Friday, November 28, 2008

Language

I was thinking about language and stories today. I think we want our stories heard, we want other people and sometimes language gets in the way. I am never as eloquent on this blog as I am in my head when I'm thinking about what I want to say.

Sometimes in group situations it is like I am sitting outside of myself watching. Watching the people in the group maneuver around each other, almost warily. I often just want to command the situation and say everyone relax, let go, but that almost always backfires.

Arrrgghh this is not what I want to say. I'll try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Today

Today has been a really good day. I went to my former school for Thanksgiving dinner with all the folks. It is good to see people and touch base with the young people, but really the best part of the day was saying Goodbye to a few people and just striding out the door with no regrets. It's been a long time coming, this guilt free feeling.

The store has been bustling with folks, some just dropping in to shake my hand and say, "Happy Thanksgiving." Lots of people have told me they are thankful that GMB is here and thriving. I try to tell them all with sincerity that I am thankful for them.

Here is some more JC (um...that would be Joseph Campbell not Jesus Christ!)

"To take a righteous attitude toward anything
is to denigrate it.

Awe is what moves us forward.

Eternity
is a dimension
of here and now.

The divine lies within you.

Live from your own center."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

um...


There have been a few people harping, simply harping on me to write something. (This is about my sister Tai Chi friend, not you, you don't harp.)

Friday night I attended two events, this is a big night out for me these days. The first was the VFW fund raising Meat Raffle. Yep, here in the NEK of VT we raffle meat and hey, I won a ham, had a couple of drinks and caroused with the hunters in from deer camp. This isn't just any Meat Raffle either, this is competitive meat raffling there are two teams who go every year and compete against each other. It was fun; loud, noisy grown-ups hooting and hollering, giving each other a hard time and yet obviously really caring about each other. Even in this wild environment people were on the look out for each other, holding the door, cautiously navigating around the woman on crutches and helping her, checking in with each other. On one level it was about meat and on another it was about unity.

Second event a house party. It started after the meat raffle with a whole different crew of people. Mostly couples who have young children. There were a lot of musicians and a great band. It was sad and interesting to watch all of these parents really work to battle sexism. The men wanted to stay and play music and hang out, the women wanted to stay and play music and hang out...the children needed to go home and go to bed. As sexism requires it mostly fell to the women to take care of the children and the men stayed behind. Ouch for everyone involved.

I overheard one young father and musician talking about it. He mentioned that his girlfriend had left with the children and was angry. He seemed so hopeless about figuring out how to do it. Then he said, "But I'm living it, this is it. This is life and I'm in it. I've got to play music." And I went directly to Joseph Campbell:

"The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are...

The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be. Being alive is the meaning. The warrior's approach is to say "yes" to life: "yea" to all of it. Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.

Opportunities to find deeper power within ourselves come when life seems most challenging"

The young musician is right.

Be it meat raffles or band party's, this is it live within it in joy.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Proud


There is nothing to say execpt that I am proud to be an American today.


It is the first time in at least eight years that I can say that.


Change has arrived.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pleased


This is a picture of me, in the scudgy bookstore mirror hence the spotage, being incredibly pleased. I left my camera in a friends tool trailer, of course this was accidental. The camera wasn't tied down, it was actually sitting on a shelf. When he found it it was on the floor surrounded by heavy pieces of steel tools...completely unharmed. I didn't find out if it was okay for several days.


I am pleased.


However, I am pleased for several reasons. The most obvious is that my camera was returned intact. The more profound reason is that I had given up all hope and it didn't really matter. I actually achieved un-attachment to something that in general is very important to me. The first evening I hardly slept worrying about it. By the time I got to where I was meeting with my friend I forgot to ask him about it...until he mentioned it. An interesting journey from point a to point b.


I feel like I won twice here. I got to come to terms with my own materialism and I got to get back what I lost.


I am thankful for both the lesson and the outcome.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debate




Tonight after Tai Chi class I am going to watch the Vice Presidential debate at Parker Pie in West Glover Vermont.

Parker Pie is in the back of an old country store. Some local young people returned to W. Glover after finishing college and decided to start a pizza place. They have three booths and three tables, a bar that seats two, free Internet access, awesome pizza, great beer, and it is generally jam packed with folks every night, young, the very young, old, the very old and middle aged folks. I love it there and I think that watching this debate there is really the only thing to do it. I think to watch this debate we should be amid a crowd of like-thinking people, we should definitely have beer handy and pizza with gourmet toppings doesn't hurt either.

It is difficult for me to watch a woman like the candidate. She is really giving women in America a bad name. Women in general a bad name. There are many ways in which I want to see her lose this debate, but it is definitely a torn feeling. Women are equal to men, can think as well as men, can debate as well as men, but I don't think this particular woman can...

There was so much excitement about Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama for the dems. We tossed the stereotypes out the window and stepped into the 21st Century. I think the Republican party made a mockery of that achievement by nominating this woman and thinking that she in any way is a peer of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Enough said. I am glad I will be among friends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The path of least resistance to pure existance

A customer, and might I say friend, came in yesterday. He is truly working to achieve enlightenment and is forging his path through studying, meditation, yoga etc. His young son recently went off to college and he is now alone. He feels concentrated on his objective. I pointed out to him that he doesn't have much contact with other folks, but he says he does. Visiting in the post office and bookstore, etc.

