when the house is finally quiet

Someone is always home sick: chicken pox, strep throat, another chicken pox, stomach flu…Baby Bliss sits on her hip. It is only later that week, perhaps, when the house is finally quiet, the dishwasher humming in the downstairs dark, her husband not yet home, and upstairs the kids are asleep or at least pretending. When she is finally in the soft light of her own bedroom with her hair brushed and her face clean, sinking into the down pillows with something to read, she arrives in a moment that is her own and not in relation to anything else—not a carpool, a nursing infant, nor a man she loves. She is self-contained, not only a woman but the sole measure of her own life.

~ Sarah McColl, “Joy Enough: A Memoir.” (January, 2019)

 


Notes:

Flying North N.E. AA1263. With Track Suit.

An introvert’s sanctuary. Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport. The world’s 4th busiest airport. Giant footprint. Take trains between terminals. Get lost among the crowds, the lines, the heavy foot traffic. Near zero probability of seeing anyone you know.

I pass through security. No random check. No single coin in back pocket triggering body check and palm swab for explosive residue.

I walk.

I pass a line that spills out into the concourse, and down along the wall. Chick-Fil-a. How good can this really be? Didn’t realize Chick-Fil-a served breakfast. Make a mental note. Must try that. But can’t risk it now. Middle-aged thing sprouted out of nowhere. Stomach, formerly cast iron, now leaky.

I look for an overhead sign pointing me to the Admiral’s Club.  10 gates down. Texas does it big here too. Large (very) facility, high ceilings, a refuge for business travelers. Quiet. Soft lighting. Spotless bathrooms. Cushy leather chairs.

I walk.

I look down at my black sneakers. When your work life has more than ample amounts of stress, you de-risk all other elements.

Like my attire. [Read more…]

Joy Enough

I loved my mother, and she died. Is that a story?

Story is giving a character a tangible desire, then putting things in her way. A writer I was falling in love with told me that. My desire is for my mother to live. More tangible, he says.

My desire is not to forget. More tangible, he says. Then my desire is for her to meet the next man I love, the one I keep now that I know a thing or two. My desire is for her to see my round silhouette in a summer dress, then to hold my baby in the delivery room. In winter, my desire is to make chili with the mixture of garden tomatoes and hot peppers she calls hell that I’ve kept in the back of my freezer. Our desires are equally impossible: to freeze hell, to thaw it; to reverse time, to stop it. My desire is to have more of what I do not need, seconds of what has been my fair share: a fight, a car ride, a cup of coffee, ignored advice straight from the mouth of a grade A know-it-all.

Or none of this. My desire is preservation, to carry her lodged beneath my breast like a bone.

~ Sarah McColl, opening lines in her new book: “Joy Enough: A Memoir.” (January, 2019)

 

Smell the earth

Starting a novel is opening a door on a misty landscape;

you can still see very little but you can smell the earth

and feel the wind blowing.

~ Iris Murdoch, from her debut novel: Under the Net


Notes: Quote via punlovsinPhoto by Arend Ruizendaal with Reading.

 

Lightly Child, Lightly.

Each second the earth is struck hard

by four and a half pounds of sunlight.

Each second.

Try to imagine that.

No wonder deep shade is what the soul longs for.

And not, as we always thought, the light.

~ Charles Wright, from “In Praise of Thomas Hardy,” A Short History of the Shadow: Poems


Notes:

  • Photo Nirav Photography via Mennyfox55.  Poem: Thank you memoryslandscape
  • Post Title & Inspiration: Aldous Huxley: “It’s dark because you are trying too hard. Lightly child, lightly. Learn to do everything lightly. Yes, feel lightly even though you’re feeling deeply. Just lightly let things happen and lightly cope with them.”

Guess.What.Day.It.Is?


Notes:

It’s been a long day

 

Why all this huffing and puffing,

as though you were carrying a big drum

and searching for a lost child.

~ Chuang Tzu, (369 BC – 286 BC) from The Complete Works Of Chuang Tzu Translated by Burton Watson


Notes:

You just can’t think too deeply about it

Think about the work that goes into tying your shoelaces. It calls for physical exertion, dexterity, and cleverness, any child between the ages of six and nine years old knows it, early in life it is a serious matter, the bow the greatest mystery, the fingers, the hands, the laces, altogether an apparently unsolvable riddle. But once you have mastered it, you forget how complicated it is, the years pass until one day—having put your socks on—you look down at your feet, unsure of how to proceed.

Linn Ullmann, ”Unquiet: A Novel” (W. W. Norton & Company, January 15, 2019)


Notes: Photo titled Self Perfection by Randy’sPhotography

Monday Morning Wake-Up Call

Now, now,

gently, quietly, quietly…

~ Jean Rhys, Good Morning, Midnight (1939)


Notes: Quote via . Portrait of Jean Rhys from Paris Review

Miracle. All of It.

feet

Look at your feet. You are standing in the sky. When we think of the sky, we tend to look up, but the sky actually begins at the earth. We walk through it, yell into it, rake leaves, wash the dog, and drive cars in it. We breathe it deep within us. With every breath, we inhale millions of molecules of sky, heat them briefly, and then exhale them back into the world.

Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of the Senses


Notes:

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