Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Perspectives in Stone and Lead

Journaling: from the Lake Pond, August 29, 2006

I know now why I am so drawn to picture jasper. It is the color of pondbank stones, of the gravelbars in Ozark creekbeds. If I could string this pond, I would use picture jasper and nephrite jade, would add onyx and bloodstone and a little peridot. Perhaps some brecciated jasper, too, for the red clay earth, iolite and blue lace agate for the heavens mixed today with dark clouds and bright patches of clear sky. The waters themselves ripple-pleated by the wind? Something greenish grey or greyish green with pyrite flecking across its surface. The woods were all moss agate and silver moonstone.

I was full of thoughts to write on the walk here. Now I arrive and find the thinking was enough. Sometimes lining one's interior rooms with precious things means not bringing them out and spreading them over the lawn.

The air is cool today, breezy. I wrapped in a throw, puttering around the house this morning. The first hickory nuts have fallen in the woods. One small tree flamed scarlet against the deeper greens and forest greys to the side of the path. Small golden leaves scattered from another as I stepped into the hidden meadow. Not until the sun blazed from behind a cloud did I realize my arms had goosebumps, so subltly had they risen. Daddy-long-legs spiders are daily brushed down from the ceilings in the house and transported outside.

I want to leave something beautiful behind. Perhaps not great or amazing, but something small and lovely, something that glows softly like light caught in fog.

Alchemy. Lead to gold. Science or art? Art, I believe. One well worth pursuing. It does strike me that to turn lead to gold, though, one has to begin with lead.

Yesterday I had a long conversation with B. She's got some topics she wants to pursue in writing but finds herself putting them off because of the heavy emotional price she knows she'll have to pay in order to write well about them. It takes a great deal of emotional and spiritual energy to write well about some things, to write what you know needs to be said in the manner in which you need to say it. Lead is heavy. When one works with it, one becomes fatigued.


The girls spent the weekend with their grandmother not long ago. She took them to the Build-A-Bear Workshop and bought them stuffed animals for which they were able to select clothes and accessories. Both girls chose stuffed cats. Imagine their delight this morning when they discovered that the stuffed cat clothes fit The Great Golden Sun Cat.

He should have been grateful. The other option was a pink cheerleading outfit.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Quote: a Mishmash

Actually, this is a sort of meme, unabashedly stolen from Seeker, who consistently posts quotes and snippets that make me suspect someone's been "reading my mail." The rules: "Go here and look through random quotes until you find 5 that you think reflect who you are or what you believe."


Aristotle was famous for knowing everything. He taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.
---Will Cuppy

Sometimes it is harder to deprive oneself of a pain than of a pleasure.
---F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896 - 1940), Tender is the Night

What I give form to in daylight is only one per cent of what I have seen in darkness.
---M. C. Escher (1898 - 1972), Quoted in Comic Sections, D. MacHale (Dublin 1993)

To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.
---Joseph Chilton Pearce

When I'm working on a problem, I never think about beauty. I think only how to solve the problem. But when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong.
---R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983)

Nerds don't just happen to dress informally. They do it too consistently. Consciously or not, they dress informally as a prophylactic measure against stupidity.
---Paul Graham, September 2004

Yes, I know I used six. That last one was entirely too good to pass up.

One Book: A Meme

1. One book that changed my life: Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home by Richard Foster
2. One book I've read more than once: Od Magic by Patricia McKillip
3. One book I'd want on a desert island: Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
4. One book that made me laugh: The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass aged 37 3/4 by Adrian Plass
5. One book that made me cry: An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison
6. One book I wish had been written: I wish Jane Kenyon had written a book of essays on her experiences with mood difficulties and on living well with them, something I believe she did.
7. One book I wish had never been written: I feel unqualified to comment. Possibly Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, for which I have a somewhat unreasonable antipathy..
8. One book I'm currently reading: Introductory Psychology through Science Fiction—a used bookstore find. Fun.
9. One book I've been meaning to read: De Profundis by Oscar Wilde
10. One book I'd like to write: Something beautiful and strange, like mist when the sun rises through it, something at once simple and hidden, something bright in the midst of great darkness.

Tapped by Kristin
Tapping Great Scott and Julie Carter.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Pragmatic Romanticism

We are romantics at our house. We watch "Lord of the Rings" together over Christmas break every year, sniffling throughout. Scott even tears up during "Serenity" and "Lady Jane", and the girls...the girls are all about daring rescues and hope and love and drama. Ah, the drama! Still, we live in a very real world here at Possum Box Lane. The house is old with all sorts of quirks and problems, and we have to adjust: when the wind blows just right during a storm, the windows in the downstairs bedroom are going to leak; spiders (wolf and brown recluse) are a seasonal issue; and the plumbing is temperamental. It makes for a funny mix sometimes, living in any number of ideal worlds and in the real one at the same time.

This morning "Return of the Jedi" was playing in the living room, specifically the climactic scene complete with intense music and flaring blue lights as Darth Vader makes his redeeming choice, lifts his evil master, the Emperor, and hurls him over the guard rails and down the Death's Star's shaft where a final explosion of electric blue billows deep in the core, signifying the end of the evil empire.

