I would never have gone to Greece had it not been for a girl named Betty Ryan who lived in the same house with me in Paris.
I like thinking about the way the world works.
How life unfolds.
I also would have never have gone to Greece had it not been for a compulsive liar yet interesting boy I knew when I was in college.
There are so many I would never have________ had it not been for__________ in our lives.
Who's yr Betty Ryan?
Old Charlie sat on the back concrete stoop and although I could not focus perfectly I could see that his eyes were wet with tears and his suit looked dirty. If we were an Irish family this would have been the time where someone would be singing Danny Boy Acapella without irony and all of the children would be given a free pass for drunkenness until the sun came up over the hills behind us. There would be immediate family bonding and love flowing freely.
We would hold each other and sway.
But we were not that family that lived in my muddled imagination.
We were my family.
And we all were in different parts of the garden feeling vastly different emotions.
We were stifled and still in suits and linens that had sucked in the summer sweat and humidity earlier in the day when we stood over the grave site.
We were watching the tiny hands of our watches spin and we were sure that this day would soon end if we drank enough of Charlie's free booze.
My father’s brother Ed would drink with me at a small wrought iron bistro table surrounded by the heady rotten red peonies that hung low against the perfect carpet of green green Ohio grass that afternoon.
He would sit and sit with me until I felt like standing.
He knocked at the bright pink flowers with his leather boot.
The leaves fell like rain all around my bare feet.
We both laughed a bourbon laugh.
Gran had told me years ago that people used to put Peony seeds under their children's pillows at night to ward off bad dreams.
When Uncle Ed wasn't looking I grabbed some of the seeds from the flower and I ate them.
It's fascinating to read about our WHYS.
I just want to focus on something amazing that I read recently.
I follow @inkyelbows on twitter and lots of other literary folks.
(who am I kidding I am following agents and book folks galore bc when this book is ready this Fall I need connections. I dream of someone just reading my blog and discovering me. HA!)
I read via twitter that someone said that they try and think about writing a book like they are hopefully writing someones favorite book...
AH. Heart Stab.
Think about it.
Someone sat down and wrote your favorite book.
Just like books- I tend to think of this blogging thing like that.
I want my blog to be someone's favorite read.
I really want to inspire someone in their random daily walk through life.
It's bullshit for me to say that I only write in this space for me
or that I am documenting life for my kiddos.
Who are we kidding? I ain't no real mommy blogger.
I am just compelled to sit down at lunch time and push keys.
I like blogging.
I like being able to carve out my own small path in a very dense forest.
I like the perks and the work and the fun and the thought of building something.
But beyond everything else-even the work that feeds my family-
I like that this place that hovers somewhere for me between reality and fantasy
has given me wings.
And I like the girl that is flying around.
Amy the writer
The one who told her friend Michelle
soon after high school graduation
that she was going to write a book.
The one who is hopefully writing someone's favorite book
this hot and sticky Spring and Summer of 2010.
And it was the blog that made her finally know she could do it.
I don't write short stories. It's not my thing. I write poems and I try so hard to write a novel, but short stories are hard I think. Fiction is hard. The last time I wrote one was in college, but here is one I wrote last year. I posted a bit of it a few months ago for a character sketch, but here it is.
It may not be done, but it's ready to see some light. Be kind.
“And We Would Scream Together Songs Unsung"
You are about 39 years old and are married to Merle. A man that at one time pushed blood so quickly to your girl parts that you ran from bars and restaurants in rain or snow or sleet to throw your body with his on beds unmade for hours. Only now you stare at him in silhouetted shadows late at night and turn over in the bed, back to him, like a sign that screams stop. There is something about him that signals to you like a beacon, something that whispers it is all too much work to bother.
The eighth step of your staircase squeaks and if you hear it after you have gone to bed you pretend that you are asleep. Merle sweats all over you and the sleep afterwards is nothing like it was long ago in the deep sex of the city tiny apartment. Long before the children came and when you still had promised stamped over your perfect body and mind. When you still dropped sentences of gold from a mouth that tasted life.
Your young children are not so young that they cannot make themselves a bowl of cereal without help. They attend school. They need you less and less. They tell you they hate you when you say no to the newest video game or plastic collecting card. They sass. They are greedy and you feel like giving up on them. You are disenchanted with mothering. It does not make you a bad person. It happens though. For some it only lasts fleeting moments in parking lots of hot asphalt in July. For others it lingers.
