the ‘F’ word


bear with me while i continue my just one paragraph a day challenge (the photo a day is just a cherry on top). and just think, if you can’t stand what i’m writing here, you can always join the challenge yourself and do better. in fact, i daaaaare you.

the other day i wrote: there’s simply so much to say and no way to say it. but now, after a couple days of showing up here and trying to get my writing engine going again, i realize that wasn’t the truth. not even remotely the truth.

here is the truth:

there’s simply so much to say and i’m too afraid to say it.

so there it is. yesterday, a post i started about changes i’ve seen in life turned into a weird review of The Sopranos. yep, i went in to write about life, experience, change and wound up veering off into thinking about all the ways Paulie Gualtieri and Christopher Moltisanti get their hearts broken on that show. don’t worry. i’m not going to go all mob psychoanalytical on you again. i’m onto myself. i know what i’m doing. i can smell the fear. i can taste it.

but the real question is: can i and will i be able to write through the fear? i’ve done it before, and i’m pretty sure our ability to write even when we’re scared doesn’t expire with age. so stay tuned to find out. (or did you already leave to go write something better? um, link please!)



i can’t stop watching The Sopranos. i started taping old episodes right after James Gandolfini died. it’s the season where Tony Soprano almost dies after Uncle Junior shoots him in the gut. funny how a show i watched probably a decade ago feels like a totally different show now. the show didn’t change, but i have (and why does everyone keep calling Nurse Jackie Carmela?).

i’m not even sure why i’m watching it, but i’m getting some odd comfort out of it. there’s so much about the show that’s gut-wrenching and tough to stomach, but Gandolfini did such a fine, fine job at playing that complex character, a man with heart, with soul, with the oddest sense of loyalty, with dreams but who also happens to be a mob boss and vicious killer. but damn those doe eyes of his. i guess there’s something about the heartbreak. the constant, ongoing heartbreak particularly in the male characters whose harebrained ideals and hopes are constantly challenged and snuffed out. because it doesn’t really matter if what’s in the heart makes sense, the breaking always feels just the same. and its chipping away is what makes us who we are.

no way so much

IMG_3851 - Version 2

been fretting all day about doing just one. there’s simply so much to say and no way to say it. or is it the opposite? i’m not sure.

i could talk about my day. how it started with goodbye kisses to my boys followed by my thyroid pill, some coffee, and a half a cold bagel with cream cheese left uneaten on the counter and how it’s now slowly coming to an end now, darkening room, bright computer, my cat purring and pressed against my thigh, my mind on her last days before she succumbs to the kidney disease.

what happened in between was a mish mash of things: work, happy and sad news stories, a lengthy backyard chase between two orange dragonflies, exercise, frustration, boredom, being so-so about a striped shirt i used to love, swimming lessons, overcooked steak, undercooked artichokes, and a sleeping husband on the couch.

but back to the swimming lessons. let’s go over that again. in more detail. how the tiniest girl in a pink swimsuit, criss cross in the back, kept sinking so far below the surface. until i thought sure she was drowning. and then she’d pop back up. this is swimming? i thought. (no, this is a nervous breakdown.) is her teacher even worried? i wondered. and up she popped again. tiny breath (not enough breath!) and down under again.

back in this dark room, right here, right now, the cat is gone now. she doesn’t stay long these days. there is now a six-year-old standing before me. glowing, battery-powered eyeballs atop his head. and we are laughing.


swim collage_bright

this is the first summer i have been able to let them go. oh, they’ve been swimming, in lessons and otherwise, for years, but letting them go has always sent me into an almost anxiety attack. the paranoia started after clyde, then about three and a half,  had “the incident” while i was pregnant with leo. he jumped in the pool right after his older cousin, and i had NO IDEA he would even think to do something like that. always a cautious kid, one we joke could not even open a door until he was at least four years old, it hadn’t even occurred to me to worry about him jumping right in when we headed out back to swim. of course, we were all right there, but it took several long seconds for my brain to register that it was clyde sinking beneath the water. i bloodied both my knees getting down to pull him out.

now they both seem so free in the water. or maybe it’s me who’s finally free. to let them. always cautious but letting them go and learn and be. and it feels so good. like summer should.

dug up this poem i wrote when the boys were small; makes me wistful and weepy for my babies:

Swim Lessons

I use the end of my pen to push
Your brother’s baby hair to the side
In his stroller, he wriggles, turns left,
then right, hates sitting still

So much older now, you are swimming
in a big, big soft blue pool
Long torso, hair covering your brown eyes
That still rise to mine across the water

Bare, wet feet pitter past
Like the moments of your youth
Running away from me
Gone now

Your brother can suddenly
Hold and tip his bottle
“Dada!” he belts and you plunge
once again into the water.

just one

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gonna try christina’s just one paragraph challenge and try cranking out at least one a day for 30 days. you know, get some writing out. (i hope.) of course, i’m skeptical so i’m only telling you, dear blog.

i have so many stories i want to tell, but i don’t know who to trust. let’s face it. out here on the interwebs, there are many audiences you just can’t trust with a story. even a good one. especially a good one. especially a good one that’s only good in your head and could be good on paper with some time and love and revision and patience (and maybe after a standing ovation for effort). but i never even get that far. it’s so hard to put it down. to put yourself out there like that. to put your stories out there. the good ones. the ones that really mean something.

i know they say if your story/troubles/truth touch just one person, then it’s a good story. but i’m always holding out to touch 2 or 3. i want more before i’ve even had one. i want awards and accolades before i’ve even put down one word on paper.

what an a-hole.