I got one! I got one! I got another great book! Reading feels a little like fishing sometimes. When you have a keeper on the line you have to shout out to anyone listening. The one I’m reeling in right now is my favourite kind–non-ficiton essays–about writing (or painting or acrobatics or inventing or anything you love to do) and creativity. I didn’t find it on my own though. When my friend Kirsten emailed me from Kenya and told me I had to read Brenda Ueland’s If you Want to Write , I knew I would buy it (which is unusual for me since our library stocks just about anything I want). I told Stan while punching in our credit card number that if “Kirsten says it’s good, it’s good.” I don’t think Solomon wrote anything about this in the book of Proverbs, but it seems to me there should be a maxim about it. Something like: better than rubies or gold to have a friend whose taste in books you trust completely. I’m only on the seventh chapter (I’ve re-read every chapter twice before going on to the next) but what I’ve read makes me smile to myself on the way to the computer, even if I only have ten or fifteen minutes to write. Because she is right; when we write or play ukelele or turn cartwheels or carefully stack tinder before striking a match, we are in the present, creating like we were meant to. And that is worth doing.
We also just read One Came Home aloud together. That is, when we weren’t interrupting each other. We interrupted to predict what might happen next and I, unable to quiet the teacher in me, couldn’t help interrupting to point out how the last sentence was all showing and no telling, or how easily we could picture this or that paragraph. We let the phone ring off the hook while listening to Stan, and by the end the author convinced us enough of her story we all wished we could have been the editors to make it turn out like it was supposed to.
Belén got baptized last Sunday. The dunk-under-the-water, confess-Jesus-as-Lord-and-Saviour kind of baptism. After the opening songs the Pastor got up to announce that the baptismal candidates should meet outside the sanctuary for instructions. I looked around for Belén, remembering she had taken her cousin to the nursery a few moments before. Did she know what she was supposed to do? Where was she? Just before I went to find her, someone signaled to the Pastor that everyone was ready. Whew. Belén must have found her way there on her own. She knew what she was doing. By the time it was her turn, I had relaxed and watched her read the paragraph she had written explaining how she experienced God and why she was doing what she was doing. While standing up to her thighs in cold water she answered yes to the Pastor’s questions, then plunged into the water, and came back up to the applause of the congregation.
It was only then, her wet hair dripping and shorts stuck to her skinny legs, that I stopped watching what was happening and rushed to the front to meet her. She would be cold and wet! What was I thinking? Other mothers would have been waiting in the wings for their child, ready with open arms to dry them off but I hadn’t thought that far ahead. Instead, at the last minute I rushed to pick up the towel she had left for herself at the side of the stage.
Isn’t it strange how much we influence our children, how important we are as parents, how much they need us, and then also, how independent they are? How other they become, with their own agendas and ideas? When Belén told us she wanted to be baptized, I asked her why and she said, “Because Jesus told us to do it. I read it in the Bible.” Just like that, plain and simple. One minute we’re reading stories to them while they snuggle beside us, the next they’re coming out of a baptismal tank and reaching for their own towel. I managed to pick it up just before she did and we shuffled towards the bathroom together. Me squeezing her arm and saying I love her; she swinging the plastic grocery bag she had stuffed with her freshly-ironed dress.
Rain. We need it. The crops need it. While I draft this post clouds are gathering in the West and we keep checking the computer for the forecast, but all we see are little suns lined up for the next seven days. I can water my garden (though it somehow feels like cheating) and it doesn’t matter to me what colour my grass is, but it’s the farmers I’m worried about. Namely, my dad and brothers. It’s hard not to get discouraged thinking about their seedlings trying to suck moisture out of dust.
And then there’s this kind of optimism… Susanna always wants to sell something. Whether it’s baking or household items, or this most recent attempt–magic tricks. She made posters (Magic Tricks! 25 cents! Workshop included!), gathered her supplies, posted the signs at our nearest intersection, and waited in the front yard expectantly. Nothing happened. While she propped up her poster against the stop sign I saw a car full of teenagers nod in her direction and laugh. That was the biggest response she got all afternoon. No one stopped or wanted to learn her magic. Well, except Vivian. But she’s a pretty captive audience, especially when Susanna has a mind to hold her.
Thanks for sticking around and reading these sporadic posts–it’s more fun to write if I know someone will read them:)