All things melancholy · Books · Energy work · Magic · Small Joys · Strong Woman · Treasure

fire lit

I crack it open, this book that I no longer remember where I first heard of it, perhaps on NPR, perhaps not.  I only know that it exists in the after time, the rift that I realize now will never be healed.  I lost the name of the author, the title of the book, and without either, there is truly no way to find such a thing in the search engines of bookstores.  Like this science fiction book I once read:  Woman on an expedition to another planet, loses her oxygen suit and is saved by aliens who have the ability to adjust her physical body to their allergens, her partner is not so lucky and when she returns to the human world she is forever altered.  I wish I could just remember this other book though that sounded intriguing and then by some accident, it comes to me and I add it to my list, which remains unread for some period of time.  There is a certain joy in opening a library book, the crackle of the cellophane cover, the smell of other people on the pages, their squashed bugs, the smell of their bathwater and their perfume, and the red splash of spaghetti sauce they were eating while they held their book behind their bowl with the non dominant hand.

“The things we want are transformative, and we don’t know or only think we know what is on the other side of that transformation.  Love, wisdom, grace, inspiration–how do you go about finding these things that are in some ways about extending the boundaries of the self into unknown territory, about becoming someone else?”  A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

I am not, as I wander in this valley, sometimes the cut is so deep I find myself cold and huddled in the darkness, there seems no way out.  A friend by in the way of six degrees of separation calls the beginning of this rift his box of shame, but I am stuck in this rift, in this darkness.  And yet somehow the darkness is a relief from having to be bright.  Do I choose the yellow and sunshine and the cheerful way of the  flighted, or do I choose this damp cavern of sorrow?  I say there is this endless quest for meaning but all the philosophy on planet earth can not delve into the darkest depths of this human despair.  I frame it properly, I tell the history, I tell the insanity of my thinking, the magic that I find imbued in the journey, he understands this magic in his pagan mind.  The philosophy, he says, isn’t meant to though, to delve into that despair.  Instead, he says, it addresses those depths of true meaning and then walks away.  I want quit of it, but deep down, I know that it is more meaningful than the veneer of joyfulness than the frame of its all good this frame of perpetual happiness, for I cannot feel true joy without this riverbed carved from the rock of my being, this valley of my soul, gully in some places.  It has been carved with a flood gate of tears.  And like a lady slipper in the forest, the smallest patch of sunlight brings the greatest gift of beauty to me.  And my goddess how gloriously beautiful it can be.

“It is precisely because we resist the darkness in ourselves that we miss the depths of the loveliness, beauty, brilliance, creativity, and joy that lie at our core.”  Thomas Moore

I sit on the steps in the sunlight, arms sore from raking, and I tell the constant yammering of my inner voice to be still now.  It fades to the background and I realize without thinking it, that there is something to be said for acknowledging and embracing this darkness.  Yes, I am broken, yes I feel I will never recover from this, yes, I still ache in the darkness, and also in the light.  But this is no shallow pool, it is a crystalline feature of who I am.  I revel now in being lost or of not being, or the transformation of my self, this is who I was once, but that ended so abruptly, and was never reopened, well at least by him, mine is still gaping, I scratch at the scab, it bleeds, the stitches so carefully sewn tear, and it is rent open again. I am lost to this thing which caused my befores and afters.  And as I read I recall that day when I was lost in the Adirondacks, not even my dog by my side.  How I cried, and felt not sorrow for myself, but fear for my daughter alone, and how I carefully walked back until I found the trail sign, on the ground and took the right path instead of the left.   Oh I know lost.

My moral compass led me in the right direction, I have integrity we have already established this.  I know that not everyone can say the same.  I suppose there must be something though that carries them through their journies, something I cannot or maybe will not comprehend.  I ask, is this a sign?  My friend of six degrees says, maybe it is just location, location, location.  And in this case, the location is a thousand miles from home their own heated separtion.  And yet I am home, I just don’t trust that the hearth will warm me, nor that the fire will stay lit.

How can I when I am shivering here, shivering so in the dark and the damp.

I must light my own fire.

I know the answer at least, that I can lit my own fire, and that the damp and darkness matter only in relation to the light and warmth of my own hearth.

