Saturday, November 25, 2006

approaching silence

tomorrow i begin a week long deprivation. no diversions. no place to hide from treacherous silence. so, in preparation, like any good addict, i'm gorging on symbol. movies, lectures, books, ah, the word in every form. the beauty of imagination.

these are the movies i've glutted on thus far: the governess, (which is raunchy and intriguing--always a good combination); finding neverland. an absolutely fabulous movie. very much the artist's perspective; sisterhood of the traveling pants (so-so); eternal sunshine of the spotless mind (i love it); il postino (a fine film which i'm still trying to articulate why i am so iffy about it. i guess it was the premise of the whole thing. not what i expected); and another whose title escapes me.

i'm like a drunk lying in the gutter (or will be by tomorrow am). delectable phrases dripping from my chin. i'll pick myself up and stagger over to rehab. which will begin at church. my tiny chapel. i'll not read a word, but my mind will wander through the liturgy. cutting in and out of those known and unknown phrases.
Christ have mercy (a favorite).
therefore let us keep the feast.
the ringing of the bells at the fraction (my heart beats with those bells when it happens. it's still stunning if i let myself be truly there) i'll not read the hymnal, but my heart will waft upon the songs sung by the congregation. perhaps they'll sing a few tunes i know. perhaps not. i've not heard most of the songs they sing. undoubtedly our new choir master will play the organ like a rockstar and treat us to mendelssohn or bach. it will be worth going to church. it is always worth going, but when you get a prelude and postlude that rocks. ah, how can you miss it? (putting up with the people stuff in between becomes even tolerable).

either way, i'll leave and wander home. not to get on the computer like i normally do, or park myself in my cozy chair to read for a few hours. but to find something to do. so i'll go for a walk instead. not to the park, but to my corner chair in the library where i'll sit and look at my trees, barren now.

the walk home will do me good. pass some time. i'll meander through streets and under trees. looking up through the branches, which is considerably less intriguing now.

then home. still no diversions there, so i'll clean. possibly cook. i do that on occasion. (though i found an excellent way of getting out of cooking. i say to my husband,
i'm making some hamburger concoction tonight.
he finds alternate plans, can you blame him? and i rejoice. rejoice. and again i say rejoice). the thought occured to me, if i can only write as good as i read. how much more so what i eat? which is a very round about way of getting the eat your daily 5 lesson. but i'm not the most straight and narrow gal. i get there eventually, but usually after macheteing my way through the underbrush of experience.

i spend a good bit of time during deprivations cleaning. one can't wander the streets after dark, and those are generally the times i clean in depth. perhaps my fridge, the unpacked boxes held over from the move that i've not gotten to yet. i'll do lots of ironing. lots of thinking. lots of watching. and board games.

my daughter looks forward to a deprivation because i'm a distracted mother. the deprivation grounds me again. tethers me more securely to home and family. fastens me to terra firma. i'll take two engaged days to play monopoly with her, because honestly, what else is there to do? (that's the fact of the matter kids). i've all ready cleaned her room though, so i'm kind of limiting my options, but i've still some projects ahead that will occupy my mind if needed. especially late at night when my beloved and girl are asleep. those are the dark hours. the serious moments. when all these images will course through my brain unceasing. and i will tremble and shake, staring down fear of them. fear of silence. fear of being.

the fear is the hardest part of a deprivation. we are a distracted people. i am a woefully distracted person. i live in my head, romp with my muses, revel in the glory of words far too much.

i wept at seeing finding neverland because it portrays this dilemma so clearly. even at the expense, often, of everything dear, there is something we artists were put here to do and must be about it. (i've taught my daughter what i can about inspiration, perhaps mostly by modeling than anything else. but the other day she passed me with this determination and said,
i'm inspired to paint, i've got to go.
and paint she did. two or three pictures. she doesn't want to take classes and is teaching herself, but hey, i've taught myself most everything so she comes by it honestly.) we can live locked up in our worlds which seem so real. so vital. but they are our creations. they are our novels or poems or stories. they are not real. yet to capture them, we must spend time there, with them. and with those who inspire us to greatness.

