“What is required of us is that we love the difficult and learn to deal with it . . . Right in the difficult we must have our joys, our happiness, our dreams . . .” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke, Selected Letters

Great Dixter Garden, England (travel.ezinemark.com)


“I would never be part of anything. I would never really belong anywhere, and I knew it, and all my life would be the same, trying to belong, and failing. Always something would go wrong. I am a stranger and I always will be, and after all I didn’t really care.” ~ Jean Rhys, Smile Please: An Unfinished Autobiography

Friday evening. Blue skies, low 60’s.

Random thoughts for Friday’s leftovers:

  1. I met poet Christopher Buckley once. He was charming, and he loved his bourbon.
  2. Tillie the lab thinks she is a lap dog, which is funny until she tries to climb into my lap over my shoulder.

    Gardens of the Château de Chaumont, France
  3. An old lover once referred to my cherubic countenance. What an odd thing to say.
  4. This spring I am going to fill my flowerpots with multicolored annuals—begonias, vinca, lantana, lobelia. I never have luck with impatiens.
  5. I wish that we still had a hammock.
  6. I miss my Carolina Jasmine vine. The smell on summer evenings was unbelievable.
  7. I miss Mari.
  8. Friendship on a daily basis, true friendship, is a rare thing.
  9. Tom Waits sounds as if he’s been gargling with gravel; it’s a voice filled with loss and sadness. No wonder I love it.
  10. I dreamed about seeing two bodies wrapped in white sheets, and somewhere a clock was ticking.

“And each year now
we know more, but we know no better —
what we see in the sky is simply
the softened gloss of the past sifting
back to us, and likewise, every atom
down the body’s shining length
was inside a star, and will be again.” ~ Christopher Buckley, from Apologues of Winter Light

More . . .

  1. I have a three-inch wide ridge on the back of my head, near the base of my skull. I wonder if everyone has one of those. It’s tender if I mess with it.
  2. One night I dreamed that I took a severe blow to my head, at least I think that it was a dream.
  3. Recently I watched a Masterpiece Classic production of Great Expectations with Gillian Anderson. She was quite good as Miss Haversham.
  4. If I had a cat, I would name her Miss Haversham as cats are all about being egocentric and expecting everything to go their way.

    Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew England (travel.ezinemark.com)
  5. I did not read Great Expectations and David Copperfield until I was pregnant with Alexis.
  6. My mother owns a very old copy of The Pickwick Papers, which she purchased in an antique shop in London.
  7. My father bought me these character head statues when he was doing his Rotterdam run; they are all Dickens’ characters. They used to hang along the staircase in our townhouse in Alexandria.
  8. Not sure what got me started on Charles Dickens.
  9. I have a strong urge to correct grammatical and spelling errors on comments in YouTube threads; if I started doing so, I would never finish as it seems that most people who comment on YouTube videos never learned basic grammar or spelling.
  10. I had my Technical Editing students keep an Anguished English journal, filled with instances of bad sentence structure and grammatical faux pas. This was before the prevalence of the Internet. Now, such a journal would be far too easy to fill.

Don’t tell them too much about your soul. They’re waiting for just that. ~ Jack Kerouac, Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac 1947-1954

And just a little more . . .

  1. As I’m trying to write this post, Shakes is hovering near my ankles, hiding from a fly, and Tillie is sitting on Eamonn’s bed really giving me a good talking to. Apparently, she thinks that we should be playing, even though we have already gone out front for today’s stick game.
  2. I have been quite teary lately. Not weeping, but getting teary-eyed at seemingly nothing: the cedar bird feeders in Wal Mart reminded me of Mari; who cries in Wal Mart?

    Monet's Garden at Giverny, France
  3. I have not had a Pepsi in almost two weeks. I have given up soda, and my attempts to give up sugar are going fairly well. I’m also trying to avoid chocolate, except for the Russell Stover caramel and marshmallow egg that I ate last night. My jeans are getting too big.
  4. To help me in this attempt to eschew sweets, my mother has delivered bags of Riesen, banana nut bread, peanut butter eggs, and jellybeans.
  5. My mother, queen of the grudges, actually said to me the other day, “Aw, you shouldn’t hold a grudge.” I did not reply as I thought that I could not contain myself if I did. My mother once did not speak to me for almost three months because of something that Eamonn said. No. No grudges in this family.
  6. In another part of my dream last night, I was unlocking these old steel doors that had bolt locks. I went through three of them, and then I got on an elevator and pushed 3. The elevator bypassed all of the floors, and I ended up on an interstate.
  7. I think I’ve run out of things to say, but I hate to end on an uneven number.
  8. I’m craving Chinese food.
  9. I think that I’ll treat myself tonight to a movie from pay-per-view, or maybe I’ll just go to sleep, or read . . .
  10. I should have stopped four entries ago . . .

More later. Peace.

Music by The Fray, “Be Still”

                   

Three Ways of Transcribing Poems

1.

I wish to write
in clear letters
on a dry riverbed
a white ribbon of pebbles
seen from afar
or a scree slope
rubble
sliding under my lines
slipping away
so that the however
of the thorny life of my words
be the however of each letter.

