The Quail Diaries has its own site!

26 05 2009

I have moved The Quail Diaries to its own wordpress site:

What I mean to say

22 05 2009

What I mean to say is there is nothing so wondrous as the evolutionary brilliance of our own electrophysiology; and nothing so mysterious as a sky full of crows, all cawing, all connected to me by history and context but utterly other.

What need have we for X files and what the bleep do we know simplicity when what is inside and out is far stranger and more complex.

They knew it.

The post below

21 05 2009

makes me feel anxious and sick to my stomach.

This post is not about princesses

21 05 2009

Naturalistic explanations are more magic than a resort to supernatural intervention.

This is, according to Slavoj Žižek, an attraction of the murder mystery genre–the banishment of the supernatural makes the story more wondrous by far.

“What is the matter with the day?” said Wimsey. “Is the world coming to an end?”

“No,” said Parker, “it is the eclipse.”

And though I do not always agree with Žižek’s points, I do so often, and I suspect this naturalistic solution is the reason I am personally enamored of the mystery genre. In the naturalistic explanation is the wonder that comes from experience of the world as a place far more amazing because crop circles are the work of human artists, orbs are the play of light and digital technology, the sense of spiritual uplift from yoga is a neurobiological reaction and all beings that have lived, are living and, perhaps, will ever live, relatives all, are subjected to the nonprogressive forces of evolution. Even humans, no apex we, are still entwined–freedom from evolution would be a sad thing indeed.


To be honest, I have felt very angry lately. So, to some of you this is no surprise–“aren’t you always pissed off?” you might ask. And of course, I am–I have a core of anger that is hard as a nut. But, because of various events, one of the things that I felt was a foundation in my life–my yoga (and as I write this I must admit that my self-loathing is starting to peak out–yoga mom! yoga mom! it shouts)–has become problematic.

bracken exists; and blackberries, blackberries;
bromine exists; and hydrogen, hydrogen

What is currently a problem for me it the tension between 1) the (rather narrow) conception of yoga as the manipulation of the body and breath to manipulate one’s own physiology and neurobiology and 2) the broad conception of yoga as a practice originating in Vedic or Pre-Vedic times in South East Asia–one not focused on the body (although perhaps somewhat on the breath (?and here I get nervous, for what the heck do I know?).

Put that way, it seems a simple thing. But it is more complex, because of the word but also because of the people borrowing bits and pieces from this and that tradition and glomming it together to make…what???


Yoga is everywhere and I do not know what it is.

The moon which is the source of light, has a blue stain. Even I myself

am blue

I want a concrete definition of yoga for myself—I do not want to feel like an asshole.

What makes language so difficult. What makes this translation so unfortunate. The cats are walking back and forth and I have yet to say anything.

Once upon a time, there was a woman who heard the crows and looked up to see five chasing a bald eagle north.


Once upon a time, there was a woman who was afraid of certain things


Once upon a time, there was a woman….well really, it is me I am talking about. I am that woman, but you know it. And I am tapdancing around the issues.

Where is the woman in all of this?

She stands in the middle of a burning creation ground. She has fangs.

There are things I am not telling you.


quotes are from Slavoj Žižek, Dorothy Sayers, Inger Christensen (trans Nied), Brhannila Tantra (trans. Biernacki)

Kids and kitties, and suchlike

14 05 2009


The baby next to me is 1 month old.

I think I’ve noted before, how, as children age (or at least as my children age, from my point of view) each little phase dies and is gone forever. I know this is not true. These bits are still there inside my children, but that little baby next to me gives me an ache that has nothing to do with wanting another child. One thing I learned with my second, that first baby is gone which the child emerges, the second doesn’t replace it, or become it, but becomes something completely different.

My children still smell the same–in a way, I should say, that is deeper than milk, more in the gut than baby shampoo.



There are two cats–I may have mentioned one. She (or he), is very old and every bit of fur is tangled and knotted. This kitty has runny eyes and a runny nose. I keep going back to the kitty’s house to see the cat because I am very close to just taking him/her/it. But first, I suppose, I will talk to the “owner.” Last time I went, another cat wandered out to greet me. This is a black cat, certainly younger, with a large bald spot and scabbing on his/her/its back.

These cats have issues of discomfort easily solved.

Can you tell me what to do?

(I already know what I am going to do…shhh)


my children and some cats…do I wander?

Of course I do. And I give myself no quarter because at every moment there is my own private executioner, cutting me off at the knees.

Should I explain that to you or do you understand it implicitly? It just means that I will never be the parent I long to be. Never ever good enough for the perfect things my babies are. I cried during my son’s first week because, in part, I knew I would not live up to the perfection he was. (Of course, my hormonal fluctuations and lack of sleep likely had something to do with the weepiness. I was sure, during my daughter’s first week, that she and my son were going to die because he had croup and had to be rushed to the emergency room–hormones in part).

There you go…does that explain it?

And of course the cats. Whatever I do with the cats will never be the right thing. Never ever. It is just too bad I cannot be madder–it would help ease my own sense of failure, perhaps, or perhaps not.


At any rate. I must away, there are a million things to do and a million things to see and I am only just beginning, though I feel old enough to have been here before the earth was formed and naive enough to be one free of experience.

There was once a little dog

9 05 2009

In the tale The Water of Life the blade of the knife turns bloody in the sisters hands when evil befalls him.

I was in Iowa last week giving a talk on the strangeness of medicine and the strangeness of fairy tales. The Water of Life is one of my favorites because of the girl, the knife and the screaming stones.

There is also a nice story of the old man with his heart in a bird. Except, of course, it is not so nice when the young lad squeezes the bird to death. And really, in general it is not a nice story, because no bird should be saddled with that sort of burden–no other creature (although we do it to them all the time, do we not?)


I saw grackles, which pleased me, and red-winged blackbirds foraging along the side of I-80 as I drove back to Illinois. They surprised me–but the fields–all those fields made perfect fodder for the bird, I suppose.



There is something I want to tell you about. When driving the other day, I witnessed a fight, or rather the pummeling of one guy by another, which began suddenly, moved into the middle of the intersection and ended, after the victim was held down on the sidewalk for about 3 minutes. After he was let go, he crouched, picking up objects that had fallen during the fight, and ran off, still crouching, his face bloody.

So. I did call the police while I was sitting there. But let me be perfectly honest. I called the police because of the dog.

The aggressive guy (a big guy with a colorful mohawk…I cannot believe those things are still considered punk) appeared to be the dog’s person. During the fight, the dog was very agitated. Frightened. Someone tried to catch it when it ran into the street, but it ran back to the sidewalk, to escape the stranger.

We all have adrenaline, I suppose.

I should have felt sorry for the guy who was getting pummeled, and I did, but if the dog had not been there, I would have just assumed that the cops would never get there fast enough anyway. I admit it. I feel uneasy with this admission. I wanted to help that dog and as I sat there I felt as though the whole world was breaking open into the kind of anguish that dog appeared to feel. Appeared, I say. It was purity of sentiment and unbearable. That is why I called the cops. My putting something on that dog, making assumptions and feeling very badly.

I am and am not a misanthropist.

I am a cliché. I am I am
I still see that dog.
Can you tell me what to do?