Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rust of the anchor

I heard myself speak, a quiet insistent voice I did not recognize, loud only in its force. Unyielding force, but no push, just position. It sounded hoarse from the inside, its frequency having never touched the air.

It did not feel like brushed steel. Maybe tempered iron. In any case, a matrix of metals - elements I never knew belonged to me.

I cannot say I am comfortable with it, it feels more of me than mine. For now. But I do like the idea of mining, of a hidden mine manned by dedicated hands that seek not exploitation, but proper use of natural resources. Of earthy elements inside my own private earth.

Monday, March 30, 2009


It is time to sort what you have been given, all of it. Pattern wire to do the cutting so you don't have to. Your only task is to witness the sift as it happens. There is no alchemy here, no transformation. Just the river bed and what will remain.

Make no mistake, you will be winnowed, your cooperation is not necessary. The cool current of a sigh will finish the work.

See what you can find in the remains, what you will be left with. Lick your shadow wounds, take your time. One day you will think of this as a good day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can I do that too?

There's a blogger scheduled outage, sometime today, I'll be sleeping, or almost because apparently all things blogger are managed on California time. Fine by me. There are a few things in life that really should be managed California style. Washington (state, not DC) too. Illinois too. Actually, I like to think that every state (both United and soul) has something it manages to do better than any other. Washington - coffee, for starters. Illinois - wild mushrooms. This funky soul state I'm currently in - hopefully blow one speck of dust off that mirror.

I would also like to add that I love the notion of a scheduled outage. I would like to schedule one myself. Just a parenthetical notation of a few hours, a day maybe, a week would be ideal but that would logistically be difficult to manage. I would take the time to look at the chips, suspended in mid-air before they fall.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

If and when

I talked to one of the bad guys in my dream last night. He was really bad, pure in his essence of badness, much more convincing than in a movie. We spoke in abstract terms of my capture and conversion, which, thankfully, the dream did not make me witness. We laughed, his laughter sincere and mine not so much, about the difficulties inherent in transition and initiation. He told me that everything I had experienced up until then was just an avant-goût. A pre-taste, a before taste of what was to come. We spoke of this over cocktails in a well lit bar.

Bad guys aside, avant-goût is what remained from that dream.

What are you getting a before taste of today?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fall back

The weather's been nice here. Upper 50's, sunny. As soon as I can, I go barefoot.

All the floors in my house are hardwood. Except the kitchen which is very cold ceramic tile. Which feels great in the summer and breath-catchingly cold in the winter. The hardwood floors are very old and very, um, rustic (read: neither waxed nor vitrified nor whatever else one does to a hardwood floor). Which means that you can only go barefoot or wear shoes or slippers in my house. Socks = many splinters.

I was upstairs yesterday, working from home, cleaning, doing whatever. I sat down at my desk and crossed my right foot over my left knee. And saw a HUGE splinter dangling from one of my toes. About a half an inch long and about as thick as an acupuncture needle. It didn't hurt, obviously, I hadn't even noticed it, who knows how long I'd walking around with it in my toe.

And isn't that just the way it happens sometimes? You walk around with this thing that you don't even know about.

What have you got that you haven't noticed?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Four people told me they thought something strange was going on yesterday. Cosmic energies swirling about.

Julie pointed out to me how strange it was to hear a mother (me) say to her children, "Stop bickering and stop speaking French."

My favorite violet ice cream doesn't taste very good anymore. It tastes like shampoo.

Boy1 had an dental appointment this morning. Not his first. Cavities were involved. He was anxious. While we were in the waiting room I walked him through a couple of visualization exercises. When he opened his eyes he said, "Thank you, Mama. I can do this anytime I need to find my courage."

Monday, March 16, 2009

Spring forward

I spent a couple of hours in a walled garden yesterday, my back to the sun. It was a beautiful day, a promise of spring, blue sky and warm sun.

A few minutes after I sat down, I saw a butterfly. And then I watched the lizards come out of their winter hiding places and sit, like me, backs in the sun.

My winter hiding place? Cafés and wine bars. I'm not sure how that differs much from what I do when winter is over.

We haven't changed the clocks yet. So, for a few weeks, I'm an hour closer to my friends and family in the States. Can you feel it?

