Wednesday, October 30, 2013

a change is in the air

I had cut the blue pill in half, right on the line that reminds me of our brain split, left hemisphere, right hemisphere. This experiment did not work. I am now again taking one whole, un-circumsized blue pill. So although the sadness of loss lingers and at times weighs unbearably, now with the help of my little blue friend, I can enjoy the crunch of an apple again, as I longed for in my last poem.

Ever takes wild careening turns between being impossible to stop, to control, listen to ( the screams! ) corral, engage or take anywhere that does not lend itself to obtrusive fondling and dismantling, to being hilarious, engaging, affable, charming beyond words, interesting and portable to all major and minor occasions. She is so cute at times that I shriek, CUTENESS ATTACK and lunge on her, pinning her tiny body underneath me like a wiggling insect and in what has become Lola and my own motto 'kissing your face right off your face!' while she giggles hysterically. I am the most grabby and physical of mothers which is difficult now that Lola is eleven and of course needs some more space. Still, she is eleven! so that same requested space can be resented and shed in a moment of tears and ' Mommy I miss you! '.  In which case I throw HER on the bed and hug her and kiss her 'cream puffs' as I have called Lola's cheeks since she was a baby.

This week has been achingly beautiful. The sky a pure blue with enormous white clouds and watercolored dark grey in the center, releasing in torrents of rain at night. I lay awake for an hour last night in rapture listening to the rain and watching The Tudors. Ever slept right next to me, my arm still trapped underneath her from our nursing session. Ever will be three in December. I am preparing her for changes in our nursing schedule. Many of you will be compassionately horrified to know that Ever still wakes two or three times a night to nurse. This will be stopping, and it will not be fun. I have raised four children and none of them, by FAR, have needed or adored- worshipped even- nursing the way Ever does. The look of pure bliss on her face when she nurses is an infant's!  When we lay in bed at night to nurse, I feel so happy. When she wakes to nurse, I feel supremely annoyed. 

My novel is coming along at a beautiful clip when I can beg borrow or steal the time to work on it. I just finished the chapter I was working on and am extremely happy with that. I also will hopefully be able to tell you all some exciting writing news here very soon, maybe this week.

On my wall there is a poster I drew and hung up. It is a motto of mine:

Monday, October 28, 2013


how passionately i miss

the flight of every cell
thrown up in the air like confetti
glinting in the sunlight.

a fluster of kisses,
the delicate tinkling of silverware
and laughter.

the crack crunch of apple
split between the teeth
like a logger with axe.

the sleepy awakening of 
joy in a midnight dark abandonment-
aware of one.

the splash of water against the chest
and leg-
the shivers!

the pirouette of starbursts
against the pupil
when laughter breaks the body

oh life!
why did you 
abandon me.

or where, perhaps
is the question.

i am limp and pliant.
somewhere inside,
dismay spins uneasily

a bent ballerina
a broken leg-

Saturday, October 26, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

I've been looking around for how to run better because I have aches and pains. I took up running two months ago.

Corbyn Hightower writes about What It's Like To Sell Your Family's Only Car  I started writing about my family's financial troubles after my diagnosis and surgeries and Mr. Curry lost his business, and in all this time, it is still rare to find anyone willing to lay their personal story out there in blogland.

Laura Harrington writes about taking a month long social media break during a vacation, which led her to ask Are We Losing Our Minds?  This is just one of a handful of articles about this subject I've seen recently- a subject we are rapidly growing concerned about. I will say that I do not have a cell phone, much less a smart phone, and this distracted way of existing that can come about is why.

Look out! It's a BOY PARTY

This is my new favorite Ted talk. Stress much? Watch this talk.

A breakthrough for sufferers of fibromyalgia

Naomi Kimbell writes one of the best, most originally voiced essays I've read online in as long as I can remember: The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs On Rumpus. She is unusually good. I know I will be hearing her name again.

What is in a photograph? A photograph of a murderer? Fascinating, on The Frailest Thing

Mark Oppenhemeir writes Forty Thoughts On A Fourth Daughter. Imminently entertaining and sweet ...and I relate!!

