Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I have a couple of poems to share today.

I think this one could be titled "Transcendence"

deeper down
farther up
unseen realities
connection to
something so big
ultimate perspective
a place not in space
a moment not in time
cosmic plug-in
a quest
of quiet freedom
but contently accept
simple complexity
be with the questions
allow answers
to fall

I think this next poem is sort of an antithesis to the previous one.  I don't think it has a title yet.

The noise in my head,
badgering practicalities,
song fragments skipping like a scratched record.
Can't you just settle down
and let me listen
for needful things:
Spirit wind,
grace and peace,
purpose and meaning.
Your selfish shallow clamor
erodes my existence.
Where you are,
life cannot be lived
as life is -
beautiful, sacred,

I'm grateful that you took the time to read these poems.  I'd be even more grateful for a comment!  I'm not looking for empty praise, but I'd love to know how these lines connected with you.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Summer of Poetry

After a long winter's nap, I'm back in the blogosphere.  Today is the first day of Summer vacation.  Summer is when I have some time and space to breathe, think and create.  It is a renewing and productive season for me.  The Summerrest blog is my venue to send my wares out into the Universe.  I like the opportunity to circle up with other writers (novice or expert) and kick ideas around.   I enjoy getting readers and comments, although I feel inferior to "real bloggers".

I've decided to focus my creative energies this Summer on poetry.  So, let's get started, shall we?  Here is a poem that conveys a sense of my life when the season is other than Summer.


Just before the morning light
I squeeze and wad myself up tight
and plunge beneath the water line
to soak up all I can divine
water fill me through the day
dripping, dropping all the way
for the work of love, I must stay drenched
there are thirsty, lost in need of quench
they draw in close for smile and touch
the moisture that they need so much
carried in loose-knit fibers and holes
designed to offer, not to hold
soon I find me empty and light
and need to take a rest tonight
tomorrow I will start again
indulging in the depth within.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The first quiet morning in so long.  The kind of morning when I love to write.  I sit in bed and think and read and pray until an idea blows up inside me like a balloon.  I realize I can either carry around the balloon and let it deflate with neglect and business.  Or I can get myself to a keyboard or pen and paper and let go of the passageway that holds everything in.  My idea dances randomly about in such a gratifying way until it lies spent and happy.

This morning's topic?  I feel the need to explain, to no one in particular, why I've not been posting lately.  Not that anyone has asked.  Not that anyone has really noticed.  Maybe I need to hear (or write) my own explanation so that I understand.

{The children have descended from their beds into the nearby kitchen and have begun their breakfast battle of the wills with their dad.  I'm not sure how much longer the writing window will stay open.}

I write every day.  But I write in different places for different reasons.  This blog is my place to take myself seriously.  It is the place where I hope.  Where I pretend what it would feel like to be an actual writer.  This is where I put the stuff that I suspect someone might actually want to read.  I have no real expectations, which is intentional in order to avoid disappointment.  But, when I get a comment, it is such a rush!

The container where most of my writing is dumped is the trusty old journal.  I counted the other day.  Twenty-six volumes, ranging back to age 11. (This does not account for the countless scraps of paper tucked here and there because there was not an actual journal close by.)  Journaling is my habit, addiction, obsession, compulsion.  It is the easiest, cheapest and most enjoyable high I allow myself.  As much as I love journaling, I feel cramped by the boundaries of the genre.  It is mainly therapy.  I am ready to write more outward things.

I'm so superfluous!  I said all that as way more background than necessary to say this:

Due to the challenges that the current season has brought to me, I've retreated back into the therapy space of my journals.  The thoughts flowing out of me like blood are personal, vulnerable, sad, angry and introspective.  That stuff does not belong here.  Not because I want privacy, in fact I'd love to shout much of it from the rooftops.  I guess in a way I'm protecting the reader rather than myself.   You might feel like you walked in on something private, and  grimace and shut the door quickly.  No writer wants to make a reader feel awkward like that.  This blog is for opening doors, not shutting them.

It has taken great strength for me to protect this site from my blathering memoirs and conversations with myself.  Occasionally, I've let some editorial slip in.  I love to editorialize and I think I'm decent at the craft, but I've learned that you have to seem significant first in the eye of a reader before they care what you think about any cultural phenomenon or life experience.

Oh, there was another rabbit trail and the window is quickly closing.

