80 Goodbyes

80 Goodbyes

the long goodbye
the short goodbye
the goodbye that never should have happened
the happy goodbye
the sad goodbye
the bitter sweet goodbye
the absent goodbye
the passionate goodbye
the awkward goodbye
the final goodbye

the until we meet again goodbye
the I never want to fucking see you again goodbye
the sobbing goodbye
the humiliating goodbye
the obligatory goodbye
the reproachful goodbye
the regretful goodbye
the virtual goodbye
the abbreviated goodbye
the goodbye that never was

the tenuous goodbye
the goodbye dressed in tails and a hat
the uneasy goodbye
the flippant goodbye
the unforgettable goodbye
the well meaning goodbye
the goodbye that went terribly wrong
the goodbye soaked in wine
the good luck good riddance goodbye
the winking goodbye

the blind goodbye
the naked goodbye
the slighted goodbye
the goodbye that was only a dream
the insincere goodbye
the chilly goodbye
the bad luck goodbye
the inevitable goodbye
the perfect goodbye
the complicated goodbye

the traditional goodbye
the irreverent goodbye
the dry eye goodbye
the spicy goodbye
the dramatic goodbye
the understated goodbye
the goodbye that faded away
the northern goodbye
the southern goodbye
the eastern goodbye
the western

the broken goodbye
the guy to guy goodbye
the silent goodbye
the boisterous goodbye
the violent goodbye
the restrained goodbye
the destined goodbye
the embracing goodbye
the goodbye that calls for a handshake.

the goodbye en francais
the faire la bise goodbye
the hi-fi goodbye
the unprofessional goodbye
the f.i.n.e. fine goodbye
the goodbye with bad intentions
the insane goodbye
the rainy goodbye
the attenuated goodbye
the fly goodbye

the literary goodbye
the goodbye that lingers on the porch
the surprising goodbye
the goodbye that got stabbed with a fork
the strange goodbye
the nauseating goodbye
the shy goodbye
the cheery pie goodbye
the disappointing goodbye
the goodbye that got lost in the snow


Strange Porch Blues - Strange

Strange laughed when no one else did.  She talked to trees and danced in the wind.  
She never said hello or goodbye, but just started right in the middle, as if you'd been talking all along.
Strange didn't care about money because people gave her all she needed.  Mostly, she sat by the fountain and played banjo.  She smiled at everyone, and no one did her any harm.  


From Ms. Dane's School of Rigid Cursive: Guidelines for Self-Satisfaction

                                      11) Keep a blog.


Notes on Austin Kleon's TEDxKC talk "Steal Like An Artist"

life long crack up
what's worth stealing
years later
T.S. Elliot
neighbor of Ben Franklin
my unoriginal idea
draw a line
draw a second line
ephemeral he found
1+1 = 3
that CIA haiku
you pick
anyone who hasn't clipped
I kept on
ripping off the government
that's all there is to do
John Lennon
brilliant Tom Phillips
completely unoriginal
40 years
out of college
you rip off
I thank you


Some Notes On Essay Writing That I Thought Would Turn Into An Essay But Didn't

The essay will be about a particular subject but after a while, it will wander away from that subject because that's how thought works and essays are attempts at capturing thoughts.

Essay writing is like doing patchwork.

Some repetition is pleasing.  Too much is boring.

I am thinking about vines.

In the ninth grade, we had an enthusiastic student art teacher who taught us to draw giant chalk portraits as fast as we could with a really loose arm.  We did, laughing, embarrassed at how dumb our portraits looked.  But it felt good to draw like that.  So I kept doing it.

Contemplate why the edited view of a landscape, framed and hung on the wall, can be more powerful than witnessing the actual landscape.  Is it the same with a face?

End with a conclusion.


602 Club

we don't know what this is

or what it will become

but we sure are grateful

for what it is right now


Piano Lessons

One of our friends' children, who is a voracious reader entering third grade, sits with a blank look, not answering when her piano teacher asks what note comes after “C.”  Her parents worry that after two years she doesn’t know the names of the notes on the grand staff and that she can’t play the rhythms properly.  I ask the girl how was piano lesson?  “Terrible,” she says, “like always.”  The teacher is very nice and has a lot of success with his students, including our friends’ older daughter.

I find the younger at the piano, head down, working in her master theory book so she doesn’t get another dollar taken off her allowance.  I sit beside her and play a few notes.  She smiles.  I ask if she wants to join.  She nods.  Play the black keys, I suggest.  Any ones you want, at any time.  We alternate notes.  She adds one, I add one.  She giggles.  She plays in perfect rhythm.


In the Quiet of Morning

In the quiet of the morning is the hum of the computer, the ruffling of the curtain lifting with the breeze, the chirp of crickets, the roar of a distant motor, hammering, a bird chirping, a car rolling by, a dog barking, the footsteps of a man coming back from market, cicadas, a door slamming, the whine of a power saw, the sound of my breath, an airplane coming closer and then fading, the clicking of the keyboard, the fabric of my shirt rubbing, the voices of people I don't know, a ladder being extended, a small creature gnawing on the house, my chair creaking, a lawn mower starting, sticks breaking, a delivery truck rumbling down the street, keys jangling, my husband singing, a chair sliding across the floor downstairs, my husband sighing and walking into the kitchen, a joint in my back cracking, an unidentifiable tapping.


Annoying Things

When it is so humid that the floor feels sticky on my bare feet.

When my husband crushes his soda can and puts it in my bag without me knowing so that when I go to retrieve something from my bag I find there are little drops of soda all over my things making them sticky.  How annoying!

