August 3rd, 2008

Book Cover

Good Morning!

The fog slipped in sometime in the night, though it looks like a soft slip and soon will most likely be bright.

I felt permission to stay in bed and read.  I opened to Mark Doty, his poetry book, Source.  I highly recommend this book.  I had been feeling unaligned since the conference, struggling to find my own balance of in and out, and this book placed me beautifully as I need to be, aligned in my own bones, muscles and skin.

I then started reading the short stories of Ron Carlson, from the book, At the Jim Bridger.   He, too, was on the faculty at the conference, and what he read though nimble, clever, and intelligent, seemed a bit slippery in its humor at times.   This book, though, has some thoughtful and amazing stories, and again deals with this subject of in and out, in the mind, in the body, and out.  I think this is the subject we navigate each moment of our days. 

I resonate to this line, "I am destined to go through life as an exposed nerve."

I have felt that in my life, and the wedding and the conference brought it up for me big time.   Chemotherapy aggravated it, too, as I spent so much time in silence and alone, that returning to what I perceive as bombardment is difficult for me.

I am grateful to have this weekend to realign in my own space, to expand into silence and the lovely green hands of plants.

May this day provide for each of us what we need, our daily bread.  


Mark Doty -

Many of the poems in Mark Doty's wonderful poetry book, Source, are long, though they are all accessible and melodic, and worth the opening of and turning the pages of the book I recommend you purchase.  It is more than worth the price for mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

I offer one poem.

Brian Age 7

    Grateful for their tour
    of the pharmacy,
    the first-grade class
    has drawn these pictures,
    each self-portrait taped
    to the window-glass,
    faces wide to the street,
    round and available,
    with parallel lines for hair.

    I like this one best: Brian
    whose attenuated name
    fills a quarter of the frame
    stretched beside impossible
    legs descending from the ball
    of his torso, two long arms
    springing from that same
    central sphere.  He breathes here,

    on his page.  It isn't craft
    that makes this figure come alive;
    Brian draws just balls and lines,
    in wobbly crayon strokes.
    Why do some marks
    seem to thrill with life,
    possess a portion
    of the nervous energy
    in their maker's hand?

    The big curve of a smile
    reaches nearly to the rim
    of his face; he holds
    a towering ice cream,
    brown spheres teetering
    on their cone,
    a soda fountain gift
    half the length of him
    - as if it were the flag

    of his own country held high
    by the unadorned black line
    of his arm.  Such naked support
    for so much delight! Artless boy,
    he's found a system of beauty:
    he shows us pleasure
    and what pleasure resists.
    The ice cream is delicious.
    He's frail beside his relentless standard.

alan - joshua tree bloom

Wisdom and Focus -

I take this from Joan's journal today, from an article by Christine Rosen. You can read the whole article at:

In one of the many letters he wrote to his son in the 1740s, Lord Chesterfield offered the following advice: “There is time enough for everything in the course of the day, if you do but one thing at once, but there is not time enough in the year, if you will do two things at a time.” To Chesterfield, singular focus was not merely a practical way to structure one’s time; it was a mark of intelligence. “This steady and undissipated attention to one object, is a sure mark of a superior genius; as hurry, bustle, and agitation, are the never-failing symptoms of a weak and frivolous mind.”