balls. part deux. (also: trolls)

I got my first anonymous hater today:

Wow. So artfully self-aggrandizing and self-effacing, yet so ANGRY, defensive. Root emotion: anger = FEAR. What are you so afraid of? Your smart readers must do so only to shake their heads. So sad. I’ll be looking for your caustic, derisive response.

The person who wrote this formspring query had emailed me previously – a much more level-headed criticism – but apparently didn’t like my response. Instead of moving herself on to read other blogs, she felt she’d take me down a peg.

Not to be a downer on formspring, but I thought I would post this to let people know that anonymity can often foster hateful language. Those of us who write online – and attach our own names to our writing – get this sort of thing now and then.

Anecdotally: I’ve always thought the root emotion of anger is hurt, not fear. But I’m open to other opinions!

OK, of course, I know what several of you smarties are thinking: “That doesn’t deserve a response!” And goddamn it, you’re probably right!  And yet, this formspring flame is a timely one for me and is touching on something that’s been on my mind:

In the handful of months since I’ve opened comments on my blog, I have been receiving good comments fostering lively discussion – and, behind the scenes: private picking-at-me emails and, now, my first anonymous hate-mail (um, yay?).

This is truly incredible and I’d like to give you a minute to think about this.

People have been reaching out to talk to me since I’ve been blogging – six years.  Before I opened comments I received DMs, IMs, emails, Facebook responses, snail mail letters, people stopping me in the street and phone calls from across the country.  These communications have often been supportive, grateful, and complimentary;  many asked for my advice or my perspective.  Occasionally these communications directly challenged my assertions or writings (this is a sensitive-New-Age way of saying: people would argue with me).  And always, always these experiences have been worthwhile to engage in.  Every single one.

Things have changed.

Yes, I know who wrote the formspring snark*; if I chose, could email this person and say, “Hey dude, not cool”, or ignore this person or write them and their opinions off, or whatever (I do think a focused post about my ANGRY would be good – although of course, I pretty much happily trot the subject out often enough).  But let me stay on point for now:

I have a lot of readers at this point, a number that has grown over the years. I have many lurkers – that is, people who read and never comment, never email, never let me know they’re there (or who perhaps eventually reveal they’ve been there, for years). I figure it makes sense that eventually I’d get a couple readers who read me and discover they don’t like me, yet – and this is the icky part – keep reading.  I know this could be true, in part because I myself have hate-lurked on a blog, chewing myself up inside about someone whose life, for whatever reason, got on my tits because it was too preachy or too consumerist or too slutty or whatever.  I’m not proud that I did this or that I had these feelings.  I’ve moved on from reading specific publications because I realized it was toxic for me to stay; I was unable to engage the author in a productive, dialogue-inducing way and keep my mind open to who they are; I was both intolerant of and tormented by our differences.  Until I self-corrected I would hate, obsess, chew over why the person or author was wrong or gross or whatever.  I’ve never made a secret out of my own Hater tendencies, because they are a part of me.

What sucks for me is that I don’t publicize my blog as a prescriptive worldview nor a direct communication to specific parties. This is my journal.

So, for instance, my recent personal litany on what people so often say to me about having kids out of school was not a dogmatic denouncement of public or private schools for all parties; the social construction of education is one I am not well-versed in – yet – and I have not been asked to weigh in on by anyone, ever. (If you do wonder what I believe about the vast majority of standard education, and how my life fits into the world at large, I’d direct you to this jaw-droppingly amazing article by Eva Swindler; she’s an actual authority writing professional copy by the way).  I am a human being and you are seeing me in all my humanness; I keep very little private from this journal.

Yeah, I’m aware my thought processes challenge people.  Maybe, reader, you don’t feel particularly challenged, but I want to tell you I get told this all the time; in fact, I’ve often been told this is one of the best things about knowing me (other reasons: my compassion, my cooking, my breasts).  Seriously, in the last week this is what I’ve heard about my writing from about a half dozen parties: “amazing writer”, “on another level”, “hard to follow”, “witty and fast”, “jumps around a lot”, “perfection” (ego-zing! on that last one). Even being handed the shit-sandwich from formspring I know, in theory anyway, that someone who makes character attacks and says I’m “so sad” is, in fact, likely very threatened by what I say, which means hey, maybe I’m saying something worth saying.

Yet, of course, if anyone out there sets me up as Enlightened (or, alternatively, SO SAD AND ANGRY), they are using my very human expression against me to insist I’m not fully human.  This feels like infringement – in both cases.

