Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I was going to write about anxiety today. But I have a headache and while that's not pleasant it keeps me from feeling particularly anxious. And when i'm not feeling it, it's hard to describe. Hard to take myself seriously when I'm trying to talk about the absolute certainty that the angry villagers with torches are going to show up any minute to drag me out of my house and tar and feather me in the town square. Because that's what it feels like a lot of the time.

Or hard to describe the feeling of terror as I walk downtown and SEE PEOPLE. Some of them say hello to me. my mind tells me this is perfectly innocent. My other self wonders what they want, why are they talking to me, how long before they start throwing things or laughing behind me back. A car can drive by and have people laughing in it and I KNOW they're laughing at me.


Anyway, I remembered that once while I was out walking I started having an anxiety attack and started composing a poem about it. I never finished the poem--I rarely do once the feeling has worn off, not much of a poet anymore though I used to be considered quite a good one. But here's the bit anyway:


Anything can start it
Strange pain, unexpected sensation
Unfamiliar situation
Any stress, however momentary small,
However likely to pass unnoticed

There’s a jolt like I’m sitting
In the electric chair and someone I can’t see has just
Pulled the switch. It tingles
Through my chest first, reaches my limbs, suffuses
The extreme tips of my fingers and I am
Unstuck. Part of me leaps
Across some indefinable gap into somewhere else.

This is not a safe place.
This is the place where my other body lives
The one that knows the things I cannot know and feels
The things I cannot feel: all those experiences stored up
Like snapshots in a box to be sorted
In a later time that never comes.

So then I started looking through more files of old unfinished poetry and I thought I'd share some more. Here are a couple:

The Fossil Record


Underneath this ocean
Far beneath this blue ocean
Beneath this calm, blue ocean where the halcyon nests
Laying her eggs on its smooth, solstice surface where they rock
Unborn infants cradled by grandfather’s rolling waves:
Beneath this ocean where checkered corals coin
Calcium cities, where winged fish leap, flashing
Flighted jewels sparkling through spray,
Where laughing dolphins make sport of holiday ships
And wise whales turn head-downward, singing many-throated,
Mapping mysterious global journeys for unseen cousins:
Beneath this ocean lies
A world of darkness.

Here be dragons. Here lie
All those things that thrive without light
Without breath.

And another:

(in that place)

they taught you words for what you feel but what you feel
is not a word. What you feel
cannot be described in any language. The best you can do
is to come close: step softly around its outside edge, sending out
feelers like a snail’s, fleshy and formless,
ready to draw back at the first touch
of that solid knot at your core,
that thing at your center that defines you
though it has no name.

Even this cannot describe it.

What cannot be described cannot be realised;
What cannot be realised cannot be experienced;
What cannot be experienced cannot be lived through
What cannot be lived through cannot be over.

Hope you enjoyed these fragments.


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Tragic Saga of My Garden

So, about ten years ago we moved into this house with a huge garden space. It hadn't been kept up--the woman we bought the house from was no gardener. But the woman who owned the house before her was an avid gardener and you could see the potential: huge flowerbeds, big space for vegetables: in short all the things a gardener could want.

At that time, I fanicied myself a gardener. It kind of runs in the family. My mother spent all her summers gardening and my sister does and my grandmothers both know how it goes. Plus, we were friends with an avid gardener who thrilled us with lush descriptions of Ratatouille made with vegetabloes fresh from the garden: plump ripe tomatoes, fresh sweet corn, peppers, eggplants, potatoes--the whole lot. Well, if I'm not a gardener I DO like to eat and I couldn;t resist. The result? I became, perforce, a gardener.

The vegetable part was relatively easy at first. The neighbour had been growing tomatoes and a few other things, so the space was all ready for a fresh crop. And boy did we enjoy those first few crops. It came down to saying things like, "Do you think we could put in a patch of wheat and mill it for our bread?" You know, crazy stuff like that. Of course, we didn;t think it was crazy at the time. We were gardeners.

The flowerbed was something else again. It was severely overgrown and I spent a year just looking at it trying to figure out what to do. Then I spent another year digging. And digging. And digging. I dug up weeds. I separated day lilies that hadn't been separated for ten years. I put in bulbs and removed others. And the next spring I was rewarded with something that looked very much like a flowerbed.

I felt good about it. I kept it up for about two years, always thinking of the five-year plan, at the end of which I would have a glorious garden that pretty much did its own work, with maybe a guiding hand or two every so often.

Then I got sick. I was sick for a couple years. And the flowerbed went to hell, as did the vegetable patch. And I realised in that time that I don;t really like gardening. I know this because there's a real gardener across the stret from us and she's out there in all weathers, pruning, planting, deadheading, and basically keeping the whole thing running. She's out there in 100-degree heat and in freezing cold, So much for my concept of a guiding hand or two. She made me realise tat gardening is really a full time job--one I don't want.

