zirconium: medical instruments @High Point Doll Museum (medical instruments (miniature))

There's a funny story in John Richardson's biography, A Life of Picasso. Pablo Picasso was notorious for sucking all the energy out of the people he met. His granddaughter Marina claimed that he squeezed people like one of his tubes of oil paints. You'd have a great time hanging out all day with Picasso, and then you'd go home nervous and exhausted, and Picasso would go back to his studio and paint all night, using the energy he'd sucked out of you.

Most people put up with this because they got to hang out with Picasso all day, but not Constantin Brancusi, the Romanian-born sculptor. Brancusi hailed from the Carpathian Mountains, and he knew a vampire when he saw one. He was not going to have his energy or the fruits of his energy juiced by Picasso, so he refused to have anything to do with him.

-- Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!

processing

Aug. 1st, 2016 09:31 pm
zirconium: photo of pumpkin on wire chair (pumpkin on chair)
It is Ewe Day according to the Jacobin calendar (h/t [personal profile] okrablossom), and Lammastide in other circles. There has indeed been some harvesting and preserving among my relatives and friends. The aunt I visited on Saturday gave me a bag full of figs and blueberries from her yard. It turns out fresh figs are highly perishable, so I spent a good chunk of yesterday evening rinsing and slicing and pureeing the lot, with 1.5 cups going into two loaves of fig-lemon bread (improvising off of the recipe for pear-pecan bread in Joy of Cooking. I saved a few of the least smooshy ones (which were still plenty ripe) for breakfast:

a fig from my aunt Cherry

I also combined the too-tired-for-salad cherry tomatoes with the last stub of red onion and a pepper and some water, for a cold soup I carried to the library courtyard for lunch.

A friend spent part of her weekend pickling summer squash and okra:

pickled okra and summer squash

This same friend gave me a quart of homemade fire cider earlier this year. I sipped some tonight over ice while formatting some submissions. Hello, August.
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)
August Moon Day 9 prompt: In that moment I felt luminous.

Erm. When this first showed up in my in-box, I thought, Pass. Celestial I am not. When people call me a goddess, it's usually in reaction to a meal I've cooked or some deadline I've met or something I'm wearing with a low neckline or high hem. I've been described as earthy. Grounded. Driven. Terrifyingly pragmatic. I'm the woman who, after two rounds (whisky, neat), goes back to work or practice if I don't go straight to sleep.

But then I remembered what it sometimes feels like when I'm singing Handel or Josquin or Praetorius, or sight-reading something new:



I wasn't actually feeling luminous at all when this video was shot, as I had the flu and was thus singing most of the night through clenched teeth (aka trying to suppress a coughing fit). But it's what's near to hand at the moment. It's a link to how I've felt in the car or on the porch now and then these past few weeks, singing bits of this or that as I get my higher notes ready for the new season. It's a reminder that in the course of fumbling my way toward competence and reliability, I've managed to learn a few things here and there: Use what you have. Showing up matters. Time at the keyboard matters. What or how you feel is not necessarily material (thank God!) to what you are called to say or sing.
zirconium: doll with bike @High Point Doll Museum (doll with bike)
In Dan Chiasson's recent NYT feature on Robert Rauschenberg's archives:


In a file cabinet, personal letters from the choreographer Trisha Brown and Al Gore shared folders with a clipped-out New York Times review of a sushi place and a cartoon of a guy taking his pet radish for a walk. The impression is of a life in which making art was, to a remarkable degree, an extension of friendship.
zirconium: Unitarian Universalist chalice with pink triangle as base (rainbow chalice)
A June tradition at my church is Music Sunday, and this coming Sunday, at 9 a.m. and at 11 a.m., the choir will be performing a new setting of Darrell Grant's Ruby Bridges Suite.

It is going to be outstanding. Darrell Grant is on piano and keyboard; man can play. Brian Foti on drums -- ditto. Same for the guy on string bass (whose name I didn't catch, apologies!). Connye Florance is one of the soloists (I haven't heard Lari White yet, who's another). Majic Jackson narrating, with words by MLK and Maya Angelou and others. The gifted and dedicated Seth Adler working sound. Yes, I'm name-dropping, because some of you locals need that to get you out of the house on a summer morning (and I include myself in that group).

