In one of those interesting synchronicity moments that sometimes happen (when one pays attention), my husband came home yesterday with a story he heard on Radio Lab, about a fake bus stop created in front of the Benrath Senior Center in Dusseldorf, Germany. It really hit me where I live, and I hope some of you will enjoy it, too. (The link will take you to a page, but it has an audio link.)
Today I almost jumped ship from POETRYisEVERYTHING. (I don’t like to write in forms! At least not when it’s someone else’s idea.) But then I realized that my resistance was probably a signal that I should give it a chance. So, thanks, Chris, for the nudge.
PROMPT for April 5th 2014 : Write a Septolet or better yet TWO
Septolets (sep toe lays): An informal Word Septolet and formal Syllable Septolet (that’s two poems, then, both very, very short — go to POETRYisEVERYTHING to see the full instructions). I took the title of the first (and subject) from the bus stop Radio Lab story. On the second septolet I cheated on the syllable count. It felt good.
The Loss of Memory is the Problem, and Also the Solution
The red bowl
Disappears. Mom scolds us:
“One more thing
(the neighbor says).
One week of beauty–
A month of
As my husband has generously pointed out, the paperwork sent home with me the other day from the orthopedic visit specifies a lateral malleolus fracture. The x-ray report in my GHC inbox states:
1. OBLIQUE NONDISPLACED FRACTURE OF THE DISTAL FIBULA.
2. OSTEOCHONDRAL FRACTURE OF THE LATERAL TALAR DOME.
I have been doing some time-tripping. I’m rereading Kate Atkinson’s 2013 novel, Life After Life…which is a time-trip even the first time through. Our heroine, Ursula (“Little Bear,” as her father affectionately calls her), dies at birth — comes back, dies as a very young child in a swimming accident — comes back, dies in a fall from a roof, and so on. In some lives she is brutalized by the sort of people she cannot comprehend (her mean older brother’s suave yet oafish American college friend, for instance); she meets Adolf Hitler; in one life she marries a thoroughly detestable man; in another life she marries a flawed man (well, are there any other kind?), but eventually, every time, she gets a chance to do it differently. It’s a brutal book in its way. So brutal that I hesitate to recommend it to you. But maybe that’s just me talking. (My mother’s voice here: YOU NEED TO HAVE A THICKER SKIN!) Meanwhile, lyrical passages abound. I am in love with Ursula’s childhood home, Fox Corner, and astounded to learn (I thought I knew!) how dreadfully Londoners suffered during the blitz in WWII. In a couple incarnations, Ursula falls in love with a German man and spends the war in Berlin. It isn’t men, Ursula (and Atkinson) concludes, it’s war that’s evil.
Meanwhile, my daughter bought me a copy of About Time, a movie by Richard Curtis, starring Domhnall Gleeson as the main character, Tim, Rachel McAdams, and Bill Nighy. Plus other notables. (Including Lydia Wilson as Tim’s sister Kit Kat, a personal favorite.) As with Atkinson’s Fox Corner, I wanted to come home to this family and have tea with them. On the seashore in this case. The premise of About Time is that the men in this particular British family can, after a 21st birthday, travel in time. Bill Nighy, as the wise father, says that going after money or prestige has laid waste to some ancestors’ lives, and he can’t recommend it. Tim, wisely, decides that the mother ship is love.
There are a great many things in my life I would like to do over. I would like to be very, very careful as I walk down the wet grassy hill to the St. Andrews lodge on Sunday, March 9, 2014. But like the About Time characters, I would also like to go back and experience my children as small children again. I would take a walk with them. We would get a dog.
Okay, okay, so it really is broken. The fibula has a nice diagonal crack in it, and the talus is probably broken, too. (Treatment is the same, no worries the PA said.)
I’m not worried, I just don’t want to wear this dang boot 24/7. I don’t want to keep all weight off the ankle for the next four weeks.
In my roaming across the blogosphere today I came across this video of Steven Pressfield talking with Oprah Winfrey. I am going to take his advice to put my ass where my heart wants to be. I want my ankle to heal. I want to finish this novel and move on to the next. This chair (with this laptop computer, and wearing this extremely uncomfortable boot) is where that’s going to happen.
My daughters are working on final papers for history and English classes. This advice did not really work for them. “My heart is not involved in this paper,” one said. But is her heart set on getting an AA degree and eventually becoming a music teacher? Well, abstractions are hard when you’re 20. I get that.
But, still. Where does your heart want to be? How do you put your a** there?