Posted in inspirational, memoir, stream of consciousness writing

Surroundings

 

 

 

On walls

through windows

within the molecules of mental constructs

my vocabulary is

delicious, tormented, peaceful, moody, changing and constant,

dreadful

boring

predictable.

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;

she

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

really, truly

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.

 

Posted in current events, satire, stream of consciousness writing

Dribbles and Momentos

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in stream of consciousness writing, Writing for healing

The Horns of Hell

The braying coward in the room
reminds our dreaming hearts
to continue
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
when
blackboards
and chalk
and rulers
ruled.
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
his flock
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

tawny wife
steadfast, kind, capable of moving mountains
with her keen eyes…
a heart, a fortress
as mighty as the tides

and
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

sheltering arms
protecting them
from the foul-mouthed monster
born out of the fearful horns of hell.

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.

Childhood:

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.

Jobs-co-workers

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?”

Boundaries!

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 poetry, stream of consciousness writing

Essence Art

 

 

embrace-change

embrace change

devour listening

look brother

know thyself

with rhythm angel

 

 

 

man-face-1

the doodle of a forgotten page

characterizes

a fool or a sage

words reflect who you are.

 

struggling-to-fly

in the clear night sky

I feel as if I’m struggling to fly

in the dream I see the produce truck

laid out with radiant foods, fresh

neatly boxed

ready for market.

Posted in inspirational, music, profiles, stream of consciousness writing

Poem for Nina Simone

SUEZmystic NINA

 

 

She
who played
the black and white keys,
the piano, the only friend of a lonely, dreamy, fervent
child from across the tracks.
She
grew prophetic, classical,
prolific,
little, lilted and black
yet she couldn’t strike back,
a husband who pretended to love her
with a mean hitting hand,
she

sought to ease her sorrow
looking with improvisation
for tomorrow.
Turbulence shackled her shoulders, her soul
and at corners she circled not knowing
which way to go,
raging, performing, shining on and on,
stage to stage,

stairs up and down,
the days of lights, laughter, and neighbors
and inky-deep indigo nights,

she

played and traveled and looked for a home.
We bid you only comfort, dearest,
darling with your righteous fingers
impressive
heart,
she

did what she could.
Sail on, ebony goddess, you are
forever bound in our endearments, twinkling
you settle, settle,
settled down
among the clouds of the comforting place
resting,
where you are
free, free, free.
Free to just be.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Susan E. Rowland

Posted in social commentary, stream of consciousness writing, Writing for healing

Flint’s Watery Disaster

Here’s a link to how you can  help the residents of Flint.

 

IMG_20140908_213935_180

 

Oh if walls could talk, leaden paint chips
and
toxic oxidation

left to crack

and seep into

emblazoned genetic mutations,
chewing up neurons, ganglia,
and transmitters
making crazy, jagged children
whose mothers and fathers
must plead
for an answer.
Just wait. We have to prove you are being poisoned with further talk

and testing,

by crowding the icy air with our jargoned policy.
Just wait
a little longer,
we have a golf game to play

and a red carpet to stroll.
The suits sit
in boardrooms
in muffled sarcasm,

the ghosts of the land baron’s

scented bath water

reeks of parsimonious waste.
You go drink the water, sir.
You sit in the bathtub, sir.
You, who knew
in 2004
that the empire
is stained with lies and monster’s breath.
Your sleep may be haunted
by the eyes of the innocent.
There is no place to hide,
and if walls could talk,
the leaden paint chips and droppings
drifting in the water
will drip
into
the cellular structure
of apathy’s mistress.

 

Copyright © 2016 by Susan E. Rowland

Journal prompt: What do you think of  the water contamination in Flint, Michigan? Have you ever been exposed to toxic chemicals? Do you have any stories about environmental disasters? What are your thoughts? Write a letter or a short science fiction story to future generations describing what is going on with chemical contamination today.

 

 

 

 

Posted in self improvement, social commentary, stream of consciousness writing, Writing for healing

The Help and My Story-Musings on the Coming New Year

Some new year musings. It’s long one.

I enjoy the approach of the new year but I don’t make resolutions. Instead I focus on “wannas,” not to be mistaken for “wannabe.” I don’t wannabe anyone other than myself. My take on most of what others’ opinions might be, at least right now in my life, is-who cares? I know who I am, I know what I do and what I don’t do.

And of course I care, but at a certain age alignment with universal values becomes more important than what the neighbors think of your lawn or lack of it. And I’m sure when it comes to trying to sell my own work I’ll have to tone it down…somewhat. When in Rome….

What brought all this about?

It is the topic of self-respect and the quest for becoming a better person…and my personal goal until I take my last breath. Jesse and I haven’t watched the popular movies about “The Help” and all that. I am the “Help” and have always been the “Help” even though I come from a background where we were more than comfortable. When I was working in a bookstore some dude came in, took a look at me and said “Is this the new help?” I kid you not. One of my former bosses used to introduce me as “This is Sue, she works for me.” Yes. I did. And that is how you are supposed to act when you work for them. You play the role, you know the role, and you sure as heck learn a lot about people.  I’ve never been the doctor, lawyer,  or chief group; I’ve always been in the support system category. Sometimes I get a little twinge of something, maybe it is envy, but in my heart of hearts I don’t envy anyone. I worked for 30 plus years for low wages-not that it means anything. Maybe I wasn’t smart enough to land higher paying jobs. I’ll reveal more in my book.  I did what I could, when I could. I found a niche and I stayed. What anyone else does is up to them. I would advise young folks to go for the highest paying career you can get, without going into debt. And travel the world. How else can we learn about others? You are no less or no more than another person on this earth. Ever. Nobody is “above” you. They might have a more prestigious title, have more money, more influence, more power, better looks…but they are not above you. They go out just as they came in, same as you.

