Tag Archives: marriage

Poetry: Do Us Part by Dawn Dorland

I’ve been wanting to ask you, Do you remember what I said at your wedding? Once you’d exchanged vows by banjo and your parents cried through their speeches; after Hava Nagila, when you and your bride flew on chairs. Later, when I’d blistered my feet dancing in heels, started telling big stories with flying hands. Later, when I took pictures with people I’d only just met and planned to visit their cities—but what I said, Saul, it was later than that, when you cut cake with your darling, and she smeared it up to your eyebrows. Later, much later, when we all heard a groomsman, having crept off, empty his stomach onto the sea rocks. And we laughed, willed sickness away, went headlong into a humming numbness, the wind whipping us in June off the Maine coast, dancing hard to Beat It

read more at Green Mountains Review

-Dawn Dorland


Caffeinated Links: How to Sustain Creativity and Inspiration, Greatest Action Setpieces in Film History, and What Is Love


Erich Campbell on consuming broadly in order to create with focus – “In my opinion, creativity and problem-solving are cultivated, not granted like a wish; they grow, and like any growing thing they must be fed and cared for, given the proper environment. Once grown, the resultant creativity must be trained and exercised, pruned and the selected offshoots allowed to flower. Taken step by step, I think all people are capable of incredible creativity.” RT

Good read on how Singaporeans have developed a misplaced sense of entitlement in the wake of the city-state’s massive economic success- “The level of materialism – what you wear, where you live, what you drive, what you wear on your wrist – has become a key determinant of the value of human life. This is absolute nonsense.

But it’s the unintended consequence of the fantastic economic success which we have enjoyed. In our headlong rush for more money, a lot of values seem to have been lost.” RT

Incredible video essay mashup of some of the greatest action scenes in film history. Scenes from classics of the past ten years and more including Batman Begins, North By Northwest, Scarface and more. RT Indiewire

Ta-nehisi Coates on the resurrection of the Peter Parker/Mary Jane marriage in the upcoming Marvel comics. “I say this because I knew, from a very early age, that there was love in my house, imperfect love, love that was built, decided upon, as opposed to magicked into existence.That was how Peter loved Mary Jane. They were not destined to be. She was not his Lois Lane. His Lois Lane—Gwen Stacy—was murdered for the crime of getting too close to him, and the guilt of this always weighed on him. Whatever. While the world was fooled, Mary Jane Watson knew Peter Parker was Spider-Man.” RT Atlantic

That Which Scatters and Breaks Apart

Everywhere they turn, the walls ask, why, why not.
From every space someone calls a question
and there echoes so many answers, it’s impossible to hear.

Save me, he calls.
Open me, she calls. Divorce me.
Their despair is a bird in an abandoned nest,
its brother has jumped out and died, its sister is dying beside it
and still it perches:
Do I fly?
Can I fly?

You’re here because you said,
I hate you instead of, I’m sorry.
You’re here because you couldn’t forgive
but kept on making stews and hand-washing his good socks,
blowing curses into hot water.

-Ladan Osman, Apogee

Poetry: Crown for a Young Marriage

This excerpt is from one of my favorite contemporary poems, which was just selected by Rattle for one of this year’s Pushcart Prize nominations. Extraordinary, illuminated.

If I was nothing else, but was a wife;
If I did nothing else, but could make meals
with scraps and pantry staples and a knife
I got when I was twenty-nine; if real
commitment (an abstract and noble word
before it tangles up with sacrifice)
turns out to mean a smaller life, less heard,
less heralded, less published, and less prized;
if after spending summer days indoors
for several years, and writing frightening verse
I’m eighty-odd and pale and little more
than what I am today, will I be worse
off than my single, roving poet friends?
I doubt it, but you’ll have to ask me then.
I doubt it, but you’ll have to ask me then.
I doubt that I’ll be doddering and hunched
and wishing I could do it all again
because I felt I’d missed out on a bunch
of fellowships. And Christ, I love you. Christ
do I remember loneliness, and what
I did for scraps of evenings, what sufficed
for kindness. Offer me a life, a glut
of love, of undeserved reserves of grace
and nice interpretations of my faults.
I’ll still find ways to be unhappy. Face
the facts, though—I’m at home filling the salt
shakers, cleaning the microwave, unknown.
But staunchly, resolutely unalone.
-Mary Block (view her website here)

Separate Beds: Short Fiction

If all short stories had the fierce, ferocious immediacy of Jahla Seppanen’s, I’d read a lot more short stories.

