Thursday, December 31, 2009

See ya later, sucker!

Here are a few photos from the two days I actually left the house this month. Once for a walk on Mt. Tabor on Christmas Day, one on an evening adventure for pie and Peacock Lane, the insane street near my house that draws hundreds of gawkers, wreaks havoc with local traffic and made something in the pit of my stomach twist and vibrate in nauseating turns. The last photo is from our one day of snow so far, a mere inch or so that caused 4-5 hour delays on the highways. Days like that, I'm thankful for my housebound life.

Now...let's get on with it. Bring on 2010. A new decade, a new chance to fight off the flypaper stick of inertia with pen and paper, keyboard and shutter snap.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poetry vs. Ohio State

My book group for writers met at my house last night. Not only did it compel me to give the slanty shanty a good scrub behind the ears, but it gave me the opportunity to dwell in poetry for a good portion of the day. That's a good place to be. One I'd forgotten about for a while.

Most of the year our group reads novels and stories and essays, but in December we read poetry to each other, not for critique or for any in-depth discussion, but simply because we love it. At least, some of us do. What a great thing, to have friends in my house with stacks of poetry books by their side, reading and re-reading.

I laugh. My neighbor brings his friends together every weekend to watch college football on a TV tucked into the corner of his tiny patio. They drink and cheer and thrill over it. I bring my friends together and we sip wine and tea, nibble at cookies and scones and read Wallace Stevens and Mary Szybist. I will never love football. They will never love poetry. Sad for both of us, in some ways.

It's not that I'm a rampant consumer of poetry. I wish I read more widely and understood more deeply. But I try. A poetry book gets into my hands once every few months. It should be every day. I've tried a poetry new year's resolution but it was something vague, without any kind of daily dedication. Maybe I will try again. A poem a day. I'll start with the Poetry Foundation's daily poetry offerings in audio. Why don't you join me? Maybe then we can gather some weekend and drink and cheer and thrill over what we find.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Joy to the world?

Being busy has always been a virtue in my family. "Are you keeping busy?" is one of the only questions my 96 year old grandmother consistently still asks me. It's the same question my parents both ask me when they hand the phone back and forth on a Sunday call.

My schedule as a massage therapist has been full to the brim lately . My work as a writer has been giving me a good nightly excuse to avoid the bitter cold that recently gripped our usually mild city. This makes my family very happy and in these times of rampant unemployment, I certainly won't complain about it.

I will, however, note that being busy has never been the most important point. I guess I'd prefer that the question was "Have you been enjoying yourself?" The answer is the same. Yes. A modicum of joy comes with feeling secure and successful in my work. But more of it comes from watching the cat absorb the tiniest square of sunlight that penetrates my chilly living room in the afternoon. More of it comes from pulling the warm covers over my head for ten more minutes of sleep and eating homemade bread for breakfast with my beaux.

These are considerations for the privileged, certainly. And certainly most privileged people would agree that joy is in these small things, not in simply having a full schedule. While a vast majority of the world is simply trying to survive to the next day, here in a land buried in plastic lead-filled crap, and dotted with abandoned 8,000 square foot homes, asking a different question wouldn't be a bad idea.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Light Bright

This year, our neighbor hung blue holiday lights. They make for a dim and melancholy trip to our bathroom. They glow vaguely through the frosted plastic covering the bottom half of our constantly weeping windows. In the mirror, the streetlight burns a lurid and lonely orange. Though it surprises me every time I open the door, I still like it. Christmas lights and fireflies, stars seen from the middle of the forest and tiny midwest towns seen from a red-eye flight. I've always been a sucker for a dash of bright in the middle of the dark.