Posted in forgiveness, friends, memoir, self improvement, stream of consciousness writing, writers, Writing for healing

What People Say: Dealing with Word Wounds and How to Heal


Oh the things people say: “You’re good with the customers but you’re not management material.”

Why do some people react to hurtful comments while others seem to have a thicker skin? The only reason for approaching the topic in writing is that I used to be one of those sensitive types. I learned through needless suffering to deflect the jabs by setting boundaries and kicking out the insult-bearing squatters from my head. Writing a memoir or life story does bring up some of those nasty memories.

The opening scene in the rough draft of my memoir is a one-line zinger that somebody slapped on me at a family function. I got zapped. Verbally tasered. I fired back with what I thought was a classy response. The offender and I never talked about it.

Put-downs, maligning and one-upping happens to everybody. What years of being a parent, grandparent, wife, sister, and friend has taught me is that others have similar experiences. Everyone is sensitive in varying degrees, and that being a “sensitive” is actually a skill. When I earned my degree in psychology and participated in years of workshops, what I learned is that if I don’t get a handle on reacting to people who bully, I risk becoming bitter and resentful.

Writing is a good way to deal with the hurts and move on from the jabs and insults.

While I wrote jokingly in one of my blogs about men being Neanderthals, it is women, it seems, who have a special talent for murderous competition designed to make another woman want to quit. For those of you who have been the recipient of digs and jabs, please take heart and learn to fight back or move on. You’re worth it. I know, because I’ve been there. Sometimes we’re the ones who do the zapping. Everybody I know, male, female, gay, trans…whomever…has stories about the war of words.

Here are a few one-liners I’ve experienced in my life. Some are light-hearted. Some were turning points/wounds that required spiritual counseling and even regular counseling so I could heal. They might not make sense or seem that intense, but as each writer knows, words shape our stories.


What happened to you? Did you get sunburned through a screen?

“There’s a man down in those trees. He’s going to come and get you.”

Don’t worry, they’ll grow.

What are you doing here, jackass?

Why don’t you want to play doctor with me? Don’t be scared.


Who made the coffee this morning? It’s too weak.

Who made these rubber band eggs?

Who scheduled this appointment?

What about your age?

Is this the new help? (that would be me)

 Relationships/Life situations

 You’re really filling up those pants.

You act like you’re single.

You don’t care about me.

You don’t love me.

When did YOU ever grow up?

You have private property hang-ups.

You think you’re so smart. That job just landed in your lap.

You have a repressed mouth.

Why don’t you go back to Europe where you came from?

You don’t understand simple things. You have ownership issues.

Don’t do this because you’re humiliated.

We’re going to teach you a lesson.

Well I hope you learned your lesson.

You’re a two-faced elitist.

You need help.

That’s why Susan is so screwed up.

You can’t even put a lid on a jar right. What’s wrong with you?

 (Thank you Jesus, I never broke anyone’s face. I would come home from working all day and have to make dinner while my kid’s father had been home. Then he would get on my case after I’d make a cup of tea for myself to get through the meal-making).

I’ve had guests come to my house, eat the meals I prepared for them, enjoy the bedroom I fixed up for them only to have someone say, “You make me tired. Can’t you just relax?”


Yes of course there are more one-liners to add to the repertoire. But I’ve done my ceremonies. Writers  & journal keepers can use the words/scenarios to add to novels, memoirs, and interweave them into their characters’ lives. Don’t forget the positives!



Journal prompt: Do you remember things that people have said to you that hurt? Do comments people have made stay with you for life? Write them down. Later go back and write a brief explanations after each comment. This is for you only for right now.

If you decide you want to elaborate, go back and write the emotion or feelings that you experienced after the words were spoken.

Discussion: Experts have found that the act of writing affirmations and positive summaries has a powerful affect on our health. Do the exercise again and use nice things that people have said to you. Notice if there is a difference in the way you feel. Compliment yourself in your journal often.

