read
write
members
about
account

 

datedatememberrandomsearch

03/01 Direct Link
The storm lasted three days, during which she stayed in the village with Lya. The children were gathered in a centrally located house stocked with pots of rice and beans, corn cake, soda pop, and jugs of water. The shutters were nailed closed, the tin roof strapped down with rope. They burned candles and kerosene lamps day and night. For the children it was a grand time; for the adults, a time of tedium and waiting.

After forty-eight hours, the sound of the wind began to wear on the woman. She missed her husband, so she cried on Lya’s shoulder.
03/02 Direct Link
When the storm abated, the two women ventured out to the house on the beach. The water had risen to the edge of the foundation, but no farther. They found a friend’s dugout smashed in a sea-grape tree. They observed the surf crashing into the mangroves. Then they returned to the village to wait for the surge.

When it came, it was strangely calm. They watched from the porch of Lya’s house, which, like most in the village, was built on posts. The water swept in smoothly, without force. It retreated likewise, as if someone had simply pulled a plug.
03/03 Direct Link
After a time, the woman felt her husband should return to her. Three months had passed, and although he had managed to sail the boat a few hundreds miles farther south, he was stalled again by bad weather, ill health, and low spirits.

There had been trouble on the island. Some people – all of them her white neighbors – didn’t like the work she was doing for the village. They didn’t like that the villagers came down to the house. They were especially offended that she was teaching a few of the village children to use the computer in her home.
03/04 Direct Link
Around Christmastime she decided to go to the States to be with her husband for the holiday. She was concerned about him, concerned that they had been separated for so long, and concerned about what was happening on the island.

At first he seemed happy to see her, happy to have her back on the boat. But she sensed that something was different with him. He had had a bad flu, it was true, but he was also quick to anger, and easily frustrated. She cried more than once during the visit. She wondered if their marriage was falling apart.
03/05 Direct Link
Much later, when she would read the logbook or his journals, the words would re-arrange themselves. She thought she was reading too hastily, looking for comfort and not really hearing his thoughts. Then one night as she read she understood how angry he was over their aborted plan to meet in El Salvador. There had been so many plans, but nothing ever seemed to stick. She’d read this passage before, but that night it hit home. Depression, resentment, self-doubt, fear. He liked to say he had nothing to prove, but the first time she heard the words she knew otherwise.
03/06 Direct Link
They returned to their island life much as it was before he left, except that now the woman was teaching in the school. With the help of their admirer in California, the couple had been able to obtain the 12 computers. But the government failed to provide a teacher, so the headmistress asked the woman to help out by teaching the class herself.

Every morning she went to school while her husband stayed at the house, puttering and generally relaxing after his difficult travels. They were happy to be back together, and they lived this way for several more months.
03/07 Direct Link
In the end, the changes were subtle enough that she didn’t give them proper notice. The woman who'd worried about whether she would be able to help the village had become so involved with the project and its success she paid little attention to anything else, including her husband.

She didn’t notice, for example, how often he was tired, and when she did she attributed it to the difficulties of living on a remote island. She felt that if they could complete the project and get back on the boat together, then he would be happy and energetic once again.
03/08 Direct Link
By the spring his fatigue had turned into a general lack of interest in the world. She considered this to be depression, and encouraged him to start taking the medication he had used for the condition in the past. His history, it turned out, was his worst enemy. She knew he struggled sometimes – as indeed she did – so she felt she knew the answer.

But medication and encouragement did no good. He slept most of the day, while she worked more and more. Then one day he used a strange word – a made-up name – for a good friend of theirs.
03/09 Direct Link
By the spring his fatigue had turned into a general lack of interest in the world. She considered this to be depression, and encouraged him to start taking the medication he had used for the condition in the past. His history, it turned out, was his worst enemy. She knew he struggled sometimes – as indeed she did – so she felt she knew the answer.

But medication and encouragement did no good. He slept most of the day, while she worked more and more. Then one day he used a strange word – a made-up name – for a good friend of theirs
03/10 Direct Link
Now things were changing for both of them. Although she dared not admit it, the woman was afraid her husband was losing his mind. Sometimes she even wondered whether he was trying to sabotage their plans. She felt lost and frightened, and she solved the problem for herself by working more and working harder.

She did everything without his help. As computers continued to arrive, she prepared them for the school. She ran errands all over the island; she cleaned, cooked, and repaired; she taught; and she visited less and less with her friend Lya.

Mainly, she thought of herself.
03/11 Direct Link
Mainly, she thought of herself. As her husband withdrew from her, so she withdrew from him and everyone else. Their time on the island was coming to a close, their lease nearly up. The successful project was at a point of closure. The woman reasoned that her husband would not improve until they could return to their life on the boat. In her mind, everything depended on that. It had to be the answer to what was wrong.

