Category Archives: WORDSMITHING

Don’t forget the tulips

Every weekday morning I sit at the table in my dining alcove. This morning the bouquet of tulips and freesias from last Friday are spreading their petals wide, in an unabashed embracing of the sun. Today it filters through a gossamer thin layer of clouds. A seagull flits through the screen of the living room’s picture windows – I am here to bear witness. Crows that I feed almonds to click and caw from neighbouring trees. For an instance, I am shrouded in a blanket of silence so complete, it is as though a giant hand has turned the outside world’s volume knob to zero. The only sound I hear is of air propelled through the blades of a fan I sit downwind from; it stays like this for seconds. I am about to settle into this brilliant white absence, but the groan of a truck, its gears grinding, edges in and rolls to stop when the light changes; the engine idles. A crosswalk bot beeps at regular intervals to assure pedestrians of a safe crossing.

I’ve fretted for months on the placement of things; in their accumulation I have deemed them as necessary for my survival as the air I breath, but I have yet to find a place for many of them, patient boxes of furniture lean against walls while they wait for assembly, photos and music CDs stacked high in corners, sheaves of paper in bankers boxes waiting for my consideration on whether to be kept or shredded. Some things are stowed, though, have found their rightful place, for now. As unsettled as I still feel, I remember that I have slept here for almost half a year, have seen the light shift from fall to winter to spring through panoramic windows, seen it dance across the surface of a river that flows a short distance away, where generations of logs were herded to lumber mills downriver over decades, long before my arrival. I have seen the trees renew themselves, shed their leaves and start over, abandon themselves with an unshakable faith to whatever outcome the passage of time may bring.

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Walking, remembering, the footsteps of those that came before us

One of the cats, Leia, awoke me at the crack of dawn this morning. She didn’t know that today should be treated as a weekend day, and was up at the same time as usual, protesting about her food bowl not being filled with enough food, quickly enough. I shushed her and tried to get back to sleep, but to no avail.

I was up a little after 7, shuffled out to the kitchen to make some coffee and toast some slices of bread, rub them with garlic and smear them with a bit of butter. I sat in on a teleconference call with Jill Badonsky at 9:30 this morning, who mobilized on the tail end of the US election.

I don’t even want to write about that here. I’m still in shock at the amount of prejudice of all kinds streaming out in the aftermath. I have no words for how it makes me feel. In many respects, I am grateful to be living up here rather than there, but there is so much work to do, work that was previously done and accepted as de facto, but clearly there has been as much erosion to it as there has been to the California coastline and the arctic icecaps.

Anyway, back to Jill. My aches and pains are physical in nature, rather than emotional, so even though the push for the work was different, the result benefitted me equally well. My right shoulder has been hurting me since my fall at the end end of July. Another fall last month (on October 20th) reinjured the area that hadn’t yet fully healed (and perhaps created new injuries) and so the pain is once again keeping me from sleeping well, from moving fully, from being strong on my right side. I’m not sure whether one of the medications (a branch of statins that I’m taking for high cholesterol) is contributing to the pain or whether it really is just a question of those injured ligaments taking long to heal properly.

All I know is that I’m growing weary of the pain that I’m in, constantly, and frustrated by the constraints in mobility that these injuries have caused. This body, that I expected to have full and perpetual mastery over, and faith in its resilience to heal itself forevermore, is beginning to show me that my haphazard treatment of it over the years is now biting me in the ass (figuratively, and literally – if only you could have seen the size of the badass bruise on my right butt cheek from my fall on the 20th – it was impressive).

Changes in diet and exercise (though the exercise mostly consists of walking and working a till at my second job, thus standing and moving for hours on end during the evenings and the Sundays that I work there rather than sitting in front of a computer monitor, which is what I typically do when I have some free time – to write) have let me drop a handful of pounds, but I have so much more to go. I fear that it will be quite some time before I have the time and energy to integrate more of it into my daily habit.

I have to believe that there is still lots of time.

Upon waking this morning, I read an announcement that Leonard Cohen has passed. I am saddened by the loss of his creative genius even as I realize that we have our inevitable mortality to contend with. He was 82, still young by many respects. Younger than my mother was when she died, though she was perhaps a few years more frail that she might have wanted to be. She watched me struggle through most of my life throughout most of hers, and in some ways I am grateful that she didn’t have to witness the wave after wave of challenges that continued to lap at my door (and do, even now).

