Friday, March 18, 2011

What I Am Reading

This post is actually pretty much a comment that I left on Gigi Thibodeau's new writing blog, The Magpie's Pen. After I commented, I decided it was long enough to be a blog post on it's own, with a few more details added! Be sure to check out both of Gigi's blogs, The Magpie's Fancy and The Magpie's Pen—they are both beautiful, well written, interesting blogs.

Right now I'm reading The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. It's a British novel, reminiscent of the Gothic novels I read as a younger person, and the heroines are also writers—I'm enjoying it. I should finish it tonight—the scariest part is coming up, I think!

I'm also reading a book called The Art of Attention by Donald Revell. This one is deep—I read a bit and then have to ponder. I love the book—it's about paying attention to the world as a way of finding poetry and the Divine. Excellent book.

I also have more in the series about writing called The Art of…; I think I have The Art of Syntax, by Ellen Bryant Voigt and The Art of Description, by Mark Doty, in my stack, thanks to Interlibrary Loan. I love Interlibrary Loan—it allows me to read almost any book that my heart desires, if I am willing to wait a bit. And since there are many more books in The Art of series, I have a lot to look forward to.

I 'm also reading One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp . Yes, I read multiple books at a time—something for every mood! Voskamp writes about being thankful for everything as a way of finding and loving God. The book is prose, but she is definitely a poet. Her writing is breathtaking—as a matter of fact, thinking about her way of writing led me to thinking about syntax, and then the book The Art of Syntax came into my attention—synchronicity!

And these aren't including the other books stacked around the house—from the library, from friends, or my own books. Books I've dipped into enough to know I want to finish reading them, yet I haven't started yet.

It was a sobering realization when one day I realized that no matter how much I read I would never be able to read everything in the world—or even everything in my own house—let alone all the new books that are being written every day! Oh, that is so sad to think! Still, I am going to give it my best shot! I read every spare moment that I get. How about you?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Are you wearing green today? I am. This is the day I claim my Irish ancestry, even though I don't know for sure that I have any. My sister and I decided we had to be Irish though, with a redheaded dad and with our own dark hair and white white skin. We used to joke that we never tanned—we just went outside to take the blue out of our skin!

I love all things Irish and would love to visit there someday. I have a collection of books by Niall Williams and Christine Breen about moving to Ireland. They wrote O Come Ye Back to Ireland, The Luck of the Irish, When Summer's in the Meadow, and The Pipes Are Calling—I think I have them all! All these books chronicle their lives in Ireland. Williams is a writer and Breen paints. They left their jobs and lives in New York City to move to County Clare in western Ireland with the romantic notion that they could pursue their writing and painting full time. Once they arrive, the reality of living in a situation that requires effort and energy just to provide survival sustenance changes their plans somewhat. The books tell their stories of learning how to live and thrive.

If you get a chance, read the books. Or, even better—let's go to Ireland! Until then, here's the top-o-the-morning to ya! Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Happy Birthday, Shirley!

Today is my cousin Shirley's birthday. I haven't seen her in a long time. We used to play together all the time. We played paper dolls, dolls, house, tag, and hide and seek. When we got a little older, we danced. We would turn the stereo up as loud as it would go; it vibrated the house. We would dance to "South Street" and any and all variations of the Twist. Sometimes the boys from her neighborhood would watch us through the window; we always pretended that we didn't see them. Until we wanted to talk to them, then Shirley would screech, "Go away!" and we would run to the front door. Then the boys came to the door to talk with us. We thought we were so sophisticated!

Sometimes we would play hairdresser. I always wanted to do this, and yet I had absolutely no talent for it. Shirley would do my hair; it looked great. I would do her hair, and it was always a disaster! She finally quit playing this game with me!

March is the month for family birthdays. My sister, my older daughter, my husband, my cousin, my sister-in-law, one of my brothers-in-law—I'm sure there are more if I pull up my memory or my birthday list. It's a good month for a birthday—the beginning of spring, blossoming flowers, the greening grass. So, Happy Birthday, Shirley! May your new year be filled with goodness, fun and someone to share good times!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, Judy!

March 8, 2011

Today is my sister Judy's birthday. She would be 69 years old if she were still alive. 69! That seems so hard to believe. She died in 2003, when she was 61. She found it hard to believe that she was over 60. What would she think of 69? What would she think about her little sister already being 62, well on the way to 63 in October?

In my mind, she is still young and beautiful. The big sister that I admired, loved, emulated, annoyed, and followed for my entire life until the day she died. She was always my role model and when I grew up, she was my best friend as well as my "Seester." We used to call each other and say, "I was missing my Sissy, and just had to talk to you!" Now she has been gone for almost 8 years, and I miss my Sissy so much.

She died unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm that burst. No warning, other than high blood pressure and feeling dizzy that day. She told Mom that she needed to go home and lie down a bit. That was the last time anyone saw her alive.

It took so long even to figure out how to be in this world without her. She had been my guiding star and my center point for so long. I didn't know how to be me without her.

I have come through the worst part of grief. I have come to accept that she is gone and that my life still goes on. I have days of feeling happy; I have learned that I can live without her. And I still miss her every day of my life. Happy Birthday, Sissy! I'm so glad that you were my Seester!