I am up to my eyeballs in book proposals. One complete and ready to ship tomorrow and another on the way. Ironically, this time of year has always been my most creative. It must have something to do with being hunkered down, the -25 degree temperatures, and the lack of sun. My right brain comes alive from lack of stimulation and creates it’s own fun. Instead of hibernating, I find myself accomplishing rather daunting projects. It could also be that there is just not much else to do and so I play.
I wish so badly that I could share with you these new ideas, but they will have to wait. At times I feel so grateful to you who reads my words on a regular basis. Does it sound too negative to say that at times I feel undeserving of the praise? I am just plodding along like you, finding my way as I go. How many times have I felt completely unsure of my path, only to come home to an email from a stranger sharing their story and how I have served to enter into it in some small way. A message from the universe to keep going.
And so I write, counting the steps, documenting the changes. It is the changes that seem to stir up the most emotion and they are unending.
I find it fascinating that sometimes we know what changes are coming and so we are able prepare for them, plot the course. But many times it is the changes that we cannot predict that serve to shape us as humans. And shape we will, for better or worse.
The universe is showing me all the unhealed places in myself one by one, and giving me a chance to heal them. And even though these things are so very difficult at times I am grateful for the gifts.
Neuroses. We all have them in varying degrees. They are like the clothes that we have stuffed into a suitcase that is too small, odd socks and underwear sticking out. They show themselves and we pretend they are not there. For a while.
I share these thoughts here because we all heal through our stories. My story is your story, and vice versa. And because I am feeling daring today. Strong.
For many years I have been possessed with a strange panic every time I leave the house. It works like this, upon my return from an outing, (usually after at least a few hours or so, worse if I have left for days or weeks), I am convinced that I will return to find my house gone. Burnt to the ground. Or that one of my cats is dead. Something horrible, it doesn’t really matter which. It always starts a few miles from my house. I am aware that these thoughts are probably irrational and not to my benefit, but they persist. I have recently come to understand that this fear started when I was quite young, eight or nine. I remember coming home from school on many occasions to find an ambulance in the driveway (for my mom who suffered from seisures.) Looking closely at it I think I learned at a young age that when I left home bad things could and did happen. And in those moments I felt that it was my leaving that somehow contributed to the bad things. What if she were to die because I was not there? The home became a symbol. For what? For safety, for control, for life.
I have been carrying these things with me in the suitcase for a while now. And I am ready to look at them and let them go. This inability to trust in life, and in myself. It is not the home, it is in me. It is not in my things. I have put so much of my need for security onto my home, thinking that it will save me or that without it I will not survive. I want to be able to trust that no matter what comes up for me in this life I will be able to deal with it in the moment. I am ready to stop fearing my mother’s death (or anyone else in my life now). It has already happened. Life is unpredictable, yet there is this part of me that still tries to control it all, wanting to shape it like a piece of clay.
“Fear is a habit. Fear can be taught and is taught constantly. Almost all fear is fear of the unknown. Therefore, what’s the remedy? To become acquainted with the thing you fear.” -Peace Pilgrim
On the phone with a girlfriend during a lightening storm we share stories and reveal wounds. This planet must rotate with the expended breath of girlfriends talking on the phone. Endless stories that turn night into day, the stars shifting, planets passing by. The muted sound of peeing, of course conversation does not slow even for the sake of urination. Am I giving away our secrets?
Girlfriend love is a beatiful thing.
Also of note, I have mastered the art of peeing in a jar while the renovations on the bathroom continue. A handy skill you must admit.
I am having trouble with the “L” key on my computer, I have to press it rather hard to make it work. If any L’s are omitted in this or any other future correspondence please accept my apologies. (that could have been apoogies, which I kind of like better.) What would a world with no “L’s” sound like? Word i suppose. (I am aware that sometimes my sense of humour is funny only to me, because I laughed rather loudly after I typed ‘word’.)
A quick question for you, Mike is trying to convince me that “Goonies” is an exceptional film (which I have not seen). Does anyone attest to this theory? Just putting it out there.
a thought from Rilke for you to decipher (and attribute your own meaning to),
“Oh not because happiness exists,
that too-hasty profit snatched from approaching loss.
But because truly being here is so much;
because everything here apparently needs us,
this fleeting world, which in some strange way keeps calling to us.
Us, the most fleeting of all.
…Ah, but what can we take along into that other realm?
Not the art of looking which is learned so slowly, and nothing that happened here. Nothing.
The suffering, then. And, above all, the heaviness, and the experience of love,
-just what is wholly unsayable.
A grey day, one in a line of many. My husband sits across from me furiously typing away. This is how my house is at times, three of us sitting in a room, laptops open, all in our own little worlds. My head spins with many things, there are many projects in the works, many opportunities presenting themselves. This is how it happens with me, a few weeks of quiet, followed by several things showing up all at once. Decisions must be made about what direction to head in.
I start by working on the introduction for the new book and find just getting to the writing a challenge. By this I mean the act of just sitting in front of the computer and putting down anything. It
My english teacher in art school John Grube taught me an important lesson about cursing. Well, not cursing really, more about the power that language holds. He said that when you use a word frequently you dilute it’s meaning. This is most noticable in the case of swearing. If you never swear, find a moment in conversation to inject the word ‘fuck’ and you will see what I mean. It holds a lot more weight than with someone who uses it as an adjective. People will know you mean business. But it must also be said with some force and confidence, (as Mike readily pointed out to me). You cannot tiptoe around it delicately (no mousy squeaks of “shit” or “damn”). It must not slide out unawares. The word must be thrown off the tongue like a shotput, kicking up dirt. O.k. maybe this is taking it a bit too far but I think you know what I’m getting at. Expletives are meant to be taken seriously. I should know, I have tried to avoid them particularly with my writing but also in my daily conversation for fear of offending or sounding crass. (All worries about what others think). But I do like the idea of having them sitting on the sidelines waiting for that perfect opportune moment, when one wants to inject some drama or sense of urgency to a topic. There is a sense of power in that, a way of invoking a reaction in your audience. And I for one would not like to shy away from a bit of drama.
I have talked to several friends who have also shyied away from swearing on their blogs for fear of upsetting people. So I am writing this for all of us. I might rather have avoided it too except I do believe in investigating the things we want to shy away from. I grew up fearing swear words because it often meant someone was angry (i feel slight knots in my stomach just writing that). I am just getting to know them again as an adult, seeing their power, understanding that they are not to be feared. But maybe even celebrated?
Let out your expletives. It feels good. Sit with them. They can teach you a lot about yourself.
I recently did an interview for the inspiring 52 Projects. Please check out this site, there are so many great ideas for creative play.
Foster Parents Plan is doing great work providing humanitarian relief in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. Please give them a hand.