English literature friendship memory

words, and a quilt, to wrap your mind around…

Making the All Star Seattle Quilts which are now keeping me busy brings to mind my hometown and all that I treasure about it. Is it any wonder that T.S. Eliot’s poem, “Little Gidding,” jumps into my thoughts? It too is about going home, time passing, things gone. Much about Seattle has changed too, since I grew up and first left town. Yet the symbols, imagery, and places in these quilts have all been chosen for their historical relevance and personal acquaintance–and there’s still enough to love. Sailboats, forests, mountains and bookstores, restaurants, record shops, and schools–all part of what makes living in Seattle so sweet, sometimes so heart-breaking.

Below some images from “All Star Seattle Quilt no. 2,” and some lines from Eliot’s beloved poem. Enjoy!

What we call the beginning is often the end

And to make and end is to make a beginning.

The end is where we start from.

And every phrase

And sentence that is right (where every word is at home,

Taking its place to support the others,

The word neither diffident nor ostentatious,

An easy commerce of the old and the new,

The common word exact without vulgarity,

The formal word precise but not pedantic,

The complete consort dancing together)

Every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning,

Every poem an epitaph.

And any action

Is a step to the block, to the fire, down the sea’s throat

Or to an illegible stone: and that is where we start.

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day whatever

email I wrote today:

Dear ….,

In case you’re wondering why I’m already on email at 5:45am, it’s because of the shortage of white cotton!!!  I was lying awake worrying about how I’m going to get enough fine tight-woven white cotton to line the face masks I’m selling, because demand is robust to put it mildly.  It is scary to be so much in demand, in a way, at the same time that it is thrilling.

But now that I’ve ordered probably way too many expensive flat white sheets (which may or may not arrive–I’ve never seen so many orders be “cancelled”!), I can calm down, drink my coffee (thank goodness there’s no shortage of that yet) and enjoy the dawn.  It is fun to feel needed, but now that my supplies are shrinking, I’m developing a whole new appreciation for supply and demand, and how a crisis throws assumptions about what is valuable out the window. I’m also developing a certain sympathy for price gougers. After all, why not, right?  (But so far, I’m holding the line on my own principles, and charging only $5 each or free to elderly, unemployed and medical personnel.)

Ouf.  This is what they call a teachable moment, I guess.

While keeping anxiety at bay, barely, I went for another morning walk. Mailed my first mail-order of face masks! And ruminated over the growing list of orders..  (“How will I ever get them all done?” / “This is awesome!!! I am having so much fun!”)

Seeing the library in the tender early light made me realize how much I miss going there. Before I met my funny new friends, the library was a rare source of laughs, when we first moved here.
That is where I discovered some excellent reads:

  1. Liane Moriarty, Three Wishes: [heroine’s to-do list]: “Reduce stress in measurable, tangible ways, both professional and personal, by no later than March 1.” (p. 208) On being in despair over a miscarriage and a divorce: “Death was the hot bath you promised yourself while you endured small talk and uncomfortable shoes. You could stop pretending to have a good time when you were dead.” (p. 244)

Also: Liane Moriarty, Nine Perfect Strangers, and really, anything by her!

  1. Celeste Ng, Everything I Never Told You: [child contemplating her mother]: “’Keeping house’, she had thought. She still powdered her nose after cooking and before eating; she still put on lipstick before coming downstairs to make breakfast. So they called it ‘keeping house’ for a reason, Marilyn thought. Sometimes it did run away.” (p. 29)

Here’s a good corona-joke:

2020 is a unique Leap Year. It has 29 days in February, 300 days in March and 5 years in April. 

 [with thanks to Tom]

See you tomorrow; I’ve got to get back to work!!!

ps, yesterday’s batch of masks:

Masks made on April 15 2020


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farewell to the past…

View from Max's room Nov 28 2017

Today, tomorrow, and Thursday, we post the first three stanzas of a poem by Emily Brontë about the past, the present, and the future. I do this in homage to you readers, friends and fellow seekers, and to wish you well on whatever journey you are on. As my journey to the West progresses, I’ll post on … well, whatever happens!


Tell me, tell me, smiling child,

What the Past is like to thee.

—An autumn evening soft and mild

With a wind that sighs mournfully.

–from Emily Brontë, Poems, 1910