“A little light is filtering from the water flowers. | Their leaves do not wish us to hurry: | They are round and flat and full of dark advice.” ~ Sylvia Plath, from “Crossing the Water”

Otto Modersohn The Cloud 1890
“The Cloud or Die Wolke” (1890)
by Otto Modersohn

                   

“The lake, as usual,
Has taken its mood from the sky,
Its color also,
The blue that breaks hearts.” ~ Tom Hennen, from “June, with Loons”

Thursday afternoon, Halloween. Cloudy and warm, mid 70’s.

John Henry Twachtman Sailing in the Mist c1895 oil on canvas
“Sailing in the Mist” (c1895, oil on canvas)
by John Henry Twachtman

The fates have been reversed for about a week or so: I’ve been wanting to write, have had much to say, but have had no time to spare until just this moment. I’m hoping that I can finish this post before the neighborhood kids begin to roam, and the dogs begin to go crazy. We’ll just have to see.

Since I have so many different thoughts going in so many different directions, I thought I’d do a random thoughts post. Here goes:

  • I learned a new word the other day: deliquescent, becoming liquid or having a tendency to become liquid. Doesn’t that just sound as if it should be in a poem?
  • I continue to awaken each morning with a song in my head, and the song of the morning does not seem to have any relevance to anything that I can pinpoint. For example, the other morning it was The Courtship of Eddie’s father theme song.
  • There is a running theme that occurs in my dreams, regardless of what the main theme is: I have forgotten to feed the dogs that stay in the backyard. I only remember them after several days. I find them in various states of illness—listless, dehydrated, close to dying.
  • Last night I dreamt of my family in Great Bridge, all of my cousins; one of my cousins introduced me to his friend and said that I had gone off to sing. I was very confused because I didn’t remember having a singing career.
  • I bought Halloween candy that I’m not particularly fond of hoping that it would keep me from delving into the bag; this has not worked completely.
  • Does too much sugar affect your dreams?

“She will hang the night with stars so that I may walk abroad in the darkness without stumbling, and send the wind over my footprints so that none may track me to my hurt: she will cleanse me in great waters, and with bitter herbs make me whole.” ~ Oscar Wilde, from “De Profundis”

Pierre Henri Valenciennes Rome colon Study of Clouds 1780s
“Rome: Study of Clouds” (1780s, oil on paper mounted on board)
by Pierre Henri Valenciennes

So here’s the latest news from around the home:

  • Corey will be in port on Saturday. He’s getting off the ship before they travel to Ascension; we have to fit in the trip to New Orleans before all of the holidays roll around.
  • I weigh four pounds less on my pain doctor’s scale. I like that scale.
  • Olivia is going to be a lady bug for Halloween; I bought her some black and white Mary Janes with red bows, too cute.
  • I wonder how many of you remember those hard leather shoes made by Stride-Rite for toddlers, how we were all forced to wear them and then in turn told to force our children to wear them .  .  . somewhere along the line, the doctors who decide said that tennis shoes were better for young feet.
  • I read where Kate Middleton’s sister Pippa bought the young prince silver casts of his hands and feet for a christening gift, and media voices were calling the gift creepy. How is that any creepier than bronzing baby shoes like everyone in my mother’s generation did?
  • My current fascination with all things make-up related continues. Don’t ask me why as I haven’t the faintest idea.
  • Lately, I’m fixated on just the right make-up brushes.

“And if all that is meaningless, I want to be cured
Of a craving for something I cannot find
And of the shame of never finding it.” ~ T. S. Eliot, from The Cocktail Party

Tom Thomson Grey Sky 1914 oil on wood
“Grey Sky” (1914, oil on wood)
by Tom Thomson

Funny, I thought that I had so much to say, but the last few hours have had so many interruptions that I cannot seem to find my train of thought.