"Several times someone has said something like, “Four! Oh my God, that’s insane!” — and then quickly apologized. But I like that reaction. I’m 39 years old now, too old to be special in much. It’s all downhill for my tennis game, for my eyesight, for my memory. Number of children is still something I can win at."

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bates Nut Farm

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Essay In Equals

Hi y'all. There is a new and completely beautiful magazine called EQUALS, and I have an essay in it. Take a gander.

What Do Wives Do? is the name of my game, and there are thirty or so other essays in here, along with completely fabulous- I'm not preening, they are- illustrations, and photographs. This is the first edition and the theme is Exploration, of any kind. There are essays on New York City, essays on religion, essays on motherhood, essays on every kind of creative exploration. The quality and beauty of this magazine exceeded my hopes. I am really proud to be a part of this. It's more like an art book than a magazine. I've been reading and re-reading. The layout is so modern and beautiful, even the way they design fillers is interesting and pretty to look at.
You can buy one here.
Their website is here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ian Turns Seventeen

Having children so far apart in age can be disconcerting to your experience of the space/time continuum. Watching Ian blow out his candles, strong and broad shouldered, inches taller than I am, a young man who has had girlfriends, gotten into fights, aced classes I never even made it to in school... some part of my brain cannot correctly process this and the face of my two year old girl standing next to him, as she grins and blows out half the candles before he can. The space in my mind that holds where I am in time occasionally feels like a chalk line that can be blown away in the blink of an eye, leaving me somehow ten years old, fifteen, the single mother of a baby boy who has blown my heart into the stratosphere, the married mother of two boisterous and beloved little boys and one hilarious, sweet natured and easy going little girl, and simultaneously the married mother of four children, almost forty years old, on the brink of so much, yet so much behind me.

Ian comes once a week for barely two days. Once a month, we get him all weekend, and once a month, his mother has him all weekend. The time we have with him is never enough, and for many years of his childhood, Mr. Curry would have mild spells of depression during the happiest times with our other children that Ian could not be a part of. There were times that Ian was thrilled and relieved he had another home to go to, and times he was depressed and upset that he had to leave us. There has never been a time for myself or Mr. Curry when we didn't feel his absence, or the joy of his presence. Ian has been a relatively easy teenager, although I suspect most kids would seem easy in the wake of Dakota's years aged fifteen to seventeen, in which I aged years and years, as parents do during times when their children seem hell bent on certain types of destruction that you cannot completely prevent, or understand. Ian was a painfully shy little boy who compensated in later elementary school by being aggressive and combative. It was his way, the way of many boys in our culture, of protecting himself against the onslaught of a world that expected an unusually smart, bespeckled, observant and sensitive little fellow who was prone to crying over hurt feelings to be tough, loud, physically bold and uninterested in the subtleties of life. Dakota went through this same metamorphosis to some degree, because while he was physically bold and confident, he was acutely emotionally sensitive and kind natured. Neither boys found a way, despite the sanctuary and devoted teachings of our family, to get through fifth grade without hiding many of their finer points, and exaggerating or plain making up more aggressive ones. But- a big one, Pee-Wee- they had each other. They always had each other.

Fifteen and sixteen are rough years for most, and Ian has handled these years with truly unusual responsibility. He has five siblings total, three here with us, and two-  both small- at his other home. The last few years he has watched his other siblings most days after school until his mom got home from work, alongside honors classes, ( there is Gate, and then above gate there is something called Seminar, and that is what Ian has been in ) extra-cirriculur activities which have varied from running, managing the backstage of the drama club, football and wrestling, and usually excellent grades. He helps with the housework and makes dinner at his other home, and here is expected also to pitch in on Saturdays for an hour or so while the whole family whips the house into shape. By and large he does these things with a sophisticated sense of teamwork and obligation that has always surprised me. I never get used to it- probably in part because as a child I was constantly and selfishly petulant about my part in the household chores and going ons.