Because I am not at some “level” of awesome (holy shit, do you even READ here?) or, alternatively, someone who is JUST a sad, frightened, judgy person (duh).  I am just as insecure and brittle and flawed and shitty as the next person.  Writing has been the sole tool I’ve used to know myself.

Oh my god, that reminds me: writing.  When some people say “such-and-such has saved my life”?  This is writing, for me.  And not writing some nicey-pants stuff nor trying-to-say-the-least-(or most!)-offensive-thing. Or like, “I saw my kids playing by the pond today and I realized, this is Life, like seeing a newborn kitten in a sunset” stuff.  I have been trying to say the Me, trying to express myself and I am getting pretty good at it.  Expressing myself.  My best ever writing is when I feel I have really told you who I am, what I think, how I behaved. And I know it’s not always pretty (although sometimes, it’s sublime).  In fact, I love keeping my journal so much I will never stop as long as I’m able.

So getting another I think you should be careful with your language because you are saying things I don’t like email, then a few “I don’t always agree with everything you say” prefaces (from people who asked me to open comments, but have never used the comment function), then “you’re sad, caustic, derisive” – well, it just starts feeling a bit frustrating.  And assy.  Because, you know, fuck off.  This is my diary.  It really is.  I am terribly sorry if at any point I gave the impression this is Life Lessons from Kelly Who-Gives-An-Arse Hogaboom (incidentally: this site is not my diary and would likely be the closest I’d come to claiming “professional” copy, although P.S., I don’t get paid for shit, ever).  Because, you know, it isn’t.

So, yeah, comments.  I know if I close comments things will shift back to where they are more comfortable for me; indeed, my closest loved ones have suggested this.  But the majority of the comments here on my blog have been edifying and delightful.  And I’m not sure I should do things to make myself more comfortable (although yes, I hear you – this really is my space to do whatever I want).

Oh and! Because seriously, everyone tells me I’m smart and intimidating and “rock-solid” and it seems nothing hurts me?  (No seriously, I have been told this three times by three different women this week).  Just to be clear: anonymous hate and snark directed at me, personally?

Yes, it hurts.  Like, upon reading the words on the screen my chest constricted and I felt flushed and Terrible as a Person and like I wanted to Make It Go Away, for several minutes.  I felt Wrong in everything I said and Hated and so pathetic and somehow it’s right I should be hated on, because I have a public blog and write about my life (of course, as a lady I really do “deserve it”), and I have opinions and show my ass and stuff.

Funny thing.  Writing this all out helped.  Huh.

* I’m not sure why people don’t know that first of all they use some of the same phraseology, grammatical errors, figures of speech, and the same tone; secondly, I can “see” people when they are online so thus when a query or comment pops up it isn’t as if I hadn’t seen their recent tweet, or IM status, or whatever; thirdly, that as popular as I am to read it is rare the EXACT ONE SUBJECT gets up the ass of two separate people in the same exact way, so if someone already emailed me then followed up with an anonymous formspring post, well. Yeah.  I know it’s you.

i’m an expert on stuff

I’m not an expert on anything. But I have a very busy brain (note I did not say “smart”, “productive”, or omit “frenetic”) and love writing! I love it so much! Today I am going public with my little co-op site Underbellie, which my girl Jasie and I are trying out. What you can expect: a focus on pointed rants rather than personal anecdotes and a Twitter feed that updates infrequently. And most importantly, more Kelly Hogaboom.

I am proud of today’s bit: a rejoinder to the recent Details magazine article, “Are You Raising a Douchebag?” (their answer: here’s some fun hate for hipster parents!). Daniel Bigler wrote a more culturally-informed (not to mention brief) response over at his blog. He’s a good egg, that Daniel.

I also have started a Formspring account. I asked my husband why it seemed it wasn’t catching on for more people. He said, “it seems kind of vain to me.” It’s true! Who gives a shit about anything I have to say, ever? And yet, if thee wish to ask me a question anon, have at it, I say.

