Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Mini Blog Break

Child sick.

Cindy tired and reflective.


Both of us.

Talk amongst yourselves. :::dismissive hand flutter:::

Friday, January 27, 2006

Friday Quote: On Worth

"Yesterday the nightingale was singing
a beautiful song by the stream:
"You could make a rose
out of rubies, emeralds and gold
but would it have a scent?"

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Gifts I'm Giving Myself for my 38th Birthday

1. The gift of kindness and appreciation toward my body--instead of constant mental abuse and physical neglect.

2. The gift of movement--daily walks, yoga, stretching, dancing, pacing, whatever--with no expectations or "exercise" rules attached.

3. The gift of plentious water.

4. The gift of available fresh fruit and vegetables.

5. The gift of permission to do one thing at a time, to throw multi-tasking out the window.

6. The gift of deliberate time for meditation.

7. The gift of permission to play without producing something profitable or worthwhile.

8. The gift of permission to wholeheartedly enjoy the things I really love instead of the ones I think I ought to love.

9. The gift of permission to think the experts and important people are idiots.

10. The gift of self-encouragement instead of self-beration.

11. The gift of acceptance--not fighting or feeling guilty about my limitations, but learning the subtle freedoms that lie within them and glorying in those.

12. The gift of hearty approval to be nobody.

13. The gift of hiddenness, willingly given.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Randy

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Thinking Out Loud: On Knowing What One Wants

This week I received a rejection letter for my last submission. There was once a time when I would have been devastated. I hardly even blinked when I opened this one. It's not that I've become immune to disappointment through Rejection Letter Repetition so much as that I've made a discovery in the past year--publication doesn't seem to be what matters so much anymore.

I began sending out poetry submissions 10 years after finishing my degree. It was 10 years before I felt I had anything worthy of sending. When I did finally begin submitting, the first 4 things I sent out were accepted. One of them was promptly nominated for a Pushcart Prize. I walked around stunned and not a little afraid for months. It made me nervous, quite frankly. I tend to hold as suspect the literary taste of anyone who is quite so eager to get their hands on my poetry. Perhaps I was a little disillusioned, too. It was supposed to be harder than this. Whatever the reason, I submitted less and less often, and the burning drive to Write Poetry has settled into gently glowing embers, while the drive to Publish is rapidly becoming nearly non-existant (although, the perceived obligation to Unload Some of These Poems cluttering my hard drive does occasionally annoy me).

I thought I knew what I wanted: genuine poetic skill on the professional level, a writing degree, literary publication, a decent regard for my work from other people whose work and/or literary opinion I valued. I worked hard for years amid intense concentration, pulled hair and occasional tears. I desired it earnestly, achingly. It was a large chunk of who I thought I was, who I'd labored diligently to become. And to some degree I evidently succeeded. Why, then, the definite diminishment of desire instead of an increased wish to continue?

We yearn for something, set ourselves to accomplishing or acquiring it, and then stand befuddled, holding it in our hands, staring at it as if to ask, "How did I get here, and why did I think I wanted this?" before shrugging and tossing it over our shoulders or perhaps relegating it to a scrapbook or the attic of our lives. Are we so fickle? Do we really understand our own hearts so little?

I like to think that each friendship we pursue in our lives, each career or personal goal, each whatever-it's-been that we've worked for, deeply yearned for and sought after, has held some factor consistent with an overall longing of our hearts, a longing that is, perhaps, too big or too complicated to be comprehended at once. If so, then the question is not, "Is this all there is?" but "What part of this could I not imagine having lived without? What element has made (or has the potential to make) all the striving worthwhile?" There, I think, is where we'll perhaps find an answer that begins to satisfy, and where lies the possibility of beginning to understand what it is we truly desire.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Friday Quote: On Knowing What One Wants

"A tourist may go through a museum with a Baedeker, looking conscientiously at everything important, and come out less alive than when he went in. He has looked at everything and seen nothing. He has done a great deal and it has only made him tired. If he had stopped for a moment to look at one picture he really liked and forgotten about all the others, he might console himself with the thought that he had not completely wasted his time...

