Monday, January 7, 2013

Stealing Time From Busy

I always wanted to steal time - to sneak into the fissures and crevices of it's passage before NOW was gone, and put a halt to it. As if somehow I could manage a suspension. An idling. A breath forever caught in the inhalation. Spaciousness without borders. No tick-tock-ing of the forever omnipresent but elusive clock. A still-life. The hurry of childhood saddens me. How I raced at it with nothing but eagerness and zeal. How my own children can be so swept up in the promise of aging that tomorrow seems like more of a gift waiting to be granted than today appears to be a miracle. How we plan. How we dream. Today, a 10 year old said to me, "Me? I'm a lonely sorrow". He wasn't sad when he said it, merely alive and spontaneous and unguarded. The words did summersaults off his tongue and bounced around in the car until they fell like lead balloons into this mother's lap. She stole the line. I like to think that we are not broken. That our wounds are the glue that keep us adhered to life. And maybe this is where Time stands still. When we listen. When we allow meaning to fly or crumble or sit still . . .

Monday, September 3, 2012

This Garden

Because there is bamboo and mums and the filtering of sun through trees. Beacause he said "I love you more, Mom, and yes, it's possible." Because god. Then the shock that is a gentle awakening too quickly turned to chaos and the impossibly fine line between play and rage - only then and because god is tolerance. I wanted to love like some Southern California sun - so consistent and reliable the warmth, the offerings, that the life-sustaining light itself could be taken for granted. I wanted to love like water. A brook, a river - an uncharted ocean whose quiet calm could not be imagined. Still, the magnificent crimson mum sharing a stem with her lifeless brother and they, the mere possibility of a bulb only one Winter gone. This womb. There are wild clovers thriving amidst flowerless forget-me-nots - their heads pulled off without method by the eager fingers of adolescent's zeal. This garden. I figured the succulents would take - would spread and cover the cinderblock walls that define our beds. But they are weary - their empty hands seeking light in this Northwestern house of shade.

Friday, June 22, 2012


Anything but writing. And I mean anything. Shoot, I 'll crawl under the sub floor of someone else's house to look for potential leaks, even though there is no indication of one, before I will sit down and get my work done. This, in the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, is called "resistance." I have all flavors. It started when I was 9 and I realized I was a writer. I wrote a poem in class and that was that. I was a writer. That it was a relatively deep poem for a nine year old is true. But of greater significance is that upon completing it, I knew - and I mean KNEW - that I had just discovered something - a part of myself - that was as important and air and water. I had found my voice. What followed this "realization" was a series of distractions. I was to be the first female President of the United States. Next, a doctor. An attorney. A teacher. A writer again (heavily medicated with alcohol and consequentially, unable to do anything with the writing that I actually did), a bar-tender, a waitress (these last two only AFTER receiving a BA in English Literature and a MFA in Poetics), a sales rep., and finally, a Realtor. A gal who sells a lot of houses and writes just a little bit of poetry. The book suggests that if we were all taking up our callings, and doing what we know in our hearts we were put on this planet to do - that one genius about us that is ours only - there's be no more war, addiction, mental health problems, etc. Sounds good. I, of course, want to chain smoke cigarettes while I am writing and since that feels like a recipe for an early death - I don't. Also, I don't write. This is the resistance Pressfield is talking about. I wonder what all the people I love are not doing. And all the just so-so friends - what is it that they are not doing that they were born to do? And how, when we really like someone, finding out this gold morsel of what is under all the doing-ness and the busy-busy and the roles - how they are even more like-able, how suddenly they are fascinating. I am going to put it out there - on Facebook. I am going to ask. What are you NOT doing that is your true calling, your forever dream, your heart's desire? See what shakes loose. Maybe it will give me something to write about. And, if not me, then maybe you.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Spirulina Licorice and The Dementia

My friend Nathalie told me tonight "the thing about your writing is that you say things that I think everyone wants to say but doesn't". Aside from this being a huge compliment as I have worried that my blogging is merely self-indulgent, I felt compelled to say "Then...FUCK YOU!" Not to Nathalie, of course, but to every other person I ever wanted to say "FUCK YOU" to, but didn't. And now, since I sort of feel like she gave me permission to say a few things that maybe other people wanted to say, I think F- YOU is very apropos. So there, I said it.
That she also mentioned, in passing, a person whom had actually used the phrase "he has THE dementia" simply made me happy. Not because someone has dementia - that is sad - but because someone called it "The Dementia". In doing so, he gave a secret squirrel insight more into himself perhaps than the person of subject. I imagine he has an old closet full of neatly folded doilies and handkerchiefs from 1939, and a trunk full of someone else's old photos. I imagine he opens the closet only on the first Sunday of the month, at precisely 7:12 PM. He wears vintage white gloves that have never been washed but still appear pressed. He is lonely.

