Friday, March 21, 2008


"People can get obsessed with romance, they can get obsessed with political paranoia, they can get obsessed with horror. It's isn't the fault of the subject matter that creates the obsession, I don't think."

~Adam Arkin~

I've spent a rather large portion of my day ruminating on the sheer stupendousness of Keira Knightley. I'm pretty sure that I've Googled her enough to classify it as an "obsession". But seriously, can anyone blame me? The girl is just phenomenal, any way you cut it. She's young, smart, honest, driven, BEAUTIFUL, talented...did I mention beautiful? I mean she is really just stunningly gorgeous to me. Part of that is the way she comes through in her interviews. I especially loved the interview in the Dec. '07 issue of Elle, which featured her on the cover. She's not scared to let her own neurotic thoughts come through, she argues with herself out loud, even refers to herself as a "moody bastard". What's not to love?! When many young starlets keep themselves in the "trash mags" (as I call them) by alternately rehabbing and sticking their heads in toilets at exclusive clubs, she manages to avoid that route, and stick to the "serious actor" lifestyle.

And she actually can act, which is more than some young ingenuous can claim. If you disagree with that, you obviously haven't seen her in Pride & Prejudice. She gives such an impeccable, detailed, perfect performance as Elizabeth. Since that has been my running favorite movie for years, and the reason of my starting obsession with her, I've seen it quite a few times. And still, every time I watch it, I'm blown away anew by the depth she gives to the role, how every word is delivered in the exact tone it should be. And how her eyes seem to actually convey what she is feeling, or I should say what her character is feeling. Her ability to fit herself into the roles she chooses, and own them, is amazing. So many actresses seem to portray the same basic character, no matter who they're playing at the time. Keira Knightley truly becomes the person she's playing, constantly changing, and yet always coming across as realistic in her role. She seems to become the character, instead of someone trying to be the character...if that makes any sense.

Anyways, I just had to take a moment to share my slight obsession of this most fascinating, enchanting woman. I can't wait to see what else she does over the years. Although, if she turns out to be one of those women whose beauty peaks at 30 instead of 20, I may be forced to go from obsession to depression, slowly leading into a distant hate....haha, just kidding. I'm sure she'll remain as stunning on and off the screen, even becoming more so as she goes.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Little Less Conversation...

"Making the decision to have a child - it's momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking outside your body."

~Elizabeth Stone~

I never realized how removed from the world I am until I get out in it again. Since my husband has been working out of town recently, I spend most of my time taking care of our two young children. Needless to say, adult conversations are far and few between.

But a friend of mine came into town recently; one I hadn't seen in about a year, a year that was filled with some big changes for us both. So when she told me she was at a hotel with her man, I was thrilled! Finally I was going to see her, and hear all about her life, and be introduced to this amazing man she couldn't say enough about.

After putting our oldest child to bed, and getting my husband set up with the youngest, I was finally ready to leave. Of course, that's when I noticed the weather was getting worse, and discovered, after checking the Weather Channel, that the entire area was under tornado watch. Great! But since the hotel was only about 10 minutes away, I was bound and determined to see them, and to get some time to myself! I adore my kids, but I was in desperate need of a few hours without holding one and chasing the other.

By the time I got to the hotel, the rain was just pouring down, the wind was blowing like crazy, and I had to park at the very last parking space in the lot, the furthest from the front door. Determined to hold on to my rarely exercised sense of excitement, I just threw a coat over my head and ran for it. I was a little out of breath when I got into the lobby, which was I thought. The first thing out of my mouth is a muttered "damn", just under my breath, because it really was some bad weather, I mean, I could hear the waves just pounding the beach behind me, even through the storm sounds. As I turned around to jog up the stairs, I saw the family waiting for me to get out of the doorway so they could leave. And they had not one, or even three kids with them. They had five kids with them, all of them staring at me with round eyes, mouths slightly open. I try a smile for the parents, who seemed totally unresponsive, probably due to a vacation overkill...I mean, five kids? Seriously?!

