“Words can never fully say what we want them to say, for they fumble, stammer, and break the best porcelain.” ~ Margaret Weis, Dragons of a Lost Star

Stream through Bluebell Woods at Moor Corner, New Forest, UK, by Jim Champion (Wikimedia Commons)

                   

“April 7. The heavens opened for the sunset to-night . . . I sat behind the window, pricked with rain, and looked until that hard thing in my breast melted and broke into the smallest fountain, murmuring as aforetime, and I drank the sky and the whisper.” ~ Journal of Katherine Mansfield, 1914

Wednesday, late afternoon. Sunny and mild, low 70’s.

I keep saying that I will be able to be more focused, more attuned to my writing and reading once my computer gets fixed, and I had planned to do that with this paycheck, but somehow, I spent my spending money on Alexis and maternity clothes, and then, of course, there was the food that we needed in the house, and the power bill . . . no computer repairs this time, so I am stuck on Eamonn’s computer, otherwise known as the snail that wouldn’t.

Alongside Shepherd's Gutter, Brook Wood, New Forest, UK, by Jim Champion (WC)

I have given up trying to update my tumblr daily as just getting through 20 pages of posts takes hours, which really dampens the pleasure of the experience and turns it into a chore: Just five more pages, no three more, damn, whatever . . .

So I got this blog up-to-date, filling in the past three days, but in so doing, I realized that I m pretty darned depressed. I mean, I’m excited about the baby, but—and I cannot say this to Alexis—I am so sad that Corey and I were never able to have our own baby. I see that as one of the great ways in which I have failed him and our relationship, not that he would ever say so. But I feel this loss so keenly at times, no, not a loss, but a lack, a hole, something. I know that my state-of-mind is not helped by the knowledge that one of Alexis’s friends has had her fourth child as a single mother, four children, four different fathers, maybe three.

She’s not a bad person, and I’m not judging. Rather, I’m envious. Do I think this young woman is acting responsibly? No. Her family knows it, and she knows it, and she was thinking of giving the child up for adoption, but when it came down to it, she couldn’t.

I guess what I’m saying is that it’s so hard to not be able to do something only to turn around and hear of someone who can do that something without even trying. I sound like a child, don’t I?

“I know the slow combinations of the night, & the glow
Of fireflies, deepening the shadows of all I do not know. ~ David St. John, from “I Know”

I know that my mood is not helped by Corey’s absence, that I am feeling sad and lonely and way too sorry for myself. Let’s all think happy thoughts, shall we?

Gag.

Blidworth Woods, Sherwood Forest, UK, by Phil Evans (WC)

At least the rain has stopped and the temperatures are a bit warmer. I moved my boots to the back of the closet and got out my slide-ons just in time for the temperatures to drop 40 degrees at night. My timing has always been stellar with such things.

Today is a lazy day. Brett has no classes as his exams start tomorrow, and I have nowhere that I have to be, having begun the week with my doctor’s appointment. I forgot to have my lab work done last week in preparation for the appointment. Totally slipped my mind, so I need to take care of that sometime soon. Fasting lab work, which is always fun. And when I stepped on the scales in the doctor’s office, I had only lost two pounds, two pounds even though my clothes say seven pounds, at least.

At least my doctor didn’t lecture me about not seeing a pulmonologist. I told her that my asthma was better, and that was it. Good enough. No new doctor and no new meds. Perhaps she was just happy to hear that I’ve given up sugar and soda and that I’m making real attempts to get more physical activity in my daily regimen.

“Words do not express thoughts very well. They always become a little different immediately after they are expressed, a little distorted, a little foolish.” ~ Hermann Hesse

Unfortunately, I cannot say that the headaches have gotten any better. At the moment, I have the lights off and no music playing. The only soundtrack I have is Shakes snoring at my feet. I’m writing blind again, no glasses, unable to see the screen. All that I see is this blur as I type the words. No matter.

Silhouettes in Ridley Wood, New Forest, UK, by Jim Champion (WC)

Last night I dreamed that I was at a high school reunion, and I saw one of the guys I had had a crush on. In the dream, he looked the same. Isn’t it odd how people do not age in our dreams?  Anyway, other people in the dream included my ex, who was bragging that he had had sex with a hooker (?), and another of my guy friends who I saw only from behind. The hooker statement was wild and completely out of character for my ex.  Such a strange dream.

Another part of the dream had a famous soprano singing an aria at the reunion dinner, another completely unlikely event. People were talking during her performance, and I could see that she was getting angry. Then my dinner disappeared. It was crabcakes and asparagus, both of which I love, but neither of which have I had in an indecent amount of time.

I don’t remember how the dream ended.