My heart has been broken several times in my life. Some breaks were more like surface cracks that hurt in the instant but seemed to regenerate and even close after a modest kindness from time. Others occurred more like tremendous re-enactments of the Grand Canyon - an act so ineffable and deep cutting that neither time nor any forthcoming kindness could propose to offer solace. These are the ones that stop time. The swollen heart syndrome that destroys a day a month a year a an instant...that seems to last forever. They are the great global tragedies, the abuses done to the innocent, the day someone tells you they no longer love you. "F you" doesn't do it here, words fall apart in your throat, muteness only speaks to the surface. If I had a color for every bottomless moan and wounded yelp that cannot be uttered, I'd paint a crimson umber blood orange sky that wrapped the entire universe in forgiveness. I'd sing so sweetly, so quietly, so right.

People want to be acknowledged where it hurts but not dragged into the mire. I am supposed to say something funny that wipes all the badness away. The Dementia helps with this. My own, and yours too. If I told you that my seven year old flipped me off the other day, you'd think I have some good fer nuthin' punk ass kid with a bad attitude and a whole helluva lot of trouble headed his way. These are not the facts. My son is funny and sweet and kind. He makes me laugh everyday, from the bottom of the barrel of my gut. He is precious and he cares about the hearts of others. And, he gave me the middle finger. The funny thing was, he didn't mean to . But it happened, at just the perfect time while he was saying just the perfect thing. Quite by chance, it was the middle finger that pointed at me, while he made some playful delivery and we both laughed until we cried. So inappropriate, so awesome. If, in the same breath, I mention that he also called a "mean kid at school" a "ball sack" you might think differently of him again. But I tell you, he is an angel. An angel who has a way with words way beyond his age.

Being married is a whole lot like a carnival. Caramel apples, merry-go-rounds, and the House of Horror. A crazy tooth-less carni super-imposed by a lovely plump lady in a polka-dotted dress. Sun shining "this is the best day of my life" while a midget is stealing your wallet.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time Out

It has been nearly 3 weeks since my last confession - I mean post - and I think that is a significant amount of days for the "time out" my previous blog warranted.

a new day.

i have a therapist.
this is new for me.
even newer that i would say it so LOUDLY.

It is fascinating to me, this seeming indulgence, that for 50 minutes straight, one day a week, I would speak either entirely about myself or, if about others, how they occur for me. Not to me, but FOR me. me me me me me. Now, I am whole-heartedly and sincerly interested in other people - people move me - they make living worth all the little whiles that are burdensome. They are my light - even in their darkest hours. It just didn't dawn on me, truly, that who I am and what I believe, feel, think, etc., might be of serious consideration to another. That sounds silly - almost ridiculous, i think, and I suppose this is some sort of pride in reverse. ( I am wholly aware of the inconsistency in capitalizing the "I".
I also get that I am paying my therapist to listen, which adds an entirely other but noteable element to the equation...meaning maybe there is an agenda to the supposed interest - but putting that aside for a moment - fascinating nonetheless.

I used to be afraid (though it was masked in disdain) of becoming the stereotype of a middle aged mom. It was not so much the suburban living, the minivan (yes, I had one), the soccer mom label, or even the white picket fence and golden retriever (though this image did at once haunt me) but rather the tiny things that would seal the deal and bury any sense of true self I once harbored, forever.
1. Having plastic, matching labelled bins which housed various re-usable decorations for each holiday.
2. Being invited to tupperware parties. ( It is true that I called my mom once almost crying when I was invited to my first Tupperware party - I thought it meant my life was over. It is also true that 4 years later I was asked to host a scrap-booking event at my home for a friend selling