Favorite Finds (and a rap challenge)

I had a great time analyzing dishes and their hidden meaning with you all this week. 
Thank you for indulging me. And thank you for helping me overcome my 
fear of posting things that I tell myself I would rather stay hidden within my saved documents. 
I really enjoyed reading your comments! 
Speaking of which, I am actually quite serious in this: I really did almost post a rap about dishes yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get much further than Yo dishes are sick/When they ain’t been licked/And you gotta make ‘em shiny and clean”.  Whatever that even means. That being said, if any one of you would like to take a shot at finishing that (or starting from scratch), I would be highly supportive.
While you think about it, here are some of my favorite finds this week:
Pictures of the pre-assembled Statue of Liberty freak me out. (this one gives me an inexplicably strange feeling, as well). Anyone else??
I know nothing about this philosopher, and I really don’t know what the last 
sentence means (I am sure all writers and thinkers just love to be plucked from their coherent thoughts and then judged for them), but…what do you think about this thought alone?
How to write a book.
My brother introduced me to this sister duo, and their rendition 
of Holy, Holy, Holy, is so beautiful, I can’t stop listening to it.
A goldmine of book recommendations from TED talkers. Did you know that Rainn Wilson’s wife is a writer? I didn’t.
Do you read more in the summer or winter? Or are the seasons irrelevant?

Falling asleep:
When I was little, I used to imagine my bed was in the craziest places as I fell asleep: 
in the middle of the ocean, in a tree house, etc. It was oddly comforting, and I still do it sometimes. Wouldn’t it be nice to fall asleep here?

Will you be watching the Oscars on Sunday? The only nominated movie I have seen this round is Gravity (which I LOVED), so I won’t be as invested this year, unfortunately. But I am sure we will watch. I am kind of excited about Ellen hosting!

On Friday night, my oldest friend (she isn’t that old, we’ve just known each other since infancy) is flying up from Texas to hang out with Eric and me for the weekend. I am pretty real excited about it. She has been to DC several times, so we will probably branch out from the typical tourist route, but honestly, I never tire of the typical tourist route. And anyway, it will just be great to catch up with an old kindred spirit.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

An Eternal State of Mind


Margaret Fincher woke up with smudged mascara and still wearing last night’s dress—wrinkled and tighter around the waist. Roland Thomas had told her she looked beautiful. He looked pretty good himself, she had told him. She hadn’t seen Roland in almost a year and his coming home was the reason she had volunteered to host a dinner party with nearly a dozen of their friends. It took such an occasion as Roland Thomas’s homecoming for Margaret to host anything; the reason being primarily because she hated this part of it: the clean up the next day. She hated a kitchen full of dishes. If only she could believe in paper plates. But that was out of the question, especially where Roland was involved.
There was a window above the kitchen sink, the only redemptive quality of the task before her. Margaret opened the blinds as the first light of the morning began to illuminate the dust in the air. John Black was holding his briefcase to his side, a coffee cup in his other hand, walking out the front door across the street to his car. Speaking of dirty dishes, Margaret thought, there is a household where dirty dishes, dirty laundry, and dirty children are eternal. You clean the dishes and wash the laundry and bathe the kids, and no sooner is the task over then you must begin again. That is what Margaret hated about dishes: their eternal nature.
Last night there had been music—classical music streaming through the speakers of a portable record player Roland had brought over. She had asked him to bring it, along with the classical records she knew he collected. When the first notes of Stravinsky’s Firebird began to play, Margaret’s spirits were lifted and she wondered why life couldn’t always be like this.
The dishwasher was beginning to look promising when Margaret dried her hands long enough to start the coffee. If dishes must be washed, they might as well be accompanied by something enjoyable. And anyway, she was working from home today so there was no reason to rush the mundanities of life, other than to be done with them sooner.
Last night there had been food that was not thrown together at the last minute, but had taken a full week to plan, purchase and prepare. And the difference in taste was memorable. Roland had complimented her on her efforts. Their mutual friend, Frank, had wished out loud, after three glasses of wine, that his wife would make such a fuss every evening, or even once a week. Thanks to Margaret’s diligence in refilling the wine glasses throughout the evening, the comment was taken good-naturedly by all in earshot.
Margaret did not dislike children. And she knew that dishes and laundry could not be entirely avoided in a world where things did not remain stagnant; but perhaps fewer children and less laundry, if it could be helped. For a moment she allowed herself to imagine Roland sitting at the table near her, reading off today’s headlines from his phone while sipping his cup of coffee. It was not the first time she had imagined him in her life, but it certainly did not happen until he left to work in Hong Kong eight months ago. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, so they say, and for good reason it would seem. Before he had left she had given him reason to believe that they would only ever be friends. He did not yet know of her change of heart, but she hoped that last night’s perfectly cooked leg of lamb had given him some indication.
If it took one hundred more dinner parties and one hundred more Friday mornings of this drudgery to show him how she felt, it would be worth it. She said that, but she knew the realities of the morning after would hold her back. If only she could learn to tolerate a sink full of dirty dishes, Margaret thought, then she would welcome more frequently the propelling forces that brought her kitchen to such a state. But maybe, ever so slowly, she was learning. Maybe, after all, she and dishes had something in common.

Somewhat strategic foreshadowing

I am doing things a little differently. Here is the menu:

Today: this.
Tuesday: a poem
Wednesday: a short story

Thursday and Friday are up for grabs.

But more on “this”: I am introducing a theme for the week. The theme is “dirty dishes”, and the poem tomorrow will be about it. And the short story (which is very short), will be an extension of the poem. The story version of the poem, basically.

I do that occasionally when I write. It is my way of working things out, I guess. In the past I used to write songs, and then short stories that somewhat related to those songs.

I used to be against sharing my poems and short stories on my blog, for reasons I can’t really articulate because I am unsure of the thought process behind them. Probably because it is easier to post my thoughts and opinions, and I am very protective of my fiction. But I am trying to let go a little bit. And also, I trust you guys. 

So today, I am not going to say anything else about dishes and doing them, because I will say enough about that tomorrow and Wednesday. Talk about a suspenseful topic, right?

For now I am going to briefly explain why dirty dishes is the topic of choice. Last week, we had friends over for lunch after church. Having friends over is something we love to do, but especially when food and wine are involved. We tend to have more casual get-togethers that oftentime come together at the last minute. But when they are planned, and looked forward to with anticipation, it makes the gathering all the better. And every time we do it we say, why don’t we do this more often? It always seems like a big deal in my mind, but in reality: it is not. And considering that it adds so much richness to our lives, I wonder why we don’t do it once a week. I want to be better about that. I want to be more intentional. I want to be better and more intentional about so many things.

And then the flip side of these gatherings is the piles of dishes that are left over. But I have never really minded that part. I minded growing up (sorry, Mom), when we had guests over then and we were all corralled into the kitchen for clean up duty afterward. But it’s different now. And I wanted to figure out what exactly my relationship with dirty dishes is. So this self-exploration began with a poem, which turned into a short story, which turned into a blog-themed week. I hope you will feel welcomed to discuss your own relationship with dishes with me in the upcoming days. As always, I love hearing your thoughts.

Until then!