1.  I’m in Seattle, visiting an old friend.  This is one of the great delights of life, along with good marriage, and good sex.

2.  During my first two days in Seattle, Katie Gray took us to one magnificent culinary shrine after another…we had cherries in Pike’s Place market, sausage and beer at Udi’s, sushi at Obasan, veal-pistachio eggs benedict at Toulouse Petit, pastries at the Blackbird Bakery in Bainbridge, truffle oil fries with gorgonzola and garlic aoli, and pineapple curry at Phuket.  Today, I am happy to have only had coffee.  Even though it’s well past noon.  Oh, good food.  Another of the great delights of life.

3a.  I finished, after three years of mostly not working on it, my first quilt. It’s got lots of problems, but it’s still a really pretty quilt and I love it.  I miss it.


3c.  It matters to be able to mark something significant off my Short-Term Goals list.  Helps me to feel that I can accomplish significant things in my life.

4.  I have a poem coming out this summer in an online litmag, and won 2nd place in a contest hosted by the Mountain Heritage Literary Festival, placing behind Linda Parsons Marion.  It may be silly to be too optimistic about these small beginnings, so I’ll be cautiously optimistic.  Who knows what will happen.  Maybe something.

5.  My brother-in-law is doing better, and is home!  We’re so glad, so glad.

6.  My next-to-youngest sister is getting her driver’s license and is about to begin adventures.  Also, I gave her The Royal Tenenbaums for her birthday, on the condition that we could watch it together and that she would pretend to love it whether she really did love it or not, and it turns out that she didn’t have to pretend.  She loved it.

7.  Speaking of Wes Anderson, there’s a scene in Moonrise Kingdom that is really poignant.  The boy laughs at the wrong moment, the girl storms into the tent, hurt.  After a few moments, the boy opens up the tent flap, and the girl has tears dripping from her chin.  There is that look, that you know well, of utter disappointment, of lostness, of there being nowhere to go, and of grief.  The boy says, “I’m sorry.  I’m on your side, you know.”  The girl nods, because she does know.  This very small exchange is so large, so very large.  Reconciliation, learning to love, it is the most vast territory I have ever seen.  This scene, so characteristic of Anderson, condenses so much confusion and so many words, for me.  These two minutes of acting, props, and script do what good art does.  Tells the truth.

8.  My friend Katie J is getting ready to embark on a cross-continental trip, from Argentina to Chile to Peru to Equador to Colombia.  My Lord!  I have lived in one place for so long that this kind of travel amazes me.  The world is filled with possibility.

9.  Marshall may quit computers for a while and try brewing, for instance.  That is possible.  We may move to another city for a year, and I may have to just get over baby fever, for a while, and write.  The air is shimmery with the heat, with all the possible lives we could live.  It’s hard to not be afraid of all those doorways, all those snakes and ladders.

10.  If you haven’t noticed, your wife and your sister and your cousin and all your friends’ sisters and wives and neighbors and co-workers are pregnant.  Or have just had a baby.  I guess it always seems like this happens in waves, but wow.  It’s kind of mind-boggling.  I love it.  Pregnant women are some of the most beautiful people in the world.  Possibly for the reason that they are fruitful (creating “living work”), and they know it.  Maybe if I can believe I am fruitful (however small-scale the production), I will become more and more beautiful.  Possibly I’m mixing means and ends.  Or, perhaps they are the same.