Making sense

Anne Lamott, on writing ...

"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out.”

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Movies 5, 6, 7, and 8

Viewed titles, April 20 - April 26
FiftyFifty Challenge, 2012
(Premise: Read 50 books and watch 50 movies in 2012; obviously, I am behind ... .)

#5: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (Um ... Brad Pitt)
#6: The Adventures of Tin Tin (Fantastic animation! Full-bodied characterization)
#7: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Graphic and raw ~ intricate story line; superb acting)
#8: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (The child narrator annoyed the hell out of me ~)

"The Dragonfly"

One of Louise Bogan's last poems ...

"The Dragonfly"

You are made of almost nothing
But of enough
To be great eyes
And diaphanous double vans;
To be ceaseless movement,
Unending hunger
Grappling love.

Link between water and air,
Earth repels you.
Light touches you only to shift into iridescence
Upon your body and wings.

Twice-born, predator,
You split into the heat.
Swift beyond calculation or capture
You dart into the shadow
Which consumes you.

You rocket into the day.
But at last, when the wind flattens the grasses,
For you, the design and purpose stop.

And you fall
With the other husks of summer.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Thornton Wilder!

So I'm perusing Writers' Almanac and see that today marks my favorite playwright's birthday.
Cool. Missed an opportunity to bake a cake, but oh well.
And then I read a bit more about Mr. Wilder and come to the conclusion that he had a bit of a wild side to him. I am fascinated with his story.
Imagine: You feel a little bored with your life. You're 65 years old, haven't published anything, really, in twenty years, and you decide to take a drive ... from Connecticut to the Southwest. You run out of gas, or your car breaks down, and you stop in some podunk town to get fuel or a new heat pump, and instead of rolling out of town afterwards, you decide to stay. You rent a room with a sink and a toilet nearby and then you plunk down to a typewriter during the day and some meanderings with the locals in the evening.
And after a year and a half, you are finished writing a book, which is then published and goes on to win the National Book Award.
And here I sit, in my kitchen in Kansas City, all filled with self loathing that I am already 46 and haven't published a novel, and can't just pick up and drive to Albuquerque where I know no one to set up shop with my laptop and a case of Diet Coke. I'm thinkin' my husband would care if I left for 18 months; the children, although they're grown, wouldn't quite understand their mama-abandonment (Mom did WHAT?!); I am having a mole removed on May 3. Besides, my personal courage needs some encouraging; gas is nearly four dollars a gallon; I don't know how to change a flat tire (what if I have a flat tire?!?!?!); I can't see well at dark to drive safely; I could be raped by savage locals who have a "thang" for middle-aged women strolling into town with just a laptop and a case of Diet coke. Et cetera.
Wish I had a slice of cake right about now.

Monday, April 16, 2012

So much, so much, so much ...

So much has happened these last six weeks. March certainly came in like a lion.
My husband had a brush with a heart attack. A scary-ass emergency room visit and an overnight stay. A treadmill stress test; an echocardiogram. No heart attack. We don't know why he had chest pain that snaked down his left arm and left him weak, shaky.
A week later, our daughter (age 26) slipped on the driveway at 4:15 a.m., attempting to leave for her opening barista shift ~ and broke her wrist, having fallen on a slippery driveway, courtesy of the only snowfall we had this winter.
Two weeks later, back to the emergency room. Arm-in-cast daughter, doubled over with abdominal pain. A dysfunctional gallbladder to blame. Emergency surgery to yank out the tiny troublesome organ.
My mom died. On Sunday, March 25, 2012, shortly before 1 p.m., she took her last breath. Her artificial heart valve stopped its tick-tick-tick-tick. Although she had been ill for years, her death at Kansas City Hospice House shocked me. I had thought I would be ready when it finally happened. Figured I would feel a sense of relief. Thought I would softly cry and kiss her tenderly on the forehead and tell her goodbye like they do in Hallmark made-for-TV movies.
No, none of the above. Instead, I lost my shit. Threw my body onto hers and heaved anguished cries. I felt strangely detached from my own body. What came out of me was visceral and uncontrolled. I'm so stupid, I'm so stupid, I'm so stupid I sobbed ~ no, wailed ~ not giving a single care to the other people in the room ~ my sister Kelly, the chaplain, a hospice nurse, Kelly's fiance. Oh God, Oh God, Oh God. Mama. Mama. Mama. Oh my God, I'm so stupid, so stupid, so stupid.
So stupid for thinking it would be easy. I shook my head back and forth, rapidly, clenched my eyes shut, hoping that when I opened them that Mom would still be breathing, her valve softly ticking.
Watching Mom die was even worse than watching my father bleed to death back in '07, and I certainly never in a thousand million years would have thought my mother's death would affect me more deeply.
I didn't want to leave her body. I lingered, asked for scissors to cut some of her hair, wanted to crawl into the bed with her, spoon her, scratch her back, sniff her hair, hold her until she became completely cold. I took a picture of her in death using my iPhone.
I look at that picture every day. It does not frighten me; it does not comfort me.
It is.
They made me leave.