for your mistakes. Don't make excuses. 

16. Don't wait for the day to come when you're smarter, prettier, thinner, stronger, happier, to do the things you want to do. That day may or may not come.

Heck, let's just go out on a limb and say, the day won't come.

You're as smart and as thin as you'll ever be. Who cares.

Your smarts and your looks and your size and your emotional state are irrelevant.

Attempt the things you want to do.

Do that now. 

You're adequate.

You'll look back and regret the time wasted.


You'll kick yourself for wasting all that sitting on the couch playing solitaire.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

I have a little over four years.

Then my daughter will be 18 and she'll be moving on to another part of her life.

I'm visualizing some sort of planetary shift; a realization that I am not the center of her universe and she will no longer be the center of mine.

This makes me sad beyond words. And yet I know it's right. 

It's profound how we come to be, the potential that manifests as cells divide and differentiate.

Every beautiful thing about this child was contained within the fragile walls of minute cells. The mysteries of the universe holding breath and then the miracle of her. 

She is perhaps no more miraculous than any other child, but she is mine, and to me, she is every holy thing. 

The time we have together like this, in this place, is nearing an end.

She has already eclipsed me.

That is as it should be and I am glad.

She has just now in the past week grown past my height, and when she puts her arm around me, it's over my shoulder, not across my back.

She still asks me to help to brush her hair some mornings before school, and I find myself reaching up to part her hair instead of looking down into the tangle. 

She'll still reach for my hand when we walk together, not because she's afraid to cross the street alone or she's afraid of getting lost.

My daughter is fearless.

She's not afraid of anything, not the future, not afraid to find her place in the world.

She's looking the universe dead in the eye. She's not going to blink first. 

My daughter reaches out to hold my hand because she loves me. She doesn't suffer fools lightly, and yet she is uncommonly gentle with me, the biggest fool that ever was.

A simple gesture.

She reaches out for my hand.

I hold tight.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


And today, a poem. Because it's spring and grey and the birds are singing. 
This is a first draft sort of thing...



Before Language



print

mud

memory

before language

the gingko leaf

the footprint

the bone

now rock

transformed

the same

only harder

decay

imbedded in earth

child hands

dig the muddy bank

remember digging

and small white shells