Monday, July 20, 2009

This New Pocket I've Got

When I go out walking, inevitably, I will pick up something I find on the ground - usually a rock or a stick - and hold it in my hand while I walk, and if it is a real find, I will tuck it in my pocket and keep it for later. India is the same way, and I need to get better at checking her pants before I throw things in the wash because there have been messes and loud crashings and bangings in the dryer and one day something will get stuck and I'll be in trouble.

I've been out wandering. Picking things up and shoving them into a pocket. I've been thinking about writer as servant, as independent, as dependent, as private figure, as public figure, as artist, as professional, as watcher, as collector, as distiller. There is a lot of Romantic gobbledygook surrounding the persona of being a writer, and because I own the sort of heart that is susceptible to Romantic gobbledygook, I have had to sludge my way through the bullshit to get to the truth. Of course, I'm not through it all yet, but I'm trying. Forgive my lapses.

All of that is to say that if there are any of you left reading, if you are curious, or bored, or just looking for a link to follow, you can find me here, for now.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Driving With the Window Down

If a song were a meal I would gorge myself on this, so that it would leak out my pores, and my hair and skin and neck would smell of it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ojibwe for Beginners

"Noongom zhebaa,"

This morning I woke to the softness of your voice in my ears
and I lay in that pool of sunlight while you tripped like water over stones and the birds calling out my window.


Last night there were the leaves, finally, unfurled and wet in their newness, shushing together in the dark, in the wind, and I stopped, paused with my hand on the door
and held on the threshold by that warm blooming.


The heat a drug,
and I grew round like the moon, hips soft, curved movings.

"Aandi ezhaayan?"

"Aandi wenjibaayan?"
"Into the day."

Such a slow spring.
And now, eyes closed, such a slow awakening.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Two Months and Counting

So, I know for the most part Canadians and Americans have more similarities than differences, but still, there are all these little things I'm learning as I'm getting ready for this move that keep surprising me. For instance:

Summer holidays. School is already done for lots of American elementary kids? Weird. We don't finish here until the very end of July. July and August are our holiday months.

Hot lunches? American schools seem to all have hot lunches available with french fries as a staple side item. (Are the other kids going to make fun of my baby for having to eat healthy food?)

And, of course, the weather. No snow till Christmas and summers that hit 40C?- which also explains the equally weird air conditioners in every house. That's some crazy.

College football. People actually come out to watch these games in droves. They cheer, they drink, they care who wins. Imagine!

Sororities. They're real. They're not just in the movies. People actually pay a lot of money to join them and they've got these HUGE fancy pants houses all over the place full of overly-tanned girls with pedicures, and on Friday nights they get all dressed up and walk their bodies around.

Undergrads. It seems like if you are an undergrad in the States you're supposed to spend most of your time in university drunk and not making it to class? No one seems to think undergrads think much here. Oh, and, they don't call it university. They call it college.

Got it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Monday, May 18, 2009

Must I Still be Learning?

(click on the video twice to play)

My parents took India camping for the long weekend since I had to work, and she just came home a few hours ago. She was grimy and exhausted and she squeezed me tight around my neck because she had missed me, and, because she was so exhausted, she kept breaking down into fits of weeping and wailing.
"Momma?" (Cry, cry, cry) "Do you love me? I just don't feel like you love me." (Cry, cry, cry) And so I would snuggle her and kiss her and fill her up with love and finish making her dinner /reading her a story/brushing her teeth/getting her to bed.
And repeat.
And repeat.

She is her momma's daughter. Last week was a rough week, and by Thursday I was a weepy roller coaster mess in the parts of my brain that I usually keep to myself. I always get embarrassed when I get like that, but I suppose it's inevitable: bad things will happen. I will get hurt, and then I will get sad. But for this long weekend, I got to talk to my sweet friend in England for a couple of hours and see her lovely pregnant belly. I rocked it out on the karaoke with some friends from church, and I sat on a rock in the sun by the river with my shoes off and burnt my nose.

I told India tonight that it's alright if she feels sad, and that if she needs to hear me say again and again that I love her, that I will - that I will be glad to tell her how special and lovely and beautiful she is to me. So she stopped crying. We snuggled until she fell asleep, and I came up here to say I think I'll hang around here awhile longer.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Lost Stories

Whilst I put on the coffee and work out the "maybe" of that last post in the murky, sore and somewhat bewildered bits of my brain, there are some things I want to say. This is one of them.

India and I read the story of John the Baptist's beheading the other day, and when we were done she said, "Momma, why are all the women in the bible bad?" Now, like I've said before, my baby loves herself some bible. We read it like mad, and we've read through five children's bibles front to back and some more than once, so the kid's getting the whole story. She knows about Ruth and Esther and Naomi and Mary and the other Mary and whatever other secondary ladies might show up to drive tent pegs into sleeping heads or rescue spies on the run, or sleep with their father, (alright, maybe we didn't read that story) and still she asks me why all the women are bad.

This Easter, as I read through the story of Holy Week, the crucifixion and the resurrection my heart sat most with Mary Magdalene - Mary of the seven demons cast out; Mary of one at the foot of the cross. There is that sweet, sweet moment at the empty tomb when this woman, whose heart has been saved by this kind God-also-man, begs for the body of Jesus, and she is weeping as she stands there it says. Either she is weeping so hard that she can not see Jesus before her, or she is blinded by other means, but when Jesus says her name she at once knows that it's him and grabs hold until he says that he needs to leave her.

