“The hour is crowed in lunatic thirteens.” ~ Sylvia Plath, from “Doomsday”

Does it every go away?

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“The sky creaks with the plumes of unread poets.” ~ Anna Kamienska, from In That Great River: A Notebook (trans. by Clare Cavanagh)

On the Rocks by Titirangi Storyteller

                   

“Writing down your thoughts is both necessary and harmful. It leads to eccentricity, narcissism, preserves what should be let go. On the other hand, these notes intensify the inner life, which, left unexpressed, slips through your fingers.” ~ Anna Kamienska, from In That Great River: A Notebook*

Sunday evening.

Thoughts, no structure.

The name Anna sounds like a song, backwards or forwards. A woman named Anna will always know who she is. It would be hard to lose yourself with such a name.

◊◊◊◊◊

“Lolita,” “Lo-lee-ta,” “Lo. Lee. Ta.” The three syllable siren song that drove Humbert Humbert mad. A graduate Renaissance teacher said I should un-hyphenate my name and use only Lolita Liwag, change the long e sound in Liwag to a short i with the emphasis on the second syllable instead of the first (lo-lee’-ta le-wog’), second syllables emphasized so that the name rolled off the tongue. Re-name myself, born again as the writer I am not, the woman who might love words better, treat with them, make a separate peace, finally.

◊◊◊◊◊

Lolita. I hated this name so much when I was young that I created an alternative name. a character for myself—Yvonne Wingate, the name of a wealthy woman, this woman I envisioned—

a woman with a swimming pool in her backyard, a woman who wore large sunglasses and drank champagne.

Lo-li-ta could not do these things, only in Nabokov’s novel.

◊◊◊◊◊

My name, unused, slips through my fingers like the unwritten thoughts of poems.

“A whisper.
To speak in a whisper.
To whisper—like the sea.” ~ Anna Kamienska

Do you look out over the sea at night? Do you see the moon and stars reflected on the water. Do you smell the salt air. Does it feel like home? Are you looking at the same patch of sky that my father saw. In that moment, can you feel what he felt?

Do the sirens whisper your name as they whispered his?

Tell me: Does the siren song in the middle of the night sound like the wind or the stars or fallen angels?

Tell me.

“Why do I need these landscapes? The image of the sea draws me out of myself, forces all my attention to the surface so that I can cast my thought into the depths once again.” ~ Anna Kamienska

I remember the sensation of standing at the edge of the ocean and gripping the wet sand with my toes. I see myself running barefoot along the shore, gull wings flapping in my wake, sand crabs scurrying away from my feet.

Memory: Digging into the sand with my toes and feeling something wiggling on my foot, some kind of sea slug, a broad smile across my face, the face of a child who still knows happiness.

Another: Indian Summer, a long weekend on the shore, a purple sunset, sitting lotus-position on the sand until the sky turned black, my fact wet with tears.

◊◊◊◊◊

A full moon reflecting on the mirror-like surface of calm water—like a dark pane of glass. If I looked into it, I could fall through. Almost stopping the car, the need to fall into the depths overpowering.

At one time I had thought to name my first book White Moon on Dark Water.

“Circles of solitude exist, just like circles of dreams and waking, just like the circles of hell.” ~ Anna Kamienska

I love that time of night when I alone am awake,
the darkest part of night when anything seems possible,
before the sky begins to lighten.
The darkness like a cloak, heavy and impermeable.

When the darkness fades,
the light comes, the cloak disappears—
dawn is not kind to me.

◊◊◊◊◊

My dreams are populated with the dead who look no older—

the baby, the father, the uncle, the mother, the friend (the dead not dead)

—those who left know me best.

“In fact, though, writing is the backbreaking work of hacking a footpath, as in a coal mine; in total darkness, beneath the earth. In poetry there are moments of illumination. A streak of light falls in the dark corridor, then the darkness slams shut overhead once more.

In prose the darknesses are even thicker, the black clods even harder.” ~ Anna Kamienska

In seeking the right words, the write words, I stammer, stumble, and retreat. Forward is too hard. Forward is greyness, the great expanse I have set between my words and my succor—peace at last, the goal that eludes me.

