Friday, January 15, 2010

ice cream castles in the air.

Listening to: I Saw What I Saw by Sara Groves
Line love: The heart breaks and breaks and lives by breaking. It is necessary to go through a dark and deeper dark and not to turn. - Stanley Kunitz

Today is a day ...

... for Joni Mitchell.
"Miles of Aisles" was the first record I bought in this city. I remember listening to it on the record player in my old living room while I sat in the floor, writing. And then stopping so I could really listen to the words (and the heckling crowd). Joni is such a poet. She inspires me all to pieces. My favorite song on the album, and my favorite Joni Mitchell song ever, is "Clouds."

Rows and bows of angel hair,
and ice cream castles in the air,
and feathered canyons everywhere.
I've looked at clouds that way.

But now they only block the sun
they rain and snow on everyone
so many things I would've done
but clouds got in my way.

... for Jane Austen.
The commentary on Tuesday's Emma post is so fantastic - further proof I have the smartest blog readers on the planet. I love reading your thoughts. I keep seeing comments like, "I want to say something but I don't want to spoil it because you aren't there yet ...". The anxiety is killing me, people! :) Apparently I need to make haste and see what this Jane Fairfax girl is up to.

... for my cardigan with the paint stain on the sleeve.
I got this black cardigan at a used clothing store back in high school. If I actually wore it in public, it would be the kind of thing Stacy and Clinton would make me throw away :) Lucky for them, I only wear it when I'm hanging out by myself. It's totally worn out, but so comfy because of that (do you have clothes like that? That feel like grown up safety blankets?). And the paint stain makes me feel like I have street cred. Like I've made messy awesome art somewhere along the way. The paint stain got there during my sad November (a few years ago)

when I couldn't sleep
and spent long nights questioning, and wishing, and hoping,
and praying
something would change.
I didn't care whether it was my world, or me,
that needed the changing.
(Or both. I was willing to try both.)
I felt like the sky was falling in on me
and I was running around
trying to put all those egg shell puzzle pieces of universe
back together again.
Does not work.
So I turned on loud music
(Iron & Wine)
and started painting violets.
The flowers were perfectly whimsical, ugly, and weird.
I fell asleep with a paintbrush in my hand.

... for sleeping dogs.
Think I could train her to answer emails for me?

... for Hattie Big Sky.
I got on a kick where I was reading tons of YA paranormal novels for awhile. I really like that genre. I think monster metaphors are perfect for stories about figuring out who you are, who you love, what you're doing in the world. Still, I read a few paranormal novels in a row that were way too similar. I don't think it was a case of poor writing (fantasy has its tropes ... I don't mind them), but I got burned out. I put the monster books away and started reading some historicals. Like Emma (Team Knightley). And like Hattie Big Sky. HBS has been on my list for years. Back in middle school, when I wasn't reading the Narnia series for the umteenth time, or re-reading Judy Blume's books, I was obsessed with historicals: Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, A Gathering of Days. I even watched Little House on the Prairie and (don't judge me for this next one ... I was young) ... Dr. Quinn. :) It's fun to read historical again. And my motives are a bit sneaky. Last time I was in my hometown, I was hanging out with my two little cousins, Beth and Grace. Beth was in first grade at the time and Grace was in Kindergarten. These girls love books. And they were ecstatic that day about reading books to me. When she finished, Beth very politely told me she wanted to read more books about girls who lived a long time ago. She asked me if I would write one. And I thought ... huh. Could I write historical? I've had an idea sitting in the Book of Sometimes Grand and Sometimes Utterly Horrible Ideas. I've been letting it simmer for a long time now. Adding ideas when I get them. I finally wrote some pages and ... it was kind of fun. My sojourn into reading historical novels is mostly just for kicks, but I keep wondering if I could match the language, the pace, the characters. Characters really shine in those novels. (I'm working on it, Beth!)

... for Elbow.
Because this song is unrestrained, over-the-top, straight up beautiful. I love it. This is the only song with lyrics on my playlist for the current Project O' Weirdness.

... for action. I almost didn't write about this, because the rest of this post is so frivolous compared to the earthquake in Haiti. But I'm praying hard today. For the people in Haiti. For the people helping the people in Haiti. For how I can help. For all the crazy, wacky, sad things happening in the world. I know questioning why things happen is a game of round robin that goes nowhere, but it's hard. I caught a news clip (that made me dry heave) of Pat Robertson talking about how the earthquake was the result of a pact the people in Haiti made with the devil or blah blah blah something equally stupid. While some people sit around pointing self-righteous fingers, other people are actively doing somethng to bring relief to the people in Haiti. Instead of asking why, I'm learning to go and do. Love is active. There is definitely a way to be active. Even if you can't donate money, you can send your thoughts and prayers. My friend Steve wrote a great blog entry that I love because it's so honest. I can totally relate. Steve donated to World Vision. I have other friends who've donated to Doctors Without Borders (according to their site, they have 300 people on a waiting list for surgery), Samaritan's Purse, and World Vision. And I know of churches (even in tiny communities) collecting clothes and blankets to send down. I'm not sure what I'm doing yet. Any ideas?

... for sweet, wild, dark, lovely stories happening word by wonderful word on my computer screen.

... for oatmeal with blueberries. I can't decide if this is one of my favorite things for breakfast because 1.) it tastes so yummy or 2.) because it reminds me of being a kid or 3.) because I think the colors look pretty. Or maybe all of the above.

... for smiling at the way the sunset reflects off the frozen lake.

... for watching my breath billow up, up, up toward the winter white clouds.

... and for remembering the way the red flowers around my porch will look when spring comes again.

Happy Weekending lovelies :)


  1. AWH :)
    this is sooo pretty :)
    it makes me smile like hugely :)
    I love this.
    & papaw is very saddened by Haiti's earthquake. :( He wishes he could be down there helping, but he can't. there is nothing he can do. and also there is worry written on his face. HE won't really admit it, but there is. he cannot get in touch with one of the leaders of his mission's program thingy. So we've been praying that papaw will soon get a call from Willis saying that he is okay. But papaw knows that no matter the outcome, Willis is perfectly safe in God's massive loving embrace. :)
    Loves to you :)

  2. Happy weekend to you! That picture of Biscuit is adorable!

  3. I know I already left a comment today,
    but i just wanted to share with you the
    goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood news!! :)
    My papaw's friend Willis finally called :)
    and he is safe and most importantly alive :) and I can honestly say that I've only seen my papaw cry once or twice, but this was just soo beautiful. and i just wanted to say that the Father works miracles every day :) and he protects those who truely love him :)

  4. Thanks for another lovely post, Natalie. =) I second Jenny B. Jones' comment.