Thursday, February 7, 2013

Clouds Like Wings

*photo taken out the car window on the drive from Denver to Ft. Collins. Long's Peak in the middle, there.

I awake every morning to the sounds of the rain forest,  to a great symphony of birds, a riot, calling their stubborn songs to the sky. Nearly every day this last week I have sat at this computer and reached for words to say--there is so much to say--and have come up empty handed, with nothing to show but distance and ache. I wanted to tell it all--how in Colorado the four cousins, reunited, jumped and jived in ponied grace in my sister's living room, where I played Rock Band, drums only, the sole activity I know that makes every problem fade away. How Lucy (called Lupus), the baby of the Tuttle siblings, the youngest of six, backed the massive Suburban into a ditch and how, laughing, her older brothers rescued their tumblers full of whisky before we all stood on the lip on the side of the car and tilted it so that the front wheel would touch dirt and we could drive it again. (Fear not, there was no drinking and driving going on). I wanted to explain about the origins of a picture and the drama that followed it. But I can't tell stories, I can't type or think or write--

I am editing my book for self-publication, and every time I come even close to typing that sentence the walls of my being slam down, the birds go silent, the coffee goes cold. Somewhere in the distance a raven caw-caw-caws, like it knows all my little fears and laughs. Every morning and every evening I lie in bed and tell myself stories, as I've done since I was a little girl, the reason I can never sleep. This morning instead of spinning out a fantasy land I told myself I would wake, make coffee, sit down and edit the hulking monster my once beloved book has turned into, but a voice came to my head and I sat down and wrote other stories instead. Then I came across this poem, and I thought, hell with it: In the spirit of Elizabeth Aquino I will post the poem here (because it made me cry) and you will know what you need to know: that we were all together again in Colorado and had a laughing, sprawling, jolly good time. That I flew home to a place that is not home. That every day instead of posting here I am wrestling with angels (quite literally, the book is called ANGEL FOOD), trying to force them into submission, trying to force myself out of a fearful corner and just get the damn thing done, because I have to, because the unruly child cares nothing about its dirty face and wants to run free.

Great Plains

I could drive for days without fear
of outrunning these patchwork clouds,

bridge lines of cumulus
this way or that towards the horizon,

midway between one place
and another, standing up
to the administrations of wind.

I like a destination which pulls
true, deliberate,
but at great distance. Like

I like the slow, imperceptible
progress of knowing
but not knowing
how far I'll travel today,
where I'll find gas
for the next leg
or when.

*Poem found today at The Writer's Almanac.


  1. You are giving birth. Of course you're having a hard time.
    I wish you every good thing.

    1. That's right, of course. Thank you for reminding me.

  2. The poem is lovely, but what you wrote even more so. And though you feel as if you cannot convey it, still you did convey that rowdy, connected, all embracing experience of family and the feeling of being more fully in ourselves than when we are trying to navigate the less familiar terrain of another place that is home but not quite. Re your book, if you're not under a crushing due date imposed by an outside agent, enjoy the editing. your full draft is a map. just follow it like breadcrumbs along a trail, enjoying the discoveries as you go. when that unruly child runs free, follow with bare feet. you are such a lyrical writer. enjoy the music of all that. just curious, what kind of book is it?

    1. Thank you, Angella. I think your words are so lyrical and always perfectly chosen. It's a book about a family, of course. An adventure story, a road trip story. Four grown siblings and a tragic comedy. Or comedic tragedy. It has angels, but in a funny sort of way.

  3. I'm working on your masterpiece myself. We'll have to talk.

    I want to know about this photo drama too. Pretty please, Sister Bea?

  4. I adore the shape of your writing... I love the way you lead us from title, to origin, to pain, through beauty and poetry, and fully back to title again.
    This is always the case.
    Today i ache for you again, wishing so much you felt at home. I am THRILLED for your editing process!! So happy your hard work was recovered. Even happier for myself, that in the coming months I will have Angel Food on my list. Count on many purchases from Oklahoma!!
    Many more thoughts. Most importantly, don't let the coffee go cold!! xoxo

  5. I am so thrilled you are getting so close to completion & can't wait to read your printed words. It will be GREAT, my friend. I have no doubts. And I am super-smart. (;


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