The expanse is both desert and forest, simultaneously flat and endless and filled with dark woods unfriendly to my journey. I do not take the step, fearful of the brambles, the parched earth, the impenetrable column—

first trees, then men with bayonets
calling for blood, my blood
I have trespassed where I do not belong—

A blurred dream. A nightmare

You left me a bequest: the earth, birds, trees. But I don’t know what to do with them.” ~ Anna Kamienska

A scarred wooden shelf lined with jars of wild honey made of thistle, eucalyptus, wild thyme. Below, baskets of mountain apples. The air is heavy with a natural elixir.

◊◊◊◊◊

Did Saint Francis love the bees, love their miracle of liquid gold?

◊◊◊◊◊

We walk beneath the trees in the gloaming, the path takes us up, to the sky, almost, close enough. I smell loam, a mountain stream. A deer pauses before crashing away from us. We are the enemy here.

◊◊◊◊◊

What shall I do with these armfuls of autumn days?

In recording these thoughts I also have a sense of assimilated time, its duration within me. Even if I don’t return to these poor notes—within me they are the assimilated material of time. In this sense they are my real life, more real than whatever might occur in daylight.” ~ Anna Kamienska

This record of my thoughts brings me no comfort.

◊◊◊◊◊

Time is still fractured.

◊◊◊◊◊

Paris—a loft, candles, stale bread, hard cheese, wine, cigarette smoke heavy in the air. Beyond the atelier, Eliot’s mermaids’ song drifts on the night wind. Fitzgerald keeps me company. Zelda is gone, dying alone in an asylum. Hemingway has passed out on the floor. The empty whiskey bottle rolls across the uneven floor. Sylvia Plath wants to clean the oven. Vincent sits in the wooden chair, sighs, bereft that the blue is all gone. Carson McCullers died on the deck of the steamer before I could tell her I knew, knew as much as I could. (All of those people in her books, alone, sad, sick with guilt and pain.)

Broken bottles are embedded in the wall below for Forché’s colonel. If I look out the window, I can see Gatsby’s flashing light across the water. Yes, the waves still beat back. Beneath the fire, rust.

The sorrows of my changing face, Yeats named them.

The heart is an organ of fire, Almaszy said.

*All header quotes are taken from Anna Kamienska’s In That Great River: A Notebook, translated from the Polish by Clare Cavanaugh

Music by Sia, “Lullaby (song from Hereafter)”

                   

Rereading Frost

Sometimes I think all the best poems
have been written already,
and no one has time to read them,
so why try to write more?

At other times though,
I remember how one flower
in a meadow already full of flowers
somehow adds to the general fireworks effect

as you get to the top of a hill
in Colorado, say, in high summer
and just look down at all that brimming color.
I also try to convince myself

that the smallest note of the smallest
instrument in the band,
the triangle for instance,
is important to the conductor

who stands there, pointing his finger
in the direction of the percussions,
demanding that one silvery ping.
And I decide not to stop trying,

at least not for a while, though in truth
I’d rather just sit here reading
how someone else has been acquainted
with the night already, and perfectly.

~ Linda Pastan


“To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face, and to know it for what it is . . . at last, to love it for what it is.” ~Virginia Woolf

Carnations by Zengame (FCC)

                   

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” ~ Honoré de Balzac

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there.

My youngest son Brett informed me today that he believes Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to be stupid holidays as they are all about making people spend money . . . Okay . . .

I told him that I agreed that most holidays are greeting card conspiracies for commercialization, but that I was pretty certain that Mother’s Day did not begin that way. And guess what? I was right.

After doing a bit of quick Internet research, this is what I learned about the holiday:

After the Civil War, some attempts were made by women’s peace groups who held meetings attended by mothers whose sons had fought or died in the Civil War. The practice did not extend beyond local level. In 1868, Ann Jarvis (mother of Anna Marie) “created a committee to establish a ‘Mother’s Friendship Day’  to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War.” Mother Jarvis had plans to expand the Friendship Day into an annual celebration for mothers, but her death in 1905 prevented her from seeing her dream realized.

Others who were involved in the creation of Mother’s Day include Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day proclamation in 1872, as well as Juliet Calhoun Blakely and her two traveling salesmen sons in 1877. Frank Hering called for a “national day to honor our mothers in 1904.” However, the elder Jarvis’s daughter Anna Marie took up her mother’s cause and is recognized as the creator of the holiday that became national and then international.