You were the darling of the department, a career maven, and shiny and pretty and new. And then after all of the babies and the booties and the cake from local bakeries you left that path didn’t you? You left that path to carve another and it was frosty with the disillusionment of you. You knew it in the pit of your stomach that it was a bad idea to just be a mother, but you allowed others to robe you in their wisdom and jealousy. The whispered things like this is the best thing and if I could do this I would and you will have time later to go back. They all lie to you, like Jezebels in Starbucks on rainy days.
It is a Tuesday in a cold month. You put on your favorite red leather boots and walk the children to school. You do not kiss Merle goodbye as that gesture waned so long ago and with such sad gentleness that you cannot recall ever kissing him at the doorway. Like it never even happened one time. You walk to the duck pond where Harry’s ashes are scattered. You feel close to him there and sometimes you open your coat and then your shirt and expose your smooth white stomach and breasts to the water. You give Harry a slow show of your body in your mind. You wonder if three years has aged you or preserved you in grief. You sometimes smoke cigarettes there alone, inhaling and exhaling with still sadness. Merle would go ape shit if he knew you still stopped at the green corner shop once a month and bought a hard pack of Parliament Lights.
You are so healthy. You are so good now.
You are a woman with very slim ankles and red hair. You are busty without irony. You would like to wear gold lame and sing karaoke very well, like a tiny surprise. Like a non-descript person standing at a microphone and their lips bump metal mesh and make a noise and everyone laughs because they are uncomfortable-because that person is not beautiful enough to just get a silent smile. But the music starts and they open their mouth and it is like tiny angels dancing on your table and you melt and perhaps fall in love for ten seconds. You want to be that person. In gold lame. Before Harry died, when you had moved back home from the city, you would sometimes meet up for karaoke.
You would make sure the children were tucked in at your parent’s sweet cape cod and that Merle was playing cards with his brothers at the nearby lake house and you would go be with Harry. Harry would never sing, but after you had enough to drink you would stumble on stage and limp through some Talking Heads.
Home - is where I want to beHarry would clap wildly at you on the stage and shake his black thick curly hair as he jumped up and down. Harry would scream for you and the whole drinking section of your small town would stare like they do and shake their heads into their bourbons. Like they had never seen an affair before. It was right in front of their cow town eyes.
But I guess I'm already there
I come home - she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
if someone asks; this is where I'll be
Sitting on your concrete stoop you rest your head against the black wrought iron rail and allow yourself to think back to the winter you told Harry you were going to marry Merle. It was the last time you were a perfect person. You were sitting with Harry in the park near the university bookstore on campus and he pushed you down and mouthed “bullshit” at you. He laughed and looked beautiful in the afternoon snowy daylight. Only you were not laughing with him. Your eyes were heavy and you were looking for the clue that meant everything was going to be OK. But there was no look and not enough snow and all you needed was to lie down in it and make angels to remember how young you were. To forget how much you both knew.
And Harry has always been in your life. Harry was like a birthmark or the smallpox immunization scar that your mother had on her arm and you would finger from time to time as a child. It was simply there. Harry was not questioned. Merle said nothing. It was talked about in chardonnay circles of friends and neighbors. Your best friends talked it about, but nothing can be helped when you give your heart away at such a young age. Harry was your best friend and you should have married him. But Merle was successful and pursued you with such fervor that you relented. He would give you the world and you would forget about Harry.
You were in love with them both for a time- unconventional and inconvenient, but true. Sadly by the time the children came. The children. They always come. And by that time, you were only in love with Harry. Harry the boy who knocked on your door the summer you were twelve and asked you to play. His mother has sent him, his pretty young mother that would die the summer you were fifteen. His mother sent him to welcome you to the neighborhood and invite you to play in his new tree house. The tree house built high in the sky that would be the landscape of your first sexual experience the summer you were sixteen. Harry would put old quilts under your hips and be so gentle and the music that played was Mike and the Mechanics and you made noises that frightened the blue jays away. Harry, sweet Harry and it is all gone now. You wonder why a childhood storybook was not written about you both. Where is the hardback edition of this love?