After a moment of silence, the older daughter speaks. "That's bad. That's gonna plug something up."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Jr. High

Yesterday the girls and I went to the schoolhouse to register the older daughter for Jr. High. She saw some of her friends and said hi. She was measured and weighed. Her vision was tested. Her lunch account was brought up to date, and she was given her lunch card. Then came the biggie--her very own locker. Number in hand, she walked the hall, her younger sister running excitedly ahead of her to locate it first: her very own space within this institution of higher learning, her home away from home. She found it. She fingered the latch and opened it at last. Inside the door, scrawled in dark marker was the word, "WHORE".

Welcome to Jr. High, my dear.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Friday Quote: On Freedom and Camels

"Do not free the camel of the burden of his hump; you may be freeing him from being a camel."

--G.K. Chesterton

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Suggested Church Dinner Contributions for the Chronically Kitchen Challenged

I have found that preparing a brain mold, served on a lovely floral, china platter with a small card bearing the inspirational inscription, "We have been given the mind of Christ," is a very effective way of ensuring that you are forevermore allowed to bring the chips and soda. ONLY the chips and soda.

And, yes, I did.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Written Letters: an Experiment and Offer to QL Readers

Last week I sent a friend a four page, handwritten letter and was surprised to see it was an unusual enough event for her to blog about it. I had to agree with many of Beth's thoughts on the increasing rarity of letter writing and receiving and on the ways in which emails, immediate and handy as they are, usually fall short of the sensual and emotional satisfaction of a pen and ink and paper letter for their readers.

Oddly enough, as I was writing the letter she received, I found myself thinking in ways I'd not thought in a long time, slowing down, allowing myself to wander, to amble, to write langourously, in love with the feel of the paper scratching gently beneath the fountain pen's nib and my own words. (One of my favorite quotes states that an essayist is a person who has simply found a way to talk about themselves without being uninterrupted. I have to laughingly agree.) I used to write letters more than frequently, but the immediate gratification of cyberspace communication has eaten away at that activity, and it has been only recently that I've begun penning short notes once more. Beth's four page letter was a return to the days during which I would very often write lengthy epistles tossed to the mercy of the Post Awful at least three or four times a week to various folk.

Handwritten letters. Good for the receiver. Good for the sender. Why not, then, make an offer to my readers? My email is listed in my Blogger profile (link above under picture). Send me an email with the subject line "Quotidian Light Letter Request," include your snail mail address in the email, and I'll scribble out a real, live, handwritten letter and send back to you through the mail. I make no guarantees about its content or length. It may be one page or six, full of family ridiculosities or theological ponderments or rambling description of the Ozarks countryside. If you're a regular reader, there may be personal comments. If you've never commented, I'll do my best with whatever information you give me about yourself in the email or will fake it blindly.

A letter. A personal, handwritten letter in your mailbox to confirm and affirm your existence in the coporeal world. A real, live, inky, fibrous, living, breathing letter with your very own name on the envelope, written just for you. Tempted?

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Staring at the Ceiling Fan

Actually, we don't have a ceiling fan, but if we did, this is where I would be right now. I'm posting mostly out of obligation. I have a blog. It is lonely. It lurks in my internet browser, waiting patiently, not even wimpering, but looking sad and forlorn. After a certain amount of neglect, it wouldn't even show its heartbroken face, but would instead hide behind a blank page, stifling its tears in the far corners of cyberspace, unable to hold up its poor little head among the other blogs whose more attentive authors stop by to feed them tidbits daily.

Yes, I also think the food on my plate is disappointed if I don't eat it all and that the books on my shelves are bereft of comfort if I don't read or at least touch or talk to them every now and then. Don't even ask about the anthropomorphic properties of my houseplants. Some night, I am convinced, my patient african violets will arise and do me in. Something right out of Bradbury, only with a Better Homes & Gardens touch. There's a blog entry in that, somewhere.

The girls are supposed to be in VBS this week in the next town where we go to church, the same town in which the Little House play is currently running, 25 minutes away. I tried. I really did. I got them in the car Sunday evening and drove them into town. Got as far as the city limits before I could go no farther. The thought of making that drive every single night, getting home late and tired with the girls hungry after having been rushed through a mere semblance of dinner too early in the was too much to bear even contemplating. Turned around and drove back. Am taking them to VBS at a little country church we used to attend, about 3 minutes down the road. They're going with friends from school; they're being fed dinner there; and I can drop them off and come back home for 2 1/2 blessed hours of solitude and silence before picking them back up. (At the other church, I would've been staying and working.)

Last night I walked into the quiet house (I've not been entirely alone this summer save 2wce, for 2 hours each time, and then I was sick.) and soaked in the silence. I turned on the computer and wrote (something I've not done for ages), did some yoga and wrote some more. There is a part of me that motherhood and doing the whole evangelical family-raising things has buried, and I am not sure that it need do so.

I am the world's worst for inadvertently (even when I'm unwilling and watching for it) buying into whatever "plan" is currently being offered/pushed by people I love or respect. I did it in college, touched that my professors had an interest, even in some cases, enthusiasm, about my future. I have done it in the churches we've been involved with since our marriage. It is much "safer" to lie quietly down in whatever coffin is being offered one, hoping to make a quiet escape later when the graveyard crew is distracted than it is to look them in the eye and let them know they're the ones that are crazy if they think for one moment you're going to buy into what they're offering, to allow them to keep shoveling cheery shovelfuls of dark earth over you any longer. I've allowed it too often and too long. I will allow it no more. Now I'm clawing at the dirt, determinedly digging my way to the surface, bruised fingers, torn nails and all. God help me if I ever lie down in a box again.