He is very clear.

I, however, am not. Yes, I am caught up in judgement, this election is terrifying to me, but I do think that pure existence must include some kind of love of others. I can tell that I don't actually need other people, I could exist without them and probably be relatively happy. But I want connection, I yearn toward it, I really like other people. Each of us need to find our way to enlightenment individually I guess, what works for one is not always so for another. In many ways I long for less attachment, but I think of those attachments as being to material things not humans.

I keep thinking about "enlightenment" which isn't even defined here. What is it actually? Can we achieve true enlightenment by isolation? Is that real? There are so many questions.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Fall of the Year

As some of you may know during September and October droves of people come to Vermont for "leaf peeping". With good reason.

I had to drive out to East Burke today to buy some books from their library...

Tangent:
I had one of those moments that the universe gives me to let me know I am connected and tuned in to something. Yesterday as I puttered around the shop I noticed that the perpetual stack of "Model Railroading Magazine" was no longer so unending, the bottom of the pile was visible! I thought where the heck am I going to come across more of those. I immediately saw the potential for something else on that shelf. Today at the library sale the librarian said, "Do you want some old railroading magazines?" I thought must be something similar but cannot be, but Yes oh yes more "Model Railroading"! Boxes of them in fact. The library folks were tickled that I wanted them and I was tickled that there they were just when I needed them.
Ah...coincidence.

Back to my original post:
on the drive to the library I noticed the trees. They are changing again, the fog was heavy this morning and the maples just blaze against it. There is something so tangibly real about the flaming glory of death in autumn. Walking down the street to the bank and post office I noticed the maple in the park, the trees you know don't just turn orange or yellow or red, they slowly one leaf at a time change, so they become a whirlwind of all these colors, including every shade of green, all blended into one individual oil painting of a tree in autumn. They are so perfect I ache.

As I pulled back into town from my drive "It's a beautiful morning" came on the radio. It was good to drive through town and notice so many folks out on the streets, an elderly gentleman out walking in shirt sleeves and his hunting vest, the real estate guy poking his head out of the door to holler at the guy who does the recycling. Someone wending their way down the hill, a woman walking her dog in the park...it was/is a beautiful morning.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

All Politics is Personal



The election is fast approaching.

I, and many people I know, am terrified. I don't know how we will continue in this country if we don't have a big change. I don't want to preach my political views here, I just want to write about how I am feeling, which in a nutshell is scared.

A very good friend feels differently about this situation and it has been hard for me to take. We have decided to "agree to disagree" but this too is very hard for me. I feel like some education is needed (I'm sure she feels the same way). I don't want to force my opinion on her, but I don't understand how an educated intelligent woman can feel the way she does. It is frustrating and inevitably leads to more of those scary feelings.

The one and only answer that I can devise is that we as Americans and as humans need each other. We need to share with each other despite our differences. We need to hold each other, laugh together, notice each other, cry together. Men, women, black, white, able, disabled, old, young, Catholics, Jews, Muslums, Christians...the list goes on and on....mostly just humans. There is so much we can do united, and so much holding us apart.

There is no way I would let a difference of opinions shape the way I feel about my friend. We are close and will continue to be so. We need to overcome fear and isolation if any change is going to happen. The divisiveness of this election is the opposite of the direction we should head in.

This much I know is true.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Ocean




A couple of weeks back I went to Maine to visit friends.


We took the ferry out to Peak's Island. There is something about the salt water that moves me. I stood on the boat in the deep fog and felt ancient, as if I had at one time inhabited someone else's bones. Someone who lived on the water. Someone with brown salt crusted skin, eyes half opened, seamed faced. Someone who was me or not....


I am not a great believer in things unseen...but I was moved.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Recapturing an old thought

(Self-portrait?)


John Lennon said, "Life is what happens when you are making plans."

A customer quoted this to me the other day and I've taken it to heart. I am a tried and true planner, it is a pattern developed in childhood for security, I think. I've decided to abandon it somewhat. I'm trying to focus on the here and now and truly appreciate it. I mean sure I can plan what I want for dinner or what I am going to do this weekend, but I am choosing not to live longing for that time to come. So far I think I am somewhat successful, although I find that money really gets in the way of this kind of thinking. Money takes planning for me.

I took these pictures this last weekend. A prime example of trying not to plan too much...I really wanted to be spontaneous and free this weekend. Things go so much better if I'm not attached to what I think I need. I had a really good time, just being me. I played a little, talked a little, spent time living. It's all I really want out of every day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

City Energy









It has been a while but my recent trip to Boston has inspired some thoughts.

There is something about the energy of the city that makes me feel alive in a way that I never do in the woods. It is a wild and woolly feeling..amid the rushing crowds I feel connected and oh so human. I don't think I would have this feeling if I lived there all of the time. It is an awesome feeling, literally I am awe inspired by the works of man, the mass of mankind perched together, teeming, on the edge of an ocean. As a part of that mass I feel much larger than I do in the woods. There I am aware of how infinitesimally small I really am. And against all odds I feel connected. I walk the streets making contact with others, I talk to them, especially those who are marginalized. I am aware because it is so unusual for me.

