Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The sun has set, we slide back through the gradual dusk. Loon voices in the distance; bats flitter past us, dipping over the water surface, flat calm now, the shore things, white-gray rocks and dead trees, doubling themselves in the dark mirror. Around us the illusion of infinite space or of no space, ourselves and the obscure shore which it seems we could touch, the water between an absence. The canoe's reflection floats with us, the paddles twin in the lake. It's like moving on air, nothing beneath us holding us up; suspended, we drift home. Margaret Atwood, Surfacing (1972)

Once, when I was at Auburn, I woke up at 5:30. The gray sky pressed low into the horizon and the sunlight filtered dimly through the heavy clouds. I realized, with a small panic, that I didn't know if it was morning or night. Daybreak or dusk. So, I did what seemed logical at the time. I called information. It's 5:30 in the afternoon, Sweetie. Said the operator. So I went to get some dinner.

Looking back, I realize that this moment was symbolic of my life at that time. No way to gauge my progress, no daymarks to show my location. Just a gray horizon meeting a gray sky falling into a gray earth. It was a liminal space. A threshold. An in-between. And I think that's why I like Atwood's description of this journey across a lake at dusk. Her "Surfacer" is in such a space between spaces. Infinite possibilities. Hopeful and frightening all at once.

I'm glad not to be there anymore.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I've been avoiding my blog lately because there is too much to write about. Someday, I'd like to write about blogging. Maybe in an academic way. I'd like to distill the major themes I see people writing about and try and make some connections between those themes and the way our brains work. It might be interesting to try and draw some correlations between world events and the blogosphere. I don't know. Maybe someday.

Right now, I'm thinking a lot about the American South as a third-world environment. Now, of course I realize that in the non-literary world, the South is not a third-world environment, but it is interesting to see how much some literature coming from post-colonial environments resembles Southern literature. A good example is Anita Desai's Clear Light of Day. It has a lot in common with Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury. What I'm the most interested in is the use of a character as a vehicle for nostalgia, be it for pre-partition India or the myth of the unified American South. Don't be impressed, not that you would be, by this musing. I have outlined the complete breath and depth of my thought process in the above paragraph. I haven't thought ahead any farther.

Nostalgia is something I've been thinking about. I've been thinking about my Shelby County childhood and how I spent it. It's amazing how many things I remember about what we ate and how I played. I drive very near many of the places I spent my childhood as I drive home from Montevallo. Our old house was blown away by a tornado, but the silver-leaf maple trees at the end of our driveway are still there as well as the little tree my dad transplanted from San Antonio. The creek is there, but gone are the spreading green trees and curling flower spaces that used to flank it. There's some kind of warehouse behind it now. It's a strange feeling to go back.

I think my mother has been feeling nostalgic lately, too. She's been providing me with a steady supply of home-made granola and wheat rolls. She used to make the rolls on the days my father would rob his honeybees and we would eat them on our back porch hot with butter and raw honey. This morning, I'll eat them the same way. They honey won't be from my dad's hive, but it's Shelby County raw, and it will taste the same. I like to think my mom is already reaching out to this little baby and already trying to give it some of the things she gave to me. I think, at the heart of this, is that desire to initiate this little one into our family by giving it what we love.

When I sit in church or class, I wonder of he (she?) can hear what is being said and if, in some way, he will be shaped by discussions of William Faulkner and the liturgy and the taste of raw Shelby County honey. I hope so.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Friday, January 11, 2008


Every day, I am grateful that I'm not where I was.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

I've just finished reading The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. There is much to say. You should read it, too.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Those Stories Were a Good Read, They Were Dumb as Well

I told myself I was going to take a break from blogging so that I could dive into the reading for my Indian Literature class, but I just got an e-mail from my professor that changed my mind. (Apparently, the bookstore didn't order enough books and we're getting a partial by this week. That's pretty unheard of. So, I'm going from having 250 pages to read this week to having 50. And I have some time to spend here. Although, I should be making meatloaf. Really. David hasn't had a proper supper in a while.)

Anyway, I just downloaded some music that I haven't heard since I played it on WEGL. It is making me remember those first two years at Auburn and all of the things I learned and all of the places I went and all of the friends I made. There were two golden years before the blunders and serious life screw-ups of my junior and senior years that broke my heart and brought me to Christ. Two years of being loved and treasured and protected before I went it on my own and lost myself in the barbed-wire of dangerous relationships with dangerous people. I have always been addicted to weirdos. If there is a person within a ten-mile radius who will use me and make my life difficult, I want to make friends. I find dangerous people fascinating. I think I'm passed that now, though. At 31, I'm not as eager as I used to be to delve into something (or someone) strange and try to figure them out. I'm just too interested in my own life. (And fortunately, I was able to marry someone interesting yet sane. Imagine that.) I shed the weirdos from my life like a snake skin. I vow that it's goodbye and God bless.

Right now, right at this minute, the sky over Birmingham is pink and gold. And it's warm. And I want to move to Fort Lauderdale and be a Beach Person. Today, anyway.

I meant to make this a long blog, but really, the meatloaf. So, suffice it to say that to say I am grateful for this moment in my life, for this season, for this time in my history, is the understatement of the century. I have blessings and wonders that I don't deserve.

Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.
As it was in the beginning, is now and EVER shall be,
World Without End.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Peachy Dreams

This is the last week of my Christmas break and the first week I've felt like doing anything I had planned to do. Finally, I'm feeling human. For some reason, this makes me think of summertime in Alabama. If we can get some rain and avoid late freezes, we should have a good peach crop this summer. I'm going to eat all of the peaches I can. I am going to pile peaches up in my bedroom and sleep on them. I am going to pie them, ice cream them, cobbler them and preserve them. I am going to eat them ripe and right off the trees. Then, I am going to work my way through the blackberry patches of Chilton County like a woman with a mission. A blackberry eating mission. And I am going to eat tomatoes and corn and okra. And I am going to roll around in produce-inspired delight and laugh to myself about how much I love summertime in Alabama. But before the peaches and blackberries and corn and okra comes strawberry time. This year, I am going picking by myself and I shall waddle out into the patch and do the best picking I can. I will laugh at myself.

But today is absolutely freezing. My old house stands stoically against the bluster outside. Today, I will knit and eat soup from a tin. I cannot open the back door because it is frozen shut, so I guess Corduroy won't get to go pee today. I hope she can hold it. Poor Corduroy.

Lately, I've been waking up at three 'o clock in the morning. Precisely. This morning, I woke up and wandered around the house and just looked around. My house, when it sleeps, is peaceful and calm. In the night, in the space between waking and sleep, I hear the voice of the Lord say No tragedy will befall you. I am present and working in all of your relationships. I protect your loved ones. I secure your future. And I believe Him.