The Measure of A Woman

Joining with Amber Haines as she poses writing challenges ‘abstractions of the concrete’. I struggled with this piece and mixed metaphors like a maniac but I hope in the end I came out with something…

Today? THE BOX…

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When they stretch me out someday, on that cold metal table, unfurl my curled up toes and measure the length of me for that big wooden box; one last test to see if I FIT. I wonder if then we will finally measure rightly…

You see, I’ve been trying to fit into boxes for most of my life. To strip away any of my excesses, to fill in my lack with tissue…light, fluffy stuff that makes you feel good but makes it awful hard to breathe in there. I think you will like me better if I do that, take the edges off the corners, soften myself up a little.

When my children stand next to that gaping hole in the earth, will they crack jokes about my fad diets and Pinterest boards of weird exercise regimes? Or will they, in unison with you, talk about the way I spread myself thin on their behalf? Will it be that I wasted my moments on the temporary or that I counted my days, measured my moments, lived the entire circumference of my life?

When they throw that fist full of gravel, that first red rose (and if someone loves me well, a purple lupin), I wonder what they will remember me throwing? Will it be the shame I tossed their way or the grace I near overwhelmed them with?

When they kick the release on those levers, and start to return that wood back to its roots will they say ‘she already did that’? Will they say I lowered myself, that I sought the last place or that I lifted myself, fought for only the highest honors?

Will I be free of all the other boxes then? All the other ways we measure to see if we fit in?

Will we still compare with one another; the diameter of our thighs? The passion of our love affairs? The density of our curriculum vitae, the dust on our coffee tables?

Or will we then, when the box lid closes firm for that last time, measure each other -ourselves-

for the breadth of our love,

the depth of our grace?

the radius of our mercy?

Will we measure correctly only then?

The Rock…An Abstraction

Joining with Amber Haines as she poses writing challenges ‘abstractions of the concrete’.

Today? THE ROCK…

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I like the quiet. I drive my back roads in the Canadian wilderness. They are home, I am on automatic, cruise control. I wind through the fogs heavy bottom, I’ll cross over Daves creek freezing in the culvert beneath me, past the volunteer fire hall, I’ll wind up our driveway full of switchbacks. The snow has frozen everything to silence, even the trees hold steady and still. The sounds stop short in all this snow, echoes absorb into the soft white. My man might meet me at the door, we will settle into the quiet corners, the kids fill all the other spaces, a dull roar.

I can drive that eight kilometers and not pass another soul, so when he shot that rock clean out of no where  it struck like a bolt, the electricity clear through me, the thunder shaking me from my daydreams. My heart started to flutter, I let it run away, my imagination too. That cliff there, just to the left, my tires touching gravel. Speed and adrenalin make terrible friends to me…my sense flees quicker yet. That crack there where the rock struck, I can’t stop watching it. How it creeps further each day splitting my vision clear in two. It creates a blind spot, I don’t know, it might even get me in trouble again. I will get the glass replaced in spring. Till then I will try to keep my eyes on the straight path ahead of me, even while the sun in that chip creates broken rainbows on my dash.

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Prompt “The Sweater”

Joining Amber Haines and Emily Wierenga as we seek our written voices. Playing with fiction and the prompt “Sweater”. I am also attempting to play with a slightly longer piece of fiction this November. I will use this character sketch in it and  this little piece takes my word count to 4354. It is awful…But I am having fun. 

He pulls his favorite cardigan from the closet, pulls it over his vintage t-shirt, his black rim glasses. It was the sweater he bought for that ‘ugly sweater party’ a few years ago and he has since noticed that all theme parties are brief apparitions before a new trend appears. His girlfriends hot pink tights, his moustache. We laugh loudest, rail most extravagantly, just before we fall off every fashion cliff. We scream the loudest at the demons in our own heads.

Martin is a man of strong conviction, though his convictions are subject to change with extravagant frequency and fervor. One day he will fight hard against women in leadership and the very next he will be the most ardent of feminists, astounded that anyone could still hold such archaic beliefs as he had just held the day before. He loves to talk about music and the books he pretends to read but especially what he calls ‘serving the Lord’. To him, the walls between secular and holy are high and solid. To him stacking chairs at church is entirely different from stacking chairs at school. But that was today. Tomorrow he might tell you something entirely different.

He waxes and wanes with the seasons, with the articles he reads, the conversations he has and no man in the history of earth has simultaneously loved and loathed himself so intensely. He is the sort of beautifully broken that women fall in love with from across the room, they stand in line to be the one who can finally save him from himself. The problem is, he turns to sand in their hands, sub atomic particles, he dissolves into the black hole of his narcissism, vanishes from their sight. In the end the women walk away fairly unscathed; somewhere down deep they knew that he had no capacity to love them no matter how much passion he had shown.

A little update and a giveaway…

Dread Pirate Owen and Doc McEmily (yes…I am that mom that knows her daughter would prefer a princess costume but instead I buy a doctor suit. Dang.)

This week in one giant tidal wave of busy. Both the children have birthdays, Halloween smack dab in the middle, we had a party, phase one of the research project we’ve been working on completed. I had two batches of cupcakes explode over the interior of my oven. Joel preached what felt like 12 days in a row. Our little family is ready for a long slow weekend, curled up with hot drinks and books and sitting next to fires that burn big and bright. Joel put benches into a trailer for us in order to host some hayrides this winter. We will give that a try too.