I love the architecture, it is as beautiful as the mountain ranges and pointed firs reaching skyward, a reflection really. And I love the age especially of Boston. There you can really see the decades of history, it is a real march through time and space...the cathedrals jammed in next to an all glass building, next to an iron bridge...man's thought processes all juxtaposed...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Beginning





(These pictures are unrelated to the following information. I just wanted to put them up.)



I think I found a way to begin changing the world. On July 19th I backed into someone while parallel parking. I scratched the bumper of the Saab behind me. I left a note, which someone told me not to...said it was setting myself up for a world of trouble (hey I'm paraphrasing okay?). I left the note. The guy called, I gave him the information. He was nice, I was nice. Actually I really like him and we got to talking for quite some time...what he does what I do, small business owners chit chat.

I got a call from the insurance company today. I explained what happened. The guy at the insurance company said I was a good person for leaving the note. He said if someone hit him at work no one would leave a note...

Then it happened I changed the world.

I said "Would you leave a note?"

He paused..."um..."

Maybe now he will think twice and leave the note. Maybe he will notice that the owner of the car he hit is a person. A living breathing entity, with thoughts, and FEELINGS. That we live in a world filled with people, not problems. Maybe he will get to talk to the person he hits, exchange life notes, make a connection. Similar to the connection I made with him.

I thought today I would write about community. About how important it is to me. I didn't think it would be about the car accident. In the course of rereading I realize I did write about community.

Interesting that.

Friday, July 25, 2008

What is Wrong with Today

I was on the phone with the phone company for over an hour this morning. As I was calling from my business phone, this did not please me. I know I missed book business calls. Due to an error I made combining two bills the company has overcharged me. I did not hang up, I did not harangue the people I was talking to (even though I was transferred 3 times and had to explain the situation every time!), I kept a smile in my voice for them. They have hard jobs.

The final outcome is that I got a fax...which upon reading I realized I had to send back in five days time with proof of payment...if not the whole issue would be dropped and I would be back to square one. No one on the phone told me this information, not that I would be receiving a fax or that I would have to send it back.

I feel fortunate in the fact that I am a reader, I own a small business and every penny counts I am not paying that extra money, but I think of people out in the world who don't necessarily have the same resources that I have...this is what burns my cookies. Recently a similar issue happened with my partner. He was supposed to get Workman's compensation for an injury at work. He was denied, but we were lucky in that my Mom is a Workman's compensation claim rep. so we had the inside track. We appealed and won the appeal, but if my Mother hadn't been there telling me what hoops to jump through we would be paying bills that we weren't responsible for.

I guess the point of this rant is that so often people get screwed because of red tape. They don't know how to handle the situation, don't have access to resources to help them, don't have the stamina or the time to stay on the phone for an hour and a half. Our society is not people friendly...how do we change that? How do we stay focused on the positive, notice that those are PEOPLE on the other end of the phone line? Help each other solve our problems? Companies are wary because people are trying to get out of paying their bills all the time. What happened to honesty?

I think major things could be changed here, but where do I begin?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Disaster


Disaster struck a dear friend of mine.

A mini tornado or micro-burst hit his house in Waterville Vermont last Friday. He lost about 250 trees 80 of which were in his not very long driveway. The trees looked like pixie sticks tossed down at the whim of the wind. He lost his garage which was picked up and hurled into the side of his house, a large tree fell on his house, another fell nearby and uprooted his deck. In the long run he was not injured, his house wasn't badly damaged and neither of the cars in the garage were injured. Be thankful for the blessing we have.

I spent the day with him on Sunday trying to be helpful. We cleaned up about five downed trees in the backyard. Including a huge old willow, it felt completely futile. I worked hard in the pouring rain all day, soaked through to the skin, we made giant burn piles out of the trees, when we were done the yard was cleared, completely futile in the face of what was there.

When I got home I could not shake the feeling of shock. It was difficult to leave him there alone, although my partner went back the next day. I have been having a difficult time finding the words to explain the feeling...being involved so emotionally and physically and then just coming back into work and being here with everyone who hasn't experienced such a thing. It is an odd displaced feeling.

He has power again and phones and eventually all will be well. Again I am thankful for the blessings.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Shaking it Loose



Today is a better day. I am once again present in my life and I've shaken loose the stuff that had me in it's grip yesterday.

Today is a stormy, thundery, heavy rain day. It is delightful. It makes me feel wild...probably the electricity in the air.

I had an experience a couple of weeks ago with a snake, a toad, and a man. We were working on cleaning up a tree that fell down in our yard, blocking it up for firewood and stacking it...I walked by the perennial garden with an armload of wood and movement caught my eye. There was a large garter snake under the irises. At first I could see only it's body, then I saw it's head, jaws stretched taut around the bod,y head! of a large toad. I quickly called worm boy (code for my life partner) over and we sat and watched that snake try to eat that giant toad for at least 20 minutes. It was Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom right in my own back yard. After the 20 minutes the tree and the wood called and we went back to work, with occasional stops to check progress. Shockingly the snake gave up...I paused to look and there was a fat toad and no snake. I called worm boy over and we checked out the toad who was fine, a bit slimy, but quite alive. We moved him into the woods out of the deadly perennial garden. I was glad he survived against all odds.

