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At Nine

November 16, 2012

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He’s like
Sunbeams
That claw their way
To the earth.

Winston Churchill Thinks I’m Stupid

November 6, 2012

Apparently so do a lot of other people I know. I see this a lot:

Show me a young Conservative and I’ll show you someone with no heart. Show me an old Liberal and I’ll show you someone with no brains. ~Winston Churchill

But guess what? I’m not. Not stupid at all. What I am is a Momma.

A Momma with a sixteen year old baby girl.

And that girl will turn seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, and twenty years old while the President of the United States we elect today sits at the helm of this country. While he appoints two, maybe three, Supremes.

During the next four years, she will spread her brand new wings and leave this nest. Off to school. Her first apartment. An independent life.

I celebrate the wealth of opportunities she has before her. Education. Travel. Passion.

If you know us, you know we don’t draw many hard lines for our children. We have never tried to mold them into our shape, bend their spirit to fit some track that pleases us. It has always been our mission to offer them opportunities and opinions and to then sit back and let them choose, let them experience the value and concerns of choice. And while the consequences of such parenting could render poor outcomes, in this home it has not. We have five confident, fiercely independent thinkers who serve as valuable citizenry of their own micro-communities and of this family.

And while I could wax on ad nauseum, there’s no need. You know what I’m talking about. That thing they have. That thing that makes them awesome.

Freedom.

But, you see, there’s this funny thing about Freedom; it only exists when you trust those whom it’s bestowed upon.

I trust my girl to make good choices. About her education. About her relationships with boys and us and God. About her affiliations and finances and future. Her body and mind and spirit. I know there will be pitfalls along the way, but I trust her. I trust her.

The Republican Party does not. Half of this country does not.

And so I’ll use my vote to show her that I actually believe in her Freedom. As a Woman. As an American.

If that makes me a one trick pony, so be it. If it makes me brainless, oh well. Anyone who knows me knows that I understand our history; that I care a great deal about the direction this country takes, about our ability to function domestically and abroad as a great nation. I believe in that City on the Hill, but I also believe that when we cry Freedom we don’t do it standing on the backs of our daughters.

Equal Protection

October 18, 2012

My son’s coach shouts, “Protect, protect!”

Two strikes. The kid is sweating bullets. Doesn’t want to disappoint. Protect the plate, protect the team. “Protect, protect!” Widen the zone, shorten your swing. Make contact.

So easy in theory.

Not so much in practice.

“Protect, protect!”

I hear those words in the air all the time, not that it wasn’t maternally intrinsic before, but now there’s a voice that carries the word, the order. No longer predisposition, the instinct has wings and legs and a hundred eyes.  It hums behind my ear, breathes down my neck.

“Protect, protect!”

So every day I widen the zone. Shorten my swing. Try to make contact.

I don’t have to hit it out of the park; I just don’t want to strike out.

Oh, yes, Scott. Me, too.

October 9, 2012

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In the practically wifi-less world of vacation, left with only the books presently in my iBooks library, I went with a classic.

Lately, I am very much into highlighting, scrawling on paper pages, hanging digital bookmarks, bending corners. Savoring. The best way I can explain it is to compare it to my dinner the other night. There were these divine Pumpernickel rolls and I didn’t eat the last bite until after I finished dessert. I wasn’t even aware; it was pointed out to me. That’s where I am with words. I want that final rush of the thing, the delicious thing that melts your shoulders when it crosses your tongue and leaves you in a puddle in the chair. Sort of a depression-era mindset. Conserve. Reserve. Sustain. Save. Exist. Survive. Acquiesce just to choke on a cloud of reality and catch your desire again.

This passage isn’t the most elegant or the most famous, but isn’t it scrumptious? And so, just a bit ago, after my plate was licked clean, I came back for those last bites I’d put to the side.

Very satisfying.

a picture of you holding a picture of me

September 2, 2012

::le sigh::

Don’t read too much into it.

