hip hip hoorah!!

monsieur le grandissimo couch is away, and I am, in effect, moved. couldn’t have begun to manage it without the feats of my he-man.

lordie, even with the sum total transfer of goods clocking in at 3 miles, moving is a heckuva thing. and why do I always seem to choose to do it in july? I ask you.

terror and joy

is it possible that we make our lives small because all the opportunities and richness and potentiality are just… overwhelming? terrifying? maybe we are afraid that our own lives will drown us if we enter them fully.

sometimes I see these little glimpses, this verge, right there… and I– step back. it so stops my heart– or starts it pounding in the most disturbing way. of course, I must collect myself. I must have myself well in hand. I turn away. hesitate and then the moment passes away.

this horace quotation that came to me in a.word.a.day recently is just kicking my ass all over the place lately–

He who postpones the hour of living is like the rustic who waits for the river to run out before he crosses.”
-Horace, poet and satirist (65-8 BCE)

I feel like I’m standing on that river bank, just waiting, so afraid to get wet– and the river keeps running by, just laughing and crying at me hanging there as if there were such a thing as the opportune moment. there is grace in diving.

wishes for a new year

2008, yo. so has the novelty of being out of the 1900s worn off? not for me, still. the digits we’re in continue to give a little tweak somewhere. and then there are the other digits, the 40s, whose tweak is more directly personal.

I rang in the new year with some truly delightful creative chicago people at a mustache-optional party in a flat still bearing remnants of 1980s well-heeled decor and walls of polaroid-immortalized friends– floated past midnight on a gin wave, eating my weight in stuffed mushrooms and meatballs on toothpicks, upper lip raw with the piney stink of spirit gum, dancing up a storm and smoking exactly one quarter inch of an absolutely disgusting chinese cigarette– and now…

bring on the resolutions. yesterday, at the 11th hour, as it were, i actually joined a gym. good heavens. but it’s easy walking distance from my house and crazy cheap, so it seemed like a no-brainer. and now, still dark on the morning of january 1, but quickly getting lighter in the snow-white world out my window, here are a few wishes I make for us collectively for the coming year–

may our conversations be rich and either swiftly to the point or luxuriously circuitous.

may we honor those who’ve come before while seeking our own, right ground.

may the roller coaster ride bring views of distant lands and plunging, beating hearts that assert life above all– and may we all successfully keep our hands and heads safely within the vehicle.

may we continue to strive to find creative solutions to adversity, never despairing.

may this brilliant world and its kooky and gorgeous inhabitants keep us feeling a part of an immense living family– at times fraught with dysfunction among our closest siblings, the human kind, but boisterous and persistent and riddled with grace throughout green and swimming and creeping cousins.

may we love as much as possible and beyond and continue to open and open and open though daily experience might make us want to shutter and fold, may we go on opening.

xo to all.


weekend in chicago was lovely and bright, the possibilities there beginning to take concrete shape in people and talk of different jobs, hearing others’ moving and settling-in experiences. I’m also aware that I’m happy and awake and aware simply because I am— that I respond to everything in the outside world based on my internal weather– and the climes in here the past week or so are simply, unaccountably sunny– so the entire weekend in chicago is bright and easy because I feel bright and easy. and then back in iowa feel warm and wonderful with the circle of friends. and then all things everywhere, too many pieces to list, making me feel good connections to other people– and I just want it to go on and on– this— this feeling of all right, everything just okay. but I know it can’t always be this easy, and one thing to do is simply to be grateful for it. but really I wish I could bottle it up, save little life-saving ounces of it for the other times. make some kind of hay while the sun shines. keep writing– just writing whatever whatever whatever. god, this is a gasp– to be up out of it, in fresh air– to feel good-light, as opposed to unmoored– energized, head unencumbered, some huge impossible weight lifted so I can move freely. and from here it looks like nothing is so dire, so make-or-break– only what I do today and then what I do tomorrow, all equally viable and fine and tying together into the fine whole which is My Life– and that it doesn’t have to map to a master plan, doesn’t have to make a tidy narrative to a stranger at a dinner party– that I am me, fine, regardless of what I do– and that it’s going to be complicated being someone who wants to do so many different things– that there will be whole swaths of time when it seems to make no sense– but the sense it makes is slow and intuitive and just right for me. this is what I have to remember to trust. giving myself the time and space and permission to move forward blindly and trustingly, ending up here, here in this good good good place– warm and bright and aware that everything is just okay. I want to remember this, make a map back to this place, remember the steps it takes to reach this very spot.

the little engine has to believe it can.

nothing seems to have more gravity or anchor than anything else. so I fight consciousness with every stitch and fiber, struggle just to stay sleeping, where the wheel is handed over to someone a lot smarter than conscious me and, to boot, there are no actions with disastrous and disappointing consequences.