Perhaps I have never asked myself whether I really wanted to become what everybody else seems to want to become. Perhaps if I only realized that I do not admire what everyone seems to admire, I would really begin to live after all...

Why do we have to spend our lives striving to be something that we would never want to be, if we only knew what we wanted?"

--Thomas Merton
from No Man Is an Island

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Thirteen Things about Lucinda

1. I have been working on two computers simultaneously for the last 4.5 hours.

2. There are nearly always dirty dishes beside my kitchen sink.

3. Fourteen of my twenty-four potted houseplants are bloooming or budded.

4. Twelve of the fourteen do or will have purple blossoms.

5. I make beaded bookmarks.

6. I was up until 2:something a.m. last night.

7. I heard my father laugh this morning.

8. I am amused by quizzes and people who perceive something sinister about me.

9. Pressure is not my friend.

10. Last night I was startled by my older daughter when I caught a glimpse of her out of the corner of my eye and thought there was a strange adult in the house with me.

11. My daughters are both blonde.

12. My husband is a former red-head turning brown-blonde.

13. My hair is the color of dark walnut stain...but a little less green.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Jen

2. Randy

3. Dawn

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Procrastination Aids: The Serenity Character Quiz

Your results:
You are Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)

Dependable and trustworthy.
You love your significant other and
you are a tough cookie when in a conflict.

Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)

River (Stowaway)

Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)

Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)

Derrial Book (Shepherd)

Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)

Wash (Ship Pilot)

Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)

Inara Serra (Companion)


A Reaver (Cannibal)

Click here to take the "Which Serenity Character Are You Quiz".

I am not overlooking the fact that when Great Scott was told my Reaver score was 35%, his response was, "Seems low..." Retaliation is under contemplation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Foursquare Meme

I seem to have been tagged by both Great Scott and Dawn yesterday, so in spite of the fact (or perhaps because of it) that I need desperately to be doing some WORK, I shall comply. My, aren't I gracious? :)

Four movies you could watch over and over:
1. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead
2. Lady Jane
3. LOTR trilogy
4. Room With a View
4+. The 13th Warrior
4++. Everything on Great Scott's list (see link above)

Four places you have lived:
1. Powersite, Missouri
2. Hartville, Missouri
3. Rolla, Missouri
4. Springfield, Missouri

Four TV shows you love to watch:
1. PBS historical documentaries
2. PBS "Secrets of the Dead" series (when it was on)
3. Winx Club cartoon (to watch the girls get excited and to see Great Scott squirm while he waits for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to come on)
4. shows about computer geeks saving the world

Four places you have been on vacation:
1. Mustang, Oklahoma
2. Hendersonville, North Carolina
3. Grand Lake, Oklahoma
4. Branson, Missouri

Four websites you visit daily:
(other than blogs)
1. Google
2. Amazon
3. Hotmail
4. less frequently: game sites or cheat code sites (oh, yeah!)

Four of your favorite foods:
1. Fresh strawberries
2. Fresh tomatoes
3. Rare steak (if it's not bleeding, it's burned)
4. Fresh plums or Granny Smith apples

Four places you would rather be right now:
1. In a tree
2. Beside a creek
3. In a bookstore with a great deal of money
4. In a tree beside a creek with a huge stack of books, some Granny Smith apples and an intravenous internet connection

Four bloggers you are tagging:
1. Jennifer of Wonderfully Ill Composed
2. Megan of In Middangeard
3. Connie of Dawsonwood
4. Feeble Knees

Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday Quote(s): On Poetry


Words of a poem should be glass
But glass so simple-suble its shape
Is nothing but the shape of what it holds.

A glass spun for itself is empty...

Words should be looked through, should be windows.
The best word were invisible.

--Robert Francis
excerpts from his poem, "Glass"


Poetry could be acted as well as composed.

--G.K. Chesterton
from Orthodoxy

It occurs to me that if we live life well it becomes a well-written poem: meaning is visible within it. The details of an individual life--the myrid of ways in which that life is expressed--should serve to make the meaning held within it clearly evident to observers.

