plant nook: a writing prompt

cynthia lee used to do this all the time, and i’ve always found it a simple, rich starter:

write about what you see.

so here’s my ten minute blob of that writing prompt, and yes, i’m still on the sofa. two more days of rest before life resumes. Here it is:

Sitting on the rescued pink sofa in the kitchen, a rescued white dog curled up next to me. The thought that I’ve had, that maybe I’m curled up too tight, maybe I’m overextending my knees. Who rescues me, my eyes flick back up to the light. The dog moves and I’m cold. Wishing there was dog again. The light ahead of me is hitting the leaves, the plants all taking nourishment in the nook. All sorts of angles in view as the legs of the ladders and step ladders and easels are all akimbo and adjuxt. I’m sure that’s not a word, but it should be. Adjuxt. There is a balloon penguin over there, resting facedown on an empty pot. It is one of my favorite spots in the house, but like everything else, it is losing itself to the chaos of transition.

There is a garland of large felted balls, in red, white and pink. A year long nod to the Christmas season. Today she finds herself draped across the lap of a concrete angel holding a lotus. How funny. And a jar half full of marbles, from my sisters wedding. A gnome hides in the greenery of that plant I’ve never known the name of, also from my sister, but not from the wedding.

Old pieces of tape on the window, marking out where the children’s art was. Art long gone, but tape remains. How strange is that connective tissue, the connection is there but the objects gone? Faded sticker shapes. Sunlight on a jade plant. How many more years will I move these jade with me? I think probably as many as I have. I do need a sun room. In my little future, ahead, I will need a sunroom.

What I see before me is that lamp I got at the flea market. Works now, all re-wired, cutest little thing ever, and it makes me think of the two lamps upstairs, waiting to find a place, waiting to be given away. The ways in which I have too much, and this season always brings that to the fore. More to that feeling of needing to disconnect, needing to close off the impressions of the outside, the needs, wants, must haves that seem to float so easily in the ether of a worldly life. Close it down, be the hermit, find more of the time to just stare into the plant corner.

Two of the windows over there are covered in plastic already, diffusing the light slightly, showing the dust of the entrapped air. 2 of the six windows. The old house giggles at my attempt to seal a draft. But I say one third, I do! The easel I picked up, so beautiful. Black and tall and even with ornamentation. And ribbons hanging, and the disco ball in the window just behind.

Thats it: ten minutes of staring and wiggling fingers at the same time. I hope you all are having a few good stares today.

love you,




i missed two thanksgivings. one of which i was supposed to host, and had spent hours getting ready for. furniture moved, rug purchased, rugs cleaned… I’d even been writing about what it means, how much it means for me to be a host, to be a table upon which sustenance is served.

but no. instead, i host (still) a withering soul-destroying cough, granny panties for all the pee, and a fixed need to look into the colors of my own mucous.

i deeply missed seeing my family. touchstone moments for me, these yearly traditions, set me aright in identity and history. Too much of my own mortality at stake in not having these sightings and sit downs. Found myself enraged and trying to figure out how to be present there without anyone seeing me. Sent five dishes of food, much help if not all help given by the lovely bob. So many sighs.

dirty dishes heaped in kitchen sink
Photo by Gary Barnes on

And now I’m sitting here, back on the sofa, feet curled up and a few books read. Not read well, mind you, because i’m not entirely connected to my brain. Somehow ‘Gift from the Sea’ showed up on the floor nearby and so I’ve broached it yet again, and the slow down is immediate. And the withdrawal from the phone, and the recognition of how my brain is changing with all this immediacy of interplay that the phone gives. It is a mindlessness. And there is a part of me that is actually gravely concerned that I really do need to give it up in order to maintain my personality, the enjoyment of the ways in which my brain hops and sizzles on the skillet.

It takes me away from the slow, pulls me into a here-and-now that is somewhere else. If I need to stare out the window for ten minutes, can I do this without reaching for the phone to tell someone or to check something that occurs to me? I’m not being overly dramatic when I say it is changing something in me. And I’m not a fan.

And i’m done now, here. for today. I’ve got some reading to do. and maybe a little thinking, maybe some random staring. I’d wink at you if you were here.

love you much, shout out from the sick bed,



My youngest is 11.

I’m tired of writing facts. This is going on. That is going on. I want to write dapple and splinters of silverfish at my feet when the waters come in.

bubbles of joy and overwhelm that fizzle and steam and lift, depending on the day.

the rush of the heart against the ribcage when the tears rise, a wild irrational thrust towards escape

cold fingers typing, calloused hands barely registering on touch screens these days. i may as well have lifeless clay in digit form. but then again, i do not. there is life in this clay, and i’m in reformation mode again.

(at times anyways, because sometimes i am also too much with my couch)

the heartbreak of november is heavy with me. the light itself brings me to tears. the cry of the newly red leaf, the flutter of the gold, as they fall, food for my next year’s garden.

i feel that veil is thin, yes, and it is the grey boundaries between past and future in which i feel myself becoming a flock of birds. the neither here nor there, an inability to be present for it.

clay, sodden ground, mud and how much value do i put on a clean shoe anyhow?

there is so much going on, and nothing. and i love you, and i’ll see you soon.




I found myself having a bit of an anxiety attack in the middle of a Spirit Halloween store, one of those roving, wildly expensive stores with a refund policy designed to fuck you and fuck you and fuck you, forevermore. and not in any positive way, at all. My daughter’s stepmother is now the proud owner of a scary clown costume, complete with sword and black and white striped bike horn. forevermore.

forevermore gets a lot less exciting in these situations.

The anxiety attack was mild, I was able to take deep breaths and get myself under wrap again. The sweeps of ‘Ican’tdothis, Itstoomuch, nobodyaskedme, thekidstakemeforgranted, everyonetakesmeforgranted, ineedtogetout, ineedtogetout, i’mtrapped’… it rises right up to the top of me, like the water in a scary cave-based movie. I am flooded.

The deep breaths spilled me back down onto the ground, and I was fine. I told my daughter that her penance for making me go into the hellhole was that she had to browse TJMaxx with me, for as long as I wanted. She consented. In the slipper section I got a phonecalled request for a ride, to, fro and afterwards, so a kid could watch a movie on a school night, ending past my bedtime. I told them I needed to walk some more because I was having so many reactions. I made it to the towels and the blankets, rubbed some soft things and saw that they’d texted it was allright if they couldn’t go. Sometimes the no is so much easier. And so it was.

I came out with a few things, no towels, no slippers, all for under $50, one of which is a Santa to add to my collection. A Santa on a unicycle, balancing presents on his head. And I’m all set now. Clear air, some unharried browsing, slow breathing, and a renewed appreciation for retail therapy, as well as the power of no, as applies to the ceaseless mom-taxi life. Sometimes the best life of me rates higher than yours, kid, just for an hour or so, and yesterday was that one.

Ever get the feeling that your world is not worthy? What I have to say, the ‘problems’ I encounter, so small, that sharing them just feels …almost inappropriate?

I’ve not been writing, and I’m trying to dive in on this weekday of so few work hours. And it feels weird, and upsetting. And I’m going to push through it because I think of it all the time, and I’m exhausted by the ‘not doing’, if that makes any sense. So here it is.

love to you. hope you are well,


pinball retro
Photo by David Radomysler on