“Follow the tugs in your heart. I think that everyone gets these gentle urges and should listen to them. Even if they sound absolutely insane, they may be worth going for.” ~ Victoria Moran

Gerhard Richter, Untitled 1990, oil on photograph
“Untitled, 1990” (oil on photograph)
by Gerhard Richter


“Even if our efforts of attention seem for years to be producing no result, one day a light that is in exact proportion to them will flood the soul.” ~ Simone Weil

Friday, late afternoon. Sunny and quite windy, 61 degrees.

I’m hoping that I”ll be able to write an actual post today. I mean, I have my quotes, and I have chosen an artist for my images. Let’s just see if the brain can manufacture some cogent thoughts, string them together well enough that I actually have something to say.

Gerhard Richter, Abstrakt 1989, oil on paper
“Abstrakt 1989” (oil on paper)
by Gerhard Richter

I just came in from playing a rousing game of stick with Tillie. She has been so neglected lately (she says), especially because I keep bringing that new puppy around and paying so much attention to her, holding her, talking to her, playing with her. Tillie just doesn’t understand what the attraction is and quite frankly, she’s very perturbed with me that I am choosing the new puppy over her. I try to explain that Olivia will be leaving to go to her own home soon, but Tillie isn’t having any of it.

Hence, the undivided attention this afternoon. Dogs are funny, as I’ve said many times before, but dogs are also quite possessive and jealous, which I know from experience, but every time I have the baby for more than a few hours, both Tillie and Alfie start doing things to make me pay more attention to them. All of this makes me wonder if Tillie would actually want us to get another lab for her to play with . . . hmm . . . things that make you go hmm . . .

“We have only fragments—but even this seems fitting, for what is the moment but a fragment of greater time?” ~ Mary Ruefle, from Madness, Rack, and Honey

Gerhard Richter, Untitled 1984, oil on paper
“Untitled 1984” (oil on paper)
by Gerhard Richter

So I have a real treat for Corey when he gets home: the History Channel show “Vikings.” I’ve recorded all of the episodes for him. I know that he’ll really like it. I’ve watched a couple of episodes, but I’ve decided to wait until Corey is back so that we can watch the rest together.

I have always been intrigued by Vikings, how their clans worked, the loyalties and the familial lineage. I have also always found it very unfair that Vikings were not given the proper credit for finding North America. Oh well, at least they are recognized more in recent history for their successes. Anyway, the show is very well done, and I’m so glad that I stumbled upon it late one night while I was channel surfing.

My other recent television obsession has been HLN’s coverage of the Jodi Arias trial. I have never really watched anything on HLN that has anything to do with current trials, and I find Nancy Grace to be so damned annoying. My mother used to watch the Casey Anthony trial coverage on Nancy Grace, and she would call me up and want to talk about it. Not so much. But I happened upon the Dr. Drew show, and it’s not him that I like so much as the women he has on his panels, criminal psychologists and lawyers. They are a funny group of women, biting wit, and they tell it as they see it. I probably won’t continue to watch after this trial is over, but for now, it’s pretty entertaining.

“Vitrac called chance a ‘lyric force.’  He’s absolutely right.  There’s a kind of dreamy exhilaration in not knowing where one is going.” ~ Charles Simic, from section III of The Monster Loves His Labyrinth: Notebooks

Yes, my life does seem pretty boring most of the time, doesn’t it? Fortunately, I had a very nice afternoon yesterday. After Olivia went home, my friend Rebecca and I had lunch/dinner at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. I used to work with her at the realty company. Now, she runs her own wedding photography business and is quite successful at it. She’s really come so far from being the marketing assistant I met ten years ago.

Gerhard Richter, Untitled 1985, watercolour and oil on paper
“Untitled 1985” (watercolour and oil on paper)
by Gerhard Richter

Anyway, we/I decided that it’s really unfortunate that we don’t see each other on a regular basis. She was living in Suffolk, and now she lives outside of Richmond in a suburb with her new husband and her son. I’m making a promise to myself that I’m going to make a real effort to see her at least once a month. Friendship has to be maintained, just like a hairstyle or a diet, and frankly, you get a lot more out of a friendship than a workout.

Don’t ask me. I was going somewhere with the metaphor, but it wandered off in the middle, which is happening more lately. I’m really worried that one of my new medicines is beginning to wreak havoc with my cognitive abilities, kind of like the Topamax did. I know that my mind goes all over the place, but it’s really a pain when I’m looking at something on tumblr, and it causes me to think about something else, and then I blink my eyes, and the thought is gone.

I can’t really figure out any other way of explaining it. Simic (above) says that there is a dreamy exhilaration in not knowing where you’re going, and that can be true, but lately, it’s just plain irritating to get lost in the middle over and over again.

