Category Archives: WORDSMITHING

(my writing, shared)

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

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summer

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teeming summer bees and things
dragon fly-by buzzing the town
looking to give a ride to a damsel
it’s that time folks, step right up
trills and thrills mingle into one so
that neither are discernible from
the other; lake water lapping on
a shore beckons a toe then a foot
oh what the hell, let it claim all of
you – in neck deep now, might as
well dive in, even without the tire
swing to careen off of for leverage.

(c) 2014 Adriane Csicsmann Giberson

it had to be you

I love this movie.

I mean I bought the DVD probably about seven years ago and I’m sure I’ve watched it every couple of months (though sometimes every couple of weeks) since.

I saw it when it was first released in the theatre and I rented it when it became available on video cassette.

It NEVER.GETS.OLD.

Parts of it move me to tears even after having seen them so many times that I can almost recite the lines by heart. Parts have me laughing so hard I cry tears of mirth.

Nora Ephron was brilliant and this continues to inspire me as what to reach for insofar as romantic comedy screenplay writing is concerned.

The casting was also brilliant, up to and including casting Carrie Fisher as best friend to Meg Ryan’s Sally.

In the discussion on comedy screenplay given by Steve Kaplan during Story Expo last fall, it was discussed how there were not one but two main protagonists, the spot shared equally between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal (who STILL -in my humble opinion- is THE best EVER presenter of all time for the Oscars ceremonies).

They made magic together.

This movie gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, “It Had To Be You” might cue up during the rolling of an epic scene in the movie of my life.

would you like some mustard with that scam?

Alyse

Dear Business Lady (or should I call you Alyse?),

I know dating is tough these days, what with being busy with work and all. How kind of your friends to be concerned for your private life’s welfare.

I think, though, that perhaps your finger slipped on the email address entry because if you were looking at my Facebook profile you would surely have noticed that we have similar physical attributes. While I am grateful that you might find me attractive, I fall very short of being the nice guy you want to spend a few hot weekends with.

I could definitely use some money though, so it you feel like you have too much, have some to spare and want to put some cash to good use, drop some coin in my tip jar, would ya? It can be found here: http://bit.ly/RiN8Vh

Oh… and I do hope you get those brakes fixed… you don’t want to spill your coffee in your lap because you couldn’t stop in time for the red light.

Yours,
(aka) “Honey”

thoughts on a Sunday afternoon

Thoughts always come to me circuitously, prompted by something external, harvested like resin on the barks of trees, occurring by virtue of the cuts inflicted upon the tree’s surface.

They are like disparate threads gathered from things people say, or things that I see and hear that have a common resonance, an emotional coalescence.

Yesterday I read several posts on Facebook, one from a friend who had gone on a date filled with hope only to return home disappointed. Another post I read spoke to how language is largely an inadequate method of communicating a description or explanation of the energy which underlies the more mystical aspects of this existence, which my friend had said was more appropriately expressed through emotion rather than termed as energy.

I have also been reading The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, a book that I had begun a while ago, got about a third of the way through and then parked. I picked it up yesterday morning and became reacquainted with it as if it were an old friend.

Without laboriously going over its contents, in fact skipping over that altogether, what culminated from these disparate threads was this thought: I think the poets, bards and lyricists have it right – the only way to share the numinous is through story, the telling of them meant to evoke within the reader or listener the sort of emotion that mirrors the state they are trying to describe.

Words ARE inadequate, in and of themselves, to express the depth of an experience that is such an internalized process that it often lacks description.

An experience must be shared in such a way as to allow the readers to intuit the meaning of it on a personal level – to have it move them and thereby establish an emotional connection to the material – in order to understand the progression that one is meant to take internally in order to get to the desired place.

The dating experience my friend described largely mirrored my own, which was an endless stream of disconnection and repeated disappointment in finding that those who were moved to meet me were either horribly bitter about their previous relationship(s) or were looking to be intimate rather than for intimacy – sometimes it was both.

I realized then that I had to step away from it all, and come to terms with myself. If we are essentially drawing like with like, then they were mirroring parts of myself that I had not come to terms with, and it seemed to me that I was best served by becoming the person that I wished to find.

It’s been a long, difficult, journey, and one not yet completed. That’s not to say that I haven’t made progress – I have – but I continue to struggle with the very things that disturbed me in the potential suitors. Things like bitterness resurfacing after a hiatus, after my having declared myself its victor, requiring me to find ways in which to sit with that bitterness without allowing it to consume me so entirely that it would end up funnelling down into hatred and despair.

