Some Passing Angel and other stories

Some passing angel broke a half-dead sprig of purple lilac off some neighbor's bush two nights ago and threw it in our yard. Lou found the sprig and brought it in, and now our whole living room smells like it.

Goal for this year: get a purple lilac bush. I love our white ones, but the scent is just not the same.

* * *

With Harry Potter taking over Mondays for a while—I'm not complaining; he's ever and always welcome around here—I haven't been talking much about writing. Well. I don't think I can wait till the end of the H.P.B.C. to link Hilary Smith's post on the problem with trying to treat writing as an industrial profession. It's what I'm working with right now:
You're falling behind.
         You're lazy.
Why are you so lazy?
         Stop making excuses.
                  Be professional!
         Be professional! 
I don't have an industrial mind. Sometimes, it weeps for days at a time. That isn't very professional. Some days, it wants to sink to the bottom of the sea. Some days, it dissociates, like the key that's supposed to match up to the keyhole of reality just doesn't fit. Some days, I don't have the right key.
At the moment, I don't even feel like reading, and can't keep my mind on it, which is pretty weird for me. I've been finishing books on Wednesday afternoon and reviewing them Wednesday night.

As for writing, I'm having to dig and scrape through gravel for every word of my favorite section of my own beloved novel. The blinking cursor in a Word document sometimes puts me to the point of tears, though it never lets me actually get there. When I read back over the half-a-book I've gotten polished in the last few months, the gravel-dug feeling disappears and the story delights me—truly delights me: it makes me laugh, catches my attention, pulls all my heartstrings. But every step forward is so blind, so grating, so... just damn hard.

The blue pimpernels and dark red verbena
were some of my favorites last year.
I was so excited to see them at the grocery this week.
I'm not sure what to do with the end of Hilary's post. I'm not sure it is okay that nailing a Chopin prelude and getting blue pimpernels in the garden interest me more than my writing work right now.

It's just hard to know what to do about that. My best instincts, I think, tell me spend some quiet time with sunshine and flowers, love on my piano and guitar and choir, and let myself be taunted daily by the cursor in hopes of getting at least a few words down.

Of course, the standard industrial comfort likes to come around and haunt me: "If you're not enjoying writing it, nobody will enjoy reading it." Which I once believed, but which now makes me want to throw this month's six-hundred-page book club choice at whoever said that to me first. O aphoristic would-be comforter, that is not how things work. But that's another blog post.

* * *

Some of the sunshine and flowers, just for the heck of it:

...okay, these are pumpkin seedlings. I'm just so happy that they're alive.
You can do it, second set of baby pumpkins!

* * *

This week in life with our cat:

Maia: "Hey, it's fun walking on people who are lying under blankets. It's like the uneven floor of the jungle."

Me: "...mmmph... Maia, what time is it? Four-thirty? Six-thirty? It is not morning yet. Get off me."

Maia: "Ooh, make a cave. I want to hide out like a wild cave lion."

Me: "I'm not rolling over on my back and putting up my knees so you can crouch under the blankets and stare at me with glowy cat eyes and pounce on my hand if I happen to scratch my ankle. Go throw socks around the living room or something. Let us sleep."

Maia: "I'll bat your things off your bedside table."

Me: "Do. Not. Do. That. Now scram!!"


Maia: "MEOW."

Me: "I've got my hands covered in makeup, and the curling iron's hot on the counter. Don't jump up here. What now?"

Maia: "MEOW."

Me: "I don't understand what you want."

Maia: "If you were a good cat person, you'd just know. MEOW."

Me: "MEOW."

Also, there's zefrank's hilarious Sad Cat Diary. Maia could've written two-thirds of that herself.

* * *

Music of the week: The good thing about knowing you tend depressive is that you can actually be aware of the danger when you're skirting the abyss on a particularly unstable stretch of trail. You can see the demon creeping up on you. And sometimes, after a bad day or week, you can put on some fighting music, make a flying leap for a higher path, and shake the devil off. At least, for long enough to catch your breath.

Masha and Christie, thanks for introducing me to Florence and the Machine. This is now one of my favorite songs. (Advisory: admittedly dark video.)

* * *

I'm going to clean house and try and get some sun. And maybe blow off the last five hundred fifty pages of book club book for today and read The Last Unicorn instead. And make fresh bread, and hopefully re-string my guitar, and memorize the communion antiphon so I don't have to rely on shaking fingers to hold the music when I have to intone it in front of God and everybody on Sunday. And maybe I'll spend a little time digging for words.

Happy weekend!


  1. Sad Cat Diary--thank you for my much needed laugh of the day!


    1. I have watched it twice and laughed pretty hard both times. :D

  2. Enjoy your sunshine and gardens..I'm doing the same! May is not the month for mental productivity, it's a time of renewal (which means lots of sunlight..or whatever cloudy-sort of light you have ;) and outdoorsy things.) I'm only reading a bunch because I'm not sleeping much..and because my last usb port died and the internet thing only has so much of it own battery :P ..

    I think that writing, treated as a profession, produces boring books..I like the whole "only when my muse inspires me" form of writing, which is why I get nothing done, I guess..

    Maia sounds so much like Luba..Is there a neurotically depressed dog diary at all??? :)

    BTW..Harry Potter book club..Butterbeer Recipe 1: equal parts hot, whipped vanilla Gelato and chocolate stout. The Whipping is essential..Try it! :)

    1. It IS hard to be productive in May! There are too many nice growing things to look after!

      "I think that writing, treated as a profession, produces boring books..."

      It does... and even the best authors have produced dull books, at least on occasion, if they were sticking to an industrial production schedule. Those who write several books a year--I wonder that their books are ever interesting enough to read.

      Somewhere there's got to be a balance between running yourself into the ground and depending entirely on the unfaithful muse...

      HA. Someone's probably got a dog diary somewhere. You can try searching YouTube.



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