Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Today I was running the book fair, which is me standing in front of kids emptying out bags of change and in back of them is screaming and throng.

I squeeze farther and farther inside myself during emergencies like these. Especially after teaching all day.

I do it for the books, man. Kids get to get books. This is my purpose.

After an hour the volcano of children erode away, and I leave the library shaky, from the loud.

Bess, who is 9, and her friend Luke, who is 10, are tripping along behind me. Chattering.

"Wanna pretend to be dogs when we get home?" She says.

"Yeah!" He says.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Thar She Blows

Momish the novel sent to agent. Hope some publisher will like it. When my subbing is less, I will get back to Echo Arizona and my Carrie Fisher story.

Writing and children and horses and raising my own kids. And there's a leaky pipe outside. And wind, like letting us know that we don't know anything. Thar she blows.

And I didn't have to make my own dinner. Huge. And I hope my sore throat will go away.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sub Em and Leave Em

So when you're subbing, there's a point when all the tension of wrangling and directing 19 kids for unrelenting pressure packed minutes in a row that string into hours - there's a point when all the tension swells into a bubble in your throat.

The, well let's just call it the Tension Cancer, which is what no doubt it is practicing to become, the swallowed rage, the outrage turned inrage, so as not to harm anyone except of course me -- this TC becomes leaden when the teacher you're subbing for decides to go on a pot vacation or whatever she did that is keeping her out for three weeks on end, and then suddenly there is rumor that maybe this will become my class until the end of the year.

Then the fun Me that is where I function best, becomes the OH SHIT me because now these kids have to actually learn something. You know, to get to the next grade. So then I start staying late, and waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about possessive pronouns, and planning perimeter art. I once just took airplanes around the country following various boyfriends, I was whim girl, and now I am throat cancer responsibility mother.

Both good things to be. I'm not sure they would be friends, and yet, here I am, both. Layer cake.

The SUPER good news is the teacher is coming back next week, and all the tension popped for the most part so I'm not TOTALLY responsible for 19 people's 3rd grade experience. I fling that burden aside, gratefully. And I like my fake class. I am pretty proud of all my people. They're funny, and being a mom prepares you for assholes. So I can take that part in stride. And even the assholes are still only eight years old. They come around. Stickers can transform pretty much anyone.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Growing, Training and Feeding

It feels like life crams around you and there's so many decisions to make every day, boring things like house fixing, yard, work, and all these people who need a little bit of tending, and words that need to be made into other longer things, like books that only I can write apparently, and if I'm into writing then the kids look far away to me, and the tv is on more but sometimes I have to write while I'm here, even if being with the kids is really the only part I will miss, ten years from now.

So the only way to make sense of the day is to eat Nutella off the knife and go gather the eggs and be swarmed by the chickens, very popular until I throw out seeds for them and then suddenly not popular, and holding the warm egg and feeling rich because here is a free egg that our chickens made for us in exchange for swarming me every time I go out the door. The chickens are a tiny-eyed gang, unarmed, who know how to enjoy a good basking dirt bath in the sun. And no leftover is too leftover for them. Easily satisfied.

The dog is always padding along right after me. When I feed the horses in the morning, she comes out and sits down directly in their hay that I throw out. She eats a few pieces, but mostly she just sits there surveying while I clean up the poop, and greet the horses, and check on the general barn situation. Travis the sheep always jumps into the barn to see what fresh hay he can sneak, and I always have to grab thick wool and shove his bargeness out the door. He is a huge wool suitcase. His first shearing soon, that should be interesting.

I learned how to trim horse feet, so I'm slowly practicing that on my two renegades, and aside from making Dewey limp for two weeks the first time, I think someday I'll be okay at it.

I think writing is good, it is satisfying and confusing, but having a farm in the city is keeping me connected to the earth, warming my feet by the growing, training and feeding of things. Maybe it's an offshoot of the children, and being so glad I can still guide them as they grow, so I'm all greased up in the growing, training and feeding - I had to expand into the backyard and the barn. Might as well use that talent and see where it leads. Maybe it only really leads to just a balanced heart, but isn't that the most important thing.

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Someday That Ship Will Sail

On the eve of going to the snow, there is a dog snoring at my feet, and trickling rain at the window. There are fat horses standing quietly out in the mud, chickens asleep on their perches in the chicken house, bunnies nestled in hutches. There are cousins laughing in the living room, long lanky teenagers with fresh hearts and strong opinions. In some ways they're more open than all of us, because their lives are stringbeans still stretching on the vine. Plump and green and alive. They are noisy, but I like them.

Tomorrow I will go with my son driving us all up the windy way to the snow where I will be a family prisoner for four days. I will stay in my pajamas and occasionally be outside covered in snow and ski pants. I will allow the children to disarm my tired and tiny heart. I will laugh and watch a fire. I will let some of it be fun, instead of blocking out all joy because joy takes too much tending. Joy means being open, and shredded. Enjoying peace. Allowing chaos.

I will miss the hundred year old man that I am liking taking care of. I like the routine where I know what I'm doing, where my skills at nurturing are put to good use, where I can simply clean up and dress someone and get their breakfast, just like I used to when the kids were babies. It's comforting to be a comfort.

My favorite writer died a week ago, and when I would clean up the horses everyday, feet stuck in mud, I felt like the earth hated me and words would leave me. She was so funny, how could I live in a world without words churned through her mind and released into the wild of me. Writing is so personal. Then I thought how it doesn't matter if you ever meet the writers whose soundtrack run through your head. You mourn them because when they share their words, they become your words, and part of you. Their words are a comfort to your humanity. Surviving the human earth.

On the way back from Costco in the dark, on this ugly weird section of road, there are these four massive striped steam pipes that rise majestically up from the ground in the distance. Every time we pass I say, "Yep. Someday that ship is gonna sail. And I'm gonna be on it." My teenager says MOM. That's a FACTORY. But I look at those Queen Mary/Titanic steam pipes, in the middle of the desert. "Someday," I say.

My son laughs and says that now his friend says this every time he passes it too. Ever since he heard me in the car. There'll be two of us on board the ship, so far. Someone was listening. There is comfort in words.

This year, I decided. It's time to get my words to other people. Widen my ring, fill up my phantom ship. The hundred year old man will turn a hundred and one, and will someday turn into a cloud, he's already changing into that right now. I can comfort more than one. Even if it feels like I have lost my way. Without my favorite writer, I better be my favorite writer.