I have a sort-of date later this evening, and I approach it with utter dread, sure that toads are going to climb out of my mouth and splat all over the table. I seem to be caught in a downward vortex of not-trying, of avoidance and shame and hiding out, and everything I do seems only engineered to spin it faster, to sink me. I know I need to kick upward, push back against the momentum, but it’s hard hard hard and I can’t quite see why.

am I sinking myself? determined to fail? urging for ruin? it doesn’t feel that way. feels like I’m struggling to get through. but so much disappointment. it’s like falling asleep, like letting oneself freeze to death, succumbing. I try and try and am not sure I know how to get someplace better. it’s been so, so long, and the more progress I make, the longer and harder seems the road. part of me says, well, that’s life, chica. it ain’t easy. but I just keep thinking: broken toy– sprung mechanism.

I know it’s going to keep being hard, pushing back against the pattern of habit, hard to drag myself into thinking in new ways. I need to pick myself up, brush myself off and start trying again– just start– a little bit here, a little bit there. start with the sit-ups and keep going. treat myself like a precious object. if I don’t, no one else will. this is my life. I have opportunity– if I can just pick myself up and try to quiet all the clamoring fears– possibility blooms kind and unjudging before me, spreads wide open– only believe in it, believe in myself– and stop buying into all the mean mental rot. I have a choice– to be perfectly okay. I have the say-so, no one else. it’s up to me.

topic: moving

I am not moving. I was moving, had to, levering myself up out of school debt and despair via the only available course: sell the farmhouse bought and loved for seven years. so. I did the requisite mourning, did the requisite boxing and packing and cleaning and “de-cluttering” for house shoppers and realtors with no interest in farm auctions and secondhand store effluvia, with no pets, no inclination to look past initial impressions–to make a show place–because everything hangs in the balance of making that fast sale during the short slice of season (june, half of july) while the market is happening. there was the minor complication of lack of money–for paint, for boxes, for perennials to plant in pots on the front porch. many trips carting carload after carload to consignment stores, shopping them my wares, trying them out one by one, then goodwill with the leftovers. checking in regularly on accumulated cash to be picked up– $20 here, $11 there–and used. there were friends who helped out through the thinnest period, one in particular, poised between med school graduation and start of hospital residency, who devoted several days to working beside me, helping me buy supplies, do things–without him, I literally wouldn’t have managed it. seems small. was huge. I was unanchored and falling, reached out and held to him for those few critical days–the hinge that rights you, restores balance–for a moment, for a couple of weeks. because balance, always with me, seems to be a thing struggled for, only provisionally attained, always slipping, always negotiated. after that there came rounds with buyers, with lawyers, with inspections and repairs–round and round, august first an unimaginable distance inching closer. meanwhile teaching. meanwhile a class I’ve taught three times before and for the life of me can’t figure out how to do Right, do smoothly, gracefully–do other people? am I simply a terrible teacher? and so I continue to reengineer in midstream. now, maybe for good this time (there is no for good), I have it troubleshot, vastly improved–only I won’t be teaching it again. now I will be teaching something new, completely new, completely unfathomed. what am I doing? what am I doing here at all? where am I going? what do I know at all? need to be writing the dissertation. not writing. stuck on precipice. deadlines creeping up and slipping past. precipice of quicksand. also jobs are going to be posted soon–I need to look, assess, prepare myself. but what do I know, who am I anyway? what am I even still doing in grad school, I’m in the wrong program, every thing is wrong, I am wrong, wrong wrong wrong. spinning out of control. all that accumulated time spent worrying eats away. borrowed equilibrium leaches out. too much time by myself. my self. my problematic self. so: meltdown, vortex. wanted to die. hated. shook. could not stand feeling of food in mouth. could not sleep more than few hours. or slept too much. retreated into novels and hated myself for reading, while reading. felt like if I had to speak to one more person I would fall apart, if I didn’t speak to someone, anyone I would fall apart. read a memoir by a pole who said americans perpetually disassemble and try to reassemble identity. yes. that helps. perspective. this is losing perspective. go back on the meds–crazy for awhile still, then plane out gradually. still little freaked out person inside, but the feeling of crumbling precipice diminished. I am not moving. house sold, I get to rent it back for a year. all those boxes just sitting in the garage may just continue to sit. inevitable delayed by ten months–but at least, the hope is, then I’ll be moving toward something–very different prospect from now. can’t imagine how to get there, but working to rebolster the tiny voice, almost damped, that says I can get there. I am not moving–not writing–paralyzed and terrified of shadows that loom. all loom bigger through not doing. not writing does this. I am not moving anywhere very quickly–am moving in circles, little advance, retreat, tiny steps, stumbling, falling, more circles–oh, how I move in my crazy dance.