Jarvis came up with the idea for a day to honor mothers on the second Sunday in May 1907, which was the first anniversary of her mother’s death. Supposedly, Jarvis persuaded a Philadelphia church to hold a special service for her mother. Subsequently, every church in the country was holding special services. Jarvis even obtained a copyright on the phrase “Mother’s Day” from the Patent Office.

Finally, on On May 9, 1914 after years of letter writing and campaigning by the younger Jarvis, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson issued the official proclamation declaring the first Mother’s Day as a day for citizens to show the American flag in honor of sons who had died in war.

In an article in Time magazine in 1938, Anna Marie Jarvis is indeed recognized as the creator of the holiday; however, by the time of the article, Jarvis declared that “whenever she thinks of what the flower shops, the candy stores, the telegraph companies have done with her idea, she is disgusted.” (Brett would have probably liked Anna Jarvis.) Jarvis spent most of her remaining money in her continued efforts to fight to keep Mother’s Day from being promoted as nothing more than another occasion for people to buy expensive gifts, and as we now know, she didn’t succeed.

Border Carnation

Interestingly, Eleanor Roosevelt is pointed out in the same article as saying that flowers are “sweet and nice” but that something “ought to be done for the 14,000 mothers who die every year from childbirth.” I think that many of us have forgotten just how dangerous the entire act of becoming a mother used to be. According to Wikipedia (yes, I used Wikipedia; it’s not a thesis for god’s sake), “global maternal mortality in 2008 at 342,900 (down from 526,300 in 1980), of which less than 1 percent occurred in the developed world.”

As a side note, carnations are considered the official flower of the holiday. The younger Jarvis delivered 500 of them in 1908 as carnations had been her mother’s favorite flower. Today, of course, florists push any flower available, and it was florists in the early part of the century who pushed red carnations for women whose mother’s were still living, and white carnations for women who had lost their mothers.

Now, armed with this information, go buy a single carnation for your mother, and instead of candy or perfume, wash her car or her windows. She’ll thank you for it.

More later. Peace.

P.S. Brett, in the end, every celebration becomes a mere bastardized version of its former self. It is up to you to interpret holidays as you wish, not to follow the prescribed path of those who have trodden before you. You will find that when you attach your own meaning and your own memories to something, in the end, what is precious belongs to you. What Mother’s Day means to me is not what is means to you, and it shouldn’t be. For me, it is a bittersweet day fraught with love and sadness. That is mine. What it becomes for you only time will reveal.

Music by Ronan Keating, “This Is Your Song”

                   

Cradle Song

Her grandfather
had crafted the bed from the hardwood trees
in the dense woods behind the house.
Her mother had lain securely in its curves,
and she, too, had been comforted by its gentle sway.
Years later, spring brought her own girl child.
Each night, she would lay the baby in the cradle,
cover her with a soft blanket,
and soothe her with hushed lullabies
whispered in the summer twilight.

With her hand on the knotted wood
worn smooth by time and love,
the woman would rock the bed gently,
and guide her babe into untroubled slumber.
The tranquility of this evening ritual
became the woman’s talisman for her babe
against the dark and unknown.
Until the day arrived
when the girl-child became ill,
and was taken away
to be succored by strangers.
never to return to the enfolding arms
of the woman or the idle cradle.

After that,
the woman would stand by the cradle in the evening,
and sing quiet songs to the air made silent by her loss.
Alone in the terrible stillness,
she would gather the blanket in her arms,
and inhale deeply—searching for the essence
that might still cling to the barren cloth.
Sometimes, she would stroke the sheets,
her hands seeking warmth
from the hollow where the baby’s head had lain.
Once, she found a single, dark hair,
She wrapped it in white tissue and placed it in a box,
along with a small, cloth doll
and a faded red bow she had tied in her daughter’s hair
one fall morning.

Her husband never understood
her need to find solace from things no longer used.
He wanted to remove the cradle,
the source of her pain.
But she asked him to leave it
until the trees were heavy again with spring blooms,
until she could imprint all that the child had been,
before time began to fade the image,
and she would be left alone,
with nothing but remembrance, an empty cradle
and echoes of soft night songs of love.

Lolita Liwag

Lives of quiet desperation . . .

Carpe Diem

Carpe Diem

 

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” ~ John Keating, DPS

I just finished watching Dead Poets’ Society. Or should I say, watching again for 10th, 11th, who knows how many times? Corey could hear me sniffling from the dining room. It’s always this way when I watch this movie, so I space out the time between viewings.

