Sunday, October 30, 2011

journal excerpt: October 30 (pumpkins and personal information)

Two things, both cause for hope and evidence of growth:

First, on Tuesday, unexpectedly, I realized I had started menstruating again. It's been almost exactly a year since I stopped taking the pill, and it's good to know that my body is no longer afraid for its life. It's finally saying that it's healthy, strong enough to carry a fetus, to spare a little blood every month. I actually feel as though I have received a grateful, congratulatory message. And I am, perhaps stupidly, proud of my little ovaries and uterus for rallying like this.

Second, yesterday evening, after supper, after we'd watched Troy and Laura had gone home, Tim and I sat on the kitchen floor and carved our pumpkins.

Mine started out as a LOTR elf, and ended up as a Hindu goddess. Tim made a face on either side of his - a goomba, and a slit-nosed, mawing leer. For almost exactly a year, any event we have tried to make festive or special has dissolved into a fight, and been followed by sickening resentment and disappointment. But somehow last night was cozy and fun.

We admired each other's progress, though we felt slightly competitive. We sat in companionable silence. We shoveled off the floor together. We extinguished every light in the house to admire the jacks once they were lit. Simple happiness, our sense of conspiracy - I've missed that desperately. It's been too long.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Every thing nourishes what is strong already.

"Of a fine, stout, healthy love it may. Every thing nourishes what is strong already."

- Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice

Sunday, October 23, 2011

on the up and up

I finished Justina's sweater. I'll get her to model it soon. She looks beautiful.
I finished Godel, Escher, Bach - the most difficult book I've ever read.
I have submissions in at Grain Magazine, Room Magazine, and The Wascana Review. (I sent them the new poems.)
I made my Christmas cards this morning. They're the loveliest things. I'll show you this afternoon when flikr starts working.
I filed my dental insurance claim. You have no idea how long this has taken me.
I bought bacon, because this is the week I attempt Boston Baked Beans. You have no idea how long this has taken me.

Snow forecasted for Tuesday. I am not afraid.

And Tim gave me a cup warmer. A tiny burner he used to melt hide glue. I am no longer freezing my hands at my desk, and I am sure my poems will now improve. This is such a good way to live.

the second pie

(Underneath, Emily's tablecloth.) It was patchy because I rolled the dough out with a glass pop bottle. It was a lard and butter crust with thinly-sliced apples (always unpeeled) and anise inside. We issued a general invitation to come over and share it.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


If you go to the same places every day, you begin to meet the same people. You see them, they see you, you exchange hellos. They already know one of your habits. If you carry knitting or a notebook, they learn more. Perhaps one of them does the same work. They see you working, they ask you. Perhaps you buy 2 litres of honey from one of them. You overpay. Suddenly, there are small gifts. 20 pounds of apples.

Perhaps one of them is a bee keeper, and one is a writer. Another asks you for a sweater pattern. The writer lends you a book. Suddenly, at the usual intersections, friends pass you three different ways. Startled, you whip your head around. When the writer has a bicycle accident, you buy her a Frank McCourt audio book. You get her address when her mother waltzes into the cafe like a plot device. When you go to deliver the present, you find the writer lives only a block away, which is astonishing. Furthermore astonishing, you know the man who saw her on the road and took her to the hospital. Even there, the nurse was familiar with the patch of broken sidewalk that sent Jocelyn flying. Other cyclists know.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

a sweater for Justina

This is my second sweater. It's for my friend, Justina the artist, and she is trading me a painting for it.

It's one of the many things I have wanted to complete, so I can move on, so I can create new things, but I have been forced to linger on it. And on Godel, Escher, Bach. And on an empty bank account. And on old poems and stories. And on bookshelves. And on 149 pounds. And on this notebook that seems to contain nothing but To-Do lists. And on an insidious awkwardness and distance between me and Tim. And on a job that sends me home crying at least once a week.

I just want to go forward. (And I am, but so slowly. More slowly than ever. Always forward, never back. But never enough. Is there a reward for this slogging? What do you think?)

journal excerpt: October 7

A disturbing realization--again--looking through my poems. Nature and the body are all I write about. Are they how I think as well? Is nothing else profound? Machines, cities, language, fear, money, the shrinking world, history--could I write about this, if I tried to? I think I must try, because I am too young to fall into a rut.

Thursday, October 6, 2011


Growing my hair out means a lot, lately. I'm doing it because, as I said to Tim this morning, "I think it looks more grown up".

I want to grow up.

I am twenty years old and it would be trendy here and now to put off growing up for about ten years; but I am not interested.

The idea of a professionalism that has very little to do with the corporate world appeals to me. Focus, confidence, self-possession, ability, style.

There are a thousand different ways I can stop playing the child. I can, for instance, stop wearing ripped hoodies and using a can of hairspray a week.