When you hear my voice again here in this place, I anticipate it will be because I'm taking myself seriously again.  Because I am creating more for others than for myself.  Because I have hope that someone will be broadened,  resonate, enjoy, comment, correct, respond or enjoy.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Reflections on my first writers' and artists' retreat

I am in awe of the women (and Tim, who calls himself the "Token Boy") with whom I’ve spent this weekend. The vivacious personalities, the glowing faces, the creative spirit, all a masterpiece to behold. A stack of glamour magazines would not hold a tenth of the captivating beauty these women exude.

I am fuller, better, more well-rounded and grounded for having been with them. They embraced me with gracious acceptance such that I felt safe to take a step out and read my writing to them out loud. The profoundness of that moment, the sacred circle of art on display, I will carry with me.

Artists they are, every one. They hold their creativity with dignified playfulness. Poets, painters and textile artists gathered for the weekend. Others have embraced art forms I’d never heard of until now. Rug hooking is much more intricate and inspirational than the cheezy kits my sister used to get under the Christmas tree, which was what my mind originally conjured up when I heard the term. Somewhere deep, my hands want to try it.

Altered books, mail art, visual journaling... sometimes I think Myra makes up new ways to package creativity and gives them each a name. Others will see and take it up because everything she breathes into is filled with vivacious passion that draws others in. Before long, we’ll all be clipping cardboard like those who wore Jackie’s dented pillbox hat.

Myra has pursued and seized everything I want to eventually become. I behold her, admire her, and I think I am a bit envious of her.

In each of these people, I see glimpses of who I want to become.

Unabashed like Nancy
Calm like Anne
Refined impishness like Dolly
Stoic and wise like Lucy
Brave like Delores
Centered like Linda
Staid like Pat
Articulate like Megan
Faceted like Tim
Open like Brenda
Stately like Penny
And stunningly radiant like Ann.

For Ann’s gaze and attention to fall on me is a blessing. For her to spend time talking and listening with me about fine literature, about my hopes and dreams, is like basking in something divine.

There is an open trap, waiting for my stumble. To strive for approval, to attempt to impress. I’ve learned the lesson in my head that this will adulterate true creativity, that art is first for me. But there is always a gap in me there.

I admit with a blush, most poetry still bores me. Yet, it’s worth sifting through to find that one that sticks in my fibers, grabs my experience and packages it in another’s words. Someone knows what I am going through, yet they do not know me at all. Maybe one out of five poems I read will resonate with my soul this way. Therefore, I can only expect a small percentage of my poems to appeal to any readership.

Appealing to readers IS NOT WHY ONE WRITES POETRY.

Poetry is a creative outpouring of the soul. It is therapy. It is repair. It is search and seizure of meaning amidst life’s chaotic mess. We write it because it rises up from our core and it is precious. If someone else enjoys it, that is wonderful. If it is printed or purchased, that is a prize.

Not many people live on prize winnings. Few of these captivating, accomplished artists I’ve met this weekend have “made a living” on their art, from what I can tell. I think Nancy may come closest, because she engineered a farming business that provides goods and materials for other artists. Some have retired and enjoy some unencumbered time to contemplate and create. But most have “day jobs”. And of those who do, most are therapists.

I come away with the question, why are so many artists therapists, or why are so many therapists artists? I think the ability and skill it takes to “be with” another enables one to “be with” self in such a way that the juice of life flows out. (Either that, or the profession of counseling is so contorted and crazy-making that one must make meaning of it or join our in-patient friends for an extended stay!) I am sure there are many more theories to throw at this question. One thing seems certain to me, there is an artistic quality to all healing. The healing journey is one of refining and re-creating self. To walk with others on that journey is to take in a gallery of humanity. It is to behold the fine arts of courage, tenacity, honesty, forbearance, forgiveness and surrender.

I think it’s starting to make sense.

I came here with my typical naive, foolish mindset of either-or… a pipe dream that I could choose a time to transition from something to something. Art and counseling are tied together. I think I am ever getting better at both. It is not late for either. (Oh, how the rat race has distorted my perception of time!)  I owe a debt of gratitude to these women who taught me that personal evolution is a life-long journey, to which there may not even be a "destination", except to join with the divine creative Center.
Perhaps my discouragement with counseling has been my message, my invitation to invest in myself as an artist. Perhaps the process of creativity will give me the courage and fortitude to jump through necessary but annoying hoops to continue to establish myself in my chosen profession.

Dear God, thank You at long last for some answers. Not many, but a precious few to guide me. I think this may be my 7th visit to Lost River. Six previous trips I pursued You doggedly for answers about purpose and meaning.

