It’s just over a month til my birthday (5 weeks from Sunday, actually) and I’ve entered the period of the year when I’m sort of creatively dormant. I think, I plan, I read, and lift weights, and play in the kitchen, but my writing slows down to the bare minimum.
Once the calendar page flips to August, however – once it turns to MY month – my creativity always comes surging back like a huge wave breaking over a jetty.
Cool, ferocious, blue-green creativity.
For now though, I have a pot of pasta that will soon become a bowl of aglia e olio, and a chilled wine that’s light and neither too sweet nor too dry, and a beachy novel to read.
I haven’t done a Thursday 13 in a while, I started this last Thursday when it was rainy, but then I never finished it for whatever reason. It’s not rainy today, but rather, windy, so I’m going to just do weather-related quotations. Enjoy.
“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.” ~John Updike
“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.” ~Langston Hughes
“Tears of joy are like the summer rain drops pierced by sunbeams.” ~Hosea Ballou
“Thought is the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.” ~Augustus Hare
“A rainy day is the perfect time for a walk in the woods.” ~Rachel Carson
“There is a muscular energy in sunlight corresponding to the spiritual energy of wind.” ~Annie Dillard
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing.” ~Alfred Wainright
“The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.” ~Joan Didion
Spooky wild and gusty; swirling dervishes of rattling leaves race by, fleeing windflung deadwood that cracks and thumps behind.” ~Dave Beard
“Snow and adolescence are the only problems that disappear if you ignore them long enough.” ~Earl Wilson
“Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.” ~Jane Austen”
“What my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts to-night, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply…”
~Edna St. Vincent Millay
“We’re fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance.”
~ Japanese Proverb
I’ve taken dance classes on and off since I was five years old. It started, as it does for most little girls, with ballet. Ballet is still my favorite.
Later it became tap, jazz (my second favorite), show dancing (basically lite ballroom meant for actors), and even hip-hop.
These days, I pretty much dance in my kitchen, and my living room. My life is a musical, and I sing and dance my way through every task, and even dance with my dogs. Especially Teddy. Teddy is an awesome partner. He’s part Catahoula, so dancing comes naturally.
I keep trying to convince Fuzzy to take a ballroom class with me, but he’s the quintessential white boy with no rhythm. He will, however, dance with me in the kitchen, when Teddy lets him cut in.
I love that we’ve been married 19 years and we still dance in the kitchen and sing silly songs to each other.
Most of us think of humpback whales when we think of whale watching, but – at least here in Baja – it’s the grey whales you come to see, and it’s evident from their behavior that the whales are also here to see us. Quite social, it’s almost as if they’re trained. We are in the water with four other boats and there are three or four mother-calf pairs. The mothers, massive creatures that you never see in their entirety, stay farther away from us, monitoring the situation, but the calves are like puppies, going from boat to boat, rolling over to blink at you, or meet your gaze with theirs – they have eyelashes!!! – begging for skritches and belly-rubs, smiling and showing off their baleen.
Several months ago, I auditioned for a role at Pendant Audio, and even though I’d never done anything on their radar, I was cast.
Three days ago, the episode I was in – Episode 55 of their anthology series, Seminar, went live. My section: The Crimson Cape starts around 17 minutes in, but you should totally listen to the whole thing because it’s awesome.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Several years ago, when I discovered this poem, it instantly became my favorite love poem EVER. For many years I posted it in my blog on Valentine’s Day. Last year, I posted a poem by Harold Pinter, instead.
As I write this, my Valentine is away on a business trip, so I won’t see him til tomorrow morning. Still, it seems appropriate to post this rather…earthy…celebration of love.
May this day be full of love and light no matter the status of your relationship.
The things about you I appreciate
May seem indelicate:
I’d like to find you in the shower
And chase the soap for half an hour.
I’d like to have you in my power
And see your eyes dilate.
I’d like to have your back to scour
And other parts to lubricate.
Sometimes I feel it is my fate
To chase you screaming up a tower
Or make you cower
By asking you to differentiate
Nietzsche from Schopenhauer.
I’d like successfully to guess your weight
And win you at a fête.
I’d like to offer you a flower.
I like the hair upon your shoulders,
Falling like water over boulders.
I like the shoulders too: they are essential.
Your collar-bones have great potential
(I’d like your particulars in folders
I like your cheeks, I like your nose,
I like the way your lips disclose
The neat arrangement of your teeth
(Half above and half beneath)
I like your eyes, I like their fringes.
The way they focus on me gives me twinges.
Your upper arms drive me berserk.
I like the way your elbows work.
On hinges …
I like your wrists, I like your glands,
I like the fingers on your hands.
I’d like to teach them how to count,
And certain things we might exchange,
Something familiar for something strange.
I’d like to give you just the right amount
And get some change.
I like it when you tilt your cheek up.
I like the way you not and hold a teacup.
I like your legs when you unwind them.
Even in trousers I don’t mind them.
I like each softly-moulded kneecap.
