November 19th to 16th

Posted on 19 November 2003


I’m lost in a fog today but I’m liking the feeling. For the first time in ages, I’ve been able to move slowly and savour whatever.

This morning, I returned to an email sent from Bruce Holland Rogers. “I took a break from fiction in 1994 to help a young Bosnian refugee write her war memoir. Despite my agent’s best efforts, we never found a publisher for this book. I couldn’t stand the thought of Jasmina’s story going unread, so I finally published the book myself.”

Holland Rogers sent the introduction and three chapers and I read the first chapter of The River Runs Salt that told of the young woman’s adolescent in a small Bosnian village. It’s quite lovely and as a way of support, I’m going to order the book though I fear, the tales she has yet to tell.

I also finished the fifth chapter of “Pregnant Virgin” and felt I had absorbed little so I went down to the water and read it again. This read sent my head spinning. For instance:

Woodman quotes Jung: “When an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate.”
I know this is true and although I’m not prepared – at the moment anyway – to reveal my fateful situation, I am more than grateful for the experience as disruptive as it was. My world changed.

The chapter is mostly about relationship but here Woodman includes the male as well as the female point of view: “What is crucial to a woman may not seem important to her partner, but if she denies her feminine feeling, both may live to regret her self-betrayal. The same is true for a man. If he habitually ignores his feeling in favor of a rational standpoint, he too is betraying his own soul.”

I just remembered a short story I wrote several years ago. I’ll quote myself:

“Is it a sin to want experience? I feel that I should apologize. Ridiculous. I will not let others dictate what I can or can’t write. I will not let others edit my life. Carolyn Heilbrun says that a woman’s usual fate in literature is marriage or death, the end. I can’t live such fiction. Nor write it. What do I do to my children if I leave them thinking that everything was always rosy in their parents’ marriage? What happens when they discover that their own marriages aren’t fairy tales? Do I really do them a favour keeping my big mouth shut?”

Sometimes I’m smarter than I think.

Now I will continue my musing about relationship in the big house with a broom and mop in hand. If it weren’t for a friend sleeping over tomorrow night, I probably wouldn’t bother. (Is this shallow of me?) But it won’t hurt to feel a little virtuous.
I add this in the spirit of self-indulgence.

I went up to the big house. Mike was playing his guitar and singing. Gill was asleep. I poured myself a glass of wine. I didn’t quite feel like a bath. So I stood and read Marion Woodman. She is speaking (writing) of going to Winnipeg to talk in a hospital. She knows the doctors will be condescending. She tells herself she won’t defend dreams, soul, metaphor, and love. She believes they will think her perhaps a poet and that, to them, is insignificant. No matter.

I come back out to my house and read poetry. This book that Bett gave me appears to be sectioned into themes. The section I’ve arrived at is about darkness, drabness, lack of passion, lying low.

I wish I had more courage to allow myself to be.

I love this poem by David Whyte:


“When your eyes are tired
the world is tired also.

When your vision has gone
no part of the world can find you.

Time to go into the dark
where the night has eyes
to recognize its own.

There you can be sure
you are not beyond love.

The dark will be your womb

The night will give you a horizon
further than you can see.

You must learn one thing.
The world was made to be free in.

Give up all the other worlds
except the one to which you belong.

Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
to learn

anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive

is too small for you.


It’s a miserable day out. I can hear the rain too clearly in my little house. I don’t like it much although I suppose I should, being nature and all that watering of the parched earth.

Some days, I simply feel weary for all kinds of reasons. Today is such a day. I had a meeting in the morning with Walter and Clare, the accountant for store. I’m being ordered to spend more money. Such a pain. I’d say I’m cautious by nature in this department but perhaps I’m wrong. I don’t know how to judge. If I’ve learned anything on this good earth, I’ve learned that people are damn right weird about what they spend (or charge) their hard earned bucks on.

