Told my coworker that if a book on what you can find under a rock isn’t in the cards then I will have to resort to writing a sentimentally-charged book about my dogs. I tried to draw a picture of the beautiful Shiny. The paper shredded under hard graphite, a media mistake. I couldn’t draw her black, black fur. The paper caught on the pencil and pulled everything I drew – strange magnetism – off of the page. The posture is correct. This is how she first said hello. Head down, hindquarters quivering, trying not to look at me dead-on. She walked with a limp, had a wound on her nose, ticks in her ears. And I loved her, and she loved me.
We get what we need in strange ways sometimes.
I found her at a home for children in state-custody. Volunteering with an angry sixteen year old placed out of county. I drove over the mountain fast, fast, fast. Wanted to someday climb the rock face that I saw at the distant edge of the strange flat field land. Loved the blue of Lake James and the crooked crosses that jutted from the hillside.
there is no true altruism. You will get what you deserve. I got a dog. I named her Shiny. She is true love in all its strength and hesitance and strange deep depths.

Tried to draw ferociously today. It was an effort, I admit. It seems that I’ve opened a door of sorts. A stumbled into a room full of good ideas and the energy to initiate their fruition. Of the course, the energy to complete the fruition process has yet to be secured. We are making negotiations.
If I promise to do it and to do it well, may I please have the bravery to do it?

I’m not exactly sure what “it” is. Something bigger than drawing everyday. The problem – and this just occurred to me – is that I am merely scratching the surface of all these facets I’ve stumbled upon. Why isn’t drawing everyday big enough anymore? It seemed so huge a couple of months ago. As soon as it becomes status quo, I’m compelled to make it bigger and more complicated. This is, I think, one of humanities great flaws. We get bored too quickly.

I pride myself on not ever being bored. Restless, maybe. But, never bored. I remember “bored” from my adolescence. It is a horrible feeling, the inability to successfully engage in anything at all. I don’t really feel that way. I do like to upset the status quo however. I always seem to be upping the ante for myself. If I am successful in finding the energy for one thing, then I immediately assume that there is more energy where that came from and I launch into another escapade. It seems logical to me that energy must be finite and I am not entirely sure when mine will expire and what exactly will happen when I only want to take naps and eat noodles and watch movies.
The house will be cleaner. I have been negligent about laundry, baseboards, and porches. We are having our Spooky Dream Halloween Party (please let me have the energy, please let me have the energy) next Saturday. Our house will be open. It will need to be clean and amazing. This house is like a fairy tale. On days when the sun shines clear onto the floor, warming the bellies of cats, it seems like almost any old story could come true. On rainy days at the end of busy weeks, the house seems dull and cluttered at the end of a day. The windows look smudgy. The porch muddy. The cats whine for lack of anything better to do. Then it seems as if the only true story is the one about the eccentric mother of two who forgets that she has that tattoo and smiles like a mother but somehow is other and really she is simply outnumbered. So she stares into space, and tries to find beauty again.

What was my point? Oh yeah, if I stopped having energy, I would have more time to clean the house. I think there is creative value in a clean home. Maybe I’ll go clean now. I cannot believe that I have somehow integrated creativity into cleaning. My uninspired friends are beginning to hate me. They liked me better when I was chronically depressed.

If this drawing makes you think I miss something, let me assure you, I don’t.

It is true the…hmm, took a break. Forgot what I was so certain is true. It is nearing midnite. It is cold outside. My head is literally wobbling. I may be asleep.
(I remember what is true. The boat was lifted to the roof by me alone. I don’t really know how. My only witness is a seven-year old with inconsistent communication skills. So much for my sainthood.)

(seven hours later)
It’s another damp day. Cold, too. I worked on the chicken castle until after dark last night. Blindly fitting driver to screw. I arranged cedar shakes in such a way that tension, not nails, held the curve. I early in the construction process I realized that it was highly unlikely that my structure would be true to angle. So, I let it twist. The boat on top is riding a wooden segment of wave. Southeast at it’s stern. Bow umcertainly north. Perhaps it is making a wide loop. Perhaps it is going to Nova Scotia. It feels like Nova Scotia here today. Summer of 1999. Took a bus to NYC, then Boston, Bangor, Bar Harbor. The ferry crossed the Bay of Fundy. Hit a whale in the night-dark water. Bus to Halifax. Weathered-wood houses on the edge of the water. Small, vulnerable, stubborn. They were everything I was.

The boy says the shakes make the castle look like a shack. I guess we different ideas of what a castle should look like. I think it’s truly royal; I think it’s royally true.


I am building it with my own hands. My children hammered nails. My mother held the frame in place while I fastened it all together.

I cannot deny, it’s a beautiful thing.

I looked out the window and the rain made me sleepy. I sat on the front steps, sour coffee and hand-rolled smoke, and now I feel awake.

A prescription filled, a formula unveiled.
I want to walk in the woods today. To listen to the heavy sky tap, tap, tap on the leaf-laden ground.

Work comes first, however. By calendar, not heart. On the upside, I get to make liquid nitrogen ice cream for museum guests today. The children will come with me for a while. They’ll miss the ice cream part, because they can’t stand to share their mom with strangers. I will show them what happens if you pour a tiny bit of N2 on the floor. It jumps and disappears in an auditory puff, a disappearing mist. Magic.
Like I said, I love my job. A blessing to have income earned for work that you would gladly do for free. But, today the one place I want to be is out.

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