"the Muse enhancing" relationship as matthew fox refers to it, in creativity, is one of vital importance. a promethean relation. a firebearer, i'm calling them. if you want this fire, you must approach, risk being burned, and lay hold of it.

but i must away, the hour is late, and i've some words to devour. write thee in a week at the outside.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

cocoon of words

couldn't sleep tonight. so here i am, doing what i do in the wee hours. bad dreams. haunting memories. i've come to realize that i wrap myself in a web of words. before i got bi-lateral carpal tunnel i had all but ceased communicating by tongue and used only finger tips and pen ink. computer keys and printers. clicking out my thoughts and words. seems i've come to this place again, or very close to it.

so as the year winds down, i hope to spend less and less time writing. and more and more time living. but that doesn't really make sense. because writing is living. writing my life, your life, our lives together is what i do. i am told by many these jots and tiddles matter and not to forsake them. though i've grown afraid of them recently. they say what they will sometimes and not what i intend. they come out of context and are used against me. they hurt me. they hurt you. and that is never a good thing. what's the answer then? probably the same answer i have to all the questions i ask. i don't know.

i will begin a deprivation here soon. no reading, writing, tv, radio, phone. a true black out of stimuli. but i need to plan it well as i've many an occasion coming up where i need my words at the ready.

the deprivation for me is a life altering ordeal really. i find places lost because i sit silent and listen. not compelled to say anything. read anything. write anything. it is a great freedom. though also a torment. the greatest blessing is often a curse. and so the fearsome silence will come and sweep over me.

my cocoon of words i'll forsake again before the turning of the year. before tallying my receipts and finding how in the red i really am. or if, this year for once, i'll break even.

i'm declaring next year a year of abundance. but not the monetary kind necessarily. but the soul abundance. the kind that touches men and they receive their sight. my shadow crosses a lame person and they walk. do i have faith for this? i don't know. but i shall never know if i don't try. or believe. or just head in a particular direction. right? i'll never reach a destination not sought.

i needed words tonight. to weave myself a warm cocoon of words to hold me in my vulnerable sleep. to wind themselves into a poem that will sing me awake in the morning. i need words tonight. and am ever grateful to find them here, at my fingertips.

bellowing dragons and long haired maids

it is a crisp, cool grey morning in new york. everything slick with rain. branches swaying in the slight breeze. all still and silent, which is something. just a few cars, a few souls on foot or bike. bundled tight against the cold.

in the distance the sound of a motorcycle revving up, likely enjoying the clear streets. less of a target today than other days.

it occurred to me, rather than being merely annoyed at the blaring siren outside my window. rather than just getting through, enduring the sound until it stops. (i've nearly grown accustomed to that wretched sound, that horrified us when we arrived. it is to me now the bellowing of some great fierce dragon. perched atop the castle walls. and i prisoner in this tower, must continue to wait and hope. my hair is still growing. soon enough, it will be time, to weave my rope and let my saviour up. soon enough.) i have realized that while this annoyance is abominable, and it is abominable. it is a rally cry for some ill turn of events. someone somewhere is in need of assistance. how much better i use the bellow as a trumpet of zion. a call to prayer. to battle. to war. how much better for the soul in need at that moment and those rushing to aid. annoyances can be more than they present themselves. they can be welcome guests and friends when we make peace with them. so i shall try.

the birds hunker down in weather like this. i don't see many of them about. i wish sometimes i had God's eye, and could see where each rests. where each goes for shelter. where each rides out the storm. these are the things i would look for if i had the eyes of God.

i have just noticed it is drizzling rain. the church bells are sounding now. a great raucous company, heralding joy. clamboring into the homes of those who are sealed in. a call to worship. devotion. sometimes these bells play songs. i was sitting on a bench watching the birds outside my small chapel on fourth of july. the church steeple rang a chorus of star spangled banner. i laughed.
it figures.
i said. i'm no patriot. yet, here i sit in the church yard, audience to this testament of strength. i've never really understood the greatness of america. seems we've bullied our way into power. preyed upon a great many trusting souls. even those who serve us so selflessly now, are devoured by opposition to the administration, opposition to the war, opposition to liberation. i don't pretend to understand any of it. my sister and half-brother are over there right now serving, fighting for their lives and our freedoms. regardless of what the war is about, that is what it is really about. remaining a superpower. The Superpower. whatever that means. however many lives it costs. i don't understand any of it.