After, Mary runs to tell the disciples about seeing Jesus, "but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them." And so, the story goes on, and the disciples see Jesus themselves, and believe in the resurrection, and belittle poor Thomas who did not without seeing, but as for Mary - Mary of the cross, and Mary of the resurrection, we hear no more. But I would like to know some things, the kind of things that women talk about while drying dishes or chopping vegetables or folding laundry, mainly, how she survived the losing after his appearing, what it was like to be loved so purely, what her name sounded like in his mouth.

I have, at times, doubted a faith that has kept one half of its believers silent for thousands of years, and I mourn the loss of those stories that would speak to a woman's heart in the way that only those stories could, but what I thought of mostly this Easter was of the eternal patience of a God who allowed, and still allows humanity to find and shape its self. "Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven," speaks to me not so much of our power to affect heaven, but of the shocking reality that God has allowed us to wield any power at all. We bind, we loose, and so we shape our faith and the future of our faith with justice or injustice, sexism or equality, in God's image or in our own, and in so doing we shape forever our ability to see and know and taste the fullness of God.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

What else am I going to do.

Sometimes, a lot of times these past few months, I come here and I write the things I need to say, and then, when I've got it all down just the way I want it to be, I go and hit that little old delete all button.

It's been pretty slim pickin's here. I'm not sure this blog can survive that kind of censorship.
I don't know. Maybe we're done.

Friday, May 8, 2009

It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud at something I'm reading. I'm not proud of the fact, but it's the gospel truth. I'm a hard laugh. So, this morning when I should be in bed after working all night, but am instead reading blogs, I found myself laughing and laughing out loud at the black boot and the "silhouette," and I thought, damn, tell your friends.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Skinning a Cat

I sit in church in my pew in the balcony, and watch as the sunlight bounces like a ball off the passing cars at 299 792 458 meters per second, shoots through the winter trees, through the church window and shines their leafless silhouette across the wall like a black and white filmstrip of naked branches, arms raised, flick, flick, flick, a refrain. A liturgy of trees.

The Glory,
and I am undone.
Breaking. Peeled back.
Lips parted, throat tight, eyes full, mouth empty.

God appears, is merciful, covers his face and only pastes pictures on the wall, and still I do not know if I will survive the show - me and my threadbare skin sack of bones and organs and blood.

I fear violence, disease, my face through a windshield at eighty an hour, a knife in some dark helplessness,
while my body, just stitched to my soul, so loosely looped, fumbles most at the threads
on any given morning in sunlight.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is Good.

That one part, that one right there, made me break out into a big old grin on the way home from work this morning.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I'm getting some really exciting feedback on the sex post idea. Wahoo!!!
So, I'm in no hurry. Let's keep thinking about this for awhile and I'll remind you to send in your thoughts/stories/poems/lyric essays/art/whatever your beautiful brain thinks of, and I'll put it all together into something fantabulous when it feels done. Ya?

Friday, April 17, 2009

I have an idea. It involves you.

Let's talk about sex. Rather, let's write about it.
The thing is this. I think about sex a lot. I don't mean that I think about the act of having sex, though I'm still youngish and there is that too, I mean that I think about sex in the context of how does my sexuality define me, how do I live out my sexuality and, mostly, what happens when my sexuality and faith make out.

Now, sex is tricky to talk about because, obviously, it's intimate, it's full of vulnerability, guarded secrets, desires, naked people. It is sacred and holy and thick in mystery. And for Christians, it also has a history of being chock full of guilt and worry and flaws and stress and failure and loneliness and repression and hurt. And, of course... SIN.

Weird things happen when women hang out together and talk about sex. Really weird things happen when those women are women who are trying to work out where their faith fits into their sexuality. There's lots of laughing and confessing and, "Really!? Every time?!" and, "Oh, I'm so glad to hear that." But there's also a lot of nervousness and quiet and things that can't be said in certain circles. I remember once, a girl I hardly knew confessed to me in a rush of fear that she was the only "impure" person in the small Christian college we went to, even while I knew that couples were sneaking off to sweat and moan together in the library stacks after supper. Now, there have also been the odd times when I've been able to have these same sorts of talks with men, but, uh, mostly they've been with men I've seen naked, or the desire to get naked together creeps in, or the inherent awkwardness of men and women talking about sex while trying not to giggle like twelve year olds and imagine the other person naked comes in and colours it all impossible. But, I don't want a one sided conversation about sex. What good would that do? We need all sorts of voices on this one. Writing helps.

So, here's this idea. I'm sitting on the couch this morning trying to study/pray/read and I keep thinking about sex and all our real thoughts and questions and ideas and secrets about it and how, if we could just get together and talk about sex without freaking out and damning all the "impure" people to hell, then maybe some good things would happen. Maybe we could be honest instead of self-righteous.

If you're up for it, and I know you may not be, write me something about sex. Tell me how you feel about it, or what you grew up thinking about it and how that's changed, or how it blesses you, or curses you, teaches you about love, or takes you from it. Tell me that you think God hates it, adores it, couldn't really care less about it. Tell me a story, your story, anyone's story. I'm not asking to be your confessor, I just want to hear what you've learned, or seen, or thought. That's all. It doesn't have to include, "And God forgave me and now everything is good." It doesn't have to conclude with towing the Christian line. It really doesn't.

Sign your name or don't, use a fake name or the name you wish you had. What do I care? Send me your address with it if you want, and in awhile, let's say some months down the road, I'll gather up the stories and sew them up into a little book and send them to you. It'll be good.

This is my address.

526 Alder Ave
Sherwood Park, Alberta
T8A 1T2

I'll be here until the beginning of August, after which point you can reach me in Iowa and I'll post that address, too, once I know it.

Or you can email it to me. I'm easy. Heh. (
Maybe we'll get two, maybe will get tons. Whatever.

So come on. Get it on. Screw fear. Spread the word. Tell the truth.

This is me saying thank you, and, I love you.