Somedays I feel like Gordon's girl. My hair has its own personality and its own being; I think there's even an extra soul in there somewhere. I stopped trying to control it in 2000. I just let it go. It's wild, puffed, confident, annoying, de borrego, perky and self-centered. There are still traces of blond at the edges, especially around my forehead and it even survived being accidentally set on fire when my younger brother and I were playing in the mirror with lit candles. My mother had just only washed it so it was out, spread, high and big. On Baylor Street. The coils in it are unbelievably tight in micro curls and there is nothing perfect about it except its attitude. It is unpredictable and loves attention from others, not me. I refuse to look at it but once a day and sometimes, never. It never lies even though it has a trillion crosses. The rubberband strains and most often pops because the gather is too thick, too much. In the mornings after a shower, a wash--my hair is overwhelming. I don't believe I will ever try to fix it or tame it or control it again.
This Thursday, I plan to stop whining about my dirty carpet, our costly van, the fact that I haven’t bought a new pair of shoes in 3 years or a new bra in 5, our expensive home improvement projects, our maxed out Home Depot credit card, the fact that we don’t have a computer or the internet at home, my students’ life stories that require so much energy and attention (aside from teaching), the upcoming elections, discrimination and ethnic profiling, my dried out sliver nail polish, an upcoming doctor’s appointment, gas prices, a corner with Gerardo's woodworking magazines strewn about, his dremmel saw in the kitchen, my daughter’s and dad’s absence, and some other stuff that I complain about or whine about daily. Maya Angelou says it’s not good to whine because a brute is always lurking to take advantage. But that’s not what sparks my one day of no whining.
If you don’t have a strong stomach, don’t look at the following photos. If you’ve already looked, I’m sorry, but after seeing this pics taken in Africa, I decided that for one day, Thursday, I need to stop and be thankful, grateful so much, for so little much.
a buzzard waits for a sick child to die a child searches for food from the anus of a cow a young boy bathes in urine
We all cling to the past, some parts of it I suppose, and only if we haven’t been bruised so that it’s impossible to look back.
I wallow in the past and often find it incredibly difficult to shake. I hold on to paper, old grocery receipts from the Davis Co-op, ticket stubs to Morrison or Angelou lectures, or that one stub: a Shirley Horn appearance at Yoshi’s, my daughter’s Pre-K report cards, her junior high awards, a photograph of my Dad’s last footsteps in Cayman Island sands my step-mom gave me, my grandmother’s handwritten letters to my daughter and me after our Texas departure to California, the inlay wooden jewelry box from Germany my sister gave me, the wooden tea tray with intimate, sophisticated inlay mother of pearl and vintage Asian coin from Taiwan, the thin solid rose gold band my great grandmother gave me so so long ago, the wooden carved stacked elephants my adopted father made during extended jail time, the tiny glass lady bugs Lori gave me, the unconditional love and godson Tracy gives me, and the Mother’s day cards my daughter gave me on her birthday because she claimed that’s when I really became a mother (still don’t know how she came up with that one – at 7), but some things we must let go. For me it was my run down 11 year old Birkenstocks, old Mac lipstick tubes, an old cooking skillet that was greased with time (my grandmother would say: now it's nice and ‘seasoned’), ripped paperbacks with missing flaps (the pages became more of a distraction than a draw in), a floral pastel sundress because my stomach is fatter and finally, so is my backside (I will miss that dress because I didn’t have to wear a bra), and all of my dated, old plastic Hallmark ornaments. Gone! Gone!
This past weekend, I asked Gera, how he would transport the gravel needed to lay for a deck he is building. After several attempts to first recall how to say “wheelbarrow,” he finally said something not even close. I went ahead and said it for him because it just wasn’t working, sort of like when I attempt to say “refrigerator” or “zhacarracate” in Spanish or when I tell him in the night “volteate porque estas roncando”--turn over because you are snoring.
“No, yeah, I got one, Honey.” He tells me about the wheelbarrow. He pulls it around to show me because I must have looked like I didn't believe him. I didn't. When I see his wheelbarrow, it is whop-sided, rusted, one wheel is larger than the other and to top it all off, it squeaks louder than the kid goats next door. It was time to have the “It’s time to let it go” talk.
