Showing posts from February, 2013

"God have mercy on the [domestic longhair] who doubts what [s]he's sure of"

I've been listening to one of the best Springsteen albums ever, Tunnel of Love . When we were kids, my sister (codename: Cordelia) and I came up with a theory, convincingly backed up by textual evidence, that the song " Brilliant Disguise " was about our cat Sugar, a beautiful and secretive creature one was likely to cross paths with "out on the edge of town." The person "call[ing her] name from underneath our willow" was, of course, Mom (who went outside every night to call her in), and the thing Sugar had "tucked in shame underneath [her] pillow" was, as I recall, a hairball. It made sense at the time. This is the album with "Tougher Than the Rest," "Spare Parts," "Cautious Man," "Tunnel of Love," "One Step Up," etc., plus, Bruce Springsteen wearing a bolo tie. If someone said to me, "For a period of one month, your half of every conversation about anything that matters must be co


That bud on the upper left has been curled tight for two and a half months. Look what it did today.

Here Lies Kristin. She Paid Attention

I wouldn't mind if that's what it said on my tombstone. So, recently, I got into a bit of a plotting pickle with this thing I'm writing. I just couldn't figure out a particular aspect of the story. In my usual fashion, I threw myself at it, then threw myself at it again, and again, hoping that my self-propulsion would manage to bash me through it, because sometimes, it does. This time, it didn't. Realizing that what I needed was a break, I put my notebook away. For several days, I did other things, any thing, provided that it was neither writing nor thinking about writing. From time to time, the writing tried to lure me back. It has a whole bag of tricks it likes to use on these occasions: it tried to make me feel guilty; it tried scaring me into believing my book was in peril if I didn't get back to work; it tried presenting me with a nice, tempting, challenging wall to throw myself at. Every time, just like with a meditation practice, I smiled, noticed wha

Novel Snowstorm

Me in an email: Guys, it is snowing like the dickens. Rebecca in response: It is snowing like the Dickens, the Austen, and the Brontë.

It'll Probably Pass

As I take breaks from writing yesterday and this morning, I'm getting a lot of joy out of the song "Orpheo Looks Back" by Andrew Bird . It makes me feel brave. I'm listening to the album version (from Break It Yourself ), but the link takes you to a review of the song and vid of a live performance, in case you're curious. It's on iTunes etc. I'm slowly compiling a post about how I'm trying to use the tools I've learned from writing to make me better at life . Also an important post about nail polish. But these things have minds of their own and today it's sunny and soon I need to catch a train. So. Happy weekend everyone :)

Rumi Strikes Again

Does sunset sometimes look like the sun is coming up? Do you know what a faithful love is like? You're crying; you say you've burned yourself. But can you think of anyone who's not hazy with smoke? - Rumi

Sleep, Pretty Darling, Do Not Cry... and Other Thursday Randutiae

Happy Pan-Universal Be Who You Are Day ! Someone who uses voice recognition software and draws should start a VRS comic strip. The objects that appear suddenly in my scenes because my VRS has misunderstood me are visually amusing. I just dictated the line, "'I will,' she said with a sob," and my VRS typed, "'I will,' she said with a saw." I feel like a spontaneous saw could really add something to a conversation. Gentlemen of Cambridge: to the man, when faced with a long, narrow corridor of sidewalk between snowbanks, you have waited at your end and let me pass first. This has literally happened to me twelve times since the storm (which I know because at a certain point I started counting). In this northeast USA city (meaning, a city where strangers tend not to pay much attention to each other and rudeness is not particularly unusual), I am startled and touched by this thoughtfulness, then startled that I am touched. Thank you for your gent

It is the use of increasingly sophisticated tools that separates man from beast.