In the immortal words of my hero, Tim Gunn, “Carry On”.  “Make It Work”.

Birds · Books · Buddhism · Changing Seasons · Humor · Magic · Musings · Nature · Treasure

used bookstore

I had a bunch of books that I needed to get rid of.  I know, my librarian friends, and bibliophiles will gasp.  But I had to.  I put many of my favorite books in storage in my daughter’s attic, and brought all my crafting books, and the various religious books, a Bible, the Dhammapada, Siddhartha, my Loren Eisely collection, Annie Dillard, stayed with me, there were however a handful of books I didn’t want for various reasons.  One a book of Contemporary Art with an absolutely vile, pornographic cover painting by Eric Fischl, of a naked woman, lying on a bed with her legs spread wide, while a teenage boy looked on.  When I bought the book it was wrapped in plastic and there was a paper covering the well executed painting.  But I couldn’t even pick it up to look at it.  It was just too distasteful to me.  There are a number of used bookstores in this city but my favorite by far is called Books and Memories.  They buy, sell and trade used books.

Maybe I have told this story on this blog before, if I have I am sorry for repeating myself.  One winter I went into this bookstore, which was once owned by an older couple, one of whom was a teacher.  The place was just overflowing with books, almost like a hoarders bookstore.  There were stacks of books piled all over the store, which, for all intents and purposes covers a full store frontage area a half a block long, one row house wall knocked down to make a passageway to the next row house.  It was close to Christmas, and I was looking sort of half assedly for a book by Anthony Bourdain, any book would do, but I was truly not committed to putting money on the table.  The store was brutally hot, and I was sweltering in my down jacket.  My daughter and I made our way down to the dank dungeon of a basement where the cooking books were, but I grew impatient with the disaster, the musty smell, the overwhelming heat and quickly returned upstairs, whereon the patron asked had I found the books.  I said no but that is okay.  He told me to wait, urgently, insistently, and so I stood there for several long minutes sweat pouring from my brow, and that sticky ick feeling of being too hot of it being dark and having never been home after a long day of work, dinner a diet cola and an oatmeal cookie weighing heavy in the stomach.  He came up, checked on everyone and told me again to wait, no no I insisted, please it is okay.  He more forceful than I telling me to remain exactly where I was standing.  We went back and forth like this for a half dozen rounds before he scampered off to the dungeon.  The moment his back was too us and his body and gone around the corner that had at least 30 books stacked high all around it, I reached out with my witches claw hand and grabbed my daughter garbed in a similar puffy coat, hers turned to the reverse side so we did not quite match.  Lets get out of here, I hissed to her, and like minded the two of us made a made dash out into the street.

The streets were wet and clogged with salted slush and gritty water, the fine combination of salt and sand that is sprinkled on our hilly winter pavement.  And as soon as we had emerged onto it rushing to get into our car, my daughter cried out, oh my god I am so glad we left, I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  And as we quickly jumped into the car, I uttered I feel like I stole something, with that mad dash of a getaway.  And at the same time we both said, you know we can NEVER go in that store again.  It was not long after that some younger hipper, tattooed artsy types bought and refurbished the place, getting rid of many of the ugly and dangerous teetering piles of books.  Thank God, because we both go there regularly to look for classics, and art books, and whatever other treasures we can find.

Books and Memories

There is this feeling for me whenever I am in this store, a feeling that if I look right, there is a book that will perfectly fill the void inside of me, a book that will take all my angst and troubled mindedness and ease the furrow in my brow.  That suddenly some extraordinary book will leap in front of my eyes and I will emerge from the store, a changed person, because this book is in my hand.  I think it is a spell that someone has cast on the store, it is so profound.

I think though that it is the ordinariness of life that we should seek, not the extraordinary.  The stories of television, of movies, of books are all of extraordinary moments, biographies of extraordinary people, philosophies of extraordinary thinkers, religions and politics of extraordinary leaders.  But you and I, we are so ordinary are we not?  There is nothing about my life that warrants the thought of extraordinary.  I am not an extraordinary writer, artist, mother, teacher, lover, woman, daughter, sister.  I am not special, I am simply myself.