“So Easy, Only A Mom Can Do It”*

Today, for the second time in a handful of days, I had a ladyfriend / acquaintance call me “Supermom”. The time before last it didn’t feel very good, because it was during a precise bit of time I knew I was doing pretty badly in general, as far as how I was treating the rest of the world and most especially my family (I quickly and in retaliatory fashion told this woman she had the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen, although actually I was being honest about that), and the second time – tonight – well, I was able to accept the compliment.  Even though, of course, I am merely a Normal Person who does well on some days and really ugly on others, and there’s nothing Super about me, or if I’m Super than most other people are, too. And in general I kind of dislike the “Super-” parent stuff – because so many parents in my peer group today are just poised to feel rather bad about how they’re doing, or that they could do better if they just upped their effort or compassion or energy, and I don’t want any part of that by being pedestaled as awesome in some way.  I do know that when people say this to me – and believe it or not I’ve heard it quite a bit, despite the fact that here online and IRL I am pretty honest about being a whole person with the craziness and meanness and darkness and all associated with personhood – I think they just mean they think I’m Neat in some way.  So, thanks for that.

But I like being super-clear about my limitations, because in case anyone forgets this blog is almost entirely about keeping a record for myself (please don’t question me too much about this because I still think it’s a Super Good Plan even though I’m occasionally told it’s not).  For instance, I was thinking about now and then devoting an entry to the subtle nuances in the various ways I Lose My Shit. Like, one might think I yell or strangle the kids or threaten them or talk mean, which are kind of boring ways to be a Bad Parent and can be found lots of places in lots of details, including movies dramatizing Bad Parents and how they affect their growing children but then the children overcome it in some heroic way. Today I was thinking about one of my more special ways of Losing My Shit, which is when I’m so tired-out from the kids and from my inability to deal with them that I sort of shut down, and I recognize that they need my help or guidance or some food or something but all I can do is feel numb and despairing inside and barely respond and burrow further into reading my too-serious Internetz stuff and wishing for death or, alternatively, Ralph’s arrival for work (non-parents: example of this sort of thing starting at 06:21 in the video clip).  What’s weird is when Ralph is gone for an extended time – teaching his class in the evening or staying away for some other reason – I can often come up with a way to rest or recuperate and pull myself together again.  It’s when I believe I can’t cope, and I have reason to believe I may be bailed out, that I cope very badly indeed.

Concomitant to the many ways I’m a rather crappy parent, there are also so many good things about me in this regard and not a day passes that I’m not that person, too.  Like I’ve surprised my own self with how I am so very, very physically affectionate to the kids, and they get more love and hugging and kissing than I ever did as a child (also, more ass-pinching, seriously, they have leathery hide down there from repeated fondlings).  And sometimes out of nowhere after I’ve been baking bread and cleaning the toilet and folding the laundry I will pull the kids down on the couch full of blankets and kiss and snuggle them because they smell and feel crazy-good!  But I do let them go when they want me to.  Because I know they’ll be back.

I am not a Supermom by any stretch of the word.  And even in my bad moments, I am still just a regular human.  And if I can be a mom and do an okay job, really anyone can, because no one expected me to succeed much in this way, including myself.

I wrote Nels a Valentine’s Day poem in his card this year:

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

I want to put your toes in my mouth.

* Oh my gosh! Do you have the fear of roasting a chicken? Because I fucking do. Thank God my family saved me via an intervention for my intimidated ass.

craftin’ the light fantastic. also, exclamation marks. also, links.

I’m a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn. That’s what kind of man I am. You’re just a woman with a small brain. With a brain a third the size of us. It’s science.

“He’s like the fucking Terminator!” my husband takes me aside and whispers to me as we put away clothes in the kids’ room.

Ralph is talking about our son, who recently acquired a craft book from our library and is single-mindedly going through it and making everything he can (or as Ralph describes him, is “a shark riding on an elephant’s back, just trampling and eating everything he sees”); I may have mentioned the other day as I struggled with euthanizing my beloved life-companion kitty, Nels was preoccupied mostly with building a clock using supplies from the vet’s).  The point: Little Guy is focused.  In the last week or so – and with little assistance – our son has plowed through a magnetic fishing game (with the most beautiful hand-painted fish), a wooden pyramid stacking puzzle (two actually – one for our house and one for our friends’ upcoming twins), a pillow with removable flower applique motif (he kept me up all hours helping him with this poly felt monstrosity, ugh!), a velcro tic-tac-toe game, numerical wooden math blocks with a wooden box to house them, and some paper fastener puppets.  Oh, and the clock.  THE CLOCK.  I want to punch the clock in the face because it was the Biggest Deal Ever for a day and a half.

My son’s intent reminds me of last summer’s music instrument obsession: the lesson I learned there was really two-fold: A. my son is awesome and incredibly self-directed, and B. he doesn’t want to own things, he wants to make them.