I guess you would say I’ve always been a free spirit with a strong alliance for justice. Now let’s move on.

My point is I don’t need to go live in a Zen Center to find myself and to pare back on luxuries to create an atmosphere of humility or humbleness. I did that for many years, while washing CLOTH diapers in a ‘shit bucket” with gloves on, the old way. We didn’t have plastic diapers.The shit bucket was always used for diapers, nothing else. People don’t know how to clean nowadays. People don’t deal with shit. Mothers and fathers just clean their babies (hopefully) then they roll it up and throw it in the garbage so that it all ends up in a crap-laden land fill.

Back to my tough lifestyle story–so, once the diapers were rinsed, I water poured the gray water onto a separate compost pile that was carefully kept away from the regular garden compost. You had to heap topsoil or dirt onto the pile the cover it with hay and a bit of lime,  for decomposition. You leave that alone for at least six months. Enticing isn’t it?

Then I would transfer the damp rinsed diapers in a plastic bag. When we would go to town once a week, I would throw them in the regular washing machine ( luxury!) at the laundromat.

I did that with two children because we lived way out in the country, back up in the mountains where we didn’t have electricity and indoor plumbing. I hauled water and chopped wood. I worked at the log jams and did stream clearance, the women working right along with the men. I cut firewood with a chain saw to earn extra money. I was strong, never worried about “weight.” We didn’t have luxuries and I never really missed them at the time. What I missed was having a life without arguing, without verbal abuse, without condemnation. If you are in an abusive relationship, get out. As quickly as you can, just get out.

I got out and later on I met a good man.

I just remember a few paragraphs in Louis Armstrong’s autobiography. I think he was talking about this grandmother who took in washing for a living. In fact, most of her customers were ladies of the night. He shared her sunny outlook on life and the fact that she NEVER envied anyone, nor did she disparage her lot in life. She was the ultimate “Pollyanna” before the genre of positive thinking ever got started.
Norman Vincent Peale was one of the first known Anglo positive thinkers. But you KNOW Anglo people did not originate all this oozy gooey feel good stuff. Not to say everything boils down to race, but lack of awareness is truly a great “sin.” It is white privilege not to be aware, now, it is a class privilege not to be aware. Most people are hard-working and optimistic, but they are fed up. And it is not about political correctness. PC matters, Black Lives Matter, Native American lives matter, and protocol matters. Respect matters.  That is why I am voting Bernie Sanders. Until Clinton addresses GMO foods (think cancer and tumors) fracking (think pollution, toxic drinking water, and skin ulcers), and class disparity, I am not supporting her. I wanted to believe that a woman could be in the White House. But something just isn’t right at this point.

It’s going to be depressing not having Obama in the White House. I don’t know about you, but Jesse and I cried when we was elected both times. We sat on the couch in the living room….and nobody called. Finally I called my soul sister, Velma Sue, because she always understands me. Jesse and I were shocked. WHERE were all our friends? NOBODY called.  We wept for the historical breakthrough, for the victory, for the battle and all the lives that had been lost, and are being lost by injustice. But, I’m getting off track.

As we know mainstream American culture and ideology has its ROOTS from ‘other’ ethnicities and populations-originating with Native American, African, Caribbean Islanders, Asian, Alaskan, Hawaiian, Hispanic, European, Portuguese and so on. We might have a tough time melting in the melting pot of the US, but we are certainly all going to melt if we don’t change our dependence on fossil fuels, and our insistence on fouling, destroying, and decimating our lovely home-the Earth.

Here are two things I’ve been mulling over for the New Year:

1) I wanna change some things & of course I want to change myself. Since Christmas I did a bunch of leg lifts and counter push ups. Here’s how you do Sue’s push ups. Stand at any counter in the house, straighten your arms, lean in, bending elbows and then push back. IE, It is a standing push up. Do at least 10 pushes. I am on a mission to love my body more. Am out for a walk daily and I’m doing more minutes on the treadmill. One day at a time, as the saying goes.

2) I wanna use LESS plastic. Even when we are conscious about healthy eating we still end up bringing in plastic to the house. I still use bubble wrap in my book business because it is light and doesn’t make the shipping weight increase. Somehow, slowly I am going to decrease the use of plastic in my life. Cheers!

Journal prompt: did you make any New Year’s resolutions? What do you want to do this year? Or do you feel resolutions are a bunch of hooey?

 

Posted in journaling, stream of consciousness writing

For My Nieces

yesterday in solitude

two rabbits approached to play

where we put out bird seed.

just like a puppy, the bunny rolled around in an earthen indentation

while the doves fed and quail strutted.

roadrunner came by for a frantic visit

going this way and that.

I have so many wild pets and birds

that when thunder came by this afternoon

I was not lonely.

Never wanting for anything

the scent of desert waters

reminds me of childhood

when watching storms was the greatest pleasure,

yet when I hear your story

I wish there was something I could say

to ease your young mind.

The only thing I can think of

is what Mama would say to me

when lightning and tears

felt like they would surely suffocate my spirit:

“Keep that chin up, honey,”

You are stronger than you know.”