The best thing about this experience was it made me feel ten years old again. I was an explorer of forest and fields..often alone. This time I had a friend and companion who was as interested as I was, another human who was willing to sit for 20 minutes and quietly watch a snake try to eat a toad. Someone who was just as amazed by the survival of the toad. It was a good day.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Anxiety


It is interesting how you can be in connection with people and have the same old scenarios play out again and again. I think we've all changed, grown, become better people...more compassionate toward each other, more empathetic, but then I get anxious. I worry that the same old thing is going to happen all over again and the cycle will repeat itself with all of the hurt and sadness.

It is good to note that these are just feelings that perhaps everyone has. It doesn't really stop my brain from spinning like a squirrel in a wheel, but hey nothing does.

Breathing and Tai Chi and time are probably the only solutions.

Friday, July 11, 2008


The community of Lyndonville has really united around the death of our dear Doctor. It has been interesting to be a part of and to watch how people deal with such a shocking blow. Everyone in town is talking about what happened, giving the details they know and seeking information. There is something about our human psyche that longs for intimate facts, we yearn to be a part of the story, to know the story, in order that we may ease our grief.

We seek to let the familiars and intimates of Dr. E know that we who knew him less well mourn him. We want to comfort them with our massive presence. This feeling of unity convinces me that humans have always been creatures of family, we are not meant to be solitary, although the forces that be in this world try to convince us that we should be separate.

Think of the power of a united humanity. Think of what we could do for each other if we lived without fear, with instead open hearts and minds. Oh what a world it would be.

For now I am thankful that I live in a community capable of reaching for each other in times of crisis.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Loss


A doctor who lives and practices in our community died today. He was working in the woods and suffered a traumatic brain injury. He was alone and left in the woods for 16 hours.


It is such an unexpected tragic blow to have this man. who touched so many lives, gone. It has effected our whole town/community, on this hot sunny July day there is a black cloud. Many people who did not even know him are grieving his loss. I am included in this number.


I am having two lines of thought: how rich this man's life was and how many people he touched. He was a doctor, a mentor, a writer, a father, a friend to so many. One can only hope that the ripples that one creates with one's death will reach this wide. What a spirit he had to reach out to so many in his community. He was raised in this small rural community, went away, became a doctor, and returned. He built a practice, raised a family, lived in this community.


Second thoughts are more personal...basically I feel terrified about the fact that it is true that at any moment our lives could be utterly devastated by an accident. The people who loved this doctor will never be the same, our community will never be the same. I want everyone I love to be safe, guarded, happy...


Blessings to all.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Recovery

I have been thinking about human interaction and how we recover from hurt received by those closest to us. What I have determined is that we don't really recover. I think of those I know who have relationships that are undermined by discontent and lies. I don't think I could go on loving my partner in the same way if I knew he lied to me. I would continue to love him, but trust?? I have had my trust tested before and I haven't recovered. I continue to love the people who tested me, but it isn't the same. Perhaps I am naive in believing that people can be so close in relation to each other and not have lapses of dishonesty. I live in hope that I am not.

It seems to me that when we lie to one another it changes the course of our lives. We lose something that is so valuable, a bit of innocence, a bit of belief, a bit of magic. We can never be such good friends again, although we can continue to love each other and try to rediscover...perhaps over time recovery is possible, perhaps magic can be rediscovered.

My blogging has been infrequent due to intense busyness. I'll try to be more faithful. (Interesting word choice there!)

I am unsure of this line of thought and would appreciate any comments that others have about it.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Thinking...

Bookselling has been quite busy these days, the summer rush I suppose. It is different this year, I'm not quite so new to people and I like that. It does challenge me to have to remember people who remember me.


I am focusing lately on breath. Just breathing, noticing my breath, breathing deeply and with intent. I think it is good, it is all I have time for really. My attention is out on others which is a good thing for me. When my attention is out I am much more present in the world than when I an turned internally, assessing. The assessment of myself is where I get in trouble, it is easier to just be.


The one thing which has stood out for me over the last few weeks is how much I continue to long for connection with people. I know I have written of this before, but I want the people I love to feel loved and I want to feel loved. It is so much work.


Strawberries...first harvest from my garden...first from my strawberries....Rejoice.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

So much..

The mason is working on the other window right now, so I have a moment. It has been a whirlwind of a week. I have so much swirling around inside of me, thoughts about reconnecting with old friends, trying to make relationships with new friends work, the city, impressions of people in the city and how much we change.

It is amazing how much life you can pack into one week. I'll just put down what I did for now and come back later with thoughts and impressions.
June 20th was my birthday, I worked at the store, lovely, then out to dinner with friends I've had since high school. After dinner went to my partner's gig, then my Philly friend and I went to another friend's house to spend the night. It was good to see those two connect.
June 21st got up early and did Tai Chi on the back deck over looking a field and river. Took a walk and went for a dip, no one else was up yet so a little gift time to myself. Said goodbye to Philly, and loaded up the truck with band gear (yes in my off time I'm a groupie/roadie). Drove to the NEK for a house party which was some fun. Back to my house late night. This band is comprised of old college friends.
SQUAGMYRE

June 22nd Up early again! Shifted stuff around and back to Waterville with the band gear. Came home and slept!
June 23rd, Closed for the mason! I got a new step off to Greensboro for a book buying from a Tai Chi friend, lots of really old interesting engineering books. Excellent to have this day to myself.
June 24th Worked at the store, Large Women's Support Group in the evening.
June 25th Off to see the Red Sox play the Arizona Diamondbacks at Fenway Park! The Big Unit pitching against Wakefield. It was great.
June 26th Home again...laundry...

