This Season, the Book, and a Poem

The rainy season has arrived. After so much drought, so much dust and heat and depleted reservoirs, the rain has finally come. Most days it begins late in the afternoon. The clouds gather, the sky darkens, the birds and the leaves get restless. Phil and I, without ever discussing it, have made a commitment to brewing tea when the clouds start moving in, getting to the porch with our mugs in time to watch the first drops fall. We sit there, mostly in silence, drinking hot milky tea and watching the water stream down the banana trees, move like a blur through the valley, soak into our thirsty yard. I suppose it’s a boring way to spend the afternoon, sitting still in our own yard, not talking, not much happening. And yet, I already feel like I’m watching it from some future lifetime—maybe we’ll be back in Canada, busy with teenagers or new jobs or navigating an empty nest— and we’ll say, “Do you remember when we used to spend our afternoons drinking tea on the porch and watching the rain?” This one ritual will define so much, will define better than anything else, maybe, this sweet season.


It’s been nearly two months now since Georgette went live and public on Amazon. Thank you so much to all of you who have bought it and read it and told your friends about it. I’ve been feeling quite vulnerable about it all, and also quite astounded by the response. So many of you have said such kind things, have told me how it made you laugh embarrassingly in public places or recounted the anecdotes that you can relate to all too well. This is exactly what I hoped that small book might do— that in sharing our imperfect story with honesty, others might love their own little life a bit more, might notice the quirky or beautiful moments in their own days, or if nothing else, might laugh a bit at all my failed attempts at perfect mothering. I’m still trying to figure out what my next step is with the book, how much effort I should put into marketing or spreading the word. I thought I’d approach bloggers with it, but have found that process more daunting than I’d expected. Any advice you have— or suggestions of bloggers you think might be interested in reading and reviewing it—would be warmly welcomed.


For those of you who have been reading Being Ilia, I’ve put a few new chapters up in the last weeks, which I don’t believe show up as new posts in your inbox, but are on the site if you look for them. I’m sorry that getting those chapters out has been such a long process. I’m amazed at those of you who are still faithfully following dear Illy’s misadventures.


And lastly, my gift to you, which was a gift to me from the wise and wonderful Karith, is a poem from the poet Eaven Boland. Hopefully many of you have been reading her for years, but if, like me, you were never introduced to her work, I think you’ll agree, we’ve been missing something important.

Atlantis—A Lost Sonnet
Eavan Boland, 1944

How on earth did it happen, I used to wonder
that a whole city—arches, pillars, colonnades,
not to mention vehicles and animals—had all
one fine day gone under?

I mean, I said to myself, the world was small then.
Surely a great city must have been missed?
I miss our old city—

white paper, white pudding, you and I meeting
under fanlights and low skies to go home in it. Maybe
what really happened is

this: the old fable-makers searched hard for a word
to convey that what is gone is gone forever and
never found it. And so, in the best traditions of

where we come from, they gave their sorrow a name
and drowned it.


As always, thanks for being here.