2.

Little letters
precise ones
so that the words come quietly
so that the words sneak in
so that you have to go there
towards the words
to look for them in the white
paper
quietly
you don’t notice them entering
through the pores
sweat that runs inwards

Fear
mine
ours
and the however of each letter

3.

I want a strip of paper
as big as me
one metre sixty
on it a poem
that screams
when someone passes by
screams in black letters
demands the impossible
moral courage for example
that bravery which no animal has
fellow suffering for example
solidarity rather than being herded
foreign-words
made at home in deed

Human
animal with moral courage
human
animal that knows fellow suffering
human foreignword-animal word-animal
animal
that writes poems
poem
that demands the impossible
of everyone who passes by
urgently
peremptorily
as if it’s yelling
“drink Coca-Cola”

~ Hilde Domin (trans. Meg Taylor and Elke Heckel)

“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best night and day to make you like everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human being can fight and never stop fighting.” ~ e. e. cummings

Abandoned by dbgg1979 (FCC)

                   

“I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Friday afternoon. Hazy and hot. Leftover haze from swamp fires.

Abandoned: Eglise St. George 3, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Yet another bad night. I could not fall asleep, and then I woke myself up coughing and had to use my inhaler again. The swamp fires are messing with my lungs. As a result, I woke up pricklier than a porcupine with a dull ache behind my eyes.

The night before last I dreamt that I was spending time with the Kardashians. Okay. Not a fan of any of them, so why I was in their house makes no sense, except that they were all acting completely predictable: self-absorbed and snooty. I was there as a stand-in for their reality show. They criticized my makeup, my clothes, and the fact that I was carrying a grocery bag for a purse.

Why waste brain cells dreaming such crap?

Corey had to be at work at 6:30 this morning, and won’t finish his shift until the ship leaves, which is supposed to be around 8 tonight. He lost his shift yesterday, so this will definitely help. I think that he ended up with only two shifts last week. Actually, I try not to think about such things as the results are never good.

He had his first real class yesterday—biology—and then we did the usual search for the best prices on textbooks. A new copy of the textbook from the bookstore lists at $160. We found an international edition for about half of that. International editions have different covers and different ISBNs but the same content within. The drawback to buying an international edition is that the quality of the paper used for printing can sometimes be poor, something I learned in my publishing classes, but for a 50 percent savings at this time, we’ll chance it.

“Perhaps everything exists only because something else does. Nothing just is, everything coexists; perhaps that’s right . . . Nothing, nothing, just part of the night and silence and whatever emptiness, negativity and inconsistency I shared with them, the space that exists between me and me, a thing mislaid by some god.” ~Fernando Pessoa

Abandoned: Plant in Belgium

Every once in a while, I become concerned with my stats. I couldn’t explain it to you if you asked me. I mean, I claim to be writing this blog for myself, so I really shouldn’t care how many hits I get. Right?

Most of the time, that’s a true statement, but every six months or so I look at the numbers and think to myself that I must be doing something wrong. I know that my blog entries are longer than what most people are willing to read, but I’m not going to change that for anyone. If I were writing a professional blog, of course my entries would be much more succinct and focused, but this is not a professional blog; this is my forum, for venting, opining, mulling . . . whatever.

I have considered going back to Alpha Inventions to see if I can get my stats up, but I just don’t know if it’s worth it. I had such a negative experience with the moderator the last time, and besides, I know that those stats are very inflated. I think that what’s bothering me is that I haven’t hit one million yet.

Some people start blogs and hit a million in just a few months. And not all of those people are writing professional blogs.

I just don’t know. Does it really matter? Why do I care so much? To be honest, I think that I’m missing some of my regular readers, people who have moved on for various reasons, or who may still be reading but are no longer commenting. It’s strange, the connections that you can make with people you will probably never lay eyes on.

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be understood. The writer wants to be understood much more than he wants to be respected or praised or even loved. And that perhaps, is what makes him different from others.” ~ Leo Rosten

Abandoned: Orphanage, by boklm (FCC)

As I sit here, the dishes are in the sink waiting for me. I could probably do some laundry, but I’m just not feeling it, any of it.

Yesterday I spent some time in the pool with the dogs and Em and Brett. It was late in the afternoon, and the sky was calm and beautiful. I was doing a bit of cloud watching. And then I came inside to write, but found that I had nothing to say. I played Spider Solitaire instead.

How pathetic.

I mean, my access to this computer is limited to the times during which Eamonn is not firmly ensconced in his bedroom, so I really need to take advantage of those times, but I just couldn’t do it, which brings me to the other thing that I’ve been pondering: What am I doing here?

I began this whole endeavor for a few specific reasons:

  • I wanted to get back into the habit of writing regularly.
  • I wanted to see if anyone out there in the ether would be interested in what I have to say.
  • I wanted to lay the foundation for a book.

So how have I done? When I first began, that first year, I wrote almost every day for at least two hours a day. Now I might put up 15 posts a month, so production has been cut in half instead of increasing.

In that first year, I had about five people who commented regularly on my posts. Now I’m down to one or two, and that’s not regular either. So that’s been cut by over 50 percent.