Other things came to fore too, like the realization that I keep people at arm’s length because I am incapable of trusting them or myself with the enormity of emotion that might perhaps expand between us if the relationship progressed naturally, and I (and my partner) were to show ourselves vulnerable to each other.

What is natural, anyway? I tout being “natural” as thought it was some sort of badge of honour but I wouldn’t know it, some days, if it bit me in the ass.

Natural.

I’ve spent a lot of time – my lifetime, so far – reigning myself in (that would be as far from natural as one could get, I imagine). So much so that it appalls me when I realize that in order to survive this next part of my life with an intact soul I will need to deconstruct everything and every way I’ve learned to be and figure out a new way.

I don’t know if I’m brave enough. I don’t know if I can take the torment that accompanies this process… not alone, and I truly am alone. Alone, surrounded by people, just like the girl in my tiny book on loss.

There are tiny losses, like some loose change inadvertently falling out of a pants pocket down into a sewage grate, or chipping a nail and having to cut all of the rest of them to even them out, but others are far larger than that, like losing your sense of dignity even before you really knew what that meant, or never really knowing what greatness lies within you because you got lost along the road to finding out what truly lies within.

The thing about discoveries is that you can’t not see them once you’ve seen them. You have few choices in how you will choose to live with them. Only two, really: pretend that you didn’t see them, and let their truth gnaw away at your insides while you maintain the status quo, or you choose to acknowledge them, which also necessitates figuring out how to make a better life by humbly embracing those truths and sitting in the discomfort until a better solution presents itself.

Neither is an easy route, really. One can potentially bring me closer to becoming the person that I would want to spend some time with, perhaps even the rest of my mortal life, while the other would cause me to continue to harden and shrivel, becoming but a husk of my former self, never really knowing just how close I was to finding my way back home.

navigating productivity

Yesterday was a good day. The weather would change about every half hour, so we had everything from sun to torrential rain. I think Gaia just couldn’t make up her mind.

Not so long ago I saw posted on Maya Stein’s Facebook page a call to “write a book” and a photo of the titles up for grabs. I picked “How to Navigate Loss” because me and loss? We’re close personal friends…

I’d written out the concept (on my usual preferred brainstorming medium of choice, index cards) and yesterday afternoon I finally started sketching. I’d gotten perhaps five spreads done and was going to leave it for the next day but knowing myself (and my gnat-like attention span) I figured that if I didn’t push through and get ‘er done, that it would languish unfinished until my fickle muse decided to stop applying multicoloured hair dye for long enough to finish the story.

So I pressed through, ignoring meals and most of everything else. I drew and coloured and folded and glued… and at a little after two o’clock this morning, I was done. Done! *patting self on back, because I FINISHED without a whole lot of anguished creative suffering!*

And, apart from this Accomplishment, I also plotted out a plan for the recategorization of the categories on this here blog, as well as rewriting my bio info, which will be added to my “About” tab (just as soon as I transcribe it from my index notes).

Progress and success comes in tiny (but equally immense) steps.

(And maybe smudging the whole house with white sage and palo santo really *did* move some stagnant energy out. I’ll take it!)

morning pages… thoughts on sharing…

InnerWindow
(collage-in-progress)

Bam! Bam! Bam!

The sound of metal hitting metal permeates the house. It is relentless. They are driving steel rods into the earth for the Skytrain station being built across the street, and the construction noise is nerve-wracking.

When the banging stops the silence in the wake of the noise is so loud that it almost hurts. I’ve been drowning it out with music but I want to write and I can’t focus as well on the writing when I am listening to music, so the unsilent silence is what I will have to live with.

Somewhere in there is a metaphor for my present moment, I’m sure.

I awoke late this morning, at a few minutes short of ten, and by the time I’d gotten the coffee making, breakfast eating sorted out, personal hygiene and other things done, it is now twenty-five after eleven. I want to work on my Cauliflower story. I have a group coaching call with Jill at noon and so there isn’t much time to get into the momentum of writing – it will have to wait until afterwards. I’ve written my dream log (first thing, upon waking) and I’ve checked my email, flicked and unsubscribed from the endless sea of spam messages as they came in, and went to the Esso station to pick up a half litre of half & half so I can have my coffee. I’ve eaten some yogurt and granola and I’ve showered. I’ve cleaned out the cat’s litter box and swept the entryway.

The days are flowing by more quickly than I’d like them to, although I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of some money which will not be for another couple of weeks yet. It’s been difficult, but I am learning to sink into ease despite the discomfort. I’ve been creatively productive, though, if I have to dig around for a silver lining.

