“Behind all this, some great happiness is waiting.” ~ Yehuda Amichai, from “Seven Laments for the War-Dead” (trans. Chana Bloch)

New York Skyline at Sunset
by Corey Fickel (June 2012)*

                   

“-What do you do all day?

-I stand myself.” ~ Émile Cioran, from About the inconvenience of being born

Monday evening. Sunny, hot, and humid.

Clear Blue Waters off Island of Ascension
by Corey Fickel (2012)

The above quote is particularly apt at the moment as I’m having quite a hard time standing myself—for various reasons. Just one of those things.

It seems that I am not going to find the time to write a proper post unless I just make the time. Since Corey arrived home last Tuesday, I have been absorbed, in what exactly I couldn’t tell you. I mean, other than the vast relief and happiness in having him home safe, I just seem to be flitting from one thing to another, unable to focus very well for more than an hour or two.

I’ve been quite hyper and in full OCD mode. I even found myself upset that Corey’s luggage was cluttering the dining room, so yesterday I condensed all of his things that he will be taking back to the ship and promptly announced that they need to go in the garage. Then I spent a couple of hours cleaning off the dining room table and polishing furniture. How can one person contain so many battling emotions simultaneously? I really don’t know: happy, stressed, wired, content . . . It’s all too much.

“The beauty of the world  . . . has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from A Room of One’s Own

The pool is officially open—at last. The dogs (well, not Alfie) are quite happy, as am I. It has been beastly hot the past week, and being able to get in the pool even for an hour is very refreshing. Brett’s new school schedule is during prime pool time, however, from 2:15 to 4:20. It’s just as well, I suppose. I can’t stay in too long, which means that I don’t end up with that sun-sapped feeling.

Looking Towards Antigua
by Corey Fickel (2012)

Eamonn came home from work yesterday with a doggie float. I didn’t even know they made such things. This one is damaged, so the store was just going to chuck it, so Eamonn brought it home. So far, though, neither Tillie nor Shakes seem to be interested in spending any time on it.

On Saturday after swimming, Corey and I gave the dogs baths outside with the hose. Actually, Corey wanted no part of it, but I convinced him to help me, especially when Alfie had one of his psychotic episodes and tried to bite off my hand.

Note to self: Never, ever own another high-strung terrier breed.

Anyway, I ordered K-9 Advantix for their fleas as the Frontline that I have used the past two months has done absolutely nothing to conquer the fleas, and the skin condition that Shakes has seems to get worse after I administer it, so I’m going back to Advantix. Hoping that will take care of the fleas and scratching.

“I have a faith in language.  . . . It’s the most flexible articulation of our experience and yet, finally, that experience is something that we cannot really articulate. We can look out and see the sunlight in those trees, but we can’t convey the full unique intimacy of that experience.” ~ W. S. Merwin, from The Paris Review, The Art of Poetry No. 38

I know that not all of you will be interested in The Paris Review interview segments that I’ve been posting in between, but I’m hoping that those of you who love words and writers might find them as enjoyable as I have. Personally, I always find it interesting to hear other writers (real writers) speak of their craft.

Shades of Blue, U.S. Virginia Islands
by Corey Fickel (2012)

I was saddened by the death of Nora Ephron, who I have always considered to be such a master of the English language, a modern-day Dorothy Parker (two women I adore). I have felt a kinship with her curmudgeonliness and the way that her work always has an edge to it but also has a quiet beauty to offset that edge.

For those of you who may not be aware, Ephron was married to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein (of Watergate fame). Their stormy marriage led to her novel “Heartburn,” which was turned into a movie directed by her friend Mike Nichols. The movie, starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, was a tour-de-force riposte about marriage and infidelity. (Ephron once famously said that the Bernstein character would “have sex with a venetian blind.”

“It is really hard to be lonely very long in a world of words. Even if you don’t have friends somewhere, you still have language, and it will find you and wrap its little syllables around you and suddenly there will be a story to live in.” ~ Naomi Shihab Nye, from I’ll Ask Three Times, Are You OK?

I have a confession: I always imagined myself to be an unknown Dorothy Parker. I mean, if I were going to be famous, and if I couldn’t be a torch singer, then I would want to be someone like Dorothy Parker: a woman who spoke her mind, even in the most polite of company.

Churning Blue Waters, Shoreline, Island of Ascension
by Corey Fickel (2012)

Parker was a columnist, critic, poet, writer, and essayist, but she was best known for her acerbic wit. I mean, the alcoholism I could do without, obviously, but man, she didn’t pull any punches, and she was outspoken about those causes in which she was heavily invested, such as civil rights and civil liberties. Like myself, she was staunchly left-wing and did not suffer fools gladly.

