Friday, November 27, 2015

The Megastore Recommends: Sick Day Edition.

Sure, go ahead and bust it out, finish that epic swath of student conferences and come home late, fall on the bed, breathe, whatnot. Go ahead, think I only have to make beans and brussels sprouts to take to Thanksgiving. Go ahead, ignore that little sniffle that hangs on like a bad thought, like a nagging, insistent pop song. Just wait. By the end of the beautiful, family-filled night, it'll just be you and your sinuses driving home, and you'll be all mucinex mucinex mucinex, like it's the most beautiful line of dactylic trimeter you ever did sing/sniff.

Well, come the next day, you're going to need a few recommendations, and I'm here to give 'em to you.

1. Accept that the bed is your destiny. Sure, you might think, hey, I don't feel so dang bad when you're still horizontal and the day is young. And you might sit up and let all that sinus action sort itself out. And walk tentatively into the kitchen, and make oatmeal.

But then? Well, it's time to go back to bed, you and your Mucinex, because you're achey and a little sniffy and by golly it feels a little chilly out there in the world, outside the blankets. So lie down again. It's okay.

2. Accept the dog as your nurse. Sure, he doesn't actually do things like get you a glass of water or bring you that magazine or adjust the covers or remind you when it's time to take the next dose of Mucinex. But he does lie down on the bed beside you, and he sighs when you sigh, and when the magazine falls from your hand and you slip into sick-sleep, he is right there with you. Dog-accompanied sick-sleep just may be more restful than regular sick-sleep. Actually, we have a trial for this going on. I'll let you know our findings.

3. Soup. Soup is the answer.

No: Soup is The Answer. That's better.

We ventured out at the end of the day to our local Indian restaurant, where they brought us complimentary saag shorba, and it soothed our souls, and also my sick.

4. Don't bother being aspirational. That's the medicine talking right there. No, you can't sort through your sweaters. Or revise your manuscript. Or grade, really. Pretty much all you're good for is clicking through the channels and maybe finding something on Netflix. Truthfully? what you're really good for is watching something you've watched a million times before. When you're sick, the familiar jokes and anticipating the good parts of something you've watched a million times before is remarkably fulfilling. A cure for what ails you? it just might be.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beautiful things.

The Willamette River Historical Stream Channels

"This visually replaces the relatively flat landscape of the valley floor with vivid historical channels, showing the dynamic movements the river has made in recent millennia."

This poem:
...For once the shells split and sapphire 
And fire-opal fledge in their filth  
And six or seven small spurts of flame  
Are tumbled out into the dazzle

micro press with approximately the most beautiful landing page ever:

This little glory of bookmaking:

(Charlotte's picture of things in progress)

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

Today I walked into my building at 10:30 a.m., and walked out at 7 p.m. In between, I graded and talked to many many students. Waited in vain for a few of them. Talked to colleagues who were cheerfully doing the day-before-a-holiday work of talking and waiting. Worked with Charlotte on the book project--so many steps!

I feel lucky about my work, all of it, the teaching and the planning and the writing and the dreaming. I am lucky in my friends, the ones I have known since I was a half-formed girl, and the ones I am lucky enough to work with every day. I feel lucky in my family: the big, beautiful chaos of it, the history of songs and movies and love and argument, the people from whom I come and the people who come, in part, from me. I'm lucky in love, in my marriage, in my home, in the solace and shelter I find there. The world is unendurable and unbearably beautiful. It's mystifying, it is terrible, it strikes awe. I am tired, I am impatient, I am alive.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Conversations that must be had.

It's late in the semester. That means there are projects to bring to fruition, or closer to fruition, or, you know, not as far from fruition as they were, like, yesterday. Projects. Today, we had a meeting to talk about projects and I took loads of notes, both digital and mental, including this one: holy shit, I have a lot to do. Then I rambled with my people down to the Publication Center to check up on another project. Whew. It's moving along, and it will keep moving along, and we will finish it, and then it will be grading/wedding/Christmas whoa!

