October 2003

Posted on 31 October 2003

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2003

I was so tired last night, I went to bed at nine. Rob arrived home at four in the morning and soon after, I slipped out to my little house. Where to begin?

I decide to read a poem for inspiration. I open Bett’s gift to “Maybe” by Mary Oliver, one of my favourite poets.

“Nobody knows what the soul is.

It comes and goes
like the wind over the water-
sometimes, for days,
you don’t think of it.”

I think of soul, my soul, often these days because, although work has been demanding – with my trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles – I’m trying to create some balance, some time for my thoughts, writing, and friends, amid all the to-dos = responsibilities. The big house (to differentiate it from my house in the garden) is my lowest priority but I must admit that it is becoming unbearable and sorely needs a sweep and mop. “Tomorrow” I keep telling myself.

Whenever I have a moment, I read Woodman’s “Bone” and “Pregnant Virgin” and the literary magazine “A Room of Her Own” (an assignment for my Plum meeting on Saturday.)

On Wednesday evening, Marlene spoke of body awareness – the third chapter of “The Pregnant Virgin.” She said “What is not brought to consciousness comes to us as fate.”* I experienced a moment of panic. I dwell in my head too much and neglect my body, forgetting that both are me and deserving of equal attention, that one nurtures the other. In the past, when I have ignored my body, I have felt its wrath. I don’t want to be specific. Why I wonder do I bare my soul in this damn blog? I want (need?) to speak of what’s important to me and several of my friends/readers have said that what I have written has resonated with them? (* I made a mistake. This is not Marlene’s wisdom but a famous quote from Jung.)

I do not want to be boring? When I asked Rob once why he loved me, he said “you’re not boring.” I thought this a great complement. Does he, I wonder, realize how much energy is required to say what I think, to do what I do?

I read aloud for the first time to this new group of women on Wednesday evening. I followed a woman who sits in a wheelchair, who has MS, who wrote about being abandoned first by her mother, then her body. Doing anything takes so much effort. Some days, she would simply like to lie still but if she does, her body will cooperate even less.

How dare I complain? How dare I abandon or forget the pleasure of movement?

I think in body images most often and fear what I write will shock and repel.

I chose the phrase “The image by which the flesh lives.” And began:

“What image? What do I mean by image? Pictures in the mind. Flesh glorious Tinterello flesh. Lush bellies and breasts. Pink and flushed. Michelangelo has God pointing a finger…this very famous painting exposes flesh, glorious holy flesh. And then there is David, smooth boy flesh, idealized flesh, fleshy fruit. What do I mean by fleshy fruit? Succulent, juicy, dripping from the mouth, dripping from every orifice. The whore comes out of the bedroom. What do I mean by whore? Someone who is paid to spread her legs and receive the penis, any penis. And Woodman says the penis represents creativity in Jungian terms. Is this correct? How could that simple tube of flesh be creative? It has a mind of its own? I would say, in youth, it’s mindless, rises on any occasion.”

Karen sent me pictures via email this morning of the French football team. Nude.

Yolanta told me yesterday that I am very sexy. Women at the workshop in France told me the same. I am astonished, truly. And I find this strange, at this time in my life, that women see this. Do men? I don’t know if men talk to other men about their sexuality. (We also discussed the link between spirit and sexuality at the meeting.) I don’t think so. This, to my mind, is a shame. I learn more about myself through others. And isn’t this what’s important? Consciousness?

I continued to write about flesh images. The way I see my body. Blah. And then move on to “a woman who is madly, widely, deeply in love, in lust, and fucks, plays with her flesh, with his flesh, over and over. And the more she does it, the more beautiful she becomes. The flesh is satiated. What do I mean by satiated? Satisfied. Pleased. Happy to be recognized. Happy to be touched and tasted. And this woman, this fleshy moist woman opens, glows, and heads turn. Is this what I want? To be noticed?”

I come to no conclusion.

POSTED BY YY AT 2:50 PM
I’m late. I went to work this morning thinking that I would only be there for a few hours and it turned into a full day. I’m tired and have to think of dinner, and much more. If I don’t get back tonight, I’ll record my news and thoughts tomorrow morning.

POSTED BY YY AT 3:49 AM

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2003

Home again. I have so many thoughts flying about that I don’t know where to alight.

Yesterday was fun and exhausting. I feel like some fast flying fashion matrix. I caught a shuttle to the airport from my hotel in San Francisco, boarded a plane to Los Angeles, and was met at the airport by a driver who stood at the luggage carousel with my name on a sign. “Tom” who kept calling me “madam” drove me to the wholesale fashion district, downtown Los Angeles, to the “Clothing Mart”, where I found the URU display room and met Ken, husband of the designer, with whom I had held many conversations and imagined him as short, slightly rotund, balding. He was tall, slim, hair pulled back in a ponytail, and slightly gorgeous, with – as he had promised – a bottle of French champagne. So instead of looking at clothes, we… only kidding. He showed me his wife’s designs for spring which were quite luscious in silks and brocades. The patterned pieces were borrowed from Byzantine mosaics. Every season, Kristine, an artist, the designer, his wife of 25 years, chooses a different artist or period for her colours and patterns. Next summer, Van Gogh will provide the inspiration.

So I went through dozens of garments and chose what I thought would sell – narrowed down colours and fabric choices – and took digital photos. We broke for a delivered lunch of Chinese vegetables and I completed my notes on this line, and hurried down to meet “Tom” who drove me back to the airport where I caught a plane back to San Francisco. Who am I, I thought?

I had three hours in the airport and then caught a plane back to Vancouver where Mike picked me up. I arrived home around 11 p.m.

Yawn. (Not out of boredom but fatigue.)

Rob had arrived home just before me and said that Gill was at the police station. I thought, “Oh no, she’s been caught smoking dope again.” She was reprimanded at a concert recently. (My daughter does not have an addictive personality. She smokes a little grass, drinks a little vodka, for fun, once in a while; and is quite open about it.)

She arrived home soon after, looking like a disheveled beauty queen, very distraught. She had been at the High School Halloween dance with a few friends and some thief or thieves had entered her friend’s car in the grad parking lot and stolen the girls’ personal belongings. Gill’s French nap-sac, make-up, clothes, and cell phone were gone. She was angry and kept saying, “They will mean so little to them and means so much to me.”

I drove her to school this morning and she is going to look around – as are her friends – in hope that the thief dumped their goods somewhere around the school. Gill says that she has never taken anything that doesn’t belong to her and feels personally violated.

Rob says that auto theft is so common in Vancouver now that statistics say that $400 a person is taken every year.

Today, I will try to complete cataloguing the San Francisco and Los Angeles photos, answer my correspondence, and arrange my thoughts for the Jungian group this evening. I was able to finish the reading assignment and again, I found it stimulating and provocative. I am feeling overwhelmed.

