Wednesday, November 30, 2011

mosaic

Jesse's Dad


In a world where children are sometimes forced to navigate between parents and holidays our little Jesse Claire sent a gift for the family at Thanksgiving. The card actually read,


Happy Thanksgiving 
To: The Family 
From: Jesse  


Inside the box she so carefully wrapped was the early work of an obvious genius.







Gratitude.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

yowsa

Seth led me to this video, and I am hesitant to post it since some of the young women to whom I want to give this book may go ahead and buy it because of what they see here but the hesitation is overcome by the honor I feel in having Sarah Kay's words spoken on this site.

I hope you enjoy it as much as me.







Gratitude.

Monday, November 28, 2011

daughter

shotgun



Departure is delayed a day not for any other reason than we are clinging to a rhythm we have found here. I get up at two a m to make a white sauce and notice the urgency it demands. Flour and butter and whisk and milk and all the attention I can muster. It's easier to cook but more difficult to leave. I think this must be one of those hard truths, a cause and effect. You can't quit something without starting something else, couldn't even if you tried.



Vaiden's Jungle



He pours a glass and allows me to do so as well. We sit back in matching chairs made of leather in a dark stained room where guns line a wall. Trophies hang above our heads. I pull my feet under me and sip at a whiskey too expensive to drink. He speaks of legacy, what we as humans leave behind, and crazy seems wise. This is responsibility and I can feel the weight of being what he leaves here, what it means to be his child.





someone give this dog a shotgun


Mama always said a daddy could ruin a daughter. She had seen it happen too many times.





I am gratefully ruined.




I missed you but coming back wasn't easy. It was as if I waited too long and I needed to write something really good or show you the best photograph ever until I realized it was okay and all I needed to do was get back into the rhythm of you and me so here we are. How 'bout some celebratory music? Only one more week to the Black Keys' new album.



Friday, November 25, 2011

thanksgiving

Grace




Gratitude.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

battle

Go Juice

Wreckage



Gratitude.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

score

Congratulations you! You have scored an invite to a very special event with my favorite band. Bring a toy and get so much more in return. I promise those boys never disappoint.

Me? I hope to be deconstructing a holiday for you, a Mississippi Thanksgiving journey in photographs. I'll be out and about, in and out, everywhere and nowhere. Just please know that when I sit down at my Mom's feast laden table with one of the most incredible families on Earth I will in the most sincere of moments give thanks for you.

I already said it, didn't I? It ruins this moment, doesn't it? How 'bout I say it a different way?

I wish for you a most brilliant and wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

project displace glisten shine

Driveway 1 (2011)




The drops fall and lift then settle on a grey rainy Monday. I venture not far and it doesn't take too long before I am no longer a stranger. Hey you, he says. It's you, I do my best impression of someone who is happy to see him. I find I am worse at polite conversation, unnecessary words come out as wasted energy but I tell myself, Your Mama taught you better, young lady.


I stand in line to buy seven cheeses from a computer. A lady turns to me and says she is cold. Is the store cold to you? she asks. I answer in the affirmative every way possible with a smile and a nod and a yes. Maybe it's just me, she says. Okay, I respond and wonder what I did wrong. Soon after I scan mature gouda, aged asiago, apple smoked provolone, two cheddars, some parmesan and my go to feta. Then I escape into a shiny black parking lot with mazes of cars and people where I hope to go unnoticed.


I watch a woman use butter with bits of truffle and sneer with envy. Damn food network, I think, they projected a thought and now I am considering my butter is substandard. If only my dish had the butter with bits of truffle in it then it would be the best and everyone would be so impressed and I would be the grand hero of Thanksgiving. After I left they would talk among themselves about how surely I would be okay and nothing could be wrong with the decisions I had made because did you taste that dish? who knew she was so talented? and yeah, she's brilliant. Then I think, Fuck the Contessa. My butter is just fine.


Two short bursts of phone calls later and I remember.


I remember that this week contains my favorite, most beloved, sweetest bear hug, rub your head and mess up your hair, sit and watch the rain as I wrap both my arms around your one and listen to nothing and everything and laugh and smile and say I love you and am so thankful for you holiday.


I know it's early but I can't help myself, Happy Thanksgiving.



Sunday, November 20, 2011

Saturday, November 19, 2011

dude! you're twenty.

Twenty years ago today at 11pm tonight an amazing thing happened. Worlds were changed. People started calling each other by different names. Responsibilities shifted and one's own life didn't seem as important as another. Although preparations were made, no one could have explained all that needed to be done which now makes sense considering it was never about the doing. It was, is and always will be about the connection of that moment to all future moments.

Plus, today is the day you can look in the paper at your horoscope and it will say that if today is your birthday then this is specifically for you. You, Slater! Today is that day in the paper.

