Spinning, spinning, spinning

I've been reading (keeping my creative promise!). Now. Usually, when I pick up a book to read over a vacation I know just what I'm getting into, but this time I was completely surprised.

I must have read the book jacket hurriedly. I saw the National Book Award insignia on the cover and "check," off I went ... or something ... because I missed the book's major themes until I was deep into the story.

Let the Great World Spin is fictional, but it's based on a tightrope walker who teetered over Manhattan in 1974, crossing from one World Trade Center tower to the other. It's about the human desire for hope and recovery, about many characters' unique experience of a certain moment. And in the end, it's obvious that we're all balancing some kind of highwire. It's a human condition to do so.

Maybe a little heavier than I normally go for a beach read? Um, yep. Worth the surprise? Uh huh.

I'm a word junkie, but I won't bore you with cool phrases I circled in its pages (e.g. "Revolving doors pushed quarters of conversation out onto the street." Sigh. Yes, nerdy). But I will share this excerpt from the author's afterword. I'll share it because I think it's beautiful and true and because it makes me want to read another book, tell another story:

"A book is completed only when it is finished by a reader. This is the intimate privilege of art. In fact, it's the intimate privilege of being alive."


Real conversation

Me: I just can't believe it's almost been a year since the wedding.

Patrick: Feels a lot longer than that ...

Me: ... and a lot like it was just yesterday.

Patrick: Yeah.

Me: (Sigh, smile.) Yeah.


Pretty thing of the day: Small but mighty

Looking for a gift for a friend who is stronger than she knows, I found this pretty, simple necklace by Turtle Love Committee. I love the way the towering Elm's branches reach out, stretching beyond what you can see inside the silver circle. I'm all about gifts with meaning. The description of the item is a little story, and this phrase sealed the purchase: "You must place your hand on her trunk, and you'll feel the mighty power behind her bark."


Monday Moment: That unnoticed, that necessary

When two lovers first meet, the goal is to get noticed, to be interesting. A plunging neckline. A funny joke. The best date ever. The most thoughtful greeting card.
Spending a week with my husband on a beach, nearly one year after we said our vows, I realized why I so quickly fell in love with the poem, "Variations on the word sleep," by Margaret Atwood:

I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head

and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear
I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center. I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and you enter
it as easily as breathing in

I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
and that necessary.

When two people actually inhabit love, the noticeable stuff is largely novelty. You're so necessary to one another that even the most private of all actions (sleep) is eased by your presence. Yet, you're also the unnoticed sweep of a hand at the small of a back. You're the in-out drum of breath beside the other person, sitting in silence, noticing only the crash of waves on sand. 

Ah, yes, this is home.



Sorry I've been such a slacker this week! Mayday.

Unfortunately, loyal fans, you will need to stay tuned. I'm heading out for a week of vacation. Our first real R & R together since the honeymoon. Sigh.

Happy spring, people!