*oh! the mail… through the mail slot… always makes me jump…*

Well, the mail brought a bill for our health coverage services and I am unable to pay it, so I called them and they’ve put a temporary hold on collection services and I can also apply for the waiving of the fees during my unemployment. Which is a relief because I don’t want to have to choose between food and healthcare coverage, or rather be forced to pay for the coverage at the expense of having food.

Well. So here I am again in this really uncomfortable place of not having. And it sucks. And I’m tired of being here over and over and over again.

And I’m also trying to not feel sorry for myself. I’m trying to be optimistic while sharing my story.

And I’m noting that I am in constant struggle with my inner critic who says things like “I have not been doing anything constructive”, which is something that is mirrored by others around me. “WHAT have you been doing with your time?” they ask. “WHY haven’t you found work yet?” “You need a job – stop being so picky.”

All sort of true things. True in that it is obvious that I must work again (or generate an income in some way), but also not true in that I must be hasty in my selection of the work I choose. Yes, there is a sense of urgency but I have to trust that the steps I am taking, in concert, will yield the results that I wish to gain. And I’m figuring it out as I am going along. New territory is always tough to breach. I don’t have a map, really. Just some landmarks to follow as I stumble across the terrain, trying to get to the other side, to where I really want to be. Today that would be a nice sunny soft sand oceanside beach, with a good book and a picnic basket. With wine. LOTS of wine.

I know there are other people that are way worse off than I am or are having some insane life challenges that are way beyond my little woes (like a woman from one of our online art groups who had to go in to surgery yesterday to have her tongue removed because of the big “C” … or … after looking at the photo essay by Lisa Kristine on Modern Day Slavery, my life looks like a cake walk in comparison). So much courage out there and I feel laughably ridiculous with my little woes. First World Problems. But problems nonetheless.

They are my woes, and I still have to deal with them, and it still feels … hard. By honouring that I am allowed to find things difficult validates me in a way that I have not been able to find validation from any other source: it gives me courage to dig deeper and go just a little beyond myself.

Being vulnerable is often considered a character flaw. I don’t mean vulnerable in the sense of being at risk of injury but the kind that is to authentically share what it feels like being you, including the nasty bits that make you (and possibly other people) uncomfortable. Scary.

I have very little idea who reads this blog or how it is received. I don’t want to further burden an already over-burdened world. I do want to share, though, my unadulterated journey because I’m sure that there are others who feel exactly the same way I do about something but they feel isolated and marginalized in some way, and UNHEARD.

So this is what I want to create, I suppose … a vehicle to hear and to be heard.

I choose to do it by writing my own story. I open up a window for others to peer in to – sometimes that simple act allows others to create their own opening and show just a little more of themselves.

I consider the showing and the witnessing a sacred act.
And I consider that unfolding to be a victory.

Peace. xo

morning pages and cultivating roots…

Jan3CultivateRoot

(pencil undersketch penned over and painted with tube gouache. #30DayJournalProject)

Slow. Rain. Comfort. Coffee. Dream fragments. Hunger pangs. Hair and clothes that need washing. Lists made. Things to be done. All folding into this space and time of semi-wakefulness. This moment. WHAT do I want? What do I want to DO? Besides sleep some more. Oh sleep, how I love thee. It took months before I broke out of the cycle of awakening early every morning, filled with anxiety as though I’d missed the alarm. My rhythms are different now… back to what they naturally are inclined to do – late nights and not wakening until it’s light, which on these shortened winter days is late. Ah, yes… light. Not much of it again, these days. I think that I ought to go for a run and try fitness again but all I want to do is sleep. Keep warm and cozy and dry. Definitely not wet. Why do people like running in the cold rain?

It’s almost 10am and I am only just dragging myself up and about.  It’s grey outside and the grumbling in my stomach reminds me to put the kettle on. Coffee first. Then, when there are enough neurons firing, something else… food. Yogourt and granola. Love this granola but seriously – $8 for the bag made me cringe, but I got it anyway because it has Good Stuff in it, and I don’t have much Good Stuff so I need to make it count. I have a sort of dietic apathy.  I love food but the preparing and cooking of it doesn’t interest me, so quick and convenient (which usually doesn’t mean healthy). I did buy some pita bread and will experiment with making my own chips (*must steep fresh rosemary in olive oil*). I do like the experimental aspect of it. And when people enjoy what I make. There’s only the two of us and it gets old always being the one to be doing the cooking.

*pausing to make some coffee*

The smell of coffee is still on my hands. I love how it smells. How it tastes, too, but the smell is what brings it all together – the scent, the taste, the way it’s warmth spreads as it progresses down to my belly.

