I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Thursday, July 21, 2011

tennessee summer 2011

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We felt after Christmas that we hadn't spent enough time with our niece, so we scheduled some niece time for the summer. She's seven, and a master at being goofy, finding fun things to do, and making stuff up. The dessert you see above--vanilla frozen yogurt, white chocolate chips, and marshmallows--is her invention: It's called a Ghost. I love ghosts and I love new foods so I was excited to try one. It was OK.

We also got to see my in-laws; it's rare to like both; I'm lucky. Topics I share with my mother-in-law include travel, plants, and Hemingway. Topics I share with my father-in-law are nutrition, local history, and thrift. Both are lively and interesting.

What would I have done if they had been dull?
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I would have been very patient and nice. My father-in-law took us, the niece, and my brother-in-law to see this waterfall. The waterfall has the honor of being my camerado's screensaver, so when I saw it, I thought, Hello screensaver.

The waterfall was adjacent to a campsite with a conference center. My father-in-law treated us to lunch in the cafeteria, where I beheld a natural wonder that impressed me just as much as the waterfall.

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Anything in the south that is unfamiliar to me I assume is typical of the south, so these incredibly high meringue peaks on the banana pudding made me think, Incredibly high meringue peaks on banana pudding is a storied Southern tradition. But when my camerado and his brother marveled at the high peaks, I appreciated what a rare thing it was to see them.

They reminded me of the Nome King in the Oz books.

Nome+King

The day was rainy and because the most talkative person in the car (my father-in-law, lively, see above) was busy driving, this was a quiet, contemplative outing for all of us. The large, plush, smooth-riding car hushed sound. As we drove around the campground, my camerado and his brother murmured about the places they had played, and I kept tripping down time corridors of my own.

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The cafeteria took me right back to the Boy Scout camps and Christian retreat centers of my childhood.

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On the way back it fell to me to entertain the niece, who wanted pictures of royals. I had to draw the Queen, the Diana, the recent Kate, and William. Drawing them all inside a satisfied dragon seemed a good solution, but the niece was inexorable. So I discovered a new talent, and you may find me at the Jersey shore drawing royals in pastel on the boardwalk. In return, I made the niece learn the name of the flower in Kate's bouquet that has the same name as the Prince: Sweet William. I had seen it in my brother-in-law's garden.

We also took the niece to a legendary toy store that I thought was overrated (I like the one in Franklin, TN), and the Nashville Zoo, which I thought was good, and to Kung Fu Panda II, with its sissy villain.

We aren't home enough to have a dog of our own, so it was great to stay with some dogs.

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Murphy's one desire is to fetch a tennis ball. I aspire to this kind of single-minded purpose.

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I shouldn't praise my own photo, but I like this picture: could John Singer Sargent have depicted one of his privileged thoroughbreds with greater poise or sophistication? Last night we saw The Cherry Orchard simulcast from London--this dog, Lola reminds me of Madame Renevsky, a creature of affection, living only in the moment.

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Mr. Meow, a neighbor of my mother-in-law. He watches the house when she's away.

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One night we walked around Nashville when this crazy sunset unfurled. The light was strange, golden and heavy, like I imagine light in Italy might be. We walked on the campus of a university with gazebos, and statues to decipher. Prospective first-years roamed around with and without their parents--entering that protracted American twilight between childhood and independence.
We've been much more exotic places than Nashville this summer (New England!), but I really enjoyed this trip. Not everyone gets to step sideways into a new family in adulthood; the one I've found myself in is friendly, smart, and fun. We said goodbye after breakfast at the Pancake Pantry, and my father-in-law put his arm around me and said, "You're the third son I didn't have." He'd asked my thoughts on dinosaur extinction over the meal (asteroid seems a safe bet), and for this I liked him even more. A family's borders are never stable; they take on new territories, and relinquish others. It's mysterious, like plate tectonics; the ground moves beneath you, you go with it.

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