The answers were not in systems theory
Or in Ed Friedman
Or in Larry Matthews
They were not in my small processing groups
They were not in my genogram or in the triangles
(although those people and tools have been very helpful and enlightening)
Even in self-differentiation and a yellow pad in the woods, You were quiet.

Isn’t it just typical? When I had no agenda, when I embraced uncertainty with abandon, when I quieted myself and let go of grabby demanding, here You are.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Reflections after the Ball...

To dance is to be out of yourself.
Larger, more beautiful, more powerful.
This is power, it is glory on earth
and it is yours for the taking.
- Agnes DeMille
The question is posed of last night's Willow Manor Ball:  So, was all this deliciously silly hoopla pure nonsense?
The fact that so many people got lost in the fantasy of pure suggestion speaks to something deeper, in my opinion.  Yes, it appealed most to writers who routinely allow ourselves to plunge from reality.  But, I believe if everyone were completely honest, we all long to dance the night away with beautiful and fascinating people.
In the past, before all of our techno trinkets to entertain us at home alone, people gathered in pubs, taverns, clubs and taprooms to shake off the harshness of the day and find shelter in one another.  While some may caution against drunken brawls, I'd venture to say that was more the exception than the rule.  Just people enjoying people and some of the most beautiful things this earth has to offer; music, art and dance.
Recently I was traveling and happened upon a small town that hosts live music in the center of town one Friday a month.  The community gathers to soak up the sound and, of course, dancing ensues.  I was green with envy that I don't live close to such people. 
Or do I?  How many people in this siding-encased swirl of cul-de-sacs long for the sanctuary of a social evening?  How many of us turn to our keyboards or haunting blue screens to lull us beyond our loneliness?
Here's my point... the cyber-ball was a blast.  I was comforted to know how broad and how deep other minds venture for a taste of the divine.  But what if we attempted it, on a somewhat smaller and less infamous scale, in our "offscreen" life?
Why aren't we all having a Ball?
(Don't you want to know what happened with Pierce and I?  You'll have to pry it out of me!)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

My evening at the Willow Manor Ball...

You know it's going to be quite an evening when the right song plays at just the right moment.

As Humphrey and I walk in the crowded entryway, smiles all around, "Swingin' on the Moon" by Mel Torme was right on cue.  Excitement swirled as my eyes take in the star-studded who's who.

I was worried I'd not dressed perfectly for the evening.  I guess every girl wonders.  But as I look around, I'm thrilled that I decided to wear the black sheath.  There are so many flares and flounces.  I like to stand out just a bit.  The sleek look is all mine tonight. 

When I opened the door and saw Bogie in his white dinner jacket, I could tell enchantment was in the air.  He is a wonderful man.  We've been dating for about six months and I should feel like the luckiest lady alive.  But something in me is holding back, I'm not sure what.  He is a gentleman, and treats me like fragile gold leaf.  What's missing, I can't quite put my finger on.  It can't be his age, because I've always enjoyed older men.  Conversation is always spot-on.  Never a dull moment with Bogie, that's for sure.  But I know when we kiss, something is not there that should be.

Snap out of it, I tell myself.  Allow yourself to be whisked off to the event of the year, silly girl!

There is Willow, looking radiant.  I'd look a terrible mess after pulling together such an amazing presentation. She's such a social butterfly with men dripping from her wings like morning dew.  It's hard to tell who's her offical escort.  What a zingy glare she just threw at Marilyn!  That's my girl, defend the home field.  When will Marilyn learn not to cross women like Willow?

The food smells delictable, the candle light enchanting, the manor has an eerie elegance.  The festive atmosphere has chased most of the eerie away.  Every now and then, it floats through like a faint white whisp.  But, that's probably just me.  I imagine things sometimes.

An underdressed lady with long wavy tresses just took our picture.  It is a good thing to be on the arm of Mr. Bogart.  Who knows where that picture will pop up!

There's Bette Davis, prattling on about the social drama that always seems to gather near her.  I don't mean to say she's a gossip, bless her beautiful heart, because gossip usually has some element of truth.  For goodness sakes, who would ever believe that rubbish about George Sanders in drag!  Preposterous fabrication, that's all.

Bogie has gone about greeting his comrades.  Just as a vintage glass of bubbly lands in my hand and Sammy Davis begins to croon, "I Want to be With You" I catch a glimpse of a dark profile in the corner.  An old familiar staccato beat echos through my chest.  I don't recognize the person, but I recognize the feeling.  It's what's missing with Bogey.  Oh Sammy, not now!

