Tiny Stories, Tiny Tales

The truth is, I feel a little bored today. The “Julie and Julia” book is rather boring. I suppose I’m just not there yet. She's funny but I'm not connecting. She’s lovable and goofy but I’m just not interested. I like Catherine Newman so much better- and Anne Lamott and Carolyn See. But this woman, Julie Powell just doesn’t grab me.

So I’m trying to think of what and who does grab me. I suppose who I love, really, are the poets who also write prose. It seems all the fiction writers and memoir writers that fascinate me the most are also poets. I wish I wrote more poetry. I think I just feel daunted. I did write it in college and I know how to do it but when I sit down to do it, I just feel out of steam. I feel all used up. All my vague ideas rollicking around in my head are all used. They’re not, of course but it seems like that. After I stopped writing poetry for a small creative writing class, a huge block moved into place.
So’s I have a plan. It’s been a back burner for awhile but I think I might pull it out. One of my most puzzling interesting authors is Frances Mayes. Not only is she a writer but also a poet and she did write a book on poetry. And I do have it. I need to pull it out and start reading it. It’s a good heavy solid book and I just need to spend time with it. I also want to spend time with Ted Kooser’s book on making poetry (which I also have), I just need to find it in my car. Ted is such an enjoyable writer that I tend to cruise over his mechanics of poetry just to read about his life stories. If you haven’t read his “Local Wonders: Seasons in the Bohemian Alps” you should because it’s a very precious little jewel. I need to re-read that too. It's funny, smart and everything is cut up into little fragments- just what I like. Complete thoughts and scenarios in about a thousand words or less.

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Life Lessons from a Cardinal

Outdoor living is coming in fits and starts now that it’s June. Last week it was in the 90’s (30C) and today it is gentle and cool with thunderstorms passing by north and south, bringing coolness in the wake of their stormy skirts. The sun shines but the thunder rumbles nearby and my cats retreat farther indoors to snooze on chairs instead of near windows.

It is tempting to join them. The heat break means that deep good sleep is possible again. Even with air conditioning, I sleep poorly when it’s hot. I sleep best when it rains.

And it has been raining at night but in great torrid thunderstorms where the house shakes and the windows rattle. Sometimes I lie in bed as the thunderstorms march by and wonder at the fate of all the creatures and people living outside.

It is summer and I have no arguments with it. It’s too hard to argue with the seasons. On the beautiful days, I sip my breakfast tea outdoors and watch the birds and squirrels to start my day. There’s always a drama playing out in the backyard. My favorite is the cardinal who walks along the deck rail, casting his bright black eye here and there and then breaks into song until a robin kicks him out. When the coast is clear, he returns and does the same thing all over again. Despite my nearness, he doesn’t mind me at all and I adore his bright red plumage and courageous laughing heart. His song cheers my soul and I’ve come to recognize his particular song. It falls under the same lines as all cardinals but it has a bit of improvised trill at the end. I think he’s been hanging out with song sparrows and got Ideas.

He’s a hard individual to photograph (all flash and movement) but I’ve shared a photo of a cardinal from National Geographic so you can get the idea. He’s hard to ignore and is a permanent on the robins’ blacklist. I aspire to such a level of happy insouciance.

How to Get Through a Big Book

How to get through a Big Book and have a little fun too.

  1. Make and eat food mentioned in the book (big books always include food, usually in meticulous detail).
  2. Read a little bit each day.
  3. Make a soundtrack.
  4. Dress like a character from the book for a day. Or a week. Or a month if it really grabs you.
  5. Ten minutes to kill? Daydream about the landscape or what the characters are seeing as they move through their day.
  6. Read passages you enjoy out loud. If you’re in the right mood, record yourself reading passages and share it (Instagram is great for this). Include illustrations if you like (thank you, Shirin).
  7. Whip out a highlighter or some sticky tabs for those great parts.
  8. Pace yourself and remember, reading gigantic books isn’t a race. It’s about the journey. Might as well bring along snacks, good drinks, great lighting, and enjoy the ride.