Meanwhile, as I left the building in the dark and light, fading, and I saw the lights still on in the historian's office. So I went back in to say hi/bye.

We talked for a few about the thises and thats of our respective days, and then I got this text from my youngest son, on his way to Vegas to have Thanksgiving with his dad:

'Walker just texted me and asked me who is my favorite movie director,' I said, casually, as if I didn't even care whatsoever.

My thought process, from this moment forward, was like this:

1. [rubs hands together with glee]

I began:

I had to think about Paul Thomas Anderson. My thought process was

2. [what's that guy what's that guy what's that guy There Will be Blood Inherent VICE!!!]
3. [starts texting again:]

I looked up. "This question is, like, crack to me. Irresistible," I said.

And the historian laughed.

n.b.: if anyone wants to know my complete list of favorite movie directors, I will have it ready for your perusal tomorrow. by noon. there will be mexican directors, and chinese directors, fyi.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Snapshots of work at home day.

1. Did the same core workout that, last week, made my abdominal muscles complain for days. 

2. Ate buckwheat pancakes, the breakfast of the righteous.

3. Read and graded student work in preparation for

4. Two hours of online conferences. 

5. Worried about students who are still hoping that I can provide them with the magical words for finish the semester when they haven't really finished the work. 

6. Second workout.

Son: Why are you going to work on work at home day?
Me: I'm going to work out. [pause]  Also, I'm going to work.
Son: Seems like you always go to work on work at home day.
Me: It's the end of the semester. So there's projects to finish.
Son: PROJECTS? (may or may not be what he actually said)

7. School. For projects:                                                                          

...with The Charlotte. These are carefully assembled covers for books.
Oh the meticulousness and the glue!
8. Read ten poetry manuscripts, as I'm pre-screening for a book contest. Felt the despair and nihilism of this effort.
9. Lay down to contemplate my muscles and also the Sundance Catalog. AND the last part of Home Alone, the part with all the ouches but also all the gut laughs. AND Remember the Titans, what? #footballmovie  P.S., Also, does anyone remember that Ryan Gosling and Wood Harris, aka Avon Barksdale,  are in this movie? And Hayden Panettiere? 

Friday, November 20, 2015

the light.

 Yesterday, I drove home in the gloom. The gloaming, I guess they sometimes call it.

We're in it now--the late fall, just a month away from the solstice, the light getting dimmer earlier. Leaving work and walking to my car as it gets colder. 

As I drove south on the long road before I turn onto my street, I glanced to the east. I saw light on the Wasatch. I looked west, and saw the sun sinking into the Oquirrhs. East, the high peaks white with snow, white with last light. West, the orange pink coral streaking the clouds. 

I thought, in two minutes, that light on the Wasatch will be gone. I thought, I maybe can grab my camera before it disappears. I raced into the house, threw down my stuff, grabbed my camera.

By the time I got back outside, the light in the east was gone. But the pink in the west was still tangled in the trees.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Dear megastore,

I think I have too many books. Well, they can't fit on my shelves.


Needs More Shelves


Dear Shelves-y,

You probably do have too many books. We can't all live in the Library of Babel, which, as a fictional construct, has an infinity of shelves and thus an infinity of books. You, my dear Shelves-a-lot, are not a fictive construct. Well, maybe you are, but you are not infinite. Well, who knows, maybe you are infinite, but I think it's unlikely, because you're writing to me. Well, maybe you're not actually writing to me.


You probably do have too many books, Shelvesford. The problem is, which ones to get rid of. The other problem is, which books not to buy. Have you heard of the public library (not the Babel branch)? The books at that library are, whilst in your possession, only temporary. Temporary books is one solution. Put them on a table, and you avoid the shelf conundrum.

My dear Shelvesmore, of all the things to have too much of, books are not so bad. To have too many of, you see, you see where I'm going, right? It's not like shoes, which are clearly a vanity. Well, sure, books, too, are a kind of vanity. Sure, of course you've read all those different versions of Proust AND Moby Dick.

