Sweep that Straw Friday Round-Up

I got my comeuppance. I won third place in a fairly prestigious fiction contest and thought my words, each one of them, were pearls wrought from the most beautiful shells in the sea until the editor of the journal in which said prize wining story is to appear sent me his ‘suggested’ edits.What I can say from this experience is this – it is important to calm oneself long enough to listen and then, amazingly, to accept changes which will make a beloved story better.

I swept the straw off the back porch. Last winter when Punchy, our rough Alaskan Husky, was struggling with being in the house, mainly struggling with keeping control of his prolific bowels, we bought him a doghouse and a bale of straw for the back porch, figuring that he’d lived ten years outside and would be at home doing so again. He was. He curled so deep into the doghouse, his nose tucked under his tail amid the straw, that we felt somehow that we’d brought him home. Maybe we did but his dying happened inside on the dining room floor with us holding his head. I thought of that tossing the leftover straw away.

I am halfway through what may be the most depressing book ever written. A Map of the World by Jane Hamilton is beautifully written but is so relentlessly dire, at least up to p. 173, that I question the wisdom of continuing. I read until I am too sleepy and then my sleep is fraught with accusations and mistakes and children drowning in lakes while I was supposed to be watching them. I need lighter reading.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a local university announced that it is permanently closing at the end of the semester. This leaves its 1,400 students and however many faculty stuck in the parking lot with cars that won’t start and no room on their credit cards. It seems wicked to me, a veteran of many universities, and a betrayal of trust and hope, a burial of devotion and struggle and a thousand missed dinners with kids. So, I am not taking kindly to the university’s decision-makers. They bailed on folks.

We have had a hard patch here. January, February, and March have not been kind to us. But we got through it as a team. We adapted, we reconfigured, sometimes we rethought our entire approach to everything but then we came out the other side, at least this time, in good humor and good spirits. Marriage.


Photo by Jonathan Farber on Unsplash

5 Comments on “Sweep that Straw Friday Round-Up

  1. Yup, it was a hard winter and amen to long-term marriages that sustain us.

  2. I feel as I get older the highs are less frequent, or maybe so small they go unnoticed, but the lows come in huge waves, tsunamis perhaps, that don’t know when to leave.

  3. Jan – THANK YOU for bringing words of love and sanity into my beginning of another day. And, thanks for the warning about “Map of the World.”

  4. I have bailed on two books that got too depressing this year already. Life is too short. Plus, I read a very interesting article from a dr. about Alzheimer’s that gave methods to stave off memory loss and one of many suggestions was to not read depressing news. I used it as permission to throw away at least ninety percent of my unsolicited mail. And I do feel better today! May I see the story you won recognition with???

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