Monday, December 29, 2008


Andover is folding itself into a late afternoon fog and we, in this particular holiday household are on pause. The 6-yr old nephew and his mother, my sister, are out at a movie. My parents are at work. My brother in law is working in his bedroom. My old friends are off in other towns. The dog is asleep. In this pause I breathe more fully and relish the quiet.

In another hour the household will rev up again for the evening. The TV will blare, drinks will be poured, both gentle and biting arguments will begin. In this house,traffic jabs and shifts around oversized furniture in miniature rooms. There is no flow. In this house, without a single curtain, drape or blind to its name, all our noise and jagged movements are advertised to the neighborhood.

I love this family but I'm ready to go home to a cover of rain, velvet curtains and the familiar sweeping silences of my Portland life.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Oh shortest short day ... Good riddance. Let the light creep back. Let the rain come down. Melt, melt, melt.

Right now, I'd like to persuade some scientists to work on getting the earth's axis straightened out. What, you say you like variety? You like the seasons? Oh, okay. Keep the tilt and bring me better boots and a few more bottles of wine.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

On the first day it snowed, we opened the door and tried to see if the cat's instinct to go outside at any and all moments extended to an outside sugary white and blustery cold. No. She, like us, ran back in and spent the day under blankets.
On the next couple of blustery cold and painfully bright days we woke to ice art that had grown on the INSIDE of all of our old, thin windows. We worked when we had to but we returned when we could to our blanketed warmth, our huddled protest of a winter we both thought we'd left behind in New England.

It continues today and tomorrow and into next week. Damn stuff. Maybe, when I fly to Boston for X-mas I will find a mild, soft drizzle, a perfect Portland holiday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Another draft done to throw on the pile. If, in the long run, this book goes no further than the folder on my desk, at least I built a mighty stack of words with all my efforts. I still have to go through this and fill in a few details (How many legs does a crayfish have? What are the names of the different positions on a roller derby team?). I still have to address a few issues I've already noted. But lets call the damn thing done. Done for now. Done for this round. Then I'll let it sit while I find the right readers. It will sit and the cream will separate from the crap. Hopefully, it's a richer mixture than the last batch.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

In the spirit of playfulness, I decided to share my Christmas present to myself with the cat. I couldn't resist the cool new pod/rattles that Carol Lebreton made this year. Shake it and it sounds like sleigh bells. Sitting on my desk it looks a seed from a Dr. Seuss tree. On the floor with the cat, it looks like a mild amusement to be ignored at the first sign of a stray rubber band.

Today didn't feel much like play, but it was productive nonetheless. If my vision is correct, I have only one scene left to write before this draft is done. The last bitter bite to gnaw through. If I was writing this by hand from a tropical hammock, I would push on through to the end. As it is, I'm cold, it's dark and my eyes are about to burst from staring at the screen all day. Ah, the rewards of a successful day of writing.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Creativity and Play

I am nearing the end of another draft of my novel. Only a couple more chapters to go. As I push forward, grinding through sentence by sentence, I found this TED video a good reminder about how being playful encourages creativity. It's so easy to get stifled by an idea if that idea is held too closely, too seriously. Preciousness can be a disastrous thing in a creative project. Self-censorship can kill it off before it even begins. So here's to more brainstorming, more mistakes, more play.