Shelvesniss Everdeen: just, I don't know. Just put your books in stacks on the floor like a normal person.

And may the volumes be ever in your favor,



Dear megastore,

How do you say no when people want you to do things that you don't want to do, you don't have time to do, it's wrong of them to ask you to do, and also you're really tired both of being asked and of summoning up your inner strength to think, then say, no?

So, so tired,

Ms. Yessayer


My dear Miss Yesmonger,

Like most things, saying no is a matter of practice. Just look in a mirror, knit your brow ever so slightly, and say it. It's easy, just one syllable, the n with its Proto Indo European history of negation vibrating between the tongue and the back of the teeth, the o the universal sound of indescribable wonder. The Wonderful No. Say it.

Come on: say it like you mean it, Mistress Yes-to-all, you aren't getting anywhere if you don't put your back into it.

What, are you afraid people will be mad at you? Are you suffering from the Indispensable Man Complex? wherein you believe at some level of madness that nothing, not one thing will get done if you, the Indispensable Yes Monkey Man, do not show up (saying YES I said yes I will YES) to do it? 

Fine, Yeswhillikers, go ahead. Just say yes to everything. But don't expect me to feel bad for you when you're ranting about your too-much-to-dos or your I'm-so-stressed-out.

Are you ready now, Yesterday's News? It's really the only way. Say it with me now:

No I mean it No I won't NOoooooooooooo.  

Yours in the negation of the negation, whatever that means,


Until now.

All  through the fall, I've found myself with a crippling bout of longing. My friend Gail says you should identify your core desired feelings. Elation. How about that. Or exhilaration?

Our trip to Scotland was, this last time, magnificent. When we came back, we had to dive into school like doing a turn at the far end of the pool. A poorly executed turn, where you predictably but not purposefully inhale a lot of water. And you still have to swim, sputtering and coughing.

Not rage. Not can't come up for air. Not who do I think I am, anyway?

Last night, after a series of student conferences--online, at night--where half (not an exaggeration) of the students did not show up, I came into the bedroom where the historian was half resting, half watching television. Bruiser was, of course, aligned, both in purpose and in body, with these activities. I got under the covers, just to, you know, relax. I don't like being stood up by students for evening online appointments. It feels rude and maybe a little weasely and it invites all the thoughts, like, what am I doing wrong, that my students can't remember their appointments? and why am I so dumb, that I allow this to happen? and so on. Unproductive. Anxiety, and rage, producing.

But last night, I let it go. I thought, I did my part. And I did. I was prepared for those conversations and the students have my written feedback. I thought, time to breathe.

And I did.

This morning on my way to work, I started to think about a poem I'm nominally working on. I came up with a line and a half, and I thought, I'm on my way in. And now is the time I should be writing. And although always is the time I should be writing, I felt just a tiny taste of a core desired feeling. I felt elated.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The chill and its recompense.

I realized that I had a midday meeting downtown when I was still lying in bed.

[I realize that it's a little early in the post for a digression, but:]

DIGRESSION: It is not a good habit to be checking one's phone before one has arisen from one's bed. I keep reading this. It's like, basically, inviting the Stress Fairy in for a snuggle. And yet I do. I do invite the Stress Fairy, aka my iPhone, into bed with me. It's terrible.


Ugh. The meeting, I mean. Well, more the downtown-ness of the meeting, i.e., getting out of one's snuggery, aka, one's very own home where one was peaceably grading, and getting into the car and listening to the wind howling and driving when there's snow, &c &c it's the antithesis of the at-home-work-day I had planned in my mind before I checked my phone and saw that sneak attack of a meeting. Which was just fine, once I got there. Then there was the driving home. Midday meeting downtown, you'd be just fine except for the driving sandwich.

