sure I am

I had the chance to speak to the visiting fellow during my last year of studying literature at college. I didn’t have any classes with him, but I stopped by his office to chat.

I wanted to know what a fellow did. So we talked. And we discussed the nature of universities and teaching. I said, “Classes have a set way of doing things. When someone presents a piece of writing, the feedback must be ‘This part is good, this part needs work’ and then a grade. That is dishonest. Why can’t we say “This is perfect!” or “this is wholly irredeemable. Throw it out and try again”?”

He agreed. And he really agreed, because a professor in a different class said that he had told her that he and I had shared a very interesting conversation.

I called him out. And perhaps the only reason he could hear that I called him out was because he was a visiting fellow, and not a tenured teacher.

He wasn’t that far in.

Later, I was taking part of a writing group. It was large and full of grownups, most of whom had college degrees and lives and were on the down-sloping side of life. They were mostly retirees and of a settled and ordered existence.

One man brought a poem. He passed out copies and we all read it silently. The protocol was to give everyone some time to read, then go around the circle and give critiques.

Other people began and said “this imagery is confusing…and maybe this line break is not clear.”

YAWN, going through the motions.

But then it was my turn.

When I read the poem, my hair raised.  I read it three times. I said “I would not change a word of this poem. It is beautiful. I want to meet the woman it is about. No, I want to be the woman it is about. It is perfect.”

I could not believe that other people didn’t see what I saw. I was going to stand up and call it what it was.

But the organizer wouldn’t have it. “We are here to give feedback. Isn’t there something you can suggest as an improvement?”

I caved. I said a comma might be differently placed.

But I knew better. I knew that this poem was perfect. I knew that.

There is a place for surety in our lives. Surety is not very well tolerated, but I have to know what I know.

Sometimes, I know something is exactly right. And somethings are exactly wrong. Of course, this is very powerful and lovingkindness must be used throughout.

But it’s okay to be sure.


social math

Listening to Khan academy talking about algebra.

And I am thinking about my new philosphy of  “know what you know”

Most of what I know that I have trouble knowing is the nature of the people around me. If someone I know consistently behaves in a way I wish they wouldn’t, then I have trouble knowing that.

I keep wishing that THIS time, that person would behave a way I like.

But I’m sick of being surprised and hurt. And I should also remember that the people who are so exciting and full of possibilities…are often the ones who disappoint.

I should realize that the unassuming and unsurprising are often the much better choice.

well…the algebra takes


Then..they get all crazy




which is a way of rearranging the same information to come up with a new handle on it.

so…if I know that one person has behaved in a way that dissatisfied me…and if I know that person and how they make their choices

Then, if I meet another person who makes very similar choices…I can rearrange my data and say…

if y=choice

and x=friend and p=consequence


then I can take the choice and the consequence and see that it will be true independent of the friend

okay..people aren’t math. But sometimes they can be as predictable


not giving up until I walk over his back

So..walking up to the devil. He says, “You think you can take me?”

“Yes I do.” and I give him my best punch.

He remains. Standing there he looks at me and says, “That the best you can do?”

I recover my feet as quick as I can. And then hit him again without warning.

He flinches a little, but then says “You can’t win.”

“Oh yeah? OH YEAH?!” And another punch.

He doesn’t move.

“You say I can’t win. But I know I can. I know that I can try and keep trying and I will not stop until I walk over your back on the floor.”


…but right now…still throwing punches at his mocking face…


It turns out that this skill I have, that I have known that I had, has a name.

I can see into the future and know what is likely to happen next, and then what will happen after that.

Chris has this skill too. He is so good at it!

I have it, but I am very doubtful of myself so often. I think, “well, maybe there is something I don’t know. Maybe I am wrong.”

I am seldom wrong. But still I doubt myself.

Chris doenst doubt it. Almost never. And that is so SEXY!

But. it turns out this is a talent, and I should learn to use it effectively.

the rift

As I was doing my internship at NASA, so many years ago, I started to feel myself expanding. I was fluffing out in my capacities.