When the children hold my hands and I can tell they haven't washed theirs in a long time.

When the children hang on my hands making my wrists ache.

When I find bits of food around the house after telling the children a thousand times to eat only in the kitchen.

When people ask me to do things I don't want to do.

Sand on the floor after we've come back from the beach.

Things sitting on the counter that I don't know what to do with.

Lids that don't match containers.  Containers that don't have lids.

Windows that don't open.

Mosquitoes that buzz in the ear.

A brand new book with a cover that curls up when it rains.

Unbagged trash thrown into the garbage can that sticks to the bottom and begins to stink.

Wet towels that get buried in the hamper and begin to smell moldy.

Moldy smells coming from vents.

People who drive right against my bumper when I am going the speed limit and then honk and make obscene gestures when they pass.

Shoes left out in the rain.

Not being able to get on the internet.

Computers that don't work that way I want them to.

Children asking me how to spell things when I am trying to read.

The wind blowing papers that I have just laid out neatly.


Excerpt From An Unpublished Essay: Lonely in Kino or The Long Stretch of Day. Chasing Sand Pipers

Walking back towards New Kino and the posada where a pair of my sandals lie on the floor and a jar of salsa sits open on the desk and two toothbrushes balance on sink's edge, a place that is surprisingly easy to think of as home, I am optimistic now that I have survived another odd day, alone and pregnant in the heat of a foreign land, now that I am returning to where I started.  Pelicans flap their wings, their prehistoric beaks tickled by the tips of the waves, and children drag red and yellow buckets, chasing sand pipers, splashing the water with their feet.  Teenagers sit together under umbrellas, talking on their phones and slapping each other teasingly on the arms.  And the seagulls hop from one foot to another, nervous at the shrinking of their beach as more and more people wake from their siestas and come down to swim. I am buoyant as evening approaches.  I roll along, one foot to the next, listening to the slap of ocean water and the static of human noises as if it were music, smelling sea weed and sun tan lotion and the relief that rises from my skin.


New Release

I am at a friend's house and see among the books her husband has checked out of the library, a book by a writer I admire.  I didn't know this writer had a new book out and though I don't know this writer personally, I feel slighted, as if this writer should have contacted me because I get such a strong charge from this writer's work, that just holding her book makes me want to run home and write my own weird little stories which, if she knew, might make her feel just as slighted as I do when I discovered she published a new book without telling me.


Sandbox Lesson #1

Make sure your sandbox is clean and clear of distractions.

Develop good habits right from the start.  Sit tall.  Do not slouch.
This is a shovel.

Shoveling an entire shovelful of sand is called a whole scoop.

When you see a  
shovel one whole scoop.

Now try this:

Shovel four scoops with a steady rhythm.

Try not to shovel off beat!  Use a metronome to help keep a steady beat.

Practice shoveling until you can shovel for three minutes without making a mistake.

For best success, practice daily.

Next lesson: Half scoops


Excerpt From An Unpublished Essay: Lonely in Kino or The Long Stretch of Day. A Fisherman's Bar

At the shore where the beach makes a shallow bay, down by where the fishermen drag their boats onto the sand, is a large metal shed with no windows where you can buy one kind of beer.  A woman with dark ringed eyes wearing a little girl’s tank top and shorts, leans on the doorway with one leg wrapped around the other.  From the dark interior floats the sounds of a TV laugh track and a child crying.  Several fisherman hang around, sitting on the overturned belly of a boat, standing in the shade of the bar, waiting for nothing, hoping for something, in the golden light of falling afternoon, where everything smells like gasoline and rotting fish and salt water.


Zuihitsu: A 10th Century Case

All this technology confuses me, such a great many choices at such a speed!  I know how quaint that sounds, like those first people who road in automobiles, reporting the terrifying, head spinning sensations of moving at 30 miles per hour.

When my head starts spinning, I remind myself to sit on the bed with a notebook and pen.

Sometimes I feel guilty, noticing that the boys are watching another movie.  Maybe I should have taken them to the Y.  But time is limited so here I am, spending it selfishly, sitting on my bed, following the line that falls onto the paper.

Sei Shonagon, a courtesan in 10th century Japan, kept a journal that she hid in the drawer of her wooden pillow, taking notes on court trysts and annoyances, making lists of "very tiresome things."

Here's what Dennis Washburn says in the introduction to Arthur Waley's strange and much abbreviated translation of Sei Shonagon's The Pillow Book.

The Pillow Book is an early example of an extremely important genre in Japanese, the miscellany, or zuihitsu (literally, "following one's brush") - a form of jotting or literary wandering.  Zuihitsu gives the writer considerable freedom to use a variety of forms and touch on a wide range of subjects.  

Sounds to me like a terminal case of whimsy.

Ha!  There she is, on the other side of the planet, one-hundred and one decades back, inking little nothings on paper, dreaming that someone might read them.


Anonymous Blogger

I come upon a blog, not a year old, only half a dozen entries, talking of places I know with a foul-mouthed anger inspired by the affair that the writer’s wife is having while the writer stays home with the kids.  Do I know these people?  He attacks his wife’s character and then asks us to empathize with his flawed one (some mental illness, perhaps?) which we do, because the writing is very good.  Names are named. Details given. I determine the identity of the anonymous blogger.  A true shock, my impression so different from this aggressively intelligent and angry writer.  How many different selves we each are, and here, the most manipulative and intimate, the literary self, whispering lines onto paper that whisper to a reader, images that enrapture our emotions.  The caressing bodies.  The rising action.  The falling action.  The denouement.