What is in your margins, January?

  1. In response to an Isabel prompt : some of that quote that brought me to my knees last time, what is in your margins, baby? what’re you constantly underlining, again and again, like new every time?

  1. Colors, always colors. I’m downright a.d.d. when it comes to distraction by beauty. Color, shape, the painting I no longer do, the detraction of value from myself for that. Oh. So much. Slight miss, peeled off, scraped off, value gone, value gone. Not creating, not. Scrape, peel, scrape peel, bare walls left. And more, peeled, scraped down to studs. And then what? Where then? Shelter gone. Zero. And wind. The wind blows through. Again. That’s my underline, right there. the biggest one. over and over. manic. manic. manic.
  2. I keep finding these men, these men who really cannot fit a woman into their lives, and I keep thinking of their loss, to lose me, this valueless non-creator, and then I see again that I am so uncertain I can do this all again and I know I use them to distract, like pretty shiny pennies.
  3. Can I live on macaroni and cheese with an occasional tomato thrown in? Is rickets a thing for me now, on this pirate ship of a pandemic house? Am I at sea now, for months at a time, while the kids take their boats out again and again and I am home… rocking in my chair on the waves.
  4. I’m not there anymore, I’m not there anymore, my chant when I wake from the bad dreams. Still, five years out. Anxieties about something so far gone. This brain, and where she roams when I sleep. Poor thing.
  5. I stick my head in the plants. I run my hand through the rice. I light the tree until I feel the itch for space and emptiness . and it itches. And I return to dreaming of painting.
  6. I woke up at four today. I feel pleasure in this, though I acknowledge that my evening will be affected. I have added another thousand words to the work writing and I am so glad and also, sad that there is still so much more to go and I’m running down my timeclock. Sometimes I think I deserve this, this halfass pride in work that I don’t want anyone to read. You know those cheapass romances that you buy for .99 on amazon? That’s me. I write that shit. sometimes. Welcome to the ambivalence. And return.
  7. The potato bugs have moved in, must be the season of… what? Mate? Coldness? They are everywhere. Slow moving creature of prehistory. I love how peacefully we coexist. I’m not sure when we decided we could, but we did.
  8. I keep meeting addicts. I keep finding them, the sharp, the intelligent, the weak, the traumatized. I find them, I love them. I have shifted away from taking them in, housing them, and that’s the change in the margins. Just a color change, same words, but progress. Big.
  9. I understand how deeply I need winter. This return of the cold, the dark. The stay home. Pandemic or no. this is the acorn buried deep. This is the time I understand how to protect my children. Stay. Warm. Socks. Hats. Lights. This is the time I understand.
green acorn
Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on


There is nothing wrong, January.

“The pleasure of abiding. The pleasure of insistence, of persistence. The pleasure of obligation, the pleasure of dependency. The pleasures of ordinary devotion.
The pleasure of recognizing that one may have to undergo the same realizations, write the same notes in the margin, return to the same themes in one’s work, relearn the same emotional truths, write the same book over and over again – not because one is stupid or obstinate or incapable of change, but because such revisitations constitute a life.” –
Maggie Nelson

This quote. This thing settled down on me like a net, slicing through me in geometries.

Its not, repeat and repeat until you finally learn the lesson, its not ‘cycle after cycle of the same lesson’ because you just cannot get it, you are so thick you fell for another addict…it is the revisitation that constitutes a life.

i’m not stupid, i’m just living.

JESUS. Pleasure, not trial.


I mix my hedonism with practicality, i do. but i wish more people could lighten up. get earthy with themselves.

there is so much in there, and i don’t even know how to begin to dig it up, to unearth it for you.


go find some.

i’m going to organize another raised bed for myself this spring. I might go wild and plant all flowers again. my kids don’t flipping eat vegetables, so what is the point of spinach? Maybe a pepper or two? I’ll have lavender to sell this year, barring pestilence.


Pleasure. run your hands through a bowl of rice if you have to. climb under the weighted blanket, or lover, or dog. whatever you got.

that quote. man, i am sliced.

slices of red orange on white background
Photo by Any Lane on

there’s nothing wrong with you. you’re just living.




A freaking poem. January

Poem, in style of George Ella Lyon, as part of a Cynthia lee prompt.

I am from narcissus bulbs, beauty and stunk, placed so carefully in white stones.

I am from Velveeta and Legos, goulash and basement worlds.

I am from the first Cape built in the neighborhood, the one with no double lot. The model home, the one with the sweetest garden.

I am from the smell of geraniums,  and summer sand wet with morning dew.  

I’m from slumber parties and children’s games.

From Harriet and Margaret.

I’m from the frugal, the skilled, the teachers.

From the you are so fae and so overly dramatic.

I’m from the small unadorned white church, high on itself, and warm.

I’m from the suburbs and the rural,

From Monkey bread and baked apples, molasses cookies.