I carry out my small purple stool, avoiding the leftoever damp drenching downpour of the morning, slate still dotted with puddles, I place it where the warm autumn sun will shine on me, but I face out onto the lawn with the thought of wondering what creature will appear before my eyes.  I note a dozen or more lady bugs flying around the shed, two dozen box elder beetles like a scene from the Amityville Horror on the window frame and then not two feet from my face a pair of chickadees brave the feeder.  I call to them, and they continue to bravely fly onto the feeder, uncertain of my only good intentions.  See this moment is not at all extraordinary.  It is just another autumn day.  I am just another ordinary observer.

Books · Musings · Rants

Channeling my inner dragon.

It is after 4am and I wake up suddenly and instantly, there is much to be done today.  Speaking of cleaning studio’s, speaking of claiming my space, speaking of the add on of screw this I have my own boat (see post from two days ago!)  I was up late caught in a great story by Iain Banks called Matter, I am not sure how I chose this book but it does have a few small steampunk artifacts in it that make me grin as I read them.  The story itself took a couple chapters and a few months really for me to get into, it is not the deliciously decadent read of a Sookie Stackhouse novel, but after The Wasp Factory by the same author I was determined to put some effort into it and that has paid off.  There are many gems in the book that I wish right at this moment that I had bookmarked, but caught in the story I of course did not.

My friend Bill told me in a text a few days ago that I shouldn’t allow myself to get caught up in this one, this man, to let my life circle around him.  It is hard to do that of course, and although I enjoy the freedom from inane text messages like I am working up a sweat now, or rude ones late at night telling me how much smarter he is than I, I wish things were progressing faster.  I laugh as I read this, they are of course progressing at a normal speed right?  Three years of awareness, one mid winter date that had me at hello, and then three months of nada, two months of friendship, and what now?  A month of something more.  What do I expect?  It is progressing as it should, the problem of course is with my expectation.  Right?  And here is the rub for me, I don’t actually know.  That is right read it and scratch your noggin.  I truly don’t know how these things are supposed to progress.  With Morgan’s father it was a couple weeks of intense poetry and love fests while listening to Bobby McFerrin and hiking in Letchworth State Park.  Oh yeah. And look how all that turned out.  With the ex whom I still cannot name. Grr.  It was months of letters back and forth an intense mental connection that in real life was just a freakin’ mess of we really don’t belong together.  But alas we are.  What is normal?  What isn’t normal perhaps is my worry no concern no ______ you fill in the blank, that I am somehow not worthy.  Not worthy?  Why not worthy?  Perhaps when I belch aloud it will offend (as it did the ex) I intentionally do it even when I might actually do it quietly, just to make sure he knows I am not a feigning delicata, I wear my Birkenstocks even when I am wearing my high heeled sandals at home, why? because I want to be sure that I am acceptable in whatever shoes I chose to wear.  I intentionally do not wash when I think he may ? be stopping by, still in my too short older green sundress with a stain on the chest, and I have been working hard in the studio, Why?  so that he will know that I am myself, and sometimes that self is not a perfect little sparkling flower.  I want to be worthy, but I do not want to be worthy by someone else’s standards, I want to be worthy as I am.  I am annoyed so much by the fact that the constant walking has had no effect on my body, and I hate that I am so damn pudgy.  I worry that I will somehow not be physically attractive, which is really so very hard.  I know I was not this to my ex husband, apparently he prefers skinny boobless latinas, whereas I am an German, Irish, Scottish and English lass with hips, and boobs and all exercise does for me is make my muscles thick.  I would have been back in the fields breastfeeding my own and someone else’s bairn within a week of giving birth.  My blood is red, through and through, there isn’t anything blue about it.  I look at a pic of my sister’s friend and I standing side by side, and I realize we are the same size, but as she struggles to get up the steps and the long hill back to the car, I am able to leap up them, and move along at a good pace.  I know I am healthy but by the standards of Hollywood, and the modern man, I got the junk in the trunk.  I wish it weren’t so.  I am annoyed by it.  But what can I do really?  I suppose I could cut out carbs from my diet altogether but why.  I love pasta and bread now and then, and mashed potatoes.

