Another Sumac Shot

See what I mean?! How is that orange a real color in the world? There is nothing more lovely than that orange. I could look at that orange every day for the rest of my life and feel like I was looking at the secret to happiness spoken in a language I will never know. That orange hurts my heart it is so beautiful.

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I Wait All Year for the Sumac to Turn

I, myself, don’t know a lot about what makes architecture good. I know what I like–“A welcoming haunted house!”–and that’s about it. But I love that Frank Lloyd Wright loved and found inspiration in the sumac. If you watched no other tree or shrub or shrub-like tree (whatever the hell a sumac is) turn, it would be worth your time to watch the sumac, because it turns all these different shades of oranges and then these deep reds that will stop you in your tracks. Even the branches turn a deep pinkish red. It’s extraordinary. Who wouldn’t want to build a house that invoked that kind of magic?

Speaking of fall magic, the dog was anxious to go on a walk this morning, for the first time in as long as I can remember. I didn’t have to go hunting her down. She was standing by the back door like “What are you waiting for? There is a walk out there! We should be on it.” I am deeply thankful for these moments, because it gives me hope that there may be another summer together, another fall.

The contractor is coming next Monday to get started on the ceiling in the den. How that goes is going to enormously influence how I feel about the other three rooms. Because that ceiling is busted! Full of ever-increasing cracks. If it’s difficult for them to get it down, I’m going to feel a lot better about waiting to do the other three rooms. But it means we have to do a final push this weekend to get that room totally cleared. Not that there’s much left in there. I tell you, people, my anxiety about this stuff–getting the living room back together, getting the den done–is completely out of proportion to what it deserves. I know that and yet cannot stop myself from wanting to throw up about it.

Writing, well, re-writing continues. I am now at the point where the true rewriting starts–the last 100 pages of the book. Which is kind of funny to me because I struggled so much the first time with those last 100 pages. I should have known something was not right as hard as I struggled with them only to end up with something I still felt uncertain about.

But this is it, where John is not just the narrator but one of the main actors. I’m nervous as fuck. And yet, excited. It’s hard to explain, though I think I said it to S. (or maybe here, but I’m not stopping this train of thought to look), it feels like I have a hold of a live wire. I don’t know how to explain it. I’m not sure I’ve felt something like this at the time I was writing before. I mean, I look back at “Frank” or read it now and I’m like “Holy shit. How did I do that again? That’s something fucking special.” It has a kind of crackle.

This work has a kind of crackle to it.

I need a favor from you Middle Tennesseans. Is there someone or maybe a museum that specializes in 19th century forms of transport? After talking with nm, I would really like to be able to see first-hand what kinds of carriages folks might have had and to ask someone questions about which one(s) would fit my story. NM has me worried I’m inadvertently working horses to death.

Today, more than most days, Czeslaw Milosz weighs on my mind.

Here’s the second stanza of one of his masterpieces, “To My Daimonion“:

My daimonion, it is certain that I could not have lived differently
I would have perished if not for you. Your incantation
Would resound in my ear, fill me,
And I could only repeat it, instead of thinking
About my bad character, the decline of the world,
Or about a lost laundry ticket.
And it seems that while others loved,
Strove, hated, despaired,
I have only been busy with listening intently
To your unclear notes, to change them into words,
I had to accept my fate, today called karma,
For it was as it was, though I did not chose it –
And get up every day to honor the work,
Even if there is no guilt of mine in it and no merit.

Holy shit. That makes me weepy.