“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.
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.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
“The lover’s fatal identity is precisely: I am the one who waits.” ~ Roland Barthes, A Lover’s Discourse
Saturday, mid afternoon. Partly cloudy, hot, not quite as humid.
The water in the pool is green because I had to turn off the pump two days ago when a hose sprung a leak. Eldest son was supposed to bring home some kind of hose patch from pool store yesterday, which, if he had, would have meant that I could float in the pool today. He did not, and I cannot. The pool and I have had an unrequited love affair this summer, and now summer is nearing its end.
The dream I had right before I awoke involved me being at a Republican campaign rally that I had inadvertently stumbled into while trying to find a place to park my bicycle. I somehow ended up backstage, got yelled at for being backstage, and found a coffee shop in which I could order a large latte or cappuccino, but I couldn’t remember which I preferred. Then I learned that they had ginger scones, so I was unbothered about paying $7.03. Why this amount? I have no idea.
I came out of the rally and found myself on the back end of a Sears parking lot, and had no idea as to where I was or how I had gotten there. I awoke with a migraine, craving coffee and ginger scones.
“I will take with me the emptiness of my hands What you do not have you find everywhere” ~ W. S. Merwin, from “Provision”
It has been a very long week. I ordered my new glasses (regular and sunglasses) at Sam’s Club on Wednesday, which came to a grand total of almost $400. Painful, but admittedly, I have not had new glasses in almost five years, and watching television in my old prescription sunglasses is not helping the head or eye situation. What was quite disappointing was that my discount when using my insurance to buy one pair came out to a whopping $2 discount. That’s two. Only two. Seriously?
Thursday, Brett stayed on campus until the evening, and I was ailing horribly, chills, nausea, vomiting, all from a migraine. I paid eldest son to pick up Brett from campus, and on the way home, his car overheated. It’s his radiator. This is very bad news for a couple of reasons: It’s an old car that keeps costing lots of money, but he cannot buy another one because he has no money. Because he has no money, I have to front the money for this repair, which will be around $225 for parts and labor.
I realized on Thursday, that after I ordered glasses and paid several bills, I was down to almost nothing until the next paycheck. Now, that amount will be swallowed up by Eamonn’s car repair. I still need to get prescriptions, and I have a doctor’s appointment for which I owe a back balance.
All of this makes my head hurt more.
The one good piece of news is that the court has agreed to push forward my hearing with the medical carrier who wants big money for back bills, but I never would have found out this information if I hadn’t called to see what action had been taken, only to be told that they don’t send out notifications. The letter in which I made my request will stand in for me on the court date. I immediately got this image of a giant piece of paper standing in the courtroom.
“Beneath the blue oblivious sky, the water sings of nothing, not your name, not mine.” ~ Don Paterson, from “Poetry”
Add to all of these financial issues the fact that youngest son is having a major identity/career crisis, Alexis is still wanting/needing my presence almost daily, Corey’s distance, and I’m feeling quite overwhelmed myself. I wish that I had answers, solutions, recommendations for everyone, but I don’t. That bothers me because it’s my job as a mom to have answers, isn’t it? I told Corey in an e-mail that I really had forgotten just how hard this single parenting thing is, but then I wished that I hadn’t said that because I don’t want to make him feel bad for not being here. It’s all just a big conundrum. It feels like I’m in a maze, and I keep running into deadends, but I can hear people talking and laughing on the other side of the hedges.
Does that make sense?
For two straight nights I skipped dinner (unless you count a handful of Oreos dinner), and I realized by Thursday that my headache was probably from eating too many gummi bears and ingesting too much miscellaneous sugar. So I regrouped and ate a big salad and tried to abstain from too much sugar. All of this made me ponder an absolutely insane question: How fast does the body digest gummi bears? Do they stay in your digestive track for days? Why would I think of such things? Which led to me making the most bizarre comment to Alexis: If they find a body that they cannot identify and the stomach contents are nothing but gummi bears, it’s probably me. Yes, I know. I watch entirely too much Dateline ID and CSI and all of those other shows.
This is how my mind works. And by that I mean, not too well. Truly.
“We sit and talk quietly, with long lapses of silence, and I am aware of the stream that has no language, coursing beneath the quiet heaven of your eyes, which has no speech.” ~ William Carlos Williams, from Paterson, Book I
I’ve been searching the Interwebs for a working IBM Selectric, and they are not easy to come by. I really wish that I could get one from an old office that has one just sitting around. Don’t ask me why I imagine such things to be possible. I found a few on e-Bay, but they were selling for parts, which doesn’t help me at all. If anyone out there in the ether hears of an old working Selectric that someone is trying to unload, keep me in mind.
Corey is thinking of taking a few days off when the ship gets in port here. I think that’s a great idea. He needs to step back and regroup, see if he wants to finish this hitch. He sounds so tired. He does this thing when he’s upset—doesn’t eat. Just smokes and drinks Mountain Dew. Very not good. I mean, he’s so lean as it is, and the intake of caffeine and nicotine without food doesn’t help anything. I found out that his phone, the one that we just got fixed before he left, was submerged in salt water. I have no idea if he’s managed to get it working, but I have a feeling that we’ll be purchasing a new phone for him soon. It can be a belated birthday present.
So yesterday, because I had no vehicle and was waiting for Alexis to pick up Brett at school, I decided to try out the new mower to mow the yard, front and back. It’s been raining almost every day, and the grass was so high. Eamonn hasn’t wanted to do it when he gets off work, and finally, I had enough and went outside and did it myself. I haven’t mown a yard in a decade. I mean, I used to do it all of the time. It’s great exercise, but not so great when you have a bad back, and both of your wrists are locked up. Eamonn is certain that I did it just to make him feel bad, but actually, I was just so frustrated by absolutely everything that I decided that it would be a good thing to do—mow, make the yard look decent, get some exercise, do something different.
Yep. Right. Good idea.
Not so much.
“Words have been spoken; things that were bottled have burst open and to walk in now would be to walk in
By the time I finished, my wrists were tingling and numb, and my back was shot. Perversely, it felt good. I hate that my body cannot do the things that it used to do. I hate that the entire time I was mowing, all I could think about was my disability claim. I hate that by the time that I finished, I had numerous injuries: a slice in my right pinky from the leftover glass in the sliding door; it wouldn’t stop bleeding, a blister the size of a quarter in my right palm, a numb left arm and hand. What the hell?
I haven’t decided whether or not I’ll tell Corey what I did. He will not be amused.
Anyway, today I’m not doing much of anything. I have some laundry going, and I cleaned the kitchen. I pine for a long hot bath, even in this weather, but it’s not going to happen, so what’s the point? Maybe one day I’ll be able to emerge myself in a natural hot spring. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Eamonn drove the Rodeo to work yesterday and today. The guy across the street is supposed to work on Eamonn’s car this weekend. I had hoped to float in the pool, but I’ve already talked about that, so the only thing left on my dance card is a new episode of “Dr. Who” tonight, and a new “Wallander” on “Masterpiece Mystery.” I am simply agog with excitement. Try not to be too envious of the thrill that is my life.
More later. Peace.
Music by Imperial Mammoth, “Requiem on Water” (lots of water and sea on my mind, obviously)