So where is the dragon.  The fierce refusal to let myself get captured by this good knight?  Yeah it isn’t there.  Some people tell me play hard to get, don’t wait around for him and if you are waiting around don’t be available to him.  But what if I want to be?  I even go out and buy his brand of beer to have on hand, although I hesitate for at least a week, afraid he will hit the road at any moment.  Or that he will say something that will be like a punch in my stomach, “I see myself getting married just not to you, but wait for it I may come around eventually”.  I laugh, no instead he uses his aging relatives as an excuse to not spend time with me.  I try to be understanding but I ask myself over and over, is this the I have work to do in the lab ruse that means another woman is in the picture?  Or that he wants any excuse he can find to not spend time with me? And will this pattern continue for the rest of my life, never available to me, but always someone else is the priority.  I feel neurotic a little.  I annoy myself.  But aren’t these good questions?

Here is another good question, if I am getting 20 hits or more a day on this blog why are none of you commenting.  Come on people give this fierce woman some sugar.  Thank you.  ❤

Books · Great Quotes · Musings · Nature

Anne LaBastille

On the dresser in my bedroom I have a short list of my favorite books enclosed between two marble elephants.  The Littlest Angel by Charles Tazewell, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, A Breed to Come by Andre Norton, A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Crows of Pearblossom by Aldous Huxley, The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley, The Terrorist of Irustan by Louise Marley, and Woodswoman by Anne LaBastille.  I read today in the obits about the death of Anne LaBastille.

“Camping has become one of my most beloved pastimes.  I take a fierce delight in swinging a pak o my back or into a canoe and heading for the hills or lakes.  In my opinion, camping can be the greatest expression of free will, personal independence, innate ability, and resourcefulness possible today in our industrialized, urbanized existence.  Regardless of how miserable or how splendid the circumstances, the sheer experience of camping seems a total justification for doing it.”  

Her fierce independence and ability to survive in the wilderness, her love of the simplicity of log cabin living, have been an inspiration to me for many years.  Her belief that a weekend in the woods can show you the true heart of a person, let all the falseness fall away and reveal the deep inner spirit, is one of my own.  There are times in my life that I wish I had the means to give up the life of teaching, living in a house with too much stuff, having a life of modern convenience, the skills and knowledge necessary to live the kind of life that she did.  I know she traveled and didn’t always live completely off the grid, but somehow, it seems that her life was deeply authentic.  And sometimes I don’t feel like mine is.  I try really damn hard to be a true person.  But there are times when true-ness is lost on the profane, when my own selfish nature makes me despise myself, times when I feel like I am just wasting the hours of my life until death.  And how many times have I cried over the loss of a person who was a lying bastard who did nothing to make my life better while I strived endlessly to make his better?  I still cry over the rift in my heart.   And that too makes me despise myself.  Is there a despicable self hidden in Anne LaBastille?  Do we not all carry this feeling of a rift in the heart, one that separates our true-ness from the life we are forced to live by working until we fall down into our beds at night with nothing to show for it but media, electronics and hot tubs.  I admire her ability to leave behind the lonely self, and survive alone, particularly when my own bed feels so damn lonely and when my body aches for a good cuddle.  And when my tears fall it is my dog that comforts me, I bury my face in his fur and he grunts with displeasure.  I am sure he is thinking, just love the life you have woman.  I look through my stained and tattered book and page after page is Anne with her dog Pitzi.  A constant companion on her many hikes and camping trips.  And I see that perhaps she too must have wrapped herself in the unconditional love and constant companionship of a canine.  By far more reliable, and less likely to endless excuses as to why they can’t, than any human.  Dogs always can, though they don’t always want to.

“The city (regardless which one it is) does provide a certain degree of sophistication and intellectualism.  It offers the challenge of professional matters.  It throws new and interesting people in one’s path.  There is a dynamic and an energy in cities which is diametric to the life-forces of the forest.
Still the cabin is the wellspring, the source, the hub of my existence.  It gives me tranquility, a closeness of nature and wildlife, good health and fitness, a sense of security, the opportunity for resourcefulness, reflection and creative thinking…..”  

Although I have not read this book in many years, it is one of those books which now as I thumb through the pages, which guided my heart and my soul to a person who craves the wellspring, rather than the sophistication.