Friday, March 13, 2009

A la carte

A gift has been handed down for generations in my family. I have not had the privilege of meeting most of those who hands held it before mine. But I have known them in my way. I have come to recognize them over time, their quiet visits to my dreams. They never participate, only witness. I feel them there, from time to time, silently guarding the histories I have sought to rewrite.

I do not know who first brought the gift into the family or even why. I could only imagine its originally intended use. Given this heirloom as a child, I did not recognize its value or understand how to make it my own.

So I used it as best I could, held it in my child's hands. Awkward and unsteady with a brave smile to reassure.

Last week, I tripped and stumbled upon the truth of that gift. I suppose I could've seen it before but my childhood vision quickly became habit, then reality, and it never occurred to me to take a second look at something that had always been there.

Despite decades of misuse, unintentional but still there, I believe its essence is still intact. I will hold it up to the light when I've finished polishing off the deposits of time and residue of my misunderstanding.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Take away

Tell me what you will remember, tell me what you will always know.

Just the shadowed outline, the context that confines. The title of each chapter of this work that is pure fiction.

So I can leave it here, to be buried in the ground. I will let time take care of the things I cannot. I will come back years from now and see what the earth has been able to do with it, the work I could not do. Listen to the stories the dirt tells about its petrification. Witness its transformation into the smoothest of river stones.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Lay me down

and tell me a story. A good one, with a queen and knights and rogues and stone tablets with the rules of the kingdom etched by a master carver's hand. Fill it with honor and integrity and universal truths. Make every character an archetype, their private tales told in a breath, resonance in the exhale.

Spin, weave, loom, entwine, curve, twist, and lace it for me.

Whisper to me and tell me to close my eyes so I can't look for the ending.

When the story is over, tell me the difference between the story you've told me and the tale you've told yourself.

Friday, March 06, 2009

It felt like home

For a very brief moment.

I was driving to work this morning. I stopped at a red light. I was digging through my bag for my sunglasses and then I looked up. You know I grew up in Illinois, right? So, to my left was a huge truck with bales of hay. To my right was a pick-up truck, one of those really big ones I've only seen in the States. Big and black and shiny, like the man who owns it really takes care of it. I smiled, it was odd to see those things in downtown Laval, France.

People are like that too, aren't they? You hear a voice and it's a sound that makes you feel like you've come home. And it's a sound you'd recognize anywhere, forever, no matter how long it's been since you last heard it.

Or they say something, something only they would say, and it feels so familiar, so them - even if they've never said it before, and so grounding that some part of you sighs in relief. That magnet moment when you are touched by where you are known and who knows you.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Un coup de cafard

Coup is one of those multipurpose words with many usages and just as many translations. A blow, as in un coup dur - a hard blow. A punch, as in un coup de poing - literally a blow of the fist. A gust, as in un coup de vent - a gust of wind. A kick, as in un coup de pied - of the foot.

A cafard is a cockroach.

A coup de cafard is - well, I don't really know exactly how to translate it. It's less severe than depression but more intense than a bad mood. Maybe like being down in the dumps.

Which is what I've been for the past few weeks. But I don't want to talk about that.

I want to talk about a literal coup de cafard.

It was wednesday a few weeks ago and my favorite café was closed. So I went to a different one. I sat down on a bench. Next to a cockroach. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it so I just got a tissue from my bag and grabbed the roach with it and got up to carry it to the garbage can. Which is when it jumped out of the tissue and into my bag. So, instead of being discreet about throwing a cockroach away, I had to be discreet about finding a cockroach in my bag - which, by the way, I call my Mary Poppins bag because of what it can and does contain.

I did finally find it and discreetly dispose of it.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Urban myth revealed to be true

The Ikea in Rennes actually exists.

I went there this weekend.

Of course, I went with a very specific (and short) list of things I wanted (2).

Of course, I spent the double of what I had intended to and came home with items (5) that were not on my list.

On the upside, I'm very pleased with everything I bought.

On the downside, heavy dining room tables are best assembled in good (read: strong) company, not alone. I put it together without much difficulty, although I did realize that I need a new philips screwdriver, but turning it right side up was a huge (read: heavy) pain in the ass.