Saturday, July 30, 2011


"I am sorry I was so cranky earlier, sweetie."

Dylan hugs me and kisses the crook of my neck.
"That's ok. I mean, thank you but I understand."
And a tiny voice inside says "No, it's not ok." (This is common  - I can never apologize enough)
But then the tiny voice says "It's not ok that you are cranky with me." (Not common)

That tiny voice isn't talking to Dylan.
That tiny voice is me, talking to me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Grammar Exposures

How we write is often far more telling than what we write.

I am, of course, speaking mostly of rough drafts. While it is true - and in fact, Natalie Goldberg encourages us to look closely at the structure of each book, article, essay and story we read, noticing the organization of the writer's mind - that a finished product does show us something about the person who wrote it, there's nothing like a rough draft (hint: often emails are rough drafts) to show us what is really going on, if we know what to look for.

In Listening In, I note that we can listen/read for shifts such as:
-Change in tense (piece was in past tense, now is in present tense)
-Change in Point of View (you told the piece in second person, now he is telling it in third person)
-Change in tone of voice/in voice (at first it is very instructional, then suddenly I am confessing things)
-Change in form (from poetry to prose, from journal to essay, etc)
-Sudden resistance (this sucks, I don't know why I am writing this, I am bored)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Writing On The Surface of a Lake

Never to be wrong
Never to make promises that break
It's like singing in the wind
Or writing on the surface of a lake
And I wriggle like a fish caught on dry land
And I struggle to avoid any help at hand

-Sting, "Still My Beating Heart"

We finalized our plans to go to Europe today. Four days with my godparents June and Bruce south of London, four days with friends in Rotterdam, four days teaching Miksang in London. A day each way of travel. That's a fortnight, as June says, and it "goes quickly." The disappointment in her voice, to only have us a third of the trip (and the evenings of teaching) was slight - she's British and pragmatic. I realize I have put off calling her because *I* am disappointed. I wish we could go longer, and yet, I don't want to be away from home longer. I consoled her (I told myself, but I was consoling myself) that this is only the beginning - I will be back to teach, this is just the start of programming for London and they will bring me back.

Only she and her husband, Bruce, are in their 80's.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Innocent Misunderstandings

Marriage, plus two thought-provoking blog posts thoroughly unrelated to each other, have me thinking about what it means to mis/understand, especially: When is it innocent?

A couple of nights ago, I started what seemed to me to be an innocent and quick discussion.

"We need to get this Air Conditioning thing figured out," I said. What did I mean by that? At first I truly thought I meant "we," but later, Dylan pointed out that I actually meant "you." So the innocent misunderstanding (or not so innocent?) started within myself, as some kind of crossed wires or self-deception.

Of course, I don't have to tell anyone who's been in a long-term relationship what happens next. All kinds of underlying goop, crap that's been free-floating, and our relationship is (luckily) free of a lot of this kind of stuff. 

Saturday, July 02, 2011

All The Ways We Apologize

“I’m sorry.” My mother warned me when I was little to never say this more than was necessary. “If you say it when you don’t really mean it, you won’t mean it when you really do.” In particular, she was vigilant about warding off apologies for non-apology situations – saying “I’m sorry” when you bump into someone in the store (“Say Excuse Me,” she corrected), saying “I’m sorry” when you are actually being sarcastic (put a peri-menopausal mother and a lone teen daughter together in a house and you get that one a lot) and “I’m sorry” when you are trying to be sympathetic (“I’m sorry is for when you are taking responsibility,” she would intone, “not empathizing”).