Some of the songs have had me tearing up as I study them. The text alone won't convey why -- it's the rise and fall of melody and harmony that hits me in the gut -- but here are some of the lines anyway. In "Hold My Hand," Ruby's mother sings to her:


Hold my hand, child, hold my hand
Someday you will understand
Straight ahead, child, never fear
God is watching, love is near

For the world, child, is not fair
Danger follows everywhere
Lift your eyes, child
You will see
God is watching
You are free


And in "Come in," a teacher sings to her student:

Ruby, you're a special one.
Pray that I can see you through.
There's so much meanness in the world
but you should know they don't see what I see.
In here you're just a little girl
who has a right to learn who she can be.

With faith, and time,
you'll see that I believe in you.
We've much to learn, we two.


Darrell says he spent twenty years writing the finale, "We Rise," originally composing it for a sophomore album that fell through, and then revising it periodically (with a four-bar stretch that kept defying his attempts to perfect the piece), and then realizing that all the great creators resort to "shims" at times, and later recognizing that the suite was where the piece belonged...

Rise up, brand new day
You know that love will find a way
Together we cannot be broken
Up from the bitter past we rise
To build a world where peace is spoken
The time is now
At last we rise
This time the circle can't be broken
This time the ghosts of hate must die
We'll throw the gates of Freedom open
The time is now
At last we rise


Again, the music is essential -- left to my own devices, I don't know that love will find a way, I see circles broken every damn day, and on, and on, but when I'm singing those words, my unbelief doesn't matter. Rise up, brand new day.

Like many other commuters, I've been cranky about the congestion amplified by CMA Fest (a friend retweeted Gretchen Peters's quip about meanderthals, and I admit I laughed out loud) ... but I've also been entertained by the skin and plumage on display, and I managed to miss the fish parts on the interstate snarl-up, and I give thanks yet again for the pleasure of living in a city with session players on virtually every block. When I got home tonight, the rock cellist and/or guitarist (not always sure what the instrument is, but the playing is consistently good) who lives a couple of houses away was practicing licks.

Music in the air, fireflies in the yard, doggie at the door, piano waiting ... praise.
zirconium: of blue bicycle in front of Blue Bicycle Books, Charleston (blue bicycle)
My life, it does not lack comedy. Not when a dog who has pelted, trotted, leaped, and sauntered through my kitchen door at least 15,000 times still sometimes tries to charge through that door without giving me room to open it. The resulting Marx Brothers routine is the sort of thing that has me laughing and swearing at the same time, as did my having to chase her away from a pepper plant for the umpteenth time this year. (One of today's accomplishments was adding more soil to that plant's container. I'd hazily attributed the exposure of the roots to careless watering, but on reflection, canine rapaciousness is to blame. Said dawg just chowed down on two kale stems, but those I gave to her.)

bike installation

Two weekends ago, I brought my Jonathan Green coloring book and a box of crayons to a hotel room in Lexington. Some of the gang watched Coachella on the TV; Knight, borrowing some of the crayons, drew a bike for my sweetie, a plaid for a fellow fashionista, and hearts and something else.

A Lexington photographer took a nice shot of the group the next day; I wore the yellow hat the previous Saturday as well. This past weekend was here in Nashville, with Friday and Saturday night dedicated to my husband's high school reunion. The Friday night party was at the Bridge Building; seeing the city from the 6th floor was spectacular, glimpsing the promgoers also in the building was entertaining, the beer good and the conversations lively (an enthusiastic recommendation for H is for Hawk among them).

It was also nice to find out that two very successful men in my circles aren't on Facebook. I wasn't losing sleep over my stance to begin with, but as one of them said, it's nonetheless reassuring to hear of others thriving without it.

I did not get to everything I'd meant to get through today, but I did put two tomato cuttings in water. Even if they do not bear fruit, they look nice and smell wonderful. Sometimes that's all I ask of my belongings. But my shoes will tell you a far different tale, and I am itching to clean up my front door and devise a new window treatment for it. But to tackle that right now would be trying to hurl myself through a hoop while standing too close to it. A wild patience has taken me this far...


