barren dioramist

I’ve been trying to find god all this time. This becomes apparent to me this morning as I walk infinite rounds inside these four walls. Gear up, gear up, ever and anon ready to venture out– but continue circling bisecting and interweaving patterns through interior space– readying, readying for… something. As I arrange and rearrange objects, populace of a tiny planetary system, I concoct scenarios just so, balanced in vignettes. The endeavor is balletic as I stretch and step, bend and reach.

Something inside me snapped when I learned, when I embraced at last, the fact in the face of long years of inconclusive diagnosis and grueling pseudo-treatment, that I am, indeed, infertile.

Shortly thereafter: menopause. Hot flashes. Ooh la la instantaneous conflagration several times daily, nightly, sweat drenched and pit stained regardless of present company or otherwise engagement. Subjected to the aging body’s ill will in fits and fevers until one day they just stopped.

stuckness & stickiness

I’ve been stuck here for awhile now. Stuck again. Damned ill navigable slope. I’ve been cultivating the sticky sort of attentions I crave. Along with a bit of bumbling through brambles, up and down slopes, into puddles, over  boulders, and all kind of canted at a slant. And mires, oh yes.

What, you might ask, do I mean by sticky attentions? Come to that, why even bother? Just clear the way and sally onward.

But look! I say back– lookit alla this wonderfulness going on! So much to play with, to admire and rearrange and wonder at. So much to gaze at, lo– not so much my own middle belly parts, tho there’s a fair share of that (another story for another day)– but all around, out yonder, right there and there and there, golly, everywhere.

struwwelpeter-johnnyFrankly I never outgrew it, I often think. You see kids, out on the sidewalk, squatting over some red leaf, simply enchanted, and it is childhood perfectly poised. We say childlike wonder and craft tales about dreamy, gazy boys who wander off cliffs.

I tend to be more cliff-clinger than climber. Writing teacher Ralph Fletcher calls it freezing to the face, that writer’s paralysis, petrification, fear of ungripping fingertips to reach for the next handhold. Fear, Fletcher says, of making the inevitable big discoveries accrued through risk. Fletcher assures that the message takes care of itself in the writing of it. Trust the process, an entire generation of writing teachers intoned, responding to the leaden verbal structures marching forth from drill and repetition.


When young I identified with the sound of my own name, Sarah–common enough, surely, but particularly mine. Sarah signified me tonally, instinctually and in a multiply evocative array of associations accruing over time. In those early years I felt myself called into existence by the very word, owned by pronunciation, as much possessed by as possessed of a two-beat fluid melody of consonants and vowels.


As a girl, I liked to play with names on notebook paper– a typical schoolgirl rite of passage, linking your first name with last of the love object and concocting fanciful monikers for offspring unborn, nicking them this way and that in elaborate slavic panoply. Some girls keep running lists of baby names down through the years. Some never outgrow a fundamental preoccupation with the nominative.