A busy time, but some fun. Details to follow.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Under Construction

New windows going in to the bookstore today!! Replacing plywood!! Hurrah for the light, hurrah for southern exposure! I'll put up photos.

Unfortunately the window being replaced in directly over the computer, so I will not be posting for a few days.

Until then...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Today is my Birthday


























June 20th, 1970 at 12:01pm I was born. I am still becoming.

I love my birthday. For me it is the most special day of the year. Vain glorious I know, but I am thankful for my life. I like to think of the births I have witnessed and imagine mine. I like to call my Mother and thank her for all the work she did to bring me into the world, according to her, it wasn't easy.

It is a good time of reflection for me. A time to notice the work I've done, a time to celebrate who I am, flaws and all. I am after all supremely pleased to be alive, to be alive now, to notice I am alive.

Happy Summer to all.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Luck


Luck as defined by the American Heritage dictionary :
"1. The chance happening of good or bad events; fortune. 2. Good fortune; success.> v. to gain success or something desirable by chance."

For a long time now I have felt that I am an extremely lucky person. I am generally not superstitious, but it seems that many, many good things have come my way through no doing of my own. For example: I win things. Raffles, scratch-off tickets, fair games. I get itchy palms just before my luck kicks in...

But I worry. I thought that this luck was payback for some awful things that happened in my life when I was younger, now it seems the pendulum is swinging the other way, I have been happy and content for a long time, I live a blessedly tragedy free life. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for tragedy to strike, I would give up luck if it meant not having to worry.

My luck started at birth. Being born into a community where strife is not a daily issue. Being born into a country that is rich in resource. Being born.

I am grateful for all I have...and it is good to acknowledge that there is another side to this as well. Perhaps what I view as "luck", perhaps it is just possible that I was the impetus behind the good fortune in my life. Perhaps by caring about people, by being kind to others and the environment, by not asking for more than what is my lot in life, perhaps these things played a role in my luck.

This view point does not imply that those who are not so lucky have done anything to deserve it.

So...I will continue to be thankful, to try to be kind t0 people, to love, to simplify my life so it doesn't impact others in a negative way, to reach out to those in need. This is how I pray.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Liberated

I am feeling suddenly liberated. I figured out a way to solve my monetary issues and it is like the world got lighter.

It is good to be relieved, but I wish I could have not felt so dark and down-hearted about money in the first place. I am always "preaching" that these things don't matter, but when faced with them myself, I am sunk. I don't think I sank all the way, I was still living, but definitely on top of a lot of worrying. I will always worry, but I feel relieved and will worry less these days.

I am grateful for the plenty that surrounds me.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Correspondence

I received a lovely letter via airmail from Sutton-on-the-Forest, York England. This came from a customer who has had a long exchange with the former owner and is keeping it up with me. What an art letter writing is. He is eloquent without being wordy, amusing, and kind. An elderly gentleman, a professor, who once traveled abroad often, but is no longer able to.

While I love the Internet and the speed that we can be connected, I also love receiving this kind of letter. It carries with it a sense of something exotic and foreign. It makes me feel connected physically to the larger world in a way the Internet does not.


And letter writing. Here at the store I have volumes of letters written by professors, poets, authors so eloquent and grand. It was in letters that these sages discussed their ideas and epiphanies with their colleagues, and we have these documents, a map of the progress these ideas took on their way to becoming. In 50 years will people have these maps? Will they be consigned to cyber-space? Short comments punctuated by abbreviations. What of our language? What of the poetry of words placed on a page thoughtfully set down to convey meaning to another person a world away?


I will continue this correspondence with my English gentleman. And I am now inspired to create more...links to my family, friends and acquaintances...links to the past.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Diving


It is so easy to push stuff down inside and hold it there, surf on top of it and live my life. Then every once in a while I notice it's there and I realize that I am only surfing. I haven't dove down into the deep of living. My Tai Chi teacher says this about Tai Chi also, you can float on the surface of it or you can work really hard and dive down and Chi will present itself to you.

I am tired of surfing, I want coral reefs, sharks, fish that glow in the dark...and ENERGY. In order to get to it I have to go through all of the stuff that I have pushed down where I thought it was out of the way, what I realize now is it's lurking, waiting for me to decide to start living so it can rear it's ugly head. I know there is a lot of metaphor here, but how else to discuss this?

In reality I've been pushing against this amorphous layer for a long time. I've just come up against something rather ugly (it has something to do with feeling lazy and not good enough) so here I am...trying to use language to sort it out.

Adrian Rich perhaps has already said it better than I ever could. (Reading this as I was typing made me cry, to think that someone else another human has experienced the same feeling, sanity)

"Diving Into the Wreck"

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
Otherwise
it's a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and sway into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she. I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Lonliness vs. Aloneness


"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore send not to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." John Donne

I was thinking of a friend of mine who feels like he has to do everything in his life alone. Thinking of him got me thinking about this quote so I looked it up. At first I thought it would be something comforting, but what I realized is that this quote is about loneliness, not about being and doing alone.