Soon, I plan to run to the big house and climb into a hot bath and then I intend to hibernate – until I finish the next chapter in “The Pregnant Virgin”.

Time has been escaping me. I have to remind myself to breathe.




The day is almost gone. I did wake early and come out to my little house but then I remembered I had to speak to Gill and went inside. When she left for school, Rob woke so I spent a little time with him and then I went to work and did some display for the store event this evening. I left early afternoon and picked up Gill and we went to Costco for water, cheese, and chicken – and all those things that we use in bulk.

But when someone asks me what I do with my time, I shake my head and can’t remember.

I carried Marion Woodman’s “Pregnant Virgin” with me thinking I’d have time for coffee and a read but no luck – I only managed to read a page.

Yesterday Richard drove me to the Dialogue meeting and, like today, it was raining hard – our front hall is leaking badly – and he said that before Leil (his “soul mate”) called and reminded him about the meeting, he intended to stay the day in bed reading. I liked him immediately. I wouldn’t mind a day in bed with a good read. Soon.

I don’t how to explain the “dialoguing” except it’s about trying to catch the thought process. One person speaks. Another comments. But, as one woman commented, it’s not just about “talk” – feeling has to enter into it and be expressed… oh dear, I’m not explaining this very well. The idea is to say what you think and then say what you think about what you thought or said – catching the thought behind the thought.

I like this very much. I can’t remember any time that I was in a group of people – male and female – where every one tried to be so open. A lot of the discussion revolved around those moments during the week that, for some reason or another, a person was not able to speak up and tell how she or he honestly felt; or, if they did, the words, were not received in the vein they were given.

As I write this blog, I’m trying to explain the power of Dialogue but I feel as if I’m doing a shitty job. (I also think I have a foul tongue. But if I cleaned up my language, I wouldn’t be true to myself. I like harsh words.) Furthermore, in order to explain myself better, I’d have to describe the conversation in detail and this I won’t do – it would not be kind? ethical? generous? to tell what any of the others said. It doesn’t matter that it is highly unlikely that anyone who reads this blog would know the people involved.

So now I’m wondering why I’m even trying to explain “dialogue”. Is it interesting to know that there are people who think open conversation is important enough to congregate once a month or more?

After the meeting, when most had left, Rob arrived with another woman – a house guest of Leil – and we sat and ate copious amounts of food – the hostess is not only good-looking and smart, she can cook – and talked some more. (It felt strange having Rob there. Richard said that he was going to observe if I was different with my “husband” present. I forgot to ask him if I was. I don’t think so. Well, maybe I’m quieter. Maybe not. It could be that my energy was waning by the time he arrived – a side affect of rising early.)

I enjoyed myself. Rob said he did too. And he doesn’t lie.

This writer is weary. It’s been a busy week. But next looks like it will be much lighter and I’ll have time to reflect on all that has passed.

Last night I went to a birthday party – a surprise (which is why I didn’t mention it in my blog yesterday) for my sister Donna’s 50th birthday at my baby sister Bev’s house. I cooked a roasted vegetable dish (although Bev and I laughed and said that we should really leave the vegies raw as an ode to Donna’s contribution to our Thanksgiving feast) and Bev roasted lamb.

Bev and Bill had just been on a whirlwind visit to Ontario for a medical convention and taped my mama and sister, Gael, sending their best wishes to Donna.

Donna doesn’t mind turning fifty. After a long, difficult time with her husband and then the misery of breaking up a long relationship, she is enjoying herself. She has a new love with whom she has just spent three weeks in Maui. She is radiant.

The strangest part of last night was seeing Bev and Gill together. They look alike and have similar personalities. But thank goodness, unlike Gill, Bev is gloriously pregnant. The baby is due to appear around my mother’s arrival date of December 9th. He or she will be my parents fourteenth grandchild.

This morning, I baked a cake but alas there weren’t fresh berries to be found and I had to resort to frozen ones. And now I will shower for my Dialogue group.


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