Thank you Anne LaBastille for being a voice in my library.  I hope that you find that heaven is really just a cabin in the woods, with your dog by your side and an ordered goodness and balance.  And that you can weather each and every storm that comes your way with dignity.  Rest in peace.

Birds · Books · Flowers · Musings · Nature

Summer Evening

My garden is much neglected.  In the last couple weeks or so every time I decided it would be good to mow the back yard it would rain before I got home or the rain was imminent or it had just rained and mowing not such a good idea.  The perennial garden was a jungle with the fall blooming clematis and the trumpet vine taking over the the aged cedar arbor.  It is a bit unsturdy under the weight of the vines.   I pull out a  large number of milkweeds that have taken over places in the garden that I do not want them too.  Clear away enough trumpet vine so that the tall and bright Shasta Daises are out in the open and standing on their own.  I also pull out more milkweed so that the Stella D’Oro Lilies are also opened up.  The bees buzz around me angry at me removing the sweet clusters of pink flowers from their forage.  I had begun calling my garden Meg’s Jungle but just an hour or so of clipping and pulling and the Jungle is tamed, somewhat.

I love having a laptop because now as I sit on the veranda, shaded by the sycamore, the honey locust and the house, I am watching as a chipmunk cleans up the spilled black oil sunflower seeds under the bird feeder.  I listen to the gurgling coo of a woodpecker, and two chickadees calling to each other, one in the distance and one in the arbor vitae near the feeder.  I had left the Venezuelan handwoven hammock out in the heavy rain.  I laughed when I looked out at it when the rain was drenching.  It feels good to do such things, the same as it feels good to let stuff grow in my garden, just to see what may come of it.  I tell my Mom this, and she says she does the same thing, as it turns out so does my pirate.  It makes me grin hard to think of being this way.  In the sun and breeze the hammock has dried.  I lift it to smell it, the musty closed up in a closet for too many years smell is gone.  I know it was a good thing to leave it in the rain.  I smile as I smell it.  It smells clean and good, and it is none the worse for wear.

I drink a beer while my Mom reads, my own book The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks spread open on the table, put down for the disturbing images that leave the mind questioning.  My cousin, her husband and two beautiful daughters are due to arrive at anytime.  It is a beautiful evening.  I feel content.

Books · Small Joys

Raw Rhubarb

He goes to my garden and picks a stalk of rhubarb, I tell him use the leaf for a hat and he laughs.  I watch his face and his mouth as he takes a bite from the stringy stalk, his lips pucker and his face winces but he is grinning from ear to ear.  He sits next to me in the sun on the steps and offers the stalk to me.  I take a raw bite and feel the tart juice as it hits my palette.  He laughs and takes it back and takes another bite.  We sit on the step passing it back and forth until it is gone.  Not even as sour as some of the super tart candies they are selling these days.  It is quite tolerable.  We pick another and share it with his girls.  We talk about picking rhubarb when we were kids, about stealing daffodils from the woods, about the old man with a wooden leg.  Our memories faded and twister with time but we try to grasp it together as we talk.  He is a nostalgic one, always we remember being kids together. He is back from a turkey hunting trip in the town we moved to before we were teens. He tells me they have been quarrying the old unused quarry we used to walk at.  Telling me the changes, remembering the prickers, and the old foundation in the hardwoods along the back side.

Later we laugh as we drink margaritas with our sister, grill burgers and fresh veggies and eat on the veranda in the back of the house.  We make new memories, a long held acceptance of mouthiness and similar humor and our witty children and selves.  There is a peacefulness as we make our grandfather’s pancakes for breakfast and taste the strong smokey flavor of his homemade slab bacon.  He leaves my freezer with venison and more of his bacon.  Later as I am napping, sleeping off the fuzzy headachey brain of too many blackberry MEGaritas, he calls me and laughs as he tells me he knew he would be waking me.  I sleep drooling on my pillow.  A small smile on my face.

I write a poem in my dreams about tempestuousness, diving for lost treasures, and being stranded on a rocky surf crashed island.  When I wake I try to write it, and it sounds like the gold is made of dime store plastic, and the words are small compared to my mind’s imagining.  In the sun, I read a book with a Christian theme, a book of gratitude. I am not a Christian but I find solace in the words.  I highlight quote after quote.  Lyrical words like skipping stones.  I watch as they smack the water one two three four five six seven, infinite hits before the words finally crash into the still lake of my soul.  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp serendipitous to the list I wrote just three days ago.