August 26, 2012

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It’s there in my purse, in my car, on the counter. In the bed, by the tub, on the porch. I can’t seem to shake this book, not that I’m trying, because I’m not, but, still, shouldn’t it just be near my chair or by the good light, someplace book-stable? Some place. Not every place. But this book. This book that follows me everywhere. The pages purr under my thumb when I’m on the phone; I suppose the ritualized pop of the sateen cover is now unheard as it is pushed in and pulled out of my bag. The flyaway pages are turned at the corners, edges marred with smudges from the fat kindergarten pencil tucked inside, found in the seat pocket when I was waiting in a drive-thru line at a bank or some drug store.

I don’t even know if the book is any good and after whispering a recommendation, I decided to see if anyone else thought it was worth reading and, well, good ‘ole Annie, I started with ‘one star’ and worked my way back. Not really, though, because I only worked back to halfway through the ‘two stars’ because I hate book reviews because, in short, I really don’t care what other people think about the books they read. But in this instance, after saying “you should read this book”, I felt a spasm of guilt and a moral obligation to cover my ass.

I know I’m not a mainstream reader. I like my books like I like my people, big on character development and short on plot. I want to get to know story-people, not ride the safety-tested, Honors English approved Story Structure Roller Coaster with them. I want to float the Lazy River under an evening sun, dip my tired hands in the cool water. I want the House of Mirrors, maladies of proportion and beauty, not my feet on hot coals while I’m tweaking on meth and/or Pop-Tarts.

Dear Beautiful Writer Person,

Give me a slow jam. A jolt of poetry. Make me want to listen to Burn by Ray LaMontagne. All. Night. Long. Let me cry with your creation, curse his enemies, drink their wine, and develop a stalker-ish crush on her boyfriend/husband/lover. Wrap it all up with an unsatisfying bow and I’ll be yours forever.

Love, your fan,

Annie

As I was saying, I don’t even know if this book is any “good”. One would think it is because it has the precious New York Times Bestseller label on the front, but I’m not on terms with the New York Times Bestseller list, and in fact I’m not on terms with Kindle Bestsellers or B&N Bestsellers or anyone’s most purchased, fan pick, or county fair winner. It’s also adorned with about three pages of stunning remarks from some well-known authors and some not-so-well-known-to-me folks, but none of that matters either. I just flat-out like it.

And God knows I’m certainly not known for my ability to judge greatness, or even mediocrity for that matter, but I do know what I like, what sounds good in my head and to my ear, what makes me want to write inside the margin or fold the pages back or snap a photograph of a passage. These pages are well-folded and filled with wispy arrows and wavy lines and tall curling brackets. And I find myself re-reading those lines and grafs that have already kissed me rather than venturing farther into the party.

What if the rest doesn’t leave me breathless or heartbroken or drooling exclamation points and loopty-loops along the outside of those uniform lines of prose? What if those One-starrers are right? I already know that on page one I felt the chemistry and that on page two I was searching for any writing utensil at my disposal and that on page four, six, eleven, twenty-three through twenty-eight, I was in love, and blah, blah, blah. One hundred thirty-two and I’m still here, still glowing, still excited by the words and their order or their meaning, imagined or otherwise, and so I’ve kept it tucked inside my arm or within reach.

Tonight, I’m giving it a sideways look and checking my Facebook (political joke, political hack, political cartoon, fucking cat) and poking around in the kitchen cabinets (Fluff, some stale Kashi something-or-other that has been open for weeks, a roll of athletic tape), but it’s always here, the shiny black and white cover waving me over, lifting and falling on swirling air from above (or from the swinging cabinet doors). Come here, Annie, let me hook you up, girl. These hateful reading glasses that are way too strong and pinch my head remain atop it for an emergency session—like this one—for me to read these pages down off the sill, attend away their relentless lighthouse beckoning. For us both to be tucked in between the sheets.

On Crows

August 10, 2012

When you’re strung up and twisting in the wind,

the noise you make won’t scare the crows away.

But your light? Your light will blind them.