“I don’t miss her as I thought I would. Sure, at night, but what’s night without some loneliness. Even when we were married I would wake up, her on the far side of the bed and me on the other, and I would feel lonely although she was close. My parents slept in separate beds. They said it helped parry feelings of being unwanted. When they kissed in the morning over coffee and eggs, it was a real kiss. Not an afterthought to the seven o’clock alarm. Not a simple recognition of the other’s being. A real kiss.

The separation began when I suggested spending a month in Morocco.”

Read more at Turk’s Head Review

Caffeinated Links: Superfood Culture, Olympic Sports per Country, Noah’s Biblical Inspiration


Northwestern has a highly-regarded class on marriage teaching people “how to love well”. I think we desperately need more of these.  “At first glance this class may seem a tad too frivolous for a major research university. But the instructors say it’s not an easy A and its reputation as a meaningful, relevant, and enlightening course has grown steadily over the 14 years it’s been offered. In fact, teachers are forced to turn away eager prospective students every year. This spring, the enrollment will be capped at 100. The class is kept to a manageable size so that students can grapple at a deeply personal level with the material during their discussion sessions.” RT

The Guardian’s Jay Rayner has a hilarious and apropos takedown of the superfood culture: “The ludicrous thing is that the very people who blitz up kale and acai berry smoothies to cure themselves of all known diseases are the ones already eating a healthy diet. It’s not like they go from KFC three times a day to diving head first into the seaweed salads.” RT

And on that note, loved this line from a Fast article on food reformation in the Bay Area. “If only the food world were simpler, then perhaps we could end Americans’ addiction to cheap food laden with salt, sugar, and fat.RT

Fascinating article from The Atlantic on how Facebook has become our news feed and how it reflects majority tastes – and guess what? They aren’t for world news. “But the vast majority of these stories aren’t really news, at all. They’re quizzes about your accent, lists of foods and photographs, funny reminders of what life feels like as you age. For lack of a better term: They’re entertainment.

If this feels like the wind-up before the Facebook-Has-Destroyed-the-News finale, you can relax. Entertainment was beating up on news long before Zuckerberg was born. People always outsold Time. Broadcast sitcom ratings always made mincemeat of PBS. The back sections of the newspaper have long cross-subsidized the foreign coverage of the A-section.” RT

The countries that excel at one sport – “If the Netherlands is set up for sprint skating, Jamaica is the place to be born if you want to become a sprinter. All but one of their 68 Olympic medals – David Weller’s bronze for cycling in 1980 – has been awarded in athletics. Weller cycled the 1km time trial, so managed to cover more ground than any other Jamaican medallist: two ran the 800m; one competed in the long jump and the other 65 have won in the sprints. When it comes to sport, Jamaicans stick to the track – and they only run around it once.” RT

Darren Aronnofsky had a battle with Paramount over which version of Noah to create. “[I wanted to create] this fantastical world a la Middle-earth that they wouldn’t expect from their grandmother’s Bible school. [But it would also work for audiences] who take this very, very seriously as gospel… I had no problem completely honoring and respecting everything in the Bible and accepting it as truth.Of course, my production designer [Mark Friedberg] had a million ideas of what it could look like, but I said, ‘No, the measurements are right there.’ [Re: Genesis describing the Ark as a giant box].” RT

Answering Machine

“Pat hi, it’s me, pick up. I thought you were
there, guess not. Where are you? Where could
you be, my dearest? See you tonight then,
8 o’clock at our normal place, bye my love.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on my
wife’s business answering machine. I came
home early from work to mow the grass. Who
was this man’s voice on my wife’s answering
machine? I played it again, “it’s me … see you
tonight … our normal place … bye my love.”
My heart, like a racing steam engine, truly
nearly pounded right out of my chest. Where
was she going tonight and to meet whom? How
could I find out? I couldn’t ask her, she’d have a
lie ready. Somehow I needed to follow her, but
then again maybe not. Do I really want to know
the details of the ruin of my life? I’ll kill this guy,
is all I can think, I will. I’ll have to kill this guy
for taking my wife from me. The courts will
understand. Adultery is truly a disgusting,
cowardly crime. I could never hurt her of
course, but him, well I’ll simply have to kill him,
soon as I find out who he is. Then I woke up
shaking and spent the whole day wondering if I
am a good husband, even bought her flowers on
my way home. (And checked her answering
machine when she wasn’t looking.)