Also, one way to deal with hurtful words is to take the list and have a releasing ceremony. Put the written words in a fire and burn them. Say “I now release all this hurt forever.” Another way is to make a paper boat and write some of the terms or words that have wounded you and put it in a moving body of water. (please be eco-conscious).

Put your list through a shredder.

You can do a freezing ceremony to get rid of your words-spoken list. Put the list of wounds in a bag and freeze it. Later on when you are ready, in a couple hours, days, months, dump your list in the garbage or compost pile if you have a garden. Another way is to paint on biodegradable materials and bury the issues in the earth. Or make art. Do a collage or sand tray exercise and work with those hurts. But at the end, it’s imperative to be positive. Make up your own ways to put the issues out of your psyche and your world.

Happy writing, everybody. Cheers!

cherub with my name



Posted in death and dying, friends



It was fun when you were alive

and we would laugh together

about men being Neanderthals.

You should see what is going on now.

Well, of course you see it from your view

on the other side.

You do send signals- when light flickers off a hummingbird’s buzzing green wings

just as I lift my head to glance out the window.

And on my recent solitary sojourn to a place

you would surely have adored,

did you feel the intense vastness of mystic water underneath the orange heat?

I did see your reflection in the dolphin’s soft splash amidst a deepening evening at the canal

and with a quickening, a pang, I thought about uncertainty, the irony of

our private language.

And I only wept once at the thought that both of you had gone

home to the angels.

Even the dogs died that year. I was out of my mind over the cold abruptness of it all.

I winced at what most certainly was the dark secret you hinted at,

but I was too much of a cave girl to understand.


Journal prompt: write about losing a friend or relative to death. How do you, as a journal keeper, deal with death and dying? What images come to mind when you think of your loved ones who have crossed over.

This poem is in honor of my BFF (and her husband) who died in 1998.






Posted in friends, inspirational, poetry, Writing for healing

You Left Me

Dear readers, I’m so sorry to be MIA but it’s been nuts lately. I haven’t forgotten you.

We have lost some dear friends and family members recently. Once again  I’m writing about grief. I haven’t been able to bring myself to compose something about Navajo angel Ashlynn Mike. Her little life must be honored and remembered. Words fail me completely with her death. The only thing I can think of is that our adopted mom, Bettye, crossed over in time to take Ashlynn’s hand and to comfort her on the other side. Yes, I believe in such things.



You Left Me

I thought we had one more visit
and until then
a phone call would suffice.
It was not to be
because you up and died
you rascal, you!
You left me.

This blast of grief is different
and catches me like a trumpet–
Gabriel’s trumpet,
fierce and full in my ear at sundown
and first thing in the morning,
doubling me down at noon.
You left me.

Why did I mistake the brilliant
orange tanager who landed in the mesquite,
a sign a symbol I should have cherished
by action and not writing some silly line
in my journal,
brief, non-committed.
You left me.

I thought I had one more visit
and you sent the warning through a bird
they always do that, you know…
there’s a warning, a message.
but I thought there was time, dammit.
It’s over.
You left me.

at bettye's summer 2007 004

With my dear friend and adopted Mom, Bettye B. RIP


copyright © 2016 by Susan E. Rowland


Posted in celebrations, friends

Way to go!

What an historic day! So WP grammar rules is telling me it is “a historic.”

Fly the rainbow flag. The Supreme Court made the correct decision by passing marriage equality.

Now let’s keep going and do more to protect the environment. Make solar power available to all home-owners and renters. Put the American people, especially veterans, back to work by installing solar power. The  Southwest as well as California, Texas, and Florida should be solar-powered. Why are we continuing to dumb ourselves down in this country? We would be wise to follow the lead of other countries such as France and Germany who have switched to renewable resources.

Other countries in the world have banned GMO foods. Educate yourself if you don’t know about these issues. GMO foods make people sick. It is being banned, people! Wise up.

