titles…titles…ah, yes.

WritingI’ve been writing. Yes, I know, you couldn’t tell it from the empty pages here on WordPress, but I have.

The memoir is nearing completion. Writing sometimes eight hours a day has pretty much used up my quotient of words although I do every morning warm up my mind by writing in my journal with my beloved Sarasa pen, here pictured. I read an article in the New York Times Magazine from a writer who’d discovered the perfect pen for left-handed people, which I am, a Uni-ball Signo, and decided I had to try it, and did, both the medium point and the bold, but the bold too bold and the medium to light and so it was back to Sarasa. That’s how exciting my life is.

The most exciting thing that happened was that I found a machine with a USB port that would read my old letters off the 3 1/2″ disks from my first Windows computer back in the mid-90s and no doubt have meaningful and important information for me to study since I quit saving copies of my letters except in electronic files once I got the computer, letters which I wrote a lot of and which contain essential daily information since my journals seem to consist mostly of dreams and books I was reading. The mid-90s my time of attending St. John’s College graduate program followed by seminary. A four-year period in there where I basically read books and wrote papers.

Writing a memoir is sort of like excavating an archaeology dig, not that I’m a mummy, but rather that tantalizing memory trails lead to realizations I forgot I had learned.

My life is certainly simpler now. Then, I read and wrote and journaled and taught college writing and college public speaking, and served at church, and participated in healing services, and learned healing from the Bishop, and, as an added treat, raised my nine-year-old and then ten-year-old for successive summers. Now I just write. And exercise. And text my grandson who is now a young man in college after spending ten years in the Navy.

The first time he attended a healing service he was nine years old. He told me he saw dragons following me as I lay on hands. He thought that was pretty cool. He also said he could make the stop lights change to green and demonstrated, holding up his hands toward the light ahead until it turned green just as we reached it. That’s the kind of kid he was. Now he’s studying to be a healer, or as the real world calls it, an RN or a PA. He hasn’t decided.

Then, Cliff was my mentor in seminary and taught me to be a priest. Now, he’s my husband and teaches me love. He’s willing to teach extra courses so I can stay home and write. Sometimes I clean house or go shopping. I’m a housewife. But mostly I write.

What a gift.

So while I have not disappeared, I’m perilously thin in my blogging.

But Written on the Reverse: a love story is jest fine. Thanks for asking.


Conversations with Books

SacksOliver Sacks drifted on and off my reading list over the years: a particular topic didn’t call me or I was reading something else or I forgot. Mostly, I forgot.

Along with forgetting, I can’t remember why I particularly searched for him in the library’s catalog and requested this particular book. Maybe the word “vintage” called.

I picked it up from the library the same day he died. Not that I knew he’d died, I learned that the next day after I’d filled three Post-Its in response to something he’d written and had tabs elsewhere to mark passages in my conversation with the book.

This particular book is a compilation from six of his other books and reading the pieces lets me know where to go next with Mr. Sacks.

Physics was the science that fascinated me as soon as I learned about it. Perhaps that fascination grew from my penchant for asking why. Mother said it was the first word I learned. That may be an overstatement but she also said I used it often and that was no overstatement. Why do I have to……..? became a pretty constant litany. But I also asked why the sparks from a sparkler didn’t burn and the sparks from a firecracker did. Mom didn’t know. Why does this egg have that gummy white glob and this one doesn’t? One is fertilized and one isn’t, she’d say. Why does th sometimes sound like thuuuu and sometimes like f or u? She’d point out the letters around the offending th and its location in the word.

Sacks wrote: She never lost her love of, her feelings for, the physical sciences, nor the desire to go beneath the surface of things, to explain.

Sacks mother a physician, mine a reader and a writer. Mother never lost her love of words and read voraciously. In her last years, she missed reading as her macular degeneration progressed. Books on tape readers were rarely satisfactory. One mispronounced word and the recorder went off.

She was born three years before Sacks.

All these things–Sacks wrote of his childhood experiments –the rubbed amber, the magnets, the crystal radio, the clock dials with their tireless coruscations–gave me a sense of invisible rays and forces, a sense that beneath the familiar, visible world of colors and appearances there lay a dark, hidden world of mysterious laws and phenomena.

A sparkler is mysterious.

Coruscate: a verb, 1. To give forth flashes of light; sparkle and glitter: diamonds coruscating in the candlelight; 2. To exhibit sparkling virtuosity.

Sacks writing does that.

It is Dr. Sack’s gift that he has found a way to enlarge our experience and understanding of what the human is–The Wall Street Journal

Dubbed “the poet laureate of medicine” by the New York Times.

The above quotes are from the back cover. I expect that’s the primary and underlying reason I’ve liked reading Sacks. He chooses his words like a poet and he opens my mind and pours new stuff in.

In my third semester, Mathematics and Natural Sciences, at St. John’s College where I studied for a Masters, I read Goethe’s Botanical Writings and Faust. He was a poet and a scientist. The lab experiments in Atomic Theory were the closest I’d come to pure magic; I could do the logical steps successfully, but it was still magic. The Periodic Table fascinated me; keeping it in my head proved fruitless. My tutor, also oddly enough, named Mr. Sacks thought I might like The Periodic Table by Primo Levi. …to see again the earth, air, and water from which I was separated by a gulf that grew larger every day; and to find again my chemical trade in its essential and primordial form…. Readings on Lucretius enchanted me: A half can always be in halves divided/No limit to all this. So how would they differ/The universe from the littlest thing?

In discovering Disturbing the Universe by Freeman Dyson, I discovered a poet who completely turned my head around in thinking about nuclear energy .

Sacks, with his brothers, set off explosions and flashing elements, studied and wondered at the various colors those elements and atoms produced. Primordial fire, the colors from the burning logs at Christmastime, colors rising and falling in the flames–greens, blues, the deep red of coals changing in a moment’s notice to sparkling yellow sparks rising up the chimney.


I have a new word.

Time and Memory Redux

Here’s a piece from one of my journals–journals are primary research materials for this memoir, Written on the Reverse. Word count forbids putting everything in.

The entry is from January, 1995, when I’d left Santa Fe for a week, after two semesters at St. John’s College and abstract philosophical thinking, one might say in reaction to, and drove south to El Paso, Texas, parked the car in a grocery store parking lot, walked across the bridge into Mexico, took a bus south to ocean, and spent five days in Topolobampo, Sinaloa as the ferry came and went to La Paz. The writing is on Time, a topic as relevant today as it was in 1995.

We could title it “Time and Memory.”

f foucalts pen (2)
                                          Foucault Pendulum

A Daemon lives in my soul, crackles and crunches on pieces of time left behind i old books and old journals. Crunching years, voracious, laughing gleefully, he opens his mouth, swallows seconds, minutes, hours. I am not watching, forget to guard, my meandering thoughts wander elsewhere.daemon

He waits, smacks his lips, waits for inattention, for the moments I gaze out the window. He creeps upon my reverie, glomp, snap, crackle, and gone.

Attention or inattention, he dines none the less–dines on great globs of forgetfulness or delicate smidges of used up moments.

Reaching into the white wool snowdrifts of memory, I find no slipper belonging to Mr. Prothero. Ha! laughs the daemon deep within. You thought there be messages worth keeping? You thought in that fresh fallen moment of time, there would be (please one!) worth saving?

There is! There is! I shout back defiant. There are gems, there are moments you don’t have! And I open my hand to display what I’ve found, finding banana peels and old coffee grounds.