What to make of it

May 10th, 2009

Last night at a neighborhood party, my daughter and her nine-year-old friends put on a show that was shocking and lewd.

I was embarrassed and alarmed.

Frank Rich’s column in the Times includes this fact “more than 60 percent of Twitter users abandon it after a single month.”

I’m still afraid the future will sail without me.

On speakerphone so we could wish her a happy mother’s day, my mother-in-law asks, “What will your mommy do today?” My daughter says, “Exercise and write by herself.” My mother-in-law replies, “Doesn’t she do that everyday?”

I never know where she’s coming from.

Wish Studio posted this essay describing my creative process, which seems like a misnomer. My output is painstaking and small but I get a big kick out of looking the part.

Break the bottle, make a space and let it be.


  1. I will start by looking the part . . .

    Love the essay at Wish Studio!

    Comment by Mama Zen — May 11, 2009 @ 1:24 am

  2. Karen,

    Happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for bearing our common future. Funny about the in-laws. My marriage therpaist says every marriage is a bi-cultural marriage.


    Comment by Chris Austin-Lane — May 11, 2009 @ 2:24 am

  3. Thanks for this. I’ve just finished John Tarrant’s The Light inside the Dark, and this feels relevant to your post:

    ‘…deepening our attention, we sacrifice a certain complacency, but find a path composed of the questions that the universe has given us. This is deeply satisfying to our integrity, which does not want to gloss over the difficulties of leading a life of awareness. We enter our anxiety as if on a quest…The method of questioning is full of beauty and terror. It does not pretend that the work of spirit or soul is pretty or easy, but it trusts the greatness of our human capacity to look life in the face. When we follow our doubt to the bottom, we are like Jacob; we hold fast to the angel until it bestows its blessing.’

    Comment by Fiona Robyn — May 11, 2009 @ 9:50 am

  4. Shocking and lewd? Sometimes I wonder what we are doing to the younger generations to make them act older than they really are.

    Comment by Anna — May 11, 2009 @ 7:36 pm

  5. I suppose it is the nature of the younger generation to act older than they are. I do it still. Shocking to us parents. The kids did not yet know the social boundaries that mine now does, even as she lacks full comprehension of why.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — May 11, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

  6. A great essay — thank you for sharing your process. It’s good for me to hear that others drift and spend a lot of time on email. I tend to think that there’s something “wrong” with me, when actually, it’s all good.

    Comment by Judy Merrill-Smith — May 11, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

  7. Hi Karen-
    Thank you for posting this, about the lewd performance and the mother-in-law comment. I can SO relate to both of those, as I relate to everything you write about. It’s heartening to hear that others have painful parts to their days.
    -Jill D.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 12, 2009 @ 3:22 am

  8. Acting the part? Nay, sister. I think you’ve shown that you are not acting. You’re the genuine thing, dahling, and I appreciate that. Truly.

    Comment by Elissa — May 12, 2009 @ 1:02 pm

  9. Elissa,
    All feelings are mutual. From my garden to yours.

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — May 12, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  10. Hello Karen,
    Wonderful essay to read. ‘I am by nature a fast starter and al late bloomer’. I think we have something in common :-).

    Best regards,


    Comment by Anonymous — May 13, 2009 @ 12:07 pm

  11. loved the essay and the pictures as well, now I am off to figure out how to look the part!

    Comment by Cat — May 14, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

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