Internet Explorer users may need to widen their browser windows to span all three columns. Or download Firefox.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Thanks for visiting. I am no longer updating Notes to Self. I hope you'll join me on my current website,

Pulling it Together

I wake up in a field of forget-me-nots, blooming all over the walls of my niece's room. Beyond them, the house stirs, softly at first with my sister and brother-in-law's muffled voices, then comes wide awake with children's chatter, like a flock of starlings swirling in the hall. I reach for my phone to check the time. Five in the morning in Arkansas. Half-past seven in Newfoundland. I face the open closet door in my mind. Which panic attack to wear this morning? The so very late final chapters of my book? The scholarly talk I'm scheduled to deliver here on Friday, and have yet to write? Tax returns waiting for me when I get home next week? Choose one, I tell myself. You can't wear it all. Oh but I can try, says my frantic brain, like my little niece running up and down the stairs last night to put one more adornment on to show Auntie.

Wait. Just one more thing. Adding the tiara, the bracelet, the high heel shoes I sent her at Christmas time, one sprint at a time. Auntie Kiki, Auntie Kiki, see this. She twirls and then waits for my praise.

So beautiful, darling. Perfect.

Wait. One more thing.

Her satin heels clattering over the stairs. The breathless return. The offering of self. The self-appraisal. The little frown.

Always one more thing between us and our most pleasing, perfect selves. Always, the same damn set of stairs.



Blogger Jennifer S said...


(For now, deep breaths...)

8:44 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

You write so wel! It's going to be a little ripper of a book. But we can wait for it.

2:43 PM  
Blogger Jomama said...

As usual, your way with words and images makes me breathless.

I had a lovely French teacher in HS who remarked about a woman she had just seen pass us on the street. My teacher said this woman had a face so lovely in a classical European way, that is made her want to rip her own face off in despair and jealousy.

My French teacher was beautiful too, and not having seen this paragon of beauty that passed us by, I was mystified by her extreme reaction.

Your writing strikes me that way sometimes though, so I think I understand her reaction better now. On good days, I aspire to write like you. On not-so-good days...well, it's a good thing I don't keep a hammer near my keyboard.

One at a time...keep breathing.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Susan said...


Your way with words ain't too bad, either. I think you should expand this comment into a blog post of your own. I'd love to read it.


PS, I can't tell you how many times I've looked at one of my crappy sentences and thought, "How would Kyran word this?"

9:18 PM  
Blogger Neil said...

The best scholarly talks are done improv-style.

1:08 PM  
Blogger Peta-Jo said...

I've only just discovered your blog and it's already one of my favourites, you have such a graceful way with words.
Being so talented, I've added you to my list of seven favourite mummy bloggers for the "kreativ bloggers award".
The idea is to reveal seven unknown things to your readers. I don't know if this is little more than a chain mail via blogs, but I couldn't help add my efforts.
If you want to do the same, you can have a look at the details on my site

8:25 PM  
Blogger Mariellen said...

I did a "scholarly" talk once at a residential course about exploring new areas of science and medicine. I was taking the place of a very wise and modest gentleman, then retired, and formerly chief policy advisor in the UK's Department of Education and Science as it was then. There were two parts of the talk, an opening and scene setting (I'll refrain from the word 'keynote') and then a follow up talk towards the end of the next day.
I troed to convey the same sorts of messages as the gentleman had, in previous conferences of this type, using his terminology. It didn't work too well. Not that folks thought what was saying was terrible, but it didn't inspire them, and that was the whole idea. The advice I had then was: "They want to hear about YOUR experiences, not the other person's." I remonstrated that I was in muy early thirties and the gentlema was a colossus with clearly more experience than I would ever have, but my advisor stuck to his guns. So in the follow up I spoke from my own heart, gave my own experiences with refernce to the other gentleman, but revealed my own thoughts. Ever since, I've noticed that those 'pin drop' moments of silence that occur sometimes when I've had to speak in public, have been times when I have spoken of myself, from the heart. It was a big lesson for me, one I try and rememeber whenever I need to get to my feet and speak. Like many people, I get so nervous that I don't always recall it.

You've got plenty of scholarly in you, both by nature and nurture. My bet is that your audience will want to hear about you, your thoughts and feelings, not what they can get out of a book. Speak the way you write, and you'll have them spellbound. What say you?

3:05 PM  
Blogger Patrick said...

My God Kyran.

It's not just your way with words, where you are stupendously talented. I mean, it's not just Word Gymnastics - plenty of people can do that.

It's how you wring such a layered, depth of meaning and insight into the Human Condition from your observations - and do it in such an artful way.

I'm awed. Again.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So true. Why do we think we always need to add?
Good advice in, Wear the Corsage. Many are still fitting now, even at age 51.

1:31 PM  
Blogger Let'sMakeADifference said...

I just finished reading your article in the May issue of Good Housekeeping. Bravo! I loved it! I know that I have gifts, but writing isn't one of them, and I'm going to discuss your article with my 3 teenage daughters tomorrow! Thank you!!

6:26 PM  

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

<< Home