Posts Tagged ‘Hand Wash Cold’

Holy clothesline

October 7th, 2009    -    8 Comments


An early start on an easy load!

(Taking pre-orders before it’s even dry.)

When the last bluebird sings

September 28th, 2009    -    8 Comments


I’ve been watching it for some time now, anticipating the end and knowing what it would mean.

When I left my lonely life of accomplishment behind, when I first moved with my husband to this house, to my stark empty-handedness, I called my mother soon after. She had raised three independent daughters, three whiz kids, and I had never said the words that tumbled from my blubbering lips:

I need you.

She came to visit, but before then she sent me a houseplant. It was the kind of plant sold at grocery stores and florists, just a pot of common ivy and indistinguishable indoor greenery. For decoration, it had a slender spike stuck into it with a bluebird on the end of it. I’ve had it since then, all 12 years, in one spot and then rotated to another. I treated it like a talisman, and then a memorial, thinking to myself:

This is my mother.

About a year ago it started to fade. The ivy yellowed and dropped off. The other stalks shrunk. Little remains but the spike with the bird on top. It seems to have bugs now, or some kind of blight. I know it’s time, and so I moved it to the patio. As part of every morning service at the Zen Center we chant this line, and so I chant it now:

The four elements return to their nature as a child to its mother.

It’s time to let the old girl go, to let it all come to rest. My mother is telling me to go, to take flight, to sing my own song. A few weeks ago I heard myself say, as if reading my own heart, “I don’t want to write about parenting any more. Motherhood is about so much more than the kids.” Yes, it’s true the kids are part of it, I said, pounding my chest, but my life and work have moved to a larger purview now. Like what, you might ask, if I haven’t lost you in this pile already. And so I tell you:

The laundry.

Subscribe to my newsletter • Come to my retreat • Fan me • Follow me.

Barefoot and pregnant with meaning

September 24th, 2009    -    5 Comments

Going to sit a three-day sesshin on this anniversary of September anniversaries.

Details to follow.


Subscribe to my newsletter • Come to my retreat • Fan
me • Follow me.

Things you can do when you are home alone

September 2nd, 2009    -    4 Comments


1. Rent a movie without special effects. And watch it.
2. Borrow a fat book. And read it.
3. Not make breakfast. Not make lunch. And not eat it.
4. Talk to no one but yourself. And write it.
5. Miss them.

Subscribe to my newsletter • Come to my retreat • Fan me • Follow me.

The road traveled

August 18th, 2009    -    7 Comments

Spying the untouched package, realize this is the last doll.
Watching her take a bath, realize this is the last of childhood.
Counting the days until deadline, realize this is the last draft.
Lifting the carton from the shelf, realize this is the last Mint Chip.
Tasting the grounds in the cup, realize this is the last coffee.
Facing the shrinking summer, realize these are the last lilies.
Remembering everything, realize this is the last regret.
Nearing the horizon, realize this is the last stretch.
The color! The color!
This is the road traveled.
None traveled less, none traveled more.
Everyone travels the same, alone and yet never apart.
Hello, traveler.

Subscribe to my newsletter • Come to my retreat • Fan me • Follow me.

Tiny bubbles

August 2nd, 2009    -    29 Comments

Celebrating the news that my next book, Hand Wash Cold: Care Instructions for an Ordinary Life, will be published by New World Library in time for Mother’s Day 2010.

Subscribe to my newsletter • Come to my retreat

Sister’s keeper

July 6th, 2009    -    2 Comments

The incandescent Jen Lee asked me to scribble a line or two to introduce her newest collection Fortunes, and so I did, and here they are, almost ready to count and keep for yourself. You will want to keep one for yourself, and you will want to give away a dozen. What we give always comes back to us and thus fortunes multiply.

She returned the favor by giving me more profoundly blank pages of her Don’t Write journal, which has worked a kind of reverse osmosis on me. (Sorry, the magic is sold out.) The empty lines of that book have filled with more unfiltered prose than I ever didn’t write, and I’m looking there to find the finishing stroke for my second book this summer. Reverse osmosis generally takes a lot of pressure and is fairly slow, but it works.

I trust what Jen knows, and even more what she doesn’t, and she told me as much herself:

“My feeling about your book manuscript is that it is already written, somewhere inside you or outside of you. There’s just a good stretch of dictation left for you to take down. The hardest work is the way such projects rewrite us as they are gestating, and eventually born.”

The due date for my labors is Labor Day, naturally, and I’ve no doubt the baby will arrive on schedule. After that, I’ll be free to fall up north, plunging into a golden pile of overdue forgetting. The treasury opens by itself.

Subscribe to my newsletter • Come to my retreat

Daily bread

May 24th, 2009    -    9 Comments


My grandmother set her bread to rise each day before the sun yet dared to dawn, wresting two loaves into the oven before a shadow had stirred. She saved a handful of the dough to roll into the morning’s coffee cake and topped it high with buttery struesel. By the time I tramped into her ancient kitchen on summer mornings, the air bloomed with the sweetly sour greeting of yeast. It was breakfast time, and no one needed to ask.

Her house is now flattened, ground into the dust of the earth’s eternal crust. She is gone and the time has passed. But what she fed still ferments on my tongue, and I recognize my place and lineage.

I made pancakes today.

Pages: Prev 1 2 3

archives by month

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

twitter bits

stay in touch