I’ve come to make peace with the fact that life will continue to provide those waves, whether or not I want them. They will come in all forms, and I have no control over them. All I have control over is how I tend to the results they produce within the small scope of my life. All I have control over is what I put out into the world. I say that loosely, because on some days I don’t have any control at all. My reptile brain kicks in and reacts to things in less than favourable ways and I then spend days, weeks, even, regretting what I’ve put out there. However, I can’t take those things back; I can only learn from them going forward.

I got paid yesterday and then paid some bills, picked up some medication. All said, I currently have fifty dollars and change until my next pay check next Thursday. This is my life. But yesterday, on my way home from a doctor’s appointment (at which I received the prescription renewals for the medicines that I would pick up later in the evening), I stopped at A&W at the train station to pick up a burger. I’d been craving one all week but since I paid rent recently, I really didn’t have a lot of money to go around for extra expenditures. I was standing in line waiting my turn when a man that I used to see regularly panhandling downtown stood beside me and asked me if I would buy him something to eat. I was silent for a few moments, and then said “Alright. What do you want?” He told me and walked up to the counter with me to place his request alongside mine.

I am always torn when I do this. I’m sure he’s probably as broke as I am, on any given day, except that I work a full time job and another part time one so that I can continue living in a nice home, to be able to buy good food and provide for some of life’s creature comforts to myself and my son, things like high speed internet and cable, and cell phone service, and in my case, books. I got my new cell phone bill yesterday and it’s in the neighbourhood of $208. I bought a book at the Book Warehouse on Broadway, too, but I’m glad I picked it up because I felt the need to escape into a fictional world after the goings on of last week, and this one happens to be one created by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter (entitled The Long War). I read in the doctors’ offices, on the train. It’s good medicine.

Today I plan to write some more on The Story Wrangler. I have a scene in mind, and want to flesh out more of the plot before forging further into the story. I wish I had the discipline to write to an outline. In some respects, I’d like to see how others have constructed them, be shown visual pictorials of their processes, so that I can better grasp what their process looks like. I tend to let the characters take the reins, for better or for ill.

I have this underlying sense of what the story is to be – how it feels in my body as it’s coming into its own – but I don’t yet have the words or the thought forms to articulate them. This is actually really difficult to explain, but maybe it will make sense to other writers. In many ways writing a story is for me like walking through a lucid dream with a video camera. I know that I’m recording what I am seeing, ostensibly outside of myself, but also that I am in control of what is unfolding before me. Somehow the two are not mutually exclusive.

Time to make another chai tea and get writing. Peace to all of you. xo

Vacation, day 1


There’s a story happening on my window sill this morning. The spider, the fruit fly and the cat who’s over the moon. With joy. To be sitting outside. Or close to me.

I am often in front of the sink, which faces the window. I’m in the kitchen now, making breakfast. Pour over coffee with lactose free whole milk, two cubes of raw sugar and two slices of bread, toasted and buttered. Not the best of menus, but simple and sufficient.

The butter was hard as rock when I pulled it from the fridge, so I cut a little corner of it off and tucked it into the microwave for a few seconds. The temperature has cooled off so much now that butter can safely be stored in the cupboard again without becoming a melted puddle.

I moved to the living room, ate the toast as I sat on the couch. The cat was meowing at the window, “Where are you?”

When I finished eating, I brought my plate into the kitchen and told her, “I’m here; come inside” but it took a few moments for her to decide to join me. I downed some ibuprofen for my shoulder pain. The physio session at noon yesterday (as it has for the last five Fridays) always sets me back a bit in regard to the shoulder pain. Everything feels like it’s raw and on fire, stiff and resentful.

I sat down again in the living room to take my coffee when she eventually lumbered over. She speaks to me in meows, certain that I understand. Maybe I do, now that I think of it. She seems to understand me too.

After kneading and walking across my legs a few times, she finally settled herself down half on the couch, half on my lap, rapt and purring for as long as I rubbed her behind the ears, under the chin.