I knew that the person I was becoming was getting too big to fit in the current life I had. That worried me. I knew my life. I didn’t want to lose what my life had.

And so, I went to my husband. That would be my FIRST husband. I said “You know that I am growing as a person, reaching for possibilities. I want to do this, I want to achieve and become all I can be. But I know this will cause us to lose closeness.”

He didn’t get it. He gave the ‘right’ answer to what he thought I was saying:

“I want you to become the best you can be. Don’t worry about it! Go achieve what you can.”

First, that wasn’t what I was saying. I was going to become regardless of his desires or support. THat is what people do.

Second, that wasn’t true. He was not at all happy when I began to progress in my career and pile up accomplishments. It made him profoundly uncomfortable and he tried to sabotage

Third, I called it. I knew that as I grew, he would not keep pace. I was going to be seeing things and understanding the world in a way he did not, and did not want to. My reaching out to him was to ask him to open up and come along. To be brave and reach and stay with me.

That conversation is coming back to me now. I am on the cusp of taking some chances. And I am realizing, there are some people, some of my friends and loved ones, who are not coming with me.

Once again, people who I thought were on the same page and shared my values are coming into the crucible.

What are we made of?

I’m pretty sure I have the stuff to come through to the other side. That this effort and trial will purify me, and make me more like what I want to be.

I just hate to lose those people who came this far with me. But I better have faith that better things are coming.

change is scary

success is my only option, failure’s not

someone called it…this quiz told me that i have a motor.

I know I have a motor. I know that I can’t settle and that I can’t sit still.

But the test told me that I was an “achiever.” So, it feels official somehow.

And I have some plans. I have some stuff that needs doing.

and I am not certain how I am going to get it done, and I am not sure that I have what it takes, but I feel very sure that I am going to keep trying until it happens.

Not going to take failure for an answer.

fear or caution

There is a lot of fear rolling around. What will happen? What if? And what then?

I have mentioned before that Fear Saps Passion.

I want to live a passionate life. And here’s the rub:

I will live a passionate life whether I want to or not.  I am designed that way.

Looked at this way, fear is the shadow of passion. I can take my passion, and funnel it into fear of what may come. Or I can take it outward, and channel my passion into energy for what might be possible.

That doesn’t mean that fear is inherently bad. But I think I shall phrase healthy fear as caution. I should be cautious, but not fearful.

Caution is appropriate. Fear, I think, is not.

blogging from a phone

I know this is how the future wprks right now, but somehow I had higher hopes. There should be a word for this some thing akin to deja vu.mmwhich says “I have lived this time in my imagination and now that it is actually here I am disappointed”

I thought wecould be better than this by now

Very good question. let me tell you a story…

Not all facebook conversations are inane. My dear friend Perry had this inspiring question:
I think I have a good question for you. I read The Age of Miracles the other day, and I wonder why people have such a hard time blending science into a good story. (Yes, I saw Prometheus and cringed the whole time). What’s up with this? 

    • ha! science and story
      no kidding. I believe that the professors who teach us

    • SUCK

    • SUCK SUCK SUCK!!!!

    • What is science without context? nothing! Even the boiling temperature of water is affected by context
      AKA the story…is there salt inthe water? or what is the altitude of the water?

    • so, it’s BS to try to do science with out story
      and as a matter of fact,


    • so…when scientists try to separate the soul from the spirit that way they are kidding themselves…and hurting the thing they are studying

    • and when ENGLISH professors…or more accurately LITERATURE professors do not address the very important issue of why narrative or story is vitally important to every human endeavor…they are breaking up the floating ice on which they stand

    • what is your relevance, scientist? If you don’t have a purpose for what you study, why should we care? And if you cannot explain your purpose, what earthly good are you?…and they only way to explain a purpose is by

    • which is why you are supposed to pay attention in english class…and why english professors suck for not making sure that their relevant information is not BURIED under ridiculous side issues

    • so the reason people have a hard time blending science into a story is
      #1 it’s hard to tell a good story
      #2 nobody is teaching it

  • of course, I ended this by asking:

    • you still there?