I’m slow to return, slow to find the lazy dangling invisible thread adrift somewhere out there. Here it isn’t, there it isn’t, I’m not quite stretching my fingers out in their blind search, no effort expended, and I encounter little filaments that break off in my hand, unreliable and easily discarded. Like the threads snipped from a completed project. Like the mill ends of spun yarn. A curious amount, not quite enough to make anything, almost too much to give the little wild birds for their nests.

The effort and desire to make the effort are half the story. I know I can’t keep rambling derivatives and broad-sweeping objective views, tidy little parables like pebbles taken from the seashore, then spit-polished and set upon a shelf to gather dust. In searching I must find the reason and the need to search, and the use for what I find.

Write to create? Create what, and why? Small wrinkle on my forehead, a vertical line that will grow deeper as I age and grow more puzzled with the meaning of what and why. I understand the how very well, the motions are almost second nature; writing, sewing, knitting, painting, dancing, yes I am very good at the how, quite adept and happy with creating, but some small piece of grit… it scratches the surface, it mars the polish, it chafes.

Writing about writing, a conundrum, a backwater where the water swirls blackest and roots hidden deep beneath the cut bank threaten to catch, to drown. The rain-swollen river swallows the willows. Vertigo from where I stand. I’m feeling impatient and the weather is wet, saturated, windy, with handfuls of shore birds tossed by the sea right over the hills, circling high above me. Any cliché in a storm. Threads for birds’ nests.

Hello to the Radio.

Tell me your heart doesn’t catch when reminded of loss, and don’t we all try so hard to grow protective barriers against the reminder? Little walls, armored and reinforced, made of differing degrees of thickness, made of differing substances, depending on possible direction of attack. A castle constructed in the wake of pain.

There is a strange admiration given to those who have the hardest hearts, and a contemptuous familiarity granted a bleeding heart, when by all rights and in a just world, the heart unafraid of love and loss should be paid the most respect. Perhaps because the hardest of hearts at one time had the softest of centers, and was pierced through? And now disregards and rebuffs any and all possible cruelty.

We all want love, and seek it in different forms, be it respect or pride or power, but the only true happiness can come from freedom. If we imprison ourselves to reduce the chances of pain, then we also reduce the possibility of love, for ourselves and others.

Be free.


The words that lurk unused in former rambles, denizens of old dreams, the lingering hint like unfinished conversations, these come now to witness. I can feel them slowly rolling deep inside, like the ocean waves before they break with white, big surges beneath the smooth surface. They smell like dusty dried lavender, like the ancient lace doily that sat upon my great-grandmother’s dresser. Her mother’s hands that wove the delicate thread are long dead.

How many things to say, how many have been said, how many will be repeated. I have no delusions of grandeur, no hope for immortality, and I recognize this untouchable electronic page will someday cease to mean what it once meant, a riddle for a rainy day. Rearrange the letters. A palindrome is just a word and its shadow. This is not even as necessary as a bundle of dried herbs, not even permanent as intricately woven fabrication of lace. Is it fatalistic or pessimistic to consider vanity and impermanence as such, and yet still strive to bloom?

I’ll catch you in the rye, snag and hold and you’ll walk home with stickers in damp pantcuffs and socks. Remember and do not. If the written word expresses thought and remembrance, then quarantine, defilade, protect those memories. Take care in what words you keep.

I haven't been writing so much, but I have been reading, vociferously, feverishly, since last December. Here are the books, along with some babbles of recommendation or otherwise, and my rating ( +++++ for best). I noticed I have no + rated books-- if they're that bad, I just don't read them. No you can't tell a book by its cover, but you can tell a hell of a lot by the end of page one. I look at this list and can't believe I have read so much this past year. But then again I wonder why the dishes are never clean...

Wendell Berry Jayber Crow One of the most beautiful books I've ever read, amazing prose, complexities and simplicities and philosophies divulged in a life-long love story that made me laugh and cry. +++++

DH Lawrence The Virgin and the Gipsy Fun, romantic (duh, it's DH), and left me wanting more. +++

Fae Myenne Ng Bone Some incredible insight, some incredibly mediocre passages. A nice combination of old tradition meets new culture ++

Arthur Golden Memoirs of a Geisha Reminded me of Alexandre Dumas's Three Musketeers; intrigue, romance, unrequited love-- an interesting epic, and I'm impressed by the author. ++++

CS Lewis That Hideous Strength Some scary science fiction, a little too close to reality. Part of the Perelandra trilogy +++

