[lit-ideas] Re: Sunday Wotsit

  • From: David Ritchie <ritchierd@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 16 Nov 2008 00:45:50 -0800

How normal can any week be which contains armistice/veteran's day? I drove to Seattle and back, cleaned the fish tanks, ate a multi-course meal made entirely from mushrooms, coped with absent students who wanted reprieves from deadlines and a reprise of what they missed, was firm but kind to those who turned up but hadn't done the work, suggested to others how they might abstract shape from a written draft, invented a new term--sacrificial words--to explain the prose that comes then goes, dies or is killed, before the prose you keep can sizzle or live, flew the flag.

I read that there is a memorial in France to the last American killed in W.W.1., caught by machine gun fire at 10.59 a.m. on November 11, 1918.

In the wet weather our dog's bowl becomes a kind of holiday camp for slugs, which invites mayhem on the part of me, something of which I am not proud, but which in dark moments seems defensible. On Tuesday, walking away from work I did not think the night "dreich" -- which is that great Scottish word for how November expresses itself, with wind coming off the North Sea and rain near horizontal and cold-- that night was only lightly wet. As I rounded a corner, coming from the other end of the block was a couple in their early twenties. I noticed little about him simply because she was tall and thin and skipping; she took my whole attention. Back when I first knew my wife, her parents once skipped across a green behind the colleges in Cambridge. They were headed towards the b and b, where they then took a bath together. I remember asking who got the tap end, but alas I cannot now recall the answer.

Like Jeeves, my mind cleared its throat and suggested I might possibly look into skipping more often.

On Thursday the sun re-emerged. In that day's paper I saw an ad, headlined "Warrior Bride Awaken; a Woman's Conference to Spark her Destiny." It will be led by Joanne Meckstroth of "Women of Impact Ministries," which can be found in Soldontna, Arkansas. The graphic in the ad is a photo showing in silhouette a long-haired woman in a mini-kilt, with a fantasy sword cocked on her shoulder. The meeting will be held at GodSong church, 1025 Industrial Parkway, somewhere. The same paper says a group of Russians has been in our county. On an exchange to encourage peace, they've been shown fish ladders in Washington County and Mexican chip dishes. Beaverton traffic court judge Les Rink received a pay raise. At fifty you are thirty times less likely to die, my reading of Lloyd's of London's pricing says, than our college is to suffer a sexual harassment lawsuit. There has never been a complaint, but last week's Orwellian form, was an attempt to comply with requirements of the secondary insurance market. Making no promises, lawyers and managers are currently looking into re-wording the document. A former student e mailed baby photos, "Mommy and Daddy are doing well after an exciting and efficient water birth."

It's all normal.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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