Your mother once told you after many vodka tonics at the Livingston Family Picnic that she loved Rich Martin. Rich Martin was the town architect. She told you it was possible to love two people at the same time. She said your father was a good man. She told you about how the buildings Rich built were modern and exposed things. She spoke like a poet for about thirty minutes and then she passed out in her webbed nylon chair. You knew she was telling you the truth as she held so tightly to her highball glass and her fingers lingered on her clavicle. Little sexy touches with her fingers. Like Rich Martin was in the air and she could feel him. You learn from the women before you. You listen and you learn.
You would be discreet over the years. It was easy, as Merle loved Harry like a cousin or a work mate or someone familiar and smiling. He loved him like college memories. Like college bars bond you for life. You were not destructive lovers. People whispered but there was no was no certainty. Sometimes in cozy bistros you looked like siblings. Sometimes you seemed like old friends. Heads back and smiling so hard corners may crack. Laughing people in happy tables. Only once after too much liquor did you touch faces in deep wooden booth and push up against each other in parking lots lit by amber bulbs. Most of the time you just talked to each other. You talked to Harry and he talked to you in a hard way. A real way like no one else could talk to you now or will ever. Words that touched each other until great paragraphs of truths were born between your breaths and you shined like pistols in the sun. Dangerous times but no one could touch you. No one dared.
You met only when you needed each other and that started ten years ago after you married Merle and moved to the city. There was so much work and not much time together and it was just simple to meet Harry once a week and release. It was easy and the time slurred down to a stop when you held his body. When you held his body in his small bed on Chestnut Street you felt like you were home again until the streetlamps flickered and motioned you back to the train. Back to the life you choose.
You know three years have passed because the calendar says it is so. Because your children grow like weeds in your tidy yard and your hands look more and more like your mother’s hands. Because you now wear reading glasses and Merle is a senior partner in his firm. You know it intellectually but the way your insides feel it is still Christmas three years ago backwards. Harry had left his latest girlfriend to be with you at the pub. You are drinking fruity drinks with tiny clichéd umbrellas when Dustin Emery, an old childhood friend, walks in the door in his law enforcement uniform and comes straight to you and tells you about the car accident. You lean into the mahogany bar and your weight forces the air from your lungs. You spill all of your drink and the long river of rum is nothing like the tears at your feet.
You decide that you are going to change your life on a cold Tuesday. There are only so many days that a person can be unfair to others without a deep hole forming in a heart. Each day you imagine filling up the hole with love for Merle or your children. You try and visualize the way it must feel for normal people to love. You tell Merle you don’t love him anymore over coffee and he reacts by not reacting. He was just waiting for you to not need him anymore. You don’t. You think about talking to him about the conversations you had with Harry about having two lives. If you had two lives you would spend one with him because you do love him, but not enough to fill it all up. And it doesn’t make sense anymore because now Harry is gone from you and you could have a life with Merle. You don’t know what you need.
You want your old life back and it’s gone. Your heart breaks into tiny diamonds and scatters across the table from Merle as he tells you in matter of fact language how he feels. In simple nouns and verbs he tells you he has always loved you and that you were his “Harry.” His elbows hold up his head as he asks you why don’t you love him now. He states the facts. The despair of truth. He was a pallbearer for Harry’s funeral. He wrote Harry’s will and typed the sentences that left you small tokens and a safety deposit box with a key you hid away. Merle looks like a child. Merle cries. He asks you again how you could not love him? The clock chimes and you fall to pieces across cool laminate.
You find yourself at the duck pond later and sit at the feet of the bronze statue of the town founder. You decide you will not die of this grief. You had not been sure until today. You listen to your ipod on the walk home and you sing the Rolling Stones song over and over- the one about “you can’t always get what you want” until you have a repeat button in your mind. A tiny lever you can access when you need a reminder. You are not listening to the ipod anymore as you are hearing scenes of a life in stereo. You are seeing Mick Jagger’s beautiful lips open and close and all the words from the song drop out and pool at your feet. You burst running from the pond.
You are wearing boots that hurt your feet but you run. You are finding it hard to not cry again. The heart will never let go. People tell you little lies when they say it will fade, when they say it will go. You run towards the person you used to be before. It is daylight but you can’t see. You have choices to make. There are at least five ways to get home. A blister is forming in your leather boot. The friction is starting. You have miles to go.
I am going to do NaBloPoMo because I need one more thing to do like I need a hole in my head.
