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Aug. 20th, 2018

I think I would like to move away from the "bullet" style livejournaling I've been doing the past oh, five, six years and try to return to a more conscious single subject post, perhaps with a goal of posting three times a week. I really need to focus my thoughts, my words, into a cohesive blog post in order to find purpose in even being here. I do still read my ever-dwindling flist and find that I'm far more nourished by those journalers who write single subject posts, or who share links. Relevant or not to my own interests. I want to know what you're doing but I want to know what you think/feel/remember about what it is you're doing. I want to share the same. I used to be able to do this....but somehow it got easier to write fiction at length and journal by bullet. I have an open word doc that I'm jotting down ideas for ruminations. We shall see.

But until I settle in to really draft a few good posts a week, have some links. :)

* Feeling helpless and slightly desperate in the face of my mother's grief. I've decided to "go to the literature", something I've done nearly all my life when faced with a desire to feel, to understand, to gain a perspective. Signature has a strong list of books - The Language of Grief: How Writers Write About Loss. I've bought most of those on the list (that I didn't already own) and have begun this extraordinarly painful exploration. I just finished Joan Didion's astute and poetic memoir of her terrible first year of widowhood. I think it has helped me understand some of the more cryptic things my mother has said the past few months. The idea that grief and mourning are different and that this culture no longer acknowledges mourning. We can have grief, of course we can...but long-term, even lifelong mourning is something to shy away from. Also, the idea of a life "held in suspense". My mother has spoken of this very experience...the waiting to catch my dad up on the news, the waiting for him to finally arrive home again. Didion is a brilliant writer in that she has a spectacular ability to give voice to feeling, to translate the mental experience of a thing into written words.

* I'm also reading some fiction. Finding that shorts are better than anything long. Passages more immediate than plot. If you aren't a member of the Library of America's story of the week program, you should be.

* I have an insatiable desire for symbolism. The moon is tied to that desire and now there is a jewelry company who recognizes these ties. Moonglow creates gorgeous pendant-style moons of any date you would like to memorialize. I was born on a New Moon which is a gorgeous pendant....and I have a few other dates I'm considering. Lovely stuff.

* Symbolic jewelry is a mainstay for me. This piece by Stone Sparrow Design is vitally important to me.

Nanette

I know I should show up here with updates and thoughts, futurecasts and recommendations. I seem to still be quite stagnated, both with words but also social motivation. My mother is still taking up huge amounts of my energy. I thought I would get more time to myself once Kidling1 was back in her own life, but I feel as though I have less time now. And I can't really figure out why. Sigh. I'm beginning to hate this feeling, this stuck place that I'm occupying, but trying to pull myself sideways or up and out is proving futile.

But I did show up today with a recommendation. I would love to hear how many of you have experienced this astonishing show already, and if you haven't, I urge you to take the time, really set it aside, sit down and spend an hour immersed in this astonishing woman's brain. You WILL laugh, you WILL cry, weep even, and you WILL be thinking and thinking and thinking for days afterwards.

* Everything has changed. Everything's the same. Time to stand up tall and breathe deeply. And re-immerse.

* We moved Kidling1 into her new digs yesterday. Yes, the Bar exam is behind her. The endless days and nights of studying culminating in two days of fierce test taking. The tension has ebbed itself out of her face. She is rejuvenated by the finishing. Now D and I are back to our own lives, she is in her life, and the planets haven't budged an iota in their orbits.

* Time for me to get to work. Especially with Gary teasing all of us writers with the upcoming mini-season of therealljidol! He's hosting this crazy circus of words and cult of personality over at dreamwidth, so I guess I'm going to have to figure out how to use that platform and then start using it. As you can tell, I'm not doing that yet. Soon, my pretties.

* I've been worried about "culture" for several years now. The mob mentality of social media. The true bullies. The desire to scream and point fingers and yell about things that, initially, appear to have some validity but with a moment's reflection become obviously ridiculous. To the thinkers. To the feelers, the outrage builds and becomes hysteria. True witch burning at its best. The most recent victim of social justice warriors was a poet and his poem last week. You can read the level-headed retelling and response here - The Death of the Author and the End of Empathy. And that article will lead you to the absolutely fucking brilliance and bravery of Lionel Shriver here - Lionel Shriver's full speech: 'I hope the concept of cultural appropriation is a passing fad'. I know that my particular lean is not popular online, but these two articles are so completely accurate that I can't help but share them.

Oh, Rick.