So that is how October spun to a close and today I find myself looking forward to all that is to come in November and I am wondering: can anyone just make up a National Month of “Something or Other” these days? I mean mustache growing month? I know the world has evolved from my thinking about mustaches…but I am keeping it real since 1999. The man can participate by growing a beard (love me a beard) and he can have a mustache for the one night of celebration but…it better be gone again before he gets in my bed.

BUT I am participating in another National Month this November. I want to write. And people like me, those that don’t have all sorts of advice to give you. Those of us that don’t know how to make a home. Those of us that got no tips for you about beauty or clothes or cooking? We don’t make it as bloggers. And I don’t know if I could make it as any kind of writer, but I think I want to give it a try. My whole life I wanted to leave it out there as the thing I never tried. That way I could say I never failed. But now? I’ve failed PLENTY and you know what? It wasn’t the end of the world.

 

 

And so now, I think I would rather fail than never try. I would rather my story be that of letters of reject than letters never sent. I tell the boy all the time, all it takes to do anything is practice.

 

So National Novel Writing Month…HERE I COME! I am going to crank something out this month. You can see my word count on the top right of the screen. Hold me accountable will you? And I would love for some prompt ideas…give me a word? An idea? You few…who read here regulary….is there anything you have noticed in my writing that hints towards a theme??? What should this fist BIG story be about?

ALL IDEAS WILL BE PUT INTO A DRAW FOR A NOVEL OF YOUR CHOICE FROM AMAZON! Fun right? So…GO…ideas please!

 

 

 

 

Prompt: The Table

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We thought it was a fine idea, to buy reclaimed Indonesian hardwood. Brilliant, to buy comfortable, woven banana leaf chairs. Back before the children came. Back when the dining table, polished and perfect, was where we ate when the company came. It is easy to look good when you haven’t really been tested yet.

Now the cracks of the old tree plank are packed up with yogurt. The ridges on the chairs filled up with crumbs. Still we put our feet under this table. We invite people to it. Yesterday I watched a young man scratch at the yogurt with his thumb, I made excuses. I make a lot of excuses. My husband, he made me promise that we would never hide our mess, that we would invite you into it. He says it is the pretenders who let sin fester till it explodes. Not those who lay it on the table. We just hound after Grace like the dogs for the crumbs. 

It is 5 am the cup is poured and I am already at the table. It is not by choice mind you. That girl child rose a second time to remind me that my life is not my own. Rose again to remind me of that day that passed, looking like failure and yogurt in cracks. It was one of those, where I failed near all of you. Felt dreadfully sick of my very own skin, my mess the most abhorrent of all.

I make my way here and start again. Make my way here where truth is resurrected, something is sticking to my feet. It reminds me of grace.

Linking with Amber….seeking my written voice…and Emily...celebrating imperfect prose.

You didn’t imagine it: Prompt Stairs

Joining Amber Haines as we seek our written voices. Playing with fiction and the prompt “Stairs”. I know I’m not doing the abstraction exactly Amber…but…I’m having fun. Feeling a character forming…maybe a longer piece to come?

False image of myself, I beg you: Kill“. She reads it aloud. Then over and over.

A prayer. A mantra.

Kill. Kill. Kill.

She turns around and he is there, watching her. It can’t possibly be chance.

“You didn’t imagine it” she breathes.

Her voice heavy almost hoarse with the weight of it.

“But you won’t imagine it again”.

Rattle passes through her chest as final breath. She climbs the stairs, cries herself to sleep.

Something smells like death.

She wears silver: Prompt Necklace

Joining Amber Haines as we seek our written voices. Playing with fiction and the prompt “Necklace”

1.

She wears pearls and platinum and is the sort of woman who folds her towel mid way through washing her face. She knows the thread count on each set of sheets and irons them before she makes the bed, miters the corners.

Her children go to bed on time and her husband knows where the table linens are kept, what her ring size is.

She likes to walk into the room and know what is expected, what you have planned. She has advice for you, she will email it to you unsolicited.

She is afraid most nights, that the pearls are going to suffocate her while she sleeps.

2.

She wears silver. Big costume jewelery with fake stones and twisted metal. Her dresser is a suitcase, her home a plane. She rolls her eyes when you talk about invitations for children’s birthday parties, what sort of weed killer to use, how to clean the gutters.

She laughs at your religiosity whilst telling you how the points of light guided her home, how all the stars aligned to help her find herself.

She wouldn’t dare tell you that she is afraid she might float away into space, lose her whole spirit, if she took off  that silver medallion, hung it up in an ensuite bathroom.

3.

She hangs her amber stone next to the tear drop pearl. She doesn’t know any better than you do which is more ‘her’. But she will wear them both with authority and she will make you believe. She shapeshifts to fit your fantasy; make you fall in love with her. She has always been empty enough, that you could fill her with what you believed to be the best fit, she would always believe you were right.

She is passionate in her sway to the left and then to the right but plants her feet one after the other on the solid yellow lines.

She has stopped believing in heroes and villains, but still…if you will rescue her she will clasp that necklace on tight, whisper sweetly what she thinks you want to hear.