I add this one treasure to my list.

Books · Buddhism · Great Quotes · Musings · Nature · Zen Buddhism

Open Mind

“The train of his abstractions became so long and so involved he had to have the surroundings of silence and space here to hold it straight.  It was as though hours of constructions would have been shattered by the least distraction of other thought or other duty….It was at a level at which everything shifts and changes, at which institutional values and verities are gone and there is nothing but one’s own spirit to keep one going.” from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

In this passage he is referring of course to the insanity of Phaedrus.  He is speaking of how he needed the open space of some area in the mid-west to find solace, and peace for his overwhelming thoughts.  But as I read this passage I realized that we all suffer from this insanity, that this is precisely why people seek the serenity of the outdoors, precisely why people meditate and do yoga and even why people do drugs and abuse alcohol.  Thoughts can be so overwhelming.  I know I faced this very much so, although now thankfully the obsessive thoughts that literally had me crying from not being able to shut them out are now gone.  It was only with hard work that they started to fade, hard internal work.

I am reading this other book called The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson  “I envy all suffering, because suffering is necessary to become spiritually beautiful….Those who suffer are the elect of God.”  This of course spoken by a woman who is at this point in the novel, described as a mental patient.

Since I find it impossible to actually be only reading one thing at a time (my bedfellows are not just the dog and the cat but two magazines, my nook and two books)  I have these two stories in my mind.  It is in his mental suffering that Phaedrus who is now Robert Pirsig comes to write this amazing, albeit difficult to read treatise on thought.  He is now in that place where his overwhelming thoughts have found a mode of expression that is somehow socially acceptable.  Would he have ever gotten there without the mental space he created through entering true physical space?

Can we find spiritual enlightenment without the confinement of pain and suffering?  Once that space opens up again, and the hurt is eased do you retreat again to the your previous home under a rock, head in the sand?  I suppose that some do.  Others like me find themselves struggling with thought with truth and understanding.

The world too is overwhelming this way isn’t it?  All the horrible things, all the unjust things, all the things that make you shake your head and feel abysmal at the idiocy of mankind.  Do you find yourself just seeking the solace of an open space where the news is not audible?  And find yourself wanting to bury your head under the covers, park yourself under a rock like a slick black and yellow spotted salamander?  Will all this suffering lead us closer to God?  Here is a question.  Is there an answer?  I find myself thinking this is “God” .  All of it.

I suppose I am not a particularly good Buddhist all this talk of God.  And as I say this I realize this God concept is the same as the Vastness of Being concept.  And now in the cold snowy Sunday morning, I plan to find my space, my solace and serenity in the open air.

Books · Buddhism · Great Quotes · Zen Buddhism · Zen Center of Syracuse

Beginner’s Mind

I have just started to read Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind y Shunryu Suzuki.  Although I have been doing yoga for 15 years, have studied Buddhism for more than 20 and have been practicing off and on for several years with a more recent in depth sitting practice, it is the first time I have read this book.  Since lately I don’t feel alot like writing, I am in an art mode, my expression seems to be coming from a place that is not verbal, my art comes pouring out of me, and I am revisiting and revising old paintings and have ideas for new I though I would take some time to explore this book.

I haven’t been practicing much meditation lately and it is showing.  I feel really stressed, I have been teaching yoga twice a week and practicing at home once or twice a week but I keep having this feeling of lack, of being a person who is missing something vital.  It is an overwhelming feeling.  The one thing I can say is that the internal work I have been doing is at least helping me to notice these feelings, even if it has not eliminated them.  It says that wisdom seeks wisdom, and yet an expert is too discerning to be open to possibilities.  It is in this original mind that we already have wisdom.  I think about this demand to know myself, to have this or to have that which in my case is not so much about having things (Amos Lee sings that life is not all about supply and demand) but sometimes I demand spiritual understanding, spiritual metaphors and spiritual meaning.  When none is forthcoming I feel lost.  I wonder if other people do this too?