One year I posted every day of the year.
That was nuts.
I like NaBloPoMo bc this lovely lady posts everyday and that is cool.
Some little morsel of me.
I bet you are on the edge of yr seat.
It's been a Nick Cave kinda day. Welcome November.
I like the "er" months the best always.
I am excited about my day.
Joe's work fell through and the workshop is closed for an expo today and it is raining.
There are about 5,000 home projects that Joe could do if it were a sunny day. GRRR.
But- Joe is giving me a gift later.
After nap he is spending some time with the boys and letting me write.
Like all day.
Like in a coffee shop and everything.
My poor novel.
I am such a tease to it.
I love it like a bitch one month and then ignore it the next.
Life is so frantic but I need to find more dedication.
I need to finish this beast and find an agent and learn about what comes next.
I need a book deal and attention and I am so crabby.
There are little strokes spread out on pages of white
that when looked at with love form something magical for me.
I feel like this story is a good one.
I hope you will read it.
My friend Megan is announcing to the world her desire to write a book too.
I feel her exhale and everything. I feel it.
It felt good to tell everyone I was doing this- but at the same time it scares me that it has taken so long to get to even this point.
I had no idea that a new business and freelance writing and life
would take away this precious time I had planned to devote.
Today will be a big help.
Loads of people don't even get a stretch of four hours to themselves.
I know this.
I just feel like I need three days in The Westin or something.
Hole up and explode.
Just three tiny days
to tell you all the things
that will make you want to curl up someday with me
in yr hands
and go someplace
because you must not give up on yr dreams.
Keep repeating that all the freaking time.
I am the Market Maven of the Pearl Market this season!
I will be the blogger and citizen journalist for the rocking market!
I will blog here weekly about the amazing vendors and market!
I will bring Little Alouette goodies down to the market through August too!
(my cousin Erin will be there on Fridays!)
I would love love love to see some of you guys there this summer!
Please come by and visit us! I would love to have you for lunch in the booth! xo
We’re located in Pearl Alley next to the Rhodes State office tower, one block north of the Ohio Statehouse. We’re very close to the corner of Broad St. and High St. in Downtown. The Market is bordered by Broad, High, Gay, and Third streets.
There are numerous parking options near the Pearl Market that include garages, surface lots, and parking meters.
Click here for a printable PDF map the area parking facilities. For more detailed information, call 614-645-5061.
Dates and Hours:
Every Tuesday and Friday, 10:30 am to 2 pm
May 19 through October 30
Sometimes I would stand in the stacks and practice my French while shelving books.
dooblehvay dooblehvay dooblehvay
Je deteste ma vie
Oui oui oui
I saw the film Belle du Jour while babysitting for the Kline family on the top of the hill in town. They had a TV room with shimmery glass windows and comfy couches.
After tucking in the children I poured myself a large glass of box wine and watched the film.
I felt intense and moody and lustful and perplexed at the perfection of Séverine's hair.
Things changed as I systematically watched the families foreign film collection that year.
I was fixated on Catherine Deneuve, and discovered Vincent Perez.
I would practice sultry between the massive bookshelves.
In my mind I was a divine mixture of Audrey Hepburn, Deneuve, and Madonna.
I was classy. That was my new thing.
Just like when I discovered jazz and it stitched me in my side and
made me more than the acres of woods I was from.
French made me cooler that my town.
I wore a polka dot scarf around my neck for three weeks.
I pulled on jaunty berets and menswear clothing.
I was going to Paris the moment I turned 18.
I had already researched the metro map that my French teacher Madame Brown had brought back last year from her honeymoon to math teacher Mr. Hedges.
Madame Brown talked endlessly of Paris and how writer's sat in cafes and smoked and drank coffee and read Sartre- living the dream she would say.
She was so worldly and wise and yet she was here. In Shitville, USA. Why?
I would trace her bulletin boards of France with my fingers, wishing to be there.
I wanted to lay on Jim Morrison's grave and lick it.
I wanted to go into bookstores and cafes and get lost.
I wanted to kiss a French boy.
I didn't know it then, but I would do those things.
All of them and more during a summer where time was still slow, my skin invincible, and the whole world revolved around me.
I didn't know it then either that Madame Brown would die in a plane crash in Germany five years after I left that cow town.