I understand that many people do not understand the attraction of this movie. Many felt that Robin Williams’ appearance was too over the top. For a poetry teacher, he quoted too much Whitman, someone once said to me. Some of you hate this movie because you have been made to watch it. But for me, each viewing brings back some of the best memories of my life.

Mr KeatingNo, not boarding school. Never did that. Never went to a same-sex school. Never had a teacher like Mr. John Keating, either. How I wish that I had. But time for complete truths here: Being in a college classroom, teaching English—poetry, plays, novels, short stories—doing that was the most rewarding job I have ever had. And I miss it just about every day of my life.

I loved to watch minds engage, regardless of the student’s age or background. It gave me great pleasure to watch students look at material that they had seen before or had never seen, and suddenly realize that they really got it. They understood it, and they understood not because I made them think what I thought, but because I allowed them to decipher for themselves. Too many teachers and professors still approach English as if it were written in stone. Classics only include old, dead white men. A poem’s meaning is not up to interpretation. Do not consider the time in which something was written as being related to the work itself.

I used Dead Poets’ in almost all of my applicable literature classes. I would use it in companion with pieces such as Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, as well as poems by Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Bruce Weigl, Nikki Giovanni, Ntzoke Shange, Langston Hughes and countless others. A myriad of voices writing about similar themes, life experiences, points of view. A mingling of past and present.

We would discuss how the period in which the character was placed affected diction, outlooks, actions. We would discuss how the setting of a piece had a direct effect on a character’s actions. Is the setting claustrophobic? Is the setting controversial? Is the setting in opposition to the characters’ conflicts. We would discuss the roles of men and women in literature: the powerless, almost silent mother figure in the movie, the powerless female protagonist in A Doll’s House.

And then, quite often on the final exam, I would take a quote from the movie and have the students use a selection of the works read to explore a theme based upon the quote.

I’d like to think that I never taught the same class in the same way. I never used notecards in my literature classes, only the text, and my students learned that if they did not participate in the discussion, then I would move on to something else, because I was not there to tell them what to think about a poem, or what the author intended with her point of view choice or at what point the denouement of the story occurred. But it was important to me was that they try, they think, they offer their opinions, and they learned to embrace literature in an entirely new way.

“The powerful play goes on, and  you may contribute a verse.” ~ John Keating, DPS 

Old Book SpinesAm I patting myself on the back? No. Am I laying claim to this method of teaching? Of course not. I’m merely sharing with you why this particular movie holds such meaning for me. And why, sitting here now, I find myself feeling the same thing that I always feel after the movie ends: I belong in a classroom.

I cannot tell you how much I miss teaching. College, that is. I learned the hard way that I was not meant to teach middle school. I’m not entirely certain that I would be any better suited for high school, unless it was a progressive high school.

I suppose that I am still holding onto the dream that someday I might be able to get another post at a small college. Who knows? Who knows if I would even like it anymore . . . I think, though, that if I am to be honest with myself (which I try to be), then I would have to admit that there are few things that I would want more.

My friend Mari, with whom I shared an office for most of my time at ODU, is currently teaching part time at a community college in Massachusetts. Being an adjunct at any college or university is a thankless position that pays close to nothing, but Mari does it because she loves to teach, definitely not because she is making any money from it.

I wouldn’t mind a part-time position somewhere, except that adjuncts usually get stuck with composition classes. Unless you are known, it’s damned hard to get literature or writing classes as an adjunct.

But as usual, I digress . . .

“Excrement. That’s what I think of Mr. J. Evans Pritchard. We’re not laying pipe. We’re talking about poetry.” ~ John Keating, DPS

The Movie: Twenty years later, and I think that Dead Poets’ Society still holds up well. After all, the movie’s accurate depiction of the 1950’s in setting and costume is never going to be outdated. Where we are  as a society today does not reflect the roles of men and women during that era, something that the movie captures with its secondary female characters: They are all stock characters with very little to do, simply functioning as a stereotypes—the powerless wife/mother, the blonde girlfriend every boy desires, the ditzy girls who are pick-ups.

Father and SonThe timeless aspects of the movie still hold true, as well. For example, the relationship between fathers and sons can still be fraught with an inability to communicate true feelings. The youthful male bonding and search for identity is eternal.

