[Intermezzo] Melt Away

Once Upon a Time, I thought preparing to move house whilst my husband headed out-of-state on an extended business trip was a fantastic idea. “I know! I’ll sort through and pack all of our belongings, edit a book, work on two short stories, create a few new web-sites, launch marketing campaigns for totally disparate projects, maintain a full freelance and blogging load, take the dogs on long walks several times a day, do yoga 5 times a week, and plan a fun event at a local gallery. I have the energy of an overzealous rabbit high on pure sugar. It’s just waiting to be harnessed. Nothing about this plan is the least bit wonky. Of course, I can cram-jam this ambitious laundry list of goals into a 6-week period. Because, because…I will it to be so.” The Chef hasn’t even left town yet, and I am already exhausted. All I want to do is take a scalding bath and weep, followed by 42 melting and aimless days in a fluffy, warm bed-haze.

John Everett Millais-Ophelia

Oh, hey there Ophelia!

[Intermezzo] I Wish Every Day Was a Sunny Sunday Afternoon in February

I wish every day was as hopeful as a sunny Sunday afternoon in February. Everything is possible, and nothing is necessary. Do I move forward with a household project, or take a nap? Do I walk around the block in a trail of sunshine, or write an essay? All of the answers, and all of my choices, lead to an open door marked BLISS.

Intermezzo: Today

Today, my return to shining good health is matched watt for watt by a hearty winter sun. Both incandescent, ready for change. Strong. The renewal of the New Year met a roadblock or two, was delayed, delayed again, the delay constantly looping. Today, creativity is back, and with it hope; they are both resplendent. I’ve re-imagined the way forward, a sturdy path with many forks. It’s beautiful.

Hope is like the light in an Impressionist painting.

Hope is like the light in an Impressionist painting.

[Intermezzo] Wherein I Offer You a Few Disjointed but Heartfelt Memories of My Dead Friend Frank on Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

Dear World,

Frank died at 87 1/2 years old. Picture this: When he was a tow-headed little boy, just a toddler, his parents dressed him in short pants and a striped shirt and posed him on the hood of the family Model T, grinning. Feisty. He was named after a prominent ancestor, Benjamin Franklin, and they shared more than a name: both were brilliant, larger-than-life, charismatic. Actually, he came from a long line of characters: a grandfather who died, in his 90s, as the result of a bar fight, a father who was an early aviator. That family bred their men big, bold, and memorable. Frank, my Frank, my friend, came of age during the Great Depression. He had an older brother, equally brilliant; when it came time for Frank to attend college in ’37 or ’38, there was no money left. None. His brother had the degree that Frank would never get. He didn’t sweat it, moved on with life. Somewhere along the way he met a beautiful lady and they got married. Everything changed on 7 December 1941. Continue reading

[Intermezzo] I bought this mug because it reminded me of Sylvia Plath

Cold, mossy gravestones whisper laments as I stroll past them in the shadowy pathways on an autumn morning. The tree swaying outside my apartment shouts poetry through the window. The pavement beneath my mobile feet croons a love song to the beauty of the late afternoon sunlight that dances across its craggy surface. Squirrels leaping across wires recite snippets of stories. I experience words everywhere I go: sometimes they are new combinations, asking or demanding to be written down. Stories waiting to be told. Sometimes they belong to other people. Stories waiting to be retold.

The bus stop across from the gallery would like permission to transform into flash fiction./The memory of a creepy photograph, seen briefly weeks ago, wants to be reborn as a horror story.

Chilly October evenings evoke the landscape of Hardy, so I’ve been reading The Return of the Native after the sun sets./ The Roebling Bridge, which connects Ohio to Kentucky, brings to mind Hart Crane./Then there’s my Sylvia Plath mug.

The trees of the mind are black.*

The trees of the mind are black.*

*From The Moon and the Yew Tree by Sylvia Plath.







[Intermezzo] It’s Late September, Come Watch the Seasons Duel

The windows are open, all nine of them, the sashes stretching towards the sky. Street-facing, breeze-embracing. The sun crawls in, climbs in, cascades in: it is everywhere, covering everything, dappling the furniture and the like-coloured dogs with its brightness. The leaves have not dropped; they are green, still supple. Juicy. Plump. They have not yet been riddled with brittleness, or opacity.

Although the calendar suggests otherwise, here, in the North-South corridor, we are caught between seasons. I have lived in this city six years. Autumn comes late, later than I am accustomed to: it is a blip, a blink, a grimace. Normally, autumn is summer, winter is autumn; in September, cool, calm, sunny weather is a hiccough, an anomaly. The days blaze, the nights burn. This year, it is different: thermals in the morning give way to sundresses in the afternoon. The sun is out, but the wind lasts all day: sweaters have already been unpacked, pressed neatly. Smoothed against fading tan skin, pulled tightly against prematurely hunched shoulders.

It is autumn, almost as I know it: cool, windy, exhilarating. Pumpkin patches beckon, the hint of cold-weather spices whirl through the air: cinnamon, nutmeg. Cool temperatures are still an early morning affair, but the time for apple cider and warm soup is near. The cloudy point between seasons-the neither here nor there-is my creative comfort zone: the blood seeping through my pores.

[Intermezzo] A Ball of Light*

We crossed the river, yesterday. We skimmed impatient hands across jewelry, postcards, record albums, tin canisters emblazoned with long-dead logos, crockery. My eye was momentarily entrapped by these shiny things, distractions all. The sun riveted its heat into my flesh, dribbles of sweat danced down my arms before diving off of my jagged fingernails to land in the grassy unknown, spent. My eyes, shaded, landed on a pile of ink and ideas cobbled together with old leather and faith. This fellow was on top… Continue reading

[Intermezzo] I’m Thinking About Cleaning Out My Idea Bank

I’m thinking about cleaning out my idea bank. It is a knee-quaking concept. Ten years of scraps, plots, extracts, phrases, titles, names, research and character studies are lovingly tucked away or carelessly crammed into various crannies and boxes and drawers. They contain a lot of good ideas and solid or beautiful writing. There are threads of greatness, however frayed and dirty and dusty; there’s a lot of crap, too, or things that I have outgrown or moved past. Legal pads, notebooks, torn napkins, loose leaf paper. Written in pen, pencil, marker, lipstick. It’s all there, waiting to be addressed. Faced. Embraced or conquered. Trashed or saved. Crumpled mounds of surprise or disgust. “I’m this good?” or “What shitty shit of a writer came up with this?” It’s all conjecture, of course, as I haven’t read any of it; but I know the odds, and they are even. The summer is young, and the days are long. I can do this.

[Intermezzo] Develop Monomania or Go Home!

Excuse me, but I’ve been holed up in the 19th century for the last few days. Time flies when your nose is in a book (or two). Close the cover and, wham, it is 2012 again. How did that happen? Where are the Shelleys, the Hunts, Keats, Byron? They were here just ten minutes ago. Their laughter hangs in the air, lilting and vaporous. I wish they had been able to stay longer; I enjoyed the discourse, the flinging of ideas, their beautiful and weighty words. Emily, too, slipped off when I wasn’t looking. She cannot be shackled, or fully understood. She is the elusive one. The great riddle. Why am I annoyed? They were selfish, demanding my time when it wasn’t healthy to give: develop monomania, or go home! was their request. It is always the same with them. Nothing ever changes. They aren’t very romantic-never were-but they are sirens, alluring as they lure you away from workaday life. They left, and do not linger. Out of the moment, through the fire, and I am not affected at all. I like it that way. Back in reality, refreshed, I can write again.