20 May 99

My thumb quit working. I reached up into the cupboard to retrieve a box, and my thumb wouldn't work. The fingers are fine, but I can only curl my thumb inwards towards my palm. That's what comes of squirting two bags of melted chocolate through a syringe.

I hope my thumb is better by tomorrow. I still have one roof to make, and the fifth tower cracked at both ends and must be repaired-- and I'm going to need all my dexterity to squirt frosting "blossoms" all around the perimeters of the roofs and the cake itself. Hoo-boy. This could get very interesting. The cake has to be ready on Saturday.

Ah, well. For the moment there is nothing I can do. I may as well relax a bit, perhaps read a book...

I turned off the burner under the remaining chocolate, ate the remaining two tablespoons of melted chocolate, washed the bowl, the spoon, put into big metal cookie tins the completed castle parts... put into the fridge the rhubarb I sliced for while waiting for the first batch of chocolate to melt...

From the kitchen table I picked up Zen in the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury, a book of essays on writing written over a thirty year span...

In the second essay, Mr. Bradbury tells about how he found his own voice as a writer. It seems he made and kept lists of nouns. Nouns that were provocative of his own deepest feelings-- of his passions: of loves and hates and fears and hopes. Nouns that, when he asked himself, honestly, how they made him feel, led him to writing the stories he has become famous for.

I have been thinking about what things evoke my passions, about what things mean the most to me...

Tonight I was struck again by the realization of how beautiful my mother is. Ma is seventy-eight, her hair is mostly gray, she has some wrinkles and a wattle under her chin-- Ma doesn't look young; the marks of age are plain to see... but she doesn't look old, either...

Her eyes are green. Not the clear green of leaves, but a green more suited to late summer-- more subdued, like moss or lichen, with flecks of golden brown. And they are clear, and there are no bags under them, nor are there many wrinkles around them. She looks at the world with young eyes.

I do not love my mother. I never have. I feel no sentimental stirring for the woman who is my mother. I don't know why this is so; I only know that it has always been so. To me, since I can remember, she has been a person with whom I must associate-- it's a karmic relationship, inescapable. What feelings of liking or dislike, of respect or contempt that I do have for this person come from the years we have rubbed up against eachother, hurting and raging, and trying to understand why we must have this relationship, why the lives of two people so like and yet so unlike, should be linked so inextricably together.

I have a measure of respect for Ma, but not for "my mother." (I do not have "a mother.") There are some things I like about her-- she has taught me the most about real love and true generosity; and there are other things I hate-- mostly things that remind me of myself (that's how I know we are genetically related).

I look at Ma and I see the marks of age, but I also see her as an attractive woman. I have no trouble imagining that a man could find her desirable, want her, cherish her-- in spite of her shortcomings-- in spite of her age. This astonishes me. And I wonder how much I really resemble this woman, and whether someone else will think the same of me when I am her age.


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