Now, I am – like many good Americans – a shopper.  I love to buy things! It gives me this happy feeling and instant gratification!  So a few months ago when Nels made a cigar-box guitar I went and looked up cigar box guitars because my first instinct was to buy buy buy my son one because he’d love it so much (oops! in this case; they can be a bit more dear than I’d realized).  Nels had to patiently tell me: I don’t need you to buy it, I already made it, and now I want to make a violin, and I need your quilting ruler.

And it’s funny, because I do like to buy, even if most of my buying power revolves around groceries. Despite the impracticality of such fantasy purchases I surf Etsy like a porn addict; I fantasize about our bi-monthly trips to Olympia where I squirrel away fabric when our spending plan permits.  So in some way it’s hard for me to wrap my mind around this child who wants to make the thing – to think of it, to picture it in his mind and forge it with his own mettle and ingenuity – especially when the thing he makes isn’t going to be as high quality as the “real” thing (he is convinced he is creating the “real” thing – and really it occurs to me: he is).

But upon further inspection, actually, what Nels gets up to these days makes a whole heck of a lot of sense, especially this last handful of hours or so as I’ve been realizing: we’re a family of Makers.

Of course – I sew.  I sew daily, when I can and when life does not conspire against me.  And I sew when it’s “cheaper” to furnish clothing thusly (sometimes it is) and when it’s more expensive (often, sort of, and I mean to write more about this soon), and I sew almost compulsively because I love the process.  I get joy from picturing what something could be, and then making it happen.  I fucking love this! Because I can do it! And so many people can’t! Or won’t!

In the vein of Making – I write (lots!), even when I’m not officially writing (rare). Over my life (since I picked up a pencil, really) I have been told, suggested to, advised, and repeatedly harassed to monetize my writing (right).  My writing is my record, it is my body of work.  It matters to me if it doesn’t matter to anyone else, EVAR (although I am often assured it does).  My writing matters to me because I make it, not because it gets translated into currency, not because other people deem it Good (it isn’t really, or rather, lots of people do a lot better).  I won’t stop writing as long as I’m able.

And of course, I make food.  I mean I don’t just open cans and mix it or heat it up, I really, really make it (we grow food too, now that I think of it – a kind of Make in itself).  I make food not because it’s cheaper (it often is) or “healthier” (it often is) but because it feels like Love to cook.  It feels like I am creating Love and putting it to my family and friends.  Now, lots of people can’t make food, or for whatever reason prefer to buy – pre-made grocery stuff, or restaurant fare, depending on their socio-economic status and proclivities.  Fine with me: “Making” takes a lot of time.  In fact, some days I feel like all I do is make, clean, make, clean, make, clean, fall down on the couch and get tight watching B-movies.  Because apparently I can’t stop making, even if in my mind I think of myself as being a kind of aimless person, prone to laziness and rather unoriginal (all of which may be true).

But I do love to make things – so much, and maybe that’s why I gravitate to fellow Makers.  Because what’s funny is, when I think about liking to Buy I discover upon further inspection the things I want to purchase are OOAK, as they say – not crafted by machine or slave-labor empire churning out products of sameness but rather individual awesomeness built by peopleMakers!

My partner is a Maker, too.  Besides the fact he can build computers and chicken coops (I call it the Chicken Shanty! He literally hates me for this!) and shelves and cold frames and websites and draw just about anything and is a heck of a graphic artist (which he does, gratis, and in tiny little breaks of his very busy life), he makes music.  No really, he makes it! He doesn’t play other people’s!  He thinks of it then it comes out of his face and guitar! Does anyone else find this amazing enough to warrant all these exclamation marks! Because I do!!!

And on that note, let me add that the Hogabooms have been a bit uncomfy of late, and in thinking this whole business over I’m seeing why.  We do not have a craft space set up for the kids (and the grown-ups), and my sewing room has a positive dearth of shelves so stuff is stacked and falling over, and even though FAWM officially starts today, we have not figured out where/how Ralph will be recording.  Last night we purchased – with money not yet in hand, but yet to be earned – a few bits to make shelves for our son and his craft supplies, because they are taking over our (ill-furnished) little house and it’s making me crazy.  And I’m thinking that Ralph and I have to move over a bit, because our kids are wanting to build, create, express themselves in the same ways they’ve grown up around.