A year ago: birthdayage, Christianity, celebrity, commerce, Bardage
zirconium: me @Niki de St Phalle's Firebird (firebird)


Gladys Knight and the Pips (1969)


The Pips had just come up from Atlanta, so they didn't know about Coles and Atkins and they weren't familiar with my choreography for the groups. None of them had seen the Cadillacs, for example. But, Marghuerite [Mays, their promoter] really talked me up; told them how their act lacked class and how I was gonna take care of that. Then she brought them by the studio where I was rehearsing. Bubba said he saw me over there in the corner sweating and dancing and carrying on, and he said, "This is the guy who's gonna give us class?"

... Marghuerite rented a little studio for us to rehearse in each day and when our time ran out there, we would pack up and head on over to my place, move the rugs, push all the furniture back, and keep working.Man, we had scuff marks all over the floor. When it was time for Maye [Atkinson, Cholly's wife] to come home from work, we'd be throwing the windows up and running around trying to put everything back in plac. When she came in, the Pips were sitting there covered with sweat. The place smelled like a locker room.

    -- Cholly Atkins (born Atkinson) and Jacqui Malone, Class Act: The Jazz Life of Choreographer Cholly Atkins


zirconium: photo of Greek style coffee, Larnaca, October 2011 (coffee in Cyprus)
my life in a snapshot

Worker bee + hedonist = cappuccino + Old Fashioned

and writing during and between courses
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
From Sophie Appleby, via Kat McNally:

In the busyness of the everyday, taking time to nourish the soul doesn't reach the top of the 'to do' list as often as it should.

What nourishes your soul? How would you like to incorporate more of this into your life in 2015?


Night 2


This year, there were a handful of Fridays where I was able to stay offline from sundown on Friday to sunrise on Saturday, and sometimes even until sundown on Saturday as well.

I'm a happier woman when I can manage it. It can be time for reading. Time at the piano. Time with crayons and pencils and markers. Time with my plants and seeds and my plans for them. Time ironing -- which is, yes, a chore, but also a pleasure, in wearing clothes and using linens that look and feel better when cared for in that fashion. Time with the dog. Time sifting through old papers and keepsakes.

It sharpens the saw, to borrow Franklin Covey terminology. It brings a bounce back into my brain. It forces me to wait for answers instead of racing toward them, and insists on my enjoying slices of the "someday" ("someday I'll read that book..." "someday I'll get the hang of sight-reading pieces with umpteen sharps in the key signature..." "someday I'll expand those eleven words into a full sestina...") that I would otherwise not get around to anytime soon.


my hanukkiah at work


Tuesday night, I was so dead on my feet that lighting candles was out of the question. Tonight was nice, though. It was a long day at the office and there was yet more work-related stuff to deal with when I got home, but once that was out of the way, it was time for light and for some writing and wrapping.

I sketched this hanukkiah a couple of weeks ago during a visit to Martin ArtQuest Gallery at the Frist Center (where, full disclosure, I'm currently working as their interim editor). Earlier this week, I spent the end of my lunch break at another crafting station stocked with metallic crayon-pencils and translucent bookmark, the better to add a chalice to my bulletin board:

my bulletin board (detail)

(Yes, Michigan tweeps, that's a Zingerman's postcard. I dig the moose and waterfowl.)


On a related note, here's what's happening at the Center the rest of the year, narrated by the newbie: http://fristcenter.org/calendar-exhibitions/detail/at-the-frist52
zirconium: doll with bike @High Point Doll Museum (doll with bike)
I spoke too soon about the French hollyhocks -- they've all produced blooms now, except for one, and that one is one of the larger, healthier-looking stalks, so who knows if it offended the bees or is simply taking its longer, even sweeter and perhaps every-other-year time than all the others. Even the one growing diagonally. (I laced some of the others to the fence for support, but that one looked runt-y enough that I hadn't bothered.)