Even so, once I got home again, I had the presence of mind to put two cups of dried beans in water to boil then soak. I have like ten different kinds of legumes at my house. I don't know, precisely, what possesses me. These were Christmas beans, enormous and a lovely mottled color. I also have flageolets and black lentils and green lentils and garbanzos and some sort of black bean and cranberry beans and I think still some yellow Navajo beans? I don't know.

Well, if a cold day isn't a day for soup, I don't know what. So I graded some more, then worked out, then made chili.

I don't have an oven yet, so there was no cornbread, but there was toast, and there was whole milk yogurt and grated sharp Cheddar and cilantro to go with the chili, and dang if that wasn't the most fitting dinner ever for a mid-November day. Plus leftovers, which is but one of the saving graces of at-home-work-day, even with the interloping midday downtown meeting.

I cannot wait for that oven. Oh the baked goods that will issue therefrom!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Battening down the hatches.

We did some autumn into winter chores today--drained the cooler, put on its winter coat, turned off the outside faucets. I did laundry from upstairs and down. Washed dishes. Cooked and ate porridge and cleaned up after ourselves.

Read the paper, all the terrible news. Talked to Scotland.

We ventured out for our late-ish doggy constitutional at about 10:30. The wind was wild, and you could feel a cold edge to it. Cold and getting colder. The last few nights, the stars have been brilliant. Perfect sun in the day, piercing stars at night.

I graded and graded today. I'm not caught up--please. But I can see the possibility of being caught up now. Beyond that, I can just see the thin selvedge of the end of the semester. It is scented with Christmas tree and has the tiniest sparkle of twinkle lights, even when it is weeks away. Also? Wedding cake.

One of my friends said to me once that, anymore, he was all and only about the small saving graces. I can appreciate where he's coming from. Tonight, I made a frittata and some steamed broccoli. We watched The Good Wife and two episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt (it's a miracle!).  Clean sheets. Talking to my kids. A snug house. Those clear stars.

Around us, all about us, so much falling apart. Maybe it's always falling apart, we're just noticing more.

(These fragments I have shored against my ruins)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Dear my hands,

'Like most people, I have spent the better part of my life oblivious to the workings of my own hands.'
That's what Frank Wilson says, in the Prologue to his book The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture. My hands, I am not sure that I would quite say that. I remember so clearly how I focused so painstakingly on my hands when I practiced the piano. How deliberately I would relax my wrists, let my fingers float infinitesimally above the keys. How I would lift and drop them heavily into my lap, then place them again at the keyboard, wrists relaxed, fingers afloat.

I remember the pleasure I took in learning to knead bread.

Stroking a child's soft hair.

I'm thinking about the hands--the body, really--today because I spent a couple of hours making a blank book. Folding the signatures of paper, burnishing the fold with the bone folder. Pressuring the awl through the paper at the fold, then through leather. Threading a needle with waxed fiber. Pushing the needle through paper and leather repeatedly, sewing four signatures into a leather binding.

The room full of other people, doing the same.

Taking the time to undo a mistake.

After threading the needle, pinching away the excess wax that gathered on one side of the eye.

Lining up the marks so that the long stitches of the binding would be even, more or less.

Sewing on a button for a closure.

A sigh, signal of a small exasperation. Gathered in the lungs, and expelled.

Wilson notes, of a medical work by Sir Charles Bell, Scottish surgeon,
'It is genuinely startling to read Bell's Hand now, because its singular message--that no serious account of human life can ignore the central importance of the human hand--remains as trenchant as when it was first published. This message deserves vigorous renewal as an admonition to cognitive science. Indeed, I would go further: I would argue that any theory of human intelligence which ignores the interdependence of hand and brain function, the historic origins of that relationship, or the impact of that history on developmental dynamics in modern humans, is grossly misleading and sterile.'
Today, I felt the the steel of the needle in my fingers, both the pressure of pushing it through paper and leather, and the pressure of pulling it through to the other side. I felt the materials in my hand. Today, I was glad for the work of hands.

love, htms

(for Mary & for Charlotte)

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Dear defunct appliance,

Yesterday, when I was eating an omelet with my son (who was eating a breakfast burrito), he reminded me that we needed to get a new oven already.

