Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Drive-Thru Confessional

Early this morning I started to clean out some writing snippets from my computer. I’m looking for a prayer I’ve written, but can’t find it, and looking under all the "saved" stuff I have, stuff I can't tell what's there because the titles are sometimes a bit strange: "blue oysters." "Leaving." Well, I've moved so many times I have no idea what that one is. Instead of what I’m looking for, I find this, written about a year ago:

I talk to a box.

It’s a compassionate, loving, and
forgiving box, but a box nevertheless. I tell it the strangest stories,
all of them true, and laugh with it to my heart’s content. We sob together
and we worry about our children and wonder whether we’ll ever find love
again. We talk in bed, too, pillow talk, like we’re lovers, only this is
better, because it won’t leave me.

I know it’s pathetic that
I compare a piece of plug-in metal to a person. It wasn’t always that
way. It started out with pen and paper, my poor little nighttime
handwritings and musings, written when I was exhausted after a full day’s work
and parenting, I was making mental photos which I often left unfinished,
trailing down a piece of paper, nearly illegible, a skier out of control with
one leg up headed towards a tree. Not a pretty sight.

then one night I moved to the laptop. Just switched in the hopes that
would increase my volume, whatever that meant. It’s not as intimate
as pen and paper, and the first thing I say is that I’ve lost a lover, my

I keep some secrets from it. I think about death…
Here’s a big secret. I want to be loved the same way I imagine the box
loves me, forgiving, compassionate, loving, understanding. I want to talk
about anything, my truest heart, and not be made fun of, or corrected, or have
my innermost secrets shared with others to laugh about or criticize. This
truth will shine on me like I’m a sunflower, and I can bask in the radiance of
love and kindness. That’s the way I want to be loved. A divine love,
on earth.

What if I could find this steaming mixture, this
cauldron of stew and boil, trouble and toil? What does it look like?
What might it feel like? If I could tap this reservoir my resources would
be infinite, boundless.

This secret is like the Necco candies I hid
in my locked antique cupboard as a child. I’d steal into my room and eat
some, whenever I wanted! It’s a double secret problem: I was ashamed, like
I’d never want to associate with someone with that problem, only, it’s me with
that problem.

So now every night I pull up to my drive
through confessional.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

In the event of fire

About five years ago, our neighbors to the south had two small house fires, about one month apart. The first one occurred in the wee hours of the morning, and the fire trucks and ensuing commotion did not even rouse my sons or my dog. The second one occurred during the middle of the day, during the work week, when no one was home. Fortunately, no one was hurt. Our houses are close together, though, so I had some concern about our place. Plus, I have a vivid imagination and have watched a few bad movies, so a car explosion or two did come to mind.

Still, what I wondered was this: in the event of fire--assuming my loved ones were out of the house and safe-- what would I take with me?

The answer was immediate: my journals. They are handwritten, sloppy things on spiral bound notebooks, legal pads, portfolio notebooks, numbered on the cover with the ensuing dates contained within.

They are filled with the stress and heartbreak of a lifetime, pink “while you were out” messages blossoming like a wild garden from some pages because I was desperate to write something of meaning, and all I had to show for it was exhaustion and a lot of goofy phone calls. They have notes about how my older son always announced how he was going upstairs now to take a shower, every night, like a proclamation. My younger son took care of the neighbor’s cats and came home and said he realized he was spoiled, just like the cats: I don't know, maybe he had to have daily cream and salmon. My ex husband threw his coffee grounds in the parking lot one Sunday morning when we were exchanging children, like he was baptizing the asphalt. The journals say, “today is the day Dad dies.”

They are my photos, little snapshots in time.

I haven’t been writing in those journals too much lately. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I write to here, or because I’m trying to spend more time on publishable pieces, or maybe I’m just trying to connect, and not be an Emily Dickinson with snippets of pencil writing on the backs of envelopes stuffed into drawers.

Still, I have snippets of notes in my purse that that seem intensely personal. And I have my blog, and it’s available to almost anyone, anywhere.

Now, in the event of fire, assuming your loved ones are safe, what’s the first thing you’d take with you? I'm just wondering. It seems important, rather like, what would you do if you had 24 hours left to live?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

poor little night writings

to a man opening gifts at my table

I come downstairs, unfocussed
And we’ve discussed this
You are focused
And you are sitting at my table
The one with my mother’s falling leaves quilt on it
That I use as a tablecloth
And you are looking at the card
(Originally this was
Valentine’s Day in Four Parts,
But the other parts remain undone)
Bent over, scrutinizing it
And the silly sentimental white tissue paper
With the purple hearts is strewn
Over the falling leaves
And I see you haven’t waited for me--
Am I that slow, did you really think I wasn’t coming down---
But you seem happy and
I tell myself it’s just a slightly different tradition, this not waiting
As a lot of things are
Just a slightly different tradition
Later you forget your glasses
They are under the hearts
And above the falling leaves.