Monday, May 3, 2010

Significant Objects

This Pillow Book entry is inspired by The Pillow Book of Sei Shōnagon, translated and edited by Ivan Morris. Sei Shōnagon was a courtesan in 10th century Japan who kept a diary of the goings-on at court and concealed it in her wooden pillow. She made lists under various categories of specific, often quirky things.


Teddy - he's really a dog, but I insisted on calling him "Teddy."

The ballerina picture - it hung gracefully above my bed when I was a girl.

My point shoes - I was so excited and proud to make it to point class.

My wedding veil - made carefully by my Mother's capable hands.

The tiny baby outfit - my sister bought this for us the first time I was pregnant in 1997.  We named her Hope, even though she was never born.  She would have been 12.  A gorgeous, blossoming girl by now.


     Teddy.  Well, he wasn't actually a teddy bear. He was a dog.  He was a thinly-furred dog with a wind-up music box sewn into the back that plucked out "Jesus Loves Me." That's one of my favorite songs. I sing a lullaby to my son. Teddy was a Christmas gift from my Uncle Bill.  Uncle Bill is a missionary living in Germany now and not really my uncle - just a good friend of mom and dad.  Teddy is tan with orange-brown ears.  He is missing his little red felt nose and mom took the music box out and put it in a newer, bigger stuffed animal.  I didn't like the new plush dog.  He wasn't the same and all that smooth fur muffled the pluck pluck pluck of the music box.

     When we opened Teddy up, he wasn't filled with the soft cotton mom used to make Care Bears and pillows.  Instead he was stuffed with small squares of brown foam.  There's a long, thick seam running up Teddy's back, where the music used to be.  A scar, like the one running up Grandma's chest.  You have to be careful with Teddy now, and walk slowly so Grandma can keep up.


  1. I love this. It is so sensitive and so beautifully written. I can't believe that something written so simplistically can have such impact... Well I can believe it, but far too many people spoil excellent writing with too much. This just hits the spot.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement. Have you read Sandra Cisneros? She's one of my favorites. Simple and moving.

  3. this an amazing read! very visual, very real and cutting, yet smooth, crisp, and not too wordy. keep it up


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