“I am interested in impossible embodiments. I wish to write; I wish to write about certain things that cannot be held. I want to create a sea of freely-flowing words of no definite form and shape waves of fluent exactness.” ~ Virginia Woolf, from Passionate Apprentice: The Early Journals, 1897-1909

                   

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“First of the Light” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Peter Wileman

“I live my own life and nurse my own wounds. It’s not the best way to live. But it’s the way I am.” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides, from Middlesex

Early Wednesday evening. Cloudy, 56 degrees.

Last night I had a cousin dream again. At first, we were in a high school, and we heard shooting, so two of us hid in a classroom beneath a science fair project. I thought it was a stupid place to hide. The gunman came into the room and just stood there. I tried not to breathe.

Peter Wileman Dawn over the Estuary 24 x 30 oil on canvas main
“Dawn over the Estuary” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Peter Wileman

Then somehow we got away, and then we were on a ship, and the ship was constructed so that all of the decks opened onto the middle of the ship, which was a swimming pool, and I thought about jumping from the third deck down into the pool but then decided against it, especially after these figures in white robes began to round up all of the people in the pool. The robed people didn’t have faces. Then it was time to eat, but there wasn’t any food except for pears.

Then the scene changed and Corey and I were on some wildlife preserve on an island, and we had no idea how big the preserve was, and we were walking on these trails, and suddenly I was attacked by a giant frog that was the size of a small dog, and Corey was running from frogs and foxes. I finally found a map of the island and realized that we were never going to find our way back.

Make of it what you will, I only know that too much was going on, and I was so tired afterwards.

“I’m writing against my own blankness, to record
this life that I’m living mostly lonely
or hopeful.” ~ Nate Pritts, from “All Those Sweet Things”

I’ve had a hard time focusing lately. When I sit down to write, nothing comes. I’m thinking about a million different things: the situation in Steubenville, Ohio, the prevalence of rape culture throughout the world, whether or not what I write here is writing, the idea of privacy in a world filled with technological gadgets that wash away any veneer of privacy to which we might aspire, and how I’m so tired that there actually exists a school of thought that the concept of feminism is just another word for lesbianism.

Peter Wileman Red Horizon
“Red Horizon” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Peter Wileman

Can you understand why I cannot focus? I have so very much to say, so many thoughts bouncing around in my head, but I am as yet unable to focus enough to write intelligently about any of it. Not to mention the whole thing about me having to take care of the bills and make the telephone calls and straighten out why my health insurance was cancelled once again and how that affected my upcoming doctor’s appointments and my medication refills . . . in other words—blech, double blech.

I did get a bit of a boost when I read selected sections of Ann Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Reading these published writers when they talk about how they write always affects me in two ways: At first I am excited, and then I’m depressed, first because what they have to say makes so much sense, then the downside of realizing that the perch from which they speak is one share by that group of writers of which I hold no membership—the published writer who is selling his/her work.

“Over time, the ghosts of things that happened start to turn distant;  once they’ve cut you a couple of million times, their edges blunt on your scar tissue, they wear thin.  The ones that slice like razors forever are the ghosts of things that never got the chance to happen.” ~ Tana French, from Broken Harbor

I also fear that one of my new medications is messing with my head as well as my body. Since I don’t know a lot about Verelan, I looked it up, and of course, I have a host of the side effects, but mostly the ones dealing with stomach upset and pain.

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“Blue Horizon” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Peter Wileman

Have I mentioned lately how very much I hate medications, doctors, medical tests, the medical industry in general, the medical treatment we receive, ya da ya da ya da? My neighbor’s elderly mother fell a few weeks ago and hit her head. She suffered from dementia. When when she got to the hospital, she must have told them she didn’t have insurance. She did. But the hospital was quick to do a CT scan and then send her home. Her son did not think she should be sent home. Then he noticed that her  discharge papers said self-pay. He called to straighten out the insurance problem. Meanwhile, she got very sick at home, wouldn’t eat, and ended up having a fatal stroke.

The MRI was not done on her until the second time she was taken in, and by then, it was really too late. She was 95. I would see her out in her yard pulling weeds. She talked to anyone who would listen. When her son tried to tell the hospital people that his mother was definitely not acting normally, they told him that they found no problems with the CT scan and insisted on discharging her.

I suppose I am lucky. I am still cogent and ornery enough that I insist on knowing what’s going on with my treatment. I won’t be ignored. But the stress of fighting for inherent rights as a patient certainly does not add to overall well-being.

“It is this backward motion toward the source,
Against the stream, that most we see ourselves in,
The tribute of the current to the source.
It is from this in nature we are from.
It is most us.” ~ Robert Frost, from “West Running Brook”

And then there are the raccoons. I know that I’ve mentioned them before, how Corey thought they were cute. Well . . . they are not huge, and they are doing terribly non-cute things like eating bags of dry dog food and opening the tubs in which we store chips and bread. Not cute, definitely not cute. These things are so fat that it sounds as if they are going to come crashing through the ceiling. Something has to be done. I have a solution but not the means by which to implement it.

