Commonplace Book, 40 (Before and After)

What is a commonplace book? For me, this is a space where I post interesting links, reflections on what I’m reading, and the newest recipes I’ve been trying out — a collection of miscellaneous micro-posts.

(If things feel scattered in this post, it’s because they are. I started it before Roo’s arrival, and am finishing it now, a few days later. I’ve got a lot to share, but it’s all over the map.)

What I’m fixing:

What I’m reading:

  • HP1. The audiobook and the hope of triggering labor were the only things keeping me waddling through chores.
  • The Joy of the Memorized Poem: The night before labor, we attended a Poems, Pints & Pies party, and this got me thinking in all kinds of ways. (I also think much of it applies to memorizing prayers and Scripture, too.) At the party, I realized I knew more poetry by heart than I had thought: “The Owl and the Pussycat“; most of “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent“; a soliloquy from Macbeth.
  • In the hospital, I read The Awakening of Miss Prim (finally!), and this passage reverberated with me after the fun of the poetry party:

“We know lots of parts of poems and stories by heart—it’s the first thing we do with all books,” said Teseris in her gentle voice. “He says it’s how you learn to love books; it’s got a lot to do with memory. He says that when men fall in love with women they learn their faces by heart so they can remember them later. They notice the color of their eyes, the color of their hair; whether they like music, prefer chocolate or biscuits, what their brothers and sisters are called, whether they write a diary, or have a cat . . . ” Miss Prim’s expression softened a little. There it was again, the strange, dark, concentrated delicacy, the infuriating male ego combined with unexpected streaks of grace. “It’s the same thing with books,” continued Teseris. “In lessons we learn bits by heart and recite them. Then we read the books and discuss them and then we read them again.”


Another passage I highlighted in Miss Prim was about domestic life, and worth sharing here, I think:

The range suggested an idyllic childhood. A childhood rich with the scent of freshly baked bread, of sweet sugary fritters, chocolate cake, biscuits, and doughnuts. The kind of childhood she herself had not had but which, in this somewhat chaotic house, she had to admit was a daily reality.

My takeaway here is that it’s a-OK for me to bake the kids all kinds of indulgent things, and also that a somewhat chaotic house has a certain charm. Phew.

This time last year:

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