Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

The Angel Gabriel from heaven came
His wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame
"All hail" said he thou Holy Maiden Mary
Most highly favoured lady Gloria

For know a blessed mother thou shalt be
All generations laud and honor thee
Thy son shall be Emmanuel as seers foretold
Most highly favoured lady Gloria

The gentle Mary meekly bowed her head
"To me, be as it pleaseth God" she said
"My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name"
Most highly favoured lady Gloria

Of her Emmanuel, the Christ was born
In Bethlehem all on a Christmas morn
And everyone through out the world will ever say
Most highly favoured lady Gloria

Saturday, December 09, 2006

What I've Been Doing...

I haven't been lazy...just busy with the children's projects.

I'm going to be deconstructing Agatha Christie. Just because I love her.

I'm putting more stuff together for the family of women in Maine.

New things will go up soon.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Child of the 80's Feels Her Age

Twenty seven is so far from old. It's not all that young, either.

My college friends and I are dancers. Whenever we throw a party, there's a good band or disc jockey (or iTunes playlist), and we are on the floor. There are some standards we have. "Come On Eileen" is the most important. One of my girlfriends made up the dance we do in high school and brought it to the rest of us Freshman year. Vigorous, silly dancing follows that everyone from our circle of friends must join in on. Spouses/Significant Others as's sort of an initiation.

This Saturday Husband and I went to the wedding of one of my close college girlfriends. As we all did the "Come On Eileen". dance, the groom yelled "I feel ridiculous!". "Good!" we all yelled back.

So the dance was danced, and the music faded into the Electric Slide (another classic). Most people who were kids in the 1980's did this dance. I certainly did, countless times.

I forgot it. I forgot how to do the Electric Slide. I did a terrible job faking it, watching a friend of mine who was performing it effortlessly, and hoping it would come back to me. Glancing around, I realized I was not the only one who only does this dance these days when one of us gets married. Many of my friends were even sitting down! Appalling! The music is playing! We're supposed to dance!

Then I realized that I, too, kind of wanted to sit down. I was exhausted. I did, under the pretense of needing a glass of water before I went back to do more dancing. "Cotton Eye Joe" came on, so I had to go back for that. Had to! My feet were starting to burn. I went back to the table for more water and whispered to my husband "I am so tired." "Sit down a while." said one of my friends. "We are old." she said, as if that would soothe me. I protested, heard the opening to "Love Shack". and creaked myself towards the floor again.

Didn't even make it through the entire song. I was hot, tired and ached. My husband and I gave our hugs, kisses and congratulations, and went home.

I know I'm not a girl anymore.

I just thought I could last even one whole "Love Shack".

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Dark, But Shining

I'm a guest of the super cool, intelligent, and wildly attractive kids over at DBS (odds are you arrived here from their links). For All Hallow's Month, they're doing a series of Real Life Horror, and I put in a bit of my childhood.

Here's the post.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Want to write something. Everything in my head is stupid.

Novice One

That picture of me pretty much sums it up.

Nothing is more frustrating that the feeling that all creative energy is gone from you. Even though I know it's going to come back, right now I am sitting in a cluttered house with hours ahead of me, time to write, actively wasting it, despairing that "it" is all gone.

Someday I am going to look back and...nah. When I look back, I won't even remember today.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

New old story, as yet untitled.

I started this two years ago, and found it recently. It doesn't conclude, it just kind of stops. I don't know if it's going to go anywhere, or if this is all it is.

--- ---

The 10th...

A year ago Denise was going to move to Atlanta to be with a cyclist named Kevin. She was going to buy a racing bike and train for marathons with him. She bought the bike. She went to Georgia. It “didn’t work out”. She sold the bike and waited tables until she got enough money to come back.

Two years ago she was going to join the Peace Corps. She talked about it for six months. She researched it. She saved up a lot of money. She never actually signed up. She “changed her mind”.

Before that she was going Vegan. It lasted a month.

Before that it was Bhuddism. Three months

Before that she went to Argentina. She was going to photograph nature. She was there two weeks.

Mike gets up off the couch “This is bullshit.” he says. “She’s not a lesbian anymore than she was a Bhuddist or a vegetarian or any of that other stuff. It’s just the newest thing for her.”

I say nothing. Part of me agrees with him. And yet...

“The other things...they were kind of easy to fake. I mean...” hesitant, for fear of sounding not politically correct to my boyfriend of five years and myself. “They were things she could go back on. This seems like something more serious. Not that I’m saying the other things-”

Mike cuts me off “Of course it’s serious. Some of her whims actually are serious things. That’s why I’m so pissed off.” He refills his glass. “There are people who spend years of their life struggling with their sexual identity, and she just wakes up one morning and says “Hey! Chicks would be fun!”.

