a few words about miss chelsea elizabeth...

she likes: making kites, dancing in the rain, adventures, little-while friends, letters, whole-leaf tea, crayons, bare feet, jumping in rivers/streams/creeks/waterfalls, language, catching the clock as it changes numbers, sleepovers, trains (big or small), cuddling & waking up before the sun rises, among other random things.

oregon-born, seattle-raised, bellingham-bred and franco-refined, she had moved back to the states from her affairs across the atlantic & now resides in columbia city with french husband & love of her life rémy. they spend most of their time taming the garden, taking care of their three chickens & two cats, and preparing the urban homestead for a new little chick of their own.

Monday, November 26, 2007


i sit here listening to the npr daily stream. it/s magazine editors, talking about the bests of the year, talking about the most influential people of the year, talking about what/s to come next year. & there/s this undertone of african-american perspective. voices from ebony. talking about the influence of obama. "what/s the future of the black family economy?" etc etc

today in class we talked about holidays. so we could talk about months & it would be a little more interesting. we did thanksgiving last week, so this week we/re going through the year, talking about all the different holidays.

24- christmas eve (ca veut dire quoi, "eve"? le jour avant? la veille? ahhh! d'accord!)
25- christmas (oui ici on france tout le monde fete noel! pas comme vous, avec votre "thanksgiving" qui est la plus grande fete. ici, c'est noel.)
31- new years' eve (d'accord donc "eve" veut dire la veille, donc c'est le jour avant le nouvel ans?)

1- new years' day. (ahhh oui!! la nouvelle annee! oui oui on fait ca ici, aussi!)
15- martin luther king jr. day (-grand silence-...

-can anyone tell me who martin luther king jr. was?
-you can guess. go ahead...
-a king?
-a little king?
...more silence...

-no...not a king. he was a man. a black man. a very influential black man. who "had a dream"?
-a dream, that one day his little black girl could play with little white girls? that we could all live together, with equal civil rights? he tried to fight racism? he/s very well known chez moi, really.
-oh! racism. ok. he didn/t like racism. cool. so what do you celebrate?
-well, we celebrate his birthday, actually, that/s what the 15th of january is. but it/s to commemorate him. because he was killed. assassinated, really.
-well, he wanted to change things. some people had a problem with that. some people have a problem with change. he was black, and he wanted to end racism. so he was assassinated.
-hm. okay.
-seriously, though. you/ve never heard of him before this?
-really, though? are you sure?
-yes. this is the first we/ve heard. why?

umm... WHAT??? how is it that the youngest person to ever receive the nobel peace prize, recipient of the marcus garvey prize for human rights and the presidential medal of freedom, a man who has streets named after him in over 730 cities in the united states, and is considered to be the 6th most important person of the century by time magazine, the third greatest american of all time by the discovery channel, and the second most admired person in the 20th century according to the gallup poll is unheard of in this town? how is that possible?

i even tried part of his speech (as best as i could translate & remember it), to try to jog their memories. they HAD to know who he was. they just HAD to.

no use.

then again, they are in fifth grade, and they are french.

still, it took me a few minutes to pick my jaw up off the ground. looks like january will be a month where we are certainly not hard-up for material.

(by the way, in doing a little research of my own on mlk jr. earlier this evening, did you know that king county, MY county, the county i spent my entire childhood in, the name of king county was rededicated to him, to MLK Jr. in his honor in 1986? probably not. i didn/t. but even more interesting, did you know that our beloved county changed its logo to his face this year? in 2007? no longer do we have that cute little crown we/ve all grown to love. instead it/s mlk jr./s face. weird.)

then: (1969-2007)
Caption for image

now: (as of 2007)
Caption for image

craziness. you learn something new every day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


exiled. exiled is what i thought i was.

i love wednesdays. so funny how we rate our weeks. how certain days carry more weight than others. in elementary school it was whatever day we had art or music. in middle school every day sucked. in high school it was (naturally) fridays. in college it was (bellingham-style) thursdays (though really it depended on course-load, quarter, & time of year). in taiwan it was saturdays; saturdays seemed oh so far away come mondays, but when they finally arrived, they could not have been more sweet.

