Postcard Sorting

Postcards spread out on the dining room table.

The first two weeks of the year were spent organizing for writing. The process is to locate and engage with source material, then methodically go through it. Once sorted, I decide whether it serves my current writing. If it is for the autobiography, it goes into the outline for placement and the writing. I spent the last couple of days with my postcard collection.

Time with the collection was enjoyable. My spouse is visiting her sister for a few days, so I could spread out and work in spells. I savor the remembrances evoked by these mass-produced works of art. I stuck a postcard Father sent me in 1962 on my bulletin board.

Easily half of the cards can be given away or shredded for garden compost. I put those in a separate box. Many were purchased at auctions and thrift stores. I bought some in a fit of collection fever. Not many of them have any intrinsic value beyond my interest.

A stack was postcards sent to me. Those have a place in my working binders where they will be sorted by date. I picked a couple out to pin on bulletin boards. Some went into related books, and most of what remains will get tucked away until the next round of use. When there are hundreds, it is hard to pick a couple for varied uses.

I favor sending friends note cards in envelopes these days. I have a roll of forever postcard stamps, yet I’d rather keep most messages private. It is a sign of the times that I no longer send or receive many postcards. The ones I set aside from the collection should yield some decent daily drafts.

I read the entire double-spaced, 336-page manuscript. While this took a while, it was essential to understanding where I am in the narrative. I’m ready to proceed with a daily writing goal and get started. There are still a couple of months of winter remaining.


Maple Tree

I bud with the maple tree
     in Spring.

For as insignificant as we seem,
     come summer,
     we shall grow, and develop...
     make manifest our promise

Come first frost
     our colors will change
     and beauteous become our pigmentation,
     as experience will become this adult body
     into which I've settled.

So as our days are spent,
     whether as bud or as autumn leaf,
     we bring our ideas to fruition.

And despite the promise of this Spring,
     I regret
     that all I have now
     is this bud
     on a maple tree that needs pruning,
     in a yard someone else landscaped.

~ In the 1980s

Improvisation for Jacque

Basement blues
Typewriter table
Steamer trunk
William Carlos Williams

From driftwood
and childhood

   I made a lamp

From German wood
and found wood

   I made a table

Basement blues
Typewriter table
Steamer trunk
William Carlos Williams

Pack up those basement blues
in the steamer trunk
and sit with
William Carlos Williams and me
at the typewriter table and we'll light

   Our whole world.

~ May 28, 1983


A Mouse Chased its Tail

As a mouse chased its tail around in circles.

A game of Monopoly unfolds:
Mediterranean, Baltic, Ventner, Marvin Gardens.

A buffoon in scholarly robes
Life is one big Monopoly game.

in abstinence from intoxicants,
No, it's not.
Life is what you perceive it to be.

As a mouse chases its tail around in circles.

~ Walling Court, 1974

First Dinner Guests

Music was in the air
on Taylor Drive.

Songs of California in Iowa, 
west meeting center
on Taylor Drive,
a development
risen from corn fields.

We played music,
mixed wild and brown rice
with Esther's asparagus.

Talk about dawn and beginnings
hand-pushed versus power mowers
and wedding photographs
blending into the night.

First guests,
with wine from France
a rosé for our gustation.

~ Spring 1983

Moving Iris

Purple tips of Iris emerge
     from among green swords
               in wind too strong for blooms.

We'll move the root stock
     to a sheltering place
     past the Lilac hedge
               where grackles browse...

Mix soil with bone meal
     and decaying manure
     a bed for bulbs
               beneath mulch and wind.

We should get this done
     when the blossoms fade
     before distraction comes
               with summer's calm.

~ Spring 1996


A Greyhound Bus leaves the Chicago Terminal several times a day and routinely rolls across the Mississippi River, the Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountains to its destination in the Golden State.

Just as frequently, a bus leaves Los Angeles and in silent recognition the drivers pass and wave. Partners conveying anonymous individuals.

In Iowa we see these buses and occasionally ride them laden with food and gifts, but mostly we dream a little about the places they are going and then return to more immediate business.

After business comes a drink and the sleep that is so sweet in Iowa, while buses move on to the blackness of Chicago and the setting sun of the Golden State.

~ Summer 1974


We must be free
to follow our
search for knowledge
wherever it may lead us.

Without regard for
what people say,
without regard for
what already exists.

Though it be
a long, lonely road,
we must go
yet in
communion with
the many who have set out
like us.

Though we will be alone,
we will also be in
the best company.

~ Summer 1983

Retooling for the Future

Applesauce cake with apple butter.

As the new year begins, I’m retooling how I write here. The main goal is improved content related to society beyond the geographical confines of Big Grove Township.

While I need a place to journal, this isn’t it. There are too many concerns about what I say in public to make it as useful a venue as I need. I’m using a Moleskine plain notebook for journaling.

There has been clear interest in my experiences in aging. More people are living longer and how septuagenarians will live going forward is an unwritten book. I can write part of it.

My attitude about local food and food preparation is changing. There will be posts about that.

Even though Iowa’s politics has gotten increasingly conservative, there will be new things to say about it. Not all of them will be positive. I expect to evolve from being an advocate for a candidate or particular idea to something else. My destination is presently unknown.

Local politics has been one of the most popular topics for this blog. Specifically, no one is adequately covering the school board or its elections and we have another coming up this year. Because it has been one of the most popular topics, I plan to do more during the coming election.

My posting may be a bit irregular for a while. As I work through the retooling, I hope you’ll stay with me. I believe the writing will get better in 2023.

Living in Society

Into 2023

Winter dawn.

Thursday’s 60-degree ambient temperature was weird. The seventy-degree, one-week swing from ten below zero was bad enough. It won’t be good for our fruit trees. They are already weirded out by double leafing last year. Hopefully cold weather returns soon.

I don’t make “New Year’s Resolutions” any more yet there are activities upon which to focus in 2023. Here’s a brief list:

  • Last winter I finished writing in February. This year I want my off-line writing, mainly of my autobiography, to continue throughout the year.
  • More than 300 books have been donated from my library to charity this winter. I set aside 30 minutes each week to work on my library. The goal is to organize it by project and to make the book display more useful to my life and writing. Hundreds of additional books will be donated in 2023.
  • This year’s iteration of a kitchen garden will continue toward growing things we use and expanding the varieties and quality of plants. How produce grown is used in meal preparation is also a consideration for improvement.
  • Regular exercise is important to health. I seek to take advantage of the trail system surrounding us by using it more and in different ways.
  • As suggested in my post about budget, I seek to supplement income to enable new things beyond basic living.
  • We made a home project list of things to fix, make, or do to improve the quality of our home’s physical structure.
  • With Republicans dominating the state legislature and having exclusive control of our federal delegation, we’ll be playing defense in politics. My letters to the editor during the recent campaign were mostly critical of the two Republicans who will now represent me at the state house. To get anything other than defense done will require more work. This is a new reality with which to cope.
  • I need to sort through advocacy issues and pick one. Climate change has been the go to, yet I’m not sure it will be in 2023 when so many other issues beg for attention. I plan to sort through this as we approach the beginning of the 90th Iowa General Assembly on January 9.

This list does not represent significant change from previous years. If anything, activities have been distilled for clarity and reduced in number. That should make life in 2023 more livable.