Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Even Demigods Have it Rough Once in a While

I had fourteen things on my to-do list today and only managed to accomplish four and a bit. The bit was in turning on the lawn mower, mowing a strip, and finally putting the stupid thing away after I couldn't figure out how to keep it running (and yes, I checked the gas tank, thank you).

Husband and I had had a talk last night about my organizational skills -- or lack thereof. Now that I am required to produce a quota of completed work items each week (a quota set by the company and not by me, as was formerly the case), and given that I'm often desperately sitting in front of my computer trying to make my brain work long enough to spit out at least six work items, each at least 400 words of something having to do with whatever obscure keyword I've been assigned, everything else kind of gets left in the dust. Dinner, for instance, happened somewhere south of 9 pm last night, long after I wanted the kids to be in bed.

Husband argued that because I work from home, there are no boundaries between work and everything else. I need to have a quitting time, after which I do other things that do not involve work writing. It's not like I love what I do so much that I can't bear to leave it alone; it's that I struggle to keep the gray matter going day after day, and when I haven't completed my daily quota, I feel horribly guilty until I fall into bed. There's a lot of pressure to produce as many work items as I can, since I get paid by the piece and not the hour, and that need bleeds into every hour of every day.

I've been thinking about my favorite poem. I know I've stated I'm not much of a poetry lover, but this poem was sent to me during my LDS mission and it hit me hard. I've loved it ever since. We often forget, in our struggles to accomplish enormous lists of responsibilities, that our efforts do make a difference, even when we feel we fall far short. So, without further ado, I present my most favorite poem ever:

The Labors Of Thor

by David Wagoner

Stiff as the icicles in their beards, the Ice Kings
Sat in the great cold hall and stared at Thor
Who had lumbered this far north to stagger them
With his gifts, which (back at home) seemed scarcely human.

“Immodesty forbids,” his sideman Loki
Proclaimed throughout the preliminary bragging,
And reeled off Thor’s accomplishments, fit for Sagas
Or a seat on the bench of the gods. With a sliver of beard

An Ice King picked his teeth: “Is he a drinker?”
And Loki boasted of challengers laid out
As cold as pickled herring. The Ice King offered
A horn-cup, long as a harp’s neck, full of mead.

Thor braced himself for elbow and belly room
And tipped the cup and drank as deep as mackerel,
Then deeper, reaching down for the halibut
Till his broad belt buckled. He had quaffed one inch.

“Maybe he’s better at something else,” an Ice King
Muttered, yawning. Remembering the boulders
He’d seen Thor heave and toss in the pitch of anger,
Loki proposed a bout of lifting weights.

“You men have been humping rocks from here to there
For ages,” an Ice King said. “They cut no ice.
Lift something harder.” And he whistled out
A gray-green cat with cold, mouseholey eyes.

Thor gave it a pat, then thrust both heavy hands
Under it, stooped and heisted, heisted again,
Turned red in the face and bit his lip and heisted
From the bottom of his heart—and lifted one limp forepaw.

Now pink in the face himself, Loki said quickly
That heroes can have bad days, like bards and beggars,
But Thor of all mortals was the grossest wrestler
And would stake his demigodhood on one fall.

Seeming too bored to bother, an Ice King waved
His chilly fingers around the mead-hall, saying,
“Does anyone need some trifling exercise
Before we go glacier-calving in the morning?”

An old crone hobbled in, foul-faced and gamy,
As bent in the back as any bitch of burden,
As gray as water, as feeble as an oyster.
An Ice King said, “She’s thrown some boys in her time.”

Thor would have left, insulted, but Loki whispered,
“When the word gets south, she’ll be at least an ogress.”
Thor reached out sullenly and grabbed her elbow,
But she quicksilvered him and grinned her gums.

Thor tried his patented hammerlock takedown,
But she melted away like steam from a leaky sauna.
He tried a whole Nelson; it shrank to half, to a quarter,
Then nothing. He stood there, panting at the ceiling,

“Who got me into this demigoddiness?”
As flashy as lightning, the woman belted him
With her bony fist and boomed him to one knee,
But fell to a knee herself, as pale as moonlight.

