Let us celebrate the magpie's nest

I have now blogged daily for a month. I feel this deserves a celebration of some kind. How shall I celebrate? And what is it I am celebrating?  The value of this blog, for me, is threefold, I think. First, it serves like any diary to capture the daily. Already, I can go back and be reminded of things I would have forgotten. And I can begin to trace the patterns in my life.

Second, it is a version of mindfulness practice. The blog takes 20 minutes or so (or more), but the habit of mind infuses my day. Knowing that I will blog helps me to notice what I notice. Notice what you notice is always what I try to teach students when I am teaching. It is the foundation for everything else. The particular headings I have chosen for the blog focus my noticing on the things I want to cultivate or celebrate.

Finally -- is this a contradiction? -- the blog was intended to give space to my broad field of interest and awareness, to be a nest for the magpie of my mind.

Black-billed magpie on nest.(one of an amazing series on magpie nesting behavior from
the absolutely gorgeous blog Feathered Photography)

Some people are single-minded, and this can be a self-evident strength. I have always been multi-minded, and while I suspect strongly that this is a strength -- it helps me to see patterns and make connections between seemingly unrelated things, it means I can fit myself into many different groups and settings, it guarantees that I am rarely bored -- I also have not known particularly well what to do with it. The education system I came out of did little to support it, and our culture generally seems inclined to specialization, segmentation, single-mindedness. [Sidenote: This is one of the places I mentioned at the beginning of this month of blogging, where I could break this into its own essay, off-blog. It would be interesting to go back through the month and identify the others.]

Hey! You can read the fable
of the Magpie's Nest here.

What it does for you, dear reader, I would be interested to know.

Reading: It felt like downright synchronicity when I opened the current New Yorker to find a piece on structure and beginnings by John McPhee (abstract here). That is exactly what I have been mulling over on these recent days of non-writing, and he even provides examples of some of his structural maps! Love.

Writing: Yes! I do write! Spent 2 - 3 hours working on this structure/beginning question, feeling my way through an idea about how to pull together the disparate threads of the book at the beginning so that then they can unravel and branch out in the telling (seems counterintuitive perhaps). Keeping aware at all times that I am still not done writing the dragons, so shapes can still shift. (what an odd sentence) I like what I wrote, and I think my narrator is finally coming into focus.

Dinner: Beef & beet borscht (from the freezer, made in late summer, but dammit it is something *I* cooked) over wide egg noodles that had been tossed with butter and pumpernickel crumbs, topped with sour cream of course. Noodles with breadcrumbs is something I learned from the Greenhouse Tavern.

For dessert, some crazy stoner ice cream from Ben & Jerry's -- vanilla with salted caramel swirls and fudge covered potato chip clusters. Seriously. Z picked it, but she got no argument from me. Too bad the chips weren't crisper.

Soundtrack: David was on a David Bowie kick, and that was fine with me.

Random thing: Took O to his first basketball game of the season. The sound of the gym is hard for me to take, all that noise bouncing off hard surfaces and coming back at sharp angles. Having been so immersed in soccer, where play moves quickly but is spread out and scoring opportunity can be so hard won and far between, basketball feels like soccer on amphetamines.