Sunday, September 20, 2009

so here's a question

"Thoughts are seeds of future deeds", the pastor said last Sunday, and I thought about how all my life I had imagined my mother telling me that my father had died, if such an unthinkable thing could happen, that he would go first, and my imagined reaction was always disbelief, denial. I have an active brain. There's a lot going on in there, any given day. I imagined this many many times.

When I got the call?

"What do you mean he has no pulse???" I screamed at her. "That is my FATHER."

Today I'm wondering - would it have happened that way anyway, or was I subconsciously training myself to react that way?

If so, what else am I subconsciously training myself to do?

"...take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor 10:5

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hey hi.

wow I'm tired.

there's no good reason to be awake from 2 am till 5 am. Not one. But I seem to making a habit of it.

Also a habit - cleaning up old e-mail.

Here's a gem I found from 2002 - A would have been six, B three. I overheard her telling him:

"Mommy is possibly as smart as Daddy."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The stay-at-home mom's entertainment ...

I've been culling through old e-mail (merciful freaking heavens, FOURTEEN YEARS OF IT) culling kids stories and deleting things I no longer need and I have discovered that every so often, I answer spam.

Here's my favourite spam-answer from today's deletions:

The spam was one word only:


To which I answered:

I just can't.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Writer's Block Prayer

Writer`s Block Prayer

Lord, with Thy merciful bountiful,
grant me the power to...
Dear God, we beseech Thee today
that these...
Almighty on high, Thine is the.....
Oh, You know what I mean.


Monday, September 14, 2009

A Song of Africa

"If I know a song of Africa, -- I thought, -- of the Giraffe, and the African new moon lying on her back, of the ploughs in the fields, and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Would the air over the plain quiver with a colour I had had on, or the children invent a game in which my name was, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or would the eagles of Ngong look out for me?"

Karen Blixen/Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In which I crack myself up

So I'm looking through journals and notebooks and things looking for snippets of poem and story I could mine and a) I have enough notebooks to open a bookstore and b)I don't think I have ever filled a notebook. Possibly once.

Finding stories about the kids - B, 4 years old, in the McDonald's play place in Pleasanton, CA. He comes and flops down beside me, clearly disgruntled. I ask him what's wrong.

"Nobody doesn't want me to bust them up, Mom!"


A, aged 2, sitting on the kitchen counter, eating garlic powder. Looks up when I come in. "Hi." she says. "This tastes bad!"


Rough notes for a sonnet about Brad. I was taking a poetry course and the first assignment was "Show up next week with two sonnets you've written." (I still get a tiny headache thinking about it) So the notes ramble around:

Can I write a sonnet about how I can't write a sonnet? No, it's typically a love poem. Lovely. I certainly don't do love poems, even if I try. I can't PLAN a love poem! (aside: the opening words of that particular sonnet are "Plan a love poem.")Telling myself I can't certainly isn't helping much now, is it? What would I talk about? Tenderness, strength, his honest open face, his integrity, his steadfastness - yep, great concrete words there. I guess he's like some sort of benevolent granite boulder - well wouldn't THAT make a person weak at the knees?


And then there's this line, from a different time. I'm sitting in church, listening, and I pick up my notebook and write:

Hee. Apparently "people are born multifauceted." I wish I could draw - where we would put all the taps?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The peace of dancing minds

"There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely the absence of war. It is larger than that. The peace I am thinking of is not at the mercy of history's rule, nor is it a passive surrender to the status quo. The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one - an activity that occurs most naturally, most often in the reading/writing world we live in. ...I know now more than I ever did (and I always on some level knew it) that I need that intimate, sustained surrender to the company of my own mind while it touches another's - which is reading. That I need to offer the fruits of my own imaginative intelligence to another without fear of anything more deadly than disdain - which is writing."

Toni Morrison
in her acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation Medal

Friday, September 11, 2009

the first touch

listening to Bryan Adams this morning, and this line stood out for me:

"I remember the first touch"

(and I just went and googled it and lo and behold that phrase doesn't appear in the song - I've cobbled bits of two phrases together)


I thought - do I ? do I remember the first touch?

Steinbach Manitoba, March 1979, living in residence at SBI.

I'm in grade 12, Brad's in his first year of Bible School. Brad and I have been circling around each other for weeks, possibly even months. I always seem to be stuck at the main school building while Brad does supper dishes (if by "stuck" you mean "languishing on the stairs pretending to be reading, waiting for him") and we walk back to the dorm together. Every evening. We get to the small porch (also called the Smooch Hut, but we never used it for that) at the double dorm doors - one door leads up to the girls dorm, one leads down to the boys dorm, and we talk. And we talk and laugh and talk and laugh and talk and laugh and the mandatory study period, from 7 till 9 pm is almost over before we dash inside, drop our unfinished homework in our rooms, and wander back to the main building to kill the hour before lights out.
It's nearing the end of the Bible School year (they left at the end of April, high schoolers had to wait until the end of June) and I am quite literally jumping out of my skin at the thought that he. will. leave. forever. without asking me out. Other people seem to think he likes me - I don't like myself well enough to see that he wouldn't spend most of every evening hanging out with me if he didn't.
There's a banquet one night, for the Bible School students, and the high school students serve dinner. The high school students get nothing to eat, so after the banquet, Brad asks me if I'd like to wander down to Sonny's and get something to eat. So we wander down there, and we're wandering back in the soft spring night and I'm chattering away and Brad reaches down and takes my hand.
The night goes silent, and then, in my typical way, I gather up some big words and whisper into the night.

"Wow." I say.

"Yeah. Wow." he says back.

"There goes my inner equilibrium." I say, and even that doesn't spoil the moment and for the rest of the walk the whole world centres on the place where my hand is in his, at long long last, and my nose itches but I don't scratch it because my purse is in one hand and my life is blossoming in my other hand and I know that if I let go of his hand I will never ever get it back and I cannot stand the thought.

We walk up the road to the dorm, past classmates who have been waiting for this almost as long as we have, and into the smooch hut and into our separate dorm rooms and I wander down the hall and lie awake on my bed all night, smiling at the ceiling.

And I'm smiling almost as hard, now, remembering.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The title to this post is so clever I had to delete it, lest all of cyberspace be silenced by its pithiness

(the title is also a total lie)

I've been having this really deep thought about how it is that reading is escapism because it totally takes you away from where you are, but then I wondered why it is that being in Henry and Clare's* house was so much better than being in my own, and I finally realized that in real life, you don't get to delete everything that doesn't move the plot forward. And really, a lot of real life doesn't do much to move the plot forward. When I walk through the front door with Clare, it's for a reason. When I walk through the front door out here among the living, I see six pairs of shoes on the floor and put away the three that are mine, and nag someone else to put away their three pairs. I notice the backpack on the couch and the socks on the stairs and can the kitchen floor really be that dirty after I washed it just last week? and yes, hello, puppy, I missed you desperately too, although I must admit I was relatively certain I'd see you again, and I'm not sure you had that same certainty. And maybe Clare is just carrying milk in order to conveniently move her to the back of the house where she can look out the kitchen window and see Alba and Alba playing together, but I've had six hundred thoughts since I got out of the van with the milk, and I'm not even in the front door yet. And I've forgotten where I even PUT the milk.

Fiction is less cluttered.

*name that book, anyone? ETA: Bailey, you are bang on :)