Archive | Sabboytical

For Katerina, with Love and Squalor

foresmewithloveandsqualorI just drank my coffee at the downstairs cafe where two British children-an 8-year-old girl and her barely verbal little brother–grilled me gravely on such lifestyle topics as pets and profession. Mostly, they approved of my answers though they felt I should have a cat AND a dog (emphasis theirs). On this point I agreed, and suggested they bring up the matter with my anti-canine landlord. The girl asked if I lived next door ALONE and if I was SAD, and I answered yes and not usually. She nodded dubiously. It was all I could do to keep from buying her a second cookie (her nanny had put the kibosh on this notion) while intoning: “For Esmé, With Love and Squalor.” Her name was Katerina, anyway.

Love and Animals

ruby redI’m trying to climb back on the grid, I really am. I’ve had my computer back for a few days and have completed all my paid assignments. But a lot has happened this month and it all boils down to my realizing how much more I want, and how much Rilke applies if I’m to achieve it.

You must change your life, said Rilke.

In the first and second and third place, I’ve grown powerfully tired of social media. I know this isn’t fair but after a time away it just seems like the worst of 20th century snail mail: chain letters, clippings from college roommates who assume they’re ranting to the choir, notes from bored aunts about everything they ate and aren’t-they-just-the-cutest kittens and babies.

I want more. I want please and thank-yous. I want diagrammable sentences rather than rebuses; polite declines rather than rebuffs. I want declarations and advance invitations and follow-up questions and direct answers. I’d wanted the Summer of Jane but at this point would settle for Dick and Jane. Or just See Spot Run. Continue Reading →

Dog Days of Summer

IMG_6463I have so many things I could write about my time up here in the woods–the mysteries that have worked themselves out with a cheerful efficiency, the quiet tribe I have formed with Grace and the two dogs living here. I have been walking a lot, matching the rhythms of Daisy, the white terrier mix who is outgoing and hypervigilant in a way that feels ruefully familiar. As I walk, ideas about my work arrive as well as the heavy feelings I usually keep at bay: fear of the future, grief, some sour anger. Daisy’s pacing is good for me—the emotions show up and depart with a briskness that reminds me of other people’s mothers changing sheets, fluffing pillows, smoothing duvets. More cheerful efficiency.

Memories show up too—mostly painful ones—as if here in this out-of-time-space where the silence is punctuated by crickets and wind and many birds’ opinions, here I can piece together my past without the usual danger of being destroyed by it. I wake from a voluptuous nap in a hammock, an open book still dangling from my hand, and it is as if I just now told my lover that he would not be coming to Maine rather than five years ago this month. Continue Reading →

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy