Making Our Lives Available to OthersOne of the arguments we often use for not writing is this: "I have nothing original to say. Whatever I might say, someone else has already said it, and better than I will ever be able to." This, however, is not a good argument for not writing. Each human person is unique and original, and nobody has lived what we have lived. Furthermore, what we have lived, we have lived not just for ourselves but for others as well. Writing can be a very creative and invigorating way to make our lives available to ourselves and to others.We have to trust that our stories deserve to be told. We may discover that the better we tell our stories the better we will want to live them.
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
I have had a pretty solid one track mind since I left my life as an educator/ administrator/ consultant to clean houses and date. (I could add " and to pursue my writing career," but that's really not be at the top of my list.)
No: Babies, people. I have wanted to have babies. Clocks are ticking. Sand is running out of the hour glass, and eggs are dropping, rather dying it seems as each day and month passes....
Scary, for sure!
(You all know my mother invited me to consider freezing these things that will be 1/2 of her future grandchildren, right?....Another tale.)
So: I've just been trying to bide my time. Date some men. You know: go out for wine, have burgers, be taken to the art museum, or bowling, all in the larger interest of love, a bit of a romance, and then some whoppingly fast sex to produce offspring.
Really, truly: imagining the whole thing at the age of 38 1/2 sort of makes my head spin. Shoot! It's like I could get morning sickness just thinking of what I'm asking God for....
Cue Elaine and Jerry from Seinfeld: "The Baby! The baby!"
I want to date. And do some kind of wedding. I want to build a life together. I'd like to imagine traveling, or buying pillows together, or mowing the lawn and grilling, having friends over. Drinking and talking and giggling till late at night. Playing poker with his friends. Or whatever his friends normally do that excludes women, but that he'll want me there for at this early point in our life together. I want that period. You know: young couple in love and chilling mode?
But how does one do that at 38 and 1/2 - when you aren't even married yet, and your unborn son and daughter keep whispering: Mommy! We want to be born! Would you get on it already?! We need bodies!
I'm not crazy. My children talk to me. My son has at least. (I just keep doing the wishful thinking: there's a girl out there, too, who really wants to enter my life, who wants me to play with her and teach her things.....)
Birth Control Happens right here...........Ladies and Gentleman, this is my life lesson, coming at me from a couple directions today:
1. Cleaning houses.
2. In the copied and forwarded funny email from my sister-in-law, a new mother, pasted below.
Yes, I was fortunate to receive a serious birth control lesson while doing my "Two Betty's and A Broom" routine - cleaning houses and really SEEING what a mom's life is like. I was knee deep in this world today; or should I say plastic toy-and-toddler-tissues-on-runny-noses-deep - while over at Sara and Aaron's home, tidying their living quarters.
The three hours of scrubbing while simultaneously navigating the beloved monotonous sound of baby Naomi wanting to be read to, over and over and over and over again: Let's just say: it was a wake up call to my fantasy. It was rather, a lovely way to push PAUSE and hold a bit on the NOW and the JOY I have in still being single and responsible for only myself.
It is. I have to celebrate. Cause with my clock, and what God keeps telling me, I know these babes are going to be here before I know it. And I don't want to look back on this time and NOT RECALL how mentally and physically and emotionally prepared the Universe was getting me.
I do love this day, this moment. And that I can read the following Lessons ("15 Step Program to Prep for Kids" and laugh - knowing their truth, and that there is still time.
Do this 15 step program first!
1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home.
4. Pick up the paper.
5 Read it for the last time.
Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breastfeeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior.
Enjoy it, because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.
A really good way to discover how the nights might feel....
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)
Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years.
Look cheerful and together.
Can you stand the mess children make? To find out..
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.
Time allowed for this - all morning.
1. Take an egg carton. Using a pair of scissors and a jar of paint, turn it into an alligator.
2. Now take the tube from a roll of toilet paper. Using only Scotch tape and a piece of aluminum foil, turn it into an attractive Christmas candle.
3. Last, take a milk carton, a ping-pong ball, and an empty packet of Cocoa Puffs. Make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower .
Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van.
And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.
1. Get ready to go out.
2. Sit on the floor of your bathroom reading picture books for half an hour.
3. Go out the front door.
4. Come in again.Go out.
5. Come back in.
6. Go out again.
7. Walk down the front path.
8. Walk back up it.
9. Walk down it again.
10. Walk very slowly down the sidewalk for five minutes.
11. Stop, inspect minutely, and ask at least 6 questions about every cigarette butt, piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue, and dead insect along the way.
12. Retrace your steps.
13. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbors come out and stare at you.
14. Give up and go back into the house.
You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.
Repeat everything you have learned at least (if not more than) five times.
Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is also excellent).
If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat.
Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys.
Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.
1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.
You are now ready to feed a nine- month old baby.
Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's "Noggin"?) Exactly the point.
Move to the tropics. Find or make a compost pile. Dig down about halfway and stick your nose in it. Do this 3-5 times a day for at least two years.
Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying "mommy" repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each "mommy"; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years.
You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.
Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the "mommy" tape made from Lesson 14 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Scene from top of mountain, trying to get a phone signal.. You might be able to make out the garage in the distance...
We got a lot of the trees near the barn and near the house carted away.
He is going to try to bring another tractor with forks on the bucket tomorrow so we won't have to use chains. That should greatly speed up the process.
Monday, April 16, 2007
What is it about a good poem? It has the power to sort of stop time, slow your breathing, and remind you of what you love, who you are. Who you are REALLY, like in Love's eyes.
This Robert Fanning poem, this Monday morning, arrives as I contemplate the stress and headache of entering back into the messy world of arts education and administration. It shows up as I'm thinking about how hair spiders in my shower drain and lint ball dust bunnies clinging to my floor are similar to this work I've tried to leave behind: gross, messy, unattractive, needing to be dealt with.
But then I read this poem. And I remember. I know this voice the poet is talking about. The quiet, teacher-practicing voice of respect, of fear, of love, of awe. The voice that whispers with reverence in the face of something like mystery.
I hear that voice. It lives in me. And I know how to use it. As I know Love.
Poem: "The List of Good Names" by Robert Fanning, from The Seed Thieves. © Marick Press. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
The List of Good Names
Tonight, in the family style
pizzeria, we speak of having a child
some day. On a napkin smudged red
where the leaky felt tip lingered,
I watch meteors, sperm and tadpoles
cross the paper sky, as you
draw up a list of good names.
Looking at the list, I'm a substitute
teacher practicing attendance
before the class arrives:
Isabella, Gabriel, Rose. Who will be
the bookworm, the athlete, the clown?
Around us, the families finish
dinner, pack into minivans and leave.
The pimpled waiter picks up
broken crayons, wipes sauce
from a plastic high chair,
unplugs the video game.
Soon the room's as silent
as a doll shop after hours.
When I'm ready to speak, above
the ticking of the clock, my rubber
lips click. Whispering the list's
first name, I hear the voice
I used when I spoke your name
the first time—that voice I've used
when I try the name of an unknown
plant, or when I'm scared, or when
I pray, or when I know a stranger
now listens in the next booth,
the one I thought was vacant.
Queen Mab Contemplates