The slow green draw
of the afternoon
into a long valley.
Memories of Sundays
not yet lived.
The slow green draw
of the afternoon
into a long valley.
Memories of Sundays
not yet lived.
So, we are not insane, it’s the House Republicans and their bedmates,
mental bugs, winning parasites
funded by the enemy
in a tortured game of kidnapping children
incited by gluttonous mouths unable to
fill their bloated, cash-gorged stomachs–
funded by taxpayer reality tv
and we’re told that a murderous bare-chested rider is the easiest one
according to a bottom-feeding tyrannical clown.
We are not insane.
The air in the room felt
as if someone had recently rushed off
and left particles of tiny colors.
Was it excitement or the staggering buzz of
a lover’s quarrel?
And it helps if you fkng know how to spell “murmurs.” I crack myself up. I changed it. But, in light of the weird crap that’s going on, I forgive myself.
within the molecules of mental constructs
my vocabulary is
delicious, tormented, peaceful, moody, changing and constant,
I pack a suitcase and fly to Michigan
to see my oldest living relative on my mother’s side who,
at 97, gives me a gift of conversation;
tells me again
how my mother was one of the nicest people she’d ever met.
Then later mentions that she wasn’t such a good cook
and that smoking almost killed her.
I can only feel conflicted
but this time
in my mid-60’s mind, it’s all ok now
something is healed.
When I am alone on adventure
the muses never fail to inspire
so when I see
the river rushing, winding,
threatening to overflow…
just like my view of life
motivated by surroundings,
the rapid water is a
savior of sorts,
like a psalm or a poem, words to remember.
Journal prompt: write about what motivates you. In your journal, add descriptions of who, how, what, where, when…and why.
In the dream
the ancestors showed me
An owl looking west
in the woods.
There’s more, the dream is bold.
A whispered tale
only, in my solace, in the turning darkness,
my usual forays in hallways and destinations
trying to find my room
then the scene
changes reflecting internal visions.
You will know.
Your guide is near.
This time you waited outside.
I’m writing stream of consciousness to keep my blogging energy alive.
This Friday the 13th has been windy, eerie, howling and haunting, like the song “Ill Wind.” I can’t stop thinking about Syria and the horrors of war juxtaposed to the constant dribble (or should I say drip, drip, drip) of some asinine details of the US president’s sex life. People are salivating in anticipation of former FBI director Comey’s book, one I would re-title A Higher “Royalty,” pun intended. But hey, freedom of the press and freedom of profits and all that. Who am I to judge? I’m just a lowly home-maker/artist/scribbler gone wild.
Mad housewife pitch: Bully politician fires tall FBI career guy who doesn’t protect efficient career woman on verge of becoming first female president after being proven innocent of scandal. Career guy dishes dirt on politician.
So this new memoir promises to divulge juicy facts that we’re tired of but can’t turn away from, after inundation with compassion fatigue for everything. High school students, staff, and families with PTSD from school shootings, unarmed black youth shot to death on camera at the rate of dozens per week or something like it. Food stamps cut. Elderly in assisted living rents raised $150 per month. Teachers on strike, that sort of thing.
Yet, back to the memoir: many of us still shaking our heads about why Comey seems to sabotage Hillary Clinton right before the election. It looks like men just can’t stand to think that women are capable of leading. They are so insecure about their manhood. Or their lack of melanin? What is it? That’s about to change, fellas. What has really happened is that when you mess up, we take over. Nothing personal, but have you forgotten Mother Nature always bats last? Or has the last word? Or, hell hath no fury like a woman denied her paycheck, her right to vote, and control over her own body.
Sheesh. I wasn’t going to go into a political tirade. Maybe I need to let go and just be myself. Yes. That will work. Because there are plenty like me and we vote.
Spring is here, except in North Dakota. The hum of cheering crowds at baseball games become a vapid lullaby for our national sign-carrying distress.
The only respite to the backdrop of war anxiety and talk of chemical weapons is remembering the glow of hope that some super hero can deliver. Scanned scenes of babies brought to you by major news corporations vying for power overwhelms the senses. It’s all too much, it’s all too flipping efficient, like a self- driving car crashing into someone out for an evening stroll. Cut. Oh well. Move on to the next story.
So the past few weeks have whizzed by like a flash of lightning. Some of our dearest relatives came to visit so I put aside current projects for a moment. For whatever it’s worth, dear readers, if you are a diarist or note-taker, be proud. In the age of Instagram and sell-your-private-info-for megabucks social media, a hand written story or messy paragraph on a scratch pad might be a treasure someone will cherish after you are long gone. Heck, your notes might even have historical relevance or be romantic inspirations.