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“Evening Falls over the Estuary” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Peter Wileman

And then there is the dry rot. I know in my heart of hearts we have dry rot forming beneath our bathroom because of the leaky tub. Corey doesn’t like to go beneath the house, and I don’t blame him, but if we don’t do some shoring up soon, one day I’m going to be in the shower and the whole bathtub is going to fall through the floor. Of course I will be the one in the tub when it happens because that is my own personal Murphy’s Law at work.

I know. I know. Bitch, bitch, bitch, but really, my head feels as if it’s going to explode from all of the worrying that I’m doing over these things—large and small. Add to this, of course, my ongoing worries about eldest son and his total and complete lack of direction in life as well as his significant drinking, my worries about youngest son and what he’s going to do with his life, worries about daughter and her continued withdrawal, worries about my mother who seems to be in the initial throes of Alzheimer’s.

It’s too much, I tell you. Too much.

“I am the shore and the ocean, awaiting myself on both sides.” ~ Dejan Stojanovic, from The Shape

And at times such as these I think longingly of that other generation of writers, the ones who subsisted on booze and cigarettes, the ones who never seemed to care how much or how little money they had, and still they pressed on, putting their words down on paper, sending them out, getting published, being read. I think of Carson McCullers and her penchant for drinking bourbon for breakfast, and a wee small part of me wishes that I could live with such abandon, but of course, I cannot because, well because that’s just not a healthy way to live, and I know that I couldn’t do that to myself.

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“Violet Horizon” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Peter Wileman

Two weird memories came to me in the car on the way home from taking Brett to campus today (will he ever learn to drive???). I heard the song “Closing Time,” which I heard for the first time many years ago when I was on a blind date with a firefighter. A teacher with whom I taught at the public school was married to a firefighter, and he had a friend who was looking for someone to date. Natch, a blind date was arranged. He was a very nice man, soft-spoken, attractive, and I felt absolutely no attraction to him whatsoever. I couldn’t wait for the night to be over, and I didn’t give him my telephone number. Of course, my automatic guilt mechanism kicked in and I wondered if I should have given him a chance, but I held firm.

The second memory came immediately after when the song “Come My Lady” came on the radio, and it was one of the first songs to which Corey and I danced, and he has always called me his butterfly. If I had gone on a second date with the firefighter, would I have ever made it to the point at which another man would call me his butterfly? Thankfully, I don’t really have to worry about that one.

More later. Peace.

All images by British painter Peter Wileman, President of the Royal Institute of Oil Pointers.

Music by Erin McCarley, “What I Needed”

                   

Words

Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be as good as fingers.
They can be as trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.

Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren’t good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.

But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible
things to repair.

~ Anne Sexton

“My thoughts are an ocean, they wash woefully up against their limits.” ~ Nescio, Amsterdam Stories

Hot Air Balloon Sunset by alwyncooper (FCC)

                   

“The earth splits open under our feet, and above our heads there is an infinite abyss. I no longer know who we are, nor what awaits us.” ~ Simone de Beauvoir, from The Mandarins

Wednesday evening. Overcast, pending storms, dropping temperatures.

Well, I finally got the invitations printed and mailed. If it’s not one thing, it’s another. Setting up the invitations was easy as they came with an online template; however, there was no template for the envelope, so that was a bit of trial and error. Still, no worries . . . right?

Wrong.

Hot Air Balloon, Utah, by ricketyus (FCC)

Print cartridges arrived on Friday evening. Test envelopes printed just fine. Real envelopes, not so much. Paper jam. And with this printer a paper jam can only be cleared by unplugging, deleting the printer, reinstalling . . . Who knew? Certainly not me? I never dreamt that there wasn’t a reset button on the printer. This was Saturday.

On Sunday, Mother’s Day, my day of planned reading and resting? Decided to try again. More begging and pleading of the inanimate object that was ruling my life. Finally decided to print addresses on clear mailing labels and skip trying to send the envelopes through the printer, especially as I had no extras.

On Monday everything looked like a go. Print properties set up correctly. Just a matter of feeding the invitations into the printer. Then the printer decided to stop accepting the invitation stock. This after it had printed about eight of them. Then no more. Not. Another. One. Reset, reboot, begging and pleading, all to no avail. I walked away. Played a little Spider Solitaire. Then got a brainstorm: Why not use the extra printer that Brett’s dad had given him. Got ready to go, only to discover that a) could not download drivers, and b) it’s a photo printer.

Finally I decided to use the copy function to get the text onto the invitations, which didn’t need any drivers. Luckily I had a good template from my test runs. Situated it on the scanner bed, and ran color copies. Unfortunately, as I was home by myself I had to get on my hands and knees to unplug old dysfunctional printer to plug in new/used photo printer. Nothing should be this hard.

“nothing can be taken back,
not the leaves by the trees, the rain
by the clouds.” ~ Dean Young, from “Poem Without Forgiveness”

Hot Air Balloon, Latvia, by Dainis Matisons (FCC)

Took those suckers to the post office yesterday and sent them off. I never even made it out of my pajamas yesterday. Good thing I didn’t get stopped on the way to the post office, but at that point, I did not care. I just wanted the invitations out of my house, out of my sight. (By the way, the poets stamps that I had wanted to use? No one has them. Apparently, they did not sell well in this area. Phht. Talk about your unwashed masses.)

