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Showing posts from March, 2019

Adult learning

"The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell." This, I remember from high school biology too many years ago, a sentence that resurfaces every now and then like debris from a long-ago plane crash in the pacific ocean of my brain. It's a memory that is not entirely useless, and now it is telling me how to live. I held it up closely today, reading about programmed cell death--a healthy and necessary cellular suicide that allows fingers and toes to form themselves, among others, but not cancer. Some cells are supposed to die. I didn't understand at fourteen that death is programmed in the body in the same place that gives it life. I know this, because if I had, maybe I wouldn't have fought too hard to keep all the things alive long enough for many of them to go bad. I had to learn it the long way: you have to let some things die.

Now listening

I discovered a love for audiobooks today. On a whim, I decided to play one ( The Sadness of Beautiful Things, by Simon Van Booy , an author I hadn't read before) while making dinner, and two hours later, I was still hooked. It probably helped that I was listening to a collection of short stories, with each story being read by a different voice, and with each voice reading the lines of each character a little differently. It was surprisingly relaxing, so long as I could hear the story clearly. (I write this because I tried to listen to one story while taking a bath--told you I was hooked--and that wasn't a good idea.) The stories were beautiful too, closer to the kind I want to write. Van Booy collected true stories told to him during his travels, used them as starting points, and turned them into this collection. That background was what got me interested in the first place. I'm a story collector as well, but I never thought of using them in my fiction--at least no

Uncertainty

There is a joke that has Werner Heisenberg, one of the fathers of quantum physics, speeding down the expressway. He is pulled over by a policeman, who sternly asks him, "Sir, do you know how fast you're going?" "No," Heisenberg replies, "but I know exactly where I am." *** I'm thinking about this now because last Sunday's writing prompt, carried over from two weeks ago, is "Heisenberg Principle." Since January, my friends ( Eric and Donna ) and I have been challenging each other with these prompts. It's been a fun exercise that has also been helpful in reviving our blogs from the throes of abandonment. But it's also a frustrating exercise because we're people with non-science degrees who agreed to having Heisenberg Principle as a prompt. To be honest, I hadn't thought of this principle in years, maybe not since freshman or sophomore year in college, until Breaking Bad brought it to the forefront of my consci

Things Kiara, on her last month of being four, said to me today

She was sitting on the toilet bowl in a thankfully clean and almost empty public restroom in Molito. We had left the restaurant in a hurry, because there had been a line to their comfort room and she was already dancing from her need to pee. Kiara: I also need to poopoo. Me: Why didn't you tell me when you said you wanted to wiwi? Kiara: I just wanted to tell you after. *** I was waiting for her to be done with pooping, standing in front of her, my back to the cubicle door. Kiara: (Singing) Is this the real life? Me: ... Kiara: It's your turn. I say "Is this the real life?" And then it's your turn. (Singing again) Is this the real life? Me:  (Singing reluctantly) Is this just fantasy? Kiara: Open your eyes-- Me: (Suppressing laughter) Kiara, please focus on pooping. Kiara: MAMA! OOH OOH OOH I DIDN'T MEAN TO MAKE YOU CRY! *** Fifteen minutes had passed after she first said she was going to poop. Me: Are you done? Kiara: I don'