brattleboro literary festival: after

Brattleboro Literary Festival

More than 50 authors were loose on the streets of Brattleboro, Vermont, for the fun and successful Brattleboro Literary Festival! The Literary Death Match was hilarious–Adrian Todd Zuniga as host. Roxana Robinson read against Rigoberto Gonzales , while Pam Houston read … Continue reading

winter days

This post is made possible by two friends: Jodi Paloni took these photos of the Days’ Cottages this winter, and Darrelyn Saloom recently taught me how to insert a slideshow into a blog post. Many thanks.

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Click on behind the photo for the story behind the photo at the top of this blog. And click on photos to see more of the cottages, and more of Truro and Provincetown.

piling

I have a basket where I pile things that need to be done–bills, invitations, bank statements, receipts, hotel and airline confirmations, soccer schedules. Generally, the plan is that I go through it once a week. Well, there was Christmas, then Vermont, then a big writing project, then guests…. Yesterday I began to sort, and I’m still not to the bottom of the stack.

And this is just my non-writing pile.

But I have to say, I do love piling. Do you?

the end of the storm

A week ago, I was so struck, as I came up over a hill, to actually be able to see the end of the storm–see it in the sky. At its source. Rather than notice the rain had stopped or it was getting lighter outside.

Sometimes it’s easy to see the endings of things. But sometimes you don’t know it’s the end until you look up to see the next thing has started.

One morning recently, I woke to find bare branches. And I thought, so fall is over just like that.

We’re nearing the end of another year, and I’m looking around trying to see it happening.


I’m writing from the road, I had to see,
and not just know, to see clearly
the sights and fires of a single world…
~from “To See” by Adam Zagajewski
Without End

I give, from 10-29-09

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I wanted to do a post today. Usually I post much earlier. This is my fourth try.

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Each time--writing about a book, about my writing process (ok, obsessed), and even about a single picture I had taken on Tuesday--I was not happy with what I was doing.

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I kept wanting to include not one but three pictures. Just a minute ago, I interrupted my last attempt to post so I could accompany my 16-year-old to the door. He was leaving for a late basketball practice.

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As I shut the door, I saw the last light of day caught in this dogwood tree. And I thought, I give, as I went in search of my camera.

await your reply 5: parceling out your life

And you wipe the snow out of your hair and get back into your car and drive off toward an accumulation of the usual daily stuff–there is dinner to be made and laundry to be done and helping the kids with their homework and watching television on the couch with the dog resting her muzzle in your lap and a phone call you owe to your sister in Wisconsin and getting ready for bed, brushing and flossing and a few different pills that help to regulate your blood pressure and thyroid and a facial scrub that you apply and all the rituals that are–you are increasingly aware–units of measurement by which you are parceling out your life. (92)

This passage from Dan Chaon’s 2009 novel, Await Your Reply, reminds me of so many things:

Annie Dillard’s The Writing Life: “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”  

  Mark Strand’s “The Continuous Life”: Say there will always be cooking and cleaning to do,/That one thing leads to another, which leads to another;”

the Zen saying: “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Michael Cunningham’s The Hours: “Laura reads the moment as it passes.  Here it is, she thinks; there it goes.  The page is about to turn.”

that surely there is more than this

and just as surely, no there’s not.

What are the units of measurement by which you are parceling out your life?

await your reply

~last in a series
~cross-posted at Contrary Blog