Journal of a Solitude




I have no real sense of direction.

Those who love me and know me well accept this and are not surprised by it anymore; but when we set out for Old Orchard on our car trip this year, I hesitantly pored over the map and asked gingerly (in case I was ludicrously off the mark) to inquire if we might go via Nelson, New Hampshire so that I could visit the grave of poet, author and journal-writer May Sarton. The General  assessed the map quickly, drawing a finger along the route, turning it a few times, finally pronouncing the idea “not even a problem” and went on to suggest that we pop along to Robert Frost’s graveside as well since it was on the way.

(Can I tell you that I absolutely love not having to justify what most people would consider a totally insane waste of time and my heart just swelled).

He added: “Graveyards on the way down! We really are a fun couple aren’t we?” Continue reading

Maine Deconstructed




The General and I are just back from Old Orchard Beach in Maine which is the sleepy, predictable kind of holiday that I often really enjoy. The lush, yet austere landscape of Maine and the cottage itself are hugely significant to The General since he has enjoyed many golden-hued summers there as a child and because it’s still a property that is “family owned” you can sense  the tradition and memory as the key turns in the lock.

The very first time I was here and the door creaked opened to the warm – but not unpleasant – smell of humidity and age, I was nearly overcome with a sense of Those-Who-have-Gone-Before-Us.

It was just like being invited to a crazy, crowded party where everyone has convened in the kitchen, chatting loudly and you have to enter sideways with your bottle of wine, introducing yourself.

Except that the kitchen was empty.

I am often very sensitive to this type of thing so I wasn’t unduly freaked out and besides, the vibe was friendly enough but it did serve to re-ignite a really unsettling feeling that I often experience now which is being super conscious that I am still, and possibly always will be, The New Girl.

And what can I do? There’s simply not enough time for me to be fully accepted and it makes me acutely aware that I no longer have the extended family that I was comfortable with when I myself was married. Strangely, for example, I knew my ex-husbands’ parents more than twice as long as my own.

I am not a fan of this feeling but don’t know what to do about it.

I often feel as though as I am driving a motor boat and pulling behind me three decades of memories that just won’t drop the line. Continue reading

Stop the World I Missed my Stop




I’ve been stalling posting anything this week because I simply cannot write about anything vacuous without commenting on what a terrible few weeks this has been news wise; I’ve watched extensive news coverage on all the tragedy (and then follow-up tragedy) in Dallas, being vigilant to not watch any of the streaming or videos because I am someone’s mother and just cannot if I intend to function for the rest of the day.

This is not even considering the assorted terrorist atrocities.

I feel troubled, sick and totally helpless in equal parts.

And no, this does not help or change anything, I get that, but who can just step up and happily order a latte after ingesting all this toxic information?

It seems disrespectful at the very least.

I find that I am ashamed to be human a good deal of the time these days.

Sooo, I am not going to offer up anything else except this link to a wise and completely brilliant essay by Garnette Cadogan.

(I heard this being read on the radio over the weekend and had to pull over so I could listen deeply and fully).

No quick fix is being presented here incidentally; but Mr.Cadogan’s calm, intellectual and emotive prose is extremely thought provoking and unsettling in just the right way.

(There’s also these amazing father and son letters but not for the faint of heart …)


Who has Time?



Every woman I know is always lamenting a lack of time. We all seem to be rising early to do tasks or exercise before work and staying up a bit later (folding clothes by the silvery light of the dryer) just to unlock a few moments for ourselves, perhaps at the end of the week.

But then, that moment never actually materializes.

It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to realize that no matter what I do or how much I plan, that time for myself will never present itself because I make sure to sabotage it every time by doing one more thing, pushing myself to wipe baseboards when I could be relaxing, thinking how happy people would be to have some really quality prosciutto to wind around those fat, ripe pears or researching different, easier ways to clean the shower on youtube.

It’s as though the Bank of Things-I-Want-To-Do is constantly in overdraft and I just throw a few coins at it now and then (hey, look at me,  I’m reading a book outside at lunchtime and drinking chocolate milk!) just to keep it in the black.

Is it because I feel undeserving? Is it because I am still too worried about making sure everyone else has what they need/want?  (Probably).  Is it because I fear that I will not even know what to do because I have been spinning so long? (NO! I have a long list of interests yet to be tapped!) Is it because I really believe that this week I can actually pull it off … Continue reading