POSTED BY YY AT 7:34 PM

MONDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2003

I have been in San Francisco two days and all I’ve done is work. Not quite true. The first evening, Walter, Helen, and I went out to an Indian restaurant but after getting up at 3:30 a.m. we were simply too tired. Walter was in a talkative mood and spoke of his new relationship. It began two weeks after Leslie died and I felt weird. He said he could count on the fingers of two hands, the times Les and he made love from the moment they were married. He would wait for her in bed but she never joined him. Or rarely. He is surprised that they had children.

And I think of Leslie and the stories she told – how she rejected her body, how she was only in love once, how she wanted to be spirit, and how her body eventually rejected her.

I am sitting outside a cafe reading “Bone” and Marion Woodman quotes Susan Sontag:
“Nothing is more punitive than to give a disease a meaning – that meaning being invariably a moralistic one… The disease itself becomes a metaphor.” My poor dead friend. I think of her so often here. And Walter in all his simplicity and gentleness has moved on from the woman who called him her “slave” and loves another who loves him – body and soul.

Why am I thinking these things when I am in hippie city, a creative, and beautifully preserved place? I don’t know. Last night as we sat outside a little cafe, eating Mediterranean food, a young woman sat talking and crying into her cell phone. Her world was falling apart. A tall thin derelict looking black woman came up to our table selling flowers and we thanked her but refused. She passed the weeping woman, stood over her, handed her a rose, and then moved on. Helen ran and thanked her, gave her some money, and this tall, thin, beauty gave Helen two flowers. I put one in my hair.

This is our last market day in S.F. Tomorrow I fly to Los Angeles. I have been working practically non stop. The days have been full of appointments and we are pleased that we found two new lines – artsy skirts that I’ve never seen anywhere – and long coats. There are several other lines – old friends to the store – that have some great looks for spring so we feel that our trip is worthwhile. This is the first time that we have used a digital camera (lent to us by Rob) and I download the pictures in the evening, label them in the morning, and view them on my computer. How I love this technology. Normally we wouldn’t see anything until we are home and the pictures are developed. This time, I am able to return to some reps and ask them questions after viewing what I see on the screen.

I must hurry. I have to meet Helen and Walter at 7:30 a.m. before we return to the Concourse building. San Francisco is experiencing a heat wave. Reminds me of France. And I have brought all the wrong clothes. But after we keep two appointments and try once last time to find a new sweater line, we are taking off to “City Lights” and will wander downtown for the first time.

POSTED BY YY AT 3:59 PM

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2003

Thank heavens for Mike. He remembered the milk last night and I’m able to have coffee at this ungodly hour. I love getting up early but when I absolutely have to, I don’t like it one bit. I’m off to San Francisco. Our first appointment is at 11. I wonder how I’ll ever make it through the day. Will report later.

POSTED BY YY AT 12:52 PM

Today was wild and busy and I’ve had no time to blog. I was at the store just after seven in the morning and then left for the Writer’s Festival where I met my fellow plums – how I love this group of women. (Helen my comrade in fun was there too.) We all laughed and talked and had a great time together.

After, Helen dropped me at store and I’m just home. Rob is on his way from work and then I have to pack and be ready to leave at 4:30 a.m. I feel frantic but nourished.

If I don’t find a computer in San Francisco, I relay my adventures – or those I choose to tell – when I arrive home late on Tuesday evening. Oh dear, it may well be Wednesday morning before I blog again.

I’m out of here.

POSTED BY YY AT 3:48 AM

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2003

“Oh let me not be
mad, not mad, sweet heaven! Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!”

For some reason as I sit down to write, I think of this cry in King Lear.

My mind is churning. I met Maureen at Granville Island this morning and we had such
an intense conversation, I’m still reeling.

I had my manuscript with me and was going to deliver it to the Vancouver’s Writer’s Festival office but when I read it over, I noticed one comma out of place. I brought it home. Tomorrow I will drop it off, I promise myself. I don’t want to care about what happens to it but… I have worked so hard.

I am still thinking of Carolyn Heilbrun. I discovered this morning that she put a plastic bag over her head. Why did she decide to kill herself at that moment in time? I’d like to think her death by her own hand courageous not cowardly. Women live so much for others. Aren’t we allowed to not live for ourselves?

Last night at the Jungian Circle, we listened to a talk by Woodman in which she discusses women’s relationship to her own matter and “mater” or mother. Marlene spoke of her week in Toronto at the Body/Soul Intensive with Woodman (I was going to say the High Priestess. Why? I’m not sure. I have such admiration for this woman) and then moved onto a discussion of “The Pregnant Virgin.” What stands out in my mind is part of the talk dealing with the phrase “Take it like a man” meaning, as I understand it, “do not be emotional, contain yourself, act in sober fashion, hide your rage, your sorrow, your uneasy, muddy feelings. Be sensible, woman.”

As I type this out, I think of a quote by Druisilla Modjeska: “I am filled with pain and pleasure. I am all that… [my father and my husband] hated in me and…[my lover] fears:
emotional, fluid, intemperate, melodramatic, female.”

I think of myself in this way.

Last night I chose to write on several lines from the book that confused me though I had a sense that they had special significance for me.

Woodman writes of a specific woman, “they will not sacrifice the complex and accept the “boredom” of being human… they are forsaking their own souls and their creativity… essentially, they are afraid to take responsibility for their own lives…” (this is what I wrote out in my journal. I do not have the text on hand.)

And so I did a song and dance with my complex, allowing it a voice. I began:

“I have a magnificent complex. What do I mean by complex? A voice inside my head telling me that humility is everything. I’m not allowed to like myself. What sheer and utter rubbish. So my complex gives me an excuse, a reason, not to live my life. This is so complicated this complex – mean and vindictive – and I allow it to pull me apart so I don’t have to make anything of myself. What do I mean by “make anything of myself”? Anything is not a person. I don’t know. I don’t want to be scared, to feel inadequate, to hide. I want to know that I am valuable and not simply give myself away. But there is a contradiction here.
What is that poem by D.H. Lawrence again? The one about the bird giving itself away “in flash and sparkle and gay flicker of joyful life”? The bird that flies to exotic lands? Sometimes I think I am that bird, singing, saying the outrageous, laughing, dancing and feeling so free and light and magnificent.

But this is not allowed… A few weeks ago, Marlene said talk back to your complex. ‘Out damn spot, out I say.’ Stop using quotes my complex shrieks. I can do as I please, I reply. (But he’s got me once again.)”

Oh I do go on and on. A friend (?) once told me that I was an under-achiever and I couldn’t decide whether it was a complement or insult.