After a while she left me to go back outside, and I decided that the call of the comfort of my warm bed outweighed the comfort of typing these words out on a keyboard rather than on my smart phone, so my thumbs are doing the hard work this morning.

Plans for today are largely to rest. I am so beyond tired at the moment that I feel a week off (well, nine consecutive days, actually) will barely scratch the surface of my fatigue, but I’m hopeful.

I want to rest but also do some planning, make lists of the things that I want to do so that I can slot them in, so that they get done. Time is so easily frittered away if not paid attention to.

The rain will surely help with getting me to complete the inside tasks simply based on the fact that it isn’t appealing to be outdoors. One of these days I’ll have to invest in a proper neoprene raincoat, pants and some waterproof shoes. Nothing I dislike more than getting my feet soaked, having them be cold and damp. Now that I don’t wear glasses, I don’t mind my face getting wet, and my hair as a fashion statement has been long abandoned.

There is a muscle twitching in my left quadricep. I worked out on Tuesday but that was days ago, so why the twitch now? The mysteries of this body has me in a constant state of both wonder and alarm. What next?

I’ve been invited to a housewarming party later today and I am not sure I will muster the energy to go. I want to vacuum and wash my sheets and bedding (yes, and rest too). And one can’t verily show up empty handed can one, and things are tight this week, especially if I want to do something more than just lay about the house. A social life is sometimes beyond my budget.

And I have loads of books I want to read. And to write, too. My writing habit, established at both financial and personal cost during my year-long writing program, is in a state of atrophy at the moment. I can rationalize many good reasons for not keeping it up, even for a short time, but in the end it’s my heart’s desire that suffers; the passions that set me apart from others whose calls go unanswered. An unrequited love, like the many others that life has pinned to me in some form or other.

So much to do, so little time, and such little order in my life. And ease. Not much in the way of ease, either. Working more provides a bit of financial slack but the lack of time leaves me unrested, or constantly trying to balance fatigue and overwork… hard to fit creativity into there, especially since writing takes so much energy.

Well, not all writing. Not this kind of writing. This is like a one-sided conversation; I can pretend to have an engaged and interested audience, even if there isn’t one. I’m good at suspending disbelief… just ask the cat; she listens to lengthy conversations, saves me from being the nutty one who walks around an otherwise empty kitchen and talks to herself.

Alright… time to rouse myself and brew a second cup of coffee. I can’t be deemed fully human or capable until the second cup is being consumed.

Au revoir! Je vous souhaite une bonne journée.

A life arrested

Opposite of Loneliness

There’s a theory that a person’s emotional development stops at the age at which one starts taking drugs.

Maybe this same theory can be expounded upon to include the whole of a life halted in its development due to a variety of reasons, whether family dysfunction or other external factors – arrested in a paradigm much like Bill Murray’s character’s was in Groundhog Day, manoeuvring through the same damned day until he finally gets it right, gets to move on to the next step, and the next, and so on. Bill’s protagonist has an antagonist who is also an ally, in whom he has a vested interest that propels him forward.

I have no such character assist. I don’t even know how to get started on the business of procuring one (though a huge chunk of my life was spent flailing around in the process of attempting to achieve just that). I was under the (clearly) erroneous assumption that in order to get to the next step I would absolutely have to find that other character in order to move forward with my own story. None of the varied and sundry ways I tried resulted in the opposite of loneliness, but I’ve come to find that I’ve become comfortable with my aloneness.

In this space, I write.
I write my way into corners.
I chase words in circles.

I follow the tail of an idea, of emotions whose teeth have gently clasped onto me, unwilling to let me go. I don’t know know where they want to take me, but I’ve come to trust the process, whether or not it amounts to a great piece of writing, or simply provides an outlet for a jumble of thoughts so that they may reach coherence.

I’ve begun reading The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. By the end of the introduction (by her professor Anne Fadiman), I was misty-eyed, sorry for fate of the arrested life of someone so promising. Upon reading the first essay (titled the same as the book) tears came anew along with a sense of kinship.