In the toiling and spinning department, I'm waiting to hear back from various contacts about this and that, doing a fair bit of homework, and inching along in the never-ending quest to turn things right:

when at first you don't succeed
zirconium: black pearl pepper plant at Cheekwood (black pearl pepper)
From Timothy Beaton's profile of Charles Clary in Nashville NATIVE:


Appropriately, his largest and most ambitious piece was constructed in tribute to his mother, the woman who put the first crayon in his hand. The piece took six months to complete, and the final product sprawled across 240 square feet in an eight-by-forty-foot installation.

The number of towers reflected the number of days from his mother's cancer diagnosis to the day she passed: 204. It included seven seventeen-by-seventeen-inch towers representing the seven-month period, and twenty-six twelve-by-twelve-inch towers for the twenty-six-week period. There were also another 172 towers of varying sizes that completed the piece.

"It was something I had to do. I didn't let myself say, 'This is exhausting.' You're alive, and you're telling a story."
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
ars longa, fungis omnis

mushrooms sprout on the wheelbarrow
as I sharpen
another pencil
zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
I turn 44 in a few weeks. On the one hand, I am enjoying my mid-forties. On the other hand, one does become ever more conscious of how little time is left. Neither of my parents made it to 65. I visit cancer journals now and then, including that of a fellow writer in his forties.

Last night, I revisited my Penguin edition of Gerard Manley Hopkins's poetry and prose, and registered anew that he had died at the age of 44, and that his last words were reportedly "I am so happy. I am so happy." (According to Eleanor Ruggles, as quoted in Wikipedia, the words were "I am so happy, I am so happy. I loved my life." Now I am even more curious about these words, and why some accounts leave out "I loved my life.") So I hopped online to seek additional context, and stumbled on this passage in David E. Anderson's review of a Paul Mariani biography:


Hopkins died on June 8, 1889, just six weeks short of his 45th birthday. He was diagnosed with typhus, but Mariani suspects it was complicated by Crohn's disease, a sickness unnamed until 1932. Hopkins's last words, repeated over and over, were an affirmation--or a plea to himself: "I am so happy. I am so happy." He died unheralded and unpublished, and it was not until 1918 that Oxford University Press published an edition of 750 copies of the poems edited and introduced by his old friend, England's then poet laureate, Robert Bridges.

A decade before his death, however, Hopkins ruminated on the question of fame in an exchange of correspondence with his friend, fellow poet, and Anglican cleric Richard Watson Dixon. "Fame," Hopkins wrote, "is a thing which lies in the award of a random, reckless, incompetent, and unjust judge, the public, the multitude. The only just judge, the only just literary critic is Christ, who prizes, is proud of, and admires, more than any man, more than the receiver himself can, the gifts of his own making."

Nearly a century later, John Berryman, a poet as singular as Hopkins, would appropriate Hopkins in one [of] his last poems, a poem of his own religious conversion:


Father Hopkins said the only true literary critic is Christ.
Let me lie down exhausted, content with that.


I'm fascinated by this stance. As a non-Christian, it's not exactly of comfort to me, but as both a theist and a book industry professional -- having seen so many well-wrought works sell so very little and receive the barest flicker of attention -- I confess that my sanity has long been rooted in the conviction that one's job is to create the right poem/song/story/image for one's right audience regardless of its size, be that a single human being, a swarm of millions, or a silent yet merciful deity. So while the phrase "only true/just literary critic" makes my teeth itch, there's a part of me that nods in recognition at Hopkins's and Berryman's declarations.

Assessing articulations of faith (when are they authentic? when are they obnoxious? when are they engaging? when are they derailing?) is a recurring activity in my various circles. I'm told that accusations of anti-Christianity were flung at critics of this year's Hugo nominations. Sports fandom has long been divided over expressions of evangelical Christianity on the court and in interviews; for my vacation this past weekend, to get into the spirit of Fed Cup, I brought along a pile of tennis-related reading I'd been meaning to get to. This bit showed up in a July 26, 1993, New Yorker essay by Martin Amis:


To see Courier and Sampras on Centre Court was to see a dramatic opposition of will and talent: to see what Courier had given to get as good as he is, and to see, more simply, what Sampras had been given by God. (Refreshingly, neither player is especially religious, unlike Chang, Wheaton, Agassi, and, of all people, Nick Bolletieri.)