 RIP, darling darling boy. I have no idea why you chose this ending for yourself. Selfishly, you were a personal Muse for me for a very, very long time. Unselfishly, I'm saddened to learn that you were so conflicted.

 photo 3624e96bb829929ff321a1b5dd0bbd91_zps5zvmwwr5.jpg

Rico Genest - 1985 - 2018

The Seas - Samantha Hunt

* I am madly madly mad for Samantha Hunt and I'm imploring all of you to see if her chemistry mixes with your own chemistry the way it's mixing with mine. I finished The Seas last night and am now bereft without it. It's so hurty and so beautiful and guh. You must read it. I am so so so happy that Tin House had the realization that this treasure needed to be brought back out into the light. I would never have found it without this grand re-release this past week. Now, I am devouring this writer's work. And her essays and her holdings-forth about writing. You should, too. Navigate to her site - samanthahunt.net to read all of her short stories that aren't in The Dark Dark. Even if you don't fall madly for her, it's a good exercise in understanding the power of the short form and how some writers elevate it to ART.

Do I think it's weirdly synchronistic that in The Seas she has a character who typesets with metal type??? Of course I don't. That is how the world entangles itself into a knot.

I've got all her printed work on order and have no idea what I'm going to do while I stand up on the road beside the mailbox waiting for their arrival by post. I must wear a hat.

"You don't get to keep the feelings for someone you once loved. Once you've washed your hands of that person, all those feelings, all that dirty water is washed out to sea."
* My mother has expressed an interest in a magnifying glass pendant. We do so much thrifting for her antique stall that it makes sense to have that rather than a loupe in her purse. I wanted something high-end to gift her for her birthday last week and in googling found a faberge replica at The Met! She was absolutely smitten when she opened it! It is gorgeous and I was so happy to be able to surprise her with something she really loved. Not having ever shopped at The Met before, I had to take a look around and how could I possibly resist this Dance of Death scarf on clearance?? It's an exquisite thing and I'm very pleased with it.

* I've been doing a fair amount of (paid) writing for a parenting magazine. The deadline aspect of these assignments is suiting me perfectly at this time. But when I think about that, I have to admit that the deadline aspect of therealljidol had the same motivation. Interesting. I hear that Idol is returning, in September, on dreamwidth! Not sure I'm able to participate this go-roung but I do hope a crowd shows up.

* So brutally hot that we can't go out. And must lay low in the house. With no A/C you've got to be aware of how heat builds. Hopefully we will get a respite this coming weekend. Ugh.


Oh, my heart. This video -

now some of us are weak, and some endure

* I know I've been quiet, in comments and posting. AND in responding to the second prompt. It's all discouraging. I need to begin setting out concrete plans so that things can get done. Lots of attempts, very little finishings. I'm currently feeling very low.

* First plan of the day - write to the prompt and have it posted tomorrow.

* I'm drifting. I can feel this and I can't seem to apply the brakes or steer out of it. Just completely at the whim of g-forces.

* The residual stress and anxiety in the house is almost unbearable. We are at the one-week countdown today for the Bar Exam. A week from today, Kidling1 will be two hours away taking the first day's exam. She had a panic attack yesterday and it took about an hour to talk her down and help her find a center again. I've never seen anyone work this hard for anything.

* My mother is with my sister for a ten day family reunion camp-a-looza her husband's family throws every July. This is good. But she struggles terribly coming home to her life again. She has some things scheduled for next week and then the week after we move Kidling1 into her place, so that's two solid weeks of activities. She needs to stay busy.

* The Kings' book isn't working for me. So, I'm leaving it for a while, maybe for good, not sure yet. But I am reading a few other things. I like to lurk in the Bloodmilk Book Club and just finished one of the two current selections. Fun Home by Alison Bechdal is a super fast graphic biographical novel. I used to devour graphic novels and still have a soft spot for them. (I would attest that Gaiman's Sandman series is a literary masterpiece.) This one is good, the artwork persuasive, and the story well-told and humanly tragic. I think quite a few flisters would enjoy it. There are literal parallels drawn that are quite thought-provoking, but for the most part, it's a YA type of read. And that's my problem with the second choice - We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down by Rachel Hanel. It's almost inspidily juvenile and I'm struggling to get through it. There are good books out there about undertakers. Thomas Lynch's work in particular is gorgeous and moving and adult-fare. I am purposefully slowly devouring the very beautiful The Seas by Samantha Hunt for its re-release. It's the type of hip first-person tale I resonate with.

* Working on learning the letterpress! That's been both fun and aggravating. I wish I lived closer to urban offerings sometimes. Not always but sometimes, like when I'm obsessed with an odd hobby.

* That's about it for me right now. Big cycles, little cycles, the phasic movements of entwined lives.

Jul. 9th, 2018

So many critters on the game cam lately. That new baby was something, huh? That's our second fawn on the 30. Nice. I hope....they are doing okay. We have coyote, bobcat, and the dreaded lion. Here's an utterly captivating image of a coyote. Moving too fast to really get a clear shot, but I prefer this ghost -

coyote.jpg

I just love that face!

And here's a night shot of our stripey-legged bobcat -

bobcat.jpg

* It's hot again. Had a glorious day of rain.