Ephron was of the same ilk, and her recent passing leaves a gaping hole in that class of female writers who really did do it all.

Ah, well.

“I am not alone. Whatever else there was or is, writing is with me.” ~ Lidia Yuknavitch, The Chronology of Water

Let’s see, what else?

Wild Goats on Hillside, Antigua
by Corey Fickel (2012)

Brett got an A in his first section of pre-Calculus. Eamonn is applying for the apprenticeship school at the shipyard. Corey is enjoying yard work, in spite of the heat, and Alexis is very heavy with child.

The heat is getting to her, and she is already visibly dropping. I predict a delivery date of July 8th. She and Mike have everything just about ready in the apartment. I’ve ordered a new mattress for the cradle as the old one is quite thin and torn in a few places. I couldn’t find any mattresses in any local stores, at least none that I could afford, but I found a nice two-inch one on Amazon, and I ordered some cradle sheets. My mother bought a car seat for me to have in my car (I’m just letting her do whatever makes her (my mother) happy at this point, and she was determined to buy it).

I’m having work done on the Rodeo this coming week so that it will be a safe vehicle for transporting mother and child if necessary. I have to admit that I am quite excited and like Lex, more than ready for baby (Olivia, we think) to be here.

Well, I didn’t do so bad for a quick post, did I?

More later (but sooner, I hope). Peace.

*All images are from Corey’s recent hitch. Enjoy.

Music by Peter Bradley, “Heart of a Girl”

                   

Work, Sometimes

I was sad all day, and why not. There I was, books piled
on both sides of the table, paper stacked up, words
falling off my tongue.

The robins had been a long time singing, and now it
was beginning to rain.

What are we sure of? Happiness isn’t a town on a map,
or an early arrival, or a job well done, but good work
ongoing. Which is not likely to be the trifling around
with a poem.

Then it began raining hard, and the flowers in the yard
were full of lively fragrance.

You have had days like this, no doubt. And wasn’t it
wonderful, finally, to leave the room? Ah, what a
moment!

As for myself, I swung the door open. And there was
the wordless, singing world. And I ran for my life.

~ Mary Oliver

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2 thoughts on ““Behind all this, some great happiness is waiting.” ~ Yehuda Amichai, from “Seven Laments for the War-Dead” (trans. Chana Bloch)

  1. Wow. Great pictures. Who knew that your family is full of great photographers?

    I am enjoying Nabokov’s writing… I like this book much better than the Carson McCuller’s novel, and I wouldn’t have guessed it by my old impressions of what “Lolita” would be…

    There’s a blog called “Barking Up the Wrong Tree” which has some interesting research noted about creative types and psychiatric disorders, but it said: “Obsessively thinking about things is connected to depression but it’s also correlated with creativity.” So there. OCD can be GOOD. (This post is at the bottom of what’s posted today…)

    That makes me think about the book, “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor, who talks about this 20 second rule. There’s a post about that on June 2nd in Barking Up the Wrong Tree, but I read the book. Basically, you make the things you want to do easier to do… (And, you make the things you don’t want to do harder to do…) Good approach, I think. You can search for the article named “Is the “20 second rule” the key to being your best?”

    I’m glad you’ve got the pool set up and can enjoy it. I’m going to think of you enjoying it. (And then I’m going to think of myself swimming in Corey’s “Shades of Blue” photo. Maybe I’ll bring you into it, too. But then we have to watch out for sharks…)

    It’s been a long time since I read or thought of Nora Ephron. I’m sad she’s gone. And, I’ll have to revisit some of her work. I never saw “Heartburn” and it sounds like I’m missing out.

    Well, maybe after lunch I will get the Chapter 18 study sheet typed up in record time and then finish “Lolita”…

    I hope you are able to settle down some and get some relaxation in…. Because you’ll be wishing you had during those waiting days coming up soon!!! The 8th is sneaking up fast! (On the other hand I know how sometimes a room just calls for obsessive cleaning…)

    • Carson McCullers is a hard read, but I absolutely love her work. I read my first novel by her in graduate school–Reflections in a Golden Eye (which was also made into a movie starring Elizabeth Taylor). Now that was a really weird book, but then, I like weird. McCullers was an alcoholic, big time, like so many of the writers I love. I read her biography years ago.

      Anyway, I’m glad you’re liking Nabokov and Lolita.

      Aren’t Corey’s pictures beautiful? He took a bunch. I’d love to be immersed in Shades of Blue.

      The pool is delicious, but the water is very warm.

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