Thursday, April 16, 2009


This is actually being posted 48 hours after it was written, for those of you with total weather recall....

It's cold outside. 39 degrees and raining. Typical April weather in Chicago. But the snow has melted, a few brave flowers are blooming, Easter and the Cubs home opener are behind us. We have crossed the threshold into spring.
Celebrating the changing of seasons abounds in every land and culture, though particular rituals may vary widely. Whatever our beliefs may call us to, the message of spring is positive: we have made it through the dark of winter.
With the arrival of spring, even the most jaded among us feels a sense of renewal as we return to a gentler time of year. We are teased with delicious promises, and we respond. Long johns and flannel sheets go back to their cedar-scented boxes. Pink, turquoise, bright green and crisp white replace brown, gray, and olive drab. Garden centers and grocery stores brim with pansies and potting soil, and the sounds of leaf blowers and lawn mowers fill the weekend air.
For many of us, the rite of spring cleaning has begun, at least in mind if not in fact. How wonderful it is to open the windows, sweep out the cobwebs, and let in the light. There may be rainy days, even storms, ahead, but there will also be sun and warmth and new growth.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Crossing the Threshold

By rights, you (whoever you are) should not be reading this. I have tried to resist blogging, but alas, as the title "Liminalesque" implies, I am crossing the threshold into the blogosphere. Perhaps it's more accurate to say I have been dragged across said threshold by forces beyond my control: blogging, everyone tells me, is now essential to one's credentials as a writer. My best revenge is, therefore, to begin my postings with a list of reasons I believe blogging to be a treacherous activity for me.

The first of those reasons would be the time factor. Two unfinished novels and three dozens short stories are glaring at me malevolently from my desktop as I write this. They are beginning to doubt my sincere promises to actually finish them, polish them, and send them out into the world.

Then, there are also stacks of books--enough to rival our local indy bookshop--scattered about the house. Some of these, I've actually read.
What am I doing starting a blog?

In addition to my own time factor issues, there is the time factor that involves others. The first person on that list would be my wonderful and tolerant husband who waits patiently for me to clean up the aforementioned stacks of books, as well as all the other projects around the house which I tackle with a focus akin to that of a four-year-old on a steady diet of Snickers and Red Bull.

There is also a fear factor. Who exactly will read this? And why? The possibilities are alarming: friends and family are okay, but what about my students, former teachers, old flames, people from my dark and distant past.... Yikes!

Considering the above mentioned readers, I suppose I need to have content control. I'd better watch not only what I say, but how I say it. That'll be a pain in the ass.

I guess quality control should be considered, too. Last week, while tracking down a former classmate for a reunion, I found a couple of published essays that he and his wife had written. They used phrases like "Monet's...blurry bosks" and "ephebic young men in gossipy thrall."
OMG, that kind of writing is so poetic and precise that I am both inspired and intimidated. It makes me feel as though English is my second language and I have no business writing anything but a grocery list.

Finally, I learned a couple of years ago, after I hit the big 50, that I am genetically predisposed to dislike and distrust new-fangled stuff, especially stuff of a techno nature. Just like dear old Dad, I rail against all the gadgets that do everything but beam you to the Enterprise (and I'm sure that's on its way). In my heart of hearts, I'm a paper and pencil kind of gal, happy to scribble away on materials, which, if the writing is miserable, can be burned, and no one will be the wiser.