“but writing down the words
alters what I want to remember
that which had no words
was a living breathing image
……….
but tomorrow when I’m gone
only the words are left
signs evoking something
that no eye sees any more” ~ Remco Campert, from “Memo

I just remembered one of the prose poems that I wrote years ago, and what bothers me is that I have no idea if a copy of this poem exists anywhere. I remember what the poem was about—I wrote it when my ex and I were having major problems—and I remember the title: “One more damned drink for the road,” but I don’t know where to find this poem. There is a slim chance that it was on the hard drive of my broken computer, which is good as I do have a copy of everything from the hard drive.

Bluebells in Roydon Woods, New Forest, UK, by Jim Champion (WC)

Perhaps I’ll be able to find it after all.

I’ve had lines from poems running through my head almost continually for the past few weeks—my poems, other people’s poems, which means that I should really be acting on these creative spurts, but of course, I have not. It’s as if my mind and my body are at war. My brain is saying, write this, write this, and my body is throwing up roadblocks in the form of migraines and muscle spasms. If I had lived in another era, I would quell my ailments with morphine or strong drink, and I would write until I passed out. That, or I would be locked up in an asylum.

But the words are here, almost all of the time. I look at a photograph, and a line comes to me. I’m standing at the sink washing dishes, and a phrase emerges. But it’s no use. I can’t get past this omnipresent pain. Even now, as I type these mundane words on the keyboard, words that take no imagination whatsoever, my head is tightening, and I’m rushing to complete this before the pain actually does make it impossible to keep my eyes open.

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” ~ Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

If you’re still reading this, then I thank you. Truly. I mean, how entertaining could it be to read day after day that I have a migraine?

Edge of Roydon Woods, Calveslease Copse, UK, by Jim Champion (WC)

Not very.

What was it Russell Crowe as Maximus yelled at the Coliseum in Gladiator? “Are you not entertained? Is this not why you are here?”

This blog is no Gladiator, and I am no Russell Crowe, but I hope that sometimes my words are worth your time, that sometimes I am able to arrange my words in such a way as to allow you to hear my voice. It’s all that I could ask. Obrigada.

And now, a few hours of ancient Rome might be just the ticket.

More later. Peace.

Music by Otis Redding, “Pain in My Heart” (heard this on “Awake” the other night, blast from the past)]

Silence

There is the sudden silence of the crowd
above a player not moving on the field,
and the silence of the orchid.

The silence of the falling vase
before it strikes the floor,
the silence of the belt when it is not striking the child.

The stillness of the cup and the water in it,
the silence of the moon
and the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

The silence when I hold you to my chest,
the silence of the window above us,
and the silence when you rise and turn away.

And there is the silence of this morning
which I have broken with my pen,
a silence that had piled up all night

like snow falling in the darkness of the house—
the silence before I wrote a word
and the poorer silence now.

~ Billy Collins, in Poetry (April 2005)

“The clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.” ~ Jack Kerouac

 

Prayers on the Wing, by T. Umlaut

                     

“When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.” ~ Shunryu Suzuki
Gypsy Alley Mail by GemFireAir

Greetings from my computer. Yes, my computer, as in the one belonging to me. Is my euphoria simply jumping off the page? Is there a big, goofy smile on my face? 

That would be yes, on both counts. 

But whoa, doggie. Too much happiness could be dangerous . . . as in the newly-fixed computer does not quite boot up correctly; it still reads a CPU fan error, and oh, yes, it shuts off without warning. 

So why so much joy, you might ask . . . because I know that you are sitting there with bated breath just hanging on my every word so that you can be up-to-date with my life . . . not . . . 

Simple, even with the remaining hiccups, it’s still my computer, my little corner of the world, my files, my keyboard, and my Bose speakers. I had to force myself to go to bed around 5 a.m. after downloading the temporary files that I had stored on Corey’s computer. Corey, ever diligent and attentive, took my glee in stride as I bounced around the bedroom and stopped him several times to make him listen to the sound coming from my speakers. 

After not having it for a month and a half, having it—quirks and all—is bliss. 

“…I am a water woman, not a vessel, not something you can sail or charter. I am instead the tributary, the river, the fluid source, and the sea itself. I am all her rainy implications. And what do you, with your rusted compass, know of love?” ~ Kate Braverman
Not my humble desk . . .

So yes, it is a cloudy, drizzly day here. The pool water is green as there has been no need to clean for the past three days of rain. At least the temperatures are not ridiculously hot. 

I spent several hours this afternoon cleaning my pseudo office area (also known as corner of the bedroom). It’s amazing how much clutter can accumulate when left to its own devices. I removed everything from the desktop, dusted the desk, wiped down the lamp, desk accessories, and dumped the critters from inside my keyboard. I also hung the clothes that I had tossed onto my chair, and threw out oodles of scraps of paper onto which I had written various notes that are now irrelevant. 

