Thursday, August 20, 2015


It is deep summer and the noon times are stock still and buzzing with the sound of insects and the afternoons are too long and the evenings are sticky until the sweat cools. The beach is a few blocks away, but the roads that lead there are paved black and so we stay in, hiding out.

While making supper, I leave the stove, stepping out into the strange haze-filtered yellow light to collect herbs. Basil, dill, mint, tarragon; all of them, for every meal. Peaches, corn. What more do we need to live on?

We escaped the heat and went to the East Coast, where a steady breeze blew and every night was right for a campfire. We lived in an orange tent under spruce trees for a few nights and my three year old fell asleep easily listening to Jerry Muskrat try to save the Smiling Pool and the baby's face was pale and round and cool and moon-like in the little snowsuit she slept in. During the day, we drove together in a rented mini-van, stopping at roadside farm markets and unpacking sandwiches from the cooler in the back.

Earlier this summer, my neighbour left a stack of books — six or seven at least, paperbacks, bestsellers — just inside the screen door at the back of our house. I'm on the last one. Despite the heat, summer's nearly over.

Online I've been reading Lily Stockman's dispatches for Vogue. "During the day I painted and tuned out the pornographers and set my sights on MFA programs, and at night I read Joan Didion and wondered, as I lay awake in the dark, if the man I loved would be killed in combat. Portrait of a marriage in wartime." Which, come to think of it, seem to be updated as often as this blog. So there.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

my heart it longs for something new

I'm taking a course that requires me to watch Before Sunset, the second in that talk-y, romantic Richard Linklater/Ethan Hawke/Julie Delpy trilogy.

So I dutifully watched it, then watched Before Midnight, because I hadn't seen it yet. Then I watched a few Youtube scenes from Before Sunrise, the first film, and that's when I re-watched this scene, where Celine find's a Kath Bloom album in a Vienna record store, and she and Jesse cozy into a listening booth and listen to this amazing song.

Since then I've learned basically all that the Internet holds about Kath Bloom: a total forgotten gem who had a fairly short career in the early eighties, after which she mostly focused on child-raising, was re-discovered by Linklater and featured in the film in the mid-nineties, she released a new recording in 1999 and has been recording and touring periodically ever since. These songs are just so simple and lovely.

I don't know what is happening in this video, or why, really, but this SONG. So pared down, so achy.

In 2009, there was a tribute to her songs made called Loving Takes This Course (that title.) and it includes this cover by Scout Niblett, which is on repeat forever.

Kath Bloom, everyone. Kath Bloom.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

it is spring

It is spring. It is spring now, and I accept that. I believe it, really and truly, despite the fact that it was only 5 degrees above freezing on Sunday.

Still, we went to the donkey sanctuary. My love loves him some donkeys, so we went on his birthday. A donkey sanctuary is a place for sad donkeys, and we listened and nodded as volunteers told their stories, and we walked under low cloud with a cold wind, and we drove home listening to the end of the basketball game. We lost in the last few seconds.

Jasper wakes in the morning, nurses, rolls off the bed, slides down the stairs, eats a few bites of banana and slips his pajama-footed feet into his rubber boots. I try to keep up, begging him to wait and to put on a hat and eventually I end up outside at dawn, wearing my winter coat over pajamas, listening to the birds.

I am reading Love Medicine before bed, and I am experiencing nostalgia for the present. I am jealous of myself because I know this will be my only opportunity to read this book for the first time. I try to savour it, but I find myself racing on. I go to bed every night with a headache from holding my breath.

It is spring, and I know it because the first of the seeds I've planted are starting to uncurl into twin leaflets. We'll have salad someday soon.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

the door

"The door of life and the door of death are the same door, and when you lose the knowledge of how to be born, you lose the knowledge of how to die."

Katsi Cook, Haudenosaunee midwife

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

waiting for Moody Road

Late last winter, with the comfortable prison of breastfeeding adding to the usual feeling confinement that comes with this time of year, I was incredibly grateful to stumble upon another world in Kelly McMasters' essays from her rural bookshop, published on the Paris Review blog.

They were monthly dispatches describing the local goings-on, the current season, and how business was. They were also far deeper and wider than all of that: the trauma of a car accident; the New York City left behind; pregnancy and death.

When the summer came, and the dispatches stopped coming, I was truly disappointed. I'd be pen-pals with this little bookshop in Pennsylvania for life.

I think these pieces read best in the season they were written for, so get on over and read about March, or Waiting for Redbird.

Then check out their amazing online shop

Friday, February 28, 2014

this was happened upon

The work of a writer is to create order out of chaos.  Always, the chaos keeps slipping back in.  Underneath the created order the fantastic diversity and madness of life goes on, expanding and changing and insisting upon itself.  Still, each piece contains the whole.  Tell one story truly and with clarity and you have done all anyone is required to do.
Ellen Gilchrist

Thursday, February 27, 2014

you can feel the sun

It must be light.

I feel energized and confident and am happily biting off just a bit more than I can chew. Or more accurately, trying to scrawl out a few more words than I really have time for.

Baby boy and I are alone this week while D. ventures far and wide across this country's west, and in spite of chaos and water-play and banana bread baking and the croup and subsequent quarantine, I am managing to meet my deadlines and reply to emails and generally feel like I'm contributing.

So I think it must be that brighter, longer, stronger sunlight coming through. It's working wonders.

Edited to add: okay, it's either the sun, or the Pixies. We are still young. THERE ARE NEW PIXIES SONGS TO LOVE.