Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanks

It is a bit of a curse, on Thanksgiving, to be both dutiful and perverse. 

Amend that.  It is a bit of a curse every day.

But the friction between duty and perversity reaches fever pitch on Thanksgiving, day of turkey and cranberry sauce and enforced gratitude.  You're racked, on Thanksgiving, by conflicting wants: To bow your head; to stick out your tongue.  To feed your soul; to bite the hand that feeds you.  To eat the bird; to flip the bird.

Mostly, the answer is to drown your sorrows in stuffing.

But also, yes, to give thanks -for two hands, and all the pieces of your heart.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Off!

What does it mean to have a day off?  I keep stumbling on the word "off," which drags behind it darkness and quiet and brokenness -all these things rattling behind my vacation like tin cans on strings.  If I'm off, what part of me is down for the count? 

The easiest answer is my working self, but that answer -even the idea that I have a working self, an obedient inflatable office version that blows up 8AM Monday and folds itself neatly up 5 PM Friday-  has become increasingly problematic the deeper I get into this mess that is twenty-first-century adulthood.  Only one of my jobs has anything remotely akin to an on/off switch.  The rest are ravening maws or greater or lesser hunger.  And then there's motherhood, which is, to put it badly, an endless grind.

This is the paragraph in which I must earnestly slather sugar on what I just wrote in order to sweeten it to the point of social palatability.  And yes, there are enormous rewards to motherhood, rewards I would never want to forego, but I'm perverse enough, and stubborn enough, to want to tell you the truth, so: endless grind.

But I'm off today.  The on-and-off job is in the upright and locked position.   The kid is in daycare, guilt bedamened.  And I've forbidden myself from offering this particular stretch of hours to the hungry hydra of self-employment.

I'm off.  A word that turns out to mean nothing more -or less-  than space to make light.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

I Was Here

Chicago, IL.  Oops

Monday, September 29, 2014

I was here


Denver, CO; North Garden, VA

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Prairie Home Companion

We spend our childhoods preparing for a world that is already burning away.

We learn how to make telephone calls and insert floppy disks, how to make plans to meet in specific places at specific times,  how to get a job: work hard, apply.

Then, when we finally we stumble out into the blaze of adulthood, half of the skills we hoarded -from our schooling, from our parents' explicit or implicit teaching- are nonsensical.  Even our dreams no longer compute.  You wanted to be a musician?  Those jobs don't exist anymore.

(They do, of course, but they are unrecognizable.  I am a musician.  Sometimes I play music.  Most of the rest of the time, I hustle: marketing emails, social media campaigns, direct solicitation, grant proposals, accounting, schmoozing.)

It's like walking into the fairy tale you've heard every day of your life, only to discover that the dwarves have grown up like weeds, the old woman is living in a handbag, and the dragon and the maiden in distress are having tea in the morning room, and would you like to join them?

You picture babies; you get colic.

You're ready for romance; you get marriage.

You imagine competence, savvy, an iron-clad adultness- and you get your same old self, wrinklier.

Which is why, when you're bumbling along and suddenly, for the span of only breath or two or three, the moment you're inhabiting slips sideways to overlay, precisely, the moment you imagined as a child, a moon moving to darken the sun-

well, it knifes you in the gut.

Early evening; dancing in the kitchen with my son.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I Was Here; In Praise of Reading

Woodberry Forest, VA; Blowing Rock, NC.

And a terrible documentarian!

I try.

This blog.  And the half-filled, black-bound blank books in which I scribbled out my eighteen-year-old heart.  And the word document -poorly formatted, unaccountably titled- in which I tried to impress the first miserable, blistering weeks of motherhood.   And the scrawled, broken bits of sentences I use to grasp at for my son's first year as it howls past-

-I try.

And, over and over again, I lose my camera.   I have no smartphone.  I forget to write and forget to write and forget to write; or, worse, I shy away from it, edging past the white of the page like a nervous horse.

So why this circling back? Why do I keep worrying at it like a bruise, picking at it like a scab, trying to call up blood -though appalled when, at last, it appears? Why this futile, fruitless thing?

Because futile, yes.  But fruitless- no.  Something is borne, even if it's windfall, pointless, rot.

And because sometimes when I read, I read something so vivid, so piercingly correct, I know it's not just necessary but sufficient.  That it's the whole point: those words, that way, right now. 

And the only thing I can think might be worth anything is to stumble along beside those words, panting, yelping like a dog-

but at least my throat is open.