There is enough wealth for everyone in the world. It is the thinking of greed and lack that perpetuates evil. Fear-based thinking promotes inequality and violence. The children on our beautiful planet were not meant to suffer. Nobody should suffer or be exposed to toxic chemicals.

Listen to the words the president spoke today. He reminds us not to fall into patterns of contempt and sarcasm. He spoke from the heart, and he sang from authenticity. Our hearts have been heavy with sadness, now the angels sing and we rejoice. I love the  HateWon’tWin  campaign where young people tell us all to go out do something nice for others.

The children and grandchildren of the world will lead with their innocence and purity.

Why did I ever doubt love? I was downhearted this week thinking that things couldn’t get any worse-not for myself-but for generations to come.

                                                                                                      pretty flowers for blog

My personal campaign is to release contempt – right now. This is my pledge. I admit it is one of my worst faults. Releasing contempt and sarcasm doesn’t mean anyone becomes a doormat. Far from it.

I’m going to need a support group when the Daily Show goes off the air, but hey, I understand. Maybe they will have re-runs.

This week my doubt and sadness was at a peak. I prayed and received a heartfelt answer today by watching and listening to the service in Charleston.

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. The silent power of the sunset broadcasts the light of hope.


Posted in friends, Gratitude, Uncategorized

Hierarchy Part 2


the stairs in japan


The husband looks up from his newspaper and says
“maybe those old friendships just weren’t that strong to begin with.”

Sundays are always the hardest afternoons. Memories of family dinners, picnics and phone conversations with loved ones. The ones who wanted to look for benefits,  opportunities, for fresh gossip, new customers and clients-it’s always agenda first-what did you expect? Remember how it all started?

I told you from beginning I don’t chase after people. I chase after mountains and canopied sequoia in my heart center. The children called and that’s what matters. Somebody called with a  voice,  real voices. Not an email, a text or a form letter once a year at Christmas.

I thumb through my old fashioned hand written address book and have to sigh over the names of those who crossed over or who moved on. It’s held together with duct tape. Time for a separation ceremony.

Look alive, my soul! You already  know the score. There is none. All is contained within the Tao.


Really,  take another look says the voice of the Higher Self.

Sometimes I climb those stairs by myself
as if in some foreign place,
yet, the place is not strange at all.

I have been alone before.

Other lifetimes
different clothing.
Shed the outworn threadbare with a prayer
wrapping up
in a shawl for my shoulders.

I climb the stairs by myself.

I must try.

Posted in celebrations, faces, inspirational

Poor neglected bloggie

Oh I have just been so mean lately to not come and attend to my  bloggie!

Working on a rough first draft of the book has been taking up so much time,

as well as working on the website. Life has been good though.

Some sprites and spirits do come ’round and that’s always such a joy.

1920s flapper copya face

a story                                                and then

a loveUntitled-1 copy

but not like the people in the village quite expected

a spirit

and a human

could dance with such abandon and precision

there is no English word for it.


Posted in friends, inspirational, journaling, poetry, Writing for healing

A Wayward Leaf

cherub with my name


Prompt: fog

Form: elegy

Device: metaphor

WordPress Writing 201 Day Five



A Wayward Leaf


You appeared as a wayward leaf

Outside my window whispering “time is a thief.”

How you disappeared so quickly, my friend,

You died during heavy rains of confusion, a Piscean end.


Yet in the misty, watery, bayside moorings,

I knew you had suffered and cried in the mornings.

We knew all you ever wanted was a family of sweet kindreds,

Yet the anxiety bottled up blasting inside your head.


I wept at the injustice day after day,

Thinking about the wolves that  kept you at bay.

They came up with all kinds of psychological labels,

It was much too late; you  longed for a happy-ending  fable.


The lightest, most delightful red ruby hummingbird

Caused gaiety and laughter, uttering not a word.

How could it be that you had to so quickly depart?

And leave us to wonder if you ever knew your own heart.


Came a glowing cherub, the  angel of deafening fate,

A thrift store treasure found during my melancholy 1998.

