Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Poetry Mashup

"The art of trussing isn't hard to master."
- Elizabeth Bishop

"The ladies come and go talking of the pros and cons of cornbread, as stuffing."
- T.S. Eliot

"She wandered lonely as a cloud over to the pies."
- William Wordsworth

"I have miles to eat before I sleep."
- Robert Frost

"Quoth the turkey, nevermore."
- Edgar Allan Poe

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mommy’s Holiday Survival Checklist

Belgian chocolates, assorted
Antique, claw-foot bathtub
Champagne
The mind of a reincarnated Buddha

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

For It Is In Giving That We Receive

For me the holidays present uncomfortable present-giving situations,
when, for example, your banker and genius flautist cardiologist cousin's family surprises
your family with the gift of a trip down the Loire Valley, on a canal boat, plus excursions to local villages to sample their handcrafted cheese on rented bikes and you're smiling really tight because your
return gift, deep down it's decorative bag, is not tickets to Rome
just in time for the spring Festival of Artichokes and Vibrant Good
Health, but a homemade sno-globe. Your son, 5, glued octopusses inside a jam jar and you filled it with blue water and glitter, and, God Almighty, it seemed right at the time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Who are you seeing?

I'm seeing a chiropractor. I'm seeing an Alexander technique teacher.
I'm seeing a rock star. No, I am seeing an orthopedic surgeon: same
thing. Of course I am reading Dr. John Sarno, guru to the stars' back
pain.

This pain I have, what is it? Depends on who you ask. A herniation in the cervical spine. Spinal degeneration. Incorrect thinking, a childhood
accident, the obesity epidemic, that I sit keyboarding too much, that I
don't eat enough greens. That I have negative energy and engage in unhelpful self-talk.

What I want is to be without pain. But it's not simple, for
first I must identify with a school of thought, a philosophy, a world
view of disease and healing be it traditional or alternative or
crystal angel therapy (there is such a thing and it has zealots). Like
religion, medicine has sects, and cults. No one buys what the
others are selling. My neurologist laughed at yoga! My chiropractor
said, cortisone injections are hooey! My surgeons say, schedule
surgery already. Dr. Sarno's New York appointments are thousands of
dollars my HMO says oh, hell no. It's mud pit wrestling.

I am an interfaith and an interdenominational medical pragmatist, please don't judge me, as I wear the veil and eat pork, keep the Sabbath, but mindfully, while sipping anti-inflammatory tea, I just want to get well.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Le Brain to Le Page

This is my first voice-dictated blog. I didn't think it would be so
hard to write sin manos. But it is hard, infuriating, even.

It would seem that cutting out the middleman, the hands, would
streamline the work, enabling a direct conversation: Le Brain to Le
Page. Trala! Viola! But no. My brain-to-page conversational ability
is that of a clingy three-year-old who has been unceremoniously dropped into a new daycare.
Sayonara Mom. Adieu middleman. There will be tears.

For I miss my middleman, I should say middleladies, plural, for there are ten of them. For 38 years writing has been a handcraft, writing implement to paper, phalanges all articulated, hunched over, something akin to knitting.

Voice recognition feels like it removes me from the process. Look at me, I'm standing up writing! Walking around! Making a sandwich! I feel I'm Sci-Fi and should be wearing a tight silver space suit. I feel like a denim overalls-wearing farmgirl in space, and unable to find the words to describe how far away is Kansas.

The Holiday Letter Or, Little White Lies

My policy is extremely strict truthfulness. Until October. Then it is
open season, goose season, a.k.a. The Holidays, the most wonderful time of the year...for cookies, yes, and for the little white lies, vague details, and baldfaced subterfuge that are designed to bring more comfort and joy to the world.

Will my holiday letter detail a year's worth inconsequences, disturbing medical unknowns, and parental prat falls? No! My letter, embossed on thick card stock that I can't afford (tell no one) will outline a year of success: personal and professional and, most important, parental. I am afterall a SAHM.

Therefore I must showcase that I have balanced the household budget, kept the bathrooms spotless, taken well-lighted video of important occasions, scrap-booked, every birthday-remembered, provided the necessary stimulation via age-appropriate crafts and games for my children, while in heels effortlessly sauteeing gourmet vegetables and squiring the van from practice to playgroup with a smile.

I will not tell the truth which is I wrote this holiday letter from the floor of the
crafts closet where I was for a week, covered in Martha Stewart knockoff glitter. It was best week of my life.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk

It's National Novel Writing Month. "So what's that like?" Friends and family asked last year, when I did it. Like a marathon of knitting is how I think of it, except with no thread, no needles.

Writing is handicraft. It should be offered on Etsy. Whether longhand on parchment with a goose feather quill, or keyboarding, you are crocheting my friends. Purling with verbs. Looming. Tapestry-making like ladies in waiting who sat around the castle needlepointing and gossiping their way to making the Unicorn Tapestries. They had an endpoint in mind, of course: unicorn, walled garden, pot-bellied, serious-faced naked virgin. But along the way they were heads-down, needles-raised.

Were they alone? No. Well, sometimes. Like if they had some extra knitting to do on a hoof or pot-belly or something.

So my advice? Heed the looming Renaissance ladies in waiting and the stich-n-bitches, WriMoers, and go to the write-ins. Share the mirth of anemic word counts, place your laptops intimately back to back, weave together the threads of your writing lives. Few people do this and we need each other. Who else understands the strange call of 4 a.m. to resolve a love triangle between Mavis and Ebeneezer or to cast the jewel of Entemann's into the firey pit of Melchior?