“I want to work in revelations, not just spin silly tales for money. I want to fish as deep down as possible into my own subconscious in the belief that once that far down, everyone will understand because they are the same that far down.” ~ Jack Kerouac

Joseph Henry Sharp Dahlias
“Dahlias” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Joseph Henry Sharp


“My brain hums with scraps of poetry and madness.” ~ Virginia Woolf, Selected Letters

Friday afternoon. Partly cloudy and warmer, 55 degrees.

Franz Bischoff oil on canvas, Cannas, nd
“Cannas” (nd, oil on canvas)
Franz Bischoff

Honestly, I don’t know how far I’ll get today. I want to write, but I don’t know what to say. I’m sad, but I’m okay. In other words, it’s one of those days in which my mind and my heart are battling, and I have no idea if I’ll reach some kind of accord or if I will just have to give one over to the other and be done with it. In the meantime, I’m eating Junior Mints very slowly, making each one last for minutes as opposed to seconds, as if savoring such a sugary treat might help me to find my way, or perhaps, I’m just enjoying the chocolate.

At the moment, “When the Morning Comes” is playing, and its slow melody is working on my heart, leading me to believe more and more that this is not a good idea, this attempt to post, to write something coherent, to put something out here, this, here, now.

Perhaps I should put my playlist on pause and go take a shower . . .

“There is a silence into which the world can not intrude. There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost. There is a sense of holiness in you the thought of sin has never touched. All this today you will remember.” ~ Helen Schumann, from A Course in Miracles

Sunday afternoon. Rainy and mild, 60 degrees.

Georgia O'Keeffe White Lotus 1939 oil on canvas
“White Lotus” (1939, oil on canvas)
by Georgia O’Keeffe

So, no. I never did get back to this post on Friday, nor did I get back to it yesterday. I probably wouldn’t have gotten back to it today had I not been bored with playing spider solitaire. Don’t ask.

The roast is in the oven. My mother is making me cook Easter dinner. Truly. She bought a hen and a roast and then asked me which one I wanted to cook for Easter . . . both? Bear in mind that I did not ask her to buy either. I don’t really do Easter. Don’t ask me why. But today, I’m doing Easter. Whatever.

Perhaps my ornery outlook today can be traced back to my mother’s assumptions: she buys something, and I shall cook it. I do not remember entering into this agreement at any time . . . ever. What gives?

Don’t get me wrong. I can cook. Quite well, actually. And sometimes, I feel like cooking, but not often. Once I go through the preparation and cooking stages, I almost always have nothing left for the eating stage. I’m over it all by that point. Of course, with Corey gone, I do have to cook more than usual, but we are a very casual household, and more often than not, dinner is a catch-as-catch-can affair.

But not today.

“I said that the world is absurd, but I was too hasty. This world in itself is not reasonable, that is all that can be said. But what is absurd is the confrontation of this irrational and the wild longing for clarity whose call echoes in the human heart.” ~ Albert Camus

I got several comments on the Camus passage that I posted the other day. I don’t know a lot about Camus, and I don’t often use his words, but his “Falsely Yours” epistle touched something in me. Perhaps it was the absurdity of it, and his acknowledgement of the absurdity of it with his closing. I don’t know. “Should I kill myself or have a cup of coffee?” strike me as patently absurd, kind of like a poem I taught in one of my literature classes—of course the title and poet escape me now—in which the speaker, a woman is writing a massively long suicide letter. The poem ends with her watching her sleeping child.

Framz Bischoff Roses oil on canvas nd
“Roses” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Franz Bischoff

I used to present the poem to the class with the following question: Is it really a suicide note?

My answer was no, that the woman was writing to exorcise her demons, and the writing itself helped her to get past her feelings of despair. Watching her child sleeping peacefully reassured her that life was worth living.

I kind of saw Camus’s question in the same way. Who, in a serious contemplation of suicide, would reduce it to a choice between coffee or death?

“. . . the heart’s immortal thirst to be completely known and all forgiven.” ~ H. van Dyke

I’ve been watching “Game of Thrones” recently. Corey downloaded seasons 1 and 2 for me. I’m really enjoying the dramatization of Martin’s saga. My favorite character in the show is also my favorite character in the books: Tyrion, the dwarf son of Tywin Lannister. The actor playing the part, Peter Dinklage, has captured the essence of Tyrion so well.