Perhaps I am “mad” like Lear.

POSTED BY YY AT 7:57 PM

“Oh let me not be
mad, not mad, sweet heaven! Keep me in temper: I would not be mad!”

For some reason as I sit down to write, I think of this cry in King Lear.

My mind is churning. I met Maureen at Granville Island this morning and we had such
an intense conversation, I’m still reeling.

I had my manuscript with me and was going to deliver it to the Vancouver’s Writer’s Festival office but when I read it over, I noticed one comma out of place. I brought it home. Tomorrow I will drop it off, I promise myself. I don’t want to care about what happens to it but… I have worked so hard.

I am still thinking of Carolyn Heilbrun. I discovered this morning that she put a plastic bag over her head. Why did she decide to kill herself at that moment in time? I’d like to think her death by her own hand courageous not cowardly. Women live so much for others. Aren’t we allowed to not live for ourselves?

Last night at the Jungian Circle, we listened to a talk by Woodman in which she discusses women’s relationship to her own matter and “mater” or mother. Marlene spoke of her week in Toronto at the Body/Soul Intensive with Woodman (I was going to say the High Priestess. Why? I’m not sure. I have such admiration for this woman) and then moved onto a discussion of “The Pregnant Virgin.” What stands out in my mind is part of the talk dealing with the phrase “Take it like a man” meaning, as I understand it, “do not be emotional, contain yourself, act in sober fashion, hide your rage, your sorrow, your uneasy, muddy feelings. Be sensible, woman.” Am I sounding immature?

I’m thinking of a quote by Druisilla Modjeska: “I am filled with pain and pleasure. I am all that… [my father and my husband] hated in me and…[my lover] fears:
emotional, fluid, intemperate, melodramatic, female.”

POSTED BY YY AT 7:57 PM

This traveller has no revelations. I have so much on my mind and yesterday disintegrated. In the a.m., I felt in control. In the afternoon, I lost it.

Today started badly. Rob mentioned that the house still smelt like the party and I snapped at him. “I’ve been home just short of two months and already I’m sick of picking up after people.”

“Get a cleaning lady,” he said.

Lady? How can I justify this expense?

I went out to my little house. When I returned, Rob was gone. Gill was putting dishes into the dishwasher. We discussed how much more work in the house was required now that we are at home. When she left for school, she left me a note: “Fuck kitchens.”

She asked Mike to empty the dishwasher. And he did it!

Why do the stupid things take so much energy?

I worked this morning getting ready for San Francisco.

When I finished, feeling in panic mode, I went down to the water with coffee, and sat reading “Bone.” I read that Marion is in the hospital, has just had her uterus and ovaries removed – “the sacrifice for the feminine” – and is saying a Bahai prayer with her husband, Ross.

A long time ago, when we first moved to Vancouver, I seriously considered becoming a Bahai. I loved the intelligence of this faith. But ultimately I had a problem with believing in God. I told this to an old woman Bahai and she, so beautiful and wise, said “Take your time. If it takes you half as long as it took me, you’ll be fine.”

Marlene told me that it was difficult for Woodman to publish this private journal – edited, of course – and I think how much would be lost if authors like her, had not opened their private worlds to others.

Tonight at Marlene’s, we will be discussing Chapter Two of “The Pregnant Virgin” which deals with woman’s relationship to man, specifically her father. I’ll be walking on tender ground. Marlene doesn’t know that as much as I enjoy her Jungian Circle – her explanations of texts and the voices of other women, I am always fearful. These meetings often stir up emotional issues for me and fool that I am, I write whatever comes into my head and often feel such a child. The fact that we all carry our child within us doesn’t help.

Enough said.

POSTED BY YY AT 12:39 AM

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2003

What to say on a rainy Tuesday? I am still in my pjs out in my garden house. I have spent the morning doing the final edit on my short story and it’s going in the mail before I start fiddling with words and sentences again.

I have called a roofer for an estimate on a new roof (will we ever get ahead?) as a large bowl sits collecting water in the front hall. I washed the sad carpet in the basement and think the party odour is gone. I’ve cleaned the kitchen. I’ve paid bills. I feel in control.

I decided last night to stop reading “Creation”. There’s not enough action or passion for me. Govier describes Audubon, thus far, as a dedicated artist and family man. While he is living aboard ship, he thinks often of a saintly relationship he has with a “spinster”. He desires her but he is a married man. She desires him. They go for walks. That is all they do. I don’t care if they eventually make love or not. The author has not kept my interest.

So I began Marion Woodman’s Bone: Dying into Life and although I’ve only read a few pages, I’m finding it a lot more interesting than “Creation” which is rather strange as I usually prefer fiction as before-bed reading.

POSTED BY YY AT 8:19 PM

MONDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2003

Ah, I have just read Kate’s online journal and she announces that she’s in love (although admits that marriage “sucks” some times.) I asked Rob yesterday, when the house smelt worse than a sewer, if he was still happy to have us home. We have definitely disrupted his tidy routine. He said “yes” and looked at me as if I were nuts.

Am I glad to be home? Yes. But it isn’t easy. There is so much stimulation. I have a backlog of work and books to read. I have writing and research to complete. I am overwhelmed. Still, last night at Cafe de Paris, I felt like Kate – full of that soft sappy sensation – when I looked around the table at my family – Rob, Bren, Mike, and Gill. My children are no longer. They are adults.

The restaurant is under new management, bought by a fellow Rob knows from the film industry and he came to our table – a gentle man – and said that the restaurant was a dream come true. I love hearing that others are living their dreams.

I have been up since 3:30 a.m. in my little house, responding to emails, doing my final edit of “French Letters” and have just sent “Dangerous Liaisons” out into the world again with Kate’s prodding. Will anything happen? I will mail out “French Letters” this morning too – just for luck and to feel excessive.

I have just learned from Vaughan that Carolyn Heilbrun, at 77, committed suicide last Thursday. Her son said that she felt she had completed her journey and wanted to be in control of her destiny. I feel such admiration and loss.

Today, I must go to the store but hopefully not for the whole day. The rain continues.

POSTED BY YY AT 3:35 PM

What to say at this late hour? Rob and I returned from spending the night in Gibson’s with my wild gypsy artist friend and her mountaineer husband – an unusual couple – to find the pleasant thoughts of our time together usurped by the remains of Gill’s dress-up party. Oh dear, what’s a liberal parent to do when the house smells like one would imagine the vomitorium(?) smells in Fellini’s “Satyricon”?

Rob gags. I hold my nose and drag the bathroom carpet outside and soak the downstairs’ wall-to-wall with ammonia.

I ask Rob if he remembers the bathroom scene at a party we went to when we first met where the host was serving dandelion wine. “Yes, but it wasn’t our house.”