So today Brett and I helped Alexis to transport the gifts that she received from her first shower to my mother’s house as Alexis has no storage space. I threw on some shorts and a workout top, put my hair in a ponytail, didn’t take a shower as I knew that I would be grungy by the time we finished. The first thing my mother says when I get out of the car? “What in the world is she wearing? What in the world is that?” (My mom’s a what-in-the-world person. Uses it as her standby modifier)

Sorry. Didn’t know that I needed real clothes to move stuff. Next time I’ll remember . . .

And you wonder why I have such a crappy self-image . Again with the phht.

“I hadn’t gotten old enough yet to realize that living sends a person not into the future but back into the past, to childhood and before birth, finally, to commune with the dead. You get older . . . and then before you know it you’re time-traveling. In this life we grow backwards.” ~ Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

The stress from four days of trying to execute a project that should have taken a couple of hours at the most has taken its toll. The night before last I didn’t get to sleep until 4 a.m., and last night was 2 a.m., which means backsliding on my goal of 1 a.m. at the latest. Oh well. Couldn’t be helped. We won’t discuss the massive muscle knot between my shoulder blades. What’s the point?

16th Philippine Hot Air Balloon Fiesta by ricky_artigas (FCC)

So I brought home the newborn and three-month sizes of clothes to wash for Alexis. She really got some cute clothes, and probably enough so that le bébé can wear a different outfit each day for the next six months. I remember with Alexis that I didn’t buy her any clothes for the first year. I never had to, between my mom and my m-in-law, she was outfitted quite well. In fact, the woman who watched her while I was at work asked me if I could please not dress Alexis in such nice clothes when I brought her for the day. I had to explain that all she had were nice clothes.

Of course my mom had to comment that Alexis got entirely too many clothes for the baby, and that it was “ridiculous.” It’s not like the clothes are going to waste, and I’m certain that they’ll be recycled along the way among all of the friends that she has.

It was funny though, while we were at my mom’s house, Alexis said under her breath, “Boy, she doesn’t even give you room to breathe, does she?” Which is so true. I knew that mom would have to pick up each item of clothing and comment on it, so we went over there with a schedule—I couldn’t stay for hours and hours because I needed to take Brett to school. Still, I know that in spite of her running commentary that my mom is just excited. Don’t think that I don’t understand, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t bitch about it any more than my mother wouldn’t be herself if she didn’t have several negative things to say.

Family dynamics . . . oi.

“The medicine of words—medicina verbi. ~ Anna Kamienska, from “A Nest of Quiet: A Notebook”

Hot Air Balloon, Wyoming, by carolynconner (FCC)

Since I first began this post, two storms have rolled through, which has really helped the humidity. I feel as though I spend half of my day wiping my face—things you don’t realize about getting older. I mean, I never used to sweat. Just didn’t do it. Never had to worry about my makeup running (when I wore it on a regular basis), never really worried about wet underarms (well, that still is true).

But this constant facial sweat? What is this? Where did it come from? I wonder if this happens to all Filipina women as they get older. These days I’m not around any so that I can ask.

But all of these things you really don’t think about when you’re in your twenties or even thirties: inconvenient sweating, putting on moisturizer only to have it run in your eyes, being unable to find your glasses without your glasses (actually, that’s always been true for very nearsighted me). This aging crap is, well, crap. I don’t want to be the person that I was along with all of the incumbent short-sightedness (not vision), but then again, I’m not entirely certain that I want to be this person either.

“It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.” ~ Billy Collins, from “Litany”

So all is quiet. Eamonn is at his girlfriend’s house. Brett is at school until 9 p.m. (summer school started this week). The dogs are asleep. The laundry is going.

Hot Air Balloons, Arizona, by D Guisinger (FCC)

I cannot believe that it’s midweek already. The past few days have really run together because of the invitation fiasco. I hate it when that happens, when I just lose days. I mean, I have a hard enough time keeping my tenuous grip on reality without brutal reality rearing its ugly head.

I’ll tell you what, though. I’m finding comfort in the following: Milkshakes are half price at Sonic after 8 p.m.

Yep. I’m going there, figuratively and literally. After all of this crap, and especially after my mother’s assessment of my wardrobe, I’m going to have a milkshake. I figure if that’s my dinner, then it’s a fair calorie exchange. No, it’s not healthy. No, it goes against my whole no sugar regimen. But I’m not telling anyone, and neither are you.

More later. Peace.

Music by Dum Dum Girls, “Coming Down”

                   

Tag (part one)

THIS

Insatiable April, trees in place,
in their scraped-out place,
their standing.
Standing way.
Their red branch areas,
green shoot areas (shock),
river, that one.
I surprised a goose and she hissed.
I walk and walk with cold hands.
Back at the house it is filled with longing,
nothing to carry longing away.
I look back over my life.
I try to find analogies.
There are none.
I have longed for people before, I have loved people before.
Not like this.
It was not this.

Give me a world, you have taken the world I was.

~ Anne Carson