It is the same though, this desire to  have your wants met, it is not the same as being thirsty and requiring water, or hungry and needing food, nor cold and needing shelter.  It is not about survival, it is about satisfying some mythical idea of what you think you should have.  When you get it are you really satisfied?  Is it really what you wanted?  Do you yearn for something new now?  Do you reminisce about what you once had.  This idea too that you are who you are, that your identity is somehow tied up in some random thing that you have grasped onto.  You may say you are not who you are without a can of Budweiser in your hand.  You are not who you are without that head of curly black hair.  That you are not who you are without the ability to read and to draw.  I said this the other day to a 3rd grader “What use is life if  you cannot read or make art?”  She said “Well blind people have some use for life but they cannot read or draw.”  This thing that you tie yourself, your identity, can all be torn from you.  Your demands on others, when they are not met you pout and feel unloved, uncared for.  The thing is that it just means your demands have not been met.  Nothing more. It is a self centered way of being.

We are a self centered culture.

We are a self centered species.

I wonder if it is possible to be earth centered?


Some wonderful books

I have been reading quite a lot lately, long lazy days spend huddled under the covers with my birthday Nook and a couple of library books.   I haven’t even watched the streaming back log of Torchwood that awaits me on Netflix, actually I turned on my TV just long enough to catch the weather a couple times this week and other than that I haven’t watched it at all in a few weeks.  One of the books, well actually two are Firethorn and Wildfire by Sarah Micklem.  The stories are about a very passionate woman who lives in a fantasy world that seems medieval in nature but is also clearly fictional.  It has distinctive and descriptive cultures.  The first book has its own culture of male dominated war loving with castes but with the boundaries a bit blurry for the people, the second book drops you into a caste like society of untouchables through to royalty.  I loved the first story and the second, although in the second I found myself suspending my disbelief a bit, I hated where the author placed the main character and I felt myself losing respect for her.  But on the same level I am deeply troubled about what her choices will do to her in the upcoming third novel (which it appears I may have to wait up to five years for)  Curse you Ms. Micklem for making me wait too long! 

Wildfire by Sarah Micklem

The other books I have been reading, or more accurately devouring are the The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  These are in my favorite subgenre of post apocalyptic Earth.  Who knows why I love this genre so much?  I just do.  The books are geared towards older teens which I am finding makes really good reading, not that I would forego my other love of good literature, but I cannot devour a Pyncheon book in three days as I am able to these books.  I still have the third in the Trilogy Mockingjay to read but my strained eyes and headache from reading for several hours last night and waking up early and reading before falling back asleep and then reading before I had even gotten up to go to the bathroom again this morning…ah yes you see, good book!  I love that feeling that you cannot put a book down.  Alas the carpet of maple and sycamore leaves and the whining dog tear me from the third book, but just for a day!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Books · Musings

A good reading chair.

I have come to the conclusion that the one thing missing in my house is a really good chair dedicated to reading. I would prefer the chair is not next to a drafty window (winter in NY drafty=bad), but next to a window, due to my preference for natural light and my love of the outdoors.  It cannot be in the family room which is the one room in the house with a TV, it is too much of a bug zapper draws me in like a moth to light and traps me.  It cannot be in the office because the computer has the same effect on me.  I could put one in the living room but for some strange reason that is one room that lacks a certain coziness.  I don’t know what it is about the room but it only invites company in small groups.  When people come over it pulls them in, it is perfect for that.  But it feels to big for just one.  I suppose the perfect room is my bedroom, which is where I do most of my reading.  I use the bed now but unfortunately the bed in the afternoon is like a nap magnet.  I start to read and pretty soon I am asleep.  At night I start to read and pretty soon I am asleep.  I think the perfect place though is by the window in the living room, the problem is that is where the fold out couch is, and it is so big there isn’t really anywhere else to put it I could sit on the couch but it is one of the most uncomfortable pieces of furniture on the planet, I suspect a bed of nails would be better.  Maybe I need a new house.  One built around a reading chair.  Then I start to think, maybe it needs two reading chairs with a light in between, a woodstove to help with the draft, and a window looking out onto the world.  Not onto the street or the neighbors salmon pink house, but out onto a meadow and a stand of trees, a valley with water, the blue sky or the night sky with the moon rising.