At 52, I can still relate to her words. They were true for a 22 year old, but I’ve come to find that they are just as true now for someone like me, thirty years older. I hold the same hopes, harbour the same feelings of inadequacy. I wonder how much of it is due to the arrested development of my younger self and how much of it is merely a byproduct of the human condition.

The truth is, we are still SO YOUNG, even me, at 52. And in Marina’s words, “…[w]e can’t, we MUST not lose this sense of possibility, because in the end, it’s all we have.”

I do envy something that Marina had which I have in my 52 years of life been incapable of feeling: “remarkably, unbelievably safe”. Perhaps it is a character flaw, perhaps it’s merely a situational anomaly, that I’ve not for most of the years I’ve lived in this world, felt truly and unequivocally, safe.

It has, however, forced me toward a bravery that I am always astonished to discover that I can muster. I’ve overcome many things simply because I had to get to the other side of them in order to remain intact. I may have at times seemed to be spineless, may have sometimes been graceless, and at times been a downright asshole throughout the process, but I mostly always take something away from each of these experiences, whether immediately or through the distance that the passage of time affords.

It would be foolish of me to say that I have no regrets. I have many, and they multiply with every passing year, with each choice, each road taken (or not), but I release them after I think on them and mourn what could have been, and make more choices.

Whether mistakes or successes, life moves along at an incredible clip. This automated and electronically dense world we live in, it speeds along dizzyingly, doesn’t allow us to dwell on things for too long. I can only hope that the choices I am making now will lead me to where I eventually want to be, and that the vision of where that is becomes clearer as I move closer toward it.

We all need allies, though, and I hope to be as good a one as those who I hope to consort with on this journey. As much as writing is a solitary practice, it can not be done in a vacuum. It needs the eyes and hearts of others to keep it true to course. Onwards, then – bravely.

Farewell TWSO, hello world

Wow. I can’t believe that I’m at the tail end of my writing program. The year whipped by fast, and the constant production of writing has (I think, I hope) finally gotten me to a consistent writing practice and given me more confidence in my ability as a writer.

The deadline to submit to the anthology is Friday at noon, so I only have a very small window of time to finalize my submission. It’s a bit nerve wracking but I’m also so very excited about the possibility of having something I’ve written be out in the real world (outside of my blog and whatever I share on social media). 

The first piece is an excerpt from The Story Wrangler, a novel that I’ve been workshopping this year. I also wanted to submit some poetry (since I spent the first half of the program workshopping those) and there may be room for two.

I’m excited and I’m wistful. I’ve enjoyed the company of my cohort; along with my other cohorts and our mentor, Fiona, they have all given me such valuable insight into my skill gaps and strengths.

Most of all, I’ve learned that I love writing. I am in love with writing. I write because it’s unthinkable for me not to. I write because stories call to me (so, so many of them) and they want to be told.

Morning-ish Papers (aka “A Bird’s Eye View of a Day in the Life of a Multi-Tasking Procrastinator”)

SATURDAY, APRIL 9, 2016
(started around 10:54AM)

FullSizeRender 2.jpgI just sat down to write.

Tangent: thought of a title and storyline earlier today, so noting it.

Ok, now with that out of the way, I can write. This is my pre-writing session, a way to purge all of the detritus littering my brain that keeps me from focusing properly (this may be a very long pre-write, because my brain feels as saturated as an over wet noodle and about as absorbent).

It’s sunny again. So grateful for the wonderful weather we’ve been having. The grey months just wear me down (and everybody else, clearly, because the people that were previously grumpy and long of face are now smiling and kindly again – it makes being a cashier much more pleasant when people’s moods improve).

So let’s start with today.

After working all week at my regular job and three nights in a row at my part time one (Wednesday through Friday), days which begin at around 6:30AM and end at around 11:45PM, (*early*) this morning the cats decided that they were hungry sometime between 5 and 5:30AM – on the one day that is supposed to be my day of rest (theoretically, of course).

Someone (who I now know was Gabriel) awoke and fed the little beasts, but within a half hour they had decided that now that their bellies were sated, they wished to go on a walkabout outside.

The doors are locked, so they then proceeded to (loudly, persistently) meow at our closed bedroom doors (because we assume that with the doors closed, they will leave us alone and opt to snooze until the humans decide to get up – but no), increasing the intensity and decibel levels of their complaints incrementally until someone finally gets up. (This could probably be considered to be a form of torture.)

