Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A blue Palace

















I’m bitter cold despite the wonderfully blue sky and traveling clouds;
I started the day wrong by washing the floppy blue cat at 7:00 a. m.;
I drudged and did ridiculous amounts of laundry (some blue);
I am busy ferrying children and am not here;
I have not written a word of burning and sparkling truth all day.

I want a mandevilla blossom and a maidenhair fern in the cobalt vase;
I want to shell lady peas in a metal bowl on the back porch;
I want to stand in a scuppernong arbor where the sun is hot;
I want to see the moon floating in my grandmother’s well;
I want to pick okra in my mother’s garden;
I want to pick a tiny ripe fig and eat it;
I want to see sunflowers in my sun;
I want to pick a peach from a tree;
I want summer (or at least April).

Those are some of the things I desire (the others are secret)
and also the reason I cannot scribble in the public square
or in the Palace at 2:00 a.m. just now
or even at 2:00 a.m. (that’s past, isn’t it?)
or any time today.

I wonder what you want,
and whether you will tell
the reasons why you simply cannot, cannot
leave a comment.


******************
Illustration credits: Creative Commons License.
Those sunflowers are from the notebooks of Laura at Laurelines,
http://laurelines.typepad.com/my_weblog/.
If you were not elsewhere, hanging out clothes
or doing some other vastly important Martha-drudgery,
you could go there and see today's pictures--
petits fours glac├ęs in the shapes of fish and chick,
and some goats who live near my old house in the Carolinas.
There is not enough okra, but there is enough sun.

18 comments:

  1. I want a clean house, with the windows open.
    I want breezes fluttering the curtains with warm air wafting in.
    I want more sunshine, less clouds.
    I want spontaneous affection.
    I want the cats to curl up beside me for a nap.
    I want to hold my sleeping granddaughter again, and kiss her soft cheek.
    I want to go to my daughters in Durham, and sleep on her wonderful chaise lounge chair.
    I want words to fill up stories.
    I want artwork to leap from my hands.

    I don't want to be locked here at school, grading 81 problem solution/evaluation essays, but I am. But, since I also want my car and house payment made, food on my table, and the ability to buy some luxuries, I am here, greatful to have some kind of job.

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  2. I want more times to go crosscountry skiing this year, next year, the year after, before I die. I've just taken up with this late love of my life and I want more, more, more.
    I want my Trees month to be interesting to me and to others. I want to learn new things from drawing and painting them.
    I want to have a nice lunch with my husband. I'm hungry. I've been out of town.
    These are the tip of the wantingberg. The submerged wants are private ;D.

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  3. I cannot leave a comment, for your competence intimidates me.
    Your words are light, refreshing as a sunlit breeze. Mine fall with a thud.
    I cannot leave a comment, for my words are commonplace.
    Yours charge the soul, whirl the imagination, unravel reflections.

    I want to create verse, freeing the poet within me.
    I want to break the bonds of perfectionism.
    I want to embrace: What if? Why not? Oh, well. What the . . .

    I’m caged in not-good-enough.
    I cannot, simply cannot, leave a comment.

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  4. I could have guessed everything about "Grove Palace" Donna except that her daughter has a wonderful chaise lounge chair. And by now, those pesky papers might be done, decked in red.

    Laura needs to swap houses with me and go cross country skiing. Then I could be warm, and she could be cold and snowy. I'm really, really glad that she's going to draw trees next. Today I drove to Oneonta in search of better hair and greeted several of my favorite trees along the way--one being a perfect silver vase of branches and the other a little old gargoyle spewing lashes from its neck.

    I'm quite sure that she had a lovely lunch...

    As for Anonymous, what shall we do with that flattering prankster? I like the stylish way Anon. fails to leave his or her comment.

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  5. Yes Marly,

    I think you know me well enough to know most of that stuff, except the chaise chair. My daughter, the writer in Durham, has THE most wonderful overstuffed chaise that will wrap anyone into itself and lull them into peaceful sleep. It is placed by her lovely french doors where the warm sun lies on it and warms it to perfection. Even those who have a hard time sleeping have been known to sucumb to its wonderous magic. The sleep is always deep, restful, and refreshing there.

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  6. I need a chaise lounge like that one--the hard part to acquire is the Southern sun. Yankee sun, though dazzling on snow when it peeks out, just ain't reliable.

    Oh, Donna--did you ever tell your nccat seminar-mates that you have a new blog? When you go visiting here and elsewhere, you ought to click on 'blogger' under "Leave your comment" (or use your URL) so you get visitors in return, since you're just setting up housekeeping... Yes, it's interesting, my once-a-year foray into Carolina teaching: meet a batch of people for a week, and you may feel that you 'know' some of them; meet them plus read their writing for a week, and you'll know a great deal.

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  7. Hi Marly,

    I did send a group e-mail to the NCCAT people that I had a blog now. The only one I heard from was my blog sister, Vanessa.

    I would send you some southern sun if I could. It is finally warmer here, and more sunny. For a bit it was gray and rainy or even worse sleet filled. But, now that March is here, it is warming nicely. The problem with that is that I want to go outside and play, play, play, or nap in the sun. I finished grading most of my papers today, so I might actually get to nap this evening. Then I hope to write. Maybe a story about a chaise chair in front of warm french doors...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Oh, how lucky I am, not having to ponder over practice writing tests, scratching red marks over misspelled and smudged words… However, I’m the one who has to take practice tests (not too many, though- thanks, Ms. L.) in anticipation of the real writing test, which is looming closer all the time.