Because I don't have cable here at home, one of the things that makes a vacation vacation-y for me is catching an episode of Chelsea Handler or The Best Thing I Ever Made/Ate. The TBTIEM show on cakes included a segment with Alton Brown; his feature on Apple Spice Bundt Cake led me to look up grains of paradise, and keeping company with it in the surfing-after-a-show rabbit hole was this interview about (among other things) his family's sense of stewardship, about saying grace in public, and about the discomfort being a churchgoer raises in other people.

It hadn't been in the plan, but on Good Friday and Holy Saturday, part of my reading was Kathleen Jowitt's entries (so far) on her 2007 pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago. A sample of why I kept reading (and why I think some of you might find it likewise inviting/compelling):


A Quaker challenged me, the summer before, about the idea of pilgrimage. God is everywhere: no place can be called holier than any other. What was the point? Actually, I agreed. Santiago de Compostela itself, the Holy City of the Iberian peninsula, held no greater attraction for me than any other place; I had my reservations as to whether it was genuinely the resting place of the mortal remains of Saint James the Apostle, and there were other European cities that would have taken precedence my 'must see' list. The traditional way of getting there, however, made it another matter entirely: one's own two feet; one's own pace -- quite literally; the chance to prove that five hundred years of civilisation hadn't turned one soft.


Circling back to birthdays, it is April 23. A few weeks ago, I was reading another old magazine (this one purchased from a church rummage sale years ago) -- an April 4, 1964, issue of Saturday Review with Ivor Brown's "How Shakespeare Spent the Day" as its cover story. Here is how it opens:


It is remarked by Hamlet that "everyman hath business and desire." That Shakespeare had desire we know from his sonnets. That he had his business in the workaday, money-earning world is sometimes forgotten in the appraisals of his genius. But that he chose to mind, and could successfully mind, the business side of his career is proved by what we know of his life.

People today are apt to think of poets and businessmen as living in far separated worlds. But it was certainly not so in the case of Shakespeare, who was born on the premises of a small-town business. His home was a shop and his neighbors were shopkeepers. There was nothing strange to him in the process of buying, selling, and striving to make a profit.
zirconium: snapshot of oysters enjoyed in Charleston (oysters)
[Subject line from Toni Morrison's "I Am Not Seaworthy," song 5 in Honey and Rue]

A year and a couple of days ago, I was in Charleston. Photos under the cut )
USPS bicycle
zirconium: photo of ranunculus bloom on my laptop (ranunculus on keyboard)
as I read this paragraph from an inventory of Mary Roberts Rinehart's papers:


Notable items in the series include a long pair of scissors and a small jar of straight pins. A note with the scissors indicates that Mary Roberts Rinehart often edited her manuscripts by cutting up pages and pinning sections of text together in a different order. Evidence of this practice can be seen in some manuscripts in the Manuscripts and Notes series.
zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
It's a wonderful world, y'all. A bloke in Cardiff, Othniel Smith, found Nic Sebastian's reading of "Playing Duets with Heisenberg's Ghost" at the Poetry Storehouse and was moved to make a videopoem of it:

"Playing Duets with Heisenberg’s Ghost" by Peg Duthie from OTHNIEL SMITH on Vimeo.



(Amplifying the pleasure: hearing about the video not only from Nic but from Rachel, whose d'var Torah on wrestling with angels has me thinking about how "face" and "facet" are only one letter apart; Sarah Sloat's poems at the Storehouse, which I will want to spend more time with later; and the cheap but nonetheless distinct thrill of seeing that if one Googles "Heisenberg's ghost" or "Heisenberg duets," the above video shows up first. [insert joke about Schrodingerian search results...])

