c9db983b835068660fcf859b38727152-1.jpgToday I kidnapped my girly friend as soon as she got off work.  I had to drive her over to this beautiful little piece of property my realtor found this morning.  I can’t tell you where it is because you might win the lottery before I do and buy it.  I can tell her where it is because if she has such great fortune she will let me sleep on her front porch every night so I still get to enjoy the view.  Plus, the spring bulbs are in bloom, the trees are just about to burst open, and I figured this was far better than taking her a bouquet of flowers to celebrate some great news she got yesterday!

We walked the land and portioned off pieces for the garden and the chickens, then decided the pair of alpaca can be free-range.  We fraternized with the neighbor’s faithful guard dog, who might be chow / golden retriever mix, and is probably a girl on account of the way she squatted to pee.  She told me what the house I’d build ought to look like, because she’s good at those things.  Then I drove her back home.

Just seconds before turning onto her road, something hit me; not in the literal sense,  but may as well have been.

“What day is this?” I asked in the middle of jabbering about other things.


“I mean the number!  What number is this?” I was getting excited.

She told me today is the tenth.

March tenth!

Ya’ll, this is the twelfth anniversary of when I was supposed to die any minute!
And then it was going to be maybe in a few weeks.  And then during child birth.  And then, because doctors are sure about these things, sometime within the next 5 years, for certain.

And for the first time ever, I forgot the anniversary was approaching!

A dozen years ago I was put on a medication regimen that not only stabilized my (low) heart function, but exacerbated my ADD.  I think both effects can be credited with saving my life as I’ve clearly been too distracted to die.

I’m frequently humbled by the tribe of heart sisters I’ve made all over the world – women who’ve had the same diagnosis and handled it with far more grace than I could ever muster.  And last year I wandered into the wilderness of Montana only to bump into a heart brother, too.  This disease has given me far more than it took, so here’s a little toast to all the wonderful people cardiomyopathy has brought into my life, and a spill to all of the superfluous and poisonous things it has removed.  And may next year I forget the date all together.

Book Review


Writing, for me, is the biggest impetus in my life to get other things done.  When I sit down to write, I find myself compelled to clean my house, fold my laundry, landscape my whole back yard, or spend all day in the kitchen nourishing my family.  I can point to this fact alone as proof that even without producing an acclaimed piece of work, writing has made life better for my loved ones.

And while I’m doing all of these lovely, other things besides writing, I feel guilt.  No, that’s not true enough.  I feel shame.  Shame, because I am aware that I am only doing these things to procrastinate writing.  Because writing is hard, especially when it is so damn true.  And Truth is ugly, but it is also a splinter that needs to work its way out.  And I’m not making my house tidy, or my yard lovely, or my family fed out of deep and abiding love for those whom I share these things with.  I am doing it because I’d look ridiculous laying prone, all red faced, pounding and kicking the floor.  These things may not look like it, but they most certainly are my forty-something year old version of a tantrum.

Except reading.  I allow myself to read without guilt and shame.  I rationalize that reading makes a better writer.  I might, however, abuse this allowance.

Timagehe window ledge beside my bath tub has been collecting all of my books in progress; not the ones I’ve been meaning to read, but the ones I’ve already delved into.  Some people keep such stacks on their nightstands, but I can’t sleep with that kind of unfinished business breathing in my face.  It’s not that I lack proper shelving, I just can’t take a bubble bath in my study, and everybody knows books and bubbles are soul mates.

When the collection was only twelve strong, I made a New Years resolution not to buy any books until I was out of books.  When the number grew to 16 I made a more feasible February resolution not to buy any books until I’d finished half the pile.

By 7am on February 1st I’d contacted my local bookmonger to order a new one.  I picked it up yesterday at lunchtime with a realistic expectation of finishing it sometime in April, probably.  Unless I bought more books.  I surprised myself, and I imagine made some of those old friends on my window ledge a little jealous, when I finished it this morning.

If you’re at all interested in writers, or why they write, I highly recommend Why We Write About Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature.  Most of the twenty also write fiction, so don’t mistake this as an interview with narcissism; it’s valuable insight into the process as a whole.  And clearly, it is immune to Attention Deficit Disorder.  It might even stop bullets, who can say?  I think you should get a copy from your local book store for good measure, and good reads.