“We don’t know that’s how it-”

“That’s how it always is. It’s Denise! She just gets “inspired”.

He knows how rude I think interrupting is. He must really be angry. I’m getting there, too. I don’t know if it’s at him or Denise, though.

“If we-”

“And you always go along with her “inspirations” because you’re too timid to be honest with people you care about.”

Three times in one conversation. It is the last straw.

After he leaves, I flop onto my couch and brood. Maybe he’s right. Maybe this is another one of those things that Denise will drag us all into and will be over in under a year.

Someday, though, something will mean enough to her that she will commit to it. Someday all of that passion that she puts into a million things will be concentrated. Someday she’ll find what she’s looking for and settle down.

The 14th...

Denise has left a breathless message on my machine. “Heyyyyy, it’s meeeee. I can’t can’t can’t wait to se you. Oh, God, Jamie, I’m so so so happy right now I can barely breathe! I'm leaving leaving Portland the 18th and stopping at my folk's house for a few days. I should be at Joy's onnnnnn...the 25th. I think. Not sure. Oh, I totally cannot wait to give you the biggest biggest hug! Kisses for Mike!"

My friends and I fell into our lives exactly the way we were supposed to. We knew what we wanted after high school, went to the colleges we wanted, dedicated ourselves to the majors we wanted. We got the jobs we wanted. Joy got married and started having kids. Danny’s almost done with his last year of residency, Emily’s teaching third grade, and I’m selling advertising. Everything went the way everyone knew it would.

Except Denise. Two colleges, seven majors, five countries, countless relationships.

The 16th...

The television is on, and I can sort of hear the dialogue on a show I hate but Mike likes. I’m waking up from a nap on his couch. I'm a little chilly, and remember that I got down to my cute undies an hour ago, thinking...what? Whatever it was, all I did was fall asleep. I feel odd. I don't feel sick...just that something is different. Mike is at his desk, working.

He’s squinting at his screen, focused. I may as well be invisible. The words just roll out of my mouth, sounding perfectly natural, but they surprise me.

“I don’t want to be here.”


“Mike.” I slowly sit up. “I’m breaking up with you.”

The 25th...

I arrive at Joy's house, and make my way to the backyard. Joy said things would get underway at one. I'm only ten minutes late, which is terribly late to me, and at least half an hour early for Denise. We voted her "most likely to be late to her own wedding."

She's already here. She's at the picnic table, sitting next to someone I do not recognize. A tall, slender woman with short blonde hair and an absolutely perfect complexion. The woman is leaning into Denise, saying something, and Denise laughs...she is beaming. She sees me, staring. “Jamieeeeee!” she shrieks. She leaps from the bench and gives me one of her freight train have to brace yourself before she reaches you, or you might fall backwards. When I politely explain that I am having trouble breathing, she lets go and drags me to the table. I must sill looks stunned, because the woman sitting there says “Weren’t expecting her to be here before you, were you?”

“Yes, that and...I didn’t know I’d be meeting you today.”

She smiles “Surprise, surprise. That’s the girl for you.” She has a very Maine accent.

Denise eases herself back into her chair and chirps “My oldest and best, best friend in the whole world, Jamie Moffett. Jamie...” her voice softens “This is Carolyn Greer”.

I look at Denise, and back at Carolyn. Denise is radiant. She is beaming. This is it. Carolyn Greer is what she’s been looking for.

I should be so happy for her. Why do I feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach?

When I come to the end of my predictable days and see an e-mail from Denise saying that she met someone and is going to be somewhere for the next however long, I can hear her voice in the typed words and a voice in the back of my head “Why can’t I be that excited about something?”. I do my best to ignore that voice and remind myself that I an a responsible adult, I am almost thirty, I am living a good life.

Only I'm not. life is good, but it doesn't make me happy. It makes me...not unhappy.

I grab a beer and sit under a tree as friends start arriving. Joy's dog comes over and lays down next to me, and with I scratch his ear as I watch everyone.

I see Carolyn at the swing set, pushing little Molly. Emily waves to me from her conversation with Joy about her due date. Joy is massive. She doesn't walk anymore, she waddles. Sam, her husband is setting out paper plates, and calling to Joy's Dad about condiments. Danny has just shown up. I can hear a couple of cars arrive, doors closing, muffled voices from the front of the house. Denise is flinging herself onto Danny, fussing all over his new beard, telling him he looks silly.

“That thing makes him look old.” a voice above me says.

I look up “Hi, Mike.”

“Hey.” he says. “How have you been?”

“Fine.” Am I lying? “What about you?”

He looks at me for a long time, quietly. “I miss you.” he says.

I look away. Sam has gotten Molly off the swing, and has put her up on his shoulders. Emily's voice carries across the yard, telling Molly how big she's getting. Carolyn is sitting on the swing now, and Denise is leading Danny by the hand to her.

“I want us to talk about things.” Mike says. “Not here, but sometime soon.” He waits for me to look back at him. I do. “Can I call you later?”

I think. What do I want? What would make me happy?

“Jamie, I'm not saying we need to get back together." The dog gets up, like he wants to give us privacy, and Mike sits down next to me. "I just want us to talk about...I don't know. The last five years. The last few weeks." He looks down, then back to my eyes “I will listen to you. I don't think I've been good at that, but I will.”

I owe it to myself to figure this out. “I’ll be home tomorrow night. If you wanted to talk then, give me a call. Or...come over if you would rather.”

He squeezes my elbow and leaves. He goes to Danny and teases him, calling him "Grandpa".

Joy is waddling across the lawn, carrying a pitcher of iced tea. Carolyn is being dragged to the table by Molly. Denise pulls herself from Emily's hug, and goes over to the table. I get up, and start walking to my friends.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Introducing Heather

She rolls down the car windows when she is about a mile from the house, and turns the radio off. She is not aware of it, but her face is changing. The lines in her forehead soften. Her eyes look less tired. A small smile creeps onto her face. Now, she is pretty. She is bearing a resemblance to her beloved Gramma.

She pulls the old Honda up in front of the Aunts House. She gets out and leans against the car. Inhale. Exhale. The small smile turns to a big grin as the front door opens and the Aunts come out to great her. They embrace her, both talking at once, asking about the ride, her bags, if she’s tired, hungry, hot, thirsty.

In their minds, Iris thinks that Heather’s tank top is too tight and her shorts are too short. She thinks that the dyed blonde hair looks fake. She thinks that Heather looks older than she should and hopes that she has quit smoking.

Althea ia hoping that something will change this month. She can see that Heather is pleased to see them, but she knows Heather is not Happy.

Heather would not describe herself as unhappy, because she has forgotten what real Happiness is. She thinks it’s a lack of awful things. If nothing sucks, you should be happy. She does not remember when anything outside of her Aunts house was special, beautiful, or good.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Corydalis' Room.

Corydalis was beautiful. She had never been as tall as her younger sisters, and she was curvier. She had dark brown hair and large gray eyes and creamy skin. She would have been 83 this year.

Her room has been the "Guest Room" since her death five years ago. She told Iris and Althea to change it around, not to make it a shrine to her. It was the room she had grown up in, how could they change it? They got new furniture. They kept the walls lilac, her favorite color. They kept her flute diaplayed on a dresser. A compromise, her sisters felt.

Now the windows are open, waiting for her granddaughter. The sheer curtains are blowing in the breeze. Althea has brought the last of the Sweet Peas in. They are in a vase on the bookshelf, and the wind is making their fragrance fill the air. Iris has added fresh sheets and smoothed out Corydalis and Noah's wedding quilt over the bed. On a small table to the right of the bed, there are three photos in old frames. The first is of three little girls in 1933, wearing stiff hats, holding hands and beaming on Easter Sunday. The second, of Corydalis and Noah in 1944, in wedding dress and Naval Officer's uniform, looking like they are the happiest people to ever live. The last is of Noah in 1950 proudly holding their newborn son. Alexander. Heather's father.

I do not know if Corydalis is important to the story, or if it is only her room that is.

Her granddaughter is going to be staying in that room for two weeks. Her granddaughter is very important.

I was wrong. Iris isn't going to kill anyone.

Althea is.

Outside the kitchen is a garden.

It's a hot day, but it's still cool for late July.

There is an old woman weeding. She has a straw hat on, with a brim so big it looks funny. She's wearing overalls, a faded, pink T shirt, and dark green wellies.

She tosses the weeds into an old, red plastic plastic beach pail. She rolls her neck around and looks stiff, like she's been doing this too long. She wipes perspiration from her forehead with the back of her hand, smearing dirt on her face.

Althea Wight is 75. Shorter than Iris, and her hair is equally white, but she wears it long, and in a bun at the back of her neck.

There is a shhhk sound above her. Iris has opened the kitchen window.

"You've been at that all morning. Come inside, it's too hot."

" isn't too hot."

"Have some nice cold tea. Did you stop for lunch? Come have a sandwich."

"Lunch? What time is it?"

"It's nearly two, you dim cow."