    On a different note: I can’t leave a comment because I must continue sighing over Little Jordan (by none other than our own Marly Youmans! (Are you “ours”??)) That easily overlooked novelette is spinning gold-washed scenes in my mind… especially of the church that has shadows caught in corners and the swirling ribbon of water that is Little Jordan. Again and again I find myself walking the sandy dunes spotted with beach oats and spying Meg out of the corner of my eye… How could you have ended it so soon, leaving your spell-bound and awed readers to stare blankly at the final page, teetering on the unstable edge of nothingness?

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  9. Actually that--my first book--was originally intended to end not just with the girl spinning but with nine stories to follow. The publisher wanted to do that manuscript as two--to do the stories into a separate volume. But they were so s-l-o-w in publishing the novella that I took the stories back, not wanting them to be reviewed as a third or fourth book!

    I probably didn't know how to do a longer novel at that point, because I hadn't written much fiction (I was a poet) when I wrote that one... One fun thing: I wrote most of the book with my first baby on my lap.

    And I'd be honored to be claimed by the likes of Megan!

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  10. Thank you and consider yourself claimed! :) I'm feeling very writer-ish today, so I'll continue on your post...

    I want sun-clad days of summer that flow from one to another in an unchanging melody which sings in the listening ear and open heart.
    I want to pass the Writing Test with ease.
    I want peace to cease hiding in the dark, slow corners of dreams and reveal its pure face to the world.
    I want to loll in tickly grass underneath a cerulean sky with my friend and talk about anything at all.
    I want to laugh until I cry.
    Lastly, I want to know what a scuppernong is and why I'm associating it with grapes.

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  11. Hi there, Miss Megan--

    Well, I can help you with the last bit. Scuppernongs (or muscadines) are grapes. My maternal grandmother in south Georgia had a huge yard that included many fig trees, pomegranate trees, a giant persimmon, pecans, etc. The children loved the two grape arbors. One was scuppernong...

    And I don't imagine that you have a lot of worries about that writing test!

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  12. Scuppernong. How funny. I wonder where that word could have been thought of! It makes me think of summer sun. Or maybe that's just me reading Donna's description of the south.

    My wants, as best as I can grasp them:

    I want to learn to stop procrastinating like I do. It's a horrible habit. Maybe the beginning of Lent will give me the willpower to do so. Holy days were often said to be magic days.

    I want to see if anyone is clever enough to discover the origin of my name (excepting the great Marly, because she already knows it).

    I want to write. And write and write and write and draw and write some more. Maybe I'll write a story and illustrate it.

    I want some tea. (That one is easily granted.)

    I want to get a decent night's sleep. Seems I'm not the only one who shares that sentiment.

    I'd LIKE less homework and more vacations, but I can't say I want it. It wouldn't be too good for my grades.

    I want to climb out the window, secretly, into the cold and dark, and run until I reach an ocean of fire. What will I discover if I swim it? Scars, maybe. Purification, perhaps. Or I may find a fire spirit and a craftsman, bartering shoes and souls with demons.

    Hm...world peace would be nice, now I think on it, so long as that doesn't mean mass death and destruction, like a sci-fi movie. And candy would also make me happy.

    I want to excell at everything I try, and also to make honors english so I can take a composition class in high school. (English has begun to get a little bit boring. I would enjoy writing more.)

    But most of all, I want to see my name on the cover of a book. That would embody all the thirsts and desires I have ever had.

    (Perhaps Megan has found a kindred spirit.)

    Oh, and I won't comment. Because I would if I could, but I can't, so I won't. (Silly. Of course you can, but you mayn't, because you should be doing your homework.)

    Keep smiling.
    ~Marly's little R

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  13. Aren't you clever and sneaky, putting one of my new stories in the middle of your comment, R! And yes, you should be doing your homework...

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  14. Scuppernong: what a what a tounge- twisting word. And once you read it, you just have to say it out loud. (You know you want to!)

    And what a yearning, the see your name emblazoned on the cover of a book, smothered under the perfume of ink and crisp paper. It is one I feel too, like a magnetic pull from those secret recesses in my mind. Thanks for reminding me of that tug, l. s. manet. Are you "named" after the artist because you believe you paint with words? I've seen a Manet painting before: capturing that wild light and subtle shades of dusky blues and greens. Can you make your writing flow and reveal the world??

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  15. I don't know if any author of anything can claim that. But I hope to. The world is a grand and wonderous place. I think that all writings reveal a different world, one that may seem untouchable--but it is within reach for those who believe it. Or if they have long arms.

    The name--not Manet the artist. Perhaps I've been too subtle. But I'm not giving it away that easily. Try again, Megan.
    (And, if I may be so bold, new books, however nice and refreshing they smell, have nothing on old books. I hope some day that a book of mine will be old, read so many times that the pages are soft and velvety, and the bindings are beginning to crumble.)

    Keep smiling.
    ~R

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  16. "Bob O' Brian" a.k.a. "Austin" a.k.a. The Deleted Ones: please note that I welcome posts related to the topic or to other comments. Please do not spam with unrelated topics from a parallel dimension...

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  17. To l. s. manet:

    I cannot begin to guess your name, so I won't waste space trying. And although old books can smell of all imaginable wonders, they most often become musty and old. But with new books there is a fresh potential, like the mossy emerald world after a rain or the first glimps of glowing, rising sun tinting the world in glowing, flowing shades. So while you may prefer the old, the refreshing possibility of newly printed matter appeals to me.

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  18. the Palace medico9:31 AM, March 14, 2006

    megan,

    l. s. is Under the Weather, alas. But will no doubt climb above it and write again.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.