I’ve forgotten about gratefulness.
I’ve been standing in front of a full cupboard, starving.
Starving for joy,
My heart drying up into a hard, shrivelled knob,
Weakening to a limp, wilting shoot.
I’ve forgotten that joy
Is there for the taking,
That it is around me
All the time.
What shall today’s litany be?
I am grateful for, today:
I am grateful for today.
My celadon green mug.
Soft thick yarn.
The view (always the view).
The colour and pattern and texture of my kaftan.
A day without obligations, so I can finish my mugs.
Movies to watch on my computer.
Good food – eggs and toast and butter and jam – to eat for breakfast.
A lovely kitchen to cook it in.
Air to draw into my lungs,
Lungs to draw air into.
And I feel my heart expand
And my head lift up,
Joy flowing back into my veins.
“You have to unstick your life before you can write.”
This piece of wisdom was passed on to me by one of my writer friends early in November, when I was whining about how I had a hard time diving into NaNoWriMo because there was so much other things I needed to do first. “Unstick your life” – that phrase has, ahem, stuck with me ever since.
And I realised that one of the major sticking points in my life is the stuff. You know, the stuff all over my house, in cupboards and drawers and closets, on coat hooks and shelves, piled in corners and in the garage. The stuff that I was going to deal with right after I finished grad school. Yeah. Haha, never happened.
But I recently turned 50, and one day it dawned on me that that milestone was a really good time to unstick my life – in other words, to tackle the stuff. So far, I’ve progressed as far as the second bathroom, and as per usual, it’s all taking a lot longer than I figured. But it’s moving along, so that’s all good.
So here, for your delectation, is a brief and concise Ode to Stuff. In haiku, no less.
Ode to Stuff
Choices that have to be made.
Do you stay or go?
Life, the Universe, and an Unsticking Endeavour. We’ll see where it goes.
OLD YEAR’S EVENING
The old year’s evening falls
With streaks of copper light
On frozen hills.
Plump little bird
Pecks one last nighttime seed,
Lamp after lamp
lights up in neighbour’s house.
Now Luna’s shining orb
Peeks past the ridge,
Rising on high
It lays a streak
Of silver on the lake
As one more year
Draws to its close.
Happy Old Year’s Evening, and all the best for 2018!
THE SOURCE OF GREATNESS
For one fleeting moment
This icy cold morning
The marble casts a shadow
Much longer than itself
Blue fire sparks in its depths
Blazing a trail
Across the orange peel of kitchen counter
Then the winter sunrise
Is swallowed up by clouds
And once again
There is but
A small ball of glass.
May I introduce Molly? Molly, Reader – Reader, Molly. Molly just arrived in our house by way of a Mother’s Day present from the Oldest Offspring, he who also gifted and named Steve some years ago. Molly came complete with name, as well.
She’s very soft and has extra-floppy ears, which, she tells me, are what makes her a music lover. Her favourite songs are in minor keys, and she was pleased when I told her that “Moll” is German for “minor”.
Steve is quite smitten with his new friend; at the moment they’re stuffing-deep in a discussion of the relative merits of the Beatles’ lyrics vs. the poetry of William Blake. Just wait until Horatio gets in on the argument – it won’t be more than a minute before he’ll be quoting “Tyger, Tyger burning bright” (being a stuffed tiger, he’s biased).
Life, the Universe, and Molly. Happy Mother’s Day!
Apologies for the Funkstille (radio silence) over the last week or so. I’ll spare you the excuses; suffice to say they involve busyness, weather, not-feeling-well, editing work (yes, Checkmate is being beaten into shape, and will be coming to an online bookseller near you! Soon. Well, soon-ishly. I’ll let you know.) and stuff like that.
I was going to write an erudite post about Story, and narrative structure, and why I don’t like it when silly, fun movies use Queen Elizabeth or Queen Victoria as one of the characters. But then I got busy cooking lasagne for dinner (I make it in the slowcooker – another post for another day), and the writing inspiration leaked out of my ears, so QE and QV will have to wait. Besides, I want to get back to reading the mystery novel I’m into (P. D. James, Death in Holy Orders. Yet another post: why, oh why did she have to write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, when she’s such a good writer in her own right? However).
Anyway, just so’s not to leave you hanging for too long without any effusions from amo vitam, here is some random imagery for you. One a sweet pea flower that’s blooming in the box on my balcony; the other a very random bit of magnetic, umm, poetry (for lack of a better term), which has its own, uh, imagery. And a magnetic ladybug.
THINGS ARE SUCH
Things are such, that someone lifting a cup,
or watching the rain, petting a dog,
or singing, just singing – could be doing as
much for this universe as anyone.
(translated by Daniel Ladinsky)