I like the little crease behind them.
I’d always know, without a recap,
Where to find them.
I like the sculpture of your ears.
I like the way your profile disappears
Whenever you decide to turn and face me.
I’d like to cross two hemispheres
And have you chase me.
I’d like to smuggle you across frontiers
Or sail with you at night into Tangiers.
I’d like you to embrace me.
I’d like to see you ironing your skirt
And cancelling other dates.
I’d like to button up your shirt.
I like the way your chest inflates.
I’d like to soothe you when you’re hurt
Or frightened senseless by invertebrates.
I’d like you even if you were malign
And had a yen for sudden homicide.
I’d let you put insecticide
Into my wine.
I’d even like you if you were Bride
Or something ghoulish out of Mamoulian’s
Jekyll and Hyde.
I’d even like you as my Julian
Or Norwich or Cathleen ni Houlihan.
If you were something muttering in attics
Like Mrs Rochester or a student of Boolean
You are the end of self-abuse.
You are the eternal feminine.
I’d like to find a good excuse
To call on you and find you in.
I’d like to put my hand beneath your chin,
And see you grin.
I’d like to taste your Charlotte Russe,
I’d like to feel my lips upon your skin
I’d like to make you reproduce.
I’d like you in my confidence.
I’d like to be your second look.
I’d like to let you try the French Defence
And mate you with my rook.
I’d like to be your preference
I’d like to be around when you unhook.
I’d like to be your only audience,
The final name in your appointment book,
Your future tense.
I’m not sure when I found the Interwar Duets, a collection of music for cello and violin from the period between World Wars I & II, but they’ve become a sort of favorite of mine since sometime last fall.
It began, I think, with a search for something two characters could be playing in a fiction piece I was working on then (and have laid aside, but will go back to soon). I wanted something interesting, something with a story, but something the average listener would probably not be familiar with.
It’s hard for me to listen to anything with lyrics when I’m writing, because I get distracted by the desire – no, the NEED – to either sing along, or get up and dance, or both. The thing is, I’m not good with quiet either, and my writing studio doesn’t have a television any more.
Whatever the reason, these duets have become ingrained in my being, and I find them particularly haunting in dismal, gray weather like today’s, probably because they were inspired by a rather dismal, gray, state of being in Europe.
Last night, after all our guests had gone home, we were lucky that the cleaning was essentially limited to putting dishes in the dishwasher. We’ll be taking down the Christmas decorations tomorrow and Saturday, because I like them to linger a little bit.
There’s a fine line, though, with seasonal decor. Take it down too soon, and you regret it, feeling like you’ve sacrificed part of your celebration. Wait too long, though, and once-magical ornaments and fairy lights feel more like a pushy bellboy angling for a larger tip.
Still, we’ve taken one important step: for the first time since before Thanksgiving, we’ve removed the leaf from the kitchen table, shrinking it from a generous oval to an intimate round breakfast table once again.
Part of me misses the extra space – many mornings we all had our laptops strewn across the larger surface – but mostly I’m glad to have the space AROUND the table back, because it means the dogs aren’t quite so on top of each other as they move in and out of the back door.
It’s a first step toward reclamation, but an important one. The second step, begun this morning, was the cessation of the use of Christmas mugs. In truth, some are more ‘winter’ than truly Christmas, but it’s almost time to bring forth the Valentine’s Day mugs, and overlapping is tacky.
In other news: I’ve been really tired, and really writey, and I don’t mind the tiredness because it’s induced by the writeyness.
I woke this morning to the crying of a puppy who was in dire need of marking the New Year’s start by, well, marking, but once I left our bedroom I was greeted by the first rays of true dawn, and the intoxicating smell of nearly-cooked brisket (We marinated it in espresso and JD BBQ sauce, and it’s been in the oven at 225 since midnight (The coffee helps tenderize and provides a smokey undertone.).).
I spent yesterday feeling overwhelmed by having so much to do and learned several small lessons, the most important being that even when the Parking Goddess smiles upon you it is far wiser to avoid CostCo on New Year’s Eve.
Between cooking and chatting and shopping and wrangling dogs I wrote 5,000 words of a story. It’s just fanfic, but it made me happy to write it, and it was posted just after midnight, and I consider the fact that I greeted the new year at my keyboard in a happy, writing groove to be an incredibly auspicious sign.
Well, I would if I believed in signs.
Today, in just a few hours, we’re having friends come over to celebrate with us by sharing food and laughter. And possibly the champagne we never bothered to open last night, because by the time midnight rolled around we were exhausted, and couldn’t see the point in opening bubbly for three adults when one of them doesn’t even drink.
Instead, we toasted the arrival of 2014 with glasses of Mexican Coca-cola, and went to bed with smiles on our faces.
The puppy and the chihuahua have now finished outside, and the big dogs are having their morning romp. I’m going to go take a shower before I feed them.
Happy New Year.
Have a song to get you into the spirit of things, it’s a recent favorite of mine: “This Is the New Year” by Ian Axel: