“How I dreaded the white page I had to foul with ink!” ~ George Gissing

Husum Falls on White Salmon River, USFWS

                   

“May one day
soon someone pull us out into the rain
where all that vanished becomes legible again
and all we’ve struggled to decipher fades away at last.” ~ Dean Young, from “Disappearing Ink”

Wednesday afternoon. Rainy.

A very bad night for my body. I haven’t felt this kind of relentless pain in a while, and I’m not used to it, which means that I’m noticing it more than usual. Let me put it this way—those stupid smiley charts the nurses show you to ask for your level of pain, 1 through 10, with 10 being the worst? I’m never, ever at a zero. Never. Not exaggerating here. At a minimum, I exist somewhere between a 3 and 4, so I’m used to that, can handle that. But this? This is hovering at a 6 with spikes to a 7 or 8. Haven’t been in this state for years. Not used to this any more.

American Goldfinch, USFWS

C’est la vie . . .

I love the rain, love the sound of it, love to hear the songbirds who continue to sing during a spring rainstorm, but hate the muddy paws and how the rain brings out the dog smell in the house. I know that once we tear up the old carpeting in the living and dining rooms and refinish the floors that the old dog smell will pretty much go away, but for now, it’s an omnipresent reminder of wet dog . . .

Speaking of birds, I bought myself a bird feeder several weeks ago, just something simple, not the cedar one that I’m really hankering for, but it’s nice for now. I hung it on a shepherd’s crook on the corner of the porch so that I can see the birds. The biggest problem is that it’s not high enough, so it’s not attracting a lot of birds. But today I saw a goldfinch. How spectacular. I used to have a thistle feeder just for the goldfinches. If we ever build the overhang on the back patio, I’m going to have my different feeders again, one for thistle, one for sunflower seed, and one for mixed feed.

If ever . . .

“Once it happened, as I lay awake at night, that I suddenly spoke in verses, in verses so beautiful and strange that I did not venture to think of writing them down, and then in the morning they vanished; and yet they lay hidden within me like the hard kernel within an old brittle husk.” ~ Hermann Hesse, Steppenwolf (trans. Basil Creighton)

This is the second quote that I’ve used in as many days that has included the word husk. Just commenting.

Laysan Albatross over Water, USFWS

Somehow this spring I managed to let my lilac bush come into bloom and wither without ever noticing. I absolutely hate that. I love fresh lilacs, love to put them in cups around the house, but not this year, I suppose. My peonies are blooming, and their tissue petals are so fragrant. I have them in the living room, bathroom, and our bedroom. Unfortunately, they are not fragrant enough to overpower the dog smell . . .

Last night I had a mucho strange dream: I was back in the apartment that frequents my dreams. I had moved back into it after my ex had vacated it. Not sure of the circumstances that caused the situation. I was wandering around the apartment, and I began to notice all of these incredible details: There was this beautiful tile work in the kitchen, completely covering one wall; a claw-footed tub was sitting along the wall in the kitchen. A little nook off the kitchen housed a beautiful wooden desk with lots of cubbies. And my reaction was to be extremely put out, as in how could he do all of this beautiful work here and never lift a hand in our house?

Then I found out (and this is extremely weird) that the apartment had been used for major parties, the sketchy kind. I found a wardrobe filled with tacky formal dresses for women. The wardrobe was behind an old refrigerator. In the midst of this, I couldn’t find any of my coffee mugs, and I realized that I didn’t have any dog food for the puppy. My mother was there, as was a friend of hers who is quite ill, and a neighbor to whom I had lent a copy of  The Count of Monte Cristo. This neighbor does not exist, but in the dream she had a pet owl that turned bright green when she stroked his feathers . . .

“Writing is a form of therapy. Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic fear which is inherent in the human situation.” ~ Graham Greene

So, bad news. Remember when Corey was sent home from Lithuania, and he had found out all of those things about the company? He had decided to ignore the rumors and throw his lot in with them, and I agreed that it was a good decision. Well . . . pretty reliable rumblings that the company is in financial trouble. They’ve sold their Pacific ship, and their other ship is in the yard—again, which leaves the ship that Corey is on and a tugboat. And as I’ve said, the one that he’s on needs work. Do the math—they aren’t making any money.

Spring Sunset at Ridgefield, USFWS

I’m trying not to fret too much over this news, but damn, can we get a break here? Corey is working, making good money, had planned to stay with this company to get some deep-sea time so that he could go for his third mate’s license on a big ship . . . The best laid plans of mice and men? Is that what this is?

Fate is fickle. Life is a no-holds barred free-for-all cage match with no rules, no set round times, and absolutely no referees. Corey and I are tag teaming against André the Giant at his optimum (yes, I know he’s dead, but you get the point). And yes, this metaphor is stupid, but so is what’s going on. But even though everything feels like those bad dreams in which it is impossible to wake oneself, I refuse to give in.

Sounds bold, doesn’t it? Don’t call me on it. This thing called life is not a sprint, but a marathon. Sorry, I keep talking/writing in metaphors today.

“This face had no use for light, took none of it,
Grew cavernous against stars, bore into noon
A dark of midnight by its own resources.” ~ Josephine Miles, from “Made Shine”

Let’s see . . . what else is going on around here? Brett starts summer school next week, and oh yes, we can’t get financial aid for summer. Another bonus. But he really needs to take two classes this summer so that he’ll be caught up enough to begin his major classes in the fall. The money? Hmm . . . . Possibly the tax return, but oh yes, that’s been held up another eight to fourteen weeks . . . Just grand.

