Sunday, May 23, 2010

American Holiday

I was sorting through my photos last night and I stumbled across the album from this past year’s 4th of July, spent (as per ye olde tradition) in Hesston, Kansas, with Thomas More’s family. Living, as I do, in a Scottish fishing village, and attending an ancient Scottish university, and walking cobbled streets to the sounds of numerous British accents and European languages, I was struck with just how American our Kansan holiday actually is—how very different from Britain, from Europe—and how uniquely middle-America. My heart pines strangely for that American sky. And no irony. I miss Kansas. Most of the poems I have been writing recently are about Kansas. How intriguing to watch this tendency, this longing in myself. Inevitably, my poetry falls into the gap of absence or distance—whether it is the distance of time (memory) or distance in space. The pain of longing—but also the richness?—remains a mystery. I worry often that I fall into unredeemable nostalgia. What is nostalgia? Empty sentimentalism? Something…else? I guess I’ll keep writing my Kansas poems and try to work through it…hmmm.

In the meantime, I wonder what I will write about when I move back to ‘ole KC? Tides, herring gulls, stone fences, ruined churches, steak and kidney pie…Wellington boots?

What follows is a memory, in pictures, from my American, Kansan 4th of July:

Fireworks tent.

The Family.

Newton, Kansas at night

Midnight run on Drubers Donuts.

Midcentury Modern at the King house in Hesston, Kansas.

Aunt Joan gives a family history lesson at the graveyard.

Cousins listen intently to family lore.

Burning fields outside Hesston.

Thomas and Thomas More at King Construction.

I learn how to shoot trap.

Fourth of July!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Thank You for Names!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post on THE GREAT NAME DEBATE which is going on in our house. I listed our "reject" baby names and asked for your suggestions, which you sent me! Let me just say, I am very impressed with the creativity and diversity of the suggestions that I received. For your interest, as well as my own organizational happiness, I have compiled an exhaustive list of all these name suggestions, alphabetized to the best of my ability:

[* indicates my very favorites]


Apple (thanks Dad)




Blanket (thanks Dad)


























*Maisie (several independent sources. Nickname for “Mary” or “Margaret”)








Siri (nn for “Sigrid)








...Just for your information!! Thomas More and I have made significant progress in our naming decision, and now have a Working Possibility. BUT--if you feel the spirit move, send your suggestions--or your guesses ;) !!!

Weekend Bliss!

The last essay of my academic career is FINISHED and in the safe keeping of the English Department's saintly secretary Sandra. (Have you ever noticed how ALL English Department secretaries are saintly?? Is this because Englishy people deserve saintly keepers? ...or is it, instead, because no one but the most saintly possesses sufficient patience to deal with the bleary-eyed, disorganized souls who inevitably become English grad-students/professors?? Hmm...)

Yes. The essay is finished. And I have no excuse to avoid the blog any longer. Here follows a brief documentary of the lovely weekend we had two weeks ago, which included: a visit from dear friends, a baby shower ( ! ), a ceilidh, and some general leaping through the fens and spinnies!

Aaron and Montserrat came out from Edinburgh on the train!

My lovely friends Lizzie and Fran gave me the most wonderful *baby shower* at a really beautiful hotel in St Andrews. We had our own private room that looked out over the 18th green at the Old Course. There were many edibles of different shapes and sizes and much tea! (In photo above (left to right) Sarah, Callie, Lizzie, Monsy.)

Scone, anyone?
Baby Winter received many wonderful presents. Here I peruse her first book--interactive, anti-tear, and machine washable!!
(In photo above: Fran, Sara, and Devon.)
After the shower it was off to the Catholic Society Ceilidh! I didn't dance quite as much as last time--bouncing doesn't seem to agree with the Inside Child these days...but Thomas More had a rolicking good time. He can be seen in white at the end of the line (alas, un-kilted!).
Denis and Sara--looking tre chic--and not even winded!
Monsy and Devin perfect their waltzing skills.
The next day we took A and M to our favorite castle...where we toured the grounds and gardens.


A quick stop at West Sands before we took A and M back to the train station!
and lastly, I call this: "Marley with Stick (Under Threatening Scottish Sky)"