“Plato forbids children wine till eighteen years of age, and to get drunk till forty; but, after forty, gives them leave to please themselves, and to mix a little liberally in their feasts the influence of Dionysos… ”

Montaigne is intolerant: “Now, among the rest, drunkenness seems to me to be a gross and brutish vice…. Other vices discompose the understanding: this totally overthrows it and renders the body stupid.”

Gill said the first part of her party was wonderful, just as she imagined it – she had worked all afternoon preparing the food and setting an elegant scene – but then the beer came out and all disintegrated. She spent the last half cleaning up after her friends.

Tonight, all of us, Rob, Bren, Gill, Mike, and me are going to Cafe de Paris to celebrate Rob’s and Gillian’s birthdays – a family tradition – and the first time in several years that we all have been in Vancouver at the same time.
POSTED BY YY AT 1:22 AM
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2003

I’m out in my little house early morning and for the first time in what feels like days, I have time to think.

Yesterday was Gill’s birthday and we spent the evening together. I made dinner with Mike’s help and we all sat eating and watching “Groundhog Day” in front of Rob’s large screen television with surround sound – his birthday gift from his company (a true movie soundman.) Afterwards Gill and I dressed warmly – the rain had finally stopped – and walked down to the beach and drank champagne. Last year at this time, we were living on Bachelors Walk in Northern Ireland. We wondered where we’d be celebrating next year. We both agreed that life had become more hectic since we’ve come home. Gill says no matter how much work she does for school, she never has enough time. I feel the same. I can’t quite catch up on all my responsibilities let alone have long stretches to write. Neither of us can quite figure out what we’re doing wrong, why time is so unkind to us.

I’m still reading Creation and am bored. I might just leave it although I’m not good at deserting a book once I begin. I keep thinking something is going to catch me and I’ll be enjoying myself. I’m a third of the way through and this still hasn’t happened. I loved Govier’s Angel Walk, full of passion and art and wonder how she can write such a dull book.

Shirley sent her editorial comments on my “French Letters” the other day. She liked everything except for one short paragraph and I immediately thought “yes… but what to replace it with that works.” I have worked so long and hard on this story that I want to get it “right” and the deadline is looming. Thank goodness. I’m sick of it. Vaughan has already picked over it – every word, phrase, sentence – and I am so grateful to both. I understand now more than ever, the value of having a back-up team. My story has improved.

So today I will give a little more thought to this, clean the house for Gill’s party, and then Rob and I are escaping to Gibson’s for dinner and a sleep at Maggie’s. I call her my wild gypsy friend. She is a painter, a constructionist, an enthusiast, an amazing chef, a lover of books, and she likes my writing.

Now to work.

POSTED BY YY AT 3:30 PM

October 17th

Happy Birthday dearest Gill. I must have done something right to have been given the gift of you.

I have been running all day – to work, home, and back to work receiving orders and designing a window with luscious velvets and a few feathered masks to commemorate Halloween. After, I picked up Gill from school and headed to Costco for numerous food supplies – some for Gill’s dress-up party tomorrow and much for the home front. Everything there is giant size and surprisingly both Gill and I had fun.

This evening it’s Gill and me. Tomorrow it’s Gill and her friends. I need to catch my breathe after an exhausting day yesterday driving to Seattle to view spring clothes for the store. Buying is a guessing game. I see so much and deciding what fits the store, what people won’t be able to resist, what they’re willing to pay is difficult.

I have fleeting ideas for my writing but they’ll have to wait till tomorrow morning.

POSTED BY YY AT 2:28 AM

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16, 2003

It’s early Thursday morning and I leave for Seattle market in an hour and it’s raining like crazy, pounding on the roof of my little house: it won’t be pleasant driving south over the border which reminds me, I should look out my passport. I feel as if I’m in Northern Ireland driving south to Dublin although there isn’t a border there anymore – only remnants of the guard houses. It seems like ages ago since Gill and I lived in N.I. (Gill borrowed a film on Ireland from the library the other day and the travelog begins in Belfast. Sometimes it feels like a dream – living there – but I haven’t forgotten the rain or Cafedotcom or line-dancing or people.)

Last night I had dinner with Bren in an itsy-bitsy French restaurant in the French Cultural Centre. The meal was delicious, the waiter a comedian, and the conversation flowed though not the wine as I had to drive. A good evening.

Now I must run, iron a blouse, shower, and pack my pens, paper, and copy of Vanity Fair for the drive.

POSTED BY YY AT 1:45 PM

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2003

Yesterday I worked and then met Rob for lunch at a Chinese restaurant “Floata” for dim sum. It felt as if we were on a date and we spoke of going to Viet Nam when Rob finishes Catwoman in March. I wonder if I will spend my fifty-fifth birday there. I want to visit strange and exotic places and I hear that Viet Nam is beautiful, very inspired by the French.

In the evening, Gill and I struggled making low-carb pasta with Rob’s new machine. Our effort was valiant even though the pasta didn’t look and taste quite right. (Oh the things we do for love.)

Today I shall clean – yuch – and work on Gill’s birthday gift for Friday as I have a buying trip to Seattle tomorrow. I shall meet Brendan for dinner. And oh yes, I have my dreaded yearly visit to the doctor. I do this out of a desire to live even though I hate this intrusion into my body with a passion.

POSTED BY YY AT 7:09 PM

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2003

It’s the twentieth anniversary of Rob’s thirty-seventh birthday. Happy Anniversary Rob (who left at 6:45 for a day on “Catwoman” with Halle Berry – not a bad way, some may say, to spend one’s birthday.) I’m going to try to slip onto the set to have lunch with him. I have know this man for over thirty-seven years and still say that he’s the nicest man I’ve ever met. I know we drive each other crazy at times but… Nancy Mairs says it best:
“My favorite private theory is that we’re permanently bonded because we smell right to each other, joined in olfactory wedlock… but people generally look shocked when I mention it, there’s something so primordial about sniffing each other out…”

He’s already opened his presents – a book of picture memories, poetry and two low-carb chocolate bars from Gill, a design portfolio with new letterhead and business card possibilities from Mike (and the promise of delivery of business cards,) and a big coffee cup, a book “1000 Places to Visit Before You Die” that he asked for, and a pasta machine, from me. He opened all with enthusiasm and wants pasta tonight – something he’s been craving so I suppose Gill and I will have an adventure later on today. (Rob loves kitchen machines. I don’t. But hey, it’s his birthday.)

As I have to work today, it may be a challenge fitting all in.

POSTED BY YY AT 5:33 PM

MONDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2003

I’m beginning to feel as if my life is an open book. Exposing myself here earlier this week left me feeling bruised. Or maybe it wasn’t the telling that left me blue… sometimes the me that I like simply gets lost.

