Feel Better, Lizzy


Lizzy wasn’t feeling well this weekend, so Janey sat on her to comfort her. Or something like that — Janey sits on Lizzy a lot, and Lizzy mainly rolls with it. Janey is a pistol. (Janey also has a new harness — the yellow one made her look like a crossing guard.)


Body and Mind

I have a personal trainer, someone who helps me grow stronger and more fit, who shows me things I might not have figured out (and pushes me harder than I might, otherwise). A few months ago, I did something that demonstrated my kinesthetic sense, my awareness of my body in space. On the basis of that moment, she said something to the effect that I must have been a good athlete when I was younger. I said no, I couldn’t have been further from that, that I have no athletic ability whatsoever.

That was the end of the conversation and I’d completely forgotten it until yesterday. Yesterday, when I caught a glimpse of myself in a mirror in a pose that rang a bell for me. I looked like an athlete, like a coach, in my polo shirt and jeans. The image stuck with me, because of what seemed to be me to be contrast between it and what I know of myself. I’m not an athlete, I’m too clumsy, I live too far inside my head.

Then, tonight, I started to regret not being athletic when I was younger. I started to regret believing the story of my lack of skill. Of course I lacked skill — I didn’t work at it. What if I had worked at it when I was younger? What if I hadn’t had this idea of myself as physically hopeless?

Before I could go too far down the path of ‘what if?’, I remembered how, when I started therapy, I had no idea how all my horror stories felt. I was cut off from my own emotions and had been for years.

For me, emotion lives in the body; if you ask me how I feel, I will tell you where I feel it. Those two pieces of knowledge came together tonight. If I was cut off from my own emotions, I was cut off from awareness of my own body. It was what I wanted — I know that without question. So there was no way I was going to let myself become aware of my own body, which is what I would have needed to do to develop whatever athletic abilities I might have had.

This brings home to me that it’s a system, my mind and body, completelly intertwined, the experiences of one affecting the other. The things I think and feel in my mind are expressed in my body — how much stress-related illness have I suffered over the years? The things I do with my body impact my thoughts and feelings — how much calmer and relaxed have I felt after a good workout?

In considering what to do with knowledge, the only thing I can think of is to circle back to that idea of myself as unathletic. Maybe I need to start seeing myself in a different light, to allow myself to imagine I might have been good if I’d had the safety to explore that side of things, if I hadn’t  had to shut off my emotions to survive. (Which sounds excessively dramatic, but isn’t.)

Because this is something else I know: It’s never too late. It’s never too late, as someone once said, to become what you might have been.

Pups at One Year Old


Berkeley (l.) and Clio (r), a day or two before their first birthday. Happy birthday, puppies!

Among the Missing

I haven’t been around (except the occasional tweet) because of:

  • Scribbling: not a lot of words generated, but they’re being generated steadily;
  • Being at the Moody Muses. I post every Wednesday. Come visit all of us;
  • Interesting times in my personal life. Nothing I particularly want to talk about and it’s not a catastrophe or anything, but it is a time and energy drain, so less time and energy to talk.

Good books in the last week or so: A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book (I still haven’t figured out what I think of it); and Anna Katherine’s Salt and Silver, where any number of tricky technical issues — world-building, knowing where the story really begins, tone, etc. — were all beautifully handled.

I’m not sure what I’m reading right now. That personal issue makes me prone to grazing. Ah, well…

Random Book List

I thought it might be cool, every now and again, to post a list taken from my book inventory. I went to Random.org, a random integer generator, and generated two sets of random numbers. One was the number of books I was going list, something between 1 and 20; the other was a list corresponding with the line number in my book inventory spreadsheet. Today, I’m posting 7 books.

  • Way Out West by Blanche Marriott (Not yet read)
  • To Wed a Stranger by Edith Layton (one of my keepers; her death still makes me sad).
  • Blame It On Cupid by Jennifer Greene (Not yet read)
  • Quotidian Mysteries by Kathleen Norris (I love Kathleen Norris)
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein (a classic)
  • The Superior Person’s Second Book of Words by Peter  Bowler (Not yet read)
  • The Age of Voltaire by Will and Ariel Durant (I haven’t read everything, just dipped in from time to time)

Out of 1,293 books in my inventory, 533 are unread. It’s almost certainly a matter of time, mood and memory, as in remembering I have a given book, not aligning. I wonder how many of them I’ll read this year.

Hmmm… Maybe I should throw down the gauntlet to myself, and commit to reading at least 25 of my unread books in 2010.