As I jogged up the stairs, I was thinking about all the things I want to talk to my friend about, mentally rehearsing because I didn't want to forget any important details. For me, this was not just about seeing a girlfriend, this was a full-scale event, and I had to be sure to cram as much into the time I had as I could.

When she opened the door, looking wonderful, and introduced the supposed boyfriend as her husband, we all got settled down to talk, with me looking forward to hearing about the elopement.

About two hours later, my husband called, asking if I could come home because our youngest was fussy. I got my things together to leave, hugging and promising to get together again soon, and I was just glowing from the adult interaction, the first I'd had in two weeks.

I got home and got the baby settled, and my husband asked about my friend. He said,"How's she doing? How is school going for her, is she graduating soon? What else is going on in her life?"

And I sat there and thought about it. And slowly, a feeling of shock took over. Because I had NO IDEA! I hadn't asked her a single thing about her life! I had, in fact, done nothing but talk the entire time! And as I looked back, I realized that for almost the entire time, I had talked about my kids!!

What was wrong with me?! I was so thrilled to see my friend, to get away from my kids for a couple of hours that I...what? Spend the whole time talking kids?!!

After sending her a letter of apology, and receiving one back promising a double date soon, and her full understanding that I was a mommy now, my kids were my life, and it was alright, I had to laugh. I had done what every mommy I know has done, and will continue to do for the rest of my life. My kids really are my life, they are what I fill my day with, what I work for, and what I love. That will never change, so I guess I should just get used to talking about nothing but them for a long time to come!

Or just warn people to hit me after the first hour of "kid-talk".

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Am A Poet

A poet is, before anything else, a person who is

passionately in love with language.

~W. H. Auden~

The first book my mother ever read to me that I can remember was C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I’m not sure exactly how old I was, only that at Chapter 1, I could not read, and by the end, I was learning how to read. I have such vivid memories of being in my room in the upstairs of the big house, sunlight pouring in through the windows, and sitting on my trundle bed next to my mother, listening to her read about the four children and the Lion. And sitting there, hearing her, I was taken to another world. It seemed so natural, and right, and wonderful. It was like she was painting me a picture with the letters on the pages, so clear was everything that I saw. That is when my love for the written word started, and over the years it has grown into something so huge, so vital to who I am.

Other than a short period of time during my first grade year when I decided to become an artist, a teacher, and a zoologist all at once, (big dreams for a little person), I’ve wanted to be a writer. I can remember the first story I wrote, and I actually still have it in a box, packed away for safe keeping. I was in kindergarten, so I guess I was about 5 or 6 years old then. I remember loving the fact that it was MY story, and therefore open to any avenue I wanted to take. I had complete control over it, I could write whatever I wanted. That amazement still hasn’t left me to this day. I’m constantly astounded by the power of words, whether it be through writing, reading, dialogues in film, or conversations on the street.

But as I got older, and my motivation grew less, I started only writing as a means to keep myself sane. That is to say, I only wrote when I was so overwhelmed with emotion, my only option was to write it all down or implode. I was never one to talk to people around me, so writing was the ultimate escape/therapy. Soon the only things I wrote were sad or mad…(of course, I was going through adolescence at that point so I suppose most of emotions were based in either sad or mad anyways.) I was too lazy to continue sitting down and just writing for the love of writing, even just about simple day-to-day things.

After getting some small recognition for poetry I’d written, and having those around me tell me that I should truly make a career around writing, I was more steadfast is my vow to write daily. That lasted for a few months, and then I discovered the teen-aged world around me, consisting of skipping school, getting in trouble, and further killing any drive I’d finally found. Once again my writing was only done in the small hours of the morning, either with tears of anger or depression dotting the pages, or with little hearts drawn around the words of undying love for whoever I was currently, and always secretly, in love with.

