Sunday, September 04, 2005


among many, many thoughts after the horror of this week....


No people are uninteresting.
Their fate is like the chronicle of planets.

Nothing in them is not particular,
and planet is dissimilar from planet.

And if a man lived in obscurity,
making his friends in that obscurity,
obscurity is not uninteresting.

To each his world is private,
and in that world one excellent minute.

And in that world one tragic minute.
These are private.

In any man who dies there dies with him
his first snow and kiss and fight.
It goes with him.

They are left books and bridges
and painted canvas and machinery.

Whose fate is to survive.
But what has gone is also not nothing:

By the rule of the game something has gone.
Not people die but worlds die in them.

Whom we knew as faulty, the earth’s creatures,
Of whom, essentially, what did we know?

Brother of a brother? Friend of friends?
Lover of lover?

We who knew our fathers
In everything, in nothing.

They perish. They cannot be brought back.
The secret worlds are not regenerated.

And every time again and again
I make my lament against destruction.

– Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Thursday, August 04, 2005


"I know you are, but what am I?"

scary PeeWee, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

How can you not love this new photograph I took of the PeeWee Herman doll I unearthed at my parents' house? heh-heh.

Sometimes, this is exactly how I feel.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


swimming in summer Seattle, then writing about it

Hydrofit, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

It's August, the height of summer. Yes, now it's tilted toward fall, the start of the school year closer than the end of the last one. But no matter. I refuse to think that way. I'm here.

I've been writing about Hydrofit for over a year, in the other blog, and even the one before that. But it continues to be one of my favorite activities in the world, particularly in the summer. Sun on my head, friends around me, and it's not even noon. The entire day stretched before me.

Now, not only do I bob in the pool every day, but I'm also having a chance to write about it in a more public setting. Seattle Metblogsrecently asked me to write for them, and I'm thrilled. It's a community blog, filled with good writers who are living in their city with an eye to writing about it. The umbrella organization, Metroblogging, was just named one of the most interesting websites out there, by Forbes magazine. And they have a metroblog for most major cities in the country, and the world.

So check it out. I'm writing different posts for that place (last night, I wrote one about kayaking on Lake Union) than I am here. And none of it has to do with gluten, or lack thereof!

Sunday, July 31, 2005


they say it's my birthday....(on Saturday, that is)

DSCN0014orange gerber#B76D1, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

I wouldn't normally do this in such a public forum, but why not? It's that kind of birthday.

Next Saturday, August 6th, is my birthday. And I would love to see you all. This lovely, hot summer I've been writing and writing, but I haven't seen most of you since school ended. So come to the beach and help me celebrate.

--Saturday, August 6

--4 pm until late in the evening

--Golden Gardens Beach, in front of the water, near the building with the bathrooms. (I know, it's not that picturesque, but that way, we can find each other.)

--Bring whatever you'd like to enliven the beach: frisbees, guitars, music, silliness. Sunscreen probably would be good. And other people. Bring your spouses, kids, friends, and anyone you think I'd like. The more the merrier.

--This is a potluck, so bring lots of food. Now, as most of you know, I can't eat any gluten at all (it will make me sick), so if you could bring gluten-free food, that would be swell. If not, that's okay too. If you want to bring GF food, here are a few pointers. Meats, vegetables, fruits, cheeses, vinegars, oils, corn, millet, tef, rice--all fine. I have to stay away from wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Plus, all their derivations. There is gluten in soy sauce, some condiments, anything with modified food starch....And many more. If you have any questions, email me. I'll cheerfully tell you all about it. (If you want to see more of that, see my other blog. And if you do bring something to eat, could you please bring a written list of ingredients, including brand names, for me to peruse? Sorry to be a pain in the neck, but I don't want to be sick on my birthday.

--Speaking of food, I'm cooking up a storm this summer, so I'd love it if everyone brought his or her favorite recipe for me. If it's in a cookbook you love, cool. (I'm coveting cookbooks at the moment.) Or more appropriately, write it out. I'd love it in your handwriting. Of course, gluten-free recipes only, please! And there's really no need for other presents.

I hope you're all having a wonderful summer. And I hope I see you on Saturday!


Friday, July 29, 2005


walking in dappled sunlight

DSCN1327, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

I've been gone from here for awhile. Life feels wonderfully full. In the last week, I have:

--hiked to Wallace Falls
--kayaked Lake Union with Julie on a quiet, open-skied morning, for two and a half hours
--walked in the Greenwood Seafair parade, pelting kids with candy
--met up with a new group of writers
--started meetings for teaching at The Hugo House
--started writing for Seattle Metblogs
--cooked new recipes and took photographs of them
--wrote every day for four to six hours
--gone to the pool and floated around
--felt alive and kicking.

Good life.

Mostly, I've been putting my writing energy into a) the gluten-free book project; b) the gluten-free blog; c) Seattle Metblogs, the Seattle site for Metroblogging, where they asked me to write, which is quite a nice coup; d) sending out an essay every Friday for publication, which means selection and editing and not-too-much fretting; e) the novel; f)emails to y'all.