Bleary Vision

Do I hate being sick because it happens so rarely? Or would I hate it more because it happened all the time?

I’m not entirely sure what’s going on here, but I’m tired, so tired I napped today for four hours. Happily, I’m feeling well enough to be frustrated that I don’t have the energy or focus to write. A rewrite of a scene is forming in my mind and I really want to get started on it, but my little noodle is too scattered for it. Hopefully, after a good night’s sleep, I’ll feel better and I’ll be able to get back to scribbling.


While returning from DC, I read Meredith Duran’s new book, Bound By Your Touch. It’s fabulous: well-written and emotionally intelligent, one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I also think that if you define literary fiction the way Nathan Bransford does, it could be considered literary fiction.

I am very much looking forward to her July 28 release, Written On Your Skin. (And can I say how jazzed I am that I only have to wait a week?)


Sometimes when I go to National, the conference seems to have a single message for me. Everything significant that happens is about that message. It doesn’t (and didn’t) feel as if there were a lot of significant events to me, but I still think this conference had a message for me: “You’re a fabulous writer. Trust that and trust your instincts.” The part about being a fabulous writer is something that people — other writers I admire, in fact — out-and-out said. If that’s not a message from the universe, I don’t know what is.

So that’s my mantra for the next year.


Nothing much to say: the little noodle is pounding, has been pounding most of the day. I’m blaming sunshine: after so much gloom, my system can’t handle it.

Scary Times

Scary times: I’ve started writing a scene that changes everything, pulling the rug out from under two of my characters. There’s a lot that’s scary about writing this particular scene, starting with the fundamental fear that I don’t have the ability or imagination to give the scene everything it deserves.


Guilty Pleasure: The Tudors

One night a few weeks ago, out of boredom or restlessness or curiosity — or some combination of the three — I decided to check out an episode of Showtime’s The Tudors that happened to be playing at that moment, and that was all it took to get me semi-hooked. Since then, I’ve watched the rest of the third season, which just finished with the death of Thomas Cromwell, and I’ve reserved the DVDs of the first season at the library.

The thing that surprises me about this is that the series shares flaws with Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth, a movie I loathed. The costumes are historically incorrect (and sometimes just bizarre) and historical events are fudged (though, from the little I’ve seen, not quite as badly as events were fudged in Elizabeth). I’m not sure why I don’t mind this as much in The Tudors. It might be that I’m less emotionally invested in Henry VIII’s story than I am in Elizabeth I’s. It might be that before I watched any of The Tudors, I knew about the costumes, the history, and Jonathan Rhys Meyer’s over-the-top portrayal of Henry. I approached the series with my expectations in line with the reality, so I wasn’t disappointed.

All that being said, I think Rhys Meyer’s performance, as mannered as it is, is one of the strengths of the series. There’s something reptilian about it, which gives his Henry genuine menace, something I don’t remember from other portrayals. This is a guy who’s pretty much capable of anything, for any reason, at any moment. And, while the series isn’t showing Henry becoming the bloated, physical wreck of his later years, there is a sense of physical and emotional deterioration. I’m also getting an emotional sense of the jockeying for position that went on at Henry’s court, the casual treachery, the corruption as people compromised themselves in the pursuit of royal favor.

In a nutshell, while I roll my eyes at some of the sillier things, there’s a resonance here that works for me, one I can’t entirely define, one I don’t entirely understand. The closest I can come is to say is that if I were to dream Henry VIII’s reign, this is what that dream might look like. Mind you, this isn’t great TV. I’m not sure it’s even good TV. But there’s something about it that’s shifting what I know and remember about Henry’s reign, as if on some level, I’m thinking, “I get it now.”

But I still hate Elizabeth.

Star Trek

My sister G and I went to see the Star Trek reboot (which is an apt description) this afternoon. I watched the original series when it was still being aired — my vague recollection is that my mother joined the letter-writing campaign to save it. (That, or she said she did…and if that’s the case, who knows?) And of course I watched the reruns ad infinitum.

So I went to the movie with a huge reservoir of affection, one that could easily have been drained, leaving me deeply disappointed, and, maybe, with my memory of the series sullied.

Like everyone else I know, I came out of the movie theater happy. One of the things I loved about the movie is that it recognized and honored what I love about the original series: the relationships between the characters. The movie shows the development of those relationships, and that’s, I think, what I loved most about the movie. To some degree, the plot is simply the engine that makes that happen.

I’m thinking about that in relation to my own story.

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