Another aspect of the movie that I have always loved is the cinematography. The golden hues of autumn, sunsets on the water, misty moonlight forays into the forest, and one of my favorite scenes, Knox riding his bicycle through a flock of geese.

Oh, and one more thing. The pool of poetic quotes from which Keating draws is limited, but remember, the era of confessional poetry was just coming into its own. Women had yet to gain prominence in the genre, and I just cannot see the Harlem Renaissance as being a mainstay in the curriculum for an all-white, male preparatory school in New England.

Say what you will, but this movie still speaks to me. And the last scene absolutely kills me.

What will my verse be?

 

More later. Peace.

Flash Fiction: Child’s Play

journal writing

Following My Muse

Hey. I just wanted to mention that I got an honorable mention in my first Flash Fiction contest over at Christian Yorke’s site. I’m new to his site, but so far, I’m enjoying the reading.  The winning story in the contest was a bit risqué, but great use of pause/thought effect.

Flash Fiction is a new genre for me. It’s a very short story, compressed into 300 words or less. Very tricky, especially for someone like me who  likes to ramble and weave.  However, learning to write in new genres is always good, helps to espand creativity, keep the mind working, which is the whole point. Right?

I thought that I’d share my entry with you below. It’s based on one of my recurring nightmares (what a shock):

Child’s Play

“No. Not this time. It’s not going to be me,” Jules said to herself. The darkness made it hard to find her way through the building, but she was fairly certain that the doors to the auditorium were down this hallway.

If she could only get inside, she knew where she could hide. Only a few people knew about the trapdoor that Jules had found when she was working on the set for “Streetcar.” She prayed the auditorium doors would be unlocked.

Just a few more steps. There were the doors, and they were unlocked. Jules knew she had to be very quiet because the doors squeaked.  Don’t let them slam shut. Now down the aisle to the stage and the stairs that led to the wings.

Jules tried to calm herself, deep breaths. In. Out. Her breathing sounded too loud in her ears. She moved to the right, behind the stack of folding chairs. There it was—the spiral staircase. Its black metal risers blended in with the dark curtains. Jules climbed the stairs carefully.

Jules remembered how surprised she had been when she bumped her head on the ceiling and a panel moved. She had been at the top of the stairs working on a backlight. She was certain no one had noticed the moving panel, but Jules knew that it was there. She just had to reach it in time and she would be home free.

She paused. Was that movement in the aisle? She couldn’t tell. She just needed a few seconds.  It was movement, an indistinct shape, coming towards the stage. Jules pushed up on the panel slowly and felt it move; there it was—safety.  Jules prepared to pull herself up through the opening just as something grabbed her ankle.

“Tag. You’re it, Jules.”

And so ends one of my shortest entries ever. More later. Peace.

“The hour with its face in its hands . . .” ~ Edward Hirsch

Heart Petals by L

Heart Petals by L. Liwag 

 

“You are the watcher; the mind is the watched. It is a beautiful mechanism, one of the most beautiful mechanisms that nature has given to you . . . Even while you are sleeping, it is sitting on your chest torturing you, giving you nightmares. All kind of relevant and irrelevant thoughts go on and on.” ~ Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh 

Very, very strange dreams last night: sharks, guns, school, cooked apples, and a house with many, many short levels and stairs. To top it off, I kept thinking that it was Monday.

Beneath the Surface by L Liwag
Beneath the Surface, by L. Liwag (2009)

Okay. The shark dream: I was swimming in a small inlet behind the neighborhood (doesn’t exist) with my two sons, who are younger in this dream. Something touches my leg. At first, I convince myself that it is probably just a fish. Then I realize that it is too long to be a fish. Then I realize that it is a shark. I yell to the boys to get to the ladders. The shark begins to swim after me, but not too aggressively. I begin to climb the short ladder, and the shark throws his front half on the dock, kind of like the great white in Jaws. I get out of the water, run to the adjacent ladder, and pull Brett up the rest of the way. Eamonn is dawdling because he doesn’t believe that it’s a shark, but he comes up the ladder.

Soon, I notice that there are four sharks in the water, and a female shark giving birth (very odd, that part). The neighborhood teenagers decide that it would be cool to go back in the water on floats and try to dodge the sharks. I yell at them and forbid Eamonn to get back in the water. I watch the sharks moving through the water and wonder where they came from . . .

