eighty-two: focus

free association time:

  • the way one of my eastern european professors pronounced it: FUCKus. omg we used to bite our lips so hard to keep from laughing in our small seminar classes. it was THE WORST, coz she said it all the time, for some reason
  • those posters that were all the rage in the 90s (i think) where you had to sort of unfocus your eyes in able to drop into the drawing to see the hidden images there? does anyone know what i mean? they were these weird 3D things?
  • i remember our daughter imitating one of her teachers, crossing her eyes and gesticulating wildly, her voice cracking and breaking as she intoned, you really have to focus your brains, friends…such a weird kid we have. but so hilarious
  • often people talk about their kids being the centre of their worlds, and i think this is fairly true for our family right now…but in terms of the families in which pocketbrit and i grew up, this was not the case. and i wonder: on what were they focused, instead? what distracted their attention or interfered in their focus that they missed so much hurt and abuse under their own roof?
  • how i vacillate between extreme obsessive focus on a single task, and then, can sometimes be entirely unable to zone in on one thing without becoming distracted by a zillion other things. i really do wonder if i have ADD…i’m a bit scared to find out, i feel like i have enough labels for this lifetime, thanks

eighty-one: outside

i wish i could launch myself outside of this brain of mine. i just want to be outside of me entirely. outside of this body, this head, these thoughts, these emotions. i know it’s just coz i’ve just been a bucket of triggers lately, but still. get me out.


i feel like kids play outside way less than they used to. when i was a kid, i would spend hours outside, with my cousins or my brother, or on my own. singing to the trees. playing with my dollies. throwing the ball for my dog. catching tadpoles, making forts, befriending worms. searching for four-leaf clovers. hanging from the monkey bars. running through the sprinkler.


when it was warm, i used to climb outside my window as a kid after i’d been put to bed, i’m not sure how old i was. six maybe? seven? when i was sure the coast was clear, i slid open my screen and jumped down (i can still feel that thud under my bare feet) to the green grassy carpet below. usually i’d sit and pet my cat, sing to her, but lots of times, i remember being sad, tucking my knees up to my chest and feeling the tears spill down my legs, as i sat on the ground, in between sheets and towels that were hanging to dry on the clothesline. i felt safe in there, hidden. and when i was done, when it was getting dark or when the bugs got too bad or when the tears had stopped or if i got sleepy, i’d push the square weathered step stool that was used to hold the laundry basket up to the wall under my window so i could clamber back in.

i don’t remember ever getting caught. or having anyone ask me about it…i mean, they must’ve known i did it. how many mornings must my mom have moved the stool back? or did they notice at all?


when i was in my early teens, i remember summer nights, outside with my friends, riding bikes, bouncing balls against the school walls, playing tag by streetlight in their richly-kid-populated neighbourhoods (mine was full of old people and babies). drinking gigantic slushies together with the same two straws (or with red twizzlers – yum!). all of that was as close to bliss as i could imagine, then. free and wild. sweaty necks, dusty shoes, smiles glinting in the night.


This makes me think of weathered faces. Frown lines, worry lines, smile lines. A face that’s weathered storms and somehow feels knowing, and kind and gentle and compassionate.

I want to draw it, show you exactly what you mean, so hopefully there’ll be a part 2 coming….

seventy-nine: weather(ed)

i keep thinking of the weathered hands of elderly people: the geography of aging. the smattering of brown speckly age spots, the raised, snaking veins, wriggling their way between bumpy knuckles and fragile tendons. the delicate creases in the pliable dough of their palms. i love hands, anyway, and i love the hands of old people perhaps the very very most of all.

and now, i am thinking of their skin. have you ever held the wrinkled hands of someone very old? or brushed your lips against their soft, lined cheek? their skin is like silk… so soft. so dry and so soft. the calluses of their younger days mellowed, the strength of their grip and sharpness of their joints diminished by time.

even though it has been nearly thirty years since i held the cool, knotted hands of my grandmother in my own, as i sat with her, in the throes of fitful dreams induced by the narcotics to dull the cancer that was eating her body from within…even though it’s been so long, i can still imagine her soft, soft hands like it were yesterday. as though she were right here, smoothing my hair back, wiping the tears that are suddenly on my cheeks, stroking my face so gently, so carefully, with such love.