Also, people will send you cards and gifts and they'll call before you're awake and a special dinner will be made and a cake constructed out of your favorite cookie and oh. my. gosh. You're twenty years old.

What?

Dude!

Who loves you?

I do more than I could ever write.



Happy Birthday, Slater. I am so very grateful for you.





Thursday, November 17, 2011

rot

The system was toxic. Early warning signs had been disregarded since the symptoms were so subtle. A slight cough, intermittent lower back pain, muscle spasms in the eye, a general numbness would come over the victim then leave. It was as if the disease had a mind of it's own, and it had orchestrated a complete demise. Once the population became accustomed to existing in the slightest of atmospheric change, the temperature would then drop one half of one degree. New symptoms would be added to the list of others but still nothing so remarkable to be noticed among a group. Even the deafness had become filled with chatter and as a result ignored since all they ever did anymore was talk to themselves.

Looking back now it is plain to see what the worm had done was take away the worry. And who's to say that is a bad thing and who would listen if anyone did say it because the system was toxic and would eventually due to it's very nature heal itself.






Dear Reader,

This is one of those rare times I wake up with a sentence. I don't know where it comes from because I don't remember what I dreamed but I don't worry anymore that you or anyone else may think I've lost it because maybe I did. Maybe I needed to.

Otherwise, it's Thursday and my last four remaining hours of vacation will be paid today. As of noon I am swinging on a trapeze without a net. Weeeeeeeeeeee......


Gratitude with all kinds of crazy love,
me







Now I just need to get Billy Sue to stop worrying or at least invest in some anti-aging creme. Chic is working the wrinkles.







Wednesday, November 16, 2011

flirt

He enters the room in the requisite surgical scrubs and white coat. I have to admit there is some disheveled revenge of the nerds attractiveness about him, like holding and rocking him while he gives a rambling dissertation of the benefits of the newest morphine pump would make for at least a good story. Neurosis can be quite the turn on as long as it can be turned off every once in a while.

But this is not about what attracts me.


This is about what attracts his patient, a woman I call a very dear friend who just underwent a partial knee replacement under the guide of this man's hand. This is her second, and I am now worried she will need a third but has run out of knees. Post partial can you get a full? If so, go ahead and sign her up. Elbow? Hip? Does he work on all joints? Surely we can schedule something in the spring of next year. Yesterday's surgery should hold her through the winter.


Admittedly I have recently discovered a woman's ability to generate the energy of our sun from within the very core of her being via hot flashes but I think I had forgotten about the heat a man can elicit from a woman. How his very presence can bring about such a transformation in attitude and demeanor. I have known this woman for over twenty years and I have never seen her flirt. I don't think I have ever even heard her giggle, not like that. She touched his arm, arched her back, talked with her hands, smiled at everything, said she was doing great and this time was going to be even better than last time. She was absolutely beautiful, radiant and yes, she'll have another one. How 'bout an ankle in April?


Okay, there may have been a pain pump and a couple of pills involved, but I maintain that doctor had something to do with it.


She will probably kill me for writing this. It's just it was great to see her and witness all that wonderful flirting. It makes me smile to even think about it.



Here's to hoping for a speedy recovery, Nan.



Gratitude.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

side effects of ginkgo










It took her a while to forget I was there, but the silk like leaves soon took their effect.





Side effect of unemployment: I notice the ginkgo leaves. Who knew they felt like rose petals? Oh, you did. Well, I didn't until now. You coulda said something or wait, maybe you did and I wasn't listening.



Gratitude.




Monday, November 14, 2011

curious

He paints tears down cheeks, a head resting on a hand. A cut acrylic in black and grey, sharp corners on bars, stiff drinks of loneliness. It is searching the whole world to find the most brutal sadness, hiding in a dark corner and shining a light on the guy forgotten.



She writes stories of suffering in long form performing a murder in the most merciful of ways. A tale weaved so tightly the unraveling becomes a welcome relief. We pity her characters and find solace in how foreign they seem. I don't do that, we say. Poor person, we think, how horrid.




I sit on an edge of gold and watch as white and khaki pose. This is where, this is how, this is what we should be. The child notices me, and I smile, pull the camera up and shoot as he nears. He studies the lens as if he will discover how it works, and I fall completely in love.


On a Saturday morning in November it didn't matter if the lighting was right or people had their hands placed correctly or if the background was too cluttered. It became about the curiosity of that kid and the opportunity I had to witness it.











Gratitude.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

what now?

Me: Slater, due to my recent obsession with 30 Rock I now find myself asking what would Liz Lemon do in this situation?

Slater: Mom, that's the fourth time you've told me that.

Me: Well you may want to get used to me telling you things multiple times since you'll most likely be the only one I'm talking to. Who's awesome? It's three past the hour.



He turns and walks away.




Gratitude?