Joseph Henry Sharp Delhpiniums oil on canvas
“Delphiniums” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Joseph Henry Sharp

I’m on season 2. Season 3 premiers on HBO tonight. I don’t have HBO. Oh well. I’ll just have to wait until it’s available for download or there is a DVD set. But watching it does make me want to go back and reread, which is a sort of predicament for me. Martin is currently writing book 6. I finished book 5 a few months ago, and I felt then that I probably should have reread books 1-4 before embarking on book 5. So do I postpone rereading the books until right before book 6 hits the stands, or do I reread now and possibly reread then?

Decisions . . . decisions.

I did finish a really good book by Stephen Dobyns Friday night called The Church of Dead Girls. Dobyns is one of those rare writers who is equally proficient in prose and poetry. This particular book was one of my thrift store finds, and it was worth all of the pennies that I spent on it and many more. If you like murder mysteries like I do, it’s a definite must-read.

“How must sweeter life would be if it all happened in reverse, if, after decades of disappointments, you finally arrived at an age when you had conceded nothing, when everything was possible.” ~ Karen Thompson Walker, from The Age of Miracles 

Last night was quite a restless night. My little boy dog Alfie is having problems again. I’m giving him the pain medicine that the vet prescribed, but I really wish that he would let me put medicine on the sores on his face. Trying to do so is like asking to be bitten.

Franz Bischoff Spider Mums, nd
“Spider Mums” (nd, oil on canvas)
by Franz Bischoff

You know how some people can be around any dog without any problems whatsoever? My friend Mari is like that. I mean, I love dogs and dogs love me, but dogs who have any kind of finicky disposition can sense right away that I am conflicted about them. They know that they can take advantage of me, and they do. Alfie knows that if he growls and bares his teeth that I won’t come at him with medicine for his face, and I really don’t know how to go about it in any other way. After all, this is the dog that the vet diagnosed as having canine rage syndrome.

I need the dog whispering guy, you know, Cesar Milan? He is too cool. He would know what to do. And then after he whispered Alfie, he could whisper me and tell me how to calm myself, but I don’t think he people whispers.

Speaking of dogs, Tillie is beside herself because we haven’t gone outside to play yet, and no matter how many times I tell her that it’s muddy and rainy out, she will not desist. Seriously, this dog tries to climb into my lap when I’m sitting her at the computer.

Cheap thrills.

More later. Peace.

Music by The Civil Wars, “Kingdom Come”


Days in Late March

Days move along in one direction
faces in the opposite.
Uninterruptedly they borrow each other’s light.

Many years later it is difficult
to determine which were the days
and which were the faces …

And the distance between the two things
feels more unreachable
day by day and face by face.

It is this I see in your face
these bright days in late March.

~ Henrik Norbrandt, trans. Thom Saterlee


“You ask ‘What is life?’ That is the same as asking ‘What is a carrot?’ A carrot is a carrot and we know nothing more.” ~ Anton Chekhov, letter to his wife, Olga Knipper Chekhov (April 20, 1904)

"Moon Landscape" by Max Beckmann (1925)

“It is true when you are by yourself and you think about life, it is always sad. All that excitement and so on has a way of suddenly leaving you, and it’s as though, in the silence, somebody called your name, and you heard your name for the first time.” ~ Katherine Mansfield, from “At the Bay”

Tuesday, late afternoon. Sunny, hot and humid, pending thunderstorms.

So I relented and turned on the air conditioners. Hate doing that. My power bill hates me doing that, but it’s just too darned humid. Ah, the weather in Hampton Roads, formerly known as Tidewater. Old Norfolkians still refer to it as Tidewater.

Spring, spring, spring . . . SUMMER NOW . . . no wait, spring, spring . . .

I’m fairly certain that I just got a spider bite on my arm while I was outside clipping fresh Rosemary for the house. The mock orange is in bloom, and it makes a lovely spray with the Rosemary, not to mention it smells heavenly.

I’ve been wondering where Corey is, as in exactly where that ship is located in the Atlantic, as it’s been past the predicted time for him to arrive in Florida. Turns out the ship has been rerouted . . . to Norfolk. I wonder when he was going to tell me or if he was just planning to surprise me. I cannot tell you how happy this news makes me. I have a big, stupid grin on my face at the moment, and I think that my face might crack from this rare facial gesture.

Ah, well.

Oh magical text update: The ship tied up at the Norfolk yard this morning. Sneaky bugger.

Ooh, more magical text updates. He’s home until Friday!

“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.” ~ Margaret Atwood, from Cat’s Eye

Flowering Crabapple, Norfolk, VA by Brett Sutcliffe


“Aren’t there enough words
flowing in your veins
to keep you going.” ~ Margaret Atwood from “The Shadow”

Wednesday, early evening. Sunny and in the 60’s. Two hours ago it was almost 80.

