content to be
where she is
between earth and sky
sipping coffee at a black table
in a white-walled cafe
reading a book
but not quite in the pages her eyes wander to where
people are plugged in
to free Wi-Fi on laptops—
their eyes roam, scan the room
focused and unfocused.
She believes there is
no presence of time
in her absent life—
hours, minutes, seconds are
there is neither before, nor
to now she is indifferent
she smiles at the woman seated
at the next table
the one with headphones—
she too is absent from the present
she too is here but not here
the smile that passes between them
a single, cordless connection.
© Neetu Malik
A Mother Learns
© Neetu Malik
Several years ago, my husband and sons started making their own beer. Over time the process has grown from a Saturday afternoon event into a bit of an adventure.
It started out as a shared experiment between father and sons; a time to get together, to try out something new and to share stories the way only men who are more alike than different can do. And recently our son-in-law and soon to be daughters-in-law have joined in the brewing team too.
These new characters have made the experience that much richer for everyone. New beer recipes have been created, a few stolen from the experts, and others borrowed from the prescriptions of long ago. In short, they’re all working together to make memories, stories to tell their children and recollections to hold dear to their hearts when life moves on.
Oh, and they are also brewing some pretty fabulous and tasty beer along the way. Gathering around boiling pots of barley, hops, water, yeast and other “secret” ingredients, the team works together to create some pretty memorable ale. It’s a judgment free zone where everyone is encouraged to just be themselves. And once the beer has been created, it rests for a while in tubs in our garage while the creators develop unique labels to proudly paste on each capped bottle at just the right time.
And me? I am the proud recorder of all that happens in this tight circle of love. I get to watch, to admire, and to share our life stories as another brew is born while I’m enjoying a glass of wine. Here’s hoping they’ll learn how to make that next!
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
Life has changed. For everyone. At least for now.
Covid-19, the Corona virus, is out there. Hopefully none of you reading this has caught the virus, and neither have your family members or friends. But even so, it has affected you.
For one thing, I’m in California, where we’ve been directed to stay at home except for important outings such as buying food. Most states have given the same directive to their residents. As a writer, I’m used to staying home. But it still feels different when I don’t have an option, even for good reason.
So, no visits to exercise classes. My dogs are happy enough about that since my husband and I are taking them on more walks. Everyone else in my neighborhood seems to be doing the same thing, dogs or not, so we cross the street often to stay away from one another.
And writing? Well, I’m in the middle of an important edit, and that’s what I’m concentrating on. I’ve more writing to come, too. But I’m wondering how I’ll refer to the pandemic in future stories, when hopefully this is all behind us. Will I mention it? Will I ignore it? Will I take on writing a fiction story that is based on what is currently happening?
Even my reading now has been affected. When I read about a major gathering in a story, for example, my mind leaps out of the book and I scold all those people for getting together till I realize where I am and what I’m doing. Or even as I’m editing, I think about whether the people in my story need to be together at their workplaces, then slough that off as being today’s reality, not the fiction I’m writing.
So how long will this last? The experts vary in their estimates but in any case it’ll still be going on tomorrow and the next day and most likely several weeks, or months. It feels weird. It feels scary. And as a fiction writer having to deal with reality—it’s definitely difficult.
So… hang in there. I will.
They say there are
two sides of the grave
one where grass grows green
trees bloom and decay, leaves fall
winter winds blow, then
life renews again
and you can walk and breathe
watch the sky and the streets
touch and be touched
the other side, I’m told, is evergreen
peaceful and sedate
is it the dead below the ground
that whisper such tales? Or is it
the living who search for grace
in their lush imagination
of a fertile eternity?
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