We didn’t do so in time to avoid the banging that came about some time between 6:30 and 7AM. I came out of my room still sleep dazed, looking for the object responsible for the loud crashing sound – I thought it was my painting and easel in the living room that got toppled, but no – it turned out to be the curtain over the window next to the front door.

Vader, after unsuccessfully trying to open the window that sits over a two story drop from the second floor down to the entryway landing, fell from the ledge and not only knocked down the curtain pole but summarily broke the wooden support piece as he fell, and pulled the thing right out of the wall because he is such a huge beast, even with the weight he’s lost from running around the neighbourhood now that he is allowed to go outside. He is also a goof. If there was a picture in the dictionary next to the word “goof”, it would be his.

So after this last sleep disturbing incident, I picked up the curtain pole, curtain and broken support piece, put them down on the living room couch, and then proceeded back to bed to attempt a few more hours of sleep upon which the meowing at the door resumed, the beasts now pressing their mouths right into the crack under the door, repeating the aforementioned meowing from that position – you know, just to be sure that we hear them more clearly.

I finally threw in the towel around 8:30 and got up. My son’s girlfriend had already left for work and much to my surprise hadn’t opened the door to let the cats out (which is what they were whining about in the first place). I finally liberated them and silence ensued. I debated whether I should lay back down to catch up on the hours of sleep that I’d forfeited throughout the morning or just get up and down enough coffees to feel reanimated… because I have work to do… lots of writing.

FullSizeRender 4.jpgAnd as I write this, I realize that I’ve signed up for one of Hal Croasmun’s hour-long screenwriting talks (this one a study of Forrest Gump, a movie I have long admired and adore) and it is now 14 minutes in, so I’ve summarily missed the boat. Disappointment. I’m considering joining it anyway, even this late into the game.

***now 2:07PM***

It turns out the call lasted well over the hour I thought it would be. I jumped in 16 minutes in and still got most of the material. The discussion was about writing a profound screenplay, and what makes a story profound – how to develop the profundity throughout the work by way of intellectual, emotional and action ‘gradients of change’. Interesting and something I might like to explore in more depth but definitely won’t be able to this April. Too much on my plate as it is.

So I’m about ready to sit down to write some more on my story and more than half the day is over. ::sigh:: This is when a time-turner would be a useful implement.

***now 2:59PM***

I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. Apparently it was a good time to broom off the back deck, clean off the outside side table, water the plants and give my ceramic Buddha a bath INSTEAD OF WRITING. Also, I clearly need a chai tea in order to get into the proper mood. o_O

Hey… it’s now 3:18 and the chai is still sitting on the counter, waiting for a splash of milk, I’ve reviewed this “morning-ish paper”, corrected grammatical inconsistencies and am now finally contemplating double-clicking on the Word document that the story I want to work on is in and hope to add some more material to today (and submit to my cohort, which was actually due last Tuesday but because they are such an understanding lot, feel compelled to extend to me some slack – because have I mentioned I work too much?).

Between the brooming and the putting the kettle on to boil, I also cleared out most of the sink (loading the dirty dishes into the dishwasher), wiped the counter down, loaded the compost “bucket” (which is actually an old plastic ice-cream container).

The chai is now appropriately milk splashed, but not before I determined that the older milk jug in the fridge was just on the brink of turning; it was emptied, rinsed out twice and a new jug opened. Also, the alternate title for this post came to me just as I was reaching for the second milk jug*.

(*My dyslexia is reaching alarming proportions today too; can’t tell you how many times I spelled jug as “jub”. It’s either fatigue or simply distraction – I feel as flighty as a hummingbird. It could be call of the sunshine; the back door is open and the limbs of the trees in the backyard are nodding in the slight breeze. I think they’re saying “come outside – the weather’s fine!” The sound of Saturday afternoon traffic is steadily streaming into the room as I longingly stare out the French doors.)

