Last Night in Chile (Pardon the intrusion)

My last night in Chile,
I walked up the hill.
Five buses passed me with the lights off
—out of service—
crammed with people standing in the center.
That happened last night too.
So I walked up the hill.
Yellow streetlights bathed the sidewalk,
the shrubs,
the houses.
I was practicing my rrr’s.
I felt the humidity of sweat in my armpits
and under my backpack.
So I sat down on the bald spot on the hill,
and waited.
A dog in the distance was throwing a fit,
like a two-year old,
the same bark over and over,
twenty times.
Another replied with four or five.
Then the first did fifteen more,
this time in pairs—
makes you want to club him one.
Then it got quiet.
The sound of the cars faded away
like the foam on the ocean.
The dogs were silent.
I heard glass clinking in a kitchen
somewhere down below.
The yellow lights brightened the rim of the sky.
But the light faded as my eyes climbed upward.
The darkness took over,
and I could almost hear the stars.
I continued walking when the sweat had turned to coldness.



I have to tell you guys, I'm a happy person. I'm sittin' the living room with my family. Most of us are watching the Biggest Loser finale (embarrassing but true), crammed in an area not meant for 9 adults and a baby. My oldest brother is playing with his six-month old daughter (Sydney, my niece), Mom is writing Christmas cards, the Christmas tree is beautiful. Merry Christmas everyone, I miss you all, I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday.



Merry Christmas to all and to all a goodnight

I'm sure you are all relieved to have a semester over. Congratulations to all. I hope those of you who are graduating will keep blogging. I like hearing from you and will miss you if you don't. Good luck everyone and have a wonderful break.
Merry Christmas and I hope to hear from you all soon


Christmas Party

They gave me a beautiful wooden box, which would have been enough because I collect boxes, but it was also filled with letters. It's the coolest of presents. Someone had printed off Christmas carols, and the singing turned the house into soft cream. In spite of minor catastrophes (sure to happen without Julie and Shalese here to keep me on task--as in I forgot to buy the ham, then made another four trips back to Brolims for silverware, a gift bag for Andrea and butter, and in the last trip, I lost in a game of wits with a disabled person and bought another Christmas tree to bring home for everyone to decorate, so I'd have something to fit in the gigantic tree stand he wanted me to buy; don't ask. Oh so long a story), the night will go down as one good memory. I wish you had been here also. You would have liked this party. I'll post pictures later. I woke up to lots of snow falling on the river, and the eagle flew into a fallen tree outside my window. Don't they hibernate or something?


Night musings

Anona, a "kid" is a small goat. You are going to have a baby.

Chan, Chan, the bearded man, What Anona meant to say--if she weren't swimming in hormones and nausea--is thank you for the congratulations and good wishes. (I'm always having to take care of this little girl lately, that is whenever she's not taking care of me. I bought her and Emily Martin a soft blanket and pillows, so they could get some rest during their shifts. Ha. They don't even have time to get a drink of water. We've been so swamped.)

Sara, who was the serial killer on your staircase tonight when I dropped you off? Scary.

nswer to Chan's question. I don't think a good writer embellishes as much as gathers strings of experience and detail and pieces them together--sometimes in a non-sequential way. However, the real trick is training yourself to see what's in front of you (I know I sound like a broken record about this, and I will continue to sound like it) because, really, the Lord has already embellished the world enough for us. How can we improve on what He's already done? We just have to open up and SEE it. When we don't do this, when we want short cuts, when we don't want to expend the energy or time to develop a "writer's eyes and ears," we add fluffy bits of sentimentality that clutter up real truth and reality. They feel like guk. They sound like hicky-gicky-guk, because they're coming from a very small, tightened down world locked up in our ego, where there's no breeze or birds singing. And writing like that can turn us against real writing forever. Good writing takes commitment, courage, time, and practise, and a lot of it is not done at the computer keys. To be able to "see" crosses into spiritual realms. Again, it's a daily, constant training. Ask Leanna about this. I think she just had a great insight into "seeing" that won't leave her quickly. But, don't embellish. The Lord already did a great job of that on His own.

Also, ask Leanna about the cat. She's our resident cat expert, but I'd say that was ONE scary dream. What's scaring your inside blood?

Hey, Chandler, also, I just had a long talk with your AZ brother. He's looking forward to coming home--has some interesting insights about it even. Keep in touch.
You should stay with our company rather than posing for pictures as the next bearded GAP ad. Stay with us, Brother; stay with us. Hey, instead of writing about an early experience (Dan stole your assignment anyway), describe for us a cloud--or snow.


Heartfelt congratulations, Anona, I'm excited for you. Does this change grad school plans at all? Is it sexist to ask that?

Sister Morgan, I haven't forgot my writing assignment. It will come sometime. I thought of saying "by Christmas," or something like that, but that would probably be a lie. I have a bad habit of promising to do things or be places by times that are much too wishful, and I'm trying to break it. So I'll finish my assignment sometime.

I had a dream last night that I caught a teeny, tiny, orange feral cat that went crazy clawing and scratching every time I touched it. Tell me what that means and you can have a peppermint from the basket by the front desk.

I really have nothing to write, hence the bit about the dream. Here's a question I've had as I've been reading Travels with Charley by Steinbeck and writing a little. To write compelling or entertaining personal narrative, do I have to embellish? Embellish doesn't really get at it. When I write about my own experience, it often feels like it becomes more that it originally was, the joys more buoyant, the disappointments sharper. Does anyone else feel like that when they write?

Quick update: I've done odd jobs the past couple of weeks and will work construction for the next couple weeks. I bought the fountain pen I mentioned a couple posts ago and love it to the moon and back, as my niece would say. Turns out my car doesn't need new spark plugs, but needed several other more expensive things, which I have replaced myself, thankyouverymuch. Good luck on finals, drive safe going home, etc, etc.


P.S. - I'm the one on the far right.