I wanted a perfect Thanksgiving feast. I ironed two tablecloths and covered the tables, placed side by side in the dining area. Gill set the tables with candles, red leaves, ivy, napkins shaped like flowers, and tiny pumpkins and orange tulips that Nancy noted represented spring and autumn. All looked lovely and festive.

Rob went for wine, lit the fire, started the music. Bren cleaned the downstairs bathroom so I had time to shower and dress.

I had basted the turkey often and it looked quite handsome when we took it from the oven (and it tasted as good as it looked.) Nancy arrived with two gorgeous looking apple pies. The apples were harvested from her garden. Bev arrived with brussels sprouts and a casserole of mashed turnip and carrot – a tribute to our Irish past.

Although I felt a little foolish, I thought we’d start the meal with a poem – what I choose to worship – rather than grace. Interestingly the next poem in my book was “Last Night, As I Was Sleeping” by Antonio Machado and ends: “Last night, as I slept,/I dreamt–marvellous error!–/that it was God I had/here inside my heart.” So the divine Father was praised at our table afterall.

And all was wonderful. People sat where they wanted and ate and drank and laughed and talked and it appeared that all had a good time. I hope so.

I hope also that no one noticed that I was miserable and no matter how hard I tried to rise above my own smallness of thought, I couldn’t. What happened? Donna and Stirling arrived with a bag of potatoes as we were sitting down to eat. There was no time to cook them and Donna laughed and said “Ah well.” And such a rage struck me. I had a hard time squelching it. And although I was initially angry at Donna for letting me down, it turned around and I was angry at myself for being angry. It wasn’t a big deal. We ate dinner without potatoes. There was plenty of good food. I think I drowned my sorrows with plenty of good red wine and San Pelligrino.

I went to bed early and when I woke everyone was gone. Gill was just finishing off cleaning the kitchen. It was shining. And she said that I told her if you’re going to do a job, do it right. Wow.

Today, I have to prepare a little something for Rob’s birthday tomorrow. It’s the twentieth anniversary of his thirty-seventh.

POSTED BY YY AT 5:37 PM

I just realized that it’s thanksgiving and I haven’t mentioned anything about being thankful.

I am more than grateful for life… and for the people who grace my life. Sometimes I am quite overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel as if my heart were going to burst. (It’s very difficult to express love without sounding maudlin or, heaven forbid, sentimental. But in my private journal, I can do whatever I please.) It’s 3:45 and I’m sitting with only a dressing gown on, hair dripping, and my guests arrive soon.

POSTED BY YY AT 12:36 AM

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 12, 2003

I’m going to write in “dribs and drabs” today as I’m preparing a Thanksgiving feast.

(I just looked up “drabs” and I found:

1. A slattern.
2. A woman prostitute.

To consort with prostitutes: “Even amid his drabbing, he himself retained some virginal airs.” (Stanislaus Joyce).

I don’t understand all that comes out of my mouth. I’ve been up since five editing. And then I ironed cloth napkins and this activity reminded me of a journal entry from the past that I came across the other day – strange.

“I actually like the activity of ironing. Especially the white damask napkins my mother gave me two Christmas’ ago. I feel virtuous when I iron them, taking the wrinkled, sorry-looking squares and making them smooth and beautiful. Oh, if I could only do that with my skin – remove the wrinkles. I don’t really mind getting older. I even like some aspects of aging but the softening flesh sometimes bothers me. I worry about being undesirable and still desiring.

In my journal class, an older woman, a former English teacher, spoke to me about ironing. She hates it with a passion because it reminds her of her mother pressing her father’s great shirts late at night when the younger children were in bed. She began by spraying each shirt with water. If she didn’t get all finished – which she rarely did – she would roll the wet ones and put them in the refrigerator so they wouldn’t mildew. I told her about my mother ironing my father’s underwear.”

There’s lots more. Perhaps I could write a story about ironing although Tillie Olsen has already done this. I also found a poem by Neruda, stuck in my journal:

Ode On Ironing

Poetry is white:
it comes out of the water covered with drops,
it wrinkles and piles up in heaps.
We must spread out the whole skin of this planet,
iron the white of the ocean:
the hands go on moving,
smoothing the sanctified surfaces,
bringing all things to pass.
Hands fashion each day of the world,
fire is wedded to steel,
the linens, the canvas, course cottons, emerge
from the wars of the washerwomen;
a dove is born from the light
and chastity rearises from the foam.
POSTED BY YY AT 6:54 PM
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2003

I’m sitting down at the water editing my short story once more, and it does help to know that this is the most difficult genre to write well. Vaughan has been more than generous with her editing help, dissecting every sentence, questioning punctuation and choice of word. She is thorough. The editing process is an art in itself. Six months ago, I thought my piece word perfect and now see that it was far from it. Will I ever be happy with my writing? Will I ever be happy?

I worked an hour yesterday in the store and a woman came in who I hadn’t seen in a year. I asked her how she was doing. (Her son committed suicide over a year ago.) She asked if I knew that her husband had died. “He couldn’t deal with the death of his son and drank himself to death. He died in June. I’m doing better now.”

I stood there stunned at the horror of it, at her easy manner with such catastrophe. She looked me in the face and said, “I hope I haven’t upset you.”

She was worried about me? When I hear of things like this I wonder how I dare complain about my life. It is so good. I have real friends who love me. I live with a man who likes to wrap his arms around me, who says he loves me because I’m never boring. I have three children who talk to me as if I’m a person. I am my only enemy (that I know of) but, thank goodness, not all the time. I have more than enough in the material sense.

How dare I despair? Is this just a woman thing? No. I have heard Rob despair. I have heard my two sons. I heard my father once. I think it more difficult for a man to expose his vulnerabilities. Marlene said the other night that the masculine principal is “perfection”, the feminine “wholeness”, keeping in mind that we carry both principals (should that be principle?)

My fingers were freezing so I came home to my little shack and turned up the heat. I dug the trench for the electricity. I am tough. Am I too self-absorbed? Is everyone?

Tomorrow I’m having a thanksgiving feast. I’ve ordered a fresh, free-range turkey – an extravagance – but it’s so much better than the frozen variety – and I will stuff it in the morning and boil the cranberries. My sisters are doing the vegetables. Several friends are making the desserts. Gill will set the table, decorate it with fall leaves and fold the napkins in fancy shapes. (I just realized that the women are doing the work. My feminism soul is protesting. And then I remember that Rob will light a fire, play the music, serve the wine, and carve the bird, as he always does and the rest of the men, if I ask, will clean up afterwards. This sounds nearly balanced. Funny how we – and it is more than me – follow the ways of our mothers and fathers, during the holidays especially. I like to think myself original but there is some traditional blood running through my veins. There is comfort in the known.