I have mementos that mean more to me than my car. Well, not quite, but almost. I have my grandfather’s treatment plans for his patients, my other grandfather’s post cards to my mother. I have poems I wrote as a five year old. Recipes found tucked inside a library discard book that may have been untouched for years.
physician treatment plan for arthritis circa 1922
That’s all I have right now. It’s a diversion from what I’d planned to share but that’s the life of journal-writer. It’s all beyond my control and as you know, moms and grandmas are often accused of being control freaks. 🙂
Next time I will get to the stories.
Journal prompt: Write whatever is on the top of your head or coming out your ears. Be as dry, sarcastic or as moody as you want.
It’s another heavy…
Hey Readers, I have to confess my thoughts and feelings have been numb since the Valentine’s Day tragedy in Florida. I’m angry right along with victims’ families who are opposed to assault weapons. The news floored me. A weird panic came over me when I realized that these gruesome events were starting to run together in my mind and I worried that I would forget them, as if I had a duty to to take care of it all, as if I had a responsibility to be of comfort for all the families. I do, we do. This is our world. I stopped writing anything substantial beyond my daily journal, didn’t draw much either. I wept. Taking walks helped the tension but I was still glued to the news. The same old watered down statements emanated from politicians and news anchors like a bad dream. In the wake of #metoo and #NotOneMore the finality of the event culminated in the devastating photograph of the 7000 pairs of shoes on the Capitol lawn.
March 8th was International Women’s Day and March is Women’s History Month here in the US. I decided to choose quotes by some women who are, or have been, trailblazers. I should have included some comedy but I’m not there yet. How many times can we wring our hands and say we’ve got to do better?
It’s timely that the movie Black Panther and A Wrinkle in Time have ignited theatres with women and girls in powerful leadership roles. Congratulations!
Below are some of the women among so many, who come to mind when I sat down to write today.
The first is Sybrina Fulton, who was thrust into leadership role on a national level because of gun violence. Her youngest son, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, was murdered in 2012 while walking home from a local store. He had not committed a crime. He had gone out to buy some candy. That’s it. He was a black youth wearing a hoodie at night.
His mother said in 2015 on CNN, “It seems our kids are getting younger and younger, they’re killing them younger and younger. There is no regard anymore for human life. There has to be somewhere where we draw the line and say, ‘Listen, our kids want to grow up, too.'”
Huge debates ignited over race, vigilante mentality and gun ownership. Women of color and their supporters were horrified, worried about their sons and daughters dying on the streets. We agreed that racism is still a pervasive disease in modern American life.
Ask a mother like Sybrina Fulton (and the mothers of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and others) and she will tell you the raw truth: “I think absolutely my son’s race and the color of his skin had a lot to do with why he was shot and killed, in all of these cases, these victims were unarmed. These victims were African-American. That needs to be our conversation.”
– Sybrina Fulton
Let’s not mince words. You can help by the cause buying their book.
Here are some other quotes to consider. Do you know who said the following?
“Do the best you can in every task, no matter how unimportant it may seem at the time. No one learns more about a problem than the person at the bottom.”
“The power I exert on the court depends on the power of my arguments, not on my gender.” – Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female Supreme Court judge.
Here’s another Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg who just celebrated a birthday.
“It is not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation.”
“Anybody who has been discriminated, who comes from a group that’s been discriminated against, knows what it’s like.”
Louise Nevelson, sculptor
“I only know this – that you can’t give advice to an artist. “
Susan B Anthony women’s rights activist:
“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less.
“I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
“I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand.”
This post wouldn’t be complete without the introduction Deb Haaland, the first Native American woman to run for Congress. Get out and vote!
“The first thing I am is a person. I am a woman. And I am part of a nation, the Indian nation. But people either relate to you as an Indian or as a woman. They relate to you as a category. A lot of people don’t realize that I am not that different from everyone else. “
“Tribes have the potential to provide almost 15 percent of the country’s electricity with wind power, and have 4.5 times the solar resources to power the entire U.S.”
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, namesake of the high school in Florida where the Valentine’s Day killings happened, was an eco-activist and is included in this link.
“You have to stand up for some things in this world.” She was a lover of the Everglades and a warrioress for ecological concerns. “You can’t conserve what you don’t have.”
I’m stricken by the irony of her words.