Now I should have realised this early on. Like the first july, when the bindweed came up and I spent about two hours pulling it before getting that I had better things to do than bend over a patch of stubborn weeds coaxing them out of their nice home in the blazing heat. And so, for the months of July and August, I tended to let the whole thing go to the proverbial pot. Which, of course, made my job all the harder the next year.

In any case, it took getting sick for me to get that I don;t like gardening much. And now, after three years, I'm right back where I started except worse, because the vegetable patch is also so overgrown that I can't even find it. Of the flowerbed, it's better not even to speak. I think a lot of things have died. Unfortunately, none of those things are weeds. Why is it that the weeds can stay alive even when you've given up on the whole business, even to the point of stopping watering?

Now I fantasize about having a landscaper come in and take care of the mess for me. 'Cause it's sure that I'm never going to do it. I feel guilty every time I look out the window and see the lone rosebush struggling to put out blossoms amid the waving orchard grass. I can't see another well-kept garden without feeling sick at my stomach. I'm even contemplating taking out a second mortgage on my house to pay someone to deal with it. My father would be rolling in his grave. If he had one.

Someone please come and rescue me from this situation! Some gardener without a place to garden maybe.

Or maybe I'll just let nature take its course. The sunflowers don't look too bad, really. It's the ragweed that gets me every time...

Monday, August 27, 2007

grey and gunky day

so today is one of those days when it can't decide whether it's going to rain or just threaten to rain. I tried to go for a walk and the sky started spitting down on me, which of course gave me the perfect excuse to come back home after about a block, which I wanted to do anyway. Now I'm sitting here smoking, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of my day, if not the rest of my life.

There's this woman in town. I used to know her very well, in fact we were close friends for 25 years. But some BAD STUFF happened and my therapist told me, "This person is toxic to you; break off contact." My therapist, BTW, usually doesn't go around telling people what to do.

So I did break off contact--not without regrets. I really wish the BAD STUFFF hadn't happened. I really wish I could have made it better. But she wasn't going to change and in fact seemed bent on sabotaging the projects we were involoved in together. Well, you've probably heard it all before. The point is, I have many regrets and think of her often and wish it could have been different.

Well this woman has lost an AWFUL LOT of weight. She claims she did it all through Weight Watchers. But man, if she's going to meetings someone ought to tell her to stop. She looks like the walking dead. And having some experience with anorexia myself, I wonder what I should do... My first thought is she's got anorexia; my second thought is she's on speed and my third and distant thought is that she's ill. I really want to go to one of her associates and ask, "Have you mentioned this weight thing to her? because people around town are talking." But if she's ill that would be really tactless and I'd feel like shit. On the other hand if she's in a place where she needs an intervention.... I'd feel bad for not speaking up. I know when I was anorexic no one tried to talk to me and I felt such contempt for them. This woman, in fact, told me when I weighted like 85 lbs that I looked great and I couldn;t believe it. I knew I didn;t look great. I knew I lookekd like hell.

I wonder if she knows she looks like hell. From what I've heard, she doesn't... It's a problem having compassion for people you don;t associate with and don;t really like. What do you do?

It's still not really raining. But I don't feel like doing much. Does that make me a bad and worthless person? Or just human? I don;t have to be superhuman, but I have problems knowing the difference sometimes.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

very random indeed

Why is it so hard for me to keep up this blog???

I used to journal all the time. I have boxes and boxes of old journals that I read from time to time and I'm amazed at the content....just the volume of it. I had so many more thoughts then, it seems.

Maybe it's because I actually have people in my life now that I can share these thoughts with. Or maybe it's just that I don't have anything to say. That's a terrible thing for a writer: to feel like you have nothing to say.

But anyway: The Unquiet Grave is finally finished except for a few polishing touches. I have it out being read by a few people and so far they all think it's brilliant. Which leads me to the question: Do I go the self-publishing route again or do I try to do the traditional publishinng thing with its depressing round of submissions and rejections? I just can't decide on one or the other.

The big problem is marketing. I'm bad at it. If I thought I could self publish and market the book effectively, so that I made up my costs at it, there would be a big "DUH" factor in this approach. I have to say, I'm not all that fond of the "traditional" publishing route. It takes a long time to get a response IF you get any, whether from an agent or a publisher. Mostly you get "No thank you's." It's just really depressing. And they don't help you market much anyway. But at least I'd see some money up front without putting any out.

So if you;re at all interested in seeing The Unquiet grave in print, please coontact me. It would be nice to have some contact from my website other than spam offering me cheap rolex watches, which I have no interest in.

Is anybody out there?

I suppose I should update my website more: write another rant or something but I just can't be arsed to do it right now. It seems like I have no strong opinions anymore. And as that takes me back where I started I'll leave it there....