Thursday, June 25, 2009

Let Evening Come

Tonight,  something a bit different. I took an evening walk, and things were so sunset pretty I had to grab a camera (despite my lack of any photography skills. Leave that to artsy people like Joanna. Who took my profile photo! She's amazing). I just snapped pictures of random things I thought were interesting; here's what I found:

Recognize this fair leaf? All the folklore five together: It's a tulip poplar! 

We picked blackberries the other day. Mom made a cobbler. I'm content just to look at them. And then eat them raw off the bush.

Mountains. Ahhh. Fields and mountains. And . . . barbwire fences. 

I love marten houses.  And I love this one most of all because of its tilt. P.S., I also went half-blind from the sun trying to get this photo. 

Another strange fascination, in addition to tilting marten houses: the way this tree grew around a barbwire fence. Again: why do I like this so much? 

Hay. Dusk. Golden. Peace. 

Photos I did Not take: 
-the strange furry carcass (squirrel?) in our front yard (suspects: the Sweet Dog).  
-the vicious horsefly that attacked me
-our neighbor careening around shirtless on his bush hog (heavens to Betsy. Scarring). 

Last night I spent with Valerie and Claire in their lovely apartment. Thank you, dear friends, for letting me crash and sit in that amazingly comfortable chair. Oh, and getting me addicted to "So You Think You Can Dance." You do my heart good. 

Good night, sky. 

Saturday, June 20, 2009

In which I go crazy for hyperlinks

Let's go right to the shore and forget our troubles here
I'm gonna gas up the ford, the waves are crashing
and the sky is clear - I want to be by your side
- the everybodyfields

I picked up a copy of "Christianity Today" in some office the other day, and flipped to the main article. It was on pilgrimage, and I was immediately intrigued (one of my favorite books during the Homeschool Years involved a boy and girl in the 1300s who go on a religious pilgrimage. I loved The Ramsay Scallop, and for a long time I put myself to bed at night by imagining medieval pilgrimage stories). The article was lovely and now I want to go on a pilgrimage. This makes sense. Pilgrimages are not aimless wanderings, and they are not all about the destination either. The journey is part of the discipline. 
So I want a good long modern pilgrimage, with the comfort of the passenger seat late at night and drowsing to Fleet Foxes or Kate Rusby and the stars over the highway. One of my playlists is already named "Starry Roadtrip Night" - I'm aching to just go

 Deborah, you are my music clone/road trip twin - let's go! I'll bring the hummus and fruit this time. 

Here we are at the transmission party
I love your friends, 
they're all so arty
-Franz Ferdinand

A couple of weeks ago, our home was graced by the presence of two very wonderful musicians. Stephen Gordon and Adam Agin played for a small group of friends and then we roasted s'mores outside and the boys swam and it was so. much. fun. Anna Rubia had gotten me hooked on Stephen's music when she introduced me to Doug Burr, so I already knew I loved his stuff. I hadn't heard Adam before though, and he was amazing. And I loved the feel of the tiny house concert, just a group of folks crowded in our great room and listening to two guys who happen to make incredible music. 
So I grilled Adam and Stephen on how they write songs (Adam is very emotionally involved, Stephen is detached - fyi) and really awful concerts in their past and whatever I didn't question, my mother did. Besides being astounding musicians, they are also super nice guys. Go listen to their music!

From all that dwells below the skies
let the Redeemer's praise arise:
let the Redeemer's name be sung
through ev'ry land, by ev'ry tongue.
-Isaac Watts

"Bridgewater," the tune to the words above, is my favorite Sacred Harp song. They didn't sing it today at the National Sacred Harp Assembly, but that's ok. I went and got my fix, and the sound - oh the sound. And I bought my own hymnal so that I can vary my routine, instead of pulling the usual number and singing the same line over and over again at really obnoxious volumes.
And yes, I know, watching to the video you will probably think What the heck does Anna see in that weird abrasive music? Well. I'm not always sure myself; I just know I love it. But that singing, it just fills you and swells up and makes me feel right and whole. It also gives me a headache after about three hours, but it's so worth it. 

And people recognized me and called me by name. How can you not love any group of people where that happens?  

Well. I didn't post on Daniel Craig this time. But remember how long it took me to get around to Narcissa Whitman? James Bond's time is coming. In the meantime, I need y'all's opinion on something. I've been a poem writing machine these past three weeks (ok, not really, but I have written three) and I need to know - what does the phrase "gypsy broom" mean to you? As in, a broom that a gypsy would leave lying around their caravanserai wagon. Does it seem weird for a gypsy to have something domestic - like a broom? Or am I crazy? Sigh. Poetic anguish of searching for the bon mot. Please help me out, people. Go to my poetry site if you're brave enough to read the poem and lemme know if the gist is getting across. Thankee. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Announcement! Anuncio! Anunce!

My mind just turned off. It will remain off the rest of my life.

Thank you for your attention. Please return to your regularly scheduled activities.