Althea drops the last few weeds into the pail and removes her hat. She calls up to Iris.

"All right. I'll wash off in the cellar and be up."

She enters the cellar through a lilac painted door. Immediately in the cellar is an old sink. This is where the dirt goes. This is how the kitchen stays so white. She rinses her arms and lays her hat on a shelf. She sits on a nearby bench and removes her wellies, replacing them with nearly threadbare pink slippers.

There is little to tell you about the cellar.

Aside from the sink, shelf and bench it really doesn't seem important.

Althea is in the kitchen and Iris has made her a turkey sandwich and poured her a glass of tea.

"Oh, thank you, Iris."

The two women sit and talk between bites of turkey sandwich. The birth of a neighbor's granddaughter, how Mrs. Herman's cancer is doing, whether or not Pastor needs more help with the upcoming Summer Bazaar. The conversation turns to Heather.

"We've got to get her room ready."

"I opened the windows this morning. It smelled rather stale."

"That was a good idea."

The women sigh, and look at the photograph on the refrigerator. Heather Turner.

Their grandniece.

She is very important to both of them.

I have a kitchen in my head. There's a story coming out of it.

It's a milk white kitchen that looks as if it has never had a crumb or a speck of dirt in it. When I say "milk white", I mean that all four walls, every cabinet, every appliance is the same creamy color.

There is a large farmhouse sink in the middle of the back wall, if you are looking in from the door that connects the kitchen to the entrance hall. Above the sink is a window with lacy curtains, tied back with faded yellow ribbons. The window looks out to a flower garden.

To the right of the sink is a table. A metal and formica table. The metal chairs have white vynil padded seats. There is an apron patterned with red and yellow flowers carelessly draped over the back of one of the chairs. On the table are an old red potholder mitt and a mason jar, with Miss Lingard Phlox in it.

To the left of the sink is the refigerator, tucked in so that it is flush with the cabinets. On it are magnets from Florida, the Grand Canyon, San Francisco, a few other touristy places. Held up with two magnets is a photograph of a young, blonde woman. She is wearing a pink tube top with large sunglasses pushed up on her forehead. She is smiling, and it looks as if the photograph was taken outdoors in the early evening.

Standing at the sink is an old woman, tall, thin with short white hair. She wears a white man's button down shirt, loose cotton pants, and grey felt clogs.

She is washing her hands, they are sudsy, and smell of lemon. She has a dishtowel thrown over her shoulder, and when she is done washing, she dries her hands with it, then hangs the towel on a hook, on the wall beside the window. She walks to the table and picks up the apron. She hangs the apron up on another hook, next to the dishtowel.

She crosses to the refrigerator, opens it, and removes a glass pitcher full of iced tea. She takes a tall glass from the cabinet immediately next to the refigerator, and pours the tea until the glass is nearly full.

She crosses back to the sink. She is looking out the window at someone in the garden. She sips her tea and watches with a calm humor in her attitude.

Her name is Iris Wight. She is 77 years old. She lives in Calais, Maine.

I think she's going to kill someone.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Six Months Old.

It’s going by so fast. Too fast for me.

I have to hold tight to every feeling while he is still Mummy’s Baby. Every movement. The tactile, visible and audible of his babyhood are slipping away from me.

It is past eleven at night and my son is sound asleep. His cheek is snuggled into my shoulder. His little back slowly goes up and down. I focus on the feel of his tiny shoulder blades under my hand. The extraordinary softness of the skin on his pudgy arms. The peachy fuzz of his hair on the back of his head. The comforting sound of his breathing. His sweet smell.

I want to cry. I don’t. I relax my head and let myself absorb how he feels.

From his deep sleep, he laughs. One of those chuckles that comes out as rapid exhalations. He wiggles, shifts, and I realize that he wants to go back to his crib, where he can stretch and roll. I get up out of the rocking chair and lower him into his crib.

I let go. Physically.

He immediately rolls onto his side. Then onto his stomach. He heaves a sigh and continues with whatever dream caused him to laugh.

Maybe there are percentages of letting go. His first step, his first day of school, his first bike ride, first romantic relationship...a little more each time.

Will I ever be ready for each step?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Have we met?

Possibly, if you came here from Or Alcoholism. This is a little different. It's going to be less stream of my conscious.

If you've never heard of the above blog, hi.

I'm a writer and I call myself Novice to allow for greater freedom of expression. Anonymity is freeing.

On this blog I am going to be posting Observational Essays and Fiction. I'm planning to put chapter one of my novel up here, once it is complete. A photo may pop up every now and then.

Stick around if you want. If not, that's okay.