This is what I mean when I say that the desire grows within me to not so much write poetry as to be the poem.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Losing Our Pretty Heads

Every year for Christmas my mother gives our girls Barbie dolls. Several. The girls love this tradition, and the living room is littered with Barbie dresses, various Barbie horses (some with wings), Barbie shoes, Barbie fairy wings, Barbie magic wands, Barbie hairpieces, Barbie furniture, Barbie vehicles (sleds, sleighs, airplanes, boats, and various automobiles), Barbie pets and a plethora of other Barbie paraphrenalia too mysterious and plentious to enumberate, as all the old Barbies are dragged out and introduced to the new arrivals. Here at Possum Box Lane we dwell in a sea of pink and purple tulle and satin from Christmas until school resumes.

One of the more disturbing and potentially entertaining aspects of Barbie and the ubiquitous Ken, is that they both have a pronounced tendency to lose their heads over the smallest matters. You think I'm joking, but I'm not. This is serious. Decapitated heads have rolled in our home since Barbie's first arrival ten years ago. Their numbers increase. Headless bodies accumulate beneath the girls' bed at a rate that makes "Hamlet" read like a soporific bedtime tale (Shakespeare would be breathless with envy at the corpse count). What's worse, we can't throw any of them away. There is no toy too broken but that it serves as fodder for the creative mill. Two days before New Year's the eight-year-old ran to show me no less than four stripped and headless Ken dolls cradled in her delicate little hands: "Look! Now Gongthrong can have a headless zombie army!" she chirped as she skipped into the play room.

As I see it, there are two possible responses to madness: fight it, or join it. No contest. I'm in.

Monday, January 09, 2006


I hate making decisions. The possibility of making a bad one haunts me, especially if it will affect other people. Especially if it is likely to affect other people negatively, increase a burden on people I care about. Even if it will make life better for other people I care about.

There is a voice deep, deep within that cannot be heard unless one listens and listens with full and quiet attention with a willingness to accept what it has to say, listens without the interruptive, "but"s and "what if"s that will tend to crowd themselves into the meditative silences needed for the voice to be heard at all. It very rarely give explanation. Usually it doesn't even communicate in words, as such, but it makes itself clear and then waits, leaves the decision and the execution of that decision entirely within one's own outer realms to do or leave undone. I know I need to go into those silences and listen, but I've a good idea of what I will hear already, and it grieves me, even as it gives me a thrill of anticipation.

And, no. I'm not considering starching Great Scott's boxers. Again.

This is not a comfortable place.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Friday Night Fun

Great Scott has an ongoing topic of tease with our daughters: namely that he moved us to the country so he'd have more room to bury any boys who showed too much interest in one of the girls. Upon his arrival home last night he was greeted by our luxuriantly blonde older daughter, who looked up from her homework at the table to say matter-of-factly and with a perfectly straight face, "Hi. It's time to dig those holes."

Reason # 457.

Last night was great fun. One of Great Scott's former-students-now-turned-friend-to-us-both came for dinner and the evening. Jennifer's on break from her journalism studies in Columbia (Mizzou) where she started the blog Wonderfully Ill-Composed for a class. (Now that the semester's over, she's open for topic ideas to continue blogging, BTW. You can leave hellos and suggestions for her here.) She was fun company: gentle and conversant with the girls as well as us, entertaining, and equally willing to share pictures from her summer in Colorado or grate cheese for the lasagne. We will take her any time we can get her.

