“We wear clothes, and speak, and create civilizations, and believe we are more than wolves. But inside us there is a word we cannot pronounce and that is who we are.”
—Anthony Marra, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena
After finishing The Empathy Exams in early January I picked A Constellation of Vital Phenomena and while I never thought it would appeal to me, it did. Hugely. This book restored my faith in the future of the novel. I knew nothing about Chechnya yet the writing drew me in and as the pieces began to come together, I was speechless. This is seamless storytelling and lyric language at its best.
I picked up Station Eleven next which was good, even great in parts. After all the hype around it, I expected more. This is the story of survival after a pandemic and there were many glimmers of a good story but the book bounces around like a crazy ball and the glimmers fizzle out. The plot with the graphic novel was ridiculous (imo).
Up next, Dept of Speculation which is not quite a novel, more like a very fragmented long short story. Speculation made me hurt for the woman and laugh at her joke: “Why couldn’t the Buddhist vacuum in corners? Because she had no attachments.”
PS I get a lot of emails about books so I’ve put a Bookish link in the nav bar. If you click on the link you’ll be taken to every post in that category. Likewise you can scroll down to see my reading lists by year.
Since I was last in this space, Mardi Gras came and went, as did my birthday. The Japanese Magnolias are in bloom and believe it or not, I’ve even spotted a few Azaleas in bloom. The Mister has been home this past week and the rhythm of our days has been a bit off (understatement). Morning walks, runs to the café with him and the Camellia, afternoons spent working while the kids frolicked about outside. Monday will be hard—easing back into some semblance of routine, digging back into learning. Maybe we should put it off until Tuesday?
While most of my attention these last weeks has been spent on readying this and this for the printer and am now elbow deep reading for the upcoming issue of Kindred, there have been some small changes to this site and more are on the way. If you receive the monthly missive I send out, you know this already, but for those that don’t, changes are afoot. Good changes. Solid changes. Changes that have me feeling energized which is welcome—six years in this space and I was feeling a bit Meh. Now? I’m feeling a definite Hell yes! The monthly prompts can now be found here and there are some snazzy buttons in the sidebar for the most popular categories.
I’m still plotting away and if you responded to the questions in the newsletter, I’m taking your responses into consideration. If there is something you would like to see more of in this space, feel free to email me or leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.
Today blew in blustery and overcast, it was a regular Hundred Acre Wood kind of day. The kids are outside attempting to fly kites, I can hear their laughter through the open window and it’s inviting me outside.
Be well my friends.
This week got away from me. The sun hidden away, the yard (and kids) a muddy mess. Two knitting projects off the needles and gifted to their recipients before being photographed. There have been the constants that come with this time of year: cups of smoky lapsang consumed, a batch of cookies, winter squash soup, wool socks drying, quilts and books left abandoned on the sofa.
There has been work, the kind that brings a deep satisfaction. Something about the work and this time of year brings to mind my high school English class, the teacher up front reading Melville, Shaw whilst my mind and heart were only half present, ears only half-tuned in until something in a single line of poetry or prose brought me to attention, focused my breath, and made me feel. What was it?
There has been adoration of baby toes. And sleeping baby fingers curled gently into fists. There has been much nuzzling and inhaling of babyness, my nose buried in her neck, the top of her head. It is a familiar sweetness, one that brings joy and a tinge of sadness as I marvel over her so big! so soon! and whisper plea, stay a wee babe a bit longer sweet love. There is still the glow of twinkle lights, a basket of wool waiting to be looped and stitched into something useful. There are candles and diffusers making our home cozy. Overflowing bookshelves, paintings drying on the dining room table, the hum of the dryer, the sound of Bach’s Cello Suites coming from the living room, the sounds of this soundtrack coming from the Red Bean’s room. There is a cat asleep in my favorite sitting spot which doesn’t matter because as soon as I sit down someone will need something. These are my constants and I’m devoted to celebrating them.
PS: If you’ve considered joining Cornerstone, registration will be closing at the end of January. If, like me, your good intentions are already faltering, maybe community and a bit of guidance in the get-it-done department will be just what you need. I signed up to set a strong foundation for 2015, my year of planning, intention, and legacy building; it’s not too late to set yourself up for a great year too! Yes, I’m an affiliate but I having already dug in and gotten my fingers dirty so to speak, it’s worth it and that is why I’m sharing it with you.
+++ Joining in with others inspired by the prompts here.
#celebratingdailiness is a hashtag. A way of life. A way of seeing the beauty in the mundane. An embracing of the here, the now, the perfect, the imperfect. This is my plan for 2015.
Why? Because I want to cultivate a sense of wonder. If you’ve taken this course you have already heard me wax on about the importance of the ordinary, the dailiness in both my life and creative process.
I think of Welty and her words and work that both point to real things. “Abstraction always being the enemy of art,” her fiction rests in particulars, never the general, and in particular things as experienced in reality. Her writing is a celebration of particularity, of details.
I think of Walker Percy, a southerner, a fellow wayfarer and seeker, and of his “holiness of the ordinary.” I can think of no better way to be serenely at home than to celebrate the ordinary, the details, the dailiness. This year I commit to open myself up to the wonder and the mystery around me.
Want to revel in dailiness with me this year?
- Find me on Instagram where I’ll be using the hashtag #celebratingdailiness.
- Tag your Instagram posts and tweets with #celebratingdailiness.
- Have a blog post you’d like to share? Link up in the comments of this post or share a link to your post here.
- You can search for all #celebratingdailiness posts on Twitter and Instagram simply by searching #celebratingdailiness.
Need a #celebratingdailiness image for your blog? Find them here. If you click on “share” you’ll get the url for each image for easy use on your site.
I have ideas (big, small, in between) for 2015, for this life of mine. I have a plan, loose here, concrete there. As I mentioned on Instagram yesterday, I’m not the sort to choose a word, to make resolutions. I live life, I sink down into it, do gentle course corrections when I stray too far from the path.
I think of the time available to me each day and get depressed. There is not enough time to get in all the things each and every day. I can’t do it all so I’ve been thinking long and hard about the things I love doing, about the things I never regret spending my time on, about the things that fill me and leave me empty. What this means is that change is, as ever, afoot. I’m fully expecting I’ll have to make some big changes, cut some losses. Scary. Hopefully liberating.
The plan as it stands now:
- Finish the essay burning in my brain no matter how painful, how raw it leaves me feeling. It needs to be done so I can move onto the next one.
- I’m participating in Cornerstone. This is new for me but just a few days in, I’m starting to see things, to see how I need more details in my loose plan. And so I’m in, committed, and looking forward to a bit of accountability. Sound like something you might need? Maybe I’ll see you over there and we can be accountable together. (Note: that is an affiliate link but if I didn’t find it useful, I wouldn’t share it with you so keep that in mind.)
- Put out two lit mags and five books this year.
- Read great books.
- Draw more, lots more.
- Stick my head out more. Have coffee with a friend. Have a phone chat with a friend. Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy with my hermit ways.
- #hellomorningcoffee was fun and I’ll still do it but I’m kicking off 2015 with #celebratingdailiness—if you’re on Instagram, I’d love it if you’d join me!
There’s more. Much more but this is what I know for certain now.
Happy New Year my friends! May your 2015 be bright.
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