Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Earlier, I braved the humid air and sat outside to write my journal pages in the first hours of the morning--my house was full of sleeping babies, the sink full of dirty dishes. A robin sat on a nearby telephone wire in a ribbon of sunlight, phosphorescent...illuminated. He watched me as I sat there and I wondered briefly if he would head home and record his observation of a human female curled around her notebook, busy trying to hold a line, a phrase, a memory before it evaporated yet again. In honor of that random moment and the tag Brittany gave to me to list 8 random things about myself I offer the following:

The Rules
-We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
-Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
-People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
-At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and they should read your blog.

The Facts
1. I am increasingly fascinated with birds. I find myself looking for reference books at the library and scanning the tree boughs and overhead wires for glimpses of their shadowed forms. I notice a fallen feather and wonder about the one who left it there--wonder about how to fly.

2. My obsession with maintaining my morning routine means that I get up very-very-very early during the school year so that my cups of tea and first writing times aren't lost in the routines of getting the children (and myself) ready to head out for the day. Summer has been wonderful--for dozens of reasons, one of which is that they sleep in and I start after the sun is up.

3. I am left-handed and my handwriting is sloppy enough that my students elbow one another and whisper, "What does that say?" to one another when I write on the whiteboard in inspired bursts during my lectures. In my small Catholic elementary school in the sixth grade, the ex-nun (I couldn't make this up) who was my teacher felt that left-handedness made for sinister and messy writing. She insisted that I switch hands...unfortunately for her, my Irish-Italian mother went into that classroom after many, many, many tear-filled nights where I painstakingly struggled to fill my Palmer Method Penmanship book with perfect script and told her that she was ridiculous...that no one could switch from the dominant hand they were born with...and that if she didn't like it, just to give me "D" grades all year long then. (Which the teacher did--writing, this is showing a true improvement--nicely done...then marking it with a giant red-ink "D")

4. I started my first novel when I was in the fourth grade. It was heavily influenced by these books--but I can still remember distinctly the moment when I wrote out a scene of the mother making pancakes at the griddle and the youngest child playing with a sawdust stuffed doll on the wood plank floor. The words glittered and I found it hard to catch my breath. I carried the pages up to Sister Rose (my favorite teacher-nun from Dublin) who promptly declared the writing alive in her thick brogue and made tears fill my eyes. I often wonder now had I not had a teacher who appreciated storytelling like Sister Rose if I would have continued to write as feverishly as I did.

5. I hate the telephone. No...I really, truly do. My family and friends will all tell you how notorious I am for not answering it. Usually, it sits unplugged until M. gets home or I wait until I hear a kindly voice on the answering machine sounding pissed because it is the third time they've called and if I don't answer it this time they are really-truly not going to talk to me ever again before I pick up. It isn't because I don't love the caller dearly, but just because I hate the phone. I cannot explain it. (I don't have a cell phone either!)

6. We like to celebrate the full moon in our house with moon cakes (or sugar cookies--which look like mini-full moons on the plate), moon water, and Luna walks. My oldest child and I started this together when she was just three-years-old. In the summer, it is especially interesting because we can sit and watch the bats with their dizzying acrobatics as they fly over the field feeding on insects.

7. I live in the house I grew up in and sometimes the edges between my childhood memories and the ones I'm creating now blur together. We plan to move next year and it will be the only time in my life (except for college) when I will live in a space not inhabited by my very vivid ghosts and fragments.

8. My summer semester ends today and once my grades are dropped off to the proper respective offices on campus, I am FREE for the rest of the season! I'll celebrate this fact by hitting the pool and lingering there with chlorine-scented hair and the sun, warm and forgiving, against my skin.

Bonus random fact: I hate having anyone feel left out, so I hope anyone else who wants to share in the randomness will--consider yourself tagged!
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