A week before they were to leave the island, she noticed his handwriting had changed. His signature had become an illegible scrawl.
03/12 Direct Link
Hindsight, hindsight. If only I’d been able to see. If only I’d been willing to feel as scared as I was. If only, if only. But all I could think of was getting it done, doing what I’d set out to do. Agency is what they call the drug I discovered on that island. Discovering that I could do what I wanted, I did it with a vengeance. No one could stand in my way. What I wanted was all-important, and I did it in the name of a good deed, to the exclusion of simple love and plain responsibility.
03/13 Direct Link
Hindsight, hindsight. If only I’d been able to see. If only I’d been willing to feel as scared as I was. If only, if only. But all I could think of was getting it done, doing what I’d set out to do. Agency is what they call the drug I discovered on that island. Discovering that I could do what I wanted, I did it with a vengeance. No one could stand in my way. What I wanted was all-important, and I did it in the name of a good deed, to the exclusion of simple love and plain responsibility.
03/14 Direct Link
As it turns out, there’s luck, there’s agency, and there’s the thing grace. Sailing, for example, is all luck in the end. A little agency helps – informed consideration of the risk and action according to its threat to life and limb. But luck it is finally, for nothing else will surmount a rogue wave, dodge a hurricane, or survive a black squall.

Life is luck, too, with a little informed agency thrown into the balance. We are born in the United States or in Honduras; we are white or black or brown; male or female; we are healthy or infirm.
03/15 Direct Link
We think we are powerful; we think we are lucky. We learn the subtle distinctions and the bold. We grow, but only within the bounds of innate wisdom and chance circumstance.

It happened that their luck really did run out. She cared for him during the months of his decline. She fought as she never had for his well-being. She held him when he died. She called the funeral home. She was alone, and in the end that was what she wanted. No friends came, no family. Just the woman and her power and her husband and his bad luck.
03/16 Direct Link
So having settled the problem of luck and power, having identified the distinction, she was faced with the problem of grace. She believed in no god, had no religion, but realized eventually that acceptance was key to survival. Edna St. Vincent Millay called it resignation, but Edna was not resigned.

And here she struggles still. Without the comfort of faith she waits without a clear idea of what she is waiting for. She gets tired, she gets restless, she gets resentful and angry. She loses hope easily. They say it takes time. She would argue: time and a little luck.
03/17 Direct Link
I went down to the boat and worked on the interior. It was the first time I’d done any significant work on Merlin since she arrived in Galveston two years ago. At least if the cabin is clean I will have a place to sit that’s comfortable. Perhaps I’ll spend a weekend night or two aboard.

It wasn’t terribly hard this time. I found a memento, of course—the eucalyptus seed I was once so fascinated with. It had gotten caught in a crack behind the table and had shrunken, so that it looked at first like a random pebble.
03/18 Direct Link
I’ve been feeling pretty driven that last month or so, and I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the stasis, the problems, the poverty of it all. I want to feel better. I want a better life. They say depression is the absence of drive. That is one way to describe it, so in that case my own depression has lifted, to an extent. It’s no longer a badge, no longer an identity. I KNOW who I would be if I were not depressed, whereas sometimes I think we think we will lose ourselves if we become healthy. No longer.
03/19 Direct Link
These are exercises in speed-writing, by the way. Forget how embarrassing the content might be, just get it out. Sometimes I set my gong timer for five minutes. (It’s a cool little widget that my friend Ed discovered and shared with me.) In five minutes it’s possible to write quite a bit, particularly if one types and doesn’t write by hand. One of the things about doing 100 words regularly is that one develops an odd sense for just exactly what 100 words “sounds” like. It got to where I would write something, and it would be exactly 100 words.
03/20 Direct Link
I’ve been feeling pretty driven that last month or so, and I’m tired of it. I’m tired of the stasis, the problems, the poverty of it all. I want to feel better. I want a better life. They say depression is the absence of drive. That is one way to describe it, so in that case my own depression has lifted, to an extent. It’s no longer a badge, no longer an identity. I KNOW who I would be if I were not depressed, whereas sometimes I think we think we will loose ourselves if we become healthy. No longer.
03/21 Direct Link
I woke this morning thinking of Mike in his room at M.D. Anderson. I was thinking of the aide who gave him a shower and how grateful I was for the man’s attitude and kindness. Then I flashed forward to being alone in the apartment with Mike; then to the home health worker who let him fall. What happens when a person is dying is that gradually he becomes less able to help you help him. As Mike weakened, so I began lift more of him, hold him more, catch him more, prop him up more. It happens gradually, subtly.
03/22 Direct Link
Then my hands – the strongest part of me – gave out. This was about 10 days before he died. It was on March 28 that I made the call, after I’d pushed him home from the train stop the night before and we’d taken the long way through the park. It was a lovely evening, one of the first long ones of Daylight Savings Time. I could have pushed him longer -- in fact, it had gotten dark -- when he asked me could we go home. He was ready to go home.