Segue into dream about house. We are living in a new house. It has many unexplored rooms. I wake up and go downstairs because I hear voices. There is a group of people in the living room having a meeting. I ask them what they are doing there. They say that Ann (my s-i-l) said that they could hold their meeting there. I tell them that it’s Sunday morning and that they cannot have their meeting in my living room.

They leave, but other people appear, neighbors at first. House changes into open interior with many short levels, short staircases to different rooms. One female neighbor says, “We just have so much money. We really don’t know how to spend all of it.” Another woman whispers to me to ignore the woman talking. I have already decided that this is a neighbor that I can do without.

Then house begins to fill with people from my high school reunion. I recognize most of them but don’t remember their names. One guy starts to sing like Elvis. There are the usual cliques. I try to make my way through all of the people to say hello since this is my house, and I must be the host. I hear a lot of people commenting about how strange the house is. I declare that I like it, although I don’t know where the bathroom is.

“The eye sees a thing more cleary in dreams than the imagination awake” ~ Leonardo da Vinci

The eyes see in dreams

Dream Visions by L. Liwag

Segue into later dream: NCIS dream, and I am carrying a gun. I think to myself in the dream that I wish that it were a semi-automatic Glock (I’m not a big gun lover, so this is strange). When I finally get into a confrontation with the bad guy (who looks like Tele Savalas from Kojak), my gun jams, then it is out of ammunition. I think to myself that I must not be a very good agent because I let my gun run out of ammunition. I hide behind the car and press the alarm button . . .

Segue into school dream: My worst nightmare—I am teaching sixth grade again in a public school. But I tell myself that this time it will be okay because I have a plan. I see some of my former students. I ask about one of their sister’s. The girl tells me that her sister has 18 children . . .

Segue into my mother and Corey being in the kitchen of our current home. Corey has cooked apples to put in the toilet to help with the drainage. I don’t remember ever hearing about apples being good for pipes. I ask if they need to be peeled. Woke up with a song on my brain, but cannot for the life of me remember what it was now.

Boy, it was a busy night. I’m really exhausted from doing so much.

In between my last dreams, Corey took Brett over to his friend Gordon’s house. On his way home, the gas tank read 0 dte (destination to empty). I’m not sure how he made it home, but he did. Not sure what we are going to do for gas . . . little thing called money. Oh, I also dreamed that gas went up to $6.01 a gallon.

“Nightmare Begins Responsibility” ~ Michael S. Harper 

This is my life: nightmare to reality . . . reality as waking bad dream. I force myself to get out of bed, to try to do something, anything. Write. Remember words from Michael Harper’s “Nightmare Begins Responsibility”:

“………..
say nightmare, say it loud
panebreaking heartmadness:
nightmare begins responsibility.”

I’ll bet that you weren’t expecting that. The phrase “panebreaking heartmadness” has stayed with me ever since I first read this poem. I found it after Caitlin died and I was reading a lot of poets I had never read before. That’s the kind of phrase a poet would kill to create. It reverberates. It conjures. It chills to the bone. And it stays with the reader.

I realize that this post is all over the place, that it began as more of my crazy dreams, but what I didn’t mention was that at some point in one of the dreams, I thought that I would really like to live in this new house because it would be a great place to raise small children. It’s odd how the conscious mind intrudes upon dreams, insinuates itself into what is not real, or rather, not represented as real.

The other day, when I mentioned that my biggest personal regret was that I never got my doctorate in English, I failed to mention what I consider to be my biggest emotional regret: not having another child. So this thought creeps into my dreams quite frequently, and when I wake up, it is still there, haunting me, and no matter how much I try to move past it, the result is that it stays with me for days.

I know. I should be grateful for the children that I have, that they are healthy, safe, relatively happy. Believe me. I am. More than I can express. But I have always wanted to have one more child, and I know that for me personally, it has become a permanent hole in my heart. I think that most women who want a child have that hole. I know that I am more fortunate than most women who want a child because I have children, but that doesn’t make the desire any less tangible for me.

