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retrospective: old journal

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Life feels as though it has been incredibly busy and I've been unable to accomplish anything and am tired and frustrated. I guess that's what happens when the holidays are over. Over, and Christina has gone back home. It's sad. Sad, sad. I did get two extra days with her, because when I took her to her flight on Wednesday, the once-a-day British Airways flight was cancelled. (Apparently there was slush on the runway. And the temperature there was -2 Celsius. Hmm.) Christina was suffering from a virus, and so we booked the replacement flight for Friday, and I took her home and made her take drugs and she slept and slept and slept.
Christina asleep w/ catsHere she is sick and sleeping. I wonder if she'll ever forgive me uploading this photograph? She who lies down with cats, will she get up with dogs? Dog-person Christina has attracted all the felines. Well, she would lie under the cat-magnet blanket now, wouldn't she?


She woke up on Friday feeling alive again. So we went speed-shopping before her flight. We flew through Target, flinging things into the cart. Really, you would have been impressed. I'm not talking just stuff. No, Christina was trying on clothing. At the speed of light, or maybe faster. Luckily, only one pair of trousers was involved. Mostly it was sweaters that she didn't need to use the fittingrooms for but could do out in the wild. You see, if there's one thing America does well, it's providing items for purchase, especially inexpensive clothing. So away we went.

Then we raced home and she had to repack. I called it aerobic packing, and suggested she institute it as an exercise routine. Man, did she move. And then we had to drive to the airport. Wah! Cue the mournful music. I waited with her as long as we could stand it, but of course she wanted plenty of time to go through security. I don't know why I always feel as though I have to say Important Things when I'm saying goodbye. I ended up tonguetied and just being there, trying not to be sad.

We didn't do much else earlier in the week. I had to do back to that work thing, you know, the job. Which was fine, and actually rather quiet for the beginning of a new quarter. After Christina left, Jim and I tried to remember what we did when we had the house to ourselves. We couldn't remember, so I went out shopping with Tamar on Saturday, and we made dinner over at her place for Jim and watched a DVD there. Sunday I panicked about how much work I have to do. Too much! Much too much!

As a thought experiment for the New Year, I did a priority alignment:

  • primary relationship (RocketMan looks like he needs some attention. Maybe a tune up)
  • familial relationships (moved way up in priorities--my parents are getting old! and I've been neglecting them!)
  • cats (they got plenty of attention over the holidays and while Christina was here and now they're accustomed to it!)
  • writing (haven't done anything since Thanksgiving, though I've kept some stories out in the mail. Need to finish things, continue the novel revision, send poems out, write new poems, revise old ones...)
  • friends (especially correspondence with people who matter to me--I've been slacking)
  • work at work (need to focus better and be more productive)
  • work at home (ditto)
  • household upkeep
  • self upkeep (including for-sure downtime so the for-sure uptime is better)
I think that's it. It seems too simple. I'm missing something. Just as in my old journal, I feel like a waterstrider, riding on the water's surface tension. The depth I've been looking for, the dream, still isn't there.


last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing



This is an oldies week. Jim borrowed Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water from the library, and Tamar gave us her old copies of Janis Joplin's albums because her boyfriend gave her a box set with extra tracks. "Oh Lord won't you buy me a Mercedes Benz?"

I'd forgotten how wonderful both of these are.

last week's listening § next week's listening



Marianne Curley's young adult novel Old Magic is the story of a contemporary young teenager who happens to be a witch, and what happens to her when a young man with a curse and unacknowledged powers shows up at her school. This is the story about teenage attraction and magic and time travel as well. What made this story so effective is Curley's masterful use of voice and of first person present tense. Made for an engaging read.

Pauline Fisk's The Secret of Sabrina Fludde is a very odd children's novel about a strange young girl who arrives in a town on the Welsh border by floating down a river. She has total amnesia, and drifts around the town until a family briefly takes her in. Then she drifts into the care of a young scavenger. Gradually the tale unfolds and its tie to a mythic tale is revealed. The story should have been more powerful--instead it continued to feel drifty and unresolved.

Bailed on both Simon Greene's Drinking Midnight Wine and Sarah Hoyt's All Night Awake despite both of them having lovely titles and being exactly about the kinds of things I like to read about. In both cases just got annoyed by characters being stupid and so not engaging, and finally just couldn't bring myself to continue reading them.

last week's reading § next week's reading




last week's writing § next week's writing


Retrospective: old journal

June 1987

1509. Solstice
June 21, 1987

On the night before solstice we went out for our anniversary dinner, had sturgeon and sorrel soup, Jim had blintzes and steak with scallions, then came home and lit candles and put rose petals in the bed, damp from rain...a glorious ritual. And watching the reflections of the rain on the windshield and my skirt while waiting for Jim at the store. An anniversary to remember. [1]
     Solstice now. Wind and rain and Maddy asleep on my lap which doesn't make writing easy, but somehow makes it more possible.

1510. The thorn in my back
June 21, 1987

your face never so open
your warm cheek against mine
and my breath hidden against
your shoulder--this is that pain
that I cannot rest on cannot
sleep on (even in the shelter of our
ordinary lives) so ordinary they almost
disappear without us.
The wind at the door blowing
the scudding clouds in. [2]

1511. Water, root, light, and love
June 28, 1987

is the forest made of.
The water is rain that always falls
and is the air, cool in the throat,
condensing in your hair. This is love,
your head haloed by light
as you stand still as a tree in the forest.
Only your hair, in the wind, moved.
Your feet have settled under last winter's
nest of leaves. THis is at last
where I could leave you.
How can we stop when I am halfway there?
Halfway to the depth of water,
my fingers tracing the roots through
the broken soil, finding here not destruction
not the rotting bark of cedars falling
to soil in the dampness, but only light
sifted through alder and dogwood leaves
and more pure for the journey, green
as water, as the damp air, rich
as love and no way of leaving you. [3]

1512. Another chance
June 28, 1987

To prove that this moment
is true. That my hand resting
on your hair is love. Child,
the years have come to vanquish you,
change you utterly, and your body
is one you cannot remember. [Three lines scratched out so deeply I can't read them.]
Too much of nothing. No chance.

1513. On the way
June 28, 1987

All these scraps I've been writing seem like steps toward one poem I haven't discovered yet, or maybe it's because I need a new way of saying it. Say it differently because the old way makes a waterstrider of anything I would say at all. The depth I've been looking for, the dream, isn't there.


1. Our third. The rose petals stained the sheets. Shouldn't have used red.

2. I used scraps of this somewhere.

3. I worked on this one forever and always have had the nagging feeling that I haven't quite got it quite right. It appears as "Rain in the Forest" in Blood Memory

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