Monday, July 28, 2008

Things I need to write about

Isaiah 40:31

But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.

In meeting this piece of scripture came forward and the poetic structure was pointed out. That usually it would be I can walk, I can run, I can fly. But here it begins with flight and works its way back to the mundane.

I struggle with depression. And I'm tired of that, but there it is. And while I can fly and I can run, it is the walking that causes me troubles. The walking, the opening of mail, the answering the phone, the doing of dishes and laundry and weeding the garden. These are the tasks that truly terrify.

But I can write a novel. I can produce vast quantities of knitted garments. I can build a cedar bench from scratch. I can make lip balm and soap and watermelon rind pickles. I can sew new curtains for the boys' room and quilts for my mother-in-law and skirts for myself. I can play trumpet with a big band. I can hold three jobs and parent two children and two cats.

But all my fish have died. Fish are quiet. They are easy. They are the walking part of my life. The health of the aquarium is an unfortunate metaphor for my state of mind.

In meeting I felt hopeful and nervous because I feel my strength returning to me. I fell ME returning to me and I feel that I may once more be able to accomplish the mundane.

I opened my small bible to a random page and found a Psalms 38:17

For I am ready to fall and my pain is ever before me.

I often feel that I am falling, but I rarely feel ready to fall.

I thought about what it would take to be ready to fall. Faith growing within myself. Faith in me, faith in my family, faith in my religious community. Faith that if I were to fall they would catch me.

Then I flashed on an absurd image of me body-surfing through the meeting.

Growing up one of my dad's favorite sayings was, "If you aren't falling down, you aren't learning anything."

I am ready to fall.

Church Ladies in the Basement and How I Became One

This past spring one of my elderly quaker friends passed away. He was in his eighties and cancer took him so quickly that the meeting barely had time to process the fact that he was sick before he was gone.

I was not ready for him to be gone. I wasn't ready not to hear his clear voice singing hymns out of the silence or coming up with just the right biblical quotation. At our liberal meeting, he was one of a handful attenders with such a strong background in scripture and the meeting was richer for his presence.

I found myself sobbing at the end of the meeting when we learned he had passed away and it was his wife who comforted me. She said it was a rare privilege to be able to say goodbye to a spouse of sixty-some years.

When it came time for the memorial service they needed people to help organize the pot luck and I willingly agreed. All I knew was that I needed to show up at 8:30 and that the family wanted all ingredients listed for every dish (for the benefit of those with food allergies and sensitivities).

There was a lot of food.

I happily kept busy through the many surprises: four times as much food as we expected, the presence of a caterer, and the fact that the two people in charge of the food-- me and another friend of the family-- had no idea what we were doing. She was a young woman in her 20s. I am 36. At one point we started giggling about the fact that we were the blue-haired church ladies in the basement.

When my friend's daughter met me to thank me for helping she was shocked. She had assumed that I would be of an age with her parents.

She actually gasped when her mom introduced us!

where i'm at for writing...

1. Switching from querying to revising mode for Shooting the Thorn Tree (my first novel) which I still hope to find representation for in this coming year.

2. Celebrating the fact that while I am probably NOT one of the mentees for the Loft mentorship series in fiction this year, it is the second year I was one of the finalists. Third time is a charm.

3. Starting to send out poetry.

4. Need to send out short stories as well. Plan to submit to literary journals that have reading periods Sept-May.

5. Really excited that #1 son will start Kindergarten in the fall and that I will not be working 3 out of 5 weeknights anymore. This change in schedule should theoretically help my ability to get things done.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

waiting for the frelling prize patrol

So I'm once again a finalist for the Loft's mentorship series in fiction. Which is good, don't get me wrong. I'm happy just to be nominated. But since they sent word that we would likely receive notification in the first week of July I am checking my email every thirty seconds.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

scrabulous eats minnesota woman

yup. that's all I've been doing. all scrabulous. all the time.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Writing again?

Day one of writing again.

Or something like that.

I did a bunch of research the other day and I gave the latest version of the novel to a friend last week so she could search for errors and the like.

But this morning was the first in a long while that I took pen to paper.

Since blog was originally organizational task for writing I thought I'd use it to track progress of writing again.

Wrote about midwinter Minnesota shark bite.

Oddly enough there have been a few of these this season. On January 25 at the Mall of America, one of the larger sharks tried to eat one of the smaller sharks and swam around with it for half an hour before it was rescued. Both sharks survived.

About a week later, my five-year old son poked a younger friend with a shark tooth I didn't know he had. Which garnered me the mother of the year award when said friend was wounded. Sigh. Both boys survived.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Failure to Fly

I heard this term for the first time this past weekend used to refer to a child who falls from several stories and survives. Falls that would typically be fatal to an adult. A family friend had a son who dropped to concrete from two stories. He spent a week in a body cast and suffered no lasting damage.

Failure to fly.

My brother is faced with the death of a friend from high school. She suffered from a rare and severe form of post-partum depression. It claimed the life of her baby before it also took her life.

Failure to be faster than a speeding bullet.

When my husband worked at the gas station in downtown Wayzata near the railroad tracks, a man stumbled in late at night mumbling over and over again, "You hear the trains when they come by..." His fiance had been walking with him along the tracks. They didn't hear the train. It swept her under its metal wheels, his arms unable to hold her.

Failure to be more powerful than a locomotive.

I remember that I cannot do everything all the time. That doing some small things is still okay. If I can't finish all the laundry I can still wash a load or two. Small steps still get you somewhere.

I can't always attend to my children, connect meaningfully with my spouse, and clean the whole house and prep for work and sew and knit and exercise and cook flawlessly, diligently, without fail.

Still I can be. And some days that is enough.

Failure to be supermom.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Poety stuff - God Snores

God comes to meeting before anyone else
Takes a seat toward the back
And rests his chin on his chest

He always wears his nametag
Facing the wrong way

Sorry feminists,
He is an old man with white hair.
A wild beard
Bushy, patriarchal eyebrows

As the silence of the meeting settles
Dusty and full of old prayers
That circulate with the squeaking ceiling fans
God snores

It is a sawing snore
That rattles the windows
Uninterrupted by our polite worship
Our quiet platitudes.

If we sing or dance or shout
Will he open his blue eyes?

Poety stuff - Two Births

Eyes closed
Thinking about opening
Like a flower
Petals falling away from one another
Joints I didn’t know I had
Muscles tense and relax
All this wild motion and stillness
The machinery of life and creation
Moving to welcome you
I wonder
Does a flower feel this burning pressure
This urgency
As the petals unfold?

Utkata konasana
Goddess pose
The pose where your feet sink into the earth
Knees bent
Arms outstretched
Only I leaned against the raised hospital bed
The midwife poised to catch you
Slowly, slowly
As you slipped into her cold hands
Angry and purple, you withdrew your sounds
As punishment
Signing with clenched fists—

Thursday, October 25, 2007

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