but they deserve a debt of gratitude and our many prayers for their safe return. and those suffering the loss of their presence this day, our support. our courage. our faith in their loved one's imminent return. i had not meant to wander down this road today, but here i am. here we are.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006


i said once, these should be called holy-days because they are. not just holidays. but now, i'm calling them holeydays because they are missing a great many souls whom i love. holes abound. holes in my present place, those whom i love and are far. holes in my heart, those whom i love who have died. holes in my memory, those treasures of holidays past, i spent so many years in an environment lush with love. and did not know it.

here i have that same measure perhaps, but not tangibly. since moving from my family some eleven years ago, i've spent most holidays (only three i can remember not) alone with my beloved and our singleton.

last year i opted to spend turkey day alone. perhaps had i known it was to be my last turkey day among that body of believers, i might have changed my mind. likely not. i spent it in my garden. writing. reading. reveling in silence.

we are the choices we have made.

and i would not choose otherwise.

how to handle the holidays alone then becomes the question:

a couple years ago, has it been that long? i started writing thank you notes to the people who have truely been friends to me through the previous year. that is a nice way to commemorate something meaningful. since i started this tradition when we were woefully unemployed, it was always done by email. because i could do it for free.

when the grief and loneliness were acute, the first years of marriage, i started a big project on the holiday weekend. i made a quilt one year for my husband. the next year, my grams died. i made two quilts that year (one for me and one for my sister out of gramsy's old house dresses).

i sewed teddy bears during my grieving process on the late nights when i couldn't sleep and gave them to a class of preschoolers i taught at church one year. making grief into joy. always a wonderful thing.

making tamales was a tradition in our family. 40 lbs. of tamales made on christmas eve. i can manage 10 lbs on my own. but i like to have the house empty for the process as it involves much grieving on my part. i haven't made them in a few years.

but maybe the time has come again, though i'm living in the north and will have to search for the ingredients which were so easily found in texas. provided i choose to make them. not sure about that. but you see where i'm going. doing an all consuming project on those days helps me get through them.

usually the people who help me through my issues, my sister and best friends, are all busy with their families. so, i must lick my own wounds. busy my own hands. it is better for me to do something productive than lament.

though last year i did write a lament. ha! i'm such a downer on the holidays. but now, perhaps you understand why.

and if you find yourself alone on these fair days, try to find something constructive. even if it involves just a moment of kindness to another, even a pet. i did spend my last thanksgiving with someone, i just realized, my dog oreo, who we had to give up when we moved.

you see, you never can tell how things will work out. but they always do.


may you have wholeydays ahead.

Monday, November 20, 2006

mr. creep me out

there is this man i met once at the park, i didn't meet him. i saw him and avoided him. men without children at parks (this is the only playground type park around) creep me out.

though i met the pianist that same day, but he was turned away from the children's play apparati reading a book. this other fellow was sitting there staring at the kids climbing thingies. since my kid was the only one on it, i was pleased when she wanted to get the heck out of there.

well, mr. creep me out turns up at church. holds my hand at the exchange of peace way longer than i'm comfortable so i yank it back. which is kind of like demanding change from a homeless guy selling pencils. pretty rude.

but i'm creeped out.

i try to be kind and accomodating, but i know my beloved will tell me.
stay away from that guy.
it is comforting to have his intimidating presence towering over me at get togethers. but i want to do a full year of the liturgy at least (when am i going to get this opportunity again?) and now with the new music director playing mendelssohn and bach at every service. i can't miss it. i can't stand not being there. it is truly a delight.

i still don't listen to the sermons which is more about me than my priest.

but mr. creep me out ends up with serious health issues. and i feel terrible, of course. but i had decided it would fall to the escorted ladies at the church to welcome this man, and the men, where in God's name are the men?

i appreciate that the men of the church are busy opening doors and helping out. but where they could be most effective is mentoring mr. creep me out. yes, that would be delightful.

he needs a man more than a woman at this point, in my opinion.

this reminds me, some of the men have these bone cruncher handshakes. i actually cry out in pain after exchanging peace with them. how bound up in performance anxiety do you have to be to crunch a lady's hand at church? i do not know, i do not know. but men, hear me out, if a woman you're shaking hands with suddenly contorts her face and bellows, OUCH. you're probably using your killer handshake. no need, no need.