Oh, and: THE CLOCK. Jeebus, the clock.  Nels did a live upload to YouTube, which is why the audio and video are out of sync.  But I’m sure you can see the awesomeness nevertheless:

definitely, definitely breaking a blogging rule

If you think this list is in response to the recent Facebook “Post 25 things about yourself” inter-meme, you’re correct; but this is the second twenty-five I’ve come up with. Being my FB friend is fun – if by “fun” I mean you will soon defriend me in response to my crass sense of humor or my verbosity.

***

1. My family lived in a bus until I was eight. It had planets painted on it. And parents inside, usually smoking weed or whatever.

2. I will leave the house with no makeup or my hair untouched after a shower; but I hate finding out I’ve left the house without earrings. Despite this I only have four pair of earrings. I guess what I’m saying is, my birthday is coming up, and I really like earrings.

3. I find elevators creepy; I guess I’ve seen too many movies where something horrible happens just as they’re opening or closing.

4. I love the smell of grilled onions but loathe eating them and avoid it if at all possible.

5. People who act distant or superior irritate me. When I was younger, I’d make them a sexual conquest (usually, but not always, successfully). Now I try to feel compassion; it’s a self-defense response.

6. I can’t remember a time in my life people didn’t regularly corner me or lay out some life scenario and ask for my feedback or advice.

7. At night when I’m hovering around sleep I rub my feet back and forth on one another. Actually, this feels very personal to admit to for some reason.

8. Besides my children, I am not always demonstrative (physically or verbally) toward people I love, but I love them very, very fiercely. I think about them a lot during my day.

9. I get emails out of the blue often, from people who read my blog(s).

10. Despite being a relatively tidy housekeeper, I truly do not judge people with messier houses, although most of my girlfriends apologize for their house when I enter it. WTF? I think I should start giving them side-eye and saying, “Yeah. You need to clean this shit UP.”

11. I try to be completely honest. If I think ahead and realize something I want to say isn’t helpful, I will stay silent. This means I’m quiet around my mother a lot in response to stuff she tells me. She probably thinks I’m not listening or don’t care, which is a shame.

12. I am an alcoholic.

13. Things I do not own: a credit card, a cell phone, a bought-new car, a house, a television set, and a microwave. I’ve never owned the first four.

14. I gambled once at a casino. BORRRRING. Don’t need to do that again.

15. I am not dumb but I can’t follow “caper” movies. I’m like the guy Jerry Seinfeld joked about, whispering in the theater, “Wait, why’d they kill that guy? I thought he was with them. What? He wasn’t with them? Oh, then it’s a good thing they killed him.”

16. I believe Jesus Christ was here on earth and was the son of God. I didn’t believe this until adulthood. I am not very devout, but I love making Jesus Christ jokes a LOT. Maybe that counts for something.

17. The personal vice I’m most often guilty of is Projection. Followed closely by a devastating addiction to sailor porn. Just kidding about one of those.

18. I love teaching and I love writing, and I hate that when I do both things I hear myself sounding like an arrogant know-it-all.

19. I love spicy food. LOVE IT! (I am currently eating burritos slathered in Tapatio.)

20. I love my brother more than he loves me, and I’m okay with that.

21. I love watching movies (and a few television shows). If you conjure up the following you will probably have most of “me”: Blue Velvet, “Strangers With Candy”, Anchorman, “The Office” (BBC), American Psycho, “Deadwood”, and “The Wire”. I’ve cried tears of joy at some point during all of those.

22. I think my dad’s persona and style of parenting was just perfect for me.

23. My kids think I make the best food, ever. This #23 was added at my daughter’s request.

24. I am a compulsive hand-washer and I always worry I might smell bad. P.S. please do not take this opportunity to email me and say the latter is true, I’m not sure I could handle hearing that now.

25. I am not scared of crazy, loud, weird, retarded, or old people. However if someone is mean to me in any way at all it will make me want to cry.

***

Hmm. Maybe it’s possible to know too much about someone.

"shocking as it may sound, i am not the first writer to sip a little weed."

Tonight I met and then surpassed the required 4/5ths word count for my novel – a project driven by NaNoWriMo or “National Novel Writing Month”. I will be done by the end of the month, and then I can go back to not hating to write.

It’s one thing to say writing is important, to write regularly, to spend minutes and hours a day crafting blog posts and return emails and Facebook chatter and zine articles. It’s another to decide to, out of my brain, craft an entire fictional story and commit it to paper.

