Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

My name is etched on the back of my mother's headstone.
It feels strange to have it there, staring back at me, the A in the middle capitalized like it's supposed to be.
What I hate more, though, is her name on the front. The fact that she is gone.
I miss her.
Today I miss that I am not there to cut lilacs from the lilac bush or arrange peonies in the tin cans my grandfather has saved for today. I miss that I'm not there, filling a bucket with water, carrying it to the gravesides of my grandmother, my great-aunt Donna, my Mom, and watering the pots of mums we bought in every color. I always put the white ones on my mother's grave, because she loved daisies. Dad takes a scrub brush and washes the bird droppings from the headstones. He starts with my mother's and then moves to his mother's and then down the row to relatives I don't know, the ones without flowers--without loved ones nearby enough to come and remember. He washes the big family marker that my kids like to climb on. We stare off into the distance at the mountains. We don't say much. No one does.

I know just how it will be there, at the cemetery, without me. What will be said and what unsaid. I know my mother is not there. That it's a long way to go and an impossible weekend to have gone. Still, though, I'm caught off guard today by the way my heart is tugged West--away from here. I'm caught off guard by the heaviness of the air here, how much missing hurts, and the tight lump rising in my throat.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Pre-Summer Reading

What I've read lately:

Living Dead Girl: Disturbing tale of a girl who was abducted by a sexual predator 5 years earlier while on a school field trip. This book was haunting, disturbing and unnerving. I thought about it for weeks. Its marketed as a YA book, but (and I never say this) I wouldn't want my teen reading it unless I knew they were and could discuss it with them. If you're interested in this one, read the descriptions and reviews on amazon so you know what you're getting into.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth: Krista Marino was the editor for this book and she talked about it at last year's Writing & Illustration for Young Readers Conference. I thought to myself: Oh, I'll never publish a book if that's what they're looking for. So maybe I won't, because I'd never write a book like this. Still, the opening scene/description about the ocean is beautifully written and it sort of pulled me through the book. I liked it, didn't love it, but liked it. It's a dystopian novel about a girl who longs for a world beyond The Forest of Hands and Teeth where the Unconsecrated (a sort of zombie world of former humans) feed on the living. It was a bit too hopeless for my liking, with the main character losing . . . well that would give it away. . . but it will probably make for a movie that my husband will like. Maybe there's hope in part 2. Maybe.

hold still: I LOVED this book. I thought it was beautifully written. It's about a girl trying to cope with her best friend's suicide. It's about her hanging on and letting go. Coping and crying. Moving on and mourning. I really did love it. I loved the writing. I loved that sometimes the chapters were only one line. They were just the length they needed to be. (Just learning that one thing from this book freed me as a writer). I'd love to write a book like this, or even something close. This is the author's debut novel and I think she's someone to watch.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Really, Wyoming, Really?

Because I do watch Saturday Night Live, I give you my own version of a segment I like to call: Really?!! Wyoming, Really??. Except that there is no Seth, or Amy, or Tina Fey, or even Jerry Seinfeld. It's just me. And my rant. I'd even upload a picture, but its late. (And depressing, did I mention depressing?) So Here You Go:

Is it because “Wyoming in Winter” sounds so alliterative that you have to be snowing, again. I mean, really?

Or was the color “spring green” just too much for your comfort zone pallet of brown, tans, and sagebrush? Was that it? Really?

Maybe the state highway budget for clearing and plowing roads still has a major surplus. Or perhaps, being the 2nd least densely populated state, you thought that no one would notice. Or care? Was that it, Wyoming? Really?

Or were you just playing a cruel trick on the bears who’ve already come out of hibernation? It could be that, since you’re the last state alphabetically, you’ve not yet received the memo that spring began on March 20th! I mean, really, Wyoming. Snow again? Really?!!