I'll leaves the details of Jennifer's visit to Great Scott to post on Grumpy Teacher since she was his student. It's only fair that he have writing dibs on her, I admit. I will mention, though, that she left with us a Magnetic Poetry Calendar. It was long after midnight before I was able to tear myself away from those fascinating little magnetic words, my task complicated by the fact that both Great Scott and our younger daughter had already composed pieces of their own which I was loath cannibalize. At last I tottered off to bed, a fond and sleepy smile upon my face and two veritable works of poetic genius upon the board:

apples sing in that gray weather
birds spin cloud to fire
as they fly__the season
can bloom or ice__all month
you and I look out at sun
on storm__we flower through
fall rain and melting light


have a buttered pumpkin popsicle
here__eat it__smile too

For good company and ghastly composition, Jennifer, we are in your debt. Thank you. :)

Compare/Contrast: Blogging vs. Journaling

This last week Stick Poet Superhero asked some questions of his readers about the differences and similarities between their personal journaling and their blogging. For three days I've been sneaking in to peek hopefully at his readers' answers only to find to my great disappointment that they weren't posting any.

So I'm taking the questions to Quotidian Light's readers, many of whom I know keep personal journals as well as blogs. How does your blogging differ from your personal journaling? Subject matter? Tone? Structure/construction? Editing time? Audience considerations?

My thoughts and observations are below (also posted in Stick Poet's comments: see link above), but what I'm really listening (watching?) for are yours. The question has me analytically curious.

My personal journaling is freer to contain fragments of drafts, partial descriptions, personal matters, my plainly stated, actual feelings and opinions on things, daily news and happenings around me and furiously scribbled snarly bits when I'm having trouble sitting through church. In short, it's more personal both trivially and on the deepest levels.

My blog writing is always done with a strong sense of audience--sometimes prohibitively so. I spend more time changing details, deleting the unnecessary and choosing specifically suitable words to obtain the effect I want upon my readers. I avoid topics (namely religion and politics) that I feel tend to stir people up in individually unproductive ways, and I go for something that either highlights an inner universal human experience and/or state of being, or the simply silly (because there's only so much inner universal human experience one can stand to read about--and certainly to write about!--at one time). My personal journal does contain a great deal of these deeper ponderings (much more than the blog), but usually not as much of the "blogfluff", although it has rather a lot of other sillinesses tracked across its pages.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Friday Quote Resumes: On Keeping Up Appearances

"...rebellion against [one's] own inner loneliness and poverty turns into pride. Pride is the fixation of the interior self upon itself, and the rejection of all other elements in the self for which it is incapable of assuming responsibility. This includes the rejection of the inmost self, with its apparent emptiness, its indefiniteness, and its general character as that which is dark and unknown. Pride is then a false and evasive self-realization which is in actual fact no realization at all, but only the fabrication of an illusory image. The effort which must be put into the protection and substantiation of this illusion gives an appearance of strength. But in reality, this fixation upon what does not exist merely exhausts and ruins our being."

---Thomas Merton
Cistercian Quarterly Review #18 (1983)

Thursday, January 05, 2006

The Lion, the Poet, the Movie and Poem

Great Scott and I took the girls to see the Narnia movie last week. Afterward we all went to Borders bookstore where the younger daughter used her Christmas gift certificate to buy the soundtrack from the movie. I've been listening to it yesterday and this morning, being pulled further and further into that deeper reality that is much more real than the everyday world we see with the eyes in the front of our heads. It's good to be back here. Sometimes the overabundance of marbles in my bag blocks my way. ...It's good to lose a few marbles, to live life a few marbles short of a full bag.

The movie was lovely. Not as in depth as the LOTR movies, but then, Lewis's Narnia books were much less rich in depth and background than Tolkien's Middle Earth books, too. I'm still pondering, but I think I like the fact that the movies are consistent with the two book series in this way.

A note about Aslan: I could listen to him roar all day. I found myself leaning forward in my theater seat in my desire to hear that incredible roar again and again. It took my breath away when it happened, and there rose in me a wild and utter joy at the sound of it. I wanted to cry and laugh aloud at once. Gorgeous, gorgeous sound!

Mary Oliver has a poem entitled "Serengeti" that brings to me the same kind of joyous abandon and awe. After a long search, I finally found it on the web. Click here, then scroll about 5/6 of the way down the page. It's the second poem. Enjoy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Wisdom from my Brother: Regarding the Mind-Hive

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"Do not succumb to the seduction of relinquishing your marble bag to the mind-hive."

(And, yes, that is, indeed, my real brother.)