'Don't you miss baking?' he asked.

Well, of course I do. I really really do, and also I miss turning my head to you, defunct appliance, and seeing your reassuring squared-off numerals that tell the time. These days, I still turn my head--it's been a month and I can't unlearn the habit--but all I see is a big blank. Right. I ripped out your wires because you were beeping like a maniac. You could have waited until after New Years for your long-prophesied total meltdown, defunct appliance. But you didn't. No, like a brat, you self-destructed in the middle of the semester. The MIDDLE. That's a bridge too far, defunct appliance.

But I miss you all the same, which is why we went, finally, to Lowe's tonight, armed with foreknowledge about what double wall ovens cost (a lot), and what we wanted (27", convection, stainless steel), to see about replacing you.

The guy who helped us (thanks, Michael!) was extra nice, and we are on the path. Of course you can't just go buy a double wall oven today, even if you're prepared to spend the benjamins right then and there.

'We have to order any wall oven in,' our guy told us, firmly. 'We don't keep any of those in stock.'


Fine.  'But before we order it, we send a guy out to measure, just to make sure it will fit,' he said, by way of information.
I feel like this oven will
basically sing to me whilst
I am baking.

Defunct appliance, even in your wire-ripped coma, you are a pain in the ass. Which I have already measured, but who am I? Just some lunatic with a tape measure, I guess.

Tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. sharp, our guy's best installer's factotum will show up with a tape measure. He will be a professional tape measurer. I will present him with the print out of our hoped-for double wall oven (27", convection, stainless steel)'s dimensions. And hopefully it will be a go, and we will go back tomorrow evening to our guy and place the order.

And then it will only be two weeks (i.e., just after Thanksgiving) before we have an oven in working

In honor of your future funeral, defunct appliance, here are the top ten things I will bake, roast, and broil in your successor:

  • whole wheat bread
  • muffins
  • scones
  • baked potato
  • roasted broccoli
  • baked penne and cheese
  • cornbread
  • oatmeal cookies
  • possible cupcakes
  • and a belated pumpkin pie.
Too bad you won't be around to see it,


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Five little things.

1. I got to eat breakfast with my son, who left today for a jaunt to Brazil.

'Take so many pictures,' I said. Begged.

He laughed. 'I ...'

'You're TERRIBLE at pictures,' I said, only telling the truth.

'We're going to see Cristo el Rey,' he said.

'What?' I said.

2. I read so many wonderful pieces written by my students today, and got to talk to the authors about them. Sometimes, I remember how much I love my job.

3. Leftover polenta and ratatouille. All I had to do was heat it up.

4. Surprise! Potato chips in the cupboard!

5. Tomorrow's Thursday. Thursday is Friday-adjacent.

(one more: this gorgeous poem.)
(oh, go on then, one more: tonight's cold, starry sky at 10:30.)

Monday, November 09, 2015

Weeping girls.

Today I ran across this feature on COLOSSAL, an imaginative placement of figures from classical paintings in modern scenes of Kiev, by the artist Alexey Kondakov. I especially love this one:

It reminded me, when I saw it, of a series of sculptures at Jupiter Artland (closed for the winter months, don't even think about going to Edinburgh just to see it!), called 'Weeping Girls' by Laura Ford.

The artist says that her inspiration was that a friend of hers told her a story about 'a fantastic tantrum his daughter had had where she was inconsolable whilst at the same time watching herself and the effect she was having in the mirror.'

We all thought the sculptures were compelling but also creepy. It was impossible not to go up to one of the girls to see if the thick, long curls of her stone hair covered an actual weeping face. But the faces were only evoked by their hiddenness. 

In the days that followed, as we traveled and everyone had episodes of crankiness, those weeping girls seemed animating spirits of the ways that our emotional lives shadow us like the drowned girl in The Ring. Or any embarrassing secret, or the compulsion to keep to ourselves what we're really thinking.

