Thursday, March 15, 2012


Overwhelmed feels hot. Cold sometimes. Underwhelmed has a chill to it, or a slight sweat, a measure of discomfort that can't be placed. Whelmed is a breeze through an open car window, a creamsicle sun considering its set past the mountains, a hot air balloon that no longer rises but never falls.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


I will finish Didion tonight. Yesterday I purchased a copy of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and Damned that I plan to start tomorrow while I start an Americano. Once more, I considered abandoning her grief and her--perhaps because it is my own grief I can not abandon by such choice--but decided once more to stick it out. I am glad that I have, as she is beginning to strike chords in me I don't yet know how to play.

To give is better than to receive, and that this is true of love more than all else is the one lesson I'd take from these nineteen years if forced to choose.

While longing to glean more independent years like the one I've begun to wrap my head around, I long also to chuck independence into a commercial-grade trash bag and stop its leaking into any welcome, newfound dependency. This conflict leaves me sitting on sofas in the dark, comparing shadows on the blinds to those from the night before.

The reason I stripped my green fleece blanket from my lap, folded the recliner back to its fully locked and upright position, and required Didion's patience of me while I type in the dark is this: all this free time and no one to spend it with. This struck me as particularly concerning because I am reading a widow's account of her lover's death, yes, but also because I like to wish my free time away. I like to sleep while the sun is up and watch episodes of television in which I have no emotional investment. I suppose there is no self-chiding to be done for this. At least not now. The future version of me I imagine scolding the past me for lounging around when the years within my marriage and children's lives--

No. The future me knows more, not less. Knowing now that I do my best with what I have is not knowledge I will lose while doing my best with what I have once I have it. But knowing that doesn't stop me from imagining wrinkles in time that allow for the reversal of sloth, the achieving of fulfillment, the establishment of personal improvement.

At least I think with a straight face. All this analyzing won't show in any wrinkles of my own. Those we save for smiles and laughter, anger and concern. Those we save for evidence that no time is wasted.


I always worry, after finishing a book, that there is something I still don't know. Something factual and Wikipedia-accessible, like the author's recent death date or a research update on an event that provided a backbone to the story or memoir. I worried this time that Didion had since died. I was even more upset to find that her daughter has. The Year of Magical Thinking doubles as an account of her daughter's illness and hospitalization. Quintana Dunne is comatose when her father dies, but she recovers. She relapsed as the book was published, dying of acute pancreatitis on August 26, 2005--four years to the day before Didion's brother-in-law, well-known columnist Dominick Dunne, died in 2009. Didion recently released her account of the grief over losing Quintana: Blue Nights.

And I can't help but think, you are Joan Didion. Defined as a highly esteemed American essayist and novelist. But within that name, when you look to yourself, you exist now as an ongoing attempt to separate yourself from definitions that abandoned you. John's wife. Quintana's mother. You are left to be, simply, Joan. And there is nothing simple about that.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

and Wheel of Fortune never called me!


(hey! post #400! haha if I had realized that pre-post, it wouldn't be such a weenie)

And What?

Oh hey, I have more ink. One like this:
and one like this:
the top is an ampersand in Georgia font, representing a few things to me. 
1) I love typography
2) Georgia could use some homage after growing me up
3) Sometimes, I need a reminder to write.
4) There's always something next. An "and." You can ask "and what?" while you don't know what it is, but you'll know soon enough. You're always living the answer to the last time you asked.
5) I like people to know that I like and have tattoos. That's more of a placement reason.
6) I enjoy it. It's my new favorite.

the bottom is part of a piece sketched by Charles Gibson in 1902 called Of Course There are Mermaids. She lived simply on a calendar I bought at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where the original lives. She's the month of July, to which I flipped and never left. She represents a few things to me.
1) Calm
2) Beauty
3) New York
4) My resolve to go through with things I love without over-analyzing them.

and this is my new wall collage:
[I'm a fan.]

what else to tell you.... I read the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy. It was a page-turner, but I don't intend to finish the series. I'm still reading Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. I'm slightly disappointed. I keep hoping the chronology of what causes her grief will yield to her account of living with and moving through the grief, but it rarely does. I respect what the journal of events is to her, but I find myself distracted. I think I keep reading it because I don't like what it says about me that I want to abandon a work (a National Book Award winning work, at that) that attacks a person's grief the way they see fit. I've decided to join her. To see it as fit.

I feel like a time bomb again. I believe I have successfully suppressed my anxiety by naming it and therefore regaining control. On the plus side, normal emotions are more prevalent lately than the episodes I'd been fielding. Interesting--I guess I'd taken "happy" and "sad" for granted until now.

"Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got til it's gone..."