Tuesday, October 13, 2009


We did laundry today. I love doing laundry. It is the chore that has the most pay-off for me, though to be fair, I also like cleaning the car and vacuuming.

It started out as a rainy, cold morning and I was sad. I didn't feel exactly sad, but i couldn't get started. I spent the morning looking up perfumes I like, to identify what commonalities they have between them. (for your information, I like chypres.)

Chris came home from work really early, at 10:30. I made him a sandwhich and we got into bed to nap. Two hours later I woke up, happy and hungry for oreos.

i always want sweets after a nap.

When we woke up, it was because the sun was shining through the blinds really brightly. The rain had stopped... it was like starting the day over again.

I do not have a job here in Boston. I am sad because I am going to Texas this week and looking for work there. Interviewing for a job, actually. I had made up my mind to stay here, with Chris, come hell or high water, but we wouldn't have enough money to send him to Berklee in the spring if I don't make real money soon.

this all comes on the heels of my really counting the cost involved with the year we spent apart. I did, in fact, accomplish each of the goals I set out to this past year. It took longer than I wanted it to, but it was in no way a waste of time.

Chris has been wanting to go to Berklee now for a long time. berklee is Chris' wheaton. we only moved to Boston so Chris could come here. Given what we now know-- that his going will probably take my going back to texas for at least three months, we would probably not have opted to move here in the first place. ah, hindsight. and now that we are here, and he is so very close, we must try. I wouldn't let him give up now if he wanted to. (we are coming up with a nice plan b, in case nothing works out.)

I am trying not to be dramatic, but it doesn't feel like it should be coming to this, again. we have just spent a year apart.

and one month together.
six weeks, actually.
and it has been fun. different.

I have things to be done in Texas; important and pressing things. I have a paper to present in March at a conference that needs more thorough research. as in field-research on the border to Mexico. I have a chapter to write for a book. I also have two separate versions of my thesis that need creating, and submitting for publication. (one of which will be based on the one I present, so it needs the same further-research.) I knew all of this when i drove away from Texas, and i didn't care about it. i prioritized my relationship, and the good faith Chris put in me, letting me go to texas with no caveats. i felt it was right to come to boston, ready or not, to show up where i belong. with him. I didn't know how i would get all that other stuff tended to, but i figured I would find a way.

If i want to be positive about my leaving, to be strong about it, then I tell myself it is the best thing-- that my being in Texas will get Chris and I that much closer to our goals. It is a win-win.

But we're apart and I feel self-conscious about it. Nobody does what Chris and I are doing. And I can easily start crying about the whole thing. like this morning, when he came home.

or...I can take a nap and eat four oreos. do laundry and choose to accept this as an opportunity to return a favor to my best friend, my 8-years-now husband. and I can laugh about this. I can thank God that Chris is driven and committed to seeing me make something specific of myself. I can appreciate that our getting married young means a certain amount of space and flexibility is needed as we grow and change.

I can laugh and tell myself not to be weak, or as we are saying lately, weak sauce.

And seriously, that silly phrase, is kinda doing the trick.;)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mothering--part 1 of 3

I am reading Ann Patchett's Run right now, and I cannot quite fathom that I am nearly finished with it. It feels like I just started, by I only have approximately 50 pages left.

I recently mentioned how much I love Patchett's work. She is, for me, the quintessential novelist. I love Patchett's gift for creating character-driven drama. My friend, Mary, found it remarkable that Bel Canto is as dramatically moving as it proves to be because it occurs, for the most part, in one house, with the same people trapped in that house. Patchett's characters are superbly, but believably, dynamic.

Patchett's Run is, among other things, a domestic drama. Some of my favorite scenes are those in which Patchett pays homage to the comforts of home. Consider, for instance:

What she would have given to hear her mother's keys right now,
the jingle
that preceded the deep click of the lock. Heaven would
be home, to walk into
their own apartment together right now.
She would barely get out of her shoes.
She would sleep in her
coat and her dress if her mother would let her. She would
collapse into their shared bed, melt into familiar sheets.
Home, bed, sleep, mother-
who knew more beautiful words than these?

I can't remember reading a piece like this before now. Which piece is about a little girl and the intense love she feels for her home and her mother? No fairy tale for sure... as the mother in those tales is usually dead, missing-in-action, ineffectual, or wicked and step-. Which Austen drama? Emma's mother is dead, yes? Sense and sensibility? quite ineffectual. Mrs. Bennet is patently ridiculous. Jane Eyre? orphaned. And my poor, poor favorite, Anne Shirley? It is a home and a mother that she longs for, what she actually achieves in Green Gables and Marilla, though none of that came easily and she was pathetically and thoroughly orphaned before her big break.

Of course, none of this is lost on Patchett, who readily acknowledges her intention for this book in an interview included (in my copy, anyway) at the very end. While commenting on the book's concept of family, she explains:

the wonderful thing about fiction is that you rewrite history.
I kept thinking, What if in fact this family, which seems
completely patriarchal, does in fact run on a matriarchal line,
and that the true power that is handed down from generation
to generation comes not from the father but from the mother?

I am actually forcing myself to digest this book slowly. It is one thing to grow up in a patriarchal society, or maybe subculture, and come to feminism as as a result, which I certainly would own as my own journey. It is quite another to read Patchett extolling the Mother, pronouncing what it is to mother, in a way that can challenge the writings of one's personal history. yes, it is that imaginatively creative and yes, it does the trick. I won't mention the strongest inventions Patchett employs, just so you can feel their full effect should you chose to read her for yourself.

(this post is to be continued, with a connection made to these reprinted pictures from Fall 2007).


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