The Blue Pitcher

that which may be filled and emptied

Month: March, 2012

Telling the Story

40 weeks, 3 days

You don’t have to begin by telling the reader that the apples are gone. With all the stickiness of the p’s in papaya, she’ll know that you’ve moved on, that clementines and pears now hang precariously near the edge of your wooden bowl, that you were wrong–at least that day–about how the spring would come or when the baby might arrive. Mention your mother: talk about her hands, or her laugh, or the way the tent preacher healed her lazy eye when she was a little girl; you might even want to tell about the dream she had for years, the one about burying the man in the basement, about worrying she’d be “found out.” Use nouns: evening primrose oil, pad thai, blisters from walking so long. Try to remember what it is that you are trying to say. If, because you are too distracted by, perhaps a toothache, or a baby that was due three days ago, to even remember what it is you were trying to say, distract your reader instead: confess something. Friday, March 30: Besides the obvious, I can think of nothing but jellybeans.


Quiet here today, nothing but the inner-churning and a wooden bowl filled with red apples. It seems it would be almost impossible to eat all these apples before the baby arrives. Still, I try, cleaning them on my thigh, throwing them in my bag before I leave. All morning, I have been thinking about getting lost–not the kind of lost I was in my 20’s where I’d find myself crying on subway platforms or kneeling in bookstores trying to find a place to pray, but physically lost–the kind of lost where you really don’t know where you are, the kind of lost where perhaps only an apple could save you. When we were little, my brother always seemed to know shortcuts, through Startown or through the woods or just across this little stream. I would have followed him anywhere. And I did. Even then, he carried a pocketknife. Now I like to remember him using that knife to peel and split sweet apples for us, but really I think we just carved words into trees and sliced at things that we no longer wanted whole.

Winter, Interior


I like to imagine that when the days shorten I am filled so full of snowflakes that they lace my lashes and are on my tongue–already–when I open my mouth to catch them, when I have just pulled myself from the ground where I had lain flapping my arms and legs and yelling “Angel,” when I have not at all minded the gunmetal sky, but have, instead, found peace while walking under it for miles and miles, feeling little more than the hot breath returned to me from the thick wool of my scarf, but really, I prefer spring.


In New York City, when it is too hot or too cold, the delis pull the flowers inside and place them in large green buckets along the floor and in the way of the cinnamon raisin bread and the sticky buns. When I first moved to town, I was intoxicated by the sheer number of flowers; now, I feel overwhelmed. I know tulips, of course, and roses, but my daughter, Eva, asks me what the others are, and I find myself calling anything purple a “lilac.” I have tried to google “identifying nyc deli flowers” in hopes that I can print out a fold-able sort of bird-watching sheet but have had no luck.


The winter I was nine, my mother and I lived on an Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Nights, we fell asleep on the couch during the 6 o’clock Wheel of Fortune. It was just so cold and dark. My mother told me later that she must have been depressed, sleeping, as we did, for twelve hours straight. Once, driving through the badlands on our two-hour stretch home from getting groceries that had to be packed on dry-ice so as not to spoil, our car spun off into a ditch, and we thought we were going to die. When we managed to live, I reached into the paper sack in the back, and we opened up two Diet Cokes to celebrate.


Sometimes I think that this baby that I have been carrying around in my uterus for the past 38 weeks (I am as BIG as the sky!) will come on the first day of spring and I’ll call her Daisy. Or that she’ll be born on the last day of winter, and I’ll call her something like Katherine, which seems a bit remote and cold but also very beautiful. This year the weather has been so mild that I often forget socks; it’s as if I’m unprepared for such a reprieve. I also seem to forget to brush Eva’s hair before school.


Sweet pea, million bell, dahlia, lavender, tangled wisteria.


In health class, they showed us a film called “The Little Girl who Died of Loneliness.” She was on the bus; no one talked to her; she fell, finally, face-first into the snow. To me, it was an admonition of winter. Had she held out until spring, she would have fallen into the flowers instead. I imagine lying in the flowers and breathing in the sweet verbena before rolling over and staring up at the thinning sky. Strange how seasons used to seem so immutable, as if calling something gray might turn it into rain.

Radio Star

Finally, my childhood fantasies of becoming WKRP’s Loni Anderson are coming to fruition!

Tune in tomorrow,

Thursday, March 8 at 3:00pm,
as I host a show I’ve produced called
New York Women Writers Now.

Find the live feed: here.