I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I like everyone who’s coming.

Now I will clean the damn house, pick up the turkey, and later meet Shirley for coffee if she feels like crossing the bridge in this horrible weather.

POSTED BY YY AT 6:42 PM

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2003

Today I am a little lost. I have worked on my “French Letters” all morning and think it’s nearly “as good as it gets.” Note “nearly”.

I have a printer problem. Gill wasn’t feeling well so I picked her up at school. The office floor hasn’t been washed in three weeks.

So I decided to read a poem.

Life
Juan Ramon Jimenez

What I used to regard as a glory shut in my face,
was a door opening
toward this clarity:
Country without a name:

Nothing can destroy it, this road
of doors, opening, one after another,
always toward reality:
Life without calculation!

I do not choose poems in random order from the book Bett gave me. I read them one at a time in the order the editor, Roger Housden, chose to place them.

Seems today that I have little to say. I think I’ll go down to the beach even though it’s cool and decide what to work on next.

POSTED BY YY AT 7:05 PM

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 09, 2003

“Oh dear. Oh dear me” is a refrain Rob’s grandmother used to sing over and over again as she lay in her bed dying. That’s the way I feel this morning. Drained. My good mood has not returned. My body aches. Marlene says that she knows if she’s feeling too good, her shadow is going to appear. Mine appeared last night full force. I cringe when I think of it.

I was at the Jungian meeting and the women, one by one, were reading and when it was my turn, I said: “I’m not going to read. I’ve written a pile of shit.” It’s not what I said that startled me, drove me into despair. It’s the voice I used. So vehement. The room went silent. Marlene said something to the effect that all I had to say was that I wasn’t going to read. No need to elaborate. Oh dear. I felt uglier still. Everyone else was speaking from the heart, using sensitive words, and I felt as if I were Farley Mowat pulling down my pants and shitting on the living room carpet. I felt as if I didn’t belong, as if there wasn’t a place for my fowl tongue. I see that I typed “fowl” not “foul.” A Freudian slip?

When I read over what I wrote last night, it is not “shit” and it is not incoherent. I’m surprised. I spin off from Woodman’s sentences – “Be a virgin. Surrender to the whirlwind and see what happens.” I write about the ancient and modern definiton of the word “virgin”. I speak of bell hooks who says that women are not liberated in the bedroom. I mention Gauguin’s “Noa Noa” and the Tahitian women who enjoyed themselves with men for their own pleasure with no desire for a ring around their finger. I alight on D.H.Lawrence and his snake who came to the water trough to drink and how the man watching the snake felt reverence, awe, respectful, while at the same time feeling a coward for not trying to kill it. And suddenly I am writing about myself:

“So here I am a virgin and a snake trying to be humourous, pushing down my anger. I wouldn’t have thought me angry. More depressed about this damn mouth of mine. And why am I ‘damning’ so much? Can’t let go. Can’t fucking well let go. Oh, what profanities could follow…”

And I move on to other issues and none are horrible and unspeakable so why did I think they were? What voice is my head condemned me, lambasted me for sounding pretentious because I mentioned literature, called me an idiot, a fool, and worse?

Why am I exposing myself here?

I wanted to run from the room of women but I made myself sit and listen to the others who have their own sorrows and pleasures. I was going to leave quickly but Lynn who is in a wheelchair asked if I would take her down to the car park. I did and went up to retrieve my bag and everyone was gone. I could hardly face Marlene. I wanted to run and hide but she stopped me and said that I wasn’t going anywhere. I wanted to sob and sob and sob. The tears were already there but I reined myself in. (Oh dear again. I am thinking “I hate this child inside me. I am embarrassed by her tears. She is so inadequate. Or I am too inadequate to allow her to cry her eyes out. Cliche. I am harsh. I show her no mercy. This is really scary stuff.) Marlene said she heard the voice of my Complex loud and clear. She said she heard her own the day before. Does it help to know that others feel as I do? Yes. I can see when others self-flagellate but it is difficult to see when I do it. I saw it the other day when I read Kate’s live journal ( Kate’s website.) Why do we do this to ourselves?

Why am I telling this? To gain empathy? No. This is my “I”. This is the “I” who could be a fine writer if she could only let go. Do I need these damn mood swings, these descents that feel like hell, to write? There appears nothing I can do about them. At the moment. Perhaps they spur me on.

This morning I took Gill and Micki to Cindy’s Cafe for breakfast to celebrate Miki’s 17th birthday – another Libra. They spoke of a story they’re reading in English called “Every Man.” I spoke of a Kafta story Marlene mentioned last night. These two beautiful girls are thinking of sharing an apartment in Paris next year. They are so full of dreams that could easily become realities. What am I going to do without Gill next year?

When I arrived home last night, Mike was sitting outside strumming his guitar. He is always strumming for the pleasure of it. He told me about a lecture he is going to called, I think, “The Melting Point” where physics, metaphysics, and consciousness will be discussed. Mike is more a mystery to me than my other two children. I’m not sure why. Perhaps because he keeps more inside. He is a Pisces – whatever that means. He wrote a poem once, long long ago, that I have pinned on the wall of my little house, called “I Am Special.” In it, he says “I hope that I am loved.” I can remember reading it for the first time and wondering how he could doubt it. I wonder if he is like me. I always think he’s more like Rob. So calm and sensitive. I can remember at one parent/teacher meeting, the art teacher asked, “How can such an easy-going guy have such an intense mother?”

Enough.

POSTED BY YY AT 4:49 PM

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 08, 2003

I’m not in the mood for blogging today. I feel as if I have just driven my car into a barbed wire fence, crawled out, and been stomped by a bull. What really happened is that I went to the dentist and I have another problem tooth. Unfortunately it’s attached to a bridge and if it goes, another goes with it. I almost cried when she told me and haven’t been able to pick myself up since.

I just sent Brendan an email, in which I quote Marion Woodman: “I can’t do anything useful, if there’s no I to do it.”

I’m going to try to create some art, drop some books at the library, and go to my Jungian meeting. I hope my mood improves or I’ll be writing bleak and dreary this evening.

Still, I’ve had a run of good days lately. They’ll return. I hope.

POSTED BY YY AT 11:33 PM

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 07, 2003

Tuesday morning and I’m late or rather I decided to postpone writing my blog this morning as I had a computer meeting at the store at 8:30. I just had enough time to answer and send emails, wrap a bottle of wine for Walter – it was his birthday yesterday. I know many Libras – balanced folk who smolder beneath the surface (or so Marlene tells me), and edit once again a story I’m trying to perfect.