Octavia Spencer, actress:
“You cannot live to please everyone else. You have to edify, educate and fulfill your own dreams and destiny, and hope that whatever your art is that you’re putting out there, if it’s received, great, I respect you for receiving it. If it’s not received, great, I respect you for not.”
While we’re honoring women I want to say a prayer for Brazilian activist, Marielle Franco killed recently, most likely for her passionate work for human rights. One of her causes was advocating for brightly lit bus stops so that women could be safe at night.
I have to end my tribute with a shout out to on of my favorite artists, Marilyn Church. Check out The Art of Justice, an Eyewitness View of Thirty Infamous Trials. She writes, “sometimes a good drawing can tell more than a photograph-.” I want to draw that well.
There are countless women I admire from cultures that stimulate a desire to learn. Diversity has been my passion since childhood.
Coming up: A tribute to Kasturba Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s beloved wife. I’ll be doing an interview with her grandson, Arun. You can find my first interview with him here.
Journal prompt: 1) write about a woman who inspires you. Pick out a few adjectives to describe her. 2) If you are a woman, write a tribute to yourself. What are the accomplishments that make you most proud?
Discussion: how do you view the role of women in society? Are you traditional or do you relate to feminists? Do you think gender matters when it comes to leadership and power?
In fiction, anything goes because you make stuff up and nobody knows if you’re bending the truth-kind of like some major players in US politics. Sorry, couldn’t resist.
I decided to take the Nanowrimo challenge in November and produced well over 60, 000 words in a flurry of writing. I didn’t do the posting or participate in the website boards. Putting my work out there wasn’t my goal because I wanted to play my cards close to the vest; the writing itself was my prize. I am working on publishing it possibly as an ebook. Writing a novel was not something I planned to do and to my own surprise I really busted through the setbacks I’d been experiencing.
Here is what I learned in my writing my first novel:
I loosely based my novel on my memoir and found that I was able to explore and write about themes that had plagued me for years. Issues, conflicts, tension, and resolution were tackled much more easily in fiction because I wasn’t tethered to exact details. I was more pleased at the end of the day with my work than I had been for all these years slogging through my (unfinished) memoir. The fiction writing was an amazing antidote for memoir blockage! Smooth moves. 🙂
Because I wanted to have my memoir as factual as possible the need to be completely truthful slowed me down and then stopped me. I got bogged down in details and worrying about offending people. Perfectionism stinks sometimes. However, I’m back into the writing of my personal story again with less worry-sort of. Now I’m becoming a complete snob in order to finish both works.
Journal prompt: take a day or a few weeks/months and write a story from start to finish. It can be as short as a few pages. Maybe you’ll find that this assignment leads you to do more writing and to challenge yourself. Pick one theme or issue from your own life and incorporate it into your story. Write freely. Be as bold and daring or as dry and technical as you want. Don’t edit your rough draft.
Discussion: what did you discover? Did you enjoy writing a story? What issues did you uncover or discover anew? How did your body react (if at all) to writing fiction?
The braying coward in the room
reminds our dreaming hearts
following the Golden Rule —
to do unto others that which you would have done unto you
or at least to make the attempt
to look as if you’d paid attention
during that first decade of your own early existence
Yet apparently the memo
never appeared in the DNA
of such a barnacled baby branded by the horns of hell.
The indigenous grandfather, the shepherd, would say to his fold
the watchful courageous children
quiet now, young ones. Be still,
stop talking so much
keep your hands to yourself.
Don’t be a braggart
watch out for grandiosity and boasting;
the grandfather, the father, his hands ever-warm
tended to by his long-loving
steadfast, kind, capable of moving mountains
with her keen eyes…
a heart, a fortress
as mighty as the tides
as delicate and tenuous as a curled fern.
It is the space inside the
last page of the story
beyond needless words
that holds the children
eager for the sight of their kindred souls,
the scented earthy
from the foul-mouthed monster
born out of the fearful horns of hell.
A little over a month ago I was getting into the holiday spirit. On Wednesday, December 6th, I decided mid-morning to put up some lights in the lovely palo verde tree in the front yard. Without telling the hubs or asking him to spot me, I dragged the big extension ladder out to the front and set it up underneath the tree. In my poor preparation, I set the ladder up wrong, focusing instead on how gorgeous the solar lights would look wrapped around the tree limbs. My cursory push down onto the base rung of the ladder was totally inadequate. The ground was soft but I ignored it in my pre-holiday enthusiasm. I’d done the job dozens of times.
Back to the story. I climbed up about seven feet on the ladder and began reaching over to a limb on my left with my arms full of Christmas lights.
