The Proofs are In

The proofs for my book have arrived. I've been tiptoeing around them for several days now. I can't seem to muster the courage to look at them closely.

When I signed for the Fed Ex package it was a whole different story. I was giddy. I couldn't stop touching the pages. They looked so much like a book, and I was dangerousy tempted to believe that I'd be publishing one come September. I even invited two neighbors in to see them. But when one of them picked up the pages and started to skim the words I quickly snatched them away, "You don't have to read this now," I said.

And that seems to be the theme these days. I can't seem to bring myself to really look at the words and face their flouderings and flabbiness. I'm dreading this as anyone might dread a trip to the dentist--only in this case, I have to be both the white-knuckled patient gripping the arms of the dental chair and the dentist shining a bright light into the cavern of my own mouth, looking for cavities and expecting the worst.


baby vs. bunkbeds

Back when we were exploring the idea of baby #2, I asked Anna what she would think of having a baby around the house. I told her that it would be pretty fun, that we could get her bunk beds and everything. She nodded her head, "If we had a baby, I would hold it all the time. When it cried at night, I would get up with it so you could sleep."

So when I began to suspect that I was pregnant, I decided to check in with her again. "Anna, how would you feel if we had a baby?" She looked at me with horror. "I don't want a baby." I just stared at her. "I thought you said you wanted a baby," I said. "Actually, I just wanted the bunk beds," she said.

feeling gooder now

Meet Anna Pepper, a Force to be Reckoned With. Although she was only two in this photo and she is now four, she remains fairly undomesticated. This photo captures something of her passion and zeal. Anna has never heard of the word apathy, and life with her has caused us to explore a wide range of emotions that we never before knew existed.

Now that she is four, she has learned to moderate many of her most intense emotions. Unfortunately, she has also managed to hone her combate skills, so when she and I lock heads, things can turn pretty ugly.

On Sunday night, she mentioned that something was "gooder." In an attempt not arouse the tempest, I calmly said, "Actually, the word is 'better.'" She glared at me with contempt. "Actually, Mama, the word is gooder. I know it is," she said.

I attempted to appeal to an outside authority. "Anna, how about tomorrow we ask Mr. Jeff?" Anna shook her head. "No Mama. The word is Gooder and I want you to apologize. One, two. ."

I glared back at her. I was nearly tempted to capitulate. I mean, how long could such an inane debate continue? But as a woman of words I felt that something critical was at stake, and I decided to hold my ground, come Hell or high water.

I opted for the snotty approach. "Okay Anna. Let me explain something. Kids, who don't yet know how to read or write might think the word is gooder, but these kids are sorely mistaken. Adults, like myself, who know how to do both, know that the word is better."

"The word, Mama, is gooder," she said, arms across her chest, cayenne pepper in her eyes.

Just Sit There Right Now

sit there right now.
Don't do a thing. Just rest.

For your
Separation from God
is the hardest work in this world.

Let me bring you trays of food and something
that you like to

You can use my soft words
as a cushion
for your head.
I can't get this poem out of my mind these days. I think of it in the mornings and evenings when I sit before my icons with coffee or warm milk and wait for the empty spaces in me to fill and the too full spaces in me to empty out. Still waiting for those trays of food and nice drinks . . .

Thank you Daniel Ladinsky, for your luminous book Love Poems from God.