Sunday, July 30, 2017

Under Water.

When I was a child, I was ninety-nine percent sure that I wanted to be a mermaid when I grew up.  I loved the ocean, I toddled toward it on a mission before I was even a year old.  I loved the waves, the power, the water.

Specifically, and more to a mermaid's point...., I loved being under the water.  Because I love the way the world sounds under water.  The muted noises from above and around you; the muffled sound of water pressing in on you; the eternal silence of sea.  The unbelievable loudness of it.  It's all so mysterious and yet embracing.

And, between swimming in the three or four different pools, the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea this summer, I've recalled this sensation that, as a child and a young woman, I loved.

I love the way the world sounds under water.

I learned, at a young age, to slip beneath a breaking wave and let the white, raw, churning head crash over me.  All that primordial power overhead, that sound of history contained in ocean.  There was nothing more exhilarating to me- it was my pied piper.  But still there are so many more sounds- alone in a pool, the way you can hear yourself move through it like you are your own current, like you create your own current.  Or in a busy pool when you can hear someone else's current, their body, move past yours.



Swirls of sound from every direction, all of them like ghosts in the water.

I love that you can, at once, hear everything around you and yet nothing at all.  I love that you lose all sense of time because it has no place in this wild space.

It is endlessly ancient and enthralling.

Also, I may still want to be a mermaid when I grow up.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Feliz Cumpleaños, Mama.

Growing up, I've had a running list of all the reasons that I would never have children.  I'm not kidding.

Of course over the years the list has grown, changed, reasons have dropped or skyrocketed in priority given my mood, my mindset, the time frame at which I discovered the reason...  Most of it relates to actually being pregnant.  Keep this in mind.

A Sample:

1.  No, I will not give up caffeine for 9 months.  (This was the first reason ever and remained close to the top of the list no matter the time frame or mindset).

2.  Aliens.

3.  When you can see a human foot or hand protruding from your belly.  (See above, Aliens).

4.  The Discovery Channel (or even the birth scene in Knocked Up) special on natural childbirth.

5.  The waddle.  (Offensive, yes.  But also true?  Also yes).

The thing is, I always sort of feared having kids mostly because I sort of feared the kind of mother I would be.  Which has nothing to do with pregnancy and everything to do with actually rearing children.

Because my mother is currently, and was absolutely when I was growing up, the most amazing mother.  Period.  I know a lot of kids say that about their parents... or maybe they don't.  The point is, I mean it.  My mom was kickass.  She still is kickass, but in a way that is now more adult, more deliberate.  There's a difference between kickass mom that gives you a cherry pie pod (does anyone else remember those things? I feel like Hostess made them and they were simultaneously disgusting and delicious) for lunch in the summer just because and the kickass mom that you can drink margaritas with.  A difference that comes with age, time, and experience.

If you haven't met her, it's honestly truly hard to explain my mom.  She wasn't a traditional mom, a stay-at-home mom, a pie-baking, apron-on mom.  She almost never had tissues or band aids in her purse- but hey, she's a nurse so it was sort of expected that my brother and I would be of hale and hearty and never-get-out-of-school-sick stock.  She wasn't protective in the creepy kids-should-be-bathed-in-hand-sanitizer-and-never-track-mud-in-the-house way.  She was protective in the I-probably-would-be-legit-dead-at-least-4-times-over way.  No seriously: that time I was drowning; that time I was an inch away from being hit by a car, those two-ish time when starvation became less in my head and more in every inch of my body.

My mom was (is) a wild-woman.  She was (is) a ferocious lover, mother, friend, confidant.  She did (does) silly things as frequently as she did (does) serious things, if not more frequently.  She healed people, took (takes) care of people, worked hard for everything she has.  She laughed (laughs) a lot, loudly, and heartily.

It's hard to contend with that when thinking about having your own kids.  When I think about my childhood, I'm filled with really happy, golden, insanely good memories (except for those with my brother :) ).  And so many of those memories involve my mom.  And then when I think about the children I could have, I think.... how can I be that awesome?  How could I ever be that awesome?  What if I'm not?  What if I can't be?  What if, what if, what if.

For all the what-ifs in her life, Mama made it work.

So, to my crazy, wonderful, lively, ridiculous, silly, caring, compassionate, bright-as-can-be, mom... Happy Birthday.

Happy, Happy Birthday.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Poetry, Ghost

I just found a cache of poetry, hidden in the husk of my old Macbook's hard drive (which itself lives in a file on the desktop of my desktop).  It's my poetry, pieces that I wrote over years and years, and then in a burst of one season in New Hampshire.

It's odd to see it again- collected this way.  I knew it was there, I mean... in a moment of rare egoism, I pulled my favorites from the annals of old computers, journals, scrap paper, and put them together with the thought of publishing a (very) small book.  Then the moment was gone, replaced by my usual entrenched lack of confidence.  So I knew it was there.

But I didn't remember what I put where, or how I let the collection take on a specific canto.  Looking at it now, it doesn't work.  Certain pieces need to be moved to the top, others removed completely.

Then there's the editing.