The rest is a complete blank.
I don’t remember anything at all after that. I don’t remember falling. I don’t remember my dear Jesse finding me on the ground, insisting that I needed to go to the ER. I don’t remember arguing with him that I needed to make sure I had on clean underwear (I was a child of the ‘50’s when mothers told their daughters to make sure their undergarments were clean in case they got hit by a bus). I don’t remember demanding that he call my regular doctor which didn’t make any sense except I wanted to be in charge. My loving partner is used to my being demanding at times, but it was bizarre that I can’t actually recall being so terribly bossy in my altered state. I don’t remember being covered with dust and debris or my husband using the WaterPik to clean the dirt out of my mouth and gently wiping the earth out of my nose. I don’t remember his insisting that I needed to go to the hospital, then helping me getting into our old SUV, then his driving me to the clinic.
It was only later that he told me he was worried that he would have to call 911 because of my odd belligerence.
I started to become aware of my surroundings as I sat in a wheelchair clutching my purse (another 50’s habit) when the staff at the first clinic we went to realized that I’d lost consciousness from the fall, and so we’d have to go on ahead to the ER.
I do remember people in an exam room asking me who was the president of the United States. I made a screwy face and answered correctly. My expression made them all laugh. They put one of those terrible collars around my neck in order to stabilize me, gave me some strong medication. I went into that dull state of being, now completely aware that I’d broken my shoulder. The collar was ill-fitting and stiff, I was warned not to pull on it. Later on, I was wheeled down the hall and admitted to the hospital for my fractured arm. In the hallway, one of the nurses told another to remove the restraining strap from my gurney. I guess I was in a place where people were often brought in with behavior problems, impairment or even trouble with the law. Egads.
I ended up being diagnosed with a multiple closed fractures in my left humerus. I had broken my left shoulder head in three parts and they were checking to make sure I didn’t have an internal bleed in my belly. According to the subsequent tests they did on me I had not suffered a concussion, stroke, or heart attack. There was no brain damage, only my bruises and wounded ego over such an expensive mistake.
Everyone in the medical field told me it could have been worse. My friends in the medical field all said the same thing. The dear hubby keeps telling me that. Could have been much worse. Now I am starting to believe them.
Long story short-the universe dumped me on my head that day. It was a total cosmic wake up call of paramount importance second only to one or two other life changing whacks I’ve experienced. The old zen parable of “attention!” comes to mind.
I’m recovering well and ready for physical therapy to start up. When all this happened I was working on my novel, a sideline journey using parts of my still unfinished memoir. I’d just started working with a new writing group, new friends I’m cherishing for their ability to withstand their own challenges while sharing stories together.
So on December 6th, I began my four -day journey in the hospital. And I began a new lesson in vulnerability in a way I’d never experienced before. My first nurse was a young good-looking man with four kids. I had to use a bed pan in front of a man I didn’t know. I had to be lifted by people I didn’t know. Apparently I was apologizing for the weight I needed to lose. I mean, talk about being vulnerable. I was worried about my breath smelling bad. What woman isn’t vain to some extent? Grateful for the female nurses who later were assigned to me, I love each and every one of them like sisters now.
I don’t like vulnerability. Yet at the same time, having no control and relying on others forces you into compassion. You become compliant or sweet or you become a jerk. I try to be the former. It is a state of being re-introduced to the goodness, kindness, and relying on the professionalism of others and is a strong reminder of all the qualified people out there in the world. God bless them. I miss the doctors, nurses and staff who tended to me and looked after me. They are all angels and I was honored to meet them. It was not exactly the way I wanted to meet new people, but hey. These things happen.
Vulnerability is described as “the quality of state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” Nobody needs to hear about how getting older or suffering from a disability makes us feel especially tender or vulnerable.
Just by following the national politics, most of “us” are reminded daily of a certain vulnerability because of the bully-buffoon in the White House. Those of us who find each other, regardless of whether or not we agree on politics, share our stories of life and death and everything in-between.
With my adorable husband helping me and with the support of friends and family, there is always a way to adjust to not having use of one’s full potential. There are times when I want to feel sorry for myself, but I won’t let it come in full force.
I will share more of my broken shoulder story later on.
Writing prompt: write about feeling vulnerable. When in your life have you felt, or do you feel, the most vulnerable? What images come to your mind? Use descriptions. What helped you get through those times? If you are going through them now, what tools are you using? How does journaling writing, or creativity help?
portrait of the writer after 30,000 words on working novel