We are linked, we are one as members of the human race and inhabitants of the planet earth. We are never truly alone. And yet we are often beset by feeling of being completely alone. Disconnected...it is possible to realize both sensations, connection and disconnection, at once.

I am surrounded by a large community of loving people. Family, friends, acquaintances and it is seldom that I have time to spend alone. Yet I am often lonely and I often feel as if I have to do everything alone, unsupported, out on a limb. This sentiment is nothing new, I know, but it strikes me how most humans have this feeling in common, but we do nothing to dispel it for future generations. I think we are a communal society, living separate from each other and all longing to go back into the fold. We are not made to do things alone. I think of how much happier I am when I am functioning as a member of a group and I know this is true.

We have so much more power when we are connected. This is the reason for the fear-mongering that goes on in the US. It keeps us separate, alone, and powerless...how do we find connection with one another? How do we show our humaness without fear?

How do we ask for help?

Friday, June 6, 2008

New Moon in Gemini

The book signing is about to start and there are a few people here. I have just a moment to jot a blog, my goal is everyday.

My Tai Chi Teacher was mentioning that the New Moon was in Gemini and that this tends toward leading people into having difficulty communicating.

This is true of me...at least it's not all my fault. (This I really do already know!)

Booksigning, happening now!!!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Being Delighted


I am working hard at being delighted today. With myself and my busy chaotic life. What I can notice and be delighted about is that all of the chaos comes from trying to get close to people. Physically and spiritually. All of this is for me.

Tomorrow I am speaking at the graduation at the school where I used to work. I am speaking about my intern and I am so looking forward to it. It is an interesting thing to watch young people in a four year period grow and change. It is watching a becoming. Usually they become more confident, more controlled, generous, they expand. When I think of my life in four year blocks I can see that I don't change as much. What a time of life. No wonder most people look back on it in horror.

So that is my morning.

My afternoon is a book signing. Harriet F. Fisher wrote a book called "The Darlings of Vermont's Northeast Kingdom". It has been a big hit around here, I've sold a lot of copies and I think it will be a busy afternoon. The interesting thing here is that Harriet is going to be 90 in July. She has written five books and has a sixth coming out in August. She is a historian and an amazing woman. Her granddaughter is a dear friend of mine, so I feel as if I have an in with Harriet. I don't really think I needed one, but we have known each other for some time and have some common ground to discuss.

The feeling here is about the juxtaposition of these two events. One in which I will see several young people begin new projects, begin the process of really living their lives as adults. What a growing time the 20's are! The second event is seeing someone at the end of her life, still living, but with the complete realization that she has a limited time to complete the tasks she has started. A beginning and somewhat of an ending.

And here I am right in the middle. Definitely food for thought.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Ballet

My niece danced a performance for her Ballet Class. She is so beautiful and graceful, I am one proud Aunt.
Here is the video.
video
video

Raining and 60 degrees

Summer has arrived. It is a soft and lovely grey rain, almost a mist but not quite. I love these days when the sky comes down and mingles with the leaves. It is quieting. In fact I often feel aggravated when a day begins like this and then changes to blue sky and sunshine. Interesting but true.

The seedlings are soaking up this soft, soft water-fall, I can see them settling in stretching out, when the sun comes they will grow, grow, grow. What a glorious time of year. My senses are still reeling after the large amount of snow we had. It was so white for so long, I think it will take a little while for the change to truly settle in...not that I want to stop noticing it.

I am going to the city this weekend. Trying to prepare myself for defense against the "city-monsters". Actually I love the hustle and bustle, I love driving in the traffic, I love the art and the availability of culture. I love to visit it. So I am looking forward to this. To seeing people I love (babies I love especially.), to listening to music and talking, talking, talking. Trying to connect, reconnect, be together.

What a beautiful life.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Book Biz and Evolving

A customer complimented me on my store today. We had a nice discussion about how happiness isn't connected to money, how we can be complete in what we do without earning a lot. He noted that he had been in the store for over an hour and overheard many discussions I was having with various people, none of them involved money or even a monetary transaction. I am delighted.

This discussion follows a theme...I went to a wonderful housewarming/birthday party on Sunday. I had several conversations with people and most of them centered around loving what you do. Working in an area that you feel fulfilled in. One woman was a social worker and the gentlemen involved in the discussion drove a tractor trailer. Interesting how such variety and yet such contentment. I believe the contentment doesn't really come from the work, but from the essence of the people who do the work. That on some level we learn to love what we do, we take full advantage of our situations and do more than make the best of it, we revel in it.


If only this could be true of all humans. If we could find contentment in our daily lives and not seek something more. It seems to me that there is more than enough resource on this beautiful planet, why are we so fearful of running out?? Why do so many of us strive and fight and claw to have more than we need? It is some left over instinct from the past...we don't really need it anymore and it is time to evolve.


Got that people....EVOLVE! The Book Queen has spoken.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Planting

The best thing for me when I am frustrated is to do SOMETHING. What I did this time was planted my garden in the rain on Saturday. It was lovely. I got really dirty and wet and began to feel human again. I'm not sure my raincoat will recover.