  • It’s far too muggy to be October.
  • I just remembered that I had another dream about the real estate firm where I worked. In these dreams I’m always trying to please my boss, unsuccessfully.
  • I don’t want to think about how many jobs I have failed at; it’s just too depressing.
  • Neither Brett nor I went to any Literary Festival events this year.
  • I finally watched the movie Sylvia in which Gwyneth Paltrow plays Sylvia Plath and Daniel Craig plays Ted Hughes. The movie wasn’t bad, but I think it soft-pedaled the depiction of Hughes.
  • At the moment I’m feeling very displaced, as if I’m on the verge of something without really knowing what or why.
  • The other day I realized that this year marks 25 years since Caitlin. It still feels so immediate, so close, yet not.
  • I wonder if anyone else can understand anything I am trying to say.

“But mountain weariness and mountain hunger — how few know what these are!” ~ John of the Mountains: The Unpublished Journals of John Muir

August Strindberg Packis i Traden 1892
“Packis i Stranden” (1892, oil on zinc)
by August Strindberg

She said, apropos of nothing . . .

  • My mother ordered me some strange gadget from QVC. I told her that I didn’t have room for it, and I didn’t really need it. She insisted that I had told her I wanted it. This would be hard as I have no idea as to what it is. Patience. Patience.
  • QVC preys on the shut-ins, the elderly, and the lonely.
  • I probably won’t see the mountains again this year.
  • Obviously, I’m not going to apply to the doctoral program at GW since I have made no further efforts in preparing.
  • I am my own worst enemy.
  • Now that Corey is coming home, we can finally finish the bathroom, all of the things we couldn’t do before he left, and all of the things I couldn’t do on my own—not a whole lot, actually. Still, unfinished is unfinished.
  • I have the strangest feeling that I have forgotten to do something really important, but I have no idea as to what it might be.

“While the earth breaks the soft horizon
eastward, we study how to deserve
what has already been given us.” ~ William Stafford, from “Love in the Country”

Maurice de Vlaminck The Seine at Chatou oil on canvas 1908
“The Seine at Chatou” (1908, oil on canvas)
by Maurice de Vlaminck

On a more serious note . . .

  • I think that my mother is deteriorating mentally faster. I have noticed more things in just the last few weeks.
  • I really need to investigate what kind (if any) of support there is for seniors, as far as keeping house, running errands, that kind of thing.
  • We are not a society that values the aged, not like the Asians do.
  • I constantly berate myself for not having enough patience with my mother, yet when I’m around her, I just cannot seem to summon the patience I need.
  • I feel like a horrible daughter.
  • I am praying to the gods that be that I can teach myself more of how to live in the moment, something I have never quite mastered.
  • Am I too old to learn such things?
  • When I am with Olivia, I am forcing my mind to rest, not to think about this bill or that problem, but to just enjoy this time because I know all too well that it passes quickly.
  • I would give anything to have another fall afternoon with all three of my children when they were still young.

I happened upon the most wonderful site: Lancaster Center for Classical Studies, which posted pictures of cloudy weather for today, just as I have here. I wonder if they do that every day . . .

Nicholas Roerich Karelian Landscape c1917
“Karelian Landscape” (c1917)
by Nicholas Roerich

More later. Peace.

Music by Rosi Golan and Johnny McDaid, “Give up the Ghost”

                   

Assurance

You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or in the silence after lightning before it says
its names — and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, an Amazon,
long aisles — you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head —
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.

~ William Stafford

When you consider things like the stars, our affairs don’t seem to matter very much, do they?” ~ Virginia Woolf

“Lake George, Autumn” (nd)
by Georgia O’Keeffe

                   

“The human heart is a lonely hunter—but the search for us southerners is more anguished . . .” ~ Carson McCullers

Monday afternoon. Overcast and humid, Temperatures creeping back to the 80’s.