Liz Lemon gratitude. Of course she does still have a job.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

signs signs everywhere signs



We meet for dinner and she tells me a story made greater by the inflections and smiles and how close it remains. It was years, decades even, ago when she decided to quit her job. Her Dad had been against it, what in the world would she do, how could she give up such security. She tried to assure him she would be okay, and he eventually had to accept the possibility she would.

She remembers that day, how she felt, how she couldn't hide the smile. Her Mom was meeting her at her apartment and they planned to celebrate so she stopped by a Walgreen's and picked up a six pack of beer and some chips. The cashier took notice of her and remarked, Girl, you're smiling like you just quit your job or something.

That's when Kay said, I did. I did quit my job. Just today. Can you believe it?

When she tells me this it is as if I am that cashier and she is beaming and we both laugh and I thank her for such a wonderful story. Then she tells me how excited she is for me. I linger in a moment which feels like a good sign, carry it with me this week when I need it. I remember the look on her face, and yesterday on my last day I consider getting a six pack on my way home but decide I am simply ready to be there, anxious to be home with Slater and Billy Sue and the feeling that walking out that door was one of the best steps I have taken in a long time.

I did consider the fuel situation. When I left home yesterday morning four little white squares from empty I thought I had just enough gas to get me back so when I drove away from my previous employer and looked at a gauge with two little squares I passed the gas station and got on the interstate ramp with no concern. No concern until I reached the bumper to bumper traffic about a half mile south of Hernando.

One little square, twenty minutes and a mile later I see a highway patrolman blocking an emergency and official use road and consider stopping to explain running out of gas is an emergency in my book. But I don't. I continue in the traffic and tell myself it will be okay and self laughs.

I don't have a cell phone but surely one of these other people do. I could use it and call Slater and he would laugh and taunt me with the story for years. Maybe I could hitch a ride with one of them. I would offer them money for their help and Slater and I could come back and pick up the car later. Or heck, I could start my new sabbatical exercise program early with a ten mile walk home. 

Whatever happened it was going to be okay. This was the one thing I knew.

Three miles later I lost all the little white squares.

Twenty minutes later I coasted into Coldwater where I sat at a packed gas station and waited my turn.


And yes, I was smiling with complete gratitude. You know I was.



It's over and it's beginning. It's going to be okay, better than okay 'cause it already is.


Or I am just psychotic.


We'll see.


listen

Listen, she says, people will tell you who they are.

I sit on the edge of a brick porch and light one cigarette with the other. Okay, I say.

What are you gonna do? she asks.

I am going to give him the chance to be more than he says, I look out over a pasture and a pond and watch as the same sun rises.

Okay, she says and I hear the door open and close behind me.






Listen, she says, people will tell you who they are.

I sit in a recently painted room and face her. Yeah but this is what he said he wanted.

Okay, she says and leaves to go work in the yard.






Listen, she says, people will tell you who they are.

Yeah, it's taken me awhile but I get it now, I smile and hug her, throw the backpack in the car, dance a little jig to make her laugh and tell Billy Sue to load up.






He finds me on the front stoop and sits next to me.

Listen, I say. It seems I am always leaving.

I know, he says, I've been tagging along for some time now.

He puts his arms around me and hugs.

Just don't hold too tightly, I say.

He loosens his grip and I decide to stay a while.








Gratitude.





Tuesday, November 8, 2011

us

Bouquet

I was eighteen years old before I ever witnessed a real, live, Mississippi cotton field. Where I was from we farmed pine and had gardens of fruits and vegetables. Highway 61 revealed a wide horizon with vast spotted fields and massive tractors which appeared as miniatures in the distance. Although I was from this state, nothing about it felt like home to me.

Now maybe, twenty years later, it has come to be a home away from home. Foreign and familiar as if I traveled to another planet and found the same inhabitants. This, I think, became one of the most beautiful lessons I learned from north Mississippi, that no matter where we go we will always find ourselves.


I am grateful.

Monday, November 7, 2011

smile



If you smile when no one else is around, you really mean it. 
~ Andy Rooney



In my mind Andy is looking down saying, Why don't you come up with your own words? Really, all you have is a quote from me? That's original.


Then I smile and realize it's not because I'm alone and mean it but that I'm crazy enough to think Mr. Rooney could be reading this from beyond the grave.


Rest however you would like, Andy Rooney. I enjoyed what I heard of your life.




Gratitude.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

football

















We won't discuss the results. We'll just say that last night it could have been some people thought a national championship was played.

And they want a rematch.




I am simply grateful to spend time with friends and if a rematch means I could do it again then why not.





Saturday, November 5, 2011

silence

shhhhhhh, he's sleeping and I just came here to say that now more than ever it feels like some of the best relationships are those in which you feel safe to be quiet, that you never have to lose you or me in us 'cause we couldn't even if we tried.




Simple, quiet gratitude.