What do I mean by perfect? Something that sounds original, that sounds like my speaking voice, that has a particular cadence, a lyrical quality, that makes sense, that tells a story, that leaves my reader thinking. This is difficult.

At my Plum = writing group this Saturday, three of us sat at the table wondering where to go with our writing. Writing has become a duty, a “must” in our days and we’ve lost a sense of play, of fun. Vaughan said that she wants “passion.” I reacted to this word. I love passion. I need passion. I once wrote an essay on play. It is so important to life. So is laughter. Writing and editing and editing and editing has become too much of a chore with little hope of reward. Is that the problem? We spoke of how difficult it is to be published. I feel as if I have as much chance of finding a publisher as I have at winning a lottery. This is bad for the soul.

We decided to try creating for the sake of creating. In other words, art for art sake’s. This sounds a little lofty (even to me) but I think it’s a better approach than the one we’ve been using. It doesn’t mean that we will stop trying to publish or not enter literary contests. We will. But we will write to please ourselves and in six months or so, we will hold a literary event at some cafe and read our work to whoever wants to come – family and friends – and self-publish a collective work.

We all felt better after our discussion. I am hoping it will lead us to passion, to some original work. We’ll see.

I am nearly finished reading the first chapter of Marion Woodman’s The Pregnant Virgin that deals with the chrysalis, “the twilight zone between past and future that is the precarious world of transformation…” I doubt there is anyone who doesn’t want to change something about her life, who wouldn’t like to be rid of some insecurity or habit or living situation yet as much as she (I) desires change, she fears it. Furthermore, it is difficult to be original, in a society that encourages conformity. Woodman says that “Courage to stand alone, to wear the ‘white plume’ of freedom, has been the mark of the hero in any society.”

She says so much that I don’t know to precise the ideas she’s stimulated. So much resonates with me. One idea that she espouses that I’ve gained from other sources lately is that I have to take the time for introspection. I often feel quilty if I’m not producing whatever: “We are supposed to be doers, taking care of others, supporting good causes, unselfish, energetic, doing our social duty. If we choose to simply ‘be’, our loved ones may automatically assume we are doing nothing and at first we may feel that way ourselves.”

I need to sit on a log in the morning and withdraw and think. (I love affirmation.)
I need to write this blog to hear myself.

POSTED BY YY AT 8:56 PM

MONDAY, OCTOBER 06, 2003

Beginning of a new week and I’m all over the place this morning. I want to polish a manuscript, run to Granville Island for posters and programs re the “Writers and Readers Festival” for store, and read and make notes on “The Pregnant Virgin” for Wednesday. (I work in the store all day and have my last excel class tonight.) There is too much to do.

I’m not even thinking about the house and its big problem. When I arrived home yesterday, something smelled foul and Rob thought it was strongest in the basement around the furnace. Finally, he decided it must be a gas leak and called the gas company who warned us not to light a match in the house. Their employee arrived soon after, checked our old furnace and said “no” – it was fine. Although the odour smelled like gas, it wasn’t and was probably some rotting animal, most likely a rodent. Disgusting. I’m not going to be the one who searches high and low. In the realm of rodents, I do not feel equal. Let the men of the house do the dirty work. Suzanne would be disgusted with me. I received an email from her last night: she did come across a bear on her hike but it ran when it saw her.

I must run with no time to mention poetry or write descriptive copy about nocturnal play. (Rob says I can’t mention IT in my blog unless I tell the whole story. Usually when someone tells me that I can’t do something, I rebel and do it. Not this time. Alas, I’m a coward and don’t have Nancy Mairs’ guts. Perhaps some day.)

I don’t know where the hours disappear in the morning. I was up at five and here it’s eight and although I dabbled with a bit of editing and reading, I have accomplished little.

POSTED BY YY AT 4:44 PM

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 05, 2003

I had a wonderful visit to the wilds of B.C., beyond Whistler and Pemberton, to visit my outdoors friend Suzanne who grew up in Quebec where she climbed mountains and skied and continues to do so. When Helen, Christiane, and I left her today; she was preparing to hike up a mountain alone, no matter that bears travel along the same route.

I met Suzanne when our oldest children were in kindergarten and she is truly a wild woman who loves to smoke dope, talk dirty, and laugh. She kept me sane through those early years of mothering and when she left with her geologist husband for New Zealand, I was so lonely, I didn’t know what to do by myself. She returned the year, I lived in France and rented our house. That’s also the year her husband left her for a younger woman and she felt an inch high. Although it took time to get over his betrayal, she is now a virgin in the true sense of the word.

I expected to find her in some funky old house but instead, she is living in an expansive modern West Coast home with huge ceilings, log pillars, and many windows that frame tall trees and mountains on five acres of land. There is a lama and alpaca farm around the corner. She is more than content.

We did discuss “Kit’s Law” for a time – a book with a plot too far-fetched, in my estimation – and then moved onto a serious discussion about the lack of available men in the region (to confirm Rob’s suspicions) over baked salmon, mushroom, potatos, and salad. Ah yes, we did have a glass of wine or two.

Helen and I shared a bed in the loft. Christiane and Suzanne had their own room.

So here I am on a fallish afternoon at home in my little house and I must – yes, must – be serious and do a little menial labour and buy some groceries. I am not a model house-woman – thank goodness.

POSTED BY YY AT 9:59 PM

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 04, 2003

I’m panicking a little this morning. I have to put some notes together for my Plum writing group and when I return early afternoon, I have to pack a bag and leave for Pemberton for my reading group.

So briefly, I went out late afternoon on a pleasurable birthday mission and then on to a Jungian lecture in the evening where the speaker, a Swiss analyst, spoke about the wounded child – the child who lives in most of us who still needs to be heard and seen. When I returned home, I found the house lively, full of music, full of a mix of Mike and Gill’s friends – strange to find them partying together – and sweet Amie gave me a hug and suggested that I dance on the table. I was in a reflective mood and didn’t feel like becoming the centre of attraction amid a group of young people I’ve known since kindergarten so I sat and talked a little, slipped off to bed and fell asleep immediately. I’m so lucky that I have this great capacity for sleep no matter the noise level of my surroundings.

I woke briefly when Rob slipped into bed at three – they wrapped the sound department early – and he was so happy to be able to come to bed in the dark. It appears that we need to be deprived of the commonplace to appreciate it.

POSTED BY YY AT 4:11 PM

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 03, 2003

Happy Birthday Marlene. If my life is any barometer, fifty is only the beginning of virginity.

I woke at six, late for me, started the coffee machine and went to the fridge to discover no milk. I dressed quickly and drove to the store, then went down to the beach and watched the light rise. It’s a foggy day, an open day for me and I feel good again. I wonder how long this state of grace will last.