Have I ever mentioned how very much I love the author Carson McCullers, so much so that I have always held Carson in reserve as a girl child’s name, not that I ever got to use it. I used to teach Heart is a Lonely Hunter to my American literature classes. It’s a stunning book, so well written and so tragic. The 1968 movie starred Alan Arkin as Singer, a deaf-mute, and a very young Sondra Locke as the teenage girl Mick. The movie is a wonderful adaptation of McCullers’s book, and I would show it to my class after we finished the novel. It’s one of those movies that holds up after time, mostly because of Arkin’s portrayal of Singer.

“The Autumn View from the Balcony” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Konstantin Yuon

I once read a biography by Virginia Spencer Carr about Carson McCullers called The Lonely Hunter. Born Lula Carson, McCullers preferred her middle moniker and legally changed her name to Carson when she was 30. The biography by was an in-depth look at the life of the troubled writer, who suffered from alcoholism and had rheumatic fever at a young age, which led to a series of strokes. She died in 1967 at the age of 50 as a result of a brain hemorrhage. (I’ve included Charles Bukowski’s poem about the writer, can’t remember if I’ve posted it before, but it’s worth seeing again.)

A contemporary of Truman Capote, Eudora Welty, and Tennessee Williams, McCullers is considered to be a prominent writer in Southern Gothic fiction. In fact, Williams once called her the greatest living writer of our country, if not the world. Her characters suffer from acute loneliness and a feeling of displacement.

Just writing this makes me want to reread the novel and the biography, but that would mean that I would have to find them first.

“We are hurt into beauty.
And you, up in the balcony, rising
to your feet, applauding fiercely, look
down at what your own hands are doing.” ~ Paul Hostovsky, from “The Violence of Violins

Wednesday morning. Cloudy and high 60’s.

I couldn’t finish this post on Monday. Too much happened.

“Hemlock Pool” (aka “Autumn”, 1894, oil on canvas)
by John Henry Twachtman

When I got home from Lex’s, I took Tillie the lab outside to play stick. About half an hour later, she started to have seizures, and this continued for over an hour. I really thought that I was going to lose her. Brett and I did all of the things that you are supposed to do: kept talking to her calmly, kept her cool, even offered her peanut butter, which I’m not sure why this is a thing to do, but apparently it is. I also gave her a sedative, which eventually calmed her.

The entire time, all I could think was that it would kill Corey if Tillie died while he was not at home, and I was overcome with such feelings of guilt.

It was such an ordeal, but we are very lucky that she came out of it okay with no apparent damage. I’ve never had to handle it when she’s had a really bad seizure, let alone multiple ones. I have to say, just for the record, I really, really hate this, all of it, everything. It’s all just too much. I feel spread so thin, and there doesn’t seem to be enough of me to go around for everyone.

Truthfully, I want to run and hide. I want to go back to being a hermit. I want to retreat to the days in which I never left the house. If you don’t leave, nothing can happen, right?

“We share all these disappointments of failing
autumn a thousand miles apart. This is where
autumn wind easily plunders courtyard trees,
but the sorrows of distance never scatter away.” ~ Po Chü-i

Corey is due in port sometime tomorrow. Still don’t know if he’s going to get off the ship or finish this hitch. So many different factors, not the least of which is money, but I hate that, hate that our fate is controlled by money. I long for the time in which we no longer owe everyone a piece of us, but I have to wonder if we will ever reach that point? Does anyone really? Another thing that I really hate is that so much of our debt is medical, my medical debt, which just leads me to hating the system, and on and on and one ad infinitum.

“By the Stream, Autumn” (1885, oil on canvas)
by Paul Gauguin

At the moment, the dogs are all napping peacefully. Outside it’s relatively quiet, and I’m sitting here trying to concentrate on writing, but a million different things are going through my mind: I need to call this person, and I need to make this payment, and I need to take a shower, and should I do a load of laundry, and yes, there are dirty dishes in the kitchen. Last night Brett walked into my bedroom and asked me why I was polishing the furniture at 9 o’clock in the evening. No good answer for that, really.

