Friday, October 16, 2015

Book Boon, Poem Haunting, The Trouble with Buddy

Mr. Typist and I took a little jaunt over to our local Value Village today, where I unexpectedly discovered book heaven. I haven’t been in a Value Village in ages, and since I’ve been away, they’ve greatly expanded their book section. Their selections are surprisingly diverse and high-quality, and the books are in very good condition. I bought three—a novel by Marion Keyes, essays by David Sedaris (I think it’s the only one of his I haven’t read), and a poetry anthology. I was pleased to find that the anthology was well-put together and covered a lot of ground. Browsing through it, I re-read some poems that I’ve always cherished, but that have slipped off my radar over the years, including “Diving into the Wreck” by Adrienne Rich. I have an interesting relationship with that poem. It’s meant different things to me over the years, and it always comes into my life when I seem to need it the most. My most recent reading of it this afternoon was definitely the most profound so far. It actually moved me to tears for the first time. Some of the lines from that poem haunt me deeply:

"I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin."

“I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element."

"we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass"

"the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth."

Even though it made me cry, I was happy to have discovered it again, along with some old favorites by Billy Collins, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickenson. I am dreaming, inviting a new poetry project into my consciousness. I really had to get the novel out of my system, but now that it’s more or less done, I would like to return to poetry in some way again soon. I think my jaunt through the anthology may have jarred something loose. I hope so.

In other creative news, I started a new rug using an iron-on pattern, a much smaller frame, and softer monk-cloth than I used for the first rug. I got part-way through it and then ripped the whole thing out. It just wasn’t working. I think I need a much finer thread to do such an intricate pattern. My owls looked alarmingly deformed, despite how painstaking I was. I want my owls to look like cute cartoon owls, not something you’d hallucinate during some sweaty fever-dream. So I’m going to get some much thinner yarn and see if that doesn’t make a difference.

For a terrible hour or so last week, we thought that we lost Buddy. He has a profound terror of the vacuum cleaner (we think the sound is unusually hard on his ears), so I tucked him into the bedroom closet before running the vacuum, thinking that would help muffle the noise a bit. Two hours later, we saw no sign of him, which is unheard of. He insists on being in close proximity to us pretty much every second of every hour. We dug through every inch of the place, and even rattled the food bag, which always brings him running. Nothing. We concluded that he must have jumped the nine feet off the deck, even though he never has before. I put my raincoat on, got a flashlight, and began the dismal chore of searching for him. It brought back all of those terrible feelings of despair and helplessness from the times that Zooey and Seamus went missing years ago. Buddy is strictly an indoor-only cat for exactly that reason. That, and the neighborhood just isn’t what it was ten years ago. It’s far too busy and crowded now, and sadly, letting a cat roam around isn’t safe anymore.

I came home empty-handed, but luckily, I had missed some texts that Mr. Typist sent while I was trudging around. He had done another sweep of the closet and found Buddy buried deep in one our suitcases, stiff as a board and still terrified. We can’t just not vacuum, so if you have any ideas for how to deal with a cat who is traumatized by vacuum cleaners, I’m all ears.

I know I’ve posted this once before, but more than any other cat I’ve had, this exemplifies Buddy. At 4:45 a.m. Every. Damn. Morning. My nose has the claw marks to prove it.

--Kristen McHenry

1 comment:

Frank Moraes said...

This reminds me of a time when I had quoted one of Emily Dickenson's poems and you had commented that it is really easy to forget just how great she is. It is such a nice thing to love a work and come back to it years (At our age: decades!) later to find that it is still wonderful.

You know Andrew has a needle craft website, which used to be quite active, but still has a lot of vintage designs. I don't know if that is the same thing. Each year at the fair, I talk to the women who do fabric demonstrations, but I never really understand it. Although I did recently learn how knitting and weaving are different and why knitting came later. Hooray!

I remember several years ago, you had a cat that seemed like it certainly was lost, but who had gotten trapped in a neighbor's garage. That was amazing, because I had given up hope (I'm not good at hope). In fact, I even mentioned it in one of my rare poems, "Muffin Is Dead":

Kristin can tell you
When her Muffin fled
And stayed gone for two weeks
Muffin was not dead.

But that's the exception
Of which you have read
Cause generally speaking
Muffin is dead.

As for your problem, I have a few thoughts, but I don't know how good they are. Can you lock him in the bathroom? It doesn't have to be the bathroom, of course. The main thing would be to keep him in an area where the vacuum is not. That would at least have the advantage of muffling the noise. It might also be helpful to put him in a cat carrier. It might make him feel safer. Also: there are special vacuums that are quiet -- or at least quieter.

That's a brilliant cartoon! I used to house-sit for a couple of cats that were just like that. The couple who owned the place clearly got up much earlier than I did.

I've been missing the last week because I had a hard-drive crash. So all my RSS feeds got taken away. But I'm back up! I love this brave new world of cloud computing; other than my RSS feed and having to deal with a slower computer, I wasn't much affected.

Oh! I have a recent true-life mouse story. It isn't up yet, but at 4:05 today, it will be: My MouseHunt. It only ended this morning!