I had an image come to me this morning, for my art journal page, as I laid in bed with my arms clasped together over my lower abdomen, feeling it rise and fall with each breath. The awareness of my breath made me focus on it even more, and I breathed relaxation into it. I saw it as if it was burning, like a fire enlivened by the wind from the bellows. I had until now thought that my creativity stemmed from the root chakra, the elemental connection of our bodily selves to the spark that materialized us, but I see now that it’s at the second chakra where my breath is feeding the raging fires that it births from.

I made plans. I wrote them out (in my Notes, on the iPhone).

One is to do these… morning pages. To write for an hour. Another is to write on one of my stories. I haven’t touched the Telescope story in a while, and I feel it’s time to revisit it again. I’m just going to write. What else can I do but write it out? Yet another to-do item is to research freelance opportunities for writers and artists. I want to know where the markets are, what they require, so that I can build a repertoire of material that will likely be attractive. Targeted work. I always thought that making “art” to order would take away from my creative process, but I think in some ways it will fuel it, make me stretch in ways I would not have had it just been for me and my being left to my own devices. I hope it makes me a better writer and artist.

And then there is the roast for dinner. I am going to put it in the oven around 4PM. It’s a mammoth rolled pork blade roast, and I now realize that I will have to return to the grocery store because I think it needs to be accompanied by brussels sprouts. Yes, definitely. It will be poked and inserted with slivers of garlic and resemble Pinhead – Clive would be proud. I wish I had some rendered fat to rub on its surface. I have some duck fat and it works well as a fat for many things but it just doesn’t sound like it would taste right with the pork, which is lighter and more subtle in flavour and the duck fat doesn’t ever quite lose that wildness. I wish I could find some juniper berries. Not tons.. just a bit. I had a recipe call for some and it’s not something that regularly shows up between the peppercorn and nutmeg and turmeric.  I have a serious spice hoarding issue. Well… not hoarding – collecting. But I use them. I’m the one who makes lavender and thyme shortbread cookies. I love lavender. In food. Well, in anything, Period.

*pauses to go grab the mail that just got violently shoved through the mail slot by the postal carrier – it always startles me*

Nothing particularly exciting, though Organic Gardening was in there, and I know that preparing for the next growing season isn’t all that far off. I’m so grateful that Tyler and Amanda are keen gardeners and that they allow me to stick my hands into the dirt here, and also reap some of the bounty. I’ve been thinking that perhaps my (two boxes of!) paper making supplies could be put to use during this lull and that I make some seeded paper to sell. On etsy, maybe. I always wonder about whether it’s worth opening up an etsy storefront or not. Whether it’s more trouble than it’s worth; whether you need the demand already in place for the supply to be worth the trouble. Not quite buying the “if you build it they will come” paradigm. But who knows.

Well, the hour is about up. I’m ready for some granola and yogourt. Maybe another coffee, and then I’ll tackle something else on my list. One of which should be to take a shower.

wishes like fishes…

WishUponAStar
(after seeing THIS site, I thought I’d put a prayer of sorts out there…)

that great thoughts, like butterflies, imaginally take flight
that hopes, like balloons, float up to great heights
that I shape the best year yet, one little step by one little step
that love will prevail, when all else fails
that discomfort be replaced by action, ache by joy
that prosperity be in numbers, abundant fruits from toil
to find my north star and follow it true
that good things come to all, and especially you

Happy New Year
Love, Me xo

thoughts on a Sunday morning

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It’s sunny this morning. I sit comfortably on the couch in the living room, watching steam rise from the roof as I gaze outside the window. A manic little fruit fly is insisting that it do a kamikaze nosedive into my coffee mug which rests upon, along with my feet, the wicker chest across from the couch. The sky is still a rich blue, not yet washed out by weeks and months of rain. The trees, some of which have been spewing leaves for at least a month, are still mostly green leafed, though some have been nipped by the chilly night air and are showing signs of yellowing. The sun feels warm against my skin, bits of leg exposed between where my flannel pyjama pant ends and my knit slippers begin.

My cat, unimaginatively named “Kitty”, restlessly paces from room to room, mewling quietly in frustration; she wants to be let outside, because the rain has stopped and it’s sunny, but I can’t risk her coming up the back porch, which is still tarped and received another layer of plastic coating recently, requiring 48 hours to set properly. Soon the view from the rear of the house will be restored. All is quiet and still in the house, besides the cat, but street noises filter in through the slightly cracked windows: a car alarm, emergency vehicle sirens (I have never been able to distinguish the separate agencies), the acceleration of buses and the shushing of tires against pavement, the squawking of crows and geese spearing their way through the sky in arrow formation.