I have an appointment this afternoon with my prescribing psychiatrist. Is there a drug that acts like the waters of Lethe, inducing forgetfulness? Would that it were possible truly to cast one’s trouble on the winds. I have this sudden mental image of a wet newspaper being beaten about by the wind only to land on my face. Almost comical.

“This is the sadness of the sea—waves like words, all broken—a sameness of lifting and falling mood.” ~ William Carlos Williams, “The Descent of Winter”

I did not post any Kate Daniels poems yesterday. Perhaps I’ll get to it later in the week. Who knows . . .

I do want to thank the newest followers tho commented recently. It’s always nice to hear from new voices. I would promise that this blog isn’t always this depressing, but that might be a stretch. No, not always depressing, I suppose. Sometimes a bit off-kilter, sometimes politically far left of center, sometimes wacky. It depends upon the moon, the barometric pressure, the dogs, the kids, the color of the water in the pool, the number of spider webs . . .

“Autumn Sea VII” (nd)
by Emil Nolde

Anyway, so this morning I awoke from a hellacious nightmare, one that featured a home invasion scenario. In it, I was both brave and cowardly, in one scene confronting the invaders, and in another cowering against the wall beneath a sheet. At one point, the bad people were gathering up the individuals in the room across from mine, and I was saying goodbye, knowing what was in store for them. The graphic designer with whom I used to work at the museum was going to be taken, and I was telling her over and over again how sorry I was for everything.

Now this is the point to all of this: Why do I apologize for things over which I have no control even in my dreams? Where does this come from? I could no more control the behaviors of the villains than I can control the weather, but I felt the need to say that I was so sorry, as if I had somehow willed the situation.

I wonder if I do that in real life . . .   

“Lotuses have withered, they put up no umbrella to the rain;
one branch of chrysanthemum holds out against frost.
Good sights of all the year I’d have you remember,
but especially now, with citrons yellow and tangerines still green.” ~ Su Tung-p’o (trans. by Burton Watson)

Let’s see, what else?

When I was dusting last night, I rearranged my stack of books to read, and I don’t know when that stack got so big. I have, I believe, four books just by Ian Rankin from the Inspector Rebus series. I also have Kafka by the Shore, one that I’ve been wanting to read for a while but never remembered to order. The truth is that I just haven’t been reading much in the past few months.

“Autumn Song” (1905, pastel on paper)
by Victor Borisov-Musatov

My free time (free?) is spent with Olivia, and then my leisure time (is there such a thing?) is spent cramming everything else into a day. I know that at some point I will need to wean myself from the habit of seeing le bébé almost every day, but I have become as dependent as Lex. Yesterday, I just spent time holding her, which really helped to calm me, especially after I got a call from the pain management center saying that they were cancelling my appointment for today because I hadn’t made a payment in a few months. I asked, without really expecting an answer, what I was supposed to do about my left hand. I hung up the phone and just wanted to cry.

Truly, I feel like I have a “kick me” sign on my back that is visible only to others. How pathetic. I do not like being a victim. If I were smart, I would wash this entire post as it is just one big roll in the self-pity pile. But I won’t do that because it goes against my belief that writing anything is better than writing nothing, which is not to say that it’s a particularly good mantra. And besides, I can’t go take a shower because eldest son just jumped in the shower before me, and there won’t be hot water or a while.

My life, so ordinary, so mundane, so tragicomical. Bee-zar. Truly.

More later. Peace.

All autumnal images found on Wiki Paintings.

Music by My Name is You, “Come Back”

                   

Carson McCullers

she died of alcoholism
wrapped in a blanket
on a deck chair
on an ocean
steamer.

all her books of
terrified loneliness

all her books about
the cruelty
of loveless love

were all that was left
of her

as the strolling vacationer
discovered her body

notified the captain

and she was quickly dispatched
to somewhere else
on the ship

as everything
continued just
as
she had written it

~ Charles Bukowski