okay, so back to my story. mr. creep me out is part of the flock now. and once when i was doing a deprivation, i got up early and went for a walk. i'm standing under some trees watching the blue jays (how i speant a great deal of my time when i first got here), and he walks up.
where do you live,
he asks

of course that is the last thing i want him to know.

i see him around town, come to find out he's a professor at the college. though i'm struggling with just receiving him warmly, but not too warmly. when i hear about the turn of events. i feel terrible but restrain my comments to apologies for not getting over to the hospital to visit (i did think about it). and general inquiries about how it's going.

he asks again,
where do you live?

i avoid answering specifically. and pray God sends some men to mentor this man.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

formed formlessness

what do you want?

to do something new

they won't understand

i know, but i can still try.

they are used to the customs, traditions. the formality of a thing makes it identifiable.

are you saying what i'd doing is formless?

no, it has a form.

are you saying i'm breaking away from the known, then?

perhaps that's it, yes.

the form i'm after is the form of water. the form of that which flows down, unobstructed, carving great caverns and halls through stone. the form i'm after is brief as a mist but essential. the form i'm after is always in motion, taking on the shape of what it encounters, becoming, cleansing, seeking.

being all things to all men?

yes, that is it exactly.

but you're not being true to anyone if you take the shape of what you encounter.

water is true to water. it's form and body though they may change, though they may become a part of you and me, remain water.

you are not water.

no, but neither am i stone.

and how will you know then, your true shape if you are always changing? becoming? seeking?

i will know, as water knows. that no matter where it goes. how it changes, it is essential to being. it is. it merely is.

they won't understand.

no, likely not.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

stranger gifts

again, more strangers to the rescue.

this one in the form of an 86 year old female poet. i hosted a read on monday night and read a poem i wrote over the weekend. it had some erotic imagery and i told the group,
this is for matrue audiences.
most of them sat with their eyes closed listening (which is very encouraging to me, it is how i listen and the only way i can truly hear. even then sometimes, my mind wanders though i try to keep it fixed on the words. sometimes, if a poet intros their work as, this is haiku, i count syllables. grrr. i don't try to, it just happens. i lose the poem in the counting of syllables. so i try to fix on the words, or if it is short, as haiku are, i ask for it to be reread. confess my sin and move on.

i was counting syllables, can you read it again.

most do not mind reading their works again.).

so i intro this piece and read it. eyes open slowly as i sit and look around the room. some silence, but then an articulate man in his 40s, who is a young poet in terms of length of time practicing but his work is the bomb says,
read that part again.
and so i did.
it stumbled there,
(not his words, mine).

and the 86 year old poet beside me surprised me by saying, in a quavering voice,
i don't think that way, but i think i should.

which i took as high praise.

the poem is about fantasy versus reality. living in my head versus living my life. how unreal the one is though it can seem so real.

it is essentially declaring the fantasy dead. which is a big thing for me and i'm glad it came through in the poem. life is not about castles in the clouds. about imagined intimacies or dreamlife. it is about the flesh and blood husband, my flesh and blood child, my flesh and blood friends whom i can actually talk to and who talk to me. it is about being present to those present in my life. even those strangers who are just coming on to the scene. i must be present so i can recieve them well and give to them of the bounty that has been given me.

i am told my message of late has changed. that it is not about God any longer. that i am searching for God (looking for love) in all the wrong places. (oh how i love a cheesy songline). it is not true. it has not changed for me. though i may be willing to speak in real time of real doubt and real concern. it has always been that way for me.

and where i err, where i fail, where i depart the path (or am kicked off the path as the case may be), there will always be the kindness of strangers to encourage me. to give me heart (hearten me). stranger gifts than these i have recieved. perhaps i can be this kind of heartening stranger to whomever i meet. that is my hope anyway.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


carcharodon carcharias

most of technology is a pain, i think. sure we have more time, but more time for what? to be isolated in our own painfilled worlds. no thanks. i think sometimes, communal clothes washing at the river's edge to be a dream. so much community in those times. where is it now? i can shuttle my girl and myself back and forth through our week, even attending church unscathed by the prying eyes of community.

i understand the hester prynnes of the world will be strung up, i, likely among them. but what i would give for some true community. not just a forced banding together, though i often think that is what it will take in this day and age to get people to come together, real tragedy. but a union of souls. a joining of hearts as well as hands. the idealist in me dies hard. i guess that is a good thing.