We have strawberries with lovely cream white and yellow flowers, garlic, broccoli, cabbage, sunflowers, cosmos, carrots and parsnips growing. Saturday I planted tomatoes (2 varieties), peppers (2 varieties), marigold, basil, butternut squash, giant pumpkins, cucumbers, peas, beans, and zucchini (even though every gardener in Vermont grows it and there is always a plethora in the autumn). Tonight I am going to try to get the kale in the ground and some dahlias my sister gave me.

There is something fundamental about gardening. The growing of food for ourselves, the smell of the dirt, the glory of the taste...it touches a place within me that is ancient. It is restful and inspiring. It eases my anxiety about money (at least we will have something to eat!!) It connects me and quite literally grounds me.

When I was done, wet and dirty I was elated. I still am.

Friday, May 30, 2008

AAARRRGGGHHH




I get so frustrated sometimes.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Year Ago Today...


I bought Green Mountain Books and Prints.


and it changed my life. I cannot believe how much stress I used to function under in my previous job. I am so grateful that I've been given/earned this opportunity. I struggle for the words to properly express how delighted, content, truly happy I am doing the work of the bookstore. People often ask me how it has been, how things are going and I always tell them things are good, everything is fine, the store is great and so am I...this is true but it is so much more.


I am eternally grateful to my partner of 14 years who was obligated to get himself a full-time job to make this enterprise successful. Without him I certainly would not have been able to take this on. I am grateful and thankful for the previous owner of the store who did everything in her power to help me buy the store. I am thankful to all of the customers who believe in the value of a local independent bookstore and continue to support the store on a weekly basis. I am thankful to my family who had to give up much of their time with me when I left teaching and a teacher's schedule. I am full of thanks.


I am still scared. Afraid I will fail. Pushing through that and continuing.


Goals for year two:

Website, website, website.

More non-author events

Redo the childrens room.

Figure out a memoir section...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Camping, The Dems, and Reeve Lindbergh




Sleeping outside in a lean-to is the way to go. If I could I would do it all summer long. Friday I stayed up until 2am with a dear friend, just being together and really talking. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was the dawn birdsong, so loud!, so alive! and the sound of a nearby river rushing over stones.

I awoke and was immediately worried, places to go and people to see. I convinced myself it was late in the day and got up, it was 5:45. I went off to the showers, campgrounds have all the amenities (I live in a house with no running water or electricity, so a shower was heavenly), no hot water, but my hair smelled intensely of woodsmoke so I had to get in. The water was so cold it made my brain cramp. I got out as quickly as I could. Took another look at the hot water contraption and got it working. Ah...steam after the cold was so good.

I then had a 45 minute Tai Chi workout near the river and felt wonderful, full of energy.

Onward to the Vermont State Democratic Convention and book selling. I arrived early and headed into chaos. There were so many people just milling around...I eventually found our table, then went to wait for my colleague. She arrived, we set up the books and voila! started selling them. Okay she's set...onward!

To Green Mountain Books and Prints for a book signing with Reeve Lindbergh. This was crazy I tried to take a back route so I could go home and see my dogs, the town I tried to go through was "Closed". Okay, literally they said a major route was "closed". When I asked for the alternate route they told me there wasn't one. WHAT! I pulled out my trusty Gazetteer and found my own alternate route. Yipes.

The book signing was a success, several people came and the discussion was lovely. Ms. Lindbergh stayed for a couple of hours and then was on her way. So was I, back to the campground.

Back to the lovely river, a spinach and cheddar quesidilla, ice cold beer and horseshoes.

A day in the life of a bookseller.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blue Sky and Breath


Tai Chi this morning on the green grass with a light wind and blue sky. Birds, the only music, new green leaves a tapestry...breath.

I was fluid motion, movement without effort...the green of the leaves was piercing against the color of the sky, each leaf having a life of it's own.

I am centered, I am here.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

In this moment


Here I am in this moment writing. I am not doing a half a dozen other things I could be doing. I am here, now, present.

Life has taken on a pace that leaves me feeling giddy. My brain is functioning at a high rate, one much higher than anything my body could keep up with. In layman's (woman's) terms I am very busy. What tends to happen to me when life gets like this is that I forget all about the beautiful present moment and I focus on what's coming up, trying to plan and prepare, and I miss what is happening right now. I think to some extent this is what happens to all humans as they age, we focus on the future and take ourselves out of the now and then we say, Where did the time go? How many people have lived and forgotten to notice it?

I often wish I could find the focus that I very rarely fall into when doing Tai Chi. I stop noticing my body and my thoughts and I just am. Time slows down and I become more fluid, this has actually only happened to me once so far, but that one time occurrence leads me to believe it is possible, I know it exists that state of being where one just is. The reason I continue with Tai Chi is because these things happen, they happen often enough for me to believe anything is possible, that someday I will be filled with energy like golden light and I will feel it surging through me. Sometimes I feel I am on the cusp of that...

Here I am noticing, slowing down, enjoying moments, living...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Busy with Books

Wow, the Kunin booksigning led to bigger things. Hurrah!

Green Mountain Books and Prints will be selling "Pearls, Politics, and Power" at the Vermont Statewide Democratic Convention on Saturday May 24th. The former governor will be signing books at our table after her keynote speech. Hopefully I'll be able to move all of the stock I have. For some reason this makes me feel like I've arrived as a bookseller. Ego, ego, ego.