I read it in the local paper while home visiting my parents.
She was survived by a name that sounded very French and may have been attached to a Vincent Perez lookalike. Mr Brown was history and for as sad as I was for a moment about her death, I was delirious for her as my mother poured the coffee and told me all about how Madame Brown had a mid life crisis and left Mr. Brown and moved to Provence.
Madame Brown died a happy woman I think.
And this has made all the difference.
title post- Amelie 2001
Bits of words that inspire me today.
(some waterboys lyrics)
I spoke about wings
You just flew
I wondered, I guessed and I tried
You just knew
And you swooned
I saw the crescent
You saw the whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
The whole of the moon
(The Title of a John Irving kids book)
A Sound Like Someone Trying Not to Make a Sound
(A line I read once in a writing book by Natalie Goldberg)
What if you threw a love affair and nobody came?
(Something from The Kitchen God's Wife)
Still, from that day on, I began to look at everything in my life two ways, the way it happened, the way it did not.
title post- The World According to Garp 1982
I don't often know what I am going to blog about until around noon. Obviously there are times I know that I want to write about something in my life, but I do not draft posts or keep little lists. Sometimes I do regular series type things or such, but really I try and be loose and fluid here. I just feed the kids and shoo them away to their beds and sit here and type.
Sometimes I sit for a bit and stare out our dining room window at our neighbors air conditioning unit. (must get fence this year) Or sometimes I slam coffee, but I always try and levitate my mood and find my 90 minutes that are all mine. Mine like the only child I am kind of mine.
I try. I have been thinking a lot of about balance and how busy we are with Little Alouette.
Can I just say Holy Wood! It has been really tricky staying on top of things. Everyone has their own method, mine involves just looking at a week like the way a toddler eats.
At the end of the week did we all get enough time with each other? Mondays usually suck, but Fridays shine like diamonds. Did we all talk and kiss enough? Was Candyland played? Did we say no at least three times to things that are not going to matter later? Were many books read? Did I pretend? Did Joe know how much I love him and have I thanked him? Have a thrown him down on the couch and reenacted a scene from 2002? Was I treated like a queen at least once? Did I take time to dance with my kids? You know I don't hold Finn up in my arms and dance with him much anymore- he is so big. I better do that as much with Blaise as I can. Did it all even out? This is how I roll.
And so anyway I have been thinking about no matter how busy I get I won't stop coming here. Here is where I allow myself to remember with clarity who I am. Here is where I sing my songs. Recharge. It's like my daily pit stop and I don't think that these 90 minutes here mean lost track position like it does in a real race. I think I get my motor running and you should hear me purr through my days...
How the hell do you do it all? xo
title post- Margot at the Wedding 2007
First Domino magazine folds and today I hear that Wondertime is bust.
The particularly crappy part to the latter is my article won't run in 2009 now.
I was pretty excited about being in Wondertime- remember?
What a bummer for me.
What a bummer for all of us as it was a gorgeous and lush mag.
Sad heart today.
Will I ever be a writer?
title post- great Expectations 1998
A friend of mine gave me a new red moleskine journal last week. I have been looking at it for days, unable to crack the spine because I am not sure what I want it to become for me.(Another vessel for lists or a small wish book or a to do list or ideas for writing?)
It is always so exciting to have the clean slate of possibility.
I am thinking I may use it to record the amazing dreams that Finnian tells me about each morning. It has been a few weeks now that he has apparently started recalling his dreams in clarity or he is just now choosing to share.
He has told me with sleepy rapture of his dreams that have ranged from simple play dates with friends to giant megazord characters who roast marshmallows on their tails to assorted candies and sweets and even to sad little vignettes of death. It is fascinating. I can only wake and sorta remember a feeling of a dream. I can sense if my dream was something pleasant or not. I think my brain activates with a jarring start the moment I wake. I am jealous of Finn. He wakes peaceful and doesn't have so much shit in his head yet to take away the dreams. Lucky boy.
Today I checked my bank account and instead of flinching I levitated off my wooden chair in blissful fancy. My payment for writing for a national magazine had been deposited. I almost died, my heart surely stopped for a millisecond. My article won't hit until next year, but still it is real. I am so happy today. I will make good on a promise to a young son. Finn asked for a rather expensive LED flashlight with laser pointer. Rather he asks for it every time we go to the hardware store (which is a lot in this family) and back when it was still hot outside I told him that if I got an article published and some money in my pocket soon I would buy it for him as a reminder to keep positive and keep persistent. Well, today we are walking down to the hardware store. Nope- we are skipping!