FullSizeRender 3.jpgAlright. I’m calling this pre-writing post done. I’m off to stare at a bunch of words on my computer screen and see if anything wants to be written down. Or maybe I’ll go out onto the now immaculately swept deck to have a nap in the shade, with my cooling chai tea next to me.

thoughts on writing

I’ve been at this (TWSO) program since September, reading through the modules and attempting to keep up on the conversations flowing on the board (sadly, without contributing too much – which I feel is an integral part to the rich community building potential of the program).

One of the modules asks us to examine our writing habits and place(s) of writing, instructs us to look at ergonomics and long-term comfort, etc.

Of course I find this funny. [Insert my peals of raucous laughter here.]

I write on the fly most of the time, particularly my poetry – standing at the bus stop, waiting for the bus – while walking, even, because the words come when they come.

[Insert a link here – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Stone – to the story about the poet who sees her poems come like a storm over the horizon, and she must run, run, to pen and paper so that she can capture them as they course through her, otherwise she loses the opportunity and the poems move on to be captured by others better prepared.]

I sneak in words and lines, here and there, plugged into my iPhone notes with two thumbs. Then, when I have more time, I review what I’ve written and rework the words… usually while I’m laying in bed, supine, holding up my iPhone in the inverted cradle of my hands, two thumbs busily tapping against the glass – in the dark, with only the light of the phone puncturing it.

I’m sure that neither set up could be considered ergonomic.

[Insert more laughs… the rueing sort, that clearly shows I am not one of those writers who has lots of time to worry about the semantics of ideal location.]

I wish I was.

I wish I had time to focus on my writing, undisturbed.

Long sequences of time where my imagination can be let to fly along imaginal lines, like the geese in Mary Oliver’s poem, moving, moving, finding their way home, despite the diurnal variations in airflow reshaping their trajectory.

I get there, eventually.  My words arrive.  They just don’t do so in a way that I can predict or plan for.

My desk chair is a swivel wood-backed drafting stool, with a foot rest and a pneumatic handle that allows me to adjust its height.  I have on it an orange pillow, embroidered with bright colours – I had picked it up at a yoga studio in Irvine, had intended it as a topper to my meditation pillow.  It serves a different sort of meditation now, one filled with half-formed thoughts, groupings of words egged into being through the ingestion of copious cups of coffee, sometimes spiked with Bailey’s – all encouraged to come forth and be examined rather than flicked aside, as preferred during the practice of actual meditation.

The desk is an old Ikea birch veneered pressed board wood laminate number which has seen better days.  My son, who has an identical one -or they were identical when they first came out of their boxes- has stabbed gashes into the writing surface during a particularly ghastly phase of adolescence.  Clearly he doesn’t use his for the purpose of writing.

Mine looks worn, patches of the surface laminate worn away through copious use, along the edges and the areas closest to where my keyboard rests.

I suppose I’ve gotten my money’s worth.

My computer, though, is a dream machine.  Years ago (when I first got it) I wrote a blog post about it, how I traded in my car for another machine that I would certainly ride more than I ever did the car.  This still holds true.

I especially enjoy watching Netflix and Shomi streams on it.  It’s replaced another machine, as well: the television.

Time to write is squeezed through the noise of the daily minutia of chores and responsibilities (especially the one of earning our daily bread – which pays for food in our bellies and the roof over our heads.. and cellphone subscriptions, high-speed cable connections and the slack that allows us to fill our inner and outer spaces with the niceties that make life worthwhile).

So here I am, writing about writing, while my novel sits in my belly, a little over thirty-thousand words strong, continuing to gestate.

Today I’ll put my hand on my belly and see if I can feel it kick.

morning pages

What is humanity doing? Where have we gone terribly wrong?

The news flattens me, daily.

Robin Williams’ suicide.

The plight of the Yazidi, annihilated by a terrorist group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The Yazidi aren’t the only ones dying in droves at their hands. Or those dying at the hands of the Militia operating there. I often wonder what kind of a religion can so effectively remove empathy and compassion from the hearts of its followers, and rationality from their minds.

I read an in-depth article on Edward Snowden published by Wired magazine. It was fascinating to read about how in the name of security and self-protection, the basic rights of so many civilians are being violated on an ongoing and daily basis (and there is apparently no monitoring mechanism in place to keep the honest people, monitoring the honest, honest).