In other news, the BYM's biking bestie brought breakfast to our house yesterday and (in celebration) I showed her all the spent enoxaparin syringes I'd collected in the box another friend had sent chocolates in. (Long story short: the BYM underwent surgery twice last month, which [among other things] necessitated thirty-nine anticoagulant shots, which neither he nor I ever got used to administering; the process was just as awful on day 39 as it was on day 1, especially since he had no padding on him to begin with and has since lost 10-15 pounds.) I mentioned that I had a couple of art projects in mind; the BYM furrowed his brow and made a squinchy face at me, but the bestie's face lit up, and she said, "If you don't end up doing something with them, I will." Have I said lately how much my friends delight me? :-)
zirconium: mirliton = grinning squash from NOLA (mirliton)
I was a little apprehensive about going to the Chef and I in Nashville's Lenox Village last week. When I bought the Living Social voucher, the word "interactive" hadn't leapt out at me the way it did when I went to the website for more details, and I can get pretty sullen and surly if I'm feeling badgered into more interactivity than I'm in the mood to provide.

But it turned out to be a nice evening, even after I realized I'd totally gotten wrong which Lenox-something the restaurant was located around. (Note to self: do not buy anything via LS before the second cup of coffee. Ever.) The place is more mellow than its website -- I had a lovely sparkling wine (from Cielo winery) with lobster bisque, and halibut with various vegetables. The chef chatted briefly with me about the amuse-gueule (leftover coffee-crusted turkey, brie, and a sliver of scallion), tools for flipping fish, and the economics of serving lamb, but I was mostly left alone to enjoy my food, my notebook, and book in peace, and the room was large enough for the large birthday party behind me to be amusing rather than annoying.

The Chef and I
"Thanksgiving in a bite"

(More cell-phone snapshots here)

Other recent eats:
* fried calamari at the Bosco's in Cool Springs, with iced tea
* buffalo cauliflower at Tavern, with a pint of Left Hand Milk Stout and a pint of Mayday Boro Blonde. And they serve cucumber sticks instead of celery. Rawk!
* chicken, stuffing, corn on the cob, and other sides, prepared by Jase. Happiness is comparing Music City Tent & Events warehouse sale acquisitions (*) while sipping a good pinot noir. :D

(* Jase is a party planner. I used to coordinate events for a cathedral. I don't plan to execute anything ambitious in the near future [at least in that vein], but I did leave the sale with what I'd gone for [5 champagne flutes] and then some [4 martini glasses].)

On the writing front: 2 outright rejections, 4 rejections-by-inference, 2 made-it-through-another-round, and 1 stern-talking-to to stop myself from taking on a new and intriguing but poorly remunerative assignment that would tick me off if I actually let it nibble into the time I already can't spare for [lower 4/5 of Workflowy list]. (But because I am a dreamer, it's nonetheless tucked into that bottom 5th. It'll save me from making the same notes again the next time my magpie brain darts in that direction...)

In the meantime, an item in the top 1/5 is to get enough sleep. So it's off to bed, undrafted [x] and unpasted [y] and unstitched [z] notwithstanding.
zirconium: photo of bell tower seen on a walk to the Acropolis (athens bell tower)
IMG_8717

[An aside to Mary: I enjoy the checklists.]


We want to do, to make, to shape, to give form, to give life, to pass it on, for the life of others and for the whole world. We want to love and be loved, to praise and give thanks for the gift of life, of light, of love. The human quest is a constant struggle for balance, for integration. For the monk, this is done in the milking of cows. In that simple activity, God is near. In gathering eggs, in weighing fruitcakes, in putting just the right measure of sugar in jelly, in baking bread, in wrapping cheese, God is to be found. Working and praying spring from one and the same source: the human heart. There are never enough hours in a day to get all the work done that is ours to do. And there are not enough lifetimes to thank God for the one and only life we have to live.

-- Michael Downey, Trappist: Living in the Land of Desire [emphasis mine]
zirconium: photo of flask with feathers in and around it (flask with feathers)
The subject line's the first line of Susan Fillion's Miss Etta and Dr. Claribel: Bringing Matisse to America. On the next page, there are portraits of the two women by Henri Matisse, who wrote to a friend about the process: "I've been working on them every morning for nearly a month now . . . it's hard but I'm learning a lot."

One of the paintings the Cone bought for their collection was Interior with Dog. Doggie!

