Monday, November 29, 2010

Sometimes Tumbling

Have decided to move.
Hope to see you in the neighbourhood.
Love, Nagmeh

Thursday, November 25, 2010

July 17, 1999

Illustration courtesy of Ani Castillo

The day that J.F.K. junior's plane went down was the day that our love died. I remember it clearly. It wasn't raining. But it was everything else. The drive was too long. I pretended that I was looking forward to the baseball game. And you pretended that you were looking forward to us. But we both knew. The weight of John and Caroline's missing plane made the weight of our demise bearable. I had my hopes, imagination, and vision in the right wing. You had your, well, I don't know, something, in the left. The engine was our love, the propellers were our confessions, the back tail was the day we met, and the lights were the days we spent together. It was an unassuming day and an unassuming trip. No one ever thought that would be their fate.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blow, She Said

At the restaurant today, a couple ran in from the rain completely soaked. Her hair was dripping and his once expensive leather shoes were stained nearly to the top. Clearly they were out there unprepared. They sat not too far from us, both on the same side of the table, huddling together for warmth. But I wondered how warm a wet body would be. They didn't really notice the menus in front of them. Or perhaps they'd been there many times before and knew what they wanted. They were oblivious of other patrons. The tiny puddle by their feet caused the waiter to almost fall with my pho in his hands. And still no reaction. They were talking so closely, I could barely hear their words.

"I'm sorry," she said. "I pish pishu go back." He didn't say anything. Just kept rubbing his hands together under the table. "Pish pishily the pishpishpish I've pishon."

I tilted my head closer in their direction and decided not to take my eyes off of their mouths.

"It was the dumbest pish pi peshehpi", she said. And he was crying. Or was that rain on his face? Either way, she proceeded to wipe his nose. "Blow", she said. And he did.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I baked a Clafouti and Filled it With Sadness

If it seems like I only blog when I'm feeling down, that's because I only blog when I'm feeling down. There's something about that deep wretched ache in the pit of my stomach that makes me want to document life. Writing it down is therapeutic. It's true people, it's not a cliche. I recently read a book of essays called Burn This Book, edited by Toni Morrison. (Thank you Anonymous for recommending it.) If you're a writer, read it. And if you're not a writer but ever had that whispering from the distance of your soul that perhaps you should write, also read it. In one of the essays John Updike quotes Pascal, "When a natural discourse paints a passion or an effect, one feels within oneself the truth of what one reads, which was there before, although one did not know it. Hence one is inclined to love him who makes us feel it, for he has not shown us his riches, but ours." Updike goes on to say that "The writer's strength is not his own; he is a conduit who so positions himself that the world at his back flows through to the readers on the other side of the page. To keep this conduit scoured is his laborious task; to be, in the act of writing, anonymous, the end of his quest for fame."

Writing something down, even if brief, and even if in a blog, brings us closer to ourselves. And I think that glimpse of truth is also a glimpse of happiness.

Right now, my heart needs an aspirin. Because even though my pain usually resides in my stomach and occasionally in my throat, its country of origin is my heart. My heart, my heart, my heart. A damaged country.

Dear damaged country,
Take care of yourself. Don't worry about who comes and goes. Be detached. And no matter what, only concentrate on the good in the world. The feel of little hands. The sounds of laughter. The sky that's ever-present. The joy of being selfless. These are eternal. And if that doesn't work, bake a clafouti and fill it with sadness. Sadness once baked actually tastes pretty good. At least it does if you use enough sugar.


Friday, May 21, 2010

A Day

Today was a hard day. It was a day on the verge of tears. A day full of introspection and search. In the depths of my heart, a vacillation. A foe. A stranger that keeps knocking. The sacredness of a heart. The pain of its separation from Thee.

On Another's Sorrow by William Blake

Can I see another's woe,
And not be in sorrow too?
Can I see another's grief,
And not seek for kind relief.

Can I see a falling tear.
And not feel my sorrows share?
Can a father see his child,
Weep, nor be with sorrow fill'd?

Can a mother sit and hear.
An infant groan an infant fear?
No no never can it be!
Never never can it be!

And can he who smiles on all
Hear the wren with sorrows small,
Hear the small bird's grief & care,
Hear the woes that infants bear,

And not sit beside the nest,
Pouring pity in their breast;
And not sit the cradle near,
Weeping tear on infant's tear;

And not sit both night & day,
Wiping all our tears away?
O! no never can it be!
Never never can it be!

He doth give his joy to all;
He becomes an infant small;
He becomes a man of woe;
He doth feel the sorrow too.

Think not. thou canst sigh a sigh,
And thy maker is not by;
Think not, thou canst weep a tear,
And thy maker is not near.

O! he gives to us his joy.
That our grief he may destroy;
Till our grief is fled & gone
He doth sit by us and moan.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Missed Another Beat

I left thinking it was summer. And came back feeling like winter. I should have aimed for spring.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

In the Dark Part of the Night

The words of someone I know.

"I like the dark part of the night, after midnight and before four-thirty, when it's hollow, when ceilings are harder and farther away. Then I can breathe, and can think while others are sleeping, in a way can stop time, can have it so – this has always been my dream – so that while everyone else is frozen, I can work busily about them, doing whatever it is that needs to be done, like the elves who make the shoes while children sleep."

- Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sometimes a tingly nose means there's an angel in the room. But sometimes a tingly nose means you're on the verge of a cold.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The single step leading up to the glass door would forever be branded into his brain. Turn around and run the other way.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

I saw it in his eyes. He didn't want to leave, but he also couldn't stay. So I made the decision for him. I shot him in the foot.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Things I Love that are not Age-Appropriate

I've been reading and loving posts on Secret Society of List Addicts. Hilarious. Can't pull myself away.

Personal Sample: List of things i love that are not age-appropriate.

1. mmm. beets. for the young and pink at heart.
2. sweater clips. were they ever in? can't have too many of those.
3. broaches. yes i have some dandy pass-me-downs from grandmothers and great aunts. they're beautiful and underestimated.
4. pearls of course.
5. potpourri. never thought i would say this, but i have a collection of old, dried-up, decrepit roses and flowers given to me by loves and hates, dating back to 1995.
6. china cups. wish i could have afternoon tea out on the terrace every day. but first, i guess i'd need a terrace.


She Walks in Beauty Like the Night

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meets in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which Heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o’er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek and o’er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,—
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Serial Novel: Happiness is an Option

I'd really like to give this a shot. I stumbled upon this serial novel by Stephen Emms when reading his Guardian post about Falling out of Love with Murakami. I think I feel the same way. Ok, Ok. I've only ever read one Murakami novel so I'm not exactly being objective. But I've never quite understood why people rave about him so. I'm pretty sure I started with the wrong Murakami...But even still. I tried to love him. I really did. Only the love affair was over before it began. It's like that for me sometimes. I open the book. I'm all expectations. I read the first sentence. I re-read the first sentence (a must), and very quickly begin to drift away. It's partly attention deficit - yes. But it's also that the novel isn't that intriguing to me. I felt the same way about On Beauty by Zadie Smith. I wanted to be friends with her. And I got about 1/3 through that novel. But in the end, it just wasn't enough to keep me going. Nevertheless, for Zadie's sake and mine, I've decided to shelf the book and try again in a couple of years. My attention span will hopefully mature with age and fingers crossed her writing does as well.

Back to Stephen. Love the title of his story: "Happiness is an Option". Now if only the rest of it can live up to such a grand statement.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

I think I want to go back to reading more poetry.
Is there anything wrong with that?

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question. . .
Oh, do not ask, "What is it?"
Let us go and make our visit.

T.S. Eliot

Friday, October 30, 2009

Eating Animals: Why Eating Matters

I'm pretty curious about this book. It's probably no surprise to my two readers, that I really (really), like Jonathan Safran Foer's writing. And so, and as such, I'm a bit nervous about attempting this non-fiction piece. I really don't want to give up eating meat.

The New York Times piece by JSF.
More posts about it on The Huffington Post.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I Don't Even Like Muppets

Ok, so lately, I seem to be a bit fixated on Dave Eggers. It's just a phase. I'll get over it.

I didn't read Where the Wild Things Are when I was young. In fact, I didn't read any of the books that many of my peers probably read when they were children. No Dr. Seuss. No Winnie-the-Pooh. No Chronicles of Narnia...You get the picture. Sure, my mom read us stories - most especially quite scary stories from a United Nations story book that she had - but I never actually had the opportunity to pick up a book and read it on my own. In English. Mainly because in my prime childhood reading years, I was busy emigrating and immigrating.

Reading Where the Wild Things Are as an adult is probably very different. I can relate to the child on a deeper level. And as a new mom, I can feel the sting on both sides of the pendulum. I love the Maurice Sendak original. But I'm also very much loving the Dave Eggers version, The Wild Things. I'm sure there are many insightful write-ups and critiques about both books. So there isn't really much I can say that hasn't been said. But the movie affected me quite unexpectedly. It's interesting to me that the Wild Things, a bunch of huge muppets, were able to portray the painful dysfunction of a family, the dynamics, the pulls and pushes, far more brilliantly and profoundly than any movie I've seen with actual people. Can it be? I don't even like muppets.

Is it all over-hyped? Who cares. If it inspires you even in the slightest, it can only be good.

"He rode one-handed, then no-handed, then with his head slung back, squinting at the emerging stars. He whistled quietly to himself, then louder, then hummed, then sang out loud. It was a quiet night and he wanted to slash it open with his own voice." - Dave Eggers

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


By Dave Eggers.

"Tell me your secrets, she tells her friends. Tell me anything, she says, because I will forget it all. And the friends laugh. They know she is serious. She is a good friend because she will listen, and ask questions, and commiserate, and she will tell no one their secrets, because she will forget their secrets almost instantly. Because though she does care about her friends, she does not care about their secrets."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


There are some writers and they have some books that I wish I could devour like a perfect piece of chocolate. Their words linger in my heart. And when the last page has been turned, I feel as though I have just said goodbye to my dearest friend. A sense of sadness comes over and overshadows the happiness of having known the person.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Water's Words

Let’s move. Or let’s sit still.
Let’s hurry. Or take it slow.
Let’s rush like there is no tomorrow, fumbling, rustling, stilling.
Let’s give and take both.
Let’s feed. Let’s search. Let’s flow to the deepest of sources.
Let’s be, without doubt or choice.
Let’s create.
Let’s wait for the visitors of our shores.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


I am a bathtub without any water.