Little friend, I often wonder if a fairy tale had been written,

Could it have saved your life, instead of you being bitten?


When, at summer’s finest end, the leaves do fall,

I stop to pick them and ponder it all.

The things that delighted our senses were many,

Like googley-eyed frogs, blooming roses and the shiniest penny.


If you are reading this, over my aging rounded shoulder,

Kiss now your loved ones, savor each pebble and boulder.

Give me a sign please, just one in the evening

And let me know again that you knew you were leaving.





Copyright ©2015 by Susan E. Rowland


Journal prompt: write a no-holding back elegy (see above) or page about a death or a love. This poem is one of a series that is emerging on my friend and co-worker Jocelyn who died in 1998 from an aneurysm. She was only 38 at the time. She loved nature and collecting pretty leaves, and anything with googley eyes. She was born in Nashua, New Hampshire and passed away in San Francisco, California. We both lived in a small rural town about two and a half hours north of the Bay Area. Her husband Pete, died six months before her after a long illness.

When I think of my friends who have crossed over I can smile again. I look at death differently. They want us to carry on and to be happy.

I am not posting a photo of her here, rather I’m posting a picture of the things she loved.

Posted in friends, journal prompts

Jocelyn’s November Rose

Jocelyn's Rose   Well phooey on this Word program! I think my friend is playing tricks from the other side. The above rose is an inked stamp on paper from the collection of stationery that my friend Jocelyn, and her husband Pete, made for us one year.  Pete developed lung cancer and died in June of ’98 at age 52.  Jocelyn had an aneurysm and passed away at 38, only six months after her husband. It shocked me badly, but you somehow move forward any way you can when things happen.

Below is a free write.

November 11th -13th can bring me up short with surges of emotion catching me off guard. When I think of how she passed away suddenly, I become quiet, slow and pensive, wondering what is beyond this life. She’s swimming with the dolphins in heaven-she is! And Pete is fighting fires and saving lives on the other side. I remembered the day when I looked up Joce’s natal chart calling her on the phone with, “I’m so sorry!” What, what? Tell me! I could feel her reaching for a smoke. “You’re a triple Pisces! Sun, moon, and rising.”No wonder the world can seem like such a crazy place. She laughed, and went outside to put more sugar water in the hummingbird feeder, and bent to water the roses.

Her knack for upgrading the funky business we both worked for, was uncanny…great organizational skills. But the owners were reluctant to get modern until years later when some young guys came in and pushed the topic. You were about the details if somebody made a mistake.  How that mind would work overtime.

And we would warn each other:  “just put the catalog away…”  to keep from over-spending. If we were late for work and she was fussing about how she looked, it was “put the make up away and step back from the mirror.”

How we loved filling orders at work. You in the office, I in shipping. When happy, all were smiling When you suffered the clouds became a gray deluge of sorrow. And the one time I convinced you after years literally of cajoling and urging and pleading… please go with me to the high school pool for open swim, please…you don’t need a bathing suit, it isn’t that bad,girlfriend, no need to be so self-conscious, we’ll have fun! She complied one afternoon-it was a Saturday. You pulled on some  cut off jean shorts and a tank top with a t-shirt over it. I know you didn’t like people looking at your body. Brave woman you jumped into that pool and did one dive off the board, only to have the sky darkened into a deep Payne’s gray, a lightning storm came along with wind and dangerous electrical currents. All were ordered out of the pool. Just wait until I can write it all into a cohesive story.  Burt Sue Jocelyn at Bountiful Gardens Burt, Me, and Jocelyn (1960-1998) co-workers at the seed company.

  Journal prompt: Write about the approaching holidays. What memories do you have? Have you ever lost a good friend to death? Explore the emotions, don’t hold back. Remember, in journaling there is no right or wrong.   Copyright © 2014 by Susan E Rowland        

Posted in friends, poetry, Writing for healing

Something Like 106

 beautiful building plus clouds boulders my name

It’s something like 106 and the sweltering mirage seeps into my vision

as I pause for a long moment under the mesquite

dreaming about a river or the ocean.