“Fate has led you through it. You do what you have to do.” ~ Sarah Maclachlan, “You Do What You Have To Do”

Blue Dreams by L Liwag 10-4-2009
Blue Dreams by L. Liwag (2009)

I’m writing these words, and I am wondering if I am going to publish them. I wonder if I am going to lay bare more of my soul. I sometimes think that I put too much of myself into this blog, too many hopes and dreams and failures. Allow myself to be seen by virtual strangers. I wonder about the wisdom of such an act. In so doing, do I ravage my spirit more, cause myself more harm?

I really have no answers to my own questions. Perhaps it is just one of those days in which my psyche feels fractured. Perhaps I should not blog on days such as these. But then, there would be no release, and without this release, I wonder if I might not go mad, or at least, a little more insane.

If only there were a pause button to life, one that you could press, put things on hold for just a bit, fast forward through the bad parts that you don’t have the stomach to confront. Kind of like the mute button that I always wish would work when someone is talking but I don’t want to hear what they have to say.  Oh well.

Today would be a good day to be on a sailboat, sun on my face, wind in my hair—a cleansing, if you will. Sail around to nowhere, just be in the moment grace has given you. I really should have bought that Tartan 27′ years ago.

“In the creeping moments before wakefulness” ~ L. Liwag

Maybe for now, I’ll just put it away, like the song that I woke up to:

“put it away and wait till tomorrow
put it away and take care of your heart
of your  heart” ~ from Earlimart, “It’s Okay to Think About Ending” (music from House)

More later. Peace.

Much ado about nothing in particular . . .

Lake George Autumn by Georgia O'Keeffe 1927Lake George Autumn by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1927 

 

Random thoughts on Saturday afternoon:

Michele Bachmann close up
Michele Bachmann's Crazy Eyes

* Michele Bachmann of the one l, two n’s never ceases to amaze me. Just for fun, go to Daily KOS to see a selection of some of her more outlandish vids. I agree with Zirgar that her eyes are just plain scary.

* Need to schedule a mammogram. When I hear men complain about their annual physicals, it makes me laugh. Have they ever had their private parts put into a machine and mashed into the size of a pancake? No? Then shut up about it already.

* Latest version of treatment for my migraines: Massive doses of magnesium daily (working up to about 2000 mg) for prevention, and then Relpax and zanaflex for relief. We’ll see. Forgive me if I just don’t have any faith in migraine relief any more.

* Any more. One word or two? One of my common mistakes. Also, always misspell minutiae.

Red Rotary Telephone* When you are a teenager, getting your own telephone is a rite of passage, one that you anticipate eagerly. Once you have one, you use it all of the time. I remember that I had a deep red rotary telephone in my first apartment. I loved that phone. There’s something to be said for using telephones that are plugged into one place: You don’t have to listen to the person on the other end do things that you don’t want to hear . . .

When you are an adult with obligations, the telephone is a pain in the butt. Have come to hate mine, and since it’s been turned off because I don’t have the money right now for the bill, I really don’t care.

* Have I mentioned that I love pens, specifically, pens that write smoothly, not too fine of a point. Hate ballpoint pens. Remember using old black ballpoints from the Navy. Yuck. The ink would always get gloppy and stain my hands. But they smelled good. Isn’t it odd how you remember little bits of minutiae like that? Love rollerballs, especially in purple. Use purple to address all of my cards. Red for Christmas cards. Oh the small things that make one happy.

* My friend Mari just had her birthday October 1st. I am so lax. I still have her birthday present from last year. How hard is it to go to the post office? Very if you are slowly turning into a complete homebody bordering on hermit. I really need to get out more.

* Since I have no new books to read, I am raiding the storage bins for reading material. Picking books at random. Hoping enough time has passed that I don’t remember all of the plotline. Not complaining. Usually read books at least twice anyway.

* Dreamed last night that someone sneaked into our home and cut off my hair. Woke up (in the dream) only to realize that almost all of my hair was gone. Symbolism? Hair equals power? Hair equals beauty? Or something much simpler: I need a haircut.

Georgia O'Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz 1920
Georgia O'Keeffe by Alfred Stieglitz (1920)

* Watched a thoroughly depressing episode of 20/20: Albinism and the growing trend in Tanzania of killing albinos for body parts to be used by witch doctors in concoctions for power and long life. Visit Under The Same Sun website for more information about this very real, very tragic situation.

* Also watched the movie about Georgia O’Keeffe starring Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons (as Alfred Stieglitz). Actually very well made for a television movie. O’Keeffe was an incredible talent and, gasp, a freethinking woman well before her time. Her art never fails to amaze me.

