Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Confession Tuesday

Dear reader, it had been one week since my last confession. Mostly I've been busy with poetry, with writing, but occasionally I do something I can confess. Mostly, I'm a saint with a slightly crooked halo.

I confess I may not have a lot to confess.

1) Some of my biggest decisions have been made in airplanes or high places. I decided to leave Seattle and move to a small town alone on a flight over the Cascades after seeing Johnny Cash in the Spokane airport. I became a vegetarian on a British Airways flight back from London. I decided to quit my corporate job while having dinner atop the Space Needle and looking down over Seattle and thinking, There’s got to be something better out there.

2) I just bought my copy of Li-Young Lee’s new book Behind My Eyes and I haven’t read a page of it, but did look at the author photo.

3) We’ve had cable for one year and I regret getting it. The problem is that now it’s become norm, the way it’s always been, a commonplace. It’s sort of like letting your family sample 101 flavors of ice cream every day for a year and then telling them, I’m sorry, you’re only going to be allowed vanilla from now on. Though for me, it wouldn’t matter because I don’t really like ice cream.

4) Tomorrow my Nana turns 96 and I’m going to her birthday party. I know it will be fun and she’ll be happy, but I also know she won’t remember it.

5) While my Nana can’t tell me what she had for breakfast or even remember the conversation we had two minutes before, she can still play guitar, speak French, knit, and remember the name of the family that lived on the corner in the blue house in Boston in 1932. She can even remember the name of their dog.


  1. Hmm, the connection of big descions and the sky...interesting! For me, all the big decisions seem to all be made in like five minutes. Your inspiration just comes from seeing the world from above, all those infinite possibilities!

    Happy birthday to your Nana! My grandfather turns 93 in March!

  2. I enjoyed this post, especially the bits about Nana. It reminded me of a lady I once knew called Elizabeth Gray who had been a concert pianist in her day. I was taken to visit her shortly before she died in an old folks' home where she had just been taken because her short term memory had finally given up the ghost. She spent the whole time I was there searching for the keys for her house. We'd explain to her what was happening, calm her down and then you could literally see the memory fade from her and she would begin the search anew; it was heartbreaking to watch.

    I wrote this poem straight after the visit:


    Sympathy and Apathy
    sat side by side in
    the old folks' home,
    neither knowing what
    they were doing there.
    Not really.

    (For Elizabeth Gray (91))

    4 September 1983

  3. hi, kelli! i love when people say they don't have a lot to confess and then they offer these truly wonderful stories about themselves. i can't even say which is my favorite. #1 (high place decisions) and #5 (your nana's memories)

    please please please turn both of those into poems or essays. and let us read them.

    p.s. i've heard about people who don't like ice cream. no, i haven't, actually. :) wow!!! i'm not sure what to day. :)

  4. GN Mom--I've done huge decisions on a whim too--and those too have all been right. I think we can *over-think* our lives too much when instinctly, we know what is right for us. Thx for the note and Happy (early)93rd to your granddaddy!

    Thanks for the note. Yes, it's short-term memory loss that creates the problems. However on the positive side, it was wonderful at Christmas every time she turned and saw her gifts her excitement "Are these for me?" Christmas came many times for her that day.

    Thanks for sharing your poem. quite poignant.

    PDWitch-- Thanks for your kind note. I know, I did start out by saying I have nothing to say. Too funny. and I appreciate your suggestions of poems or essays.

    I know, the ice cream thing--I'm a sweet tooth and will occasionally have ice cream if it comes with apple crisp, but normally, it's not my thing.I have purchased a small pint of Ben & Jerry's cookie dough ice cream and eaten all the cookie dough out of it and threw out the vanilla. I should have just bought a roll of cookie dough!
    Wait, there is ice cream I like-- the spumoni ice cream after eating at the Spaghetti Factory. Oh let's be honest, I'd much just prefer a bowl of chocolate. ;-)


  5. I loved reading these.

    The first thing I do with ANY book is look at the author photo ~ I can't help it. I took a class w/ Patricia Goedicke several years ago and in our textbook, each poet's chapter began with a brief bio and photo. Kinda sad, but I think a lot of times we were more interested in those photos than we were in the poems.

    Your Nana sounds like an amazing person ~ like someone I wish I knew.

  6. Loved your confessions this week, and Happy Birthday to Nana!

    And congrats on COR! Love that we'll be in the same issue.

  7. I read a lot of anthologies or journals so there are no photos. I think I prefer that.

    I don't know have any family members who has lived to 96. You're blessed. My grandmother lost her memory in her early 70s.

    I kept waiting for your post. Glad I checked again. Please come by. Hope you'll complete the meme, I posted.

    I hate flying. I can't think of anything but landing. I stopped eating meat in the 80s. I fed my daughter a vegan diet her first three years and nursed her just as long.

  8. Kelli, I found you on Patirice's site. I had a Nana also and she came from Boston. She lived to be 93 and though her eyes and ears were mostly gone her mind was mostly clear. Nana is such a lovely word, isn't it? What's a "Meme"? As far as I know, it's a French version of "Nana!"


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