I just reread A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave eggers and fell all over the floor again.Sometimes when you read a book or watch a movie does one sentence or moment stick in yr mind and flap like a flag? And bc I must be tuned into the world and have my pinkie on the pulse of the cool I see that Dave's awesome non profit Valencia store is selling these awesome pirate posters!
I loved the book, I think Eggers is a genius and really liked reading it again...but all I can think of all weekend is one of the sentences that got me...Beth and I take turns driving him to and fro, down the hill and up again and otherwise we lose weeks like buttons, like pencils.
Lose weeks like buttons, like pencils.
Oh I feel that. I feel that so much. This feeling never happened when I worked full time and ran round like a chicken with my head cut off. Shawn talked about how stay at home moms probably have more time to think. Even though I am working some from home, I do think I am thinking more. However, I am not always thinking those gorgeous thoughts that others are. I am reading how perfect the Autumn is all over the web and how crisp Fall days are orgamss and like some sort of methadone for summer. I am a bit cross that fall is here really as I think too much about another winter of owning two homes, not having a car, and how I never lost weight while it was warm and walking was an option.
Losing days and weeks nowadays almost feeds my frenzy.
I have so much to do.
How can I have just realized I have all of this to do?
To do for my life?
How did leaving my career bounce me to a place where time is like this?
I have not finished my novel (so typical) and all of the sudden I made a small company and just this week it seems like I am thinking about the future. I am thinking about how no matter how grumpy I may seem I am aware that life is here right now and you had better take a bite.
I am on a pilgrimage now.
Packing for the getaway and quite sad about leaving Joe.
I am going to hole up at my parents and write and unleash the kids to the wild hills of Appalachia.
I am going to drive my road and deal with dial-up. (gasp)
I will be around, just not as much. I will find a way to blog everyday though, because I am rock star like that even in the sticks.
I can't lie. I am a bit sad about the Bigfoot hoax.
I saw something Yeti like when I was a child on my parents land.
It can cause me to draw breath quickly even today when I think about it.
People have made fun of me always about it.
I don't research Bigfoot or keep up with anything that is not plastered in the media- I just silently believe.
I can't help it. You would believe in little green men too if you saw one at the bus stop all alone an Autumn morning you were eight.
I was eight and sleeping over at Mindy Miller's farm. I always slept over, we were best friends and all. I guess we were on our best behavior considering the previous weekend we were all busted in Mr. Miller's small cinder block garage for playing some sort of doctor game. But it was Ryan Farely, the pervert neighbor kid who had suggested it and indeed we were curious. And if Stupid Frankie Pinnel hadn't knocked over that shelf we would have been in the clear. After the talk about the sanctity of our bodies by our mothers, we made a pact to behave and at the very least to exclude Frankie from any future excursions concerning curiosity.
It was about nine o'clock and hot still. We stood outside of Mindy's house in our white cotton nightgowns. Our small flat chests chaffing against the material as we climbed the fence that divided her property from the Farley's. We always sat on that fence. It was slipping into pure black night and in the country darkness is massive. If you were a city kid or a pussy like Frankie you would be afraid, but we weren't scared of night. It meant that the tent of sky light stars would open and we would crane our necks back and talk. Talk about eight year old fears and wonder what we would look like when we were twenty. How we would change. It didn't matter much that my friend was skinny and had buck teeth or that I was chubby with incredibly large feet for my age. Everything was fine and when we looked up we weren't afraid of the curious future.
And then we heard him scream. He was yelling our names so loudly. We were busted again. Across the road. On the gate. In our nightgowns after dark. Only Mr. Miller was jumping up and down and flapping his arms and motioning us over towards the house. He was squealing and against the porch light dim we could tell he wasn't angry, only excited about something. The closer we came to the yard we could see Mr. Miller's face scrunched up and strange and his finger pointed sharp towards the green wet grass. It was there on the lawn, burning and popping. A meteorite. Mr. Miller said it was matter from the solar system. Fallen from up there. He wasn't even mad that we were on the fence because this was important he had said. Soon it was over like the way a sparkler from the fourth of July simply stops with that last shooting spark. I remember Mindy's teenage sister came home and thought we were stupid to be so excited. She hadn't seen it. She swatted us away and walked into the house. She was mean and wretched, but I still wanted to be her. I fell asleep on the top bunk that night wondering if it was anything special to see the sky fall.
