Monday, July 18, 2016

How to Cope, Part 2,345,679

What sort of superpower would you have if you could?

I'd like to fly, I think. I'd like to soar. I love the word soar and how it conjures wings wide open, arms, too. Then again, I'd like the ability to go back in time.

Go back in time to fix things you messed up or change the outcome of your life?

Oh, not at all. I have few regrets and none that I'd fix if it made today a different one, at least in my life. I would like to go back to the moment when I learned to read. I'd like to hold onto that feeling and then maybe go back to what it felt like sitting up in the cherry tree in my front yard in New Jersey where I read The Hobbit and the Henry Huggins books, Lois Lenski, A Little Princess, Jane Eyre. I'd like to feel that feeling again -- being immersed literally in a book of fiction.

What are you reading?

God. So many things at once. Dostoevsky Reminiscences by Anna Dostoevsky. Don't roll your eyes. It's good. How could I call his novels my favorites and not have known that he married his stenographer after she transcribed The Gambler as a twenty-year old? Being the perfect wife to one of the great (male) writers was, sadly, something I was rather obsessed with as a young woman. I won't give you more details because like I noted above, I wouldn't change a thing. Also, the very funny Harrison Scott Key's The World's Largest Man. I follow Key on Twitter where he makes me laugh every single day, and so far I'm laughing through his memoir. Oh, and I just downloaded The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone a new book by Olivia Laing, described as "an expertly crafted work of reportage, memoir and biography on the subject of loneliness...." Weird. Lots of non-fiction, which is unusual for me. I'm still reading Lucia Berlin's short stories, though, and every time I start thinking about Drumpf and any of the goings-on in The New White Supremacist Republican Party of Spineless Humans, I pick up Trollope's Can You Forgive Her? and am lulled into a nineteenth century daze. Since the novel is probably tens of thousands of pages (I've downloaded it on my Kindle and am around 13% done), I'm reading it in a sort of bookworm's drinking game to deal with TNWSRPSH (see above to translate acronym). I also love Trollope so it's a win-win for me.

I'm trying to develop a sense of place in my writing.

The windows of lovers.

A broken window looking out onto a Georgian column, a sloped grassy hill only visible if you peel back the pizza box shoved in place of the glass. The smell of piss, the sound of a broom sweeping. Four panes broken by a cross, un-curtained with a view of a pond and scraggly field, over my shoulder if I lie flat on the bed, naked and laughing. A yellowed pull shade, darkened by cigarette smoke, the stark branches of a tree, black in a gray sky, if I lie flat on the black couch, the material slippery against my skin. Bars, a rusted fire escape, visible from the door where I stand, clothed. Blinds, slanted light, the sound they make, the rustle, when a breeze hits them, then me, peace.

What's happening, Reader? How are you coping?


  1. I'm a new follower of yours, and I spent about 2 hours reading back in time here today. I love your writing and your take on life! I'm happy to have found you through Mary Moon's blog!

    Warm, generous hearts like yours are a comfort to me in this terrifying era of Drumpf. It's nice to be reminded how many good and decent people there are among my fellow citizens of the USA. I very nearly despair of us sometimes, so thank you. You are an inspiration. ♡

    1. Thank YOU, Jennifer, for your kind words and for visiting! I hope you'll stick around. Any friend of Mary Moon's is a friend of mine, as they say -- and we have an extraordinary community here in blogland.

  2. Coping for me takes many different forms. Today it involved having to pull over on the side of the road to cry.

    I wouldn't mind flying but I think I would prefer telekinesis. Think of how easy cleaning the house would be. Sure I could use it for the greater good but the housework would be the best.

  3. My superpower would be the ability to say the most compassionate right thing. I so wish I had that.
    I walked 5 miles today and what I thought about was going back. That at those crossroads I might have chosen something different. Said the most compassionate right thing.
    I'm just finishing Krik? Krak! Hoping to read only writers of color for the next while.
    I'm not really coping.

  4. I'm coping much better now that Mrs. Drumpf has plagiarized Mrs. Obama's speech. Perhaps good will prevail after all? The world is so frightening and I'm so disheartened by all the violence, meanness, and racism. My superpower would be to have the energy I used to.

  5. Instead of spending time with TNWSRPSH, I took "The Noise of Time" with me to my cozy bed. I'd rather spend time with Shostakovich than the Drumpfs. Turned out to be a good choice.


  6. Sometimes I cope by texting a friend. That helps a lot.
    Reading? Always.
    Sometimes I think the best thing is to simply give up trying to figure out "why" and just go directly to "do." That's hard for me.
    Good morning, Elizabeth. It is early here. You have many super powers. So many.

  7. I'm not really coping -- just ignoring, at least as much as I can without being too oblivious.

    I just bought "Can You Forgive Her?" from my used-book guy at the train station. It is indeed a HUGE book. I haven't started it yet. I'm reading "Purity" by Jonathan Franzen -- also HUGE.

  8. oh, so many good book suggestions here. I'm currently reading "Show Your Work" by Austin Kleon, and, at the suggestion of my husband's grand daughter, "Divergent." She said, in Powell's Books, "I am SOOOOO into dystopian fiction." 12 years old. I'm coping with friends, with my newly cancer free pup, my family. Good food. All kinds of music. And probably a tad too much wine.

  9. Love that question about superpowers. I found it hard to settle on one but prescience is probably the one I'd enjoy most. I imagine all the mistakes I could avoid knowing what the consequences of my actions will be; and all that relief from regret and misgiving that plague me now.

  10. Never pondered the superpower thought before. Flying? Or invisibility? Or maybe even better, flying while invisible. There is no "coping" right now because I am in my happy place - Northern Michigan. I am sitting on the beach with old friends watching sunset every evening. Last night was game night and the final round of charades required acting out your word while wearing a sheet. My word was placenta. I nailed it. There is no coping here.

    1. Just re-read that - better clarify - sheet was worn over your head and clothing. Could be misconstrued in a scary way!

  11. Time travel would be my choice, though I sometimes wonder if the gift has already been bestowed. Sensory experiences - scent, the feel of sun on skin - transport me. I think my neural pathways have been detoured. I wouldn't change the past for I realized everything has contributed, or conspired, to make me as I am. Spontaneous crying seems unavoidable in these times, we are broken-hearted for so many reasons, and yet...I love you and your beautiful presence on this planet. xo



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