I’ve been thinking all my life about green and growing things and for weeks have wanted to see Wings of Desire for the millionth time just so I can hear the angel Damiel’s list of what he’s observed that day,
After the Alphabets
I am trying to decipher the language of insects
they are the tongues of the future
There’s no rational explanation for how much I love frogs. I mean, there might be a rational tidbitual oddment I could lay down for you but all the tidy, comprehensible bullet points in the world wouldn’t do justice to how deeply fascinated and charmed and shivered I am by those little half-blood princes, those darling swimmers who leave the water to tuck the soft green of themselves into the grass so they can lie in wait for me, so they can leap in ambush and make me bark a laugh of surprise at their ridiculous bodies, hurled up from the grass, bounced high, airborne.
Because I love the sad and beautiful truth of nothing-can-stay.
So yes, I’m making a beautiful bookthing. It’s that wondermental thing known as: a labour of love.
What I’m doing right now is I’m writing a thing, a beautiful thing, a bookstory thing. It’s hard going — oh god, it is — and for all the wild-ride moments of outpour, there are many many — many! — ice ages of brainfreeze. When you write a thing as a pen-for-hire, you push through the brainfreeze, because money and somebody else’s deadline are great motivators. But when you make something with joy in your heart and when it’s a collaborative effort to boot — I’m making this thing with James Cook, whose delicious photographs will join up with the words I write — you let the going be slow because you’re waiting for a strange kind of knowledge — epiphany, I guess you’d call it — waiting to see in a way you’ve never seen before, waiting to understand, waiting to make connections.
If tomorrow I were to walk away to some other place, go live in a where that is not this where, the place I would go would have lots of snow and the house I would live in would be made of cold, a house of snow — or of-snow-adjacent.
I don’t know how it works, how to do the math, but it’s like every emotion I’ve ever felt somehow gets wrapped up in trees. Trees become some kind of conduit for thought and feeling, for understanding, for epiphany, for optimism, for love.
This year, watching the Tour de France on TV, I heard one of the announcers say, “There’s the beautiful sunflower field” and it made me happy that, given all the manful muscling in the pelotonic tumult, he thought to mention that quiet golden place. Since then the words”There is the beautiful sunflower” have lodged themselves in my imagination in the inexplicable way certain words and phrases do from time to time, becoming something like a prayer or an offering or a streamer of solace unfurled the way a strand of birch bark can be freed from the tree.
Butcher’s charts take it all apart.
Sewing patterns put it all together.
The sundering and the reconciling … they interest me, both. I maybe love taxidermy because it requires both; I should maybe love the jigsaw puzzle more than I do, for the same reason.
Sometimes I feel like Reepicheep finally arrived at the edge of the world and sometimes I feel like I’m standing way up high on a tall place where I have to make a choice about whether I’ll step off and float away, or not.
The world spins on its axis, on and on and on, no matter who comes here or leaves here, no matter how happy or sad you are, no matter, no matter.
Ice is nice. Okay, if you’re me, it’s more than nice.
I run. I like to run, a lot.
I love to run. Love it, with big crazy heartsing heartpound loveness.
And here we are in a brand-new decade. I like that, a lot, because I’m much attracted to notions of new beginnings, even tho’ a new decade is no more a new beginning than a new day is and I’m still actually living the same life I’ve been living all along. I mean, the digits 2-0-1-0 don’t in any way change the unfoldment of a life. But the symbolism is juicy and yummy and also the questions posed to me about the last decade and the next decade by the very clever Sheila Killian are juicy and yummy and made me engage in some reflectional brain activity, which is generally a bit hard and scary and also deeply worthwhile.
I took my kids to see Zombieland the other day. (Because yes, I am an awesome mother.) It was a highly enjoyable experience, more than any of us had anticipated, honestly, and chief among the many excellent moments was the scene in which the four nonzombies who are our heroes realize the rules of quotidian life no longer pertain and lay waste to a souvenir shop, smashing and crushing and pulverising all the cheap tat that stocks the shop’s shelves. It is an exhilarating moment, for sure, because transgression so often is, and transgression that involves destruction? Ding ding ding! We have a winner, folks!
Today is the day for the beautiful bones.
I am very, very afraid of fire. Very, very afraid of it and very, very — o so very — compelled by it.
I listen to a lot of music. A lot. And while I think my taste is fairly wide-ranging, ultimately I have to recognise that I am particularly drawn to and moved by music that is odd or broken or primal or otherworldly. I want from music what I want from poetry and fiction — I want to be moved. I want to be taken to a place of sentipensante, feeling-thinking, to borrow Eduardo Galeano’s most beautiful word, because sentipensante is “language that speaks the truth”. And my god, that is a powerful notion.
Last night was mad where I live. A storm blew up in the early evening and the sky went black and the rain was a swirling chaos and the thunder and lightning were slamming wildly in the atmosphere, and it was all feeling almost too close for comfort, and for me to say that is something, really something, because there is almost nothing I love more than bad weather.
The Tollund Man
by Seamus Heaney
Some day I will go to Aarhus
To see his peat-brown head,
The mild pods of his eye-lids,
His pointed skin cap.
It’s a funny day where I am — coolish but muggy, which makes my straight hair curl up at the tips in a kind of wrecked and unruly way that I like — and the sky is mostly occluded by cloud but the odd bit of blue slivers through.
Awhile back I did a meme on Facebook that involved making a list of sixteen albums (CDs, for you whippersnappers) that had been really influential in my life. Only one musician got two spots on my list.