Since beginning, I have written probably 20 or so posts that I would consider putting into book form. That’s 20 out of 695 posts, 691 of which are for public consumption. Statistically, that’s not even 3 percent.

Beh.

“Writers, especially poets, are particularly prone to madness. There exists a striking association between creativity and manic depression . . . Why are more creative people prone to madness? They have more than average amounts of energies and abilities to see things in a fresh and original way—then because they also have depression, I think they’re more in touch with human suffering.” ~ Nick Flynn from Another Bullshit Night in Suck City

Confession: I just left this page to play a game of Spider Solitaire.

Interpretation: I cannot stand to put my thoughts to page, let alone read them.

Result: More beh.

Abandoned: Side Entrance to Mansion, Beirut, by craigfinlay (FCC)

Perhaps this is not the best day to analyze what I’m doing here. I’m out of my meds, and until Corey gets home, I will not have them. You might think that one day would not make that much of a difference, but when I say that I’m out of my meds, I mean almost all of them.

That’s a pharmaceutical shock to the system. Poor planning on my part. Just making the telephone call to the pharmacy to enter all of the prescription numbers at the prompt stymied me. I put it off for two days.

Yes, yes. I know what all of this means. Just as I know what my avoidance of the hospital visit to see my m-in-law means: I’m definitely on a down slide. There. I said it.

I have named you, and therefore you are, just as the ancients believed that if they gave a name to their adversaries, they became real.

I name you chasm. I name you abyss. I name you night without stars. I name you dreamless sleep. I name you empty hunger. I name you, and in the naming, I face you.

“How strange talking is—what mists rise and fall—how one loses the other & then thinks to have found the other—then down comes another soft final curtain.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, letter to Ottoline Morrell (24 July 1921)

Abandoned: Villa Viron, Belgium

I try so hard to deny the reality, and sometimes, in the denying, I can change things, but not so this time. Too much is hitting me from too many sides, and I cannot separate the grain from the chaff.

My mother-in-law is being moved to the new rehab center, and in effect, she is going there to die. She has stopped eating. Her Parkinson’s has advanced so much in just a few weeks because of her infections that to restore her to where she was even a month ago would mean painful therapy. Her care is now termed “comfort care.” What a blasphemous phrase. Comfort care?

Excuse me. It’s not a blasphemous phrase, but it is a blasphemous situation: how we treat the elderly in our society. This is one area in which I closely relate to my Asian forebears, for in such societies, families are still blended, and the elderly are revered. In our society, they are disposable, just like the homeless and the poor.

I have put off making this visit too long, but I did not want to stand before this woman and weep bitter tears for what is, what cannot be changed, what we cannot control, we who love her.

When my father’s condition had worsened so as to make the prognosis too obvious, the doctor in the ICU asked if we wanted him on maintenance morphine. I said yes. He asked me if I wanted him to have enough. I said yes. We both knew what he was asking and what I was saying, and if anyone ever confronts me, I will deny it with my last breath.

My friend Mari’s mother, who was dying of ovarian cancer, was not given this option, and her suffering was unendurable for her family. After hearing the story year ago, I decided then that I would have a living will, and that I would control my final days, not some faceless bureaucracy. I remembered her mother’s suffering when my dad was in the ICU, and the memory of that suffering came to mind today.

I don’t think that I can continue with this today. I just don’t think it’s wise, nor is it helping.

More later. Peace.

Music by Ruthie Foster, “Tears of Pain”

                   

So the Hall Door Shuts Again and All Noise Is Gone

In the effort to find one’s way among the contents of memory
(Aristotle emphasizes)
a principal of association is helpful—
“passing rapidly from one step to the next.
For instance from milk to white,
from white to air,
from air to damp,
after which one recollectes autumn supposing one is trying to
recollect that season.”
Or supposing,
fair reader,
you are trying to recollect not autumn but freedom,
a principal of freedom
the existed between two people, small and savage
as principals go—but what are the rules for this?
As he says,
folly may come into fashion.
Pass then rapidly
from one step to the next,
for instance from nipple to hard,
from hard to hotel room,
from hotel room

to a phrase found in a letter he wrote in a taxi one day he passed
his wife
walking
on the other side of the street and she did not see him, she was—
so ingenious are the arrangements of the state of flux we call
our moral history are they not almost as neat as mathematical
propositions except written on water—
on her way to the courthouse
to file papers for divorce, a phrase like
how you tasted between your legs.
After which by means of this wholly divine faculty, the “memory
of words and things,”
one recollects
freedom.
Is it I? cries the soul rushing up.
Little soul, poor vague animal:
beware this invention “always useful for learning and life”
as Aristotle say, Aristotle who
had no husband,
rarely mentions beauty
and was likely to pass rapidly from wrist to slave when trying to
recollect wife.

~ Anne Carson from The Beauty of the Husband

“Happiness consists in realizing it is all a great, strange dream.” ~ Jack Kerouac

I know. I know. Real post tomorrow. Honest and for truly. Felt like behhh today.

Here’s something to help put things in perspective . . .