The handsome figure steps to avoid a rushing h'ors douvre tray and the shadows give him up.  I feel as if I'm standing there completely naked as the steely eyes of Pierce Brosnan bore through me.  I feel my head tilt, my face turn ever so slightly, and my lashes take a dramatic round trip to my lower lids and back.  What am I doing?  My best flirting, that's what!  And it's working.

Pierce moves no air at all as he cruises up next to me at the coctail bar.  We've both turned our eyes forward, which I think is what bars were made that way for.  They force everyone to face the same direction, drawing the bellies in, so that no one knows who's eyes are longing for whom.  Unless you're caught peeking, that is.  I will not be caught.

Pierce defies the bar and spins around until he faces the dance floor and only his elbow graces the mahogany edge.  I hold out.  I will not speak first.  It would probably be best if Bogie showed up about now.

"You look like you're missing something, hon."

I'd be indignant if anyone else called me "hon" on a first meeting.  But the way he says it crumbles my dignities.  I attempt an air of distance in the risky conversational dance, yet I find myself moving toward the terrace door at his suggestion that the gazebo is a must-see.

Pierce has gone before me and I stop to chat with Mr. Berowne on my way.  I had intended to catch Berowne's eye this evening.  I've heard he's a film and video producer, perhaps just the kind who would take notice of a young aspiring screenwriter like me.  But thoughts of the gazebo prompt me to cut short the shop talk with Mr. Berowne.  I'll catch up with him maybe tomorrow at Brunch.

I can't believe I am playing the game.  We both know I arrived with Mr. Bogart.  We knew not to exit the room at the same time.  Bette would have a hay day with that!

The night air is electric with anticipation and forbiddenness.  The staccato beat trips again as I see his chiseled profile in amber light emanating from the floating porch.  Lilac perfume dances around us as our eyes finally admit we've arrived at the same place at the same time on purpose.  My head does its turn, my chin does its tilt... I am shameless.

Why am I not swooning at the sounds of Leonard Cohen?  Why am I not swirling with my favorite group of girls?  Why am I not savoring the heat of Willow's tango or the sweet sensuality of Patrick's mambo?  Why am I not captivated with all this evening has to offer? Why am I not whispering in Bogie's ear in some dark corner?

For the first time, I genuinely question who I will leave with tonight. 

"Jacqueline!"  Pierce's veneer cracks for the first time.  A woman has appeared on the other side of the wisteria vine where I've tucked myself for dramatic effect.  His eyebrows rise and then his wiles take over.  "I just came out for a breath, doll.  That Glenn fellow's cuban cigars were stifling.  Come dear, I hear there is a card game in the parlor."  He whisks her off before I realize that by the slight shadow of purple and vines, I've gone unnoticed.  Jacqueline had arrived on the arm of Pierce Brosnan, I now realize.

Of course, as fate would have it, Bogie was looking for me as well, and rescued me from a yarn I'd gotten into with Zsa Zsa and Lesley.  Under usual circumstances, I'd have been caught up in that type of chat.  But tonight I'm distracted.  I snap back to reality when Bogie mentions "cards".

I spend the next two hours in a smokey room with howling card-playing guests, ties hanging around opened collars, mascara beginning to slide south, releasing themselves from the refinement of evening unto the droopy early morning hours.  There are cards and there is liquor, lots of liquor.  I wonder if Willow has perhaps even gone to bed?  There's always that crowd that stays too late at every party, and now I'm in it.

I hold a fan of cards, but you could hardly call it playing.  Pierce, so aptly named, continues to toss silent darts from across the felt-topped table toward the bridge of my nose.  His gazes are obvious, and getting more and more so.  Jacqueline and Bogie are both three sheets to the wind.  No one will notice.

I slip out to the unmanned bar to pour myself the customary glass of ice water that must follow any more than two glasses of champagne if I'm to function tomorrow, which is seriously in question at this point.

Pierce's voice comes from over my left shoulder, "You know you've been at a party too long when you hear the same song twice."

Yes, there it is.  The theme of the evening, one more time.  "I Want to be With You."  I toss six months with a Hollywood legend behind me like a scented scarf in the wind, and leave this year's Willow Manor Ball with Pierce Brosnan.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Willow Manor Ball

I have no idea what a cyber ball is, but I am SO THERE!

Judging from the aesthetics and the company I've enjoyed at Willow Manor, I surmise it will be an elegant event!  Not only will I be working on my cyber-appearance, apparel and accompaniment, I think I'll also need to gussy up my site a bit.  I'm feeling classy just thinking about it...

Maybe I'll see you there!