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Friday, November 28, 2003

Thanksgiving, this year, was a culinary coup from my point of view. No curry, no stale store-bought rolls, no bland and bitter relative-soup, just the important people and a lot of baked from scratch goodness (with a season-appropriate emphasis on cranberries and apples).

I am likewise thankful for many things this year: my family, my friends, and my dog being foremost among them. In no particular order.

Onward to Christmas!

On a somewhat related note, I think that the art of flower-arranging is an all too neglected discipline in schools these days. The basic principles remain sound. Build from your base with your strongest elements, then add slowly with a deft hand and an eye towards harmony, balance, and texture. Finish with the flourishes and don't forget to add sugar to the water.


Wednesday, November 26, 2003

"In a time when one's town was one's world, and the actions at a dance created greater interest than the movement of armies, there lived a young woman, who knew how this world should be run..."

Ahhh... what a lovely day for watching Emma.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Am in the process of revising this one. Am, as usual, having problems.

In Flocks

Some days we gather as women,
in living rooms, leg to leg
and shoulder pressed to shoulder,
sating the bolstered sofa arms
with our warm bulk.

Those days when the bureau tips,
drawers unjawed like hingeless mouths,
and plates crack and splinter, sliver fingers
with ill intent, we lean into each other
over fragrant coffee mugs.
A broken heart mends in time, we say,
while seaming pieces of glass and wood,
stooping to smooth the bedclothes.

We chain tears and rips in sloppy daisy loops,
grip hands and elbows like a firm compress
and staunch the flow of blood,
gather the white clusters of tissue flowers
scattered over tables and chairs—

And some days we are a murder
of crows, pecking at the exposed
belly of flesh, peeling the scabs back
from half-healed wounds, and gabbling
in our loose and scandalized tongues:
Can you believe it? I never will.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

I love to watch the watery world from under the scalloped horizon of my umbrella. The slick rush of cars over the glistening streets beyond the sheltered arc of my universe is the distant sound of the unknown; the clouds are only visible in glimpses.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

The rhythm of my writing is off again. Even revising, never pleasant to begin with, has reached new heights of unbearability. Everything snags like rough fingers rubbed over silk. Oh well, at least there are plenty of reasons to procrastinate. I have Alexis to thank for the most recent one:

The Most Serene Republic of Serendipitous
"You've just liberated a nation from a tyrant who spread his lies through a state-run TV network. What do you do next? If you're the Bush Administration, you spread the good setting up a state-run TV network!

Apparently, along with market capitalism and the one-man-one-vote principle, the Administration intends to export to Iraq America's delicious sense of irony."


Monday, November 17, 2003

Suddenly it’s the middle of November. And I am not alone in having been caught unawares by the ending of the year—there is a sense of days, weeks, months having fled in the night without so much as a by’r leave. There are so many things to do suddenly, the litany of little things left until the last minute have found their moment. November is always the last minute, the eleventh hour, the penultimate stroke. There are Christmas cards to be written and sent before my itinerant populace of friends shifts to their winter residences-decorations to be bought, teas to be thought of-- such plans I have every year. But November brings a kink in my step, a stifiling grey lethargy, wan sunlight. These are groaning days of heavy clouds. My buoyancy has fled with the last of the leaves, and I turn over and over again the slumbering loam of my dark thoughts.

In other words, perhaps it's time to go home and hide under the covers.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

"Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off - then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. "

-Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Friday, November 07, 2003

Why I hate Jonathan today:

Click Here!

He has reintroduced me to the strangely addictive world of collective nouns, with his opening foray:

What is the collective noun for a group of nuns?

The answer (which I promptly googled):

A superfluity

Isn't English grand?

Some of my other favorites:

A huddle of lawyers
A giggle of girls
A congress of baboons
A bellowing of bullfinches
A pounce of cats
A threatening of courtiers
A murder of crows
A storytelling of crows
A piteousness of doves
A convocation of eagles
A charm of finches
A bazaar of guillemots
A melody of harpers
A neverthriving of jugglers
A leap of leopards
A mischief of mice
An unkindness of ravens


Thursday, November 06, 2003

As I approach (eek!) my twenty-third birthday, I am reminded of the --okay, it doesn't fit the strict definition of poetry to which I currently adhere, but let's just call it "Inspirational Ecriture" -- the I.E. that I often think about on birthdays. I have pasted a copy of it here for your immediate perusal:

After A While
by Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn't mean leaning
and company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
that kisses aren't contracts
and presents aren't promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman,
not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow's ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
in mid-flight.

After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.

And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth.

I feel as if this has been the mantra of my growing up. Every year I repeat it to myself, and every year another stanza sinks more deeply into the core of my consciousness. So many women of my age, I not the least among them, are plagued by that corpulent spectre of self-doubt, the sense that ultimately we are dependent upon not just the men in our life but upon all of society to mold us, to form us, to give us purpose and comfort when we flounder. Our fairy tales of rescue and redemption, the ones we chant to cradle us to sleep, these are the ribbons that tie us ever tighter into the myth.

I have grown up as the princess of too many fairy tales, sitting at windowsills, spinning in windowless rooms, sleeping in winding towers-- always on the keen edge of wanting. But maybe in this, my twenty-third year, I will finally reach out of the pages into which I have been writ, shake off the dust and the ink, and stride into my own destiny, one slippered foot in front of the other.

And fall off the flat edge of the world.

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

After an extended (and ridiculously busy) hiatus, I have returned to BlogWorld bearing a new word of the day that I particularly enjoy. Behold:

Today's Word of the Day:


(kor-i-BAN-tik) adjective

Wild; frenzied; uncontrolled.

[After Corybant, an ancient priest of Phrygian goddess Cybele, who
performed wild ecstatic dances in her worship.]

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