I’ve been putting together a birthday gift and ruminating – love that word – and reading poetry. As I type this, I think of Gill. She took me for coffee and pie the other night and insisted it was her treat. She is beautiful this child of mine and when she mentions she is like me, with pride, when she wakes early – unusual for a teenager – and is annoyed and pleased in the same breathe, I am filled with wonder. I’m serious. Where did these three amazing children of mine come from? No. I know. I should ask, “How did they spring from Rob and me – who still struggle to recognize each Other.

I fear I’m becoming maudlin in my good humour.

I just read a poem by Galway Kennill called “The Cellist”. He writes of a woman, his love? who plays the cello. He visits her at intermission and reflects on the imbalance of their giving. He is the less generous and cites his sins.

“I used to shrug off the imbalance
simply as how things are, as if the male
were constituted like those coffeemakers
that produce less black bitter than the quantity
of sweet clear you poured in – forgetting about
how much I spilled through unsteady walking,
and that lot I threw on the ground
in suspicion, for fear I wasn’t worthy,
and all I poured out for reasons I don’t understand yet.

The poem ends:

At last she lifts off the bow and sits back.
Her face shines with the unselfconsciousness of a cat
screaming at night and the teary radiance of one
who gives everything no matter what has been given.

I like knowing how a man thinks. I have so little conversation with mine these days. He falls into bed when I’m already up and usually I’m gone by the time he wakes, does his morning ritual, and leaves for work. He is off Saturday and Sunday this weekend but I’m driving up to Pemberton to visit with my friend Suzanne who’s hosting our reading club meeting. We are a strange mix of women and we do discuss a book but mostly we chat about life. Rob walked into one of our meetings when we were eating and drinking and discussing men; and now won’t believe that our group has any intellectual concerns at all.

POSTED BY YY AT 10:01 PM

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 02, 2003

I feel I should whisper this morning. I feel so good it scares me. (Hmm, I used the word “it” – an inside joke. I had an English teacher once who said that we must never ever use the word “it”. IT is too easy, too boring, too non-descript. I could tell her a thing or two.)

Yesterday was a wonderful day. The sun was shining. I ran into Marlene on West 4th, carrying two bunches of dahlias in sunflower-gold and crimson-red, that matched the wild bird, outlined in sparkles, that sat on her breasts. This woman grows more and more radiant. (What is her secret?) We spoke of this and that and it. When we parted, I passed a vegetable stand where a stack of artichokes caught my eye, reminding me of France, carrying me, in my head, to my favourite place.

I bought Rob a birthday gift, picked up Bren and went out for dinner. This son of mine is also a gift. Where did he come from? I feel such calm around him. He seems so centred, so at peace with himself. His curiosity is limitless. He is always delving into some obscure subject and studying it for the sake of knowledge. He has no university degree and yet he is more than intelligent. (I hate to admit it but I used to measure a person’s intelligence by his or her education. Am I any better than my mother who measures a person’s worth by his or her wealth – and size and cleanliness of home. I have learned that both barometers are faulty.)

I left Bren with my computer and went on to Marlene’s for her first Jungian circle. This session is based on Marion Woodman’s The Pregnant Virgin that I read several years ago. I remember nothing except that I enjoyed it. (That word keeps popping up.) There were sixteen women sitting on sofas and chairs in Marlene’s large living room and I only knew Judy from a past session and Laura who grew up with Helen – she was out of context. Looking around the room, I felt overwhelmed, shy. The title Women Who Run With Wolves sprang to mind. Everyone introduced herself, Marlene spoke of Woodman, we stopped for cake, bread and cheese, grapes, and coffee – how I love the abundance although I was full from dinner – and then Marlene explained the proprioceptive writing method and we wrote for around twenty-five minutes. Some of the women chose to read. Not me. I am such a coward. And I felt miserly afterwards because I could have shown them what the proprioceptive question is about that I don’t think any of them used. Everyone appears to have such elevated thoughts and mine are so earth-bound, so body smeared – sorry, I don’t know how to explain myself.

The topic for writing was “Where is that virgin in me? What is that energy in me?” And I wrote – dare I? – I’m feeling nervous again.

“I have no idea what to write. I understand virgin in the ancient sense – a woman who is one in herself. What do I mean by one? A single unit. Whole. Body and soul. I’m a little intimidated by all these brainy women. I always feel like this at first. Judy knows me. Laura, too. But the others don’t know how stupid I am. This is fucking ridiculous and time I stopped this nonsense, become my own mother that also makes me a child or can I be a virgin? Now, I’m playing the fool. Ah, I’d rather be a fool than a dunce. What do I mean by virgin? Untouched? Not really. Klimt’s Danae – beautiful lush ass waiting to be penetrated, dreaming of it…”

I go on and on… as my mind spins. I think of a conversation I had with Marlene about trust. It’s so damn difficult to be a writer, to expose oneself, to trust oneself let alone others. But I love this welling up and spewing forth as well. Everything is a contradiction… And my time is running out and I must run to work for the second time this week and surprising to me, I am pleased.

POSTED BY YY AT 4:56 PM

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 01, 2003

I was thinking about blogging earlier in the day and wanted to give it up. Or write it every other day if I remember. (That’s the problem.) I’d have thought that I wouldn’t have enough to say to write every day for months on end. Perhaps I’m boring everyone – not all the time – I do receive emails from you, friends, and one stranger who contacted me yesterday – but some of the time, you must skip over my words out of boredom. Gill said she doesn’t read the book reviews.

I read yesterday that public journals are for “wanna-be” authors. Writers who blog can’t expect to be taken seriously.

Bullshit. This writing has little to do with my literary aspirations. It is practically free-flow. Words that spin in my head find an outlet. And for all its self-indulgence, it has become a daily discipline – good for me. Furthermore, it allows you to follow my days. I read two friends online journals – not every day if I am busy – but I do catch up and like reading what they’re up to. When I see them, they don’t have to fill in the gaps.

Anyway, I find my days are getting fuller. This morning I made a list – something that hasn’t been necessary for a time – and see that I must prioritize, not do everything or I will become anxious. I need quiet nothing moments. I need research and reading time. I need – dare I say it – writing time.

If nothing else, this blog helps me see what’s important to me. I need to clarify myself to myself.

This morning I met Maggie for coffee and she said that I looked good, that I appeared to have a direction and I realized that I do feel good and that I am shaping my life. I feel much more confident than I did a year ago. Friends – mirrors – do help us know ourselves. And this is good to know also. I need my friends. I need to include them in my days.

I have small projects to complete this afternoon. Later I will meet Bren for dinner and later still, I will go to Marlene’s for the first meeting of her Jungian Circle. I am looking forward to it for many reasons.

Enough for today.

POSTED BY YY AT 9:06 PM


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