Feet, Caviar, and Opinions

For years now, the tendons of my foot have been shortening, pulling my bones out of shape, and making my foot look like this:

Broken Hand

Well, nearly anyway. If my foot were a hand, that's what it would have looked like. I put up with it for about 5 years, adjusting my gait; succumbing to orthotics, and putting off the one thing that would fix the problem: surgery. Last summer, I bought ugly shoes, because they don’t make cute shoes to fit a foot like that. I hurt all the time. So finally, I gave in: this week, I had surgery. Here’s what my foot looks like now:

Cropped Foot

Like a large-ish Q-tip wearing a nightcap, askew on the end of my leg. Somewhere inside there though, healing is going on. I can tell, because it tingles and itches, and hurts. Something’s happening under all that gauze.

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Flower Boxes, or More Than Just Surviving

 A couple of years ago, halfway into writing the third novel of my contract, the bottom fell out of my family’s life. It wasn’t a single incident; for a while there, we were sustaining damage on a lot of different fronts at once. It was much like being knocked to the ground and kicked repeatedly in the ribs for about 2 years. Tim and I, serenely sailing the sea of life, suddenly found ourselves hurtled down a steep and turbulent waterslide of loss into a deep pool of grief. We landed; we touched bottom. And then, we trod water there for a long, long time. I somehow kept my head above the surface enough to finish writing that third novel, but that was about all I had in me. Almost a year and a half ago, They Danced On was published, but by then, I had no energy left to update my website with the news. I don’t think I even mentioned it on Facebook; definitely not on Twitter. (And I don’t know how to use Instagram.) By that time, I was beyond thinking about publicity: I was too busy trying to get out of bed in the mornings.Every Morning

The irony is that They Danced On is a story about grief. When I started writing it, I thought I knew a thing or two on the subject. After all, I had been through hard things. Who hasn’t? I’d lost friends and support systems and dreams just like the next person. What I didn’t realize then was how far down the floor of the pool can be. I still don’t, thank goodness. There are plenty of horrors I haven’t had to face. I’ve never had a child die; I hope I’ll never touch that particular bottom. But I have lost children in other, gutting ways.

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Love and the Art of Attack

Last weekend, my husband and I went away to celebrate our 22nd anniversary. Twenty-two years! This sometimes stuns me; the only other thing I’ve done for 22 years in a row is draw breath. It doesn't help that I spend most of my life feeling like I’m late for study hall, and my homeroom teacher is really going to write me up for it this time.

Love and marriage, love and marriage—the song says—go together like a horse and carriage. So speaking of love, it was interesting to come across two lines of poetry recently that seem to say conflicting things about it. The first is from Edgar Allan Poe:

Years of love have been forgot in the hatred of a minute. (To--)

The second from King Solomon:

Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. (The Song of Solomon)

But which is true? Is Poe right: is love like a tree that, rooted and grounded by decades of slow, sure growth can nevertheless be ripped from the ground and swept away by the flash flood of a moment’s hatred? Or, as Solomon says, is love more like a boulder, settled square in the middle of a river that, though it may disappear when the waters rise, is still there once they recede? Well…having been legally tied to the same person for this long, I think they’re both true. Twenty-two years of anything usually has a lot of love and a lot of hatred bound up in it.

Love and Hatred

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