Of course there are type-os (my father would have a field day with the type-os) because I type too fast and only ever let my eyes graze the words appearing on the screen.  But they can be dealt with.  But then there's the loss of these poems' spirits, the loss of what I meant and felt and saw, when I initially wrote them.  Lost because translation from scribbled on a page to clean and typed in a Word document doesn't always work.

There's one, called "Père Lachaise, Paris, November."  I remember writing it (not immediately after I visited Père Lachaise for the first time, nor even when I was actually living in Paris).  I remember frantically trying to get my hand to keep up with my brain.  I remember the bound burgundy cloth journal it's written in, the way I scrawled the title on the side of the page rather than at the beginning of the poem, the blueness of the ink.  I remember a line that I wrote:

for the miracle of birth is mine...

What it looks like in my head.
I remember it, I remember writing it, I can see it in my mind's eye.  But nowhere in the typed, sanitized, black-and-white version of that poem does that line appear.  And I can't for the life of me recall why I took it out.  It's a pretty important part, it means something in the overall flow... and yet it's missing.  Because of my apparently tragic editing skills.

Mostly, re-reading these pieces, I remember how I used to write.  I wrote feverishly- I wrote the way people write when they're scared of dying the next day.  I wrote the way you write when you're the only person reading.  I wrote with passion and abandon.

And lots of scribbling.  

What affected me the most, though, finding all that poetry, is how little I write now.  How much I have forgotten, how much I have let go.

It breaks my heart that I only quickly skimmed the document (tentatively called 'Conversations') when I came across it (looking for something else entirely) and have not yet gone back to read each and every word as a singular entity and gift.

The things we remember, the things we forget.  Man.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

The A* Word

This is going to sound weird.

But growing up, maybe until I was in my early 20s, I convinced myself that someone with an "A name" was going to play a really important role in my life.  I mean, I'm a girl and a romantic in my heart of hearts, so I figured I was going to marry or have a significant relationship with a man called Alex, Andy, Aaron (you get the idea).  Someone with an A name.  I was literally convinced of it.

(Scratch that- it is most definitely weird.)

I was, apparently, incorrect in my conviction.

Nevertheless, I have a lot of A words that roll around in my brain.  Words that haunt and harass me, words that mean something to me more than they would to others.  The other night I was laying in bed, sleepless, thinking about words.  As I sometimes do.  Some people count sheep... I list words.  And the only words I thought of that night started with the letter- you guessed it- A.

Here are a few, in no particular order:

Atlas: I could write encyclopedic tomes on what this word means to me.  I've blogged about it here to distraction.  It's a word that attracts every fiber of my being.  If there is one word above all others, it's Atlas.

Anorexic: No-brainer.

Aggressive: or Aggression.  I'm not a terribly aggressive person and yet there are times when I feel aggression boil in me like I'm the Incredible Hulk (or some other similarly large and unusually-colored creature) and I struggle to contain it.  I feel like my emotional hackles get in the way of my rational normal and BOOM.  Shirt ripped, angry growl, menacing sneer... I'm THAT guy.  Or girl.  Whatever, you get my point.

Anger:  See above but use the words angry and anger.  Also, I sometimes throw things.

Abasement (self): No-brainer, again.

Shall I keep going?


Still, it keeps going.  All these words.  All of these beautiful A words.

And until next time, Adieu. :)

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Waves. Obsessions.

Sometimes I sit and I watch the waves on the fjord.  The undulating, endless waves.

I understand how waves work, I do.  But still they seem so special, so miraculous.  I think it's the constancy that gets to me, the interaction between atmosphere and ocean.  It's hypnotic.

Granted, I know that everyone who has ever lived near the water has probably had the same lost moments.  We have all started out at the sea, moving and moving and moving.   Endless in motion, unbelievable in depth, hypnotic.

So here's this.

Also, I cannot stop watching The Killing.  Apparently I missed it when it was out... oh, say... 6 years ago.  Either I missed out or I was an absolute flake (I'm not going to argue against the latter) because I literally cannot stop watching it.  I'm being even the slightest bit dramatic.  My husband is out of town for 12 days and because I'm in binge territory, the series won't last that long.  Not even close.

On that note, Joel Kinnaman is unbelievable.  And easy on the eyes no less.  Just sayin'.

Because I've never been afraid to cop up to my own flaws... anything from this brand.  I am utterly obsessed.  In fact, I'm surprised that it's never made the list before.  Every time I fly through Amsterdam on my way to anywhere, I stop and have a peruse.  I think it started when I was living in Paris as a 19 year old.  Longchamp's bags seemed so casual and yet so refined, elegant.  They still do...  I love me some books on tape... or on iPod as it were.

This dress.  Specifically, the 'soft apricot' color.  I'm off my dome for it and yet cannot even begin to think of a place or a reason to wear it.

This time two weeks ago, I was kicking it in Florida.  I was quite warm, sunburnt sometimes, and subsisting on a whole lot of happiness.  I discovered a deep affinity for Earl's... a dive bar with an amazing crew, lots of motorcycles, and a sense of humor about itself.  I also rediscovered a love of mimosa's.

And on that note, Happy Wednesday.