(Demonstrated by some young goofballs who, by my best guess, are Harvard grad students.) Hey guys, let's dig a snowcave inside this drift! I am burrowing into this snowbank using my arms and hands and head! You look tired. Maybe we should use this 2 x 4? I guess so... wait, hang on! I have a better idea! I'm back and I brought a scraper. Let's get back to it. Hang on, what's that lady in the long coat carrying? Oh my goodness! This skillet is shaped like a snow-mover! These skillets work great. If only we had... hey, who's that guy? Friends, I'm here to show you how it's done. Make yourselves comfortable. I'll take care of this in no time, and by sunset no one will be able to find us.

The drifting makes me happy. I love the sharp lines

It's been snowing for about 25 hours. I keep thinking about Almanzo Wilder and Cap Garland and hoping they're okay.* Here is the view from codename: Apocalyptica's garage in Swampscott.  That's her buddy Margaret's car, in case you didn't recognize it as such. There are many magical things about a storm like this (provided you keep the TV off and ignore all the stupid hype. It's a snowstorm. We live in New England). One of my favorite magical things is the silence.  Aside from the occasional snowplow, there's no traffic, which is unheard of around here. And the snow insulates and muffles sounds. _____ * This is a reference to The Long Winter , by Laura Ingalls Wilder. During the fall, winter, and spring of 1880-1881, South Dakota had a particularly harsh season of blizzards (beyond anything Boston has ever known). The blizzards came hard upon each other, each one fierce and crippling. The trains couldn't run, supplies were running low, there

Storm Views

It has been snowing for about 13 hours so far. At first there was some light out there, including the flashing one on this crazy person's helmet, but gradually, the sun went away and the darkness moved in. (Except that it never gets all that dark when you've got street lamps and snow.) The owner of this car will be surprised in the morning to find it has turned into a marshmallow. (With ears.) I am home now. It is cozy. Here is a view from my own window.

It's Like Waves Crashing Against the Sky

Today and tomorrow, the snow will rise upwards from the clouds.

On Monday, prepare for shooting iceballs.

Pre-Snowstorm Randutiae

Over at her blog, Rebecca Stead has a wonderful new writing routine , which she explains in one line. And... ... my new matches are "sourced from responsible forests." ... I guess the irresponsible forests are always missing their appointments with the lumberjacks.

February 14: The Fifth Annual Pan-Universal Be Who You Are Day

If you've been around my blog for a while, then you know what I think of the societal assumption that a life isn't full without romance . You also know that while I sympathize with romantic (and every other kind of) cowardice, I really wish that after tea and cake and ices, J. Alfred would force the moment to its crisis . Finally, you know how much I dislike Valentine's Day . LISTEN, I have many opinions and they are all CORRECT. Sigh. Valentine's Day makes me belligerent. Pan-Universal Be Who You Are Day , on the other hand, makes me happy and proud. Click on that link if you have no idea what I'm talking about and are curious about why I have renamed Valentine's Day. I'm not being obscure on purpose, I'm being obscure because I am being hit over the head repeatedly by a manuscript right now and linkiness is possible whereas coherent explanations are not. Apologies; this is not going to be my best Pan-Universal Be Who You Are Day post ever. Here'

Word Roundup for a Monday

Boustrophedon [boo-struh-FEED-n], from the Greek βουστροφηδόν, βοῦς (bous) meaning "ox" and στροφή (strophē) meaning "turn": An ancient method of writing in which every other line of writing is flipped or reversed, with reversed letters. The way oxen would write, you know, if they were turning back and forth in the fields in order to write, rather than in order to pull the plow. :D? The derivation of this word brings back memories for me, because I took ancient Greek in high school, and I remember the word βοῦς (bous). Except that I remember it meaning bull, not ox, and I remember combining it with the word κόπρος (kopros), meaning "shit." Bouskopros [BOOS-KOP-ross]: A disguised way to say "bullshit" to the non-Greek-speaking Jesuit priests and brothers without getting sent to Jug. Jug [JUG]: What we had instead of detention at my Jesuit high school. An acronym for "Justice Under God." I am not even kidding. Wow, is it ever