* I want to have a bumper sticker made that reads “Danger: I am a Freethinking Woman.”

* I desperately need to clean my desk. There is not one square inch of surface that is not covered by paper or something that does not need to be there. I have resolved, though, that I will clean my desk when Corey cleans off the dining room table, which he has somehow claimed as his desk. Kind of defeats the goal of sitting down together for dinner.

* Shakes is currently positioned directly adjacent to my feet. Normally when I am at the computer he sleeps off to the right. Very clingy today.

* Too incredible not to be true: I actually had to reschedule my doctor’s appointment on Friday because I hurt too much to get out of bed. Now that’s pathetic: too sick to go to the doctor. I despair of what is happening to me.

* I want to see the new movie 2012, although not for the same reasons that Zirgar wants to see it. First, I love John Cusack because he has one of those faces that is perfect for disaster movies: What? Me? In case you’ve been living in a cave, December 21, 2012 is date on which the Mayan calendar ends; hence, all of the predictions of the end of the world, the apocalypse. I wonder if the Heaven’s Gate people will finally be shuffled into their UFO. I mean, they’ve been waiting since 1997. Sorry if I sound glib, but doomsday predictions tend to make the cynic in me take over.

Eamonn Summer 2009
Eamonn Summer 2009

* I miss eldest son. He works all of the time, and when he isn’t at work, he’s with his girlfriend. He stops in to put his dirty clothes in the hamper and play a little XBox. Still hoping that plans to start college in January are a go.

* If I am to believe all of the ads, then collagen from the sea is the best thing for keeping my skin looking youthful. Youthful. Such a subjective term. Do I want to look like I did when I was a teenager? No. In my 20’s or 30’s? Only as far as my weight is concerned. I’ve earned my looks. I haven’t been through all of my trials and tribulations for nothing. For now, I’ll continue to be thankful for my good genes and Filipino skin which does not begin to show wrinkles for a long time (if I am like my father), and a touch of Oil of Olay Regenerist daily.

Gummi Bears
Gummi Bears

* I am craving Gummi Bears. Isn’t that a weird thing to crave? But they’re such a great snack—small, sweet, chewable. I know. I really need to get out more.

* Stats: I’m starting to obsess over them again. I had stopped doing that, and it was much less stressful. I mean, I made my goal of 100,000 hits by October 1st, which marks just about a year since I’ve been blogging seriously. But recently, I saw a nice jump in hits, and I began to look at my stats again. Now, if I drop one day, I begin to obsess: Is my blog boring? Do people not like what I’m writing? Should I write about politics more? Should I write about politics less? Should I stop obsessing? That’s about the only question to which I can state a firm yes.

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera . . .

Reya's Jilted Rose
Reya's Jilted Rose from After the Gold Puppy

I have set for myself a goal to post everyday in October, to try to get back to my daily posting. My reasons for doing this have less to do with blogging and more to do with trying to get back into some kind of active schedule. When I was writing at least two to three hours everyday, I felt better: emotionally psychologically. I know that I need an outlet, and I have learned from many years of trial and error that writing is the very best outlet for me to use to exercise my mind. Reading does come in at a close second.

The point is, though, that I know what I need to do to help myself, but sometimes, it really is much harder than it would seem. I am well aware that part of the reason for my being lax in the past months has a great deal to do with my state of mind, which has been, shall we say, less than optimum. But it’s kind of a self-fulfilling prophesy: I don’t write because I feel too depressed to write, but if I don’t write, then I feel depressed. Hate those Catch-22’s of life (great book, by the way, much better than the movie, which was hilarious).

Hence, my declared decision to write and post daily again. All of that being said, there’s a very good chance that the Internet service is going to go away fairly soon, for obvious reasons. But I have a plan . . . I’ll write my posts in Word, save them up, and then post all of them once I can get service back. Why I am I bothering to mention this? I don’t know. Maybe because I’ve made this declaration, and I don’t want to appear to be wishy washy when my posting stops (even though I can be wishy washy).

That’s about all for now. I was trying to think of the perfect music to accompany this rambling entry. Couldn’t decide between “Save Me” or “Humpty Dumpty” by Aimee Mann. Found a vid with both. How cool.

 

 

More later. Peace.