Barred Owl at Malheur National Wildlife Reserve, USFWS

Ask my ex to help his son with college? You’re joking, right? After the kids’ eighteenth birthdays, obligations went out the window. Now, anything that comes their way is a bonus, and everything else be damned.

Sorry, bitterness showing.

What else? Oh yes, Eamonn, who has until recently been cooperating in helping around the house while Corey is gone, has reverted. By that I mean that I’m getting heavy-duty attitude regarding the chores for which he volunteered. His logic? He’s working full time, so why should he have to take out the trash and recycling? You would think that I asked him to put on a new roof. I’m such a demanding mother. He gets clean laundry, Internet access, cable, food, help with his car insurance. Damn, what was I thinking in reminding him to take out the trash?

Sorry, more bitterness showing. Bitter kind of day. Dark kind of day. The pain and bad news are converging, brewing, coalescing, resulting in one premium foul mood.

“I imagine this midnight moment’s forest:
Something else is alive
Beside the clock’s loneliness
And this blank page where my fingers move.” ~ Ted Hughes, from “The Thought-Fox”

Actually, today is kind of like a scene from a David Lynch movie. Do you remember “Twin Peaks”? Remember the opening credits pulling back from the mountains? Remember the complete insanity of it all, how it was in stark contradiction to the beauty of the natural surroundings? The pie and coffee, the dream sequences, the clues within clues? I never did figure out who killed Laura Palmer. That show used to leave me stupefied and feeling completely lost. I think, no, I’m fairly certain that’s how Lynch intended it to be.

Rainbow at Quilcene National Fish Hatchery Looking South toward Mount Walker, USFWS

So today is my David Lynch day. I think that there may be clues out there somewhere as to what’s going to come, but I surely can’t decipher them. The rain? The rain that I loved at the beginning of this post? Now it just reminds me of Washington State, not that I’ve ever been there (but I actually do want to go to the Pacific Northwest). Rain, overcast, bleh.

Actually, there is a point here. David Lynch is big into dream sequences and dream interpretation. I, as you know, am constantly talking about my dreams, what happens, and what they might mean. In many ways, my dreams fall over into my real life as the mood I’m in when I awaken is often tied to what happened in the dream (Corey says that I get mad at him because of something he has done in a dream, and unfortunately, illogically, this is true). But  Lynch’s work is often open-ended and open to interpretation, kind of like today.

In Lynch’s movie Mulholland Drive (not Mulholland Falls with Nick Nolte)—a film not for people who like plot, linear movement, or logic—there are a few scenes in which people are wearing rabbit heads, like the kinds of animal heads men used to wear in the Victorian era, for some strange reason. Anyway, I think that I might actually have better vision if I put on a rabbit head. Or not.

In that movie, the female lead has a bad case of amnesia and spends a lot of time going places (like Winkies, I kid you not) and looking at things and talking to people in an attempt to figure out what happened. You know, I can’t actually remember how she got amnesia. Amnesia about the amnesia, if you will. The point of all of this? I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to do so. So like most David Lynch things, I’m just going to end, in the middle, as it were.

More later. Peace.

Images taken from USFWS Pacific’s photostream on Flickr Creative Commons

Music by Pink, “I Don’t Believe You”

                   

Up

You wake up filled with dread.
There seems no reason for it.
Morning light sifts through the window,
there is birdsong,
you can’t get out of bed.It’s something about the crumpled sheets
hanging over the edge like jungle
foliage, the terry slippers gaping
their dark pink mouths for your feet,
the unseen breakfast—some of it
in the refrigerator you do not dare
to open—you do not dare to eat.What prevents you? The future. The future tense,
immense as outer space.
You could get lost there.
No. Nothing so simple. The past, its destiny
and drowned events pressing you down,
like sea water, like gelatin
filling your lungs instead of air.Forget that and let’s get up.
Try moving your arm.
Try moving your head.
Pretend the house is on fire
and you must run or burn.
No, that one’s useless.
It’s never worked before.Where is it coming from, this echo,
this huge No that surrounds you,
silent as the folds of the yellow
curtains, mute as the cheerful

Mexican bowl with its cargo
of mummified flowers?
(You chose the colours of the sun,
not the dried neutrals of shadow.
God knows you’ve tried.)

Now here’s a good one:
You’re lying on your deathbed.
You have one hour to live.
Who is it, exactly, you have needed
all these years to forgive?

Margaret Atwood

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2 thoughts on ““How I dreaded the white page I had to foul with ink!” ~ George Gissing

  1. We all need owls that turn green when stroked and rabbit heads to wear… I’ll go get started on that…

    Rain is dripping off the roof into my watering can… I don’t like the gray days, day after day, but we get so little rain anymore that I rejoice whenever my trees get a little bit of rain… I worry that this area will turn into a desert.

    I finished “The Man Who Planted Trees” by Jim Robbins, today. I can’t get enough about trees and all the good things they do for us…

    I suggest Febreze for the rainy day dog smell. Charles Duhigg talked about it in “The Power of Habit”, and well, he sold me! I could become a Febreze salesman…

    I hope the pain ebbs and that tomorrow will be a better day for you. It’s supposed to be clear and a bit cooler, so, well, I hope it will be better for you.

    • Febreze is my friend. I need to buy the big bottle refill. It does work, but my nose still picks up eau du dog.

      Yes, I agree about the rain and the trees. The book sounds good.

      The pain gets a bit better each day, which is all that I can ask for. At least the joints aren’t painful enough to make me cry.

      Hope you sleep well to the sounds of the rain on the roof.

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