Saturday, August 13, 2016

"My other question is: do polar bears fly?"

I've been publishing excerpts here on the blog of my "Bits" journal, to appropriate the expression, again, from poet and FSU writing professor David Kirby. Here's another excerpt below. It's just a collection of notebooks and computer files where I record everyday thoughts, inspirations, ideas for stories, etc. This one draws heavily from a 'sub-journal' -- the Leo Diary.
April 30, 2016
6:33 a.m.
I have to think Atlanta is some kind of bird sanctuary. I’ve never heard so much birdsong or such loud tweets anywhere else. My God! Lots of red-feathered cardinals – the only bird I know to recognize.
It gets light so early these days. Which means SOMEONE wakes up early. Cutting severely into Mommy’s writing time. I put these words down to give a sense of my life, not really to complain. It’s the change of the seasons wrought into a specific detail: Here’s what early spring means to me…abbreviated writing sessions, and also one of the few times of the year when the morning darkness dissipates quickly here. 

Atlanta, city of darkness. Lately I’ve been tweeting that it’s a city of murals. And it really is. It’s one of the few distinguishing characteristics. I guess thanks in part to Living Walls. And maybe also the specific geography of Atlanta: lots of train tunnels. The Living Walls in Cabbagetown, after all, are along the train wall that leads to Krog Street Tunnel.
I hear a voice outside – which turns out to be cat – and I look over my shoulder to see the pinkening sky through the transom window. This image = my life in Atlanta. My early morning writing life in Atlanta. The pinkening sky, glimpsed briefly through the transom window.

April 27, 2016
The lyrics and the music to the song “Graceland” replay in my mind. ‘My traveling companion is 9 years old. She’s the child of my first marriage…. I have reason to believe we’ll both be received in Graceland….Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee…we’re going to Graceland.”

Songs of redemption.

April 26, 2016
Leo: “My head is so full of questions.”

He asks a fairly mundane question, and then says, “My other question is: do polar bears fly?”

No, but nice try.

April 24, 2016
A bright, bright moon through the transom windows of the bedroom as I wake up this morning.

Yesterday I was hearing Elton John’s “Your Song” in my head after someone had posted a version of it to Facebook. What with Prince dying – yes Prince is dead! At age 57! – I’m feeling perhaps extra nostalgic. Here’s what I posted to Facebook:

The consolation of aging? Perhaps. All I know is songs I once dismissed as overly sentimental now fill my head in endless loops. Latest example: this funny karaoke version of Elton John's "Your Song." Consider this my long-distance dedication on a weekend already given over to nostalgia with Prince's untimely passing. (You can watch here.) 

It’s a good reminder because lately I’ve felt stressed with Leo (waking up again, not relinquishing diapers, wanting every minute of my attention) and the refrain ‘How wonderful life is when you’re in the world’ reminds me that the alternative was not only awful and despicable but also untenable. 

Life without him? There wouldn’t have been a life. 

I hope you don’t mind
I hope you don’t mind
That I put it down into words
How wonderful life is when you’re in the world…

April 15, 2016
Leo says, “When are we going to hike Stone Mountain?”

“Saturday,” I say.

“Or we could go Wednesday,” he says.

But yesterday was Wednesday, I tell him. So he says, “Is today Saturday?”

So funny to hear him talk with no idea of the days of the week. And why should he? He doesn’t even recognize Monday, Tuesday, etc as special words in the language, meaning very specific things, conjuring up distinctive images and reactions, not to mention schedules.

In other news, the former prime minister of Italy (Enrico Letta) is now following me on Twitter! 

April 14, 2016
I read a story by John McElwee in a recent issue of the Oxford American and I think “How?” What/where is the path to duplicate this effort/approach/result? About a Southern writer named Lewis Norland.

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