Thunderstorms rolled through a little while ago, and the temperature dropped, but before that, it was an absolutely beautiful day, warm, blooms everywhere, pink Dogwoods, songbirds. I saw my first Cardinal. So it truly is spring.

Pink Dogwood by finalcut (FCC)

I went outside to close the sunroof in the Rodeo before the rain, and Tillie thought that it was time to play, so she ran out the door. I need to take her back out now that the storms have passed, but I thought that I’d try to begin this post before doing so. I’m not sure how far I’m going to get as this computer (in Eamonn’s room) is just plain slow, and it keeps locking up on me. I swear that by the end of April, I will have my computer fixed and set up in my room.

Yesterday I got an invitation in the mail from one of Alexis’s friends who is giving her a baby shower in May. I’m going to give her a shower in June. The May one is for her close friends and Mike’s family who will be in from out of town that weekend for a family wedding. My shower will be for relatives and family friends. Lex is starting to get excited now that the doctors have declared that all is well. My mother is already buying baby clothes. Admittedly, I’ve stopped myself from buying anything yet, even though it’s so tempting.

I can tell that Alexis is getting excited as she’s starting to worry over silly things—Will the baby have a receding hairline like Mike? Will the baby come out with Filipino eyes and white skin? Will people think she’s adopted? (Trust me, that’s actually not a silly thing as you wouldn’t believe the number of people who—rudely, I might add—asked me if Alexis was adopted or if my kids had different fathers (since two look Filipino, and one decidedly does not)). She’s also getting to the point at which her belly is beginning to get in the way. I told her that it’s not movable.

So, family excitement looming.

“The only way you can write the truth is to assume that what you set down will never be read. Not by any other person, and not even by yourself at some later date . . . You must see the writing as emerging like a long scroll of ink from the index finger of your right hand; you must see your left hand erasing it.” ~ Margaret Atwood, from The Blind Assassin

I read The Blind Assassin (above quote) years ago. As with all of Margaret Atwood, I loved it, but for the life of me I cannot remember what it was about. Suppose it’s time for a reread. Not that that is such an easy thing to do with my books packed up and in various places (the shed, the garage). As soon as I fill another box, Corey stuffs it somewhere. He used to think that I didn’t know what I have boxed, that is until I started requesting titles. Fortunately, he’s pretty good about remembering where the boxes are.

Spring in Central Park by Bosc d'Anjou (FCC)

Oh for built-in bookcases.

My definition of bliss: a room with built-in bookcases on three walls, a window seat with lots of cushions and pillows for reading, a Bose Sound Wave machine, and my workspace, which would include a wide desk with lots of drawers, a place for my computer, and a place for my IBM Selectric. Such a thing would be perfect. Such a thing would be lovely. Such a thing would be a dream realized.

Anyway, today is a Margaret Atwood kind of day. Hence, the quotes and the poem . . .

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.
We lived in the gaps between the stories.” ~ Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

This is how boring my life is at the moment: I’ve discovered a new source for music, the show “Being Human” on SyFy (not to be confused with the show by the same name on BBC America). Some shows on television are just great about using newer and underrated artists on their soundtracks, like “Bones” and “House.” I have a site that I visit (Heard on TV) when I’ve heard a song on a television program that I don’t recognize; it’s a great source, especially if you’re like me, and you like to find new artists who aren’t necessarily being played on the radio.

Washington Cherry Trees by schindler_project (FCC)

Brett tells me that in June (I think) the copyright law for the Internet goes into effect with some pretty radical changes in what is considered an offense and penalties for said offenses. This means that I need to download all of my music from YouTube before that new law goes into effect. I’m not talking about pirating, but rather, taking that which I’ve created into a playlist and converting to MP3s and saving to move to my computer once it has been fixed.

I don’t have a personal MP3 player. I may, one day, but for now, I listen to my music via my computer or on the old car stereo. Having said that, I need to clarify: I’m a big believer in copyright. I try to use materials that are open source or under a creative commons license so that I am adhering to copyright laws. I ask people who want to use things from my site to please ask for permission, and so far, I’ve been lucky. This is not to say that I have not inadvertently infringed on someone’s copyright, and when called to my attention, I fixed it immediately.

But I agree with Brett in that the statistics bear out the contention that most people who download something, almost always do so to try it before purchase. If they like the game or the movie or whatever, they almost always purchase it. If they don’t like it, they delete it, so I believe that the music industry, for one, benefits from people having the ability to listen to things before purchasing. My favorite music store (no longer in business) had a listening island that allowed customers to listen to CDs before purchasing, and that ability kept me from buying some duds but also allowed me to talk myself into purchasing way more music than I should have.