so i kept telling my beloved,
i want to see the shark movie.

the first essay i wrote in high school, the first anything i did in high school, seriously, was write a paper for my senior english class called carcharodon carcharias, the thesis: the great white shark does not intentionally attack man. i got an A on that paper. i loved writing it. i loved researching it. it was the paper that told me i was a writer. though i would wander several years before looking back to that tell tale paper.

i tried real estate in college, the money making scheme and dropped out.

when i went into the work place and found it tedium beyond compare, i finally went back to school. the app asked, what major?

looking back through the years to the one thing i did well and actually enjoyed. writing that term paper. the A in red ink over the title. i loved that paper.

i knew writing was a language i could excel at even if i had to work at it.

another dream i had was to be an oceanographer, and growing up in los angeles, then torrance (the south bay), it was a realistic occupation. but i hated school and never had anyone really say, what do you want to do and push me that way. so english was it for me.

i remember cradling a shark book i had purchased, and selling it at a garage sale we had to raise money for a friend whose brother had died unexpectedly. i sold that book but i'm certain it will be on my bookshelf in heaven. it is so vividly etched in my mind, every page with a glorious picture of a shark on it.

this movie was that for me today. an experience unlike i shall likely ever have in my real life. i won't go deep sea diving and see them in their natural element. so to sit there in the theatre and have those ancient beauties swim by was just a dream come true for me.

the whale shark, 3,000 pounds of wonder. polka dotted for good measure.

gotta run, my kid is hungry.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

almost not yet

it is hard to put this feeling into words. but it is what i've been groping for wordlessly for a long time, so i'll take a stab at it.

tonight started like any other busy night. trying to tie up loose ends so i could actually get to the open mic. life always has detours. and if we habitually give up, we'll lose the scent.

one way i've kept the scent is rereading the things i've written when i've been very certain of what i'm doing (brief though those moments may be). then i am reminded. yes, this is what i am supposed to be doing with my life. pouring it out one syllable, one fragment at a time. i don't know why. i just know the feeling of peace and certainty that comes when i've done a bit of writing. (this blog has a purpose after all, you don't know how many times, even recently i've contemplated just deleting the whole damn thing).

that certainty. that peace is about all i've wanted these past few years. just a few moments. when i know what i'm doing and why. and i realize, only now, as the feeling is clean and pure within me, that i have known this feeling to a lesser degree through the years. i have known accomplishment. sometimes for something as small as a well cooked meal (that is an everest in my life. perhaps more a struggle of endurance and perseverence than anything else--cooking, that is).

but this feeling. this, damn i'm good certainty, that i CAN string words together in ways that are powerful and meaningful is a feeling i would pursue if i only got tiny glimpses and snippets of it along the way (which is what i've had 'til now).

my beloved was home late from work, i was tired, but feeling better than i've felt in a long while (since denver). i told my mom,
this was the first morning i wasn't drowning in my own sewage when i awoke (congestion, that is).

i like a good metaphor, and that is a good metaphor. gross, but gross is sometimes necessary.

my mom said,
you should watch that show, dirty jobs. that is what you just reminded me of.

i said.

she said.

that was a good metaphor, eh mom?

so see, it's been a day of little praise. little certainties along the way. and i was certain i had a poem to read tonight.

when my best friend called, i told her,
i'm reading copper fields tonight. i'm not sure what else. but i'm reading that one.

she said.


how do you know what to read?
(i think that is how the conversation went)

sometimes i can feel it. other times the room tells me. what's been read before. but tonight i know i am supposed to read copper fields. i'll figure the rest out later.
(which is the great benefit to lugging all fifty pounds of my work to every reading. i can choose anything.)

so i get there, late. but i'm pleased, just to be going. i love open mics. the works are real. they are for an instant than no more. that is real art happening there. some of them suck, sure, but not all. by no means all. and those are the ones worth waiting for. worth listening to all the droning on and on (and there is droning on and on), to hear that one poem, poet, phrase that could change your life (rilke was evoked tonight and i felt him with me).

so i read my one poem. it went well. but then it always goes well. i'm in my element. doing what i was created to do.