Friday, November 4, 2011

not a teacher

Training becomes a purposeful neglect and my neurosis climbs a muscle up the left side of my neck. Her asset is speed and her liability the same. She can type as fast as anyone can talk, she brags. I refrain from the response, But I can't talk as fast as you can type.

Young and yankee meets a slow south.

I turn the chair around, straddle it, cross my arms across the back of it and rest my head as I imagine I am glued to the chair, paralyzed from the chin down. Think of this. Make a note of that. Remember this. If you don't know that and I am not here where would you find it? Everything is there. 


Wait.


What?


Think.


It's okay.


Everything is fine.


I rub the left side of my neck and feel the tightness reach my brain. I tell myself this work is not important, nobody will die over a voided invoice, the customer will be okay with that mistake and oh my gosh I can't take it, please just let me do it and you watch me and really watch me this time and listen and I can't take this anymore. It's been nice meeting you but when you laugh I want to scream and I know it's me and I am so sorry you have me training you because patience was never one of my strong points and if I had home schooled my child he would have been illiterate so maybe this is going to send me over the edge of some cliff of insanity 'cause I used to like it when people laughed and I am going to have to go get in my car and drive away and never be seen again. You'll forget me. It'll be okay.

buhbye.



But no, I am glued to the chair. I am paralyzed from the chin down so I say,

Wait.


What?


Think.


It's okay.


Everything is fine.




Fine in the outside world. Inside me someone's fingernails are scratching a chalkboard and my brain is screaming, Everything is now destroyed, followed by many exclamation points, one last gasp and it's own death.



Grateful for Friday and those people in this world who can teach. Someone please give those people a raise.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

lost and found

In Thomas Harris' foreword to Red Dragon he writes of a lone shotgun house in the middle of a cotton field in Rich, Mississippi. There is a pack of feral dogs he adopts to accompany him on walks at night.

On one hand I am insanely attracted to a space with the most minimal distraction where the mind travels down roads without a map. On the other hand I fear where those roads may lead. What I think is I have been coming here my whole life and not even fear could stop me now. Right or wrong, good or bad, there is no turning back.



Once I am past the fear all I can feel is gratitude.



You and me, we'll see what happens.







Dude! Didn't this space contain photographs at one time? I gotta get on that.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

gift

Sometimes I can't think of anything to write but I still want to come here and give you something. It's like I owe you. You, who showed up here today or some day in the future. You, who gave me your attention for at least a moment wherever or whenever you were. You could have been doing any number of other things but you came here. Maybe sometimes just saying thank you, which maybe I don't do enough, is not enough. Maybe you deserve a gift.

I think you do.

I hope you like it.

I have loved it for many years.

Tonight I found it again just for you.

Here.



I am grateful that on April 21, 2006 Matthew Simmons wrote Fooled and I am grateful that I had the chance to read it and I am hopeful that you like it as well because more than all that I am grateful for the opportunity to share those things I love with you.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

scene from a dirty kitchen

We have a middle aged single mom and her college aged son discussing a life changing decision. She has on her favorite stretchy purple pants and dreams of the day they will be sold at Christie's so that her grandchildren won't need to learn to read. Her son, attempting to escape the example set by both his parents, has recently put his mother on a behavior program less about modification and more about entertainment through encouragement. Three minutes past every hour he tells her she is awesome. This not only makes her smile but encourages her to buy groceries. It has been six months and she has yet to see a pattern or suspect that he doesn't really think she is awesome. We catch the two as she is heating canned food and discussing her recent voluntary career change from employed to unemployed. During the dialogue a camera is focused on an English Bulldog sitting at full attention. The dog's gaze is alternating from one character to the other.

Mom (dumps a large can of mixed greens into a saucepan): I have a shameful admission. What number is this? Have we lost count?

Son (smiles, heats up a bowl of soup in a small white microwave and turns to her): Yes. Go ahead.

Mom: Well, it's like this. I have this good side of me that hopes whoever takes over my job is fantastic, that what that place needed was an injection of something other than me, that I was it's problem, that once I am gone some dark cloud will be lifted and everyone will be happy and wonderful and fantastic. (she begins to animate the discussion by dancing around the kitchen in an effort to illustrate a child's fairy tale ending and elicit a laugh)

Son (laughs).

Mom (stops, faces son and whispers): But then there's this dark side.

Son (chuckles): What's the dark side?

Mom: There's a part of me, a very small part, much smaller than the good part that hopes the whole place falls in when I walk out the door. That it wasn't me. That I was good and it wasn't me that made it so bad and they all realize it right before it blows up like in the Die Hard movies.

The camera moves from the bulldog to a clock hanging on the wall. It is three past the hour. We scan back to the characters.

Son (laughs again and hugs her): Mom, you're awesome.

End scene.



Do I even have to say it? Okay, I will. With gratitude.






Dear Reader,

The new girl started today and she really is awesome. Yay and damn it.

Love,
me