This blog is slowing down, therefore. I'm putting most of my blog energies into the gluten-free one since I think that will help people more, and because I want thousands of people to read that one. So read that one, then tell your friends.

This place will be more for quips, brief asides, exultations, and quotes. Keep coming back. I just won't be here every day.

I hope you're feeling as well stretched as I am these days.


Monday, July 25, 2005


the blessing of awareness

Originally uploaded by shaunaforce.
We live these extraordinary moments and rarely realize how much we have been given. When the awareness comes, it feels like a blessing.

For example, yesterday I sat in the backyard of my friend Marguerite, listening to people play Bach. Marguerite, one of my older friends from the pool, plays harpsichord. Professionally. In the pool, we bob and talk about Buddhism and coincidences, food and the Mariners. I love that I have this entire social circle who knows me only in my bathing suit. She's a large personality, filled with stories and strange quirks. I adore her. She invited me to her Musicale, a gathering of musician friends for food and music. I had no expectations, which is the best way to live.

When I descended the creaky back stairs to her garden, I was met with overhanging green trees, a large table spread with wine and homemade food, and a harpichord on the grass. Marguerite held court, deciding on the order of the pieces. There were violinists, cellists, singers, and flautists. The entire afternoon was dedicated to Bach, and I listened to sonatas waft over the warm air toward me. Everyone there was extraordinary, including a woman in an enormous red hat flopping over her face. And the food wasn't bad either.

So all in all, a lovely afternoon, and only one part of my day.  
   These summer days are glorious.  

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Rainier cherries

Rainier cherries
Originally uploaded by shaunaforce.


the jam!

Originally uploaded by shaunaforce.


water rushing by

Originally uploaded by shaunaforce.


a hike up Wallace Falls

Wallace Falls
Originally uploaded by shaunaforce.


summer sunshine smiling on my eyes

sunshine smiling on my eyes
Originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

Sun on my skin smells like freedom to me. Especially now that my skin is healthy brown after months of being ashy grey. I adore the summer. Sometimes people outside of teaching like to tease us that we have extra-long vacations, and therefore have no right to complain about our jobs. But it's not a vacation. It's a second life. I'm a second self in summer: more expansive, more forgiving, more creative. It's the life I like.

Especially this summer, when I'm finally healthy.

Summer goes so slow and fast at the same time. Most days feel languid--I wake at 9, read The New York Times, go to Hydrofit at 11, then plan the day from there. Usually, like tonight, I'm up until midnight, writing, the clarity of the day within me. I like this schedule better than 6 am bleating alarm clock, ride the bus to school in the dark, spend the day behind because there are so many tasks to fulfill by the end of the day, then have half an hour to write. No one can be creative on demand. At least I can't. So it's only in summer that I fully feel like a writer.

Especially this summer, when I finally have mental clarity after years of fumbling through brain fog.

During the summer, we all eat better. The farmers' markets in Seattle are a bounty of berries and goat cheese, apricots so juicy that they drip over your hand as you bite them, fat bouquets of sun-warmed dahlias for $10, and pungent arugula with dirt still clinging to the roots. The salmon was caught last week instead of being frozen, the eggs are bigger in their cartons, and the sun is out until late so we pretend we live in the Mediterranean and eat late into the evening. During summer, I can live on a half-pound of spinach sauteed in sea salt. Raspberries out of the carton that stain my fingers red. A smidgen of real blue cheese, made from goat's milk, on a farm fifty miles away from this city center.

(And this one, made by Les Fromages D'Anne Marie, is made without any bread or gluten at all. I asked. Repeatedly. And they knew what gluten was. So far, this is the only blue cheese I have been able to find that is gluten-free. And oh, oh, my--you want some. Go to the Ballard Farmer's Market next Sunday.)

This is enough. It doesn't take much to make food explode, then drip in slow tastes when I pop it into my mouth. Yesterday, coming home from the Magnolia Farmers' market, I couldn't resist the lure of the flat of raspberries on the seat next to me as I drove. I popped one in, expecting sweetness. What arrived instead was a tart sweetness, liquid, filling my mouth so completely that for one second I was completely overwhelmed by the taste of it. The taste filled me so entirely that I started to cry. I nearly had to pull over to the curb.

Winter never tastes like this. Summer is grace, in food form.

And especially this summer, when I'm glorying in all the foods that are naturally gluten-free, instead of feeling deprived. Sockeye salmon sauteed in Meyer lemon grapeseed oil and chunks of garlic. Lamb's ear lettuce salads, with arugula and dill, doused in shallot vinaigrette. Dagoba organic chocolates, this time cherry flavored, with gluten-free stamped right on the back. Homemade coleslaw, the cabbage thickly cut, with wasabi mayonnaise. The possibilities are endless. And every day, I feel filled with joy at the thought of eating, knowing that I'll no longer be sick, haggard, exhausted, cranky, or ready to slump over and give up on my body.

This summer, I'm alive

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