He was tired. The next day I called the hospital.
03/23 Direct Link
There were times when I would wonder about the day it would happen. Call me bad, but I never believed Mike would survive the tumor. I never had hope of a miracle. So in my stranger reveries I would think about the day out there somewhere that I couldn’t know about. How strange to feel it close – imminent but not evident.

Then when the time drew closer I felt I’d been let in. Ah … it is now. That was a dream time, a time when I would weep and moan and then stop, abruptly, and go walk the dog.
03/24 Direct Link
I remember the bells of St. Mark’s ringing as Jacob and I walked out of the apartment building. It was Easter Sunday. What an irony there. The atheist man was born on Christmas and died on Easter. I walked Jacob and came back to the body in the living room. At some point, a hospice worker showed up. At some point, the funeral home. I just sat on the corner of the bed holding Stella while they took him.

And then he was gone. He is still gone. The time confounds me as I begin to feel the anniversary approach.
03/25 Direct Link
I’m sitting in a hot classroom with more than 30 teen-agers not doing the work I’ve assigned them. There’s really nothing to do about it. Maybe I should try harder, but why bother? Too many students struggling just to understand English, let alone the content of their coursework, means most of my classes are a joke. So I sit here trying hard to stay awake. I was never this bored in Honduras. I could observe Niceldy, even if I couldn’t understand everything she was saying. Perhaps the same is true to some extent for my students who are learning English.
03/26 Direct Link
The alliance between neo-conservatism and fundamentalist religion in the United States is founded on the exploitation of the vulnerable and the naive. Like a country peddlar, the new conservative sells a brand of snake oil called “security,” the same security that the religious faithful are guaranteed in the hereafter. But while the promise of glory in heaven was once our consolation for an earthly life of toil and suffering, now we are offered the essence of heaven right here on Earth. It’s a uniquely American variation on the theme, another expression of our jingo insistence upon having it all, now.
03/27 Direct Link
For the neo-conservative, security is a product of tradition rather than history. It is swaddled in sentiment and wishful thinking, and nursed on apocrypha. The neo-conservative mourns the loss of a simpler past, when in fact each era has been forced to mediate scientific advancement and the contemporary influence of organized religion. If, for the sake of security, we put our faith in the pastoral innocence of an earlier era, we must close our minds to the facts of religious and social persecution, political corruption, anti-intellectualism, war, and pandemic that have always been with us, and likely always will be.
03/28 Direct Link
The detective thought about the woman. She was someone who wanted to control things without appearing to do so. That was part of it, but not all. Without appearing to do so suggested deceit. The detective wondered if the woman ever outright lied. She thought this was probably the case. She lied, and she wanted to control others. A woman concerned with outcomes, appearances and – what? Without compassion one can only be concerned for oneself. She was a woman who was mean-spirited, then. She was a woman who might be evil. The detective considered what all of this might mean.
03/29 Direct Link
The woman had three grown children. These daughters had in turn come and gone in the woman’s life, although the detective understood she wasn’t supposed to be privy to such information. She knew the woman had moved from place to place, living in turn with each daughter until something – what? – happened, and then she would move on. This moving about was strange to the detective as well. It was as if by going from one place to another the woman could erase history, leave no record of bad things and bad behavior. It was a way to lie to oneself.
03/30 Direct Link
It’s hard because the log book doesn’t say what happened. My own memory of that night is unreliable because I was cold, sleep-deprived (of course) and stressed out by the severity of the weather.

We were motoring around Cape Blanco. The wind was too strong for the mainsail, we had no jib up, and by the time we should have reefed it was too rough to manage. As it was, Mike could barely go forward in time to pull the sail down entirely. I remember he wasn’t tethered, and I nearly had a heart attack. I imagined myself a widow.
03/31 Direct Link
As the night progressed the seas became bigger and the wind stronger. I looked up several times to see a tower of water looming over us. Usually Merlin would rise up to meet the wave’s crest and roll down gently with it, like an act of faith. But several times we got pooped, and it was always Mike who was on deck to take the dousing. Once he stuck his head below to ask me whether I was scared. “Terrified,” I replied. “Do you want a cup of tea?” He was fond of telling the story, proud of his wife.