October 16, 2014
I am liking using these photos from Cape Cod (our August vacation) to illustrate writing work that is out. I meant to have a lot of great posts from Cape Cod but have been falling behind blog posts, getting photos out of cameras, and quite a lot besides that. Not the most organized time for me, summer. Hopefully the more interior life of winter will allow me to get my assorted houses (literary, emotional, spiritual, and actual very messy one) in order.
Meanwhile, a good thing - a new poem out on the great new site I only recently discovered, Woman Around Town. My poem, The Botanical Gardens Gift Shop, is available to read here. I hope you enjoy it and - as ever - thoughts on any work is always appreciated.
Very pleased to have a short story out. The short story is called Loose Ends and is available to read online here at Imitation Fruit. They have previously published a story of mine called The Lawn Chair. The Lawn Chair was a story written for my Dad even though obviously a work of fiction. It seemed a bit unfair as my mother was the one who always wanted me to write something about her. Loose Ends is the sort of story she would have enjoyed, light and fun with a good streak of humor. Both of these stories veer some distance away from the usual fare of my fiction and it pleased me to be able to write something different than my usual dark and murky tales to honor first my Dad and now my Mom. And yes, it is fiction and no, no one including my Mom was actually these people, but it was inspired by a line she said about bucket lists the day before she died. As ever, would love to hear any thoughts.
October 14, 2014
October 7, 2014
October 3, 2014
September 14, 2014
September 8, 2014
September 7, 2014
Dear Tall Blonde Mommy,
We were walking our little dog up our quiet street on a hot and quiet Sunday afternoon today and on the way back he started choking and shuddering, something he has been doing lately. We moved him into the shade and tried to calm him down. He threw up a little bit but still seemed like he was having problems. Scary as it brings back memories of our other little black dog, Moky, who died so young of undiagnosed until too late cancer. We tried to hurry home and at our driveway was stopped by you, tall blonde mommy in a long skirt with your four very blonde children.
You urged one forward, the oldest girl, who nervously came onto my driveway thrusting papers in my face - the kind where you sign up to buy something. My dog went ballistic, which he does on his own property when strangers come up, and I said quickly, sorry, he isn't friendly, as a quick explanation as my husband was forced to yank him up the driveway. I went to help him, turning away but saying (politely, if you recall) "sorry, no thank you." to your daughter. My husband led our dog up the driveway, both of us upset the dog had been riled when we had wanted him calm.
You proceeded to yell at me. Stood in front of my driveway, dramatically waving your arms. Saying how I am a horrible person for not letting your daughter speak. That I could have at least listened to what she said. What kind of world is this? No wonder my dog is unfriendly since I am such a hateful and horrible human being. You added that you were not selling anything and if I had only listened to your daughter I would know you are collecting money for a charity.
I was shocked. I said how I said, sorry, no thank you and we are just trying to get our dog inside. You continued. How you will never come to our door again when you come to this street, how you will mark us as the people who hate children, how she will warn her children away from us etc. as we are bad, bad people.
The entire time, your children were staring at you. I am curious. What lesson were you trying to teach here?
You proceeded to go door to door. When you came out from soliciting our elderly neighbors, all your kids stopped and pointed at my husband in our driveway who was getting something from his car. Pointed. You stopped and said something to them. Gave him an angry glance. I saw this from the kitchen window.
I have no idea who you are. I have never seen you before. Hope I don't see you again. I was left very upset by this verbal attack in my front yard. My husband was thoroughly disgusted by your behavior. Helicopter parenting at its worse, he commented.
I guess you think you are teaching them some civic lesson, something about community and charity. Hard to tell. Since what you actually are teaching them is to not respect privacy or private property or people's rights, that it is okay to door to door and ask for money in a strange neighborhood (which is illegal by the way, which I know because I called and asked, and besides that, entirely unsafe), that it is fine to go up to people you don't know and assume your wants outweigh theirs, that it is fine to upset people to get what you want. That it is okay to parade your children around to prove what a great Mom or human being you are. A humanitarian collecting for charity.
Dear Tall Blonde Mommy, it's a gorgeous day. Take those kids to the park and let them enjoy one of the perfect last days of summer. Don't make your oldest daughter uncomfortable and feel weird by asking strangers for money. If you need to raise money for a charity, have a garage sale or a cake bake in your front yard, a lemonade stand for charity or they could donate old toys or ask friends and relatives (sorry, folks!), but don't solicit perfect strangers in their front yards or ring their bells.
But sadly, you are probably on your phone right now ranting about your version of this encounter, how the world is a terrible place because of people like my husband and myself.
Whirled Peas, Lady.
September 3, 2014
August 28, 2014
I found this just last night when I was searching in old computer files for something else. This beautiful member of our family died several years ago. I don't even remember writing this, it was a sad time as he was unexpectedly very sick and his death was shocking. We had two wonderful dogs, Moky and Emmy, both gone and missed. Moky was my daughter's best friend and he adored her. No dog has ever loved anyone more. It is the hardest thing about dogs, that their life span is so terribly short.
I thought about editing this piece and making it into more of a poem but then I thought, no, let it remain what it is, a heartfelt letter to our beloved boy.
I never knew how hard you worked
how extensive your job was
meeting each pair of feet as they climbed out of bed into the morning
already up, having made the rounds of the house,
sniffed each door and inspected the carpet
for any crumbs from the evening before.
I never knew how you followed my footsteps, unnoticed
as a shadow until I turned and tripped,
how you took my outbursts of temper without blame
or accusation, how you ran down the driveway to greet me
your whole body wriggling in joy just that I was home
You were so good at your work, it went largely unnoticed,
we focused more on your clowning skills, inadvertant though they were
the way you hid under the dining room table if you thought you had been bad,
rolling in the perfume ads that we pulled from magazines, the last time you did that
I thought I should film it for posterity, but I didn't because there would surely be a next time.
I thought you a lazy and loved, indulged even, type of dog the way you jumped in my lap
and snuggled in next to me, like I was letting you get away with something even though now
I realize how much comfort you gave with your presence. How every doorbell ring, every visitor, every rabbit in the yard, squirrels, birds, cats, got your fierce attention, how every thing was greeting with a mix of passion and friendliness and happiness. I never realized how much a part of your work was happiness, the carrier of it, the way you pulled everyone out of themselves or an iffy or bad day and made us focus on you, your canine joy, your bliss at the crisp autumn scented wind, the piles and drifts of snow taller than you, the way the slate walk warms in the spring sun, perfect for sleeping.
I find myself looking at the season approaching, the unfolding of summer, a good season for dogs, but how it all feels terrible without you, curled in the back garden, a flower folded without hope of sun, and I wish I knew how to tell you thank you for your enormous gift of a job well done, noticed in every moment now that there is no one who can take your place.
August 24, 2014
A Brief for the Defense
Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.
- Jack Gilbert, A Brief for the Defense. Refusing Heaven.
Sent from my iPad=
August 7, 2014
July 31, 2014
very cranky seagull who was hanging around obviously peturbed about something (perhaps our lack of snacks?) who looked quite strange when he decided to take a small nap, head tucked under wing but eye wide open.
what is better than a great companion at the beach?
a drive around the Greenwich Park, just beautiful, and then the sunset....mostly golden light, God loved the sailors this evening.