Mother’s Day

by jkatejohnston

14 May 2017

Dear Max,

What if I forget how to write in my diary? No, no my dear diary, you shall not be forgotten.

I’ve been working instead (oh so slowly) on that long story about me as a hilarious, borderline incompetent criminal defense attorney and my friend Karol as a disbarred but brilliant lawyer who works as my investigator. My favorite parts are the courtroom scenes. There’s something appealing about the very narrow cast of characters and the limitations on what they can do and say. People have to be in their roles. They literally have to stay in their places, and it narrows the possibilities in a way that I find helpful. Another way to put it is that, writing other scenes, I feel like, “Fuck, I have to make the whole world?” But in courtroom scenes, the world is already there. (I see how hopeless all this sounds.)

But that other book isn’t what’s ruining my diary. It’s my poor stupid head. Do you know what I was thinking about just now? I stopped typing and words were going through my mind, vehement words, fresh, energetic and almost articulate. (All they needed was to be written down.) Good news, surely, for writing.

But you know what I was thinking about? Health Care Consumer Protection Act Written Directives section 90-042. I’m on a committee at work that has to take that and other sections like it, and use it as raw material for our boilerplate legal pleadings. But we can’t figure out what section 90-042 says. It’s a problem. I never used to think about work when I wasn’t there. Now I do, and it’s distracting.


For Mother’s Day we all walked to Pancake Circus (Enzo scootered) and between the three of us we ate twelve sausages. (I had five.) Then we went to Lake Natomas and paddled a canoe past the dam, then along the North shore, through a short tunnel and into a swampy area, very bijoux feeling with fallen logs in the murky water, scrubby oaks shading the shore, Spanish Moss hanging from their branches. Some parts of the water were clear and some were thick with floating algae that streamed down into the water. Yellow water irises stood together in patches. A great blue heron had to fly away from its concentrated hunt because we couldn’t steer the canoe well enough to avoid it.

And fish were jumping. Big ones, a flash of silvery, watery light and then a great fat splash. Enzo was sure he saw a salmon and kept wondering aloud how a salmon could get here, past Nimbus dam. But he was sure of the shape and the hooked jaw. Later he saw a small bass approach his glittery plastic worm (crazy rig) and try to bite it. He started to reel in a little, to sort of bounce the worm and make it interesting, but the handle of his reel fell off and into the water and sank instantly.

This was a about twenty minutes after my whole reel fell off the pole and into the water. I got the reel back because it was still attached to the line. But I had to unspool all the line from the reel in order to pull it up.

We ended up ditching the reels and tying about five feet of line to the end of each pole and trolling along that way, while Teresa paddled. We didn’t catch anything. But the fish were right there. We’re going back soon, probably next weekend.

On the way home, we stopped at Bass Pro and upgraded our equipment.