If you want to know about Ian, you have to know that he is the worst teaser of the kids- the one most likely to yank your chair out from under you or give you the wrong directions to the bank. If you want to know about Ian, you also need to know that he answers the phone twice or three times a week and talks to Lola about her homework for a half-hour. He calls Ever 'big girl' as in " Hey big girl, come  help me with this. " He always calls me back. Years ago, he started saying I love you back to me when I told him I loved him- he's never stopped, and I've never stopped feeling stupidly happy about it. The last few years Ian and I have gotten closer than ever, and we have many talks about all kinds of things, from sex to feminism to high school to marriage to politics. We argue about politics, mainly, because Ian is the only Republican in our household. He steals my screen saver and replaces it with pictures of Mitt Romney. He also opens and holds the door for me, carries the groceries, tells me I'm doing a good job and despite his general silence on emotions, writes tear jerkingly sweet cards on holidays.

Fridays are family night, and Ian, Ever, Lola and I usually run out and grab the food ( something like miso soup and rice with mixed veggies ) and come home to eat and watch a movie. One week recently we watched Housesitter with Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin- old school! Saturday we wake up whenever, get breakfast burritos, and eat at Starbucks with our coffee. Then whatever- the park, the bookstore, home again. It's a comforting and beautiful routine that I look forward to all week. This weekend was jam packed because it was Ian's birthday, so Friday night we went to sleep to wake Saturday morning and run errands, nap, and everyone met out for dinner- all of us, and both sets of grandparents. We ate and came home for gifts and cake. Dakota came from Long Beach and spent Friday night.

During this weekend, looking at Ian, I could not stop thinking about Ian as a baby,  maybe about one years old. He didn't want anyone but his dad to hold him, not me, not Grandparents, no one. He let them, reluctantly, but would often cry. He cried when he saw big rigs on the freeway, because he thought his dad was in them, driving away. He would spend hours quietly and well behaved, as long as his dad was there. Mr. Curry doted on him- that's just the right word for it. It's one of the reasons I fell in love with Mr. Curry. Now, here we are, years later, and I know if Ian were a baby again, he'd let me hold him. I think he'd even hold me back.

I love you Ian.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

Meryl Streep's introduction to Hilary Clinton is empowering, inspiring and informative.

This piece by Andre Dubas, informal and passionate, on making a case for writing a novel before you know how it ends, is one of my favorite 'writers on writing'. 

A list of companies that Monsanto owns or controls.

Seven writers in the rooms they write, on how they write.

These piece in Jezebel on Rielle Hunter's 'apology' made me laugh out loud.

Please read this: Female In Public Ah, but there I go again. I am the guilty one. Guilty of being Female in Public. My body, my behavior, my posture, my words — they belong to others, who will judge whether they are suitable or not.

Kristin Auger writes In Defense of the Personal Blog

Oo la la! in France, a new cat cafe

Katie Granju on When Grief Attacks

Debunking the "Guns Don't Kill People, People Kill People" myth

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Literary Survey Yay!

Thank you to Lindsey, who gave her own list here.

Author you’ve read the most books from (the grammar nerd in me has to say:from whom you have read the most books): John Irving, Joyce Carol Oates, Sylvia Plath, L.M. Montgomery, J.K. Rowling, Alice Munro

Best Sequel Ever: I have no idea. I can think of good sequels, but none that fit this title.

Currently Reading: Night Film by Marisha Pessl and Le Divorce by Diane Johnson and The Spooky Art by Norman Mailer ( The Spooky Art is my favorite book on writing, and I've read it many times- I often keep it around just to dip into )

Drink of Choice While Reading: Coffee or Alcohol but mostly coffee

E-reader or Physical Book? Physical books. Always.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: Harry Potter

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance: My grandmother gave me the  Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy, which I had no excitement about, and turned out to be some of the most unique, phenomenonally written books I've ever read- utterly captivating, devastating and a thrilling journey into a completely different life than I've ever known or imagined.

Hidden Gem Book: The Big House by George Howe Colt

Important Moment in your Reading Life: Reading Rabbit, Run by John Updike in middle school. Changed my life.

