Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Friday, January 27, 2006
Thursday, January 26, 2006
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.
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
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
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?"
from No Man Is an Island
Thursday, January 19, 2006
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.
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006
You are Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
You love your significant other and
you are a tough cookie when in a conflict.
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
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)
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
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.
excerpts from his poem, "Glass"
Poetry could be acted as well as composed.
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
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
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
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. :)
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
Cistercian Quarterly Review #18 (1983)
Thursday, January 05, 2006
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.