And still, the girls' bereftness struck me also as having a truth that isn't just self-dramatization. Freud talked about grief as a kind of temporary narcissism--but grief seems elemental anyway, despite its inward turning. Tears choke us, overtake us. Sometimes we apologize for them. Sometimes when I find myself in tears, I self-deprecate. Sorry, I say with a gesture, I know I'm being ridiculous.

Still elemental. Egregious and excessive and uncalled for. If I were doing what the Russian artist did with figures from classical paintings in Kiev, I would place weeping girls, this week in Salt Lake City, at the movies. At church. Driving a car from here to there. Talking on the phone. Alone in the office. Before falling asleep.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Four movie weekend.

Not that I really have time for any of this, but this weekend I saw four movies. Four, America! It's a down payment on the movies I've missed for all sorts of reasons.

A few notes:

1. When you see a load of movies in a short period of time, it's possible that they might not all be works of art. As you will see.
2. You have to basically count of the fact that you will be sitting on your butt in the dark for hours on end. If that's, you know, a problem for you at all.
3. Popcorn? Sure! Well, possibly. Possibly too much. Okay, probably.
4. The cast of characters--as in, your movie going partners--may be various.

Herewith, the movies:

Movie (1), Day (1): Burnt.

Me: What movie do you want to see tonight?

Both of us: (dive into the newspaper/internet)

Me: Our options are SuffragetteTruth.  Which I feel is probably self-satisfied (and all that that implies.) [I mention other movies that are not really options, because they sound like too much work. It's been a rough day/week/semester.]

Historian: I want to see Suffragette. I saw a thing about it. I definitely want to see that at some point.

Me: Me, too. [pause] Also, there's Burnt.

Historian: Which one is that?

Me: That Bradley Cooper one? About the cooking?

Historian: [pause] Maybe we should see that one?

Me: [seizing upon the movie star opportunity]: Let's see Burnt tonight and Suffragette tomorrow night.

And that is precisely what we did. We ate at our new hole-in-the-wall west side Mexican restaurant (awesome), then hightailed it downtown to see Burnt, which is glossy and formulaic and laden with a movie star with glowing blue eyes and also he can speak French IRL (In Real Life), which came in handy when he had to speak it in a HMS (Hollywood Movie Situation). The food looked pretty. The bad boy was redeemed. Reprobate drug dealers coming to collect their debts were paid off. All was well and all manner of thing was all right by the end of this movie, which (you can predict this) I was not sorry I saw, not one bit. But I don't recommend it, really.

Movies (2) (3) (4), Day (2): Spectre, Suffragette, Miss You Already.

A three (3) movie day, America. Ordinarily, this would not be a thing I would do: even I, movie-lover that I am, have limits. And the limit is three (3) movies in one day.

Spectre I saw with my darling auntie. We had popcorn and the mix-it-yourself drinks of your better megaplexes (which, it must be said, are so choice, soda-wise, it canNOT be denied!). It was a celebration of my aunt's birthday, somewhat delayed because evidently I'm like that these days, not able to keep track of birthdays. Daniel Craig was perfect, as he generally is. Lea Seydoux was lovely. Christoph Walz was an excellent and terrible villain. Ralph Fiennes was a fine M, although we all missed Judi Dench very much. In conclusion, a two hour and twenty-something minute action film is probably twenty minutes too long (HOLLYWOOD make a note of it!), and there were explosions a-plenty, and that's that. Your basic James Bond movie, made more deluxe by Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig.

Suffragette the historian and I saw together. It was very good. It was not the most inventive storytelling, but it was in any case a powerful story. Great performances, and a great reminder that some things, like the vote, were hard won and long fought for, and that the actors of that history are not all remembered by name. Sobering and very well-told.