John Steinbeck The Pearl Touching story about human hearts and poverty and jealousy, one of my all-time favorite authors. +++

N. Scott Momaday House Made of Dawn Native American writer extraordinaire, a master of words, portraying sweeping Southwest vistas, wild places and people, and life and hard times. +++++

Gloria Naylor Bailey's Cafe More like character sketches than a novel, but complex issues interwoven, & nice finish. +++

Breena Clarke River Cross My Heart Started out great, lost momentum halfway through, but excellent for 1960s cultural relevance. A difficult story about the aftermath of a drowning, narrated by a young black girl coping with loss, racism, & segregation in the South. +++

George Orwell 1984 Straightforward story-telling, both historic and prophetic, read it if you haven't. ++++

F. Scott Fitzgerald Great Gatsby Poor boy made it rich, or did he? Undisputable classic, prose that leaves me breathless, and a story fill of intrigue, romance, murder. ++++

Barbara Kingsolver Bean Trees Sweet tale about poor and brave souls in the Southwest, worth reading but not my favorite of her books. +++

Jack London The Cruise of the Snark Adventure on the high seas, Jack built a sailing ship & sailed if from SF to the South Pacific, and shares his views on navigation, Herman Melville, and the ocean, plus interaction & observation about the natives on each island. Insightful, curious, solidly written. His wife Charmian was such a badass. +++

Mackinley Kantor Long Remember One of the sexiest books I've read, a narrative of love & death & politics, and an historical revisit of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863-- puts faces on infidelity & war I'll long remember. This one gets +++++

Herman Melville Typee Both Cruise of the Snark and Long Remember mentioned Typee within the text, so I decided I must read it too. This is Melville's (possibly) autobiographical recount of deserting a whaling ship on a little South Pacific island (which he did), and living among the cannibalistic natives, and then his daring escape from the island named Typee. ++++

Paul McAuley The Secret of Life Cheese! Interesting cheese, and scienterrific-fiction complete with words & references to biological stuff I had to look up, but yeah, basically, mind-candy. ++

Anatole France HoneyBee Short story, considered by many to be influential on Tolkein's Ring Trilogy. Worth reading if you encounter it. +++

Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Short Stories compilation volume #17 from 1955. More mind-candy; I was on a science fiction & fantasy kick. It happens. Good stories by Poul Anderson, Robert Silverberg, etc. & fun fast reading. No rating.

Erik Larson The Devil in the White City I didn't want this one to end, it was so much fun to read. Murder-mystery intrigue set in the historical overview of the 1893 World Fair in Chicago, complete with scandalous bellydancing, unbelievable architecture, and the first Ferris wheel. +++++

Herman Melville Billy Budd poignant fodder for contemplation & rhetorical questions, lots of thick juicy prose, a book to sink your teeth into. ++++

Kurt Vonnegut Sirens of Titan weirdness like real life, as unreal as the Sirens of Titan, Vonnegut's most curious Martian fiction story, complete with a sympathetic ass of an anti-hero. +++

K. Vonnegut Slapstick Hi ho. The future of the world. ++

Phillip K Dick Minority Report & Other Stories good sci-fi collection, some good ideas & plot twists, not my favorite writer. ++

K.Vonnegut Welcome to the Monkey House Short stories, some of which are some of the best-told stories anywhere. +++

K.V. Cat's Cradle When I was a little girl my Mom would put the soles of her feet to mine & we'd sit there, feet together, delighted with "Bokonon." I think Ice Nine must exist somewhere. Curious? The end of the world. ++++

Larry McMurty The Last Picture Show racy novel about a high school kid in 1950s Texas, including drinking, cow-fucking, death, and an affair with the coach's wife. No I didn't give it all away; it was very interesting from a distance. +++

James McBride The Color of Water I couldn't finish this one, it made Angela's Ashes look like a comedy. Not very writerly, either, and I can be such a snob. I got 75% through & decided it was too much effort. But I'll give it ++

Barbara Kingsolver Prodigal Summer A veritable web of humans with different agendas told from a completely sympathetic point of view. Left me thinking that none of us knows so much as we speculate, and our deficiency may be our pride. Lovely book. +++++

Robert Hough The Final Confession of Mabel Stark A bit too bestial for me, and probably not 100% historically accurate, told as a stark, honest narrative. But it stirred happiness and sadness about the famous tiger-tamer's tragic life in the early 1900s. +++

