In The Writing Life, Annie Dillard wrote, I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we … Continue reading
For the last two weeks I’ve been an artist in residence at Ragdale in Lake Forest, Illinois. If you haven’t applied, apply now. The most wonderful people are here to make sure your work comes first and that you don’t … Continue reading
1 On Monday night I finished Dawn Tripp’s wonderful novel, Game of Secrets, and wasn’t ready to start a new book or go to sleep. Mindless TV seemed the solution, and I found The Kennedys (some sort of mini-series) on Netflix. … Continue reading
I arrived on a Saturday in the rain and clouds and rough seas, loving every minute of it. On Tuesday, about 7:50 pm, I was lying on the sofa reading when I noticed something was different. It was the sun–I … Continue reading
I don’t keep (as in maintain) a journal. I do have a journal–actually I have lots of gorgeous journals (all blank)–but I do keep (as in hold in a given place) a journal in my purse and occasionally I write … Continue reading
For the last three weeks, I’ve been traveling…
One thing I know for sure: I do not like large groups. Socializing sucks my brain cells and replaces them with that noise that used to come on TVs after a station had gone off the air. But talking to one … Continue reading
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.
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?
I want to slow things down. I was planning on writing a post on several stories in Alan Heathcock‘s debut collection, Volt, but I think I’ll just look at the first story. “The Staying Freight”–I love the title–was first published … Continue reading
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
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
Seven days the first week of April–spring break–in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, in a house right on the beach–days I can’t seem to stop thinking or writing about.
Seeing, hearing, smelling, living the ocean–I just felt great. Each moment was wider than normal. Each day had a rhythm and an arc.
I’ve never been one to appreciate or mark the beginning of the day. I’m not much in the morning. But at the end of each one of these, I paused to watch the sun disappear into the o c e a n.
As part of a series at Douglas Glover’s Numéro Cinq, my childhood…