Thursday, December 5, 2013


Last night I basted the letters onto Owen's quilt because stitching them with the machine was just too arduous. The old Singer doesn't adjust well to different thicknesses and I am working with fabrics not found in nature, thus the machine was not designed for them, not really.
I was surprised at how quickly the basting went. And now all that's to be done is the embroidery part and I am looking forward to that. I doubt Owen will care much at all about his blanket but it is important to my grandmother heart that I make it for him.

I hurt a lot today. A lot. I don't want to talk about that. I don't want to talk about anxiety either except to say that the other day I got an image of it as a prison, a body-sized prison that holds me within an iron grasp and prevents my escape into life and pleasure. I heard John Goodman, briefly, on the radio the other day and he was saying that it is becoming harder and harder for him to go out into the world and that he's going to have to deal with that sooner or later and that he never went into acting thinking that he would receive the sort of "notoriety"he has. That he only wanted to make a living. I could hear in his voice things I feel, although of course I do not have to deal with the world wanting my presence in it the way he does because of his work, that livelihood of his. I think I could feel the iron prison he lives within, almost hear the iron-echo of his words as he spoke from it. I know I am not alone.

Well, it's not really so bad today. Okay, some of it is, but it's not the worst, by any means. I am going to go take a walk, pain be damned. The odd thing is, it doesn't hurt while I'm walking. It is the afterwards part. The rest-of-the-day-and-night part.

It is so warm today and the stench of death is not as horrible as it could be. My floors are mostly clean although no one would even notice the difference. I walk and there is no difference. I make a quilt no one really cares about. I clean floors no one notices.
This seems sometimes to be my life. Staying busy with that which makes no mark on the world at all, changes nothing, produces nothing of value, simply invisibly marks the days of one woman's very small life.

Well. We all have days like that. I will put on my shoes. I will go walk through the woods and ponder that place which may or may not be some sort of Indian mound. Another mystery which I myself will never solve.


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  2. Lord, I know about that body prison. I so admire john goodman for showing up as he does. But dear Mary I think you have a misunderstanding about the mark you make on our lives. So many states away, you make a mark on my life, my heart, every single day. Today, you have helped me understand that I am not alone, and you brought me john goodman and you're going to walk despite your pain, and so shall I. And Owen will care about that blanket. More and more as the years go by. You'll see. I love you, friend.

  3. Yes. What Angella said. The picture of making no mark, of working invisibly, is an optical illusion, created by pain and anxiety. It's simply not true. I come here to visit with you every single day, and your stories of your life make a difference in mine.

  4. Not sure what to say, except to offer words of encouragement. This is coming from a total stranger in a foreign country, but hopefully it has some merit.
    Pain sucks. It seems to creep into our lives ever so insidiously. Hopefully you can carry on through it.

  5. I see you, and you make a mark on me. A beautiful one.

    Your image of the body prison is profound. I don't struggle with anxiety (other than run of the mill social anxiety), and that image really helps me understand people who do. Of course you are not alone. It is always so good to see that. And boy howdy do I love John Goodman.

  6. I'm so sorry that pain is back. But listen -- Owen WILL appreciate that blanket. If my grandmother had made anything like that for me I'd still be treasuring it, as much as I loved her. (Both of them, for that matter.) And you do make a difference to all of us, as Angella said, and certainly to many people beyond that, starting with your immediate family and probably even the people in that crazy Baptist revival center you live next to.

  7. To me, it is the seemingly insignificant things in life that are really important. That's where life takes place. People spend lots of time cleaning their floors. On high anxiety days for myself, I notice that I feel like those things are worthless. On good days, I feel like those things are the most important, best things in life. I hope that your anxiety will loosen its grip, and soon you'll remember that those quilty, floory things are the meat-of-life. I know you will, because it's something you taught me/reminded me of many times.

  8. Oh, what Angela said. And if you didn't do the things you do, people would surely notice. You inspire me to do so much more than you know. My husband makes and sells cleaning products but I bought some Fabulosa and hid it from him so I could smell your clean house too. I don't clean half as often as you do, and I really need to clean. I'm happier when things are clean, but I live in a body prison of pain and anxiety that is so much work to live in too, I knew exactly what you were saying. I'm not ready to be this drawn inward yet, I want to be in the world, but it' s hard work.

    I think the work you do, women's work - sewing, gardening, cooking, cleaning - it's noble work, and you do it proud. The writing too.

    I'm sortof sad that my little hills aren't mysterious Indian mounds, but piles of rocks drug and dropped by a glacier. I hope you find something fascinating and mysterious on your walk and your hips don't hurt.

  9. I get the whole thing that you are saying. I sometimes think that if I disappeared, would anyone really notice? But that's my messed up head talking--having the old rejection stuff roaming around. Actually, this has been a good day. I am not going to go to some place dark and hope that you are moving away from any darkness in your head too. Having a body in pain doesn't make one feel much like doing a lot though.

  10. I clean everything and no one notices.

    Wishing you relief from your pain and anxiety. I had to force myself to leave the house last night, but I did it.


  11. Angella- You brought me my first tears of the day and Lord! how I needed to shed them. Thank you.
    I love you so.

    Amna- And rereading this, just now, my eyes teared up again. Thank you.

    Bob- I did carry on but I had to lay down for a little while this afternoon which is perfectly okay. Thanks.
    And your words do help. Trust me.

    Ms. Vesuvius- Do you suppose that it is that hint of such a giant man's vulnerability which makes him such an amazing actor? I love and adore him.

    Steve Reed- It makes me smile to think of Owen keeping that silly quilt because he remembers me with love. I hope that happens.
    And oh- it's not a Baptist church. It's a Holy Ghost Revival Center. I don't think it's a huge denomination.

    Lora- It is so, so sweet to hear your voice. Thank you. Thank you for reminding me that I have reminded you. That means a lot.

    Mel- What you said about the Fabuloso? That may be the most beautiful compliment I've ever gotten. Thank you. Do you LIKE the smell of Fabuloso? I hope so.
    Yes, it IS such hard work to be a part of the bigger world. And like you, I feel too young to be feeling this way. And I am older than you, of course. We have to, I suppose, just keep trying as hard as we can and cut ourselves breaks when we can't.
    And what could be more mysterious and wonderful than hills left by glaciers? Earth-carved-by-ice. So long ago.

    Syd- You know, it's not such a big thing to me that if I dropped off the earth, it would make no difference. Nelson Mandela died today and the world will go on. But his influence, his actions- we all know they will last forever. And I think in my heart, that all of us matter somehow, our presence here. I do. Thank you for your reminders.

    Denise- I'm glad you did. Was it good, at least for a few moments?

  12. Owen will care very much about that quilt.

  13. I'm not sure why I thought so, but getting older sure is harder than I thought it'd be. That weird nausea -- I suppose it's existential -- anxiety, whatever. Who knew? There was no preparing for it, either. I agree with all of the above commenters that your mark on the world is immense. Your mark on me is bigger than you can imagine. That mark is made of everything that you've shared with us, everything about you, including the pain and the anxiety. It's a good mark. It's you.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.