What’s the book about? Everyone I know – no wait, about four people – ask what my book is about. Meh. It’s not that I can’t describe it, it’s that I kind of don’t want to – like bad, obligatory sex*, I’d like to get it over with. And maybe edit it. And sure, yes, print it out and hand it around to those who express interest. I did tell Ralph the premise – while biking – and he listened with interest and didn’t even pull back his head, snort, and say, “That’s duuuumb.” So, that was nice.

Today I had to catch up by writing over 4,000 words. This was rather painful. My family supported me: the kids getting their own breakfast and tidying the living room, my husband keeping on my case – gently – until I’d finished the task. For this I thank them. As well as their inspirations for the characters around the claustrophobic, psychotic young mother driven mad by her depressingly clingy, whiny family. I kid, I kid!

Remember that scene in The Naked Gun 33 1/3 where after a day of undercover work at a sperm bank Detective Frank Drebin comes home and pours a bucket of ice over his nuts?**

I’m going to go do that to my wrists.

* Note: this author does not engage in bad, obligatory sex. But she does apparently write bad, obligatory novels.

** Of course you remember; who hasn’t seen this seminal cinematic masterpiece?

hey guess what, nothing really makes me feel better

My Father's Obituary
(Click on the image to find a larger size)

My text was complimented expressly by the mortician yesterday. My mom, aunt, and uncle all reviewed it and only made small edits. I’m proud of this because it’s hard to sum up a life in 300-some words.

Oh and, “the family requests donations be sent to the ACS” – that’s my mom, not me. I don’t request that. I am not a big cancer-hater. I request flowers, or just saying something, or thinking of us. Especially in a couple weeks where everyone else has moved on and we haven’t.

pt. 1 of how many?

Last night when I was caring for my father as everyone slept I felt this cynical laughter in my mind when I thought, I am on as many drugs as he is right now! Of course this was not at all accurate. It was true I had taken some of his oxycodone because I’d been feeling terrible, terrible, almost panicky terrible, and I’d taken some of my cough medicine because my cough was getting worse and worse as the night progressed. I got through last night in the best way I could, and I was a damn good nurse to him, and at 5:30 AM I was ragged and felt I wasn’t serving him best so I woke my mother.

Tonight, though, despite a pharmacopoeia no longer needed by our patient, and wine in the kitchen, I’m coping au naturel. It is terribly hard but I would be kidding myself to think it would in any way be easier to attempt to deaden myself. I am alone and awake. My daughter, son, and mother are sleeping (my mother and daughter, in the same bed, sweetly). My husband is gone, vanished, I don’t know where he is but I will assume he is taking care of himself for the night. My brother is on his way from Portland.

Am I trying to grieve at 1 AM in some noble, lone wolf way or is it my worry for loved ones, my incredible ability to caretake for others, that I won’t sleep until I know my brother is safe in the house? Based of what I’ve seen over the last few days I’d vote a thousand to one Yes. Caretaking makes me laugh because even when I find I am skilled at it, I can’t truly do more than be present and loving. The pain is up to them.

So many images from today I wish I could write them all out as much as possible, let them loose in a torrent. Indeed I am glad that my writings here are my journal and it is my right to do so. I can remember the gratitude I felt seeing the mortician and his assistant, or helper, or whatever he was, when they arrived. They were in suits with ties and the whole kit and had a very swanky bag to transport my father’s remains (the stretcher was a bit short, though). Here’s what I liked about them: they were so present, calm, not at all condescending, they were unafraid.

The little dog Tuck, his silhouette at the open front door as his companion is taken away.

When my father died… well, I can remember every detail but I won’t write about it. Something happened later that I can write about. See, apparently I’m a washer, cleaner, tidying and making beds and doing dishes. This afternoon I had washed my father’s clothes and bedding and when I opened the dryer I found the shirt just last night in the wee hours I’d helped him into, and the shirt before that I spent time with him on Thursday when he ate his last bit of food, a plum. The washcloth I’d used on his forehead, I’d found that on my own last night, and it gave him comfort. The shirt was hard for me. Just minutes ago I held it against a beating heart. I was hurt to see it again, inconsiderate, mute. I miss him so much it feels unbearable in a way so very uncommunicable to others.

After he was out of the house I wrote his obituary. What pressure, especially since I consider myself a writer! I had to laugh I hadn’t started it sooner; but I didn’t let myself worry too very much about it either.