“For we are all bound in stories, and as the years pile up they turn to stone, layer upon layer, building our lives.” ~ Steven Erikson, from The Crippled God

Gerhard Richter, Untitled 1994, oil on photograph
“Untitled 1994” (oil on photograph)
by Gerhard Richter

Along those same lines, I’m wondering if I am actually physically and mentally capable of going back to get my doctorate. I can’t string together coherent thoughts beyond the first couple of levels. Perhaps it’s a temporary thing, tied in with my inability to write, my inability to concentrate. Hell, I wish I knew what was going on. It’s little things, like not being able to find my download file any more.

Here’s a really stupid example of what I mean: I’ve been trying to remember for over a week something minor that I wanted to mention here, nothing of importance, just one of those “oh, by the way” kind of things, and for the life of me, it won’t come, and then I remember what I’ve forgotten at odd times, like at 3 in the morning when Tillie decides that she really needs to go out.

What is it? Nothing really other than I’ve discovered that centipedes can fly. Those nasty little critters of which I am terrified are back with the warm weather. I saw my first one on the bathroom wall, and as I was watching it—I swear this is true—the bugger jumped off the wall, flew towards me, landed at my feet and started scuttling across the floor at me.

Gerhard Richter, Untitled 1991, oil on photograph
“Untitled 1991” (oil on photograph)
by Gerhard Richter

Our bathroom is small, which means I didn’t really have anywhere to go, and I was trying not to scream out loud because the boys would laugh at me. I stood on the side of the bathtub until it went under the cabinet.

So………………that’s what I’ve been trying to remember to tell you, and now that it’s out there, I kind of wish I had forgotten it.

Speaking of the bathroom, Corey gets to work on it when he gets home, and I know that he’s really excited about it . . . not. The floor is buckling. I think that we’re going to have to go ahead and gut it, even though we don’t have a secondary bath yet. Too much is falling apart in there, directly tied in to water damage, and it’s the kind of thing that can cause mold, dry rot in the wood, all things we can’t let go without dire consequences.

“Her life—that was the only chance she had—the short season between two silences.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from The Voyage Out

Gerhard Richter, Untitled 1985, watercolour and oil on paper2
“Untitled 1985” (watercolour and oil on paper)
by Gerhard Richter

So I was looking for a file, of course I don’t remember which one now, but in searching I came across a paper I had written for one of my publishing classes. I opened it and gave it a quick read, and this is what I have deduced: I can write one heck of an academic paper if I want to. I’m not bragging—really—because I’m actually astonished. This has happened to me before: reading something I wrote years ago and being kind of surprised that I was the one who wrote it.

Example—I wrote a paper on Algernon Charles Swinburne in graduate school on his poem “Hertha.” When I ran across that paper many years later I was astounded to see that I had tied the poem’s lyric style to a particular symphony (of course, I can’t remember which one, at the moment), and I had brought in Norse mythology as a back story to Swinburne’s meaning. Who does that? I did, I guess, but be damned if I see that academic in me now.

Gerhard Richter, Untitled 1994, oil on paper
“Untitled 1994” (oil on paper)
by Gerhard Richter

Was I just faking it? Really, was I just playing the game?

I am so lost sometimes when it comes to understanding myself, my abilities, my strengths and my weaknesses. I hate to say this, but I think that I really am the kind of person who needs external validation for just about everything aspect of my self, or rather, the self that I know is created by others, or something like that.

What do I know, anyway.

More later. Peace.

All images are by German visual artist Gerhard Richter (b. 1932). I was particularly intrigued by his overpainted photographs. To see more of his work and to read about his history, click here.

Music by Night Beds, “22”



Waking, I look at you sleeping beside me.
It is early and the baby in her crib
has begun her conversation with the gods
that direct her, cooing and making small hoots.
Watching you, I see how your face bears the signs
of our time together—for each objective
description, there is the romantic; for each
scientific fact, there’s the subjective truth—
this line was caused by days at a microscope,
this from when you thought I no longer loved you.
Last night a friend called to say that he intends
to move out; so simple, he and his wife splitting
like a cell into two separate creatures.
What would happen if we divided ourselves?
As two colors blend on a white pad, so we
have become a third color; or better,
as a wire bites into the tree it surrounds,
so we have grown together. Can you believe
how frightening I find this, to know I have
no life except with you? It’s almost enough
to make me destroy it just to protest it.
Always we seemed perched on the brink of chaos.
But today there’s just sunlight and the baby’s
chatter, her wonder at the way light dances
on the wall. How lucky to be ignorant,
to greet joy without a trace of suspicion,
to take that first step without worrying what
comes trailing after, as night trails after day,
or winter summer, or confusion where all
seemed clear and each moment was its own reward.

~ Stephen Dobyns