-Michael Estabrook, Rattle


It was 1979. There were a few orange tree orchards left
in Orange County. John Lennon lived. I was careful
like the mole digging up the front yard. I emerged
from the dark hallway, barefoot, it was Sunday.
I turned on the TV and was careful to mute the sound.
And I believe you have never seen Bo Derek in a silent, empty
living room grow bright from a warming cathode
running along a Mexican beach, her one-piece flesh
colored swimsuit against oiled, sun-marked skin.
And I was careful, I was alone, and I checked behind
me, looking for light from under a door, listening
for the squeal of a hinge. Then a motorist lit
up the front windows and drove on. I hit the off switch
tingling like static from the television discharge. I never learned
how others do it, but I learned to look at women privately
and in private, my eyes coming through a dark tunnel
to a throbbing kind of light, as out of a hole. The old
throbbing of analogue beauty unscrambling
in front of me, a terrifying pose. It was so strange how
afraid I was of getting caught: of getting caught looking
at slow motion Bo Derek, at lounge chair Bo Derek,
piña colada Bo Derek emerging from the water. Afraid
of those beaded Mexican braids, staccato on her shoulders,
white sand at her feet, the salty swell of the gulf pulsing
on the sombrero end of the world. I was afraid for a long
time, a child of some in-between, and years would go by
before I could make any sense out of that sexual fear
that came from just looking and the thrill of just looking.
And years would go by before I watched Blake Edwards’ 10
again, watched Bo Derek in bed with Dudley Moore
while they played Ravel’s Bolero, what Ravel mockingly called
“an orchestra without music,” a piece that when first performed
had women falling from chairs while crying Stop, stop I’m going mad!
It was the indecency of the rhythm, the impropriety
of the tease, the long and overreaching crescendo, the lack
of a satisfactory tonal resolution that may explain
the great success of Bolero and the even greater success
of sex in the 1970s, it might even explain Dudley Moore’s
nickname, “The Sex Thimble,” or explain how I had searched
for something as frenetic and unattainable in my girlfriends
for so long, forcing each of them to run along the beach
in perverted judgment, wanting something that was incapable
of satisfying even the Sex Thimble in me. An orchestra
without music is sex without love, but how the orchestra
still plays whatever notes they’re given, and they need to play
to finally understand what music is when and if it finds them.
And I can’t help but see how all this made Bo Derek a sex icon,
and her perfect breasts would go on to be smothered in honey
and licked clean by young Arab men in later films. So
it happened when I was in bed with my wife for the first time
and she turned her back to me at the moment she removed
her blouse and bra, pulled my hands to her chest and said
that her breasts were small, and she would understand
if I didn’t want to keep going. Because it never occurred
to me that sex could be such an act of courage, raising
a baton until the figure of brown hair pouring upon me
became the syncopated overture to the rest of my life.
And these were the greatest breasts I had ever seen. I asked
if she wanted to hear some music, I had just the thing.

-Timothy David Welch, Rattle

Caffeinated Links: Best Books of 2013, Marriage Secrets, The Civil Wars’ New EP


Goodreads Best Books of 2013 are out! RT

10 Secrets You Should Know about Marriage – “Communication is the lifeline between two people. There’s no way around it. It will cause you to take responsibility for not just what you say, but how you say it—tone, body language, sarcasm and all.” RT

Amazon is already my favorite place to shop for very nearly everything, and this handy guide from Lifehacker on how to save even more money shopping on Amazon is fantastic. RT

The Civil Wars released their Bare Bones EP today on iTunes, featuring alternate & acoustic versions of songs from ‘The Civil Wars’ RT 

Check out the December Seasonal Shopping List from the Free People blog RT

Marriage Advice from Jane Austen

“In the provincial world of Austen’s novels, small-mindedness is among the greatest of personal and social follies, for which an expansive library serves as a counterbalance. Darcy’s fetching library serves as metaphor for a variety of qualities in a marriage partner today which might counteract contemporary excesses and limitations: broad-mindedness in an age of identity politics and narrow partisanship, integrity in an era of brutal pragmatism, strong work ethic in a culture of shortcuts, steadiness in a swirl of passing fancies. While countless other qualities might substitute for those represented by Darcy’s library, these attracted me to my husband and have deepened my love for him more over the years. Not to mention the fact that he built me my own library, and its shelves are overflowing.”

I Learned Everything I need to know about marriage from Pride and Prejudice, via The Atlantic

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