Just Finished: Levels of Life by Julian Barnes ( memoir of grief )

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read: Harlequin romances, although I did read them in high school.

Longest Book You’ve Read: Maybe The Bible? The Eleanor Roosevelt biography series, in which each book is enormous. ( they are so, so good )

Major book hangover because of: Harry Potter. Sniff.

Number of Bookcases You Own: Five.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times: Anne of Green Gables.

Preferred Place To Read: In my bed.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: “In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases” 

Reading Regret: All the books I will not know.

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series): A Song of Fire and Ice oh but maybe this doesn't count, I don't think the last book is out. Can't think of any other series though?

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books: The World According To Garp by John Irving, Ariel by Sylvia Plath, A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Unapologetic Fangirl ForHarry Potter. Also the Spenser novels by Robert. B Parker

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: Whenever John Irving releases a new novel.

Worst Bookish Habit: Food and drink spills on the pages.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: A Stained White Radiance By James Lee Burke ( so good! )

Your latest book purchase: Night Film, by Marisha Pessl and Then I Was Mad by Mercer Mayer

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late): Le Divorce by Diane Johnson. I am a huge fan of this trilogy, gets better every time I read. She's unique and so very good.

Friday, October 11, 2013

October Life

Fall has touched California and San Diego is beautiful this week, with two days of blowsy wind and crisp, darkening leaves twirling and diving all around our porch and onto the grass and walkways around the condo. The air gets watercolor blue layers and the sky goes grey blue and then it rained, for two days. There is a kind of joyous rejuvenation that happens inside of me every time this year that is supposed to occur during the Spring, but happens for me with the onset of rain, wind, sun that curtsys and makes room for burgeoning clouds, overflowing gutters, doors that slam shut on their own, stamped feet at the doorway. 

I have been writing and writing and writing. My novel, Agitate My Heart, is getting closer and closer toward the first finish line, and I am more in love with it every day, after a long period of cold hearted disapproval. I also have assigned writing, paid writing even! however small the payment, such as for Budget Fashionista, and then essay writing, like the piece that went up this week at Joanne Bamberger's website, The Broad Side. If you want to read it, take a look here. I am also working on a short story as well as editing my poetry book, The Pirate Queen.

I love this space here at Flux. I love what this blog has done for me as a person and a mother and a writer, I love what I have been able to do for others, and I will be forever grateful.  Every time I come here it's like coming home.  Even when I'm gone for a while, when I come back, it's just as easy and familiar and precious to me.

Friday, October 4, 2013

People In Your Neighborhood

This week has been deeply unsettling, scary and strange all across our country. I hope all of you are tucked in with some good books and coffee or tea for at least part of this weekend, invigorating and relaxing your big ole brain muscle. I plan on some serious child snuggling for heart rejuvenation. 

A literary hero of mine in video, John Irving, on how to tell if you are a writer. His voice, his style, is absolutely essential for me, I suspect for the rest of my life. Here he talks about how hard it is for new novelists today. :( No surprise, but still depressing all the same.

Lisa Adams is a blogger, mother and living with terminal breast cancer. She writes about her view on the October launch of 'Breast Cancer Awareness' via Facebook. Important to read.

Marisha Pessl's five books she keeps at her bedside. I am reading her second novel, Night Film, right now, and loving it.

The Truth Box.  This is so moving.

I recognized Louise Moulin's words on getting inspired while writing her first novel. The way she describes opening up to inspiration is often how it feels to me, also. The quote she found is now going to get written out and put up next  to this very computer I'm working on.

This was a fascinating read from NYT- Scientists Seek To Rein In Diagnoses of Cancer

My good friend and poet Dena Rash Guzman wrote a piece for Dirt and Seeds blog on how to give a good poetry reading, and it got picked up by Poetry magazine online! Woot!

I have some pictures on this blog: The Female Selfie

A work from home mom does a video parody and QUITS. I could relate, yo.

For more video levity, how about this?  Smootch.

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