Bawling for shame, Thor left by the back door,
Refusing to be consoled by Loki’s plans
For a quick revision in the Northodox Version
Of the evening’s deeds, including Thor’s translation

From vulnerable flesh and sinew into a dish
Fit for the gods and a full apotheosis
With catches and special effects by the sharpest gleemen
Available in an otherwise flat season.

He went back south, tasting his bitter lesson,
Moment by moment, for the rest of his life,
Believing himself a pushover faking greatness
Along a tawdry strain of misadventures.

Meanwhile, the Ice Kings trembled in their chairs
But not from the cold--they’d seen a man hoist high
The Great Horn-Cup that ends deep in the ocean
And lower all Seven Seas by his own stature;

They’d seen him budge the Cat of the World and heft
The pillar of one paw, the whole north corner;
They’d seen a mere man wrestle with Death herself
And match her knee for knee, grunting like thunder.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't Know the Real Eva Aurora? Maybe That's a Blessing

I used to write in a journal. I wrote long, long entries, full of angst and joy and deep thoughts. I wrote until I couldn't keep my eyes open late at night. I wrote when I was frustrated or feeling like a loser. I wrote when something beautiful happened. In short, I wrote a lot and I recorded my life from the time I was about 6 and my mother gave me my first red journal full of blank pages to the time I was married and I had filled up many notebooks.

I looked in my current journal the other day and realized that the last thing of note that I had recorded in my journal was in 2006. 6 years ago! Not only that, but the event about which I wrote was terribly significant for me. Unfortunately, as I read that entry, I could only remember the bare essence of it. This amazing spiritual experience was mostly lost in the mists of my mind. Had I not written it down, I would have nothing of it left. What else of such importance have I forgotten?

I don't, of course, have all that time to write in my journal anymore -- at least, not with a pen on paper. I tried on Sunday, and after a mere 200 words, my hand was so sore I could barely grip the pen. My blog -- my poor, neglected blog -- has sufficed as a place to record some things, but with a blog like this, I can't put all my deepest feelings and thoughts and emotions out into the open as freely as if I were writing in a private journal. Even if I use a pen name, it's still too public, and many of my friends know who Eva Aurora really is. I don't think they really want to read about my deepest thoughts and feelings and then see me at church or at the grocery store.

Or maybe they do. Sickos.

Anyway, the point is, I am making a go of writing in my journal again. I could just type things and print them and collect them in a binder (which I have done before), but I miss the quiet, contemplative moments needed to shape words into sentences and then write them out, letter by letter. Even if I can only write a little bit, I figure it's better than nothing. And, if worse comes to worse, I can always spend five minutes and type it all up.

The one problem I have that I didn't face as a younger, single person, is the thought that my journal will be read by my posterity. At least, the idea that anyone else would want to read it never seemed quite so real until I had my own children. Now I measure what I write by the yardstick of what I want to leave as a legacy to my kids. I should quit thinking like that and just burn everything when I reach the age of 80.

One thing my journal is lacking, like my blog, is pictures. At least I'm consistent in that way.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


You may see my blog morphing through changes. Do not be alarmed. My lack of technology genes is combining with my need for something different. All that can result is a riot of chaos, but this chaos will not affect you in any discernible way (unless, of course, I accidentally push the wrong button and then BAM!)

That is all.

Friday, August 3, 2012

I'm Not Planning to Riot. Are You?

Here's something worrying: I have a friend in the military who says they've been trained numerous times in the past few months on riot control. He is stationed in California. Along with all the other stories about military being trained for domestic policing purposes, this makes me veeeery nervous.

Here's something else: I can't stand this blog format anymore. Not only is it confusing, it's just all...gray. Boring. Bleah. I might be changing that very soon.

That is all. I cannot sit here and type any more words on this computer today. I will probably go absolutely and unequivocally nuts if I don't get up and do something else -- even if it's laundry.