I read about the latest happenings in Ferguson and what feels like a shift in what is viewed as fundamental human rights, sides being taken and so far from meeting somewhere in the middle that it feels like pre-MLK era mindset.

I think about the situation in the Ukraine, and wonder how someone could think that plundering a tube of mascara from the luggage of the downed Malaysian flight would be a good, ethical, thing to do. Who would want to use someone else’s used mascara anyway? The depravity goes on an on.

If I were god (if there was a god and I could step into god’s shoes for even a moment) I’d wonder where my children (if in fact we were in some way, directly or indirectly, the offspring of such a creator) had gone wrong, or more importantly, I would question what kind of parent I was, and where I’d failed with my parenting.

Clearly all of the various religious writings and all of the institutions upon which they are based, have somehow failed humanity. I think, perhaps, that humanity has essentially failed itself.

Have we not learned anything, over the many millennia that we have inhabited this green and blue dot?

My heart breaks. I want to keep the faith. I want to believe in humanity’s capacity for great and wondrous and beautiful things.

But daily my heart sinks. I turn to the little things that make me smile, like my writing or making little bits of art, or a walk around the inlet right by my neighbourhood – surrounded by green, with feet rhythmically pounding the dirt trails. I feel a little better, even if worry flares up about the tons of nuked water from the coast of Japan flooding the Pacific ocean and somehow affecting (in a way which we have yet to adequately determine) the ecosystem we rely upon and of which we are by our presence within it an integral part.

Then I get THIS in my inbox.

The sentiments oddly reflect my own.

The paralysis of concern combined with the inability to know what empowered action to take is a weighty one. What DO we do when we feel disengaged and downright helpless?

Maybe taking small, measurable but consistent, steps is a place to start. Maybe it all starts at home, in our backyards, and maybe, given time, the effects will ripple out wide enough to effect global change.

And to quote something from Jim Carrey’s commencement speech he gave earlier this year:

“Take a chance on faith — not religion, but faith. Not hope, but faith. I don’t believe in hope. Hope is a beggar. Hope walks through the fire. Faith leaps over it.”

Adriane xo

a poem-ish

20140804-193954-70794617.jpg
Summer.
We’re at the height of its fiery heat,
though by the wheel’s turning we are already into the descent.
A banana tree in the back yard has grown by feet this past week alone,
one of the billowy leaves looking like a tired sojourner,
leaning heavily on the balcony railing for support.
Even the mosquitos are too wilted to mill as we wait for the sun to sink below the horizon; none come out now.
I’ve been reading the same page of my book over again without retaining a word.
I’ll try again later. Right now something cold and wet sounds good;
raspberry lemonade blended with trays of ice, swirled with some freshly cut strawberries, perhaps.
I will not complain about the heat, even as I stand in front of the fan with lifted shirt;
the air inside is so warm that standing anywhere feels as though one were in a bath without any steam.
But the glasses aren’t sweating – everything is dry, a little parched.
In a few months I’ll be lamenting the lack of warmth and aridity and sunshine;
for now I’ll bask in it, then, even if it hurts.

poem-ish

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MY SKIN

I feel much better in the summer,
much better while it brightly shines (though my crispy sunburnt shoulders from a week ago may argue).

I learn to sleep through the light and to suck it deep into my pores when it’s there for the taking.
Weight is lifted and my spirit exalts.

No wonder the dark feels like a void I fall into in the sun’s absence.
Right now I want to love.
I want to be kissed on every bare inch of skin (oh it’s bare!).

I want to feel the world on my skin, the fluttering of leaves and wings like thoughts, hands held by blossoming prehensile branches.

Don’t you?

Dreams don’t come so easily now, in this light slap happy fugue state.
Those seem reserved for the dark; sleep now is either sound and impregnable or so light it flits like dancing sunlight chasing shadows.

My son asks “why are you feeding the demons?” when I set out salmon bits.
He refers to the crows living in the big cedar. “We are friends,” I shrug.

Just in case, I also set out some tobacco for the ancestors, not local wild but stuff from Havana – maybe they’ll like this too. I hope.

I could use all the help I can get to find my way in this in between.
If they help even a little I will be that much further ahead.

(c) 2014 Adriane Csicsmann Giberson