a duck no more has doubt and questions about swimming than i do when i've a mic and listening ears. even without a mic (which is my preference), i've no trouble at all reading my stuff.

so, after i'm talking to some folks and one of the featured poets walks up to me and says,
i'm going to give you my information.

would you like my card?

she said. (an odd answer, i thought. who wouldn't want my digits?)
i want you to send me ten poems. i put together readings in new york city.

and i left there and told the poets standing outside whom i had been talking to before i was approached.

you're on your way,
they said.

and i left singing and skipping (as much as i will do those kinds of things) with a hideous grin on my face and cranked up white stripes and sung my way home.

it's good to be me tonight. i'm on the cusp and i can feel it. who knows what will happen next.


sorry guys

this post is for women only. you've been warned.

i was in the market for some scaffolding and trusses, ladies, you know what i mean. so i go to a big girls' store. even if you're a petite girl like me (a delicate way of saying short), it is nice to go to a big girl store because most everything is too big. ah what a feeling. when i shop at the normal stores, all the big girl sizes are usually gobbled up immediately.

when i find something flattering for my body, i buy it in every color available. this works well for me. and i regret it when i don't do it because things that are really flattering are hard to come by.

(okay enough preliminaries to convince the men to check out)

i tried on this bra yesterday, and it was just fabulous, i have to recommend it. it is the plunge bra at lane bryant. i like corsets because they make anyone look voluptous. well, this bra does the same thing. the design of the bra is very flattering. it makes your cup overfloweth if you know what i mean.

the delicate pink is just a gorgeous color and i had to get a different style because they didn't have my size. see, the issues continue at the big girl stores, but what can i say. the bras i ended up with are nice, but that plunge bra is to die for. i must have some.

now normally, i don't tell the whole world what is under my wear, if you know what i mean. but these bras are just fabulous. go try one on. you'll see.

and the boy short undies they had are so darn cute. i probably should have gotten them. but i wasn't sure i'd like them. and now that i see them on the model, they don't look that great. but on the table, just adorable. the pictured one isn't that great, but go check them out. serious.

everyone should have nice underwear.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

roller derby superstars!

okay so maybe i wasn't slamming little girl scouts into the boards, they were doing that by themselves. but i've wanted to take my girl skating, (rollerskating with four wheels all asunder and a stopper at the toe), forever. finally did it. monday. in our marathon homeschool outing day.

you see, i don't like to leave the house. ever. and when i have a mountain of laundry to get through before i leave the house, i like to leave even less. i got through said mountain, and left small clean hills here and there for our eventual return. slammed dinner in the crock pot and set on out the door for a playgroup at the park. it only happens once a month so i hate to miss it.

then, we have girl scout rollerskating. i didn't tell my girl she'd fall. i didn't tell her she'd be as wobbly as a newborn foal. but less slimey. i just slammed the skates on her feet and let her find out. what else could i do?

so she is holding on to the rail, that is a problem. these wobbly girls want to propel themselves via the rail and their upper body moves faster then their skates or the other way around. one girl kept mowing down anyone who was in the way. she was a tough one to help because she didn't want help. i guess that's why i liked her. she reminded me of me.

give me your hand,
i would say, and skate beside these wobbly girls. some would take it, some wouldn't.

i guess the real reason i went skating was because my husband told me not to go. when he tells me not to do something, it really fires my jets to get that thing done. and skating happened to be that thing. (he could use this to his advantage with a little preplanning.) i guess anyone could if they knew that about me. tell me no and i'll be damned if i'm going to be limited.

you'll get hurt. you're older. if you fall you won't bounce.
he kept telling me.

grrr. i probably growled at him. i have a fine growl. some time i should let you hear it. sounds very feline.

one thing i kept telling the girls was, keep your balance. that is all that matters. no one can balance for you.

and that really is the key to skating. the speed will come. the stops will come either by the wall, floor or tangling with another skater.

bend your knees softly, keep your arms out, my girl looked like ralph macchio on a pole at the beach, her arm crunched up.

stop bending my arm,
she'd say.

keep it straight,
i'd say.

i wasn't trying to twist the girl's arm into a pretzel. she just had a floppy grasp. i guess she was focusing on other things.

there were girls with helmets (which after watching them crash into each other and the walls for two hours, it didn't seem like a bad idea), some with inlines, some with quad skates. others with training skates, those pretty pink or yellow ones for little kids.