Days such as these are meant to be poems or paintings,

scenes in a film.

You lose yourself in the sky.

Childhood memories creep into moods,

the glances of two friends,

little ones again…

in a black and white photograph,


Before the sarcasm of background noises

rearranges our senses,

the little ones play so  long and hard

they pretend not to hear the call to come in.


Journal prompt: Write about childhood memories. Pick one or two feelings that have filtered into your adult life.

Discussion: I chose to write about innocence, a time before self-consciousness when we enter the journey of judgment, competition, shame, and triumph…and now, total distraction.  I can remember the heat of the summer and endless long hours of play where we would fall out from exhaustion. As adults many of us have to remind ourselves to take the time to enjoy life.


Copyright © 2014 by Susan E Rowland






Posted in blog challenge, friends, stream of consciousness writing, the muse, writers, Writing for healing

Writing Spaces- Aliens and Cute Things

Where do you produce your best writing — at your desk, on your phone, at a noisy café? Tell us how the environment affects your creativity.

desk for blog copy summer and moss


I’m getting feisty now- July is almost here and I like independence.

The muse comes to greet me in my sleep, while driving, when I’m walking, working, cleaning and daydreaming…after intimacy…oh baby…and just about anywhere, which is the reason for the ever-present notebook. Oh yeah, and during massages and acupuncture I get great ideas. Now that’s awkward.

I crave solitude. My favorite place to write is my sanctuary, my little office with its worn desks. One is held together with a heavy woodworking clamp. This corner fits me. My life fits me in this space.  Nothing about it is glamorous. I keep cutsie items that have meaning to me but removed them for this photo, because it’s personal. I’ll tell the story when I’m ready. Maybe.

Ideas do not judge me at my desk. He, she, it…sheeit…the muses don’t care about literacy. I didn’t study mythology, never truly got into the childhood classics like Alice in Wonderland or even The Wizard of Oz. I  haven’t read or watched Harry Potter because my kids were already grown up when it came out and my grandbaby wasn’t old enough to read. I don’t watch the latest movies for about a year. Even then, I don’t like the usual ones everyone raves about. I’m overly critical. Now you know. I struggled to get through high school.

 I have tales other people might scoff at, but… now the word is out. We’re not the only ones here. Maybe science fiction is more real than Asimov or Clarke or Bradbury ever imagined.

Back to my sanctuary, I’m relaxed in my corner. My paintings are close, photos of my loved ones and affirmations, nearby. Trinkets my  BFF cherished keep me company.  I’m peaceful, frantic, wild, sad, discouraged, saintly, sexy, irreverent, and filled with enthusiasm; my workplace is life itself. My book collection – within reach. A masterpiece lurks

God, let me mean something helpful or uplifting to someone-anyone. Maybe, just maybe,  there will be an inspired connection. I feel like I don’t belong in this era. Emily Dickenson, Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, I got you. I dry your tears, hold your hand.  Wordsworth, did you ever laugh about your name? Blake, Keats, Shelley-sometimes I wonder if I should even try. Robert Service, you make me happy. Dostoevsky, I would steal a loaf of bread for Ivan. Mr. Frederick Douglass, sir, I applaud your tenacity and formality. Booker T. Washington, I can feel the hair shirt.  Vonnegut, did you ever worry about the bags underneath your eyes? I have the beginnings of them too, and am terribly concerned over it. I feel silly buying the cucumbers. Cucumbers for vanity.  But Kurt, seriously, if I could borrow an ounce of your talent, I’d not be embarrassed.

Maya Angelou-there must be one helluva party goin’ on in heaven.

As the blog challenge winds down, I have to focus on the next assignment for the last day. I haven’t done any art. I miss it.

Hey loved meeting all the new people. There are only something like 152 million bloggers out there-so might as well let it rip.

Until next time,

Hugs n more hugs!