Truly, I have no words.
“There is a time in life when you expect the world to be always full of new things. And then comes a day when you realize that is not how it will be at all. You see that life will become a thing made of holes. Absences. Losses. Things that were there and are no longer. And you realize, too, that you have to grow around and between the gaps, though you can put your hand out to where things were and feel that tense, shining dullness of the space where the memories are.” ~ Helen MacDonald, from H is for Hawk
Thursday evening. Partly cloudy, a bit unseasonably warm, and very windy, 67 degrees.
Hello. Very, very long time, no write. I hadn’t realized exactly just how long it had been until I looked at the date of my last real post, you know, one with more than someone else’s words — three and a half years almost. If you’ve stayed with me, I thank you. If you’ve dropped by a time or two, I do so appreciate it. If you’ve despaired of me ever writing another original word, well, that makes several of us.
So . . . onward, as it were.
Greetings from the mountains of Virginia. The last time we visited, I was still living on the east coast of Virginia. This past summer, after many aborted starts and stops, we (my husband and 2 dogs and 1 cat (relatively new addition)) brought the final truckload to our acres of tree covered land in a small town in southwest Virginia.
Life changes even as we do . . .
I needed my mistakes
in their own order
to get me here ~ W.S. Merwin, from “Wild Oats”
To the matter at hand: Where have I been, and perhaps more importantly, why?
The first is much easier: I have been nowhere. I have been sitting. I have been stewing. I have been composing in my head and putting nothing down permanently. I have been contemplating, and I have been questioning. Between there have been many tears, recriminations, regrets, harsh words, and unbelievable support. And the end result is a whole lot of nothing and a whole lot of . . . well, I’m not exactly sure.
But as far as my writing, my composing, my creating? Nothing. Not. a. thing.
I never intended to be away this long. It was a dry spell, one that I thought I would conquer as I had before, be away for a few weeks, and then I would return. But weeks turned into months, which morphed into a year, and then another year, until I was embarrassed by the delay. Mortified by the failed declarations of return. And ultimately, I feared that I really had nothing to say nothingtosay nothingtosayyyyyyyyy . . .
So there was the writer’s block, the epic writer’s block, and then there was the election (far too many words for this), and then there was the depression, and then there was . . . well . . . I’ll have to think about that part a bit more.
“Alas, the vices of man, as horrifying as they are presumed to be, contain proof (if only in their infinite expansiveness!) of his bent for the infinite.” ~ Charles Baudelaire, from Artificial Paradises
I imagine that I will delve into things much more as I go here. After all, I’m still getting my feet wet here. I need to update my site, get rid of all of the broken links, create a new header, find a new theme, decide if I want to pay to get rid of the WordPress ads . . . Also, I have to say that the whole idea of social media (which I suppose is the category into which blogs still fall) stymies me. I mean, it’s so divisive, so full of venom and vicissitude. The discourse is more often than not, well, coarse. I just don’t understand.
From what I’ve observed in visiting other sites and places, people are not very kind on social media. In fact, this modern form of connecting and communicating seems inhabited by many people who like nothing better than to incite and accuse. It’s not for those who bruise easily, and quite honestly, I don’t know if I currently fall into that category.
“The virtue of angels is that they cannot deteriorate; their flaw is that they cannot improve. Man’s flaw is that he can deteriorate, and his virtue is that he can improve.” ~ The Talmud
I’ve had to look back at previous posts just to try to remember how I used to do things, which doesn’t mean that that’s how I’m going to continue to do things. I still hope to incorporate other’s quotes, selections of images that are free of copyright or for which I have obtained permission, music maybe, but I also hope to do more of my own photography, show some of what I’m looking at these days.
So much to do, so much time in which to do it. That’s a bit different, isn’t it?
I must admit to conflicting feelings: trepidation and excitement. Trepidation — do I really want to do this again? What will it mean? How will it go? Will people still find my words interesting? Is it too late to come back?
Excitement — This feels quite natural. I think that I actually have things to say again. I want this platform, this freedom, this exhilaration that comes from the risk of putting myself out there.
Ultimately, only you can tell me, and I don’t even know if you’re still out there. Let me know, won’t you?
More later. Promise. Peace.
Music by Lady Gaga, “I’ll Never Love Again” (love, love, love this song)
Two for Tuesday: Remembrance
Tuesday early morning. More storms on the horizon, a bit warmer, 77 degrees.