my back was killing me bending over to help these little girls, but it was great fun.

and when i got cut loose, cause my girl got tired or no one needed help. i skated around and around pretty fast. fast enough to cool down. and remember why i loved skating.

though skating down the beach is much better than a rink, the variables are limited in a rink, but so is the atmosphere. lots of neon, loud music. i remember loving that when i was young. it was a great way to spend a saturday, at the rollerrink.

so my girl didn't hate it. she fell ten times she said. i didn't fall once. so we'll over winter at the rollerrink. get some exercise and if i get brave enough, i may try to learn how to inline skate. i never tried them. i may like them quite a bit.

when we left there, we ran home for dinner, and then to swimming. what a day. what a day.

i was mentioning to my working poet friend how busy i was monday because he said work was busy. then i mentioned what i was doing and thought, i really have no cause for complaint. sure i'm busy but it is an entirely differnt kind of busy. it is being a kid, learning, exploring, growing kind of busy. i really could enjoy it if i tried. and so i shall.

today we're off to a field trip. peace!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

graffiti art

it has been so long since i've seen graffiti. when i lived in LA, it was everywhere. i didn't know there was anywhere not written on. sometimes the characters are fascinating and i try to read the script. sometimes it is understandable, says something to be read, many times it is symbolic. and i'm grateful i don't possess the knowledge to know what the heck i'm reading.

but i've noticed on the train to and from nyc, there are places with graffiti.

underpasses seem to be popular for the street gang set.

so i'm on my way to a poetry reading yesterday and i am driving through some strikingly beautiful areas. just gorgeous. i'm enjoying it (and i did get lost a couple times, but when it is so gorgeous, it's hard to care).

so i turn and follow the scribbled notes i have on how to get there (note: if i haven't said it before, the signage out here sucks. big time. if you're not coming from the right direction at the right juncture of the road, you won't see the sign. it's that simple. so i never know if i'm actually going to get to where i'm going. many times, most times, the areas are so nice, it isn't a problem, but yesterday...)

the houses start coming packed together. the graffiti. the people everywhere. not the friendliest looking folk either, but not scary. just not my people. and this is the paterson of william carlos williams. i keep wondering where he lived, but sure it wasn't where i was at that moment. the traffic is horrible and that isn't comforting either. being so tightly packed with strangers in a bad part of town is not the kind of thing that gives one the warm fuzzies. i got the willies and missed my turn.

so i'm thinking, who can i ask without putting myself in too much jeopardy. and turn down a road to see a garage with a mechanic in it.

he has a very thick accent and i think he asked if i speak italian, which i don't. so he tells me in english where to go. and i am hoping i am getting the directions right. sure enough, the old guy sent me exactly where i needed to go. and i'm winding my way through the worst parts of paterson new jersey.

i finally find the place i'm looking for, passaic community college and a parking garage (did i ever mention i despise paying for parking), but thought i'd rather find my car than not pay for parking. so i parked and wandered through four college buildings.

it was an urban campus. the kind that has buidings on city blocks here and there.

since i was going to show my face around poets i may not have ever met before, i wore my cool shoes. hoofing it up and down four city blocks, and stairs, i am totally late when i arrive and have blisters on my feet (discalced is my preference, shoeless joe).

so wearing any shoes now that it has gotten cold is a bit of a stretch for me (i've gone out so many times in flipflops and said, this is the last time i can go out in flipflops. but i still try. old habits, you know).

so i hear the poets read and just want to get out of there because i've been sick since denver and i'm tired. i want to get home incase i get lost again. i wanted out of paterson while the sun was still up.

so i make it home, and i'm grateful the graffiti leaves off as i get closer to home. because i can live without that urban art and associated artisans.

it made me appreciate the trains a bit too, they carry you through all the areas of lesser, um, interest to nyc. which has it's own issues. but then you move on. i like not driving. and i like not getting lost.

pretty tired, gotta go rest a bit. but thought i'd tell you of my latest jaunt out to a new part of town. peace.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

miss understood

so the waiting is on again. the waiting seems to always be on in my life in one respect or another. but as long as i don't scrape myself across the mental cheese grater, i'm fine.

as long as i don't pin my worth on some damn book, i'm fine. as long as i remember, it is well, it is well. it is all well, i am fine.