now it/s wednesdays. or rather, wednesday is my favourite day of the week besides thursdays, which is the only weekday i don/t work. even though it/s my earliest (i have to meet isabelle at the train station at 8am so she can drive me the half hour to busset), it is my favourite. the children at this tiny school nestled between castle & countryside are so eager to learn. you can see it in their eyes, their desperate searching, and when they/ve found the words they were wanting they keep them safely guarded, precious treasure to be caressed & fondled & oohed & aahed over until next week when they pull it from the pretty little boxes children put their most prized possessions in. they show me their words, mouths over - ee nunn seee ayy teee ing, lip & tongue & teeth caught in messy tango over th/s & f/s & r/s and the endearing inconsistency of their ever-changing vowels.

i never thought hearing numbing repetition of words such as "pumpkin" and "strawberry" could tickle me such a shade of pink.

suffice it to say, i/m in love with this job.

of course, today is wednesday. most of the other days of the week i/m grumbling about this or that. grumbling that my schedule was once again adjusted. grumbling that i (literally) have to walk 3 miles uphill in the snow (well, that one day it snowed last week) just to get to school in the morning. grumbling that i never have enough time to teach what i want to teach. grumbling that i/m not prepared enough. grumbling that they didn/t prepare me. grumbling that i/m not making enough of a difference. grumble grumble grumble.

not always. i don/t grumble to myself. it seems only to be to other people, but that/s mostly because other people only seem to grumble to me, and sometimes it only seems fair to return the favor.

this is love, she thought, isn/t it? when you notice someone/s absence & hate that absence more than anything? more, even, than you love his presence?

i/ve been writing letters, lately. many. and because of this, i/ve not written much for myself. here. there. in my journals. they/re mostly blank. or more blank than i/d like them to be. but the letter-writing does the job for me. i write & i write & i write in furies & then i seal the envelope & it/s all gone. all the anxiety or joy or numbness. it all dissipates, washed out like jeans that have hung too long on that thin line in the sun, it leaves me silent & still. with no more anxiety or joy or numbness i am free to just be. to just exist. to just breathe. one of those moments between thoughts or after fully exhaling where there doesn/t seem to be any more than everything, everything that is just hanging still, hanging there ready to be plucked like a plum on a pear tree for no apparent purpose other than its perceivable ripeness.

sometimes, while writing someone i may or may not love dearly, i imagine centuries ahead. i imagine my letters bound & published, read by the warmth of some great hearth. letters loved enough to don coffee stains & smudges, fingerprints & tears. i hear their lips take the shape of the words, speaking without speaking. i see their eyes, a window-seat passenger on an afternoon train, scanning the text too quickly, skipping over words they deem too short to merit their attention: the, and, end, i, why, me, you. the not-quite-four-letter-words. words omit get important parts. i hear them exhale much too heavily once-too-much & i know they are moved.

sometimes i wish i had a copy of every letter i/ve ever written. to know which pieces of me i/ve left behind & where. to know how to know myself intimately. but then again, that/s poetry. showing others what you can/t see yourself.

poetry. like the heavy smell of sex & sweat & body & breath, not at all beautiful, & so much so that it just might be the most beautiful scent you/ve ever known. like damp autumn earth or cement in july. honest.

exiled. exiled is what i thought i was. alone on a god-forsaken island. left to repeat the one joke i remembered, over & over & over & over. each time exaggerating & embellishing a little more. [remember when i was happy? (forced, nervous laughter.) remember when i had friends? (forced, nervous laughter.) remember when i knew who i was? (nervous, nervous laughter.) hah. hah hah. heh heh. (pause.) remember? (silence.)] wondering why i never laughed at the punch line. turns out i had never told that stupid joke right, not once. funny how telling yourself something over & over & over & over somehow makes it true. [you are not sad. you are not sad. you are not sad.] & while i can tell one helluvah story, i/ve never been so good with the truth.

honest. honest is what he makes me want to be. not so much to other people. i haven/t been a pathological liar since my freshman year of college. but then again, with so much open road ahead, so much on the line, who isn/t? no. no. not again. honest. honest this time. not so much to them. not so much to them, but to myself. honest to myself. not honest in the way that i haven/t been truthful to myself, but in the way that i/ve been holding out. that i/ve "forgotten". honest in the way that i/m slowly relaxing, letting all the "forgetting" slowly come undone, a half-finished scarf that was unevenly stitched & much-too-tight anyway, stitch work that needed to come undone if it wanted to ever breathe properly, that needed to be re-examined & re-worked & re-loved.

honest. i needed to be re-loved. honestly.