Let me break into this stream of memories to say that I think the ability to do anything well is a gift from God. Ignoring that gift just because you can, because you assume it will always be there is the grossest sort of self-indulgence, a complete waste, and a terrible thing to do. But at that time I just assumed I could put that gift on the back burner, and pull it out again when I needed it, like high school.

So I went into high school with that gift tucked away. I kept it tucked away all the time actually, preferring to skip school to do nothing at all instead of learning the craft I claimed to love. Come test time in English my teachers were astounded by what I turned in, when I actually did the work, and berated me for not trying harder. This, to my perverse, rebellious young mind, was a sign to try less, to skip more, and further ignore what I was capable until I needed it. Like when I went to college.

The fruits of my labor finally bloomed when I was in the last semester of my senior year, somehow scraping by enough to have gotten that far. I was told that I was going to be one credit short of being able to graduate with my class. Having no motivation or self-discipline, I decided I would drop out, relying on my supreme intelligence of 17 years to get me through the rest of my life. And for the next 3 years, I didn’t write a single thing with more meaning than a grocery list.

When I finally did decide to write again, I was astonished to find that I couldn’t just sit down, pick up the pen, and fill pages with anything and everything. I couldn’t do anything but sit and stare at the paper, my thoughts about to explode out of my ears, and that gate between my mind and my hand stubbornly shut. Boy was I scared. For a week straight I tried to write constantly, coming up with terrible, trite-sounding lines, nothing like the clear expression of my mind that I used to write so effortlessly. But as I continued with my newfound, (and fear-induced), writing frenzy, it eased back into me, and me to it, like an old man into his favorite recliner. After lunch, with his favorite pair of slipper. And a pipe. It was like falling in love all over again, and I immersed myself in writing, and reading, to escape my daily life. Because my daily life was filled with a newly budding regret for my past choices, and where they'd gotten me. Or, to be more precise, not gotten me. All of my friends were having a blast in college. I was visiting them on the weekends. They told me about writing assignments that had to be done soon, and while I comisserated out loud, inside I was dying of jealousy. I wanted to do those reports, because I knew I could do them well.

By that time, Ryan and I had been together for about 3 years, and had gotten to a pretty tough part in our relationship, so I had lots to escape from, and lots to write about. But, in the manner of all relationships, when we made up, it was incredible, so I began to write again about the happy times, the great times. I was amazed that I had left this venue untouched for so long. Nothing compared to being able to translate how phenomenal being in love was onto a page that I could look back at later and relive the feelings and thoughts of. For a couple of years I really wrote it all down, and put effort into writing even when I didn’t want to. But, as is the manner of the beast, (my beast at least), I became lazy and chose to do what I called “living my life” instead of writing…or doing anything really that was productive or good.

I started a downward spiral of the worst kind; the kind where you’ve convinced yourself that you’re actually doing good, things are okay, and meanwhile the hole you’re digging is actually becoming a tunnel to a very dark place. Needless to say, there was no writing in that tunnel.
Having my son saved me from myself. He opened me to a place in my heart that I didn’t even know existed, and a strong will to do whatever it took to make sure he was raised right. I had no idea what I was capable of until he came along. And once again, words overflowed from behind the bridge. Like they had never done before, there was a deluge of emotions that had to be put down in words, and there were so many I couldn’t keep up.

Now I am a mother of two amazing children, both under two at the moment, married to my high school sweetheart. I have no high school diploma, or equivalent. I never went to college. All the years set aside for me to learn and excel at my chosen craft were gone, replaced with motherhood. So now I have dreams that are still dreams, and regrets about all I could have done.

Except I don’t want them to be regrets. I want to do what I should have done, buckle down so to speak, and become a writer. So today I’m starting, with this blog, to write again. And while this is a small step, it is at least a step, and in the right direction nonetheless.

Let my passionate love for language abound, because I am, again, a poet.