i read this bit in a book i'm reading on creativity, by matthew fox:

When Picasso painted Les demoiselles d'Avignon in 1907, it created such a stir among friends and foes alike that he did not display it publicly for several years. This painting, today considered a masterpiece and turning point in the history of art, brought fierce opposition down on Picasso. He comments on the importance of taking risks:
Painting is freedom. If you jump you might fall on the wrong side of the rope. But if you are not willing to take the risk of breaking your neck, what good is it? You don't jump at all. You have to wake people up. To revolutionize their way of identifying things. You've got to create images they won't accept.
Only two dealers showed interest in Picasso's work, and one of them commented:
What I'd like to make you realize at once is the incredible heroism of a man like Picasso, whose moral loneliness was, at the time, quite horrifying, for none of his painter friends had followed him. Everyone found that picture crazy or monstrous.

i have long thought picasso genius. his disjointed perspective was utterly new. something unknown before him. how did he persevere with a vision others could not grasp nor even consider? how did he press on?

how will i press on? is my work the stuff of genius? or madness? that is not for me to decide. but i take these my cues from the masters and create something, i believe, worthwhile. whether it is understood or not. for that is what we do, artists, poets, saints. we risk conveying our whole hearts and being crucified for it.

one quote more from fox:
Otto Rank spent his life counseling great artists, including Anais Nin and Henry Miller, defines the artist in terms of death when he says: 'The artist is one who wants to leave behind a gift.' 'Leave behind,' he says. Why does he say that? The artist is leaving us, exiting, and knows it. The artist is not in denial about death. Furthermore, the artist is not exiting quietly. No, the artist is leaving us with a memory, a memorial, a painting, or a song, or a symphony, or a poem or a dance or an insight--but not just any memory, memorial, painting, song, symphony, poem, dance or insight--but one that can be recognized as a gift. There is a blessing to this left behind thing; there is a goodness to it; it is a gift, not a curse; it is a gift not a neutral thing. And why a 'gift'? Why do we deserve a gift from every artist who leaves us? well, it is not what we deserve. It is not a gift to us, though it is a gift for us. The gift is life itself. The gift is a thank you to life. The gift is to the life-giver, and, as Rank dares to say, the gift is always to God.

my gifts, then, are to God. all of them. if people enjoy them along the way, so be it. i do not hang my hopes on the praise of men.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

brunette goddess

all saints day. a new month, there is something immensely gratifying about ripping that lined out calendar page off and seeing the whole month before me. unmarked. though there is a lot coming up, it is nice to see it out there on the horizon.

listening to a tape on happiness,
thought structures,
dr. carlson says,
are like movies. separate entities, not reality. to contemplate them is about as beneficial as contemplating static on the tv.

hmm. you know how much time i've wasted analyzing my thoughts. too much.

thoughts, are like steering wheels,
he says,
an angry thought precedes angry feelings. low thoughts precede low feelings.

and he repeats,
low moods happen, learn not to make life altering decisions during them or take them too seriously.

if you find yourself repeating similar circumstances, it is because of a construct of thoughts which are reinforced by your experience.

he says
we will actually ignore (not necessarily intentionally) evidence contrary to our thought structures and lay hold only of the evidence which supports our thought structures.

wow. my girl listening along with me yesterday said,

you are putting me in a low mood by talking to me that way.

that's not what he means,
i tell her. but i'm glad she is listening and hearing what the good doctor is saying.

i still have no answers. perhaps fewer than before. but this one certainty. God is Sovereign. that is it all for me. i know and understand nothing else.

i'm ready for an overhaul in my voice though, my thought processes and structure. i can't wait for tomorrow because today is so damn good.

some of the joyous words i've incorporated onto my artist's collage:

best of you
dreams do come true...
the true magic of forests is that even when you leave them, you never really do.
YES (i've waited so long, YEARS, to find that word. it should be used more in advertising)
lovely on the inside
helping others gives success true meaning
believe in happy endings
brunette goddess
brunettes do it better (ha!)
the style of your life
dream wildly and wait for the magic to happen
brush with greatness (i do this all the time)
remember what's good
always stylish. always beautiful.

and on and on it goes. finding joy. finding empowering language to hang my thoughts upon. yes, that is what it is all about.