Miss You Already is a Drew Barrymore and Toni Collette vehicle. It's not a great movie, but here's what I loved about it anyway: I saw it with my daughter at a 10:15 p.m. show. It's a movie that has as its center a long, essential female friendship. It's a melodrama, and I cried just like they wanted me too, but I loved so many scenes in the film--so much about human need, selfishness, and love--that I was glad I saw it.

The night ended with me driving home after midnight. It only takes twenty minutes to drive almost anywhere in this valley when there's no one else on the road, just fyi. The moral of the story being, you don't need to be in bed before 1 a.m., really, do you? Just see the third movie. Just do it.

Friday, November 06, 2015

I love my kids for one million reasons.

But here are a few:

1. they try every day to be good people, reaching out to loved ones and friends alike.
2. they text me and call me with their news and the things they want to talk over. kids: I love it. you keep that up.
3. they make me laugh.
4. they will go to movies with me.
5. they have kind hearts.
6. they let me buy them breakfast lunch and snacks. and sometimes, still, make them dinner.
7. they treat me as a person. this is amazing, honestly. I think that is next level stuff, for kids to recognize their parents as people.
8. they are so freaking smart.
9. they work so hard.
10. they are my very own, and that makes me the luckiest person indeed.

Today, on a hard day (for so many people), I messaged or spoke to almost every one of my children, sharing our sorrow and talking things over. I am so grateful for their kindness and goodness.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

America, lists are all I've got right now.

Today, I

  • worked out twice
  • packed the best salad in the known salad-packing world for my lunch, which happens to have been the exact same salad I packed yesterday, when it was just as good
  • graded, like, twenty pieces of student writing, approximately
  • conferred with loads of students. Like, five.
  • updated my CV, hashtag gross
  • went to a poetry reading
  • ate dinner from a drive through, I shall not name the (fried) food purchased therein, nor disclose that I ate it while driving to the poetry reading
  • wore a fox sweater, as in: a sweater with a fox on it, as in: a fox knitted into the sweater, as in: the image of a fox was on the front of my sweater:

and then
  • drove home while the sky couldn't make up its mind about rain v. snow
  • put on yoga pants omg and
  • collapsed.

Tuesday, November 03, 2015


is how I currently feel about almost everything, including the naggy sense that I'm forgetting things, and then the confirmation that I have indeed forgotten things. The way everything is a big surprise, whoops, right! that deadline isn't going to meet itself! And so on, until I find I can't quite get to sleep at all, and then the end of the day is dark before it's supposed to be dark, plus that wind just whipping like mad all night long?

And then I come home to this beautiful reminder of loveliness:

A photo posted by Lisa Bickmore (@megastore) on

and I think, O K A Y  settle down there, girl, we'll get there, it'll be all right.

It's wheeee! fifty four more days? fifty five?

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Dear darker,

'So, it's lighter when we first get up, right?' I asked the historian. I can never remember. Fall back, as a metaphor, contains no clue as to light.

'Yes, and darker earlier,' he said. Clarifying the situation.

And yes, when we got up with an uncounted hour under our belts, it was lighter. I made waffles. The paper was late, probably because all that clock-wrangling had a discombobulating effect.

I put away all my cotton skirts. My airy shirts. The last of the sandals. Hung up the dark dresses, folded the wool cardigans into the chest.

The afternoon wore into a certain sighing and tumult of wind. The clouds and sun in a little contretemps of lessening light and thickening chiaroscuro. Around five, you could feel it, that falling.

Darker, I can already feel you, like a subtle infection. Like a coat too heavy for the actual weather. It's November, so I should be, but I'm not--I'm not ready.

But we're in for it, darker, ready or not, for colder and shorter and sharper. For coming out to the edge of the cave, taking a look, turning right back around. Settling into you, darker, coming right up to the edges and not being able to see past you, heavy veil, with a piercing of stars, planes waiting to trace their landing paths with light.

Just those, and a line of street lamps, arcing away. I'll pocket them: they'll be small candles to light for the duration.

It's bedtime, I guess. But, darker: it's seemed that way since five.



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