Now I'm twenty three and drinking a raspberry ginger ale with my friend Pete. It is September and hot still. We are on his roof in the city. He is complaining about not being able to see the stars so well and what he going to do with himself in the Fall. I tell him about that night out at Miller's farm. He listens hard and tells me how beautiful, how rare of an occurrence. Do I know this he is asking me as he leans in closer. I hear him, like a murmur. But I am thinking, I am wondering if Mindy can remember that one night out of the hundreds we spent in childhood.
And Pete is now looking up like we all do to escape the ground. To swim around in the sky. I take out a deck of blue playing cards from my handbag and we begin to play war. I'm beating him but that's not why he's jealous. He wants to see one too. A moment that stops everything else. I can see it in the way he looks at the card that accidentally flies out of his hand and over the edge. Falling blue matter...
written in 1996/ats
I have been trying to catch up on my listening. I always have music on around the house for the family, but I rarely listen to my pod casts or radio programs like I once did.
NPR was the soundtrack to my life as a young person. I got my news in the morning from NPR and most evenings I would listen to All things considered while I prepped as a server in both restaurants I worked. I knew what time it was according to the voice talking to me.
In 1994 when I had barely enough money to buy daily necessities like Camel Lights, NYTimes, coffee, and Rolling Rock I would still send my local station money because I really did love listening. I really did learn. I think I learned about David Sedaris on NPR for the first time and started piecing together what creative nonfiction was in my head. I knew way back then that I someday wanted to have an essay read on NPR. I am pretty certain that I am never going to be famous, but I am almost convinced that I will have an essay on NPR someday. You know when you see actors or ice skaters or ballerinas or contortionist on interviews and they tell you that they were fairly certain even from a young age that they would become this or that. Well, I feel like that too with NPR. You just say Ira Glass and all the hairs on my neck shake and shiver.
I reminded myself to tune the knob in my brain that allows me to pay closer attention. I am always better for listening to TAL because it makes me tune in and fall in sync with the random landscape of humanity. It was perfect that I loaded my ipod with these shows before I took my trip this weekend bc I feel like picked up on many stories and listened harder to people and lingered just a bit more over those character nuances all around me. More than anything I am aware now that it is part of my job to filter. It is part of my job to pay attention and recognize those moments when they wash right over you. When they pool at yr feet...
Photo via www.thislife.org
A Farmer Market Morning with just Blaise...
I have been searching the file folder in my mind for this flash fiction piece I read once and loved. It had been in this book and it had been this little gem:
The Paring Knife by Michael Oppenheimer
I found a knife under the refrigerator while the woman I love and I were cleaning our house. It was a small paring knife that we lost many years before and had forgotten about. I showed the knife to the woman I love and she said, "Oh. Where did you find it?" After I told her, she put the knife on the table and then went into the next room and continued to clean. While I cleaned the kitchen floor, I remembered something that happened four years before that explained how the knife had gotten under the refrigerator.
We had eaten a large dinner and had drunk many glasses of wine. We turned all the lights out, took our clothing off, and went to bed. We thought we would make love, but something happened and we had an argument while making love. We had never experienced such a thing. We both became extremely angry. I said some very hurtful things to the woman I love. She kicked at me in bed and I got out and went into the kitchen. I fumbled for a chair and sat down. I wanted to rest my arms on the table and then rest my head in my arms, but I felt the dirty dishes on the table and they were in the way. I became incensed. I swept everything that was on the table onto the floor. The noise was tremendous, but then the room was very quiet and I suddenly felt sad. I thought I had destroyed everything. I began to cry. The woman I love came into the kitchen and asked if I was all right. I said, "Yes." She turned the light on and we looked at the kitchen floor. Nothing much was broken, but the floor was very messy. We both laughed and then went back to bed and made love. The next morning we cleaned up the mess, but obviously overlooked the knife.
I was about to ask the woman I love if she remembered that incident when she came in from the next room and without saying a word, picked up the knife from the table and slid it back under the refrigerator.
God- I just love that piece!