Burning the Old Year
By Naomi Shihab Nye
Letters swallow themselves in seconds.
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,
transparent scarlet paper,
sizzle like moth wings,
marry the air.
So much of any year is flammable,
lists of vegetables, partial poems.
Orange swirling flame of days,
so little is a stone.
Where there was something and suddenly isn't,
an absence shouts, celebrates, leaves a space.
I begin again with the smallest numbers.
Quick dance, shuffle of losses and leaves,
only the things I didn't do
crackle after the blazing dies.
Poem stolen from thingsunseen who posted it yesterday. There is no Washington Post Book World, so far as I can tell, since it's a holiday week, so your regular Poet's Choice column snitching shall resume next week.
The temperature in the DC area hit a record 69 degrees today. Though we had had a vague notion of perhaps going to a movie, obviously weather like this could not be wasted, so we headed out to Great Falls (apparently half the region had the same idea, as it took nearly half an hour to get from lower MacArthur Boulevard into the parking lot despite having a National Parks pass). Instead of walking out to Olmsted Island as we almost always do, we walked the towpath down to the rocky area where the kids climbed happily and we all got muddy shoes. We saw another lovely sunset, though not so spectacular as yesterday because there was barely a cloud in the sky. Then we came home and had fondue, which we had planned to do for Chanukah but our evenings were crazy, so we saved it for tonight -- chicken, turkey meatballs, breaded cheese squares, bread, etc. The table got royally spattered and my hair still smells like frying oil but it was wonderful.
Since secret santa identities were revealed today, I now know that hiddendaze wrote "Culmination of a Vague Idea" for me. I would like to thank her again, as she pushed all my OOTP-era Remus/Sirius buttons -- realistically cranky, yet optimistic and very sexy.
I should probably have explained weeks ago that when I joined shacking_up, it did not occur to me to think of it as an "exclusive" community but as a bunch of people who wrote Remus/Sirius with a common sensibility; I did not really pay attention to the vicissitudes of the community description, only the list of members, and I figured one of the ones I knew must have mentioned me to the moderator. The larger a fandom, the more limited communities seem desirable to me, where they're grouped by common interests rather than making claims of quality control. I read a number of web pages that consist of a bunch of longtime friends who all read each other's stories (in The West Wing fandom for instance), and that has never felt cliquish to me but rather makes it easy to find those people instead of having to wade through huge archives.
Even so, I know I don't rec things very often, and I decided today that I am going to stop reading lengthy rec posts. I already avoid rec communities the way I tend to avoid exclusive comms and fannish awards. Though I have on occasion discovered a story that I might otherwise have missed, long rec lists often frustrate me -- if the recs are for a fandom with which I am intimately familiar, I tend to get annoyed at the omissions, particularly if it seems that the poster has a grudge against other writers whom I enjoy or has simply overlooked them. Trying to balance things out by doing my own recs will undoubtedly just lead to my hurting someone else's feelings. I keep thinking that there must be a way for fandom to be all pleasure and no pettiness, which is probably idiotic on my part since I can be as petty as anyone, but I am happiest when it's about the squee and discussions and debate about the source material and it doesn't feel competitive or angry.
fridayfiver, silly because it's late: Predict your lasts... of 2004
1. The last person you will talk to in 2004: I would have predicted that it would be my husband, but in fact it was my younger son, whom I had expected to be asleep; I told him to hurry downstairs or he would miss the final seconds of the ball dropping.
2. The last meal you will eat in 2004: We'd planned to have a simple meal after getting back from the zoo yesterday because we planned a big pancakes-and-eggs brunch for this noon and fondue for dinner tonight, so my last meal was soup, cheese and crackers and mustard, plus esteven's mint chocolates.
3. The last person who will say, "I love you," to you in 2004: I would have predicted my husband and I would have been right.
4. The last party you will have attended in 2004: Was my family's Chanukah party the last? We didn't go to any Christmas or New Year's parties so I think it must have been.
5. The lasting memory of 2004 that you will still think about in 20, 30 or even 40 years from now: All the memories that come immediately to mind have to do with ships -- the Liberty Clipper, the Mayflower, the Constitution, the Constellation, the Pride of Baltimore -- but I imagine that what I will remember best is spending an entire year sailing on paper with Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin.
A happy squirrel who had found a nut.
Ice beneath the water flowing over the dam.
A kayaker paddling beyond the ice on the canal, cracking and spotted with air bubbles beneath.
Trees bright in the setting sun above one of the locks.
A lockhouse standing sentry, whiter than the remaining ice.
Gacked from all over:
In the year 2005 I resolve to:
Since we are going to England in March and Seattle in June, just like in 2003, this ought to be a cinch.</center>