(That be my brain after 90 minutes of yoga. "Doggie! Pretty! Post!")

momentum

Jun. 14th, 2013 10:03 am
zirconium: snapshot of cookie cutter star from sorghum marshmallow making (Default)
Two days ago, I cleaned and cleaned and cleaned. I had copyediting and lettering targets I'd planned to meet, but I also had a headache, and I haven't gotten past the "eek!" part of the current calligraphy thing, so scrubbing the tub and sanitizing pots and making a new batch of basil toner seemed way, way easier than putting pencil to paper.

Yesterday, I started copyediting after breakfast and worked flat through lunchtime (which almost never happens, because I loooooooove food and get very, very cranky when I'm running on fumes) and didn't stop until 2:45 pm, when I yelped, "Eek!" and rushed out the door to meet my hiking partner. (There are times when I curse pre-scheduled exercise because it disrupts my grooves, but we saw two fawns at the lake, and the ridge that always kicks my ass does seem to be getting slightly easier to climb.)

I worry about losing touch with people. I worry about people dying before I make time to bake the pie and find my crocheting to take over for a long catch-up chat. I worry about not getting around to planting the seeds I bought this year, or the ones I've put in the "plant later" tray because it's already too hot. I worry about the energy evaporating from the sketches of poems I don't have time to amplify or revise right now. I worry that when I finally throw out the bags of tomato seeds my mother tried to preserve -- I tested a few this spring, and nothing came up -- I'll wish I had them on hand a week later when the poem about Rorschach seed patterns on scraps of Bounty finally gels (I could take pictures -- I will take pictures -- but they aren't going to retain the layers or up-closeness of the actual thing. I could keep just one. I could work on the dang poem after all if I'm gonna think aloud about it this much).

I fret about how everything, but everything, expands into a million marigold petals when I touch it. I want to scrape at the scale on my bathroom faucet with a toothpick, and to paint my living room myself, and to redo every inch of my yard. I plan to find the pillow for the cover that's been made out of my wedding dress, and the upholsterer I'd hoped to ask about recovering my dining room chairs has gone out of business. I resent work for taking time away from studying. I am breathless whenever I spend an hour studying, awed at how much more there will always be to learn. I get deep into a manuscript and it reminds me of how much I actually already know, just from the years I've put in and how they've developed that editorial "sixth sense" that tells me when a name is probably misspelled or that something on page 38 isn't in sync with what the author says on page 83, as well as being hyper-conscious of all the little cues and nuances that separate a professionally designed book from a document assembled by an amateur. (Nothing against amateur efforts, mind--as long as the professionals are getting their due.) I miss learning new music, but not enough to rejoin my old ensembles or start the trio I sometimes dream about pulling together.

I am delighted by Cathy Yardley's review of my book. I'm singing along with madrigals in the car to de-rust my voice (I'm leading hymns at the early service this Sunday). I found a Spanish-language copy of Isabel Allende's Zorro at a used bookstore, and gave it to a GA delegate in my congregation to take to Louisville for the library to be established there. I saw that the bookstore had copies of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle in both the Reading List and Agriculture sections, and that some of the copies in the Ag section were slightly cheaper, which was intel my hiking partner (and mom of a schoolkid) found useful when she went shopping there a few days later. My E player in fantasy tennis (the delightfully sassy Donna Vekic) has made a surprising run to the semifinals in Birmingham (UK), and I'm still alive in Survival at the Shore (horseracing predictions) -- ranked 1118th, true (my second-best day got negated by a cyberglitch, woe), but I haven't let myself dive deep into researching the ponies, so I'm fine with merely swimming along. Go Chocolate Drops! Go Zealous on the Run! Go Toute Allure! I'm amused by this interview of Charleston chef Robert Stehling, happy to hear reports that Husk Nashville is living up to the hype, and, in the bath, reading a 1996 Baedeker guide to Canada that used to live on the shelves of the Charlotte public library.

(And now it's been more than fifteen minutes since I applied sunscreen, and I've been asked to deliver a shirt and a gallon of water to my favorite motorcycle repair shop. Time to move from inventory to service! :-) )

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May 2017

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