Willing to write

The longer between posts on this blog, the harder it is to get started again.

I collect open browser tabs full of interesting things to point to, then close them. I start lists, make notes, and wander off before doing more than the preparatory work. I stop before I really start.

So today, a rainy Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting here with my computer. Just a plain white box to type in, edged with the photo of sun streaming through a stand of trees in early in the morning which is one of my desktop pictures.

This past week, where even to start?

The news broke of the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, and I cried.

I watched the President’s eulogy for Clementa Pinckney on Friday, and cried.

It was a heavy and full heart week.

One that I want to be writing about here, even when I am not sure what to say. Perhaps particularly when I am not sure what to say, because I often write to think.

I thought I’d be a very old woman before I’d see our marriage legally recognized across the country. That may sound like a long time to wait. (Chief Justice Roberts doesn’t seem to think so, but then I am not generally interested in folks who have never had their rights in doubt talk how those of us who have are going about things the wrong way.)

I think: people have been waiting as long and longer. And had it much harder than I ever have.

I think: people need to commit an act of civil disobedience when patience has been stretched beyond imagination.

I think: not saying anything when something should be said really isn’t an option.

Things like: the very least, the absolute very least we white people can do is to tell the truth about what is happening. What happened at the church is Charleston was terrorism. Racism is a problem today. We can do more.

Do you know how many black churches burned this week? Six.

May I have more patience where I need to exercise it, and even less when it comes to tolerating what should not be tolerated.

Testing the theory that constraint breeds creativity, or playing with my new toy


These haikubes were a birthday present from my cousin. The idea is you roll out all the many-worded cubes, then create a haiku on the theme suggested by the prompt.

In order to keep it interesting and not torture myself I don’t spend too long coming up with each one, but I do try to stick to the prompt and the correct form (five syllables in the first line, seven in the second, five again in the third).

I don’t think that I could tell myself to sit down and write a poem, but I can tell myself to play with these.

I suspect it’s good for my brain, and is another exercise in paying attention. I’m going to collect pictures of the haiku in this flickr set.

“We do not deal with one another as soul to soul”

From Marilynne Robinson’s Reclaiming a Sense of the Sacred:

Simultaneously, and in a time of supposed religious revival, and among those especially inclined to feel religiously revived, we have a society increasingly defined by economics, and an economics increasingly reminiscent of my experience with that rat, so-called rational-choice economics, which assumes that we will all find the shortest way to the reward, and that this is basically what we should ask of ourselves and — this is at the center of it all — of one another. After all these years of rational choice, brother rat might like to take a look at the packaging just to see if there might be a little melamine in the inducements he was being offered, hoping, of course, that the vendor considered it rational to provide that kind of information. We do not deal with one another as soul to soul, and the churches are as answerable for this as anyone.

Two questions I can’t really answer about fiction are (1) where it comes from, and (2) why we need it. But that we do create it and also crave it is beyond dispute. There is a tendency, considered highly rational, to reason from a narrow set of interests, say survival and procreation, which are supposed to govern our lives, and then to treat everything that does not fit this model as anomalous clutter, extraneous to what we are and probably best done without. But all we really know about what we are is what we do. There is a tendency to fit a tight and awkward carapace of definition over humankind, and to try to trim the living creature to fit the dead shell.

Apparently this is an excerpt from her newest book, When I Was a Child I Read Books, which I’ll admit I’d be interested in just from the title, and am now interested in for so much more.