Kurt Vonnegut Slaughterhouse Five Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in Time. Just as Vonnegut had a difficult time putting into words his survival of Dresden & the war, so too I have difficulty writing any synopsis of this book. ++++

Karin Van Nieukerk A Trade Like Any Other: Female Singers & Dancers In Egypt Still reading this one, for my own enlightenment about Middle Eastern dance. So much more to learn! No rating

B. Traven The Bridge in the Jungle A simple tragic event boiled down to the essence of human emotions. Thoughtful, sad, worth the read. ++++

Myla Goldberg Bee Season Interesting book with a power-punch ending, avoids the humdrum academia-style navel-gazing by making the characters genuine people with real concerns. +++

Kurt Vonnegut Bluebeard I'm running out of Vonnegut books to read. This one was excellent, the bittersweet history of a one-eyed war-surviving artist's life.. I'll read this one again. +++++

What to read next? I don't know... feel like I need to do some digesting...


The dawn bloomed pale and lavender, hues of pink on diaphanous clouds high in the atmosphere, black tree branches and black crows stark contrasts. Swollen and thick and high in its banks the river rolled beneath its deceptively smooth surface, turmoil barely perceptive under the bright black and coppery and oxide green river skin. Lights from the bridge and buildings reflect against the dark liquid glass, shapes of trees and structures taking on dreamlike qualities of some foreign enchanted realm. The inhabitants, clothed in green reeds and golden algae, drift in the river’s depths. There swim the forgotten souls of those who have succumbed to the river’s treachery, mermaids with translucent blue skin and matted hair crowned with trapped bubbles.

Last night was an oddity, something from somewhere else, unfathomable. Faces looked hidden and dark with secrets or worries, privacy was violated, the moon troubled the world with long shadows. Oh please do not withdraw from me, do not doubt me, the song in your heart is my favorite melody and I don’t ever forget the harmony. Let us not enter the vicious cycle. A thief came as ladies danced and stole small bits of metal and plastic that become so strongly connected to identity and I think it’s both absurd and worrisome.

Dance class last night felt absolutely wonderful, and was challenging, both physically and mentally. There are so many tricky weight-shift motions that are counter-intuitive to the body’s natural momentum, stepping left rather than right, or landing on the right foot and shifting the weight to the left foot so quickly it’s imperceptible, to step out again with the right foot. It adds depth and interest to dance, both for dancer and audience. It’s like sleight of hand, or optical illusions, and adds that element of surprise.

The class was full of dancers who have been studying for years, who rarely falter, and the energy of serious intent and concentration of mind-over-matter in that room is almost palpable. It really is a thrill to see all the bodies moving in unison. Sidewise to the left, pause, sidewise to the right, pause, spin to the left, arms sweep up and around like a propeller, pause facing left, kick back pull in, and step sidewise to the right, pause, sidewise to the left, pause, spin to the right, arms sweep up and around like a propeller, pause facing right, kick-back pull-in, and step sidewise opposite again.

Fast fast fast, so the centrifugal spin sends the hair flying and the arms swing quickly and momentum drives the whole thing to a sudden halt when the kick forces the energy into the opposite direction. It’s like swirling water.


An inhalation and eye flutter Oh hello. I must have been away. Feel like I’ve been asleep and now I’ve awoken I can’t remember where I am. Interesting phenomenon, the cleavage point of dream and memory. The point that is not really there. Diamonds, those hardest of elements made of the same stuff as we, have such hard cleavage points it is possible to break them and in fact if a diamond falls out of a setting it is probably due to a cloven stone, not that I know from experience because I won’t wear them, I think they’re bad luck, and how unlucky for you it sure has been a while since I’ve entertained run-ons.

November’s cool slow nip and tease, I went a walking and passed an unhappy pine tree, miserably bleeding sap the whole length of his trunk. Some insect infestation or disease or something signifying an impending fall. It smelled wonderful, though, and cleared my head, made my fingers tingle and I found myself unhurried, a shift of burdens.

Dancing has filled the days between then and now. I’m a busy girl. On a beach last summer in Humboldt I felt an epiphany as the sun sank to the waters and I could see the stars wink through indigo clouds. I watched those huge waves while walking in the cold soft sand, wind chilling me to the bone, and so much about bodies in motion made sense. All the muscles and joints and ankle-knee-hip-spine-ribs-shoulder-neck felt balanced and working as designed and I thought, Oh Lord, you made us to walk softly. And Oh Lord, we prefer the hard road.

Walk like you’re on cold wet sand and you can feel the pounding waves in the soles of your feet and there’s no other soul for miles.