Keeping it for good


Seventh generation Canadian,
I am descended from Scottish and Irish folks.
Hearty, thrifty people
saving up for a rainy day

We grew up with a set of dishes
we used every day,
some chipped
some yellowed with age
and a set of good china that sat
like some secret
in the china cabinet.
We were “keeping it for good”,
for company,
for special occasions,
the holy trinity of McDiarmid family dinners:
Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving.

My upbringing failed me
or perhaps I failed it.
Choosing not to marry
meant no shower gifts,
no registries.
I am the kind of woman
who buys what she needs.

And I don’t believe in keeping
one damned thing
for good.
Ring the bell. Go ahead.
Use the good dishes for dinner every night.
Buy flowers for yourself.
Wear that dress.
Take your family to Disneyland.

What are you waiting for?

What the neighbours think
is truly
none of your business.

And also
about writing,
do not save it up.
Don’t hoard those sparkling phrases
in moleskins
stashed in boxes
hidden beneath your bed.

Spend those words.
Throw them down like rice at a wedding.

Revel. Rebel. Spend your joy.



    1. Live with abandon, indeed.

      I worry that when we save things for “special occasions”, they occur less frequently than we expected or hoped.

      Thanks for your comment.

    1. Jessie,

      By leaving this comment, you caused an avalanche of action + love that resulted in:
      1. Me going to WWW in St. John’s this summer
      2. Damien and I making the film version of this poem

      Never underestimate your own power, my friend!

      Thank you.


  1. Lovely piece, Monna! We had a set of China in our china cabinet, too… After many years, my mum came up and said, “I don’t care about keeping it good anymore, use the China anytime you want!”.

    1. Hi Elif.

      It’s so great to hear from you.

      I love that your mom decided to use her good china. So lovely.

      Happy holidays to your family from ours. xoxo


  2. These are the words I needed to hear! Not that I wanted permission, but rather a beautiful validation of what I know to be true in my heart.

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