[I have too much to do. It's my fault. It's getting better. Please tell me if/where/why I should go to grad school or if I should be a blueberry farmer. I'm trying to cut back. But there's so much to do. BALANCE, child, BALANCE.]

O-kay. That's semi out of my system now. I have a meeting with my research professor in half an hour and I feel behind on my research and I should be writing the article on "health insurance for new grads" that's due, um, tomorrow.

But you know what? I miss this blog. I miss it because it is how I process life, basically, and to just not write for over a week drives me cra-zy.

And more than that, I love you folks who actually read the musings of my crazy mind. Can I take this opportunity to wave frantically at Mr. McKeown and say how thrilled I am that you read this? You are the very jolliest person I know and whenever I hear you laugh (or even think about you laugh) I want to dissolve into laughter too. Please please (please!) come visit us soon.

There is nothing that makes me beam more than when people I love and respect take the time to read this blog. Thank you, dear people.

So in the time when I basically have fallen into a very deep hole and am feverishly working (I feel like a meerkat peeping out of its hole whenever I venture into the real world), I have shamefully neglected people. Like Kait, for instance, whose sweet sweet messages I have not yet replied to even though I have read them all, Kait, and yes I've put that on my calendar, and I had the very best time with you last Saturday (I want one of those wok burner things). And I just replied to Anna Rubia last night when she sent her email from Germany, oh, two weeks ago. And I missed Erin's phone call and really want to hear about her time in Italy. And to alllll the other people I have not responded to - know that every time I think about the unanswered messages, it's like a throbbing blister that needs to be cauterized. Sorry for the disgusting imagery.

(Yes, the post gets more fragmented.) In other news, I am currently experiencing a tiny bit of the life of a working mom. How so? you ask. Well. My mom has been in and out of commission the past four weeks due to excrutiating back pain (still trying to figure it out . . .). During these incapacitating episodes, I have realized just how much she does. Do you realize? Stay-at-home moms do not eat bon-bons (I mean, have you seen how skinny she is?). She does a lot.

So during an especially bad spell the past two days, I've been trying to balance my class, my research job, an interview for this article, exercising so that I will not gain 30 lbs from stress, fixing supper, and oh yes, trying to figure out God. And doing none of it well (actually, the ginger chicken stir fry last night was pretty good).

But I don't have horrible pain spasms. Please, sweet Mother, get better. We'll even keep on making supper and cleaning and all that, if you'll just stop hurting.

If you think this post has a lot of italics, you should see the pre-edited version.
So now I am sitting in the O'Neal library.

I read a chapter of poetry criticism (I disagree vehemently with Vernon Shetley. He wants to give poetry back to the intellectuals. Which is certainly better than having it die completely but I say, Poetry for the Masses!)

I bought a cup of warm lemonade from the curly blond headed siblings outside (2 boys and a girl, e-zackly what I want in that far-off day of motherhood. I asked them to mix the pink and yellow. They were not pleased but assented).

And after I write this article on health insurance, I am going semi-rogue for the rest of the day. Which means I will go home and make supper and work out and craft a Father's day card and chill.

P.S. Stay tuned for the next post, in which I declare my undying obsession with the new James Bond movies and how I've been dreaming poems about Confederate soldiers. Ciao.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Obscure objects of my affection

I love this book. I read it because I needed a break from academic articles. Submerging myself in the free-for-all, let's play forever with uncertainty in our ivory tower until we die - reading these had me down in the doubts. Just plain old aching. [I'm still asking God: How does it all fit, these valid points and You? I know they can, I just don't know the how yet. Why do I still have to deal with this? Can I be a meaning-of-life-deep-thoughts person and a real-life-feet-on-the-ground person? And I love new ideas and I know I could do academia, but do I want to? Could I survive it? And will I feel like a failure for the rest of my life if I don't pursue it? Can I be in it without being of it? And why am I regressing to Jr. High italics???]

So you see. I just needed some thing that doesn't use phrases like "performing identity" or "poetics of gender." So I picked up this slim and lyrical book. 

"A writer looking for subjects inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all. Strange seizures beset us. Frank Conroy loved his yo-yo tricks, Emily Dickinson her slant of light."

And it got me thinking about the obscure things I love. Like a certain shade of pink, the one in the Dr. Seuss alphabet book that is the color of the fizzy drink and the weird crocodile creature. And tilt-top tea tables. Gaslight lamps. Real shutters on inside windows. Single drawers in bedside tables. (The last three are from Peter Pan the stage version. Umm.) The bowl of mush and dollhouse in Goodnight Moon. The rim of water surface that you look at in the pool through your goggles. Making half-moon indentions on aloe leaves or yellow squash with my thumbnail. The sandy stone doorsteps on old cabins. How when you press the button on our fridge to change from ice to water dispenser it sounds just like "A Million Ways" by OK Go. And the high heel shoes the girl wore in that Care Bear book at my grandparents' house! I have been searching all my life for those shoes. 

I've revealed enough of my weirdness. Your turn.