I have things to do today. Chore things, and things that I’ve signed up for that I haven’t done, like reading pages of a book, and spending some time on self-contemplation and journaling, and to make moussaka (which will probably be made very late, because I only remembered to thaw out the frozen ground lamb trays at 4:15 this morning while sitting on the toilet contemplating what it was that I would have to do today because yesterday I mostly did nothing).

I wanted to write, too, to work on my story (or one of the many), and this is where I balk. Which one? Where to take it? I’d rather read some more on technique and how-to and endless pages of online text and blogs and Facebook wall posts than sit down and figure that out. I’m not sure why. Perhaps it’s because I really don’t know, or the inkling is so faint that it will take too much work to unearth, and there is already enough work that I have to do, isn’t this supposed to be the pleasurable part?

And then I think of pleasure, that kind, the kind that is mostly absent from my life and is otherwise self-inflicted if it happens at all. I miss it. I love the textures and the smells and the feeling of skin against skin and coarse pubic hair and how a person tastes and of course the obvious things as well, but it always has been more for me than plugging things into orifices -it’s a means of connecting with a person in physical and superphysical ways- and it’s obviously not that way for others; not all others.

The kettle has boiled and I’ve moved from coffee to tea. A stream of engine rumbling comes in from outside, perhaps a motorcycle procession, with lots of horn honking and intermittent whistle blows. I’m tempted to go outside to see what is going on, but I’m not sure which direction it’s all coming from, and I am, after all, still in my flannel pyjamas. I open the back door to see if the coating on the deck has set – it has. I let the cat out and she listens to the rumbling for a moment and decides she wants back in.

The rumbling persists, along with the honking and the whistle blowing. I am finally intrigued enough to move off the couch.

[* * * Pause while I go to the end of the street to investigate, in my flannel pyjamas and knit slippers slipped into my Birkenstocks. * * * ]

It turns out that there is an annual Vancouver Motorcycle Toy Run that starts from the Coquitlam Centre parking lot and rides up the road by the house up to the PNE. Mystery solved.

I resume my position on the couch with my wireless keyboard set cross on my lap and my iPad propped up on my knees. The cat wants onto my lap and decides that the iPad will serve as a suitable object to rub against, for the lack of a hand. I observe the little clumps of cat fur that litter the living room floor.

The cat has taken to yanking out tufts of fur with her mouth. This started shortly after her run in with another neighbourhood cat that ended in our living room and with her limping around for the better part of a week. She seems fine now, physically, but she is a tender thing, neurally, and it takes her lengthy stretches of time to come to terms with things that rattle her.

I find it difficult to ignore the mirror she holds up, parallels in our behaviour, since under high stress I have always reached for my hair and yanked, not figuratively but literally. During a particularly trying time in my early twenties I’d fully razed a whole area along my temples, so much so that it hurt to the touch, it had become so raw. It was then that they named it for me, this thing I was doing: trichotillomania. Along with the lip biting and inner cheek chewing, I’m sure they all relate to how I’ve learnt to deal with anxiety, and they all have fancy names in the DSM for body focused repetitive compulsive behaviours.

But the tufts of fur are yet another reminder of the growing list of “things” I must attend to but tend to ignore until I don’t. There’s laundry to be done, too, and dusting. I can’t seem to find it in me to do these things routinely. I used to. I was regimented, which perhaps had been worked into me by my mother despite them being unnatural inclinations. I love spatial esthetics and tidiness, but the clean part doesn’t bother me as much, not anymore (though truth be told, I will admit to being a bit of a germophobe, so while dust and cat fur balls don’t really faze me, I’ll wash my hands a gazillion times while preparing food, and will scrub the sink out to make sure that it doesn’t become a petrie dish of sorts).

Much has changed since I’ve ventured off on my own, without eyes to judge the places I fail to live up to invisible expectations. After her death ten years ago, while I missed my mother terribly (still do), as time went on it was as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders, as though I could finally be who I really was and wanted to be.

It’s been a messy ball of yarn, this untangling of self, this figuring out which part was me and which part was conditioning and which parts I wanted to keep and which parts could use a fresh coat of paint. I never imagined that it would be so… complicated… but it has been.

This slow unfurling of self has been good, though, allowing for mindful and gentle observing, because if we can’t be that way with ourselves, how can we be that way with the world? It all starts with ourselves, it seems, no exceptions, otherwise we will judge the world and those in it as harshly as we judge ourselves, whether we admit it or not, and that is an epic fail, in my opinion. It hobbles us emotionally and keeps us from being able to connect with each other in meaningful ways, and what else, besides connection, is the highest goal of human life?