Just saying.

“Everyone thinks writers must know more about the inside of the human head, but that is wrong. They know less, that’s why they write. Trying to find out what everyone else takes for granted.” ~ Margaret Atwood, from “Lives of the Poets”

Took a break there to clean the floors, rid them of the doggie tumbleweeds, and now I’m on Brett’s computer. I was kicked out of Eamonn’s room as he’s home now. He and Ryanne are making Chicken Parmesan for dinner. Since Corey has been gone, we’ve all been taking turns making dinner, and it’s working out well, most of the time.

Spring in London by miemo pettinen (FCC)

I think that the spring cleaning that I mentioned is on tap for this weekend, that is if my back holds up.  I’m going to at least attempt to clean all of the ceiling fans and light fixtures, rid them of that winter dust that gets blown out via the air ducts. I know that our house is in serious need of new duct work, but that’s coupled with the central air installation, which is coupled with the new windows. If anyone deserves a home makeover, it’s me, but I just can’t seem to win any of those stupid contests.

I seriously wonder if anyone wins those contests, if the sweepstakes and surveys actually do put an extra thousand dollars in someone’s pockets, if some lucky family somewhere does get a new bathroom renovation.  I also wonder who has time to enter those contests.  This is where my mind goes when it is in a seriously creatively deprived state, which it has been for well over a week now, which is why my posts have been,well, yawn. I know.

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” ~ Margaret Atwood

Anyway, when I thought about today’s post, and I realized that I really didn’t have anything insightful or interesting to say, I considered another fluff post, you know, an excerpt, or a definition, or a picture, but then I began thinking too much about what my fluff piece should be, and I realized that with all of the effort I was putting into thinking about my fluff post, I could put just as much effort into writing a post about nothing.

So here we are. At the end of the post, at the end of the day, at the end of the light outside the window.

Cherry Blossom Festival at Wakayama Castle, Japan, by jmurawski (FCC)

The room is slowly getting darker. I just killed a mosquito that landed on my hand. It must have been full and lethargic for me to be able to kill it so easily. If I inhale deeply, I can smell the chicken cooking, the candle that I left lit in the living room, my dog Shakes, and the underlying smell of floor cleaner. Why mention this? I think perhaps it’s because I’m writing blind: I don’t have my glasses on, and I’m sitting far enough away from the screen that the only thing that I see is a blur of black emerging across the page. I can discern no particular letters or words, just this moving blur, sort of like the long scroll of ink that Atwood referred to above.

Writing, for me, is a whole body experience, which is why I am too often caught up in the pain and unable to immerse myself in the words. I have always written this way, though, well, always for as long as I have used a keyboard to write. Once I figured out where everything was on a typewriter, I have typed by touch. When the only computer in the house was in the corner of the dining room, I used to unnerve those unaccustomed to my habits by looking out into the living room as I wrote. I wasn’t looking at anything in particular, just letting my mind and my eyes wander.

I write these words for no one and for everyone, for myself alone. They are mine, the outpouring of a mind adrift. They are not mine as they cease to belong to me the moment my fingers touch the keys. The question, really, is this: Who owns the words?

More later. Peace.

Music by Josh Ritter, “Change of Time




I’m thinking about you. What else can I say?
The palm trees on the reverse
are a delusion; so is the pink sand.
What we have are the usual
fractured coke bottles and the smell
of backed-up drains, too sweet,
like a mango on the verge
of rot, which we have also.
The air clear sweat, mosquitoes
& their tracks; birds & elusive.

Time comes in waves here, a sickness, one
day after the other rolling on;
I move up, it’s called
awake, then down into the uneasy
nights but never
forward. The roosters crow
for hours before dawn, and a prodded
child howls & howls
on the pocked road to school.
In the hold with the baggage
there are two prisoners,
their heads shaved by bayonets, & ten crates
of queasy chicks. Each spring
there’s race of cripples, from the store
to the church. This is the sort of junk
I carry with me; and a clipping
about democracy from the local paper.

Outside the window
they’re building the damn hotel,
nail by nail, someone’s
crumbling dream. A universe that includes you
can’t be all bad, but
does it? At this distance
you’re a mirage, a glossy image
fixed in the posture
of the last time I saw you.
Turn you over, there’s the place
for the address. Wish you were
here. Love comes
in waves like the ocean, a sickness which goes on
& on, a hollow cave
in the head, filling & pounding, a kicked ear.

~ Margaret Atwood