In going through my post-it collection of notes, I found a password, an account number, a few quotes, a telephone number that I had been looking for, the name of the new phone that I want to get someday (of course, it will be outdated before I get it), and the titles of several books on my to-read list. Speaking of reading, now that my computer is accessible again, I need to catch up on my book reviews. I have four books sitting here waiting for reviews, two of which are notable, and two of which are forgettable. 

“The world is incomprehensible. We won’t ever understand it; we won’t ever unravel its secrets. Thus we must treat the world as it is: a sheer mystery.” ~ Carlos Castenada
VW Bus: Back to Naure

 On to other things . . . Eamonn finally got another car, a 1991 Honda. I had no input in this purchase (otherwise, I would have strongly advised against purchasing a car equal to my age unless it were a classic like a Bug or VW bus; but hey, what do I know?). Eldest son’s college classes started today. Unfortunately, the car, which he has owned less than a week, broke down on his way home.  I completely understand his vanquished attitude. 

Classes begin on August 30 for Brett. He is already beginning to stress. Nothing I can say will make him feel any better about this next big step in his life. He will have to begin and see where the months ahead take him. However, I did give him his starting college gift a few days early to try to assuage the fear: a beautiful pen. As with many other things, my children love good writing utensils as much as their mother. 

Nothing (well, I exaggerate), beats a beautiful pen that glides across the page effortlessly. 

In other news: I drank my last Pepsi this afternoon. Not nearly as traumatic as what my sons are experiencing, but my own personal hell. And Alfie is having withdrawal from spending the afternoon in my lap. I cannot work in my little corner and hold the little doggie, no matter how much he whines and protests.  As I write this, he is sitting forlornly next to my chair glaring at me. Who said that dogs don’t have facial expressions? 

“I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.” ~ Hermann Hesse
Queen Anne's Lace by Miranda Wildman Art

Other than that, summer is winding down, and I feel as if I haven’t taken the time to enjoy it at all. Probably because I haven’t. Admittedly, it’s been a strange summer, and perhaps I feel as I haven’t really done anything because the computer has been out of commission for so long, and we had no deck parties at Anne’s when the Germans were here, and I haven’t spent much time floating around in the pool. 

Not to mention that the continuing saga of health insurance, medication, and doctor’s visits has remain unchanged over the past two and a half months. In fact, I had yet another mix-up with a pharmaceutical company just today, which led to a very pleasant conversation with a Wal-Mart pharmacist. Perhaps I should be kinder as I do not know what kind of attitude I would have if I had to work at Wal-Mart, but it seems that most pharmacists are unpleasant on the telephone, except for the swing shift pharmacist at Walgreen’s who seems happy to be speaking with anyone. 

Time to watch “Project Runway.” Don’t be envious—a working computer, a pouting dog, Bose speakers, unhappy children, and Project Runway—how much can one person have? Jealousy is not attractive on you. 

More later. Peace. 

Music by Dayplayer, “Neverending Summer,” kind of whimsical 

“I never know when I sit down, just what I am going to write. I make no plan; it just comes, and I don’t know where it comes from.” ~ D. H. Lawrence

“Double Image,” August Strindberg (1892, oil on canvas) 

 

“The paper I write on or you write on, every word we write, every cross and twirl of the pen, and the curious way we write what we think, yet very faintly . . . In them realities for you and me—in them poems for you and me . . . In them themes, hints, provokers.”  ~ Walt Whitman
"Wonderland" (1894, oil on canvas)

Rarely do I know what I am going to write when I sit down at this keyboard. I may have an idea generated from a dream or something that I have read in the news, but most of the time it’s more a matter of touching the keys and letting the words come out. No great creative genius is involved. Rather, it is more a matter of need: I need to write, to release, to ponder, to construe, to evoke. I need to do this as naturally as I need to breathe. 

That is my reality, and truthfully, it has always been this way. I have been writing about things since I was very young, before I even knew how to string letters together to form words. I would put pencil to whatever scraps of paper I could find in the house, and I would write. Of course what I wrote made no sense to anyone but me, but I knew what I was saying. And I had such a need to share my thoughts that I would take these scraps of paper and slip them under the doors of my parents’ neighbors in the large apartment house in which we resided in London. 

Some of the people knew that these notes were from me, but others were confused by the nonsensical missives that appeared under their doors with no regular schedule. The doorman in our building knew what I was doing, so he ever so kindly explained to the confused tenants that it was the little girl in apartment 13 who had been writing to them. 

Then when I went to school and learned how to form words, I wrote more. I wrote poems, letters, stories. But my dream at that time was not to become a writer. I wanted to be a hairdresser . . . 