Hello again. I apologize for the length of yesterday’s post, but I had so much to say and so much that I wanted to share that the whole thing just got away from me, but really, I’m not sorry, because the message was important, the information needed. Much like ALS finally receiving some notable publicity via the ice bucket challenges, perhaps more attention will be paid to suicide as a result of Robin Williams’s suicide.
Perhaps, but I doubt it. Suicide remains shameful, something not to be talked about, which, I suppose, is why I chose to talk about it so much.
Anyway, the Balgach poem below was originally going with yesterday’s post, but I felt that two poems was overkill, as it were, so here it is, along with another one I just found by Noel Coward, and I must admit that for some reason, I never equated Coward with poetry, only plays. Just goes to show how much you don’t know when you think you know everything.
What Holds Us
This morning I listened to the first birds of spring.
Even those birds bear the weight of time on their shoulders.
I have come from the ends of the universe to tell you this. Right now
I am so present that my breaths feel like knives
and these recollections are as loud
as a stranger’s footsteps on a quiet street.
Yesterday I recited the names of every dead person I know
because each day their names are spoken less. Everyone gets forgotten.
We each forget something about ourselves,
every day. It doesn’t matter. In the afternoon,
even on cold afternoons, birds sing their truths like birds
and I long to be as original as a first kiss.
I don’t know why I am trying to tell your heart
to hear its own tick. Tomorrow is going to come like lightning.
I’ll be breathing down some stranger’s neck,
pacing old footsteps over the same sidewalk I walked yesterday,
wondering what to eat for supper.
Such tired tunes make all of us go round
like ponies at the fair. Nobody deserves anything
but we want so much. Only nothing holds us forever.
~ Martin Balgach
Nothing is Lost
Deep in our sub-conscious, we are told
Lie all our memories, lie all the notes
Of all the music we have ever heard
And all the phrases those we loved have spoken,
Sorrows and losses time has since consoled,
Family jokes, out-moded anecdotes
Each sentimental souvenir and token
Everything seen, experienced, each word
Addressed to us in infancy, before
Before we could even know or understand
The implications of our wonderland.
There they all are, the legendary lies
The birthday treats, the sights, the sounds, the tears
Forgotten debris of forgotten years
Waiting to be recalled, waiting to rise
Before our world dissolves before our eyes
Waiting for some small, intimate reminder,
A word, a tune, a known familiar scent
An echo from the past when, innocent
We looked upon the present with delight
And doubted not the future would be kinder
And never knew the loneliness of night.
~ Noel Coward
Music by The Soundtrack of Our Lives, “Second Life Replay”
Images are taken from Connie – A Wandering Soul tumblr.
Twelve is coming! Twelve is coming! Twelve is coming!
I don’t know how I feel about Peter Capaldi yet, but I’m giving him a chance and hoping that the big change works. Anyway, if it weren’t so darned muggy, I’d put on my TARDIS knee socks for the big event. Oh well . . .
Header is in official TARDIS blue (HEX 102372)
Did I mention Doctor Who?
Here’s a little something I threw together for the doctor who tumblr poetry contest back in July. It’s not exactly an acrostic poem in which the first letter of each line spells out something; rather, the first letter of each word spells out something Doctor Who related (bad wolf, tardis, doctor who):
Letters of a Time Traveler
delicious worlds often lost/found
daredevil, whirlwind of laissez-faire flights
often, likely frenzied …
Betimes acerbic, determined—
Wayfarer, olden lad,
ancient, doubtless wizened.
Once lone, forever
brilliant and driven,
writing on lines
chasing time once & repeatedly.
Wait here, oh,
Look what I found:
Late posting . . . computer was down for a few days. I fear it’s on its last leg . . .
This week’s headline:
An Austrian man died of starvation while his wife was hospitalized because he refused to eat unless his wife prepared food.
So true, so true . . .
You know how in a recent post I mentioned that my dad used to say shee-yit? Well, serendipity from 1970 . . .
This one is for Corey who believes otherwise:
Sometimes I worry about this, and then . . . not . . .
Stupid tweets (I doth fear the vast want of intellect as reflected in these 140-character missives):
She has no toe! And she doesn’t like ice cream!
Eating this leaves you on the floor with no memory as to what happened after you took that first bite . . .
Mom is forcing someone named Aaron to run, and kid can’t do homework because 80 is a homonym for AD . . .