It is exciting to have so much going on with book signings and authors...money is tight right now, so all of these events make me feel hopeful that all will be well.

Actually I must remember that all is well.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Post/Pre Book Signing


The book signing with the former Governor of Vermont, Madeline M. Kunin was a success!! It was actually really easy, much of this ease can be attributed to Ms. Kunin. She is a gracious and lovely women. Her discussion of the book was all I hoped it would be. I definitely highly recommend it to anyone. Her passion about the issue of women in politics comes through in her every word and gesture.

It was also great to have lots of community support. The Caledonia County Dems came out in full force and there were several women from the NEK Business and Professional Women. Also there were several people who saw the ad in the newspaper.

It was fun and interesting, but basically I'm just glad it's over and I don't have to think about it anymore.

I am hosting another book signing on May 24th. Reeve Lindbergh will be signing her new book "Forward From Here: Leaving middle age and other unexpected adventures". Reeve is a local author and I'm sure several people will be out to see her. The pressure here is different, I was told I needed to have a minimum number of people for Ms. Kunin's signing so that was nerve racking. Reeve lives in St. Johnsbury (one town over) and knows the bookstore well. She is a highly recognized author and I'm sure the event will be well attended.

It feel as if the summer season has begun.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Borrowing A Kid

My partner and I borrowed a kid for the weekend. Her parents went to the Red Sox/Brewers game on Saturday so she hung out with us on Saturday and Sunday. She is four.

Four is a pretty fantastic age to be and to be with. S is an amazing child, she has so much curiosity and really notices the magic in the world. I have known her since she was born and it is so interesting to watch her grow. Her stages of development are really obvious and she is now at a stage where she is really watching how people interact with each other. You can see her learning about men and women and men and women together...in a way it's scary.

One of the blessings of being an Auntie is that I get to be with lots of children in a way that is so different from what a parent experiences. The children I spend time with are always happy to be with me, they listen when I give them directions (because I don't have to do it all the time.) and in general are very well behaved. I find this is not always true when they are with their parents. I don't think this is a safety issue, all the children I spend time with have known me for most of their lives, I think it has to do with the fact that spending time with me alone is a bit of a novelty for them, and I'd like to think that they have fun with me, I'm not too demanding, and they like me.

So if you have friends who are parents, be an ally, borrow a kidfor a day!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Signing

I am hosting an event tonight. Madeline M. Kunin, the former governor of Vermont, will be signing her book "Pearls, Politics, and Power: How Women can Win and Lead". Great title huh? She is going to speak and sign books at our local library. I made this happen. (Just trying once again to stay focused on noticing my significance!) It is a big event and I'm a bit nervous, but mostly I'm excited to meet her and hear her speak.

The book is an interesting read for any woman, it is inspiring and real. She focuses on a lot of American women in politics and has quotes from them discussing what is difficult about being a female politician in a field dominated mostly by white men. She also addresses the unique issue that many women face, how to be a mother and a politician. She discusses time and how valuable it is, and how really there is none to lose. Another salient fact she writes about is the perspective women have on leading and how much it differs from the style most men lead with. She tends to see women building community and collaborating with others more often then men. This will be a powerful asset in the years ahead. The other piece of the book I really like is 12 short vignettes about different women leaders throughout history. She discusses who they were and how they effected change in the world. Overall it is a powerful book and I'm excited to here her speak about it.


I am a bit nervous about hosting and introducing and needing to be savvy...I am not the slickest person around, but I am good natured and will try really really hard.


The joys of being a bookseller.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


One of the things I love about Tai Chi is that it is possible to focus on the microcosm and have that in turn, effect the macrocosm. Physically doing Tai Chi makes me feel strong and grounded, I gain energy which allows me to effect the world around me. It gives me the strength to to what must be done...but also a focus, so I have attention for other people, I can listen and think well about them. I also like that focusing on working with and on my body leads me into thinking about my emotional state and how those emotions effect me physically. It is physical, mental, emotional, inner, outer, on and off, yin and yang... such a balance.


I like that Tai Chi is a centuries old practice, used martially and medicinally. There is a history there which feels important and profound. (It is one of the reasons I love baseball too.) It leaves me feeling connected.


"Be as still as a mountain,

move like a great river."

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The End of the World as We Know It???

I am experiencing an underlying low level anxiety in my day to day life right now. It is all about money and what is happening here in the U.S with our economy. In a way I believe that this is the beginning of the end of capitalism. For this I should cheer!! However, as a business owner it also entails a lot of stress.

There are many good reasons why capitalism needs to come to an end and whatever needs to come next (hopefully something better, please. So far us white people don't have a great track record...) needs to come next. It is the transition that is difficult. I am willing to live through a revolution, but I'm also terrified of losing everything and everyone I have. I don't know if this will happen in my life time, but it is beginning to look more and more possible.

I just keep telling myself people will always need books. Especially as our communication systems break down and our lives become smaller. People won't travel as much, everything is already getting more and more expensive. A nice night at home with a cheap used book will probably start sounding pretty good to people. In addition to this books are good resources for all of the things we are going to need to learn how to do, preserving food, making clothing, making alternative energy sources, etc. I could probably have a nice little barter/trade shop.

Ah...the possibilities.

The Store

The Store
in all it's glory