* Not much else to report on. I put down "Sleeping Beauties" and haven't picked it back up. I just can't seem to sustain any sort of focus. I have a strange desire to craft dolls, but Kidling1 is in the craft room with legal books and flashcards spread everywhere. Today is the two-week countdown! She's been working harder than I've ever seen anyone work on such a thing. I sat the lactation exam and D sat the land surveying exam but those cram sessions were nothing like this.

* We finally had to give in on Saturday and rent a place for her in downtown. It's not vintage or funky, but it is month-to-month and in her budget and just a walking few blocks away from the bars, and the Thai restaurant, and Starbucks. So that's a good thing. LOL. She will be moved in on August 1st, internship with the Public Defender's office begins the following Monday, and our lives will be our own once again. It is thrilling, though, that she will be just two hours away!

* My mother finally got the call from Arlington Cemetery. I don't know if they are planning things this way or not now with their backlog, but unbelievably he's going to be buried the day before the one year anniversay of his death. That feels strangely symbiotic to me. D wants to take three weeks and make a roadtrip of it. We shall see.

* Hope you writers are writing for the second prompt posted by swirlsofblue

July Prompt

Writing to the first prompt of July. Following had to be included:  canicule, ice, sugar, addicted, and Summer is about longing for summer.

Not entirely successful, but this is the first beginning, middle, ending I've written since last November. It's a start and it felt good. Now to really get back on track.





The long sweltering weekend Persephone invited Hades to stay with her, mainly in her vintage four-poster, with short forays into other parts of the apartment, but there was also that one awkward morning in her mother’s garden.

It’s one of the more enduring, he paused, dare I say ‘myths’ of, well, the Underworld.

Myth, she questioned, sucking three of the fingers of his left hand into her mouth, speaking around them. Untruth? she tried. Misunderstanding? Misapprehension. She kissed each fingertip before nuzzling her face into the hinge of his elbow. Fear? Horror?

Mmm. Any or all of those. Burning out sin, I suppose. But…I can now attest to understanding – perhaps? – a bit more. The punishment of this-

She interrupted him, heat wave.

This canicule, he said with firm conviction and when she leaned up quickly to kiss his mouth, drenching his lips with the succulence of the dripping slice of peach she now held between her teeth, he laughed. At himself. At her. At the intimacy of their two bodies lying nude on the kitchen lino, a ceiling fan whirring above them, and the black bowl beside her elbow filled with the overripe peaches she had picked the morning before. At her mother’s house. He had watched her from the back porch, running as though she were still a young summer-kissed girl, down the winding path to the small orchard at the bottom of the yard. Her mother prone on a chaise lounge, poolside, feigning sleep. His presence temporary but still unbearable. He had stopped trying to speak with her. Her ability to ignore him completely was impressive. He would give her that much. He had tried, at first, a casual, so this is summer. She glared, then narrowed her eyes. What would you know about summer? What summer is, or what it isn’t. He had to silently agree, he knew little to nothing. A traveler at odds with language and country, people and places. His bride had appeared, cleaving the hostility into two sides so that she could walk a middle ground. Summer is about longing for summer, she told them both, her tone factual rather than whimsical but the sentiment fell flat for both himself and the mother. He could clearly could see that.

An ice cube being dragged lustily over each of his left-side ribs brought him back to the present.

It isn’t hot there, she said, as though he might not remember for himself.

No.

It’s cool.

Cadaver cool. Yes.

She laughed, but not meanly, it was affectionate. Cool as though one is in constant shadow. Shade.

Hell is for the burning away of sin. The Underworld is the grave laughing in greeting to its guest.

You didn’t say that.

I know, literate queen of mine.

She stood, wobbly on passion fed legs. Another black bowl of fruit on the countertop filled with sunny lemons. I’m going to make you a glass of lemonade.

Heavy on the sugar.

She cut two of the fruit into halves and squeezed them over a tall glass, catching seeds and membrane in her palm. She scissored her fingers and let a seed or two drop through. Behind her, he rose and pulled on a pair of black sweatpants she had cut off at the knee for him the day before, he fished around in the pile of their discarded clothes and found her a tank top and skirt.

Let’s sit on the fire escape.

She nodded and dressed and followed him out after stirring the glass vigorously, the sugar dissolving into the iced water. She sat beside him, their legs dangling over the edge of the metal ledge, an alley below. A figure lay prone, face down, arms trapped beneath his body, legs haphazardly angled as though he had fallen from a height.

Are you laughing in greeting, she asked him quietly, no humour in her voice.

Is he dead then? Did he fall, jump, what?

No. Well, he has fallen. But not from a window or a roof. He’s an addict. A drug addict. Probably od-ing as we speak. We should call 911. She went back inside and he could hear her on the mobile. In the distance, the screaming of a siren.

He stood, looking down, one story, two, three. The glass was cool and damp in his hand. He drank from it. Sugary sweet citrus and pomegranate-red lipstick on the rim. He knew addiction. He understood longing. The surrendering demanded by the attainment. He drained the glass in another long pull and decided to follow the soul under.