Because, of course, this makes complete sense . . . if you’re living in a different century, that is:
A pregnant employee at a Christian school was fired for having premarital sex — They offered the job to the man who got her pregnant.
A former employee at a Christian college has enlisted the help of high-profile attorney Gloria Allred to sue a California school that allegedly fired her for engaging in premarital sex, NBC’s “Today” reports. In a bizarre twist, the school reportedly went on to offer the pregnant woman’s job to her then-fiance.
Oh, the horror! Flying uteruses, uteri? But all of the other body parts stayed in?
If only this worked with all of the pervs out there:
And finally, to balance this post’s sarcastic bent, here’s a bit of beauty for you:
Got back from Ohio late last night. Trying to catch up with everything. Here, have some Sagan:
Music by Poets of the Fall, “Heal My Wounds”
“Tired, tired with nothing, tired with everything, tired with the world’s weight he had never chosen to bear.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, from The Beautiful and Damned
Wednesday night/Thursday morning. Still incredibly hot and humid, 91 degrees.
I’m going to try to do this again. No distractions. With any luck, I’ll get past the first few sentences.
This is my immediate problem: my children. As you know, I have three grown children, but their stages of grown do not match their calendar status of grown. My eldest child, my daughter, will be having one of those major milestone birthdays on the 7th of this month, but the reality is that I think she is probably the youngest of my children. And for the moment, I choose to focus on my eldest/youngest child.
To be fair, Alexis has gone through a lot in her short life, and the loss of her sister, something her brothers do not share as an immediate memory, affected her greatly. Alexis has never been full of self-confidence; in fact, the exact opposite is true: If one person could be so completely uncertain of her selfhood, I would have to say that it is my daughter. Please understand, I’m not criticizing, only commenting; after all, I, too, am very insecure about certain aspects of my self.
I don’t know how much of my daughter’s problems are a result of nurturing, but I do know that I have been the primary nurturer in her life, which is why I probably have a tendency to blame myself for so many of her woes. But at what point do I draw the line and acknowledge that she has very real problems that are completely separate from my relationship with my daughter?
You see, while I love my daughter beyond words, I am not entirely sure that I like certain key aspects of her personality. Does that make sense?
“there is something else that drives us, some
rage or hunger, some absence smoldering
like a childhood fever vaguely remembered
or half-perceived, some unprotected desire,
greed that is both wound and knife,
a failed grief, a lost radiance.” ~ Edward Hirsch, from “Mergers and Acquisitions”
Again, let me say that I probably should not be writing this, but I need to work through some of this tonight as it is pressing on me much too acutely, and I know that I will have no peace unless I do something. I had to cancel my therapy appointment this week because of the chest cold that I have. Too much talking makes me cough, and coughing is, well, painful. Hence, the writing my way through . . .
I so wish that I had the ability to make things right for my children all of the time, but then again, don’t most parents? But I don’t have this ability, and talking to Alexis is futile, at best, and an invitation to a verbal fray, at worst. My daughter, like my sons, unfortunately inherited the family predisposition to clinical depression and anxiety. We all suffer in our own various ways, to lesser and greater extents, depending upon, well upon a lot of things. But Alexis is alone in one thing: she sleeps far too much for any human being. She can go to bed on Friday night and not wake fully until Monday morning.
When she was a teenager, she would sleep forever, but I really didn’t worry about it because I did the same thing as a teenager. However, she is an adult with her own child, and this sleeping sickness, for lack of a better term, has not abated. Corey and I have had several conversations in which we have tossed about this problem, mostly in relation to Olivia, as in, does my daughter’s sleeping sickness impede/impair her ability to care for her own daughter?
I can’t tell you how guilty I feel just for giving this concern words, but there. It’s been said. Now what?
I mean, this is more than my concern that she has absolutely no ambition, that she doesn’t seem to have any sort of life goals, which granted, is a real concern. But this particular issue has such larger implications as it affects everyone.
“I sat in the dark and thought: There’s no big apocalypse. Just an endless procession of little ones.” ~ Neil Gaiman, from Signal to Noise
I’m so conflicted.
If you were to ask me if my daughter is a good mother, I wouldn’t hesitate to say, “Yes. Absolutely.”
But then, I must pause. Does she love her daughter? Without question. Does she want what is best for her daughter? Again, yes.