I haven't been able to convince him, but I might be able to talk him into using it as a yard flower pot way way way way in the back of our yard.
Well, geez…but nope, I’m not taking it personal. So my first rejection letter for Bottom Rail came back to me with promising comments, but no thanks in the end. I think I am supposed to be disappointed, but like cutting those dreads, I’m feeling rather more than neutral. I sort of expected this because I really didn’t fine tooth comb my ms—neither did I bless its intent, purpose, theme, which I’m still trying to figure out. I have people who do this writing stuff and yet, no one has told me how to find the significance and compose a damn good query. In fact, my query was so long that I could have easily written one more chapter to the book and I guess I’m not supposed to do that….have an extensive explanation for the work. It’s suppose to “speak for itself.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all. Oddly, I’m having fun spending hardly any time just on this one process alone and this way, I don’t have to think about a second work. The question is: Am I really a writer? I think so, but this other part to it, the selling it, the pitching it, the Pr-ing it is rather a difficult animal to choke, and I haven’t even really begun to push it out the door. Can I imagine if I put a lot of effort into it? I’m trying. Sort of.
Anyway, another slip for me and my hopes to become a great, famous writer is Stephen King’s September article in the The New York Times Sunday Book Review.
He wrote: “…I read scores of stories that felt not quite dead on the page, I won’t go that far, but airless, somehow, and self-referring. These stories felt show-offy rather than entertaining, self-important rather than interesting, guarded and self-conscious rather than gloriously open, and worst of all, written for editors and teachers rather than for readers.”
Which of these apply to me? Well let’s start with not quite openly glorious and maybe there’s a tad of guardedness. I’m working on all this: when I find time. Then I read on and found a little more umpf: “Talent can’t help itself; it roars along in fair weather or foul, not sparing the fireworks. It gets emotional. It struts its stuff.” But the true heartbreak is his statement that he doesn’t want “some fraidy-cat’s writing school imitation of Faulkner, or some stream-of-consciousness about what Bob Dylan once called ‘the true meaning of a pear’.” Should I cry…? Because I do Faulkner and I do stream-of-consciousness in my own way. Feels good and at times rather sticky.
I can’t even imagine a life without Faulkner, but I guess I should come to the realization that I might have to change. Sort of.
And what's the difference between "strutting" and "self-importance"--as far as writing is concerned? Help!
From my "Andreea" files. Exploring her home, Romania, here are two more gorgeous pics from such a talented young woman. My favorite is the nook and cranny little abode, but the colors in the tile structured roof top are to die for, a captivating mix.
It's May 2012 and nothing has changed since November.11. I am all smiles at my relationship and myself. My honey and I continue to amaze each other on a daily basis. We're still ever so 'in' with each other. I completed my MA in literature last May and I'm teaching four college English courses to really smart students. I am hopeful to enter a doctorate program soon. This way, I can run out.All is scary good.
upon hearing your voice life again expands like moon crest like pomegranates swell to the sun and you are patient because god calls
when he came for you this morning you were bent into the flower bed singing black hymns so he left you alone until this third afternoon but even then he found you elbow deep in jewel weed with a mouthful of figs from a nearby tree again he waited because each time seemed to him an inconvenience and a wrong moment
and it was your persistent humming that drove him up and back until he could get his timing perfect he waited another day or so until
your gardening tools rest into porch corners your paring knife shines deeply into a drawer your hair comb lies slanted in a shoebox your wedding band hides in the mattress your fishing rod stays stolen
the sound of your voice desires to sing or hum but this time is perfect he has covered you like lavender-colored silence but he has also added streaks of olive green and pink because this is what the other soul-folk has told him to do and he has become tired in the process and therefore begins to rush sonances of your body he finds you the least complex when you are not outdoors digging in that garden, humming hymns and thriving and for a moment he questions his own timing its perfection and everything goes accordingly until he finds you have buried fruit peels and wandering jew petals underneath your back this does not anger him but it tilts his agility to deliver you and in his own questioning and presence of smells that he cannot privilege all this over powers his choice all this reels his otherwise perfection into letting you go
when i see you sitting in the plush squares of limitless St. Augustine your eyes are lit like crystal warmed soil releases from each of your hands
how did i get to this point this point of knowing you for you are nearly a century old