Posted in poetry, stream of consciousness writing

Essence Art




embrace change

devour listening

look brother

know thyself

with rhythm angel





the doodle of a forgotten page


a fool or a sage

words reflect who you are.



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 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 the muse, Writing for healing

Eagle Words



young eagle



shopping list





torn sinews


stopping time

strong head

champion talons






Journal prompt: try writing words as they come into your mind or into your vision. Don’t attempt to make sense out of them, just jot them down. Afterwards try writing a poem or a short story using some of your words. Keep it simple.

Discussion: a young eagle showed up the other day and landed in the tree in the back yard. Jesse motioned for me to come and look. We watched the young eagle for almost an hour. He gave us a wondrous unplanned show that we will remember for the rest of our lives.



Posted in memoir

Easter Musings

The road stretches out into flat desert expanses

where new life bursts in tips of greens, light hues of lime, emerald, and kelly,

tiny worlds of botanic survival

blasted by asphalt in the middle, a strip of man-made dominance

once traveled only by hardened feet, wagons, horses and mules.


I can almost hear the whispers and whinnies of history,

padded footsteps of Mohave.


automobiles, trucks, and semis hurl down the road

busting through the mysterious air where whirlwind chaser and solitude reign.


We roll forward for hours and hours, almost all day.

People drive in pods, in packs,

a slow one in the left lane,

makes me clench my jaw tighter,

please let me through.

I don’t want to be in a pack when I drive.


I glance at each driver  wondering where they are going,

what have they lived? What is their story?

White haired couples with out-of-state plates look like they have been on the road for years,

their children, grandchildren and relatives all moved away,

and they don’t want to sit at home

wondering who the new great grandchild  resembles.


I could hardly rouse myself from an early morning dream of people everywhere, people all over the place, walking, sleeping.

Then I  am in an elevator going up towards the sky.

I am looking into

the eyes of the children as we ascend.

The earth is far below us.


The city is packed with traffic, a little family is out walking.

Salty truck stops,neighborhoods, ghost towns, sprawling suburbs…so many people.

What are their hopes and dreams?


A bride clutches her dress and walks through the hotel lobby,

and  a moment later

we got lost, my man and I

in a heated conversation, only from exhaustion filtering out from our pores.

I just need to see their faces once again and smell the softness of families.

We come down off the mountain

and out of the desert

to civilization.

My God, the traffic!


Posted in memoir


In the Monday of washing day
the lilting sound of your eyes
glances inside my soul.
You’ve departed
and it’s been years now.
I don’t cling to the memory,
landing instead like
a bird on a twig
in springtime.


On the anniversary of my mother’s passing in 2002

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 earth friendly, inspirational, poetry

Top of the World

top of the world

Dear Readers, I’m still dealing with some interesting challenges with technology and the internet. Who isn’t?

I am probably going to retire this blog soon. I have changed the title for now- just so that it’s not confused with another blog that showed up recently ” Journaling With Sue”-with an exclamation point. Confusing, nevertheless, I’m not going to quit writing.

 I will be putting up a notice with my newsletter address and new blog address in a few months. For now, I will do some weekly posts until the change happens by the first of 2015. And-since change is the only thing we can count on in life, here we go. It is the fate of every woman…and man…but you ladies know what I’m talking about…hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings and the whole chalupa! After that big old masterpiece, then it’s all  about weight-bearing exercises and bone density. Lots of fun. I’m remaining polite about men-o-pause (pause from men) and do not want to hear from anyone who “sailed right through it.” My response is, great… **Q*@*&Q#^*** and back to you.

Here is this week’s poem.


There’s a place

at the top of world

where all is peaceful,

where rushes rustle together

and blackbirds command the marsh.

I watched the seasons clearly

with every turning, a young mother, strong and steady.

We were  caretaking  the neighbor’s horse

so we raced together, your little arms

clinging to my back

as we galloped without a saddle up Boogie Woogie Way,

giggling like crazy from the bumping and holding on,

madrone leaves crunching underneath Smokey’s hooves

on Christmas day.

You have all grown up

but said you had returned this autumn

to take care of serious business,

to clean up after him.

Your father did the best he could.

Problems-that’s all it was-problems.

The good people

and nature spirits


at  the top of world;

the celebration is a magnificent show.

The admittance charge is only the gift of gazing

and a thank you

for your bravery and kindness.



card from willow and chey

Journal prompt: Write about a relationship situation without actually talking about it. Use prose or poetry. Does it help to hint at the situation? Or would you rather get the real issue right out in the open?

copyright ©  2014 by Susan E. Rowland