But what makes a good mother? Love, concern, respect, patience, empathy, sympathy . . . cobbled together with a willingness to teach, to share, to laugh, to cry . . . Like it or not, motherhood is an endless procession of decisions, and if we are lucky, most of them are right, and if we are smart, we learn from the wrong ones, but first, we must be able to identify the wrong ones.
Look, being a mother is a thankless job. Your children resent you a lot of the time. They don’t like you some of the time. They wish you would be quiet a lot of the time. They appreciate you only some of the time, and to them, you are never a person with feelings and wants and needs. And no one can teach you how to be a mother; it’s purely on-the-job training, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get good advice along the way, and if you’re smart, you’ll realize which advice is good and which is bad.
So what’s my point?
Damned if I know . . .
“Life must be back there. You hid it
So no one would find it
And now you can’t remember where.” ~ John Ashbery, from “Vaucanson”
You know shaken baby syndrome? Well obviously that’s something that must never be done, but what about shaken adult child syndrome? Is it acceptable to want to grasp said child by the shoulders and shake him/her until the eyes come into focus and you think that perhaps some semblance of sense has entered said child’s brain?
I know that I’m making light, but trust me, I am so close to tears much of the time that to laugh would be nothing short of achieving a state of grace.
But back to the problem. Did you know that there is an actual illness called Sleeping Beauty Syndrome? It’s actually called Klein-Levin Syndrome:
Klein-Levin Syndrome (KLS) is a rare and complex neurological disorder characterized by recurring periods of excessive amounts of sleep, altered behavior, and a reduced understanding of the world. The disorder strikes adolescents primarily but can occur in younger children and adults. At the onset of an episode the patient becomes progressively drowsy and sleeps for most of the day and night (hypersomnolence), sometimes waking only to eat or go to the bathroom. Each episode lasts days, weeks or months during which time all normal daily activities stop. Individuals are not able to care for themselves or attend school and work. In between episodes, those with KLS appear to be in perfect health with no evidence of behavioral or physical dysfunction. KLS episodes may continue for 10 years or more. KLS is sometimes referred to in the media as “Sleeping Beauty” syndrome.
Seriously, I think my daughter has this. Some people think that Alexis is just lazy. I honestly don’t think that’s it. If I did, I would say so. Laziness can be fixed; well, at least, I think it can be fixed. Alexis is too OCD to be lazy. I just don’t know if she has any control over these sleep episodes. And the brutal reality is that it’s gotten to the point that it is having a serious impact on every single relationship she has.
“But now I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.” ~ Umberto Eco, from Foucault’s Pendulum
So what to do, what to do? I can do nothing. Not yet. And even if the time were right for me to do something, I have absolutely no idea as to what course of action I should take, if any.
Familial relationships are so damned draining. Awash in a sea of eggshells, and trying to find just the right way to cross without breaking anything, without breaking any . . . one.
You know when you are young, in your early 20’s, and you think about life, think about the future as I always did, I would bet that most of the realities of later life never enter the realm of possibility. I mean, how could they, really? Real life is so far from what you think will happen to you when you’re young and trying to decide whether or not to drop a huge chunk of change on some toy or the other. Real life is so filled with pitfalls and trenches so deep that few of us would ever contemplate that such horrible things might actually happen.
Nothing in my 20’s prepared me for real life, even though I was so certain at the time that I had all of the answers. I was so sure of my certainty then. It takes being slapped in the face by fate to make you realize just how little you actually know.
So here I am, finally able to admit how little I know and knowing how little I am able to effect any kind of meaningful change in the lives of my children. Is it any wonder I walk around in a constant state of pain-filled angst?
Probably shouldn’t have written any of this . . .
More later. Peace.
Music by I Will, I Swear, “Long Days”
The slow overture of rain,
each drop breaking
without breaking into
the next, describes
the unrelenting, syncopated
mind. Not unlike
imagining their wings
to be their heart, and swallows
believing the horizon
to be a line they lift
and drop. What is it
they cast for? The poplars,
advancing or retreating,
lose their stature
equally, and yet stand firm,
in order to become
imaginary. The city
draws the mind in streets,
and streets compel it
from their intersections
where a little
belongs to no one. It is
what is driven through
all stationary portions
of the world, gravity’s
stake in things, the leaves,
pressed against the dank
window of November
soil, remain unwelcome
till transformed, parts
of a puzzle unsolvable
till the edges give a bit
and soften. See how
then the picture becomes clear,
the mind entering the ground
more easily in pieces,
and all the richer for it.
~ Jorie Graham