Photo Credit: Jennie Anne Benigas



November 2009

"I never knew in the morning how the day was going to develop. I was like a hunter hoping to catch sight of a rabbit."

   E. B. White quoted in Learning by Teaching by Donald M. Murray

Alphabet Soup

Dear Reader,

I am exhausted from projects that keep piling up. I guess this life is better than having to search for something interesting to do. My problem is that EVERYTHING is interesting and demanding! Today, it's time to send Judy's Journal to Patsy McCowan, my brilliant web manager. I can't think straight, let alone focus on one topic.

Here is my solution. My brain is bouncing off walls, so what you are about to read is an alphabet of what's on my plate and mind and what's in those piles. My guess is that lots of you can relate to the presence of the insurgent multi-tasker at work inside your head.

A - My heart is aching to get into the studio. When I finish this, that's where I am going. I am aching to make art (that's two a's for the price of one).

B- Breathe. That's what John tells me to do. "Look at what you've accomplished instead of obsessing over what still needs doing." October 11 and 12 was the first set of Stanley Kunitz Childhood Home tours. There were over 80 people there! It was wonderful! And I am so proud of the hard work that the volunteer docents put into their tours.

C- Cleaning the house relaxes me. I hate clutter and dust, so tomorrow when I clean the house for our poetry group, I am in for another win-win situation.

D- Distraction, thy name is Netflix! If it weren't for John keeping up with movies titles, we would not have enjoyed these films recently: Every Little Step, Rage, The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine.

E - Exercise is critical for me. Regular visits to the gym bring me into a circle of friends, AND exercise is good for me. How can I miss?

F - Friends. Believe me, I have some good ones. Some even understand when I disappear into projects for months at a time and don't get angry when they don't hear from me.

G - Gloom = shorter daylight hours. As Charlie Brown said, "Aaaaarrrghhh…"

H - Hoopla. Less is more.

I - Ironing. Who says doing something boring isn't redemptive? What a pleasure it is to see those winkles go. How I wish I could apply that miracle to situations and relationships.

J - Jennie. My sister. The love of my life. Well, so is John. Another two letters for the price of one (see "A").

K - Knowledge. The stuff that keeps me awake at night. It's better than having nightmares. I guess.

L - Lemonade, the sweet/tart drink made from lemons. That word makes me look out of the window and see at the landscape sculpture John and I made from the trees downed in last December's ice storm (Judy's Journal, 2009 June).

M - Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King. Recommended.

N - Next. The word I use a lot, as in "What am I supposed to do next?"

O - My home office is a space shared with my husband. He has his side, I have mine. I spent a lot of time in here. It is home to the computer and the piles I whined about in the opening paragraph. In November, my plan is to organize the piles so I can carry on with the book I am writing.

P - Because our monthly poetry group meets tomorrow, last week I wrote a poem from random lines found in poetry books and a few science texts. I learned there is no such thing as random. The poem developed and showed me was on my mind. It became an elegy for my brother.

Q - Right in the middle of a particularly crazy week, I decided to learn how to make quiche. Why? I wanted to try something new. Projects consist of known elements and problems. Quiche-making was new. It was fun. It tasted good.

R - Research. Reading. Note taking. Transcribing interviews. Libraries. Places waiting for me to enter and find answers to questions, as well as more questions.

S - Shambles. My side of the home office (see "O").

T - Time. Needing more of it? That is impossible. There is only so much of it.

U - Undertow. Take on one more project, and it will become more than a metaphor.

V - Volunteer. The word that might become a cause of death.

W - Well done. Addictive word, resulting in urge to do more.

X - Marks the spot.

Y - The Yellow House: van Gogh, Gauguin, and Nine Turbulent Years in Arles by Martin Gayford. Got it, haven't read it, want to.

Z - I refuse to de-zide on a word for Z. Too much work.