“O, how incomprehensible everything was, and actually sad, although it was also beautiful. One knew nothing. And sometimes it seemed that something never seen yet long desired was about to happen, that a veil would drop from it all; but then it passed, nothing happened, the riddle remained unsolved, the secret spell unbroken, and in the end one grew old and looked cunning . . . or wise . . . And still one knew nothing, perhaps, was still waiting and listening.” ~ Hermann Hesse, “Narcissus and Goldmund”
"Baby's First Cradle" (1901, oil on canvas)

In many ways, this blog is like those indecipherable scraps of paper: I know what I’m trying to say, but not everyone who reads my words can discern my meaning. That’s okay, though. The beauty of blogs is that readers can just close the window if they do not find the post interesting, or appealing, or if the subject matter is not something that coincides with their personal beliefs. 

I’m not trying to please anyone but myself. In the beginning of this blogging stuff, I was more self-censoring, not wanting to offend anyone who happened to be reading. I wrote in more general terms, putting less of myself into my posts. Over the months, though, that changed, as I had thought that it might. My persona began to creep into my posts more and more. My life, my family, all of it, became fodder. So much so that now my posts are a virtual doorway into my life. 

Is this a good thing? Perhaps not. Will I change it? Probably not. Do I regret this progression? A bit. 

“The swarm of words,
and little stories
are just to loosen you
from where you are stuck.” ~ Shitou Xiqian
"The Wave VII" (1901, oil on canvas)

When I first heard about blogs—personal online journals that are available to anyone and everyone—I must admit to being personally appalled. What kind of person puts his or her life online for the world to see? It just didn’t seem right to me, someone who had always hidden my journals from other people, seeing them as both highly personal and private. 

Then a few years later I decided to create a MySpace page. I played a bit with the internal blog aspect of the page, which made me realize that the whole social networking thing was really just a collective blog—people visiting each other’s sites, sharing opinions, leaving notes, posting pictures. Then I was given the assignment to create a web page for one of my publishing classes. The site could be about anything; there were no parameters. 

I decided to create a site on which people could create a community poem. I called it The Poem Makers. In concept, it was a pretty creative idea (or so I thought): I would write the first line of the poem, and then anyone who visited could add a line and/or comment on the poem in progress. As part of the site, I wanted to include a blog page on which participants could post ongoing commentary about the project, poetry, whatever. My search for a blog page led me to WordPress. 

Essentially the project was disastrous, mostly because I didn’t know enough HTML to create an interactive site, that and the fact that I knew relatively little about promoting a site.  I eventually abandoned the website, but I took that experience and decided to keep going with the blog. My first post was in February 2008, which means that I’ve been doing this for over two years. 

“Within all of us is a varying amount of space lint and star dust, the residue from our creation. Most are too busy to notice it, and it is stronger in some than others. It is strongest in those of us who fly and is responsible for an unconscious, subtle desire to slip into some wings and try for the elusive boundaries of our origin.” ~ K. O. Eckland, Footprints on Clouds
"Coastal Landscape" (1901, oil on canvas)

In that time I have gone from basic posts about nothing at all to posts that include images and music and cover a range of topics. I like how I have progressed. I know so much more now than I did when I began; in particular, I realize that bloggers tend to congregate in communities and that if you want other people to read and comment on your blog, then you need to read and comment on other people’s blogs—regularly. 

I have also noticed a change in my writing style: Whereas when I was writing for publication, I was much more sparse with my words, never using five words when three will do, always choosing the simpler word over the multisyllabic one. Now that I’m writing without an editor, I tend to be more verbose. I do edit myself, but anyone who writes knows the limitations of such a thing. I do go on and on, and it’s an indulgence that gives me pleasure. I also take more liberties with punctuation than before. Always a stickler for grammar, I am merciless with a red pen when it comes to editing or grading someone else’s work. Too bad I cannot admit to being as rigorous with my own. 

Oh well . . . 

“The process of writing has something infinite about it.  Even though it is interrupted each night, it is one single notation.” ~ Elias Canetti
"Aleja" (1903, oil on canvas)

I remember how excited I was when the number of hits that I had received went past 200. It was a time for great rejoicing. I am now well past 300,000 hits, but I still love to see who is visiting, what they are reading, how they got here. I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of paying attention to my statistics as they serve as my validation, for now. 

I suppose all of this boils down to a few simple facts: I have come to love the freedom of blogging. I sometimes resent feeling as if I have to post until I realize that no one is making me do so. I no longer feel as if blogs are an obscene violation of privacy spurred on by the blogger’s own need for exposure. I take pleasure in reading blogs that are written well, or are visually appealing, or are in line with my own sensitivities. 

For now, this whole thing is an open-ended experiment. Who knows where it will take me, but I’m going to enjoy the ride while I can. 

More later. Peace. 

All images are by Swedish novelist and playwright August Strindberg, who turned to painting during times of crisis in which he felt unable to write. 

Music from Bare Naked Ladies, “Call and Answer”