From the broken wrists of the sledding hill, the knife in the eye in the kitchen (fine)

The fragments gathered in a quilt of mine, hanging steadily on the clothesline in the back.

black clothes peg with dew drop closeup photography
Photo by Bernardo Brandolin on

You can do this too, in fact the original poet wants you to.

its pretty, and i like how it hangs. I’ve been very reminiscent lately. i wrote a whole piece on the closets in my parents room this week. hm. particle board doors and all.

love you guys. get out there. do the thinking. do the thing.




January Jonesing.

  • I’m sharing a prompt series by Isabel Abbott today.
  • there is something in her own writing that makes me go and go and go. So here it is. And it will be.
  • I’ve changed the chair I sit and do nothing in, all this nothing I write, and for money too. The kids think I do nothing since I spend the day sitting. And there is the phone. But the chair… brought down the collection spot from my bedroom and now I am sitting entirely differently in the same exact spot. I worry I will not collect the 13 year old body the same way for our morning hug, but so much is changing, I could always move. And wouldn’t that be something…
  • My body has to shift again, to unpack its shape from what was, and re-align. My elbow presses against the armrest as I type now, and I wonder if I will need more pillowing. My humor can’t help but snigger at myself. more pillowing? me? Snicker, more than snigger. Such ugly sounds, both. I chose neither. And will chortle at myself instead. Imagine me now, in my new old chair, chortling as I type, all soft and squishy.
  • Its Wednesday. I was woken by the dog this morning, as usual, but since the kids are away, as usual, I took my time waking up. I rolled, I pet the dog, I peed. No hushed run down the stairs, no ‘they need their precious minutes’… and I carried a chair down the stairs. Someone, please, someone, notice. Tell me I did a good job. Tell me.  The silence echoes sometimes. And I’m just watery today.
  • I’ve got these two new plants that I splurged on last time I had splurge-will. Splurge is definitely relative. They are plants, after all. But I watch them every day, they are slow growers and only want indirect light, and I watch them sit in direct morning light and wonder if I am slowly killing them, or if they are happy for the challenge. Is there anything which hates the morning light? I mean, hate? For morning lights? What about me? Am I being slowly killed or happy for the challenge? Fuckingfuckingfucking.
  • I had my tattooed man, I did, so many months ago.  It was beautiful to touch his skin. And then no contact, and then ‘wanna fuck?’ and I chose differently. I can’t do that anymore. I’m an old woman somedays. I want more than the bodies.  Covid is aging me, aging me, aging me. This is a level of grownup I do not want, and only vaguely understand. Or maybe I just do not want him, or that. But both.
  • My toes are cold today. In the wild freedom of waking on my own schedule, I forgot socks. I put on an entire run of clean, real clothing and peed when I coughed. So there. So there is a reason to go up to the bedroom again. Socks and an entire replacement of clothing. If I put on my socks then it will be boots and I will have no excuse not to take out the trash, feed the chickens and do the things. I’m so tired of the things. I have an ottoman to carry, and a window to cover in plastic. And two thousand words to write, at least, and I’m here instead, talking about my toes.
  • The whole day spreads before me and I’m focused on a perceived misuse of this thirty. What a fucking mind blow. I don’t even know what to say to myself, who is this? Why do I keep bumping into her? Why does she rate carrying an ottoman upstairs as more important than the writing that has kept my spirit whole these past three months? Why is she even here?
  • Oh man, these details. My cold toes. The woodstove in front of me, the black black black of the woodstove and her pipe. On the side, its brand, Vigilant. It better than any affirmation I tell you. Everyday.
  • The puzzle table is full of a new one, and I dread my kids’ realization that it is pretty hard, and will cause more frustration than joy. And I don’t even like looking at it in the beginning stages, the freaking edges, man.
  • There are a lot of Christmas things that will stay up and here through the darkest months. The tree. The stuffed gnome. The lights, the lights the lights. I’ll fight you . there is not enough coffee. (if I fought you, I would lose, if that helps.) I just want the rage to have a place to go. To feel something, to have a wound that is visible, that can be treated. A start. And a finish.

Love love, and yes, even with the love, I’ll fight you.

thats the mood.


The plants. The light they are not supposed to have. And a cowbell behind them. Because.

Today so tender.

A lady in a group told me I belonged. truly.

I was convinced I hadn’t paid. I don’t remember paying. I think I didn’t pay, I mean, I am not signing up for things til it all sorts out, remember? post-christmas insanity and a new hearing aide that i paid half of? Did i do this? I can’t find a record. and she told me i belonged, definitely. truly.

and i’m all wet on the inside now. soggy.

sometimes its the very little things, you know?

Its a new moon tonight. Which means I spend a little time in the extra-dark, doing my damndest to attribute value to myself. to be proud, to recognize some good truths about myself. to see ‘letting go’ as part of the process and not failure. process is my bag, i just have to mary poppins the shit out of it, so it can carry more than is possible.

There will be popcorn, this new moon. And maybe I’ll call myself a writer today. a writer who has friends who write, who is slowly collecting gems of people, a clutter of beautiful people who just keep popping by, and in, and up.

I see you out there.

love love,


chewbacca of star wars
Photo by Craig Adderley on