Wednesday, January 24, 2007

RESOLUTION FOUR: making sense of myself on paper

Me and a few of my full journals and notebooks

Self-Portrait in Words

She sits in the seat by the window, impatiently flipping magazine pages--then some poetry books. She looks tired, but a slight smile plays across her face as she watches the sun going down--the dark edge of clouds framing the still blue sky. She looks about thirty-years-old, but forgets this sometimes She wishes she knew what she knows now at twenty-one. Time. Already things are on fast-forward and it blazes by while she jots it all down, saying, "Hold on a sec." Stretch marks on her hipbones will tell you that she's had children--if you took her heart and dissected it, a clean cross-section, you'd see the rings like a tree recording years, for her, noting three births. Three times journeying underground to where the veil between worlds was so thin she left her body--where she caught up with shadows on the other side and brought back life, again and again and again.

The silver band on the third finger of the left hand says married--but no engagement ring, no diamonds sparking at the knuckle. Not a newlywed then, not someone who wants to announce something. Jeans, purple t-shirt, black cardigan three sizes too big on top. Not trying to impress here either...wild earrings though, this, a bit off-center. She lives in a small place, passes time watching the vast sky. A dream arcs through her to live on a plot of land rolling out like an ocean. She thinks of sipping tea and writing it all down on a cold Autumn morning watching the undulating flame of changing trees. But, then she'll catch herself--hands flung forward, almost imperceptibly. You can watch her knock wood and kiss her fingertips--afraid of jinxing it--afraid of what might happen if she doesn't mind the superstitions, just in case.

Today she heard about a colleague suffering from Stage IV brain cancer and she ran her hands over the contours of her skull--dowsing for hidden floods in her own body...thinking of the wilting veins in her sister's brain--and how lightning scorches when it one simply cannot plan for this. In the morning, her son looked surprised and said, "Why do you always say that!" when she warned him not to lose another set of gloves at school (three sets in a week). Her oldest squeezed her hand as she left and said, "Take it easy today," like a grown woman. At lunchtime, her three-year-old said, "I'm never going to be your best friend again," then wailed and clutched the floor when she went into the next room to pick up her empty mug. The woman wishes for silence, and then, when she gets it in the evening, she finds herself writing about the joyful chaotic noise that is her life...and heads quickly home.

Scattered and uncertain--this time the son has lost his shoes. The oldest runs and asks the bus driver to wait. The three-year-old sings the alphabet song and puts her sneakers on the wrong feet. The woman drives her to her brief two hour school day, and heads down to pick up the tea she ordered. An idea for an essay unspirals in her mind and she does a quick mental sketch of the introductory paragraph, the car hurtling forward at 50 miles and hour. On Main Street, she parks, pulls out her current notebook and takes it in to get her tea and to jot it down. A man in full camouflage emerges from the Army Enrollment Office next door, smiles at her and says, "Good morning to you!" and she starts thinking of war and how she feels and loss and freedom and bravery and conflict and it is more than her pre-caffeinated brain can handle--and she forgets absolutely everything, says, "Good morning" remembering to smile.


Anonymous Misty Mawn said...

That was just wonderful to read. It was like sitting in the corner of your mind,listening to your thoughts roll in and out.
I, too long for silence, when it ocmes, I turn on the music...I think sometimes I am afraid of what the silence might say to me.

1:32 PM  
Blogger blackdaisies said...

that was amazing to read : ) and i love your tumbled collection of journels, they look so beautiflly familiar to me ...

2:07 PM  
Blogger Deb R said...

Wow, what an amazing post! And I really like the photo too.

2:10 PM  
Blogger brittany said...

I love this. That is quite a sight to see a "few" of your filled notebooks. It says a lot without words.

and then the words. well, you know I love your words. I can never get enough. you are brilliantly gifted and I love coming here to peek at that.


4:09 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

beautiful! just breath taking!

5:36 PM  
Blogger [a} said...


"how lightning scorches when it one simply cannot plan for this." :(

There was a quote, by who, I forgot: "Plan as if you are going to live forever. Live as if you are going to die tomorrow."
With death, you can't tell. My friend's mom got cancer recently.

Cancer is scary. Does that sound lame? It's creepy and creeping up everywhere..

7:04 PM  
Anonymous kristen said...

the photo is stunning and the words here, breathtaking. truly. xo, k.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Seeing you with your mountain of journals is like seeing myself at different stages of my life. Reading your words makes me curious about the wonders that must fill those notebooks.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Becoming Amethyst said...

Absolutely my favourite post of yours ever. The 'blog-bar' is certainly being raised this week :-) You have a writing flame that burns inside you so brightly and so WARM, such a deep and innate talent. Don't ever forget this, keep on writing and bearing witness to your life, for yourself and for all of us x x x x x

3:06 AM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

I love this story - so beautiful. And what a collection of journals! Sorry about your colleague with brain cancer. I had a friend die from it in January 2006, leaving behind a daughter less than a year old. Life is so fragile and precarious and the small moments that you so beautifully describe in your day are what make it all worthwhile. xo

10:50 AM  
Blogger rubyslippers said...

i had goosebumps the whole time I read this. thank you for sharing this glimpse into a day in the life...

2:09 PM  
Blogger melba said...

Wonderful to read your words. I feel you in your writing and understand....
and really understanding writing in my head; I do it constantly.
Oh, yes! and losing the gloves and shoes!

and I love the picture of you too!

3:33 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

i honestly don't know what to say.... other than... that was mesmerising x

8:00 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...


I have to take some photos of my old journals. Thanks for the idea :)

10:47 PM  
Blogger gkgirl said...

beautiful, beautiful post.
i love the way this came out.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

When I read you rwords, Delia, I get lost in them. That is as high a compliment I can pay, I think. I could lose hours in your words. The bit about the rings in her heart-- oh! Wonderful stuff.


12:33 AM  
Blogger Toni said...

Oh my gosh. What a wonderful read. I got lost in the words, the little chaotic world these wrods spill on to the page...

(quiet reader)

Big hugs,

4:25 AM  
Anonymous GeL(Emerald Eyes) said...

Pieces of the precious puzzle that is you
cascading like autumn leaves
gently resting on the warm inviting
floor of my mind

3:34 AM  
Blogger Shelley said...

What a beautiful blog this is. Your writing is stunning and immediate.

2:30 PM  

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