Carrie Fountain is a poet — born and raised in Mesilla, New Mexico, she received her MFA as a fellow at the James A. Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas. She presently lives in Austin, TX.
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01 Object (new): a new object that held significance
On August 10th, my kids and I went to the Austin Humane Society and adopted sibling kittens, Coco and Carlos. Tawny, tiny, one timid and one tenacious, they have turned our lives upside down. They’ve chosen the nicest furniture to shred, but they’ve also brought us so much joy and tenderness. There’s nothing better after a stressful day than getting not one but two kittens to purr themselves to sleep in your lap. My eight-year-old daughter has been asking for a cat since she was five. We’d gone to pick out one cat, but as we were falling in love with timid Coco, the adoption agent brought in tenacious Carlos. We were smitten. The Austin Humane Society offers two-for-the-price-of-one kitten adoptions for situations like the one we found ourselves in.
02 Object (old): an old object that took on new/different kind of meaning
When we brought the kittens home, our two-year-old dog, Anna, immediately went down on her belly with her chin to the ground to show her friendliness to the kittens, who were initially scared of her. She’s always been a good girl, but in that moment, and in many moments since, she has shown us she is the Best Girl, and the best big sister to her little siblings.
03 Utility: describe an occasion when you felt useful.
I published a novel two months ago. Over the last month, I’ve received so many messages from friends and strangers telling me how much they enjoyed it—how much the character’s journey resonated with them. I even had an acquaintance from my kids’ school tell me she felt like the father in my book was instructing her in the ways of raising of teenager. That has meant the world to me, and it’s made me feel useful.
04 Story: What’s the best story you heard?
My son’s kindergarten teacher told us that on one of the first days of school my son was asked to tell the class one difference between him and the girl beside him and that he answered, “I have a penis, and she probably has a vagina.” Admittedly, the teacher tossed my boy a softball, but damn if he didn’t knock it out of the park.
05 Nature: An encounter with the natural world
We spent the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend at Krause Springs. My daughter was delighted by the thick algae on the stones as she walked out into the springs. She said it felt like the stones were carpeted. My son, on the other hand, found it incredibly unnerving, and so he and I spent most of the time eating Oreos at the picnic table and getting bitten by ants.
06 Minor secrets: Describe something you did in secret.
My daughter has lost two teeth in the last thirty days. Enough said.
07 Proportion: A specific moment that reminded you of the scale of the universe; that you are part of a greater whole.
I had an incredible dream a couple weeks ago. I can’t remember anything about it, but that I woke up feeling like my entire life had been wiped clean—the feeling of starting all over in a way—and for a few moments after waking I felt very small, and that felt just right.
08 Culture: A list of front-burner interests from the last month
I’m reading Ada Limón’s collection of poems "The Carrying" for the third time. A few nights ago I was sitting at the YMCA with my five-year-old son while we waited for my daughter to be done with swim league and while my son watched a cartoon on my phone, I read a few poems and started crying right there in front of the vending machines.
What was missing last month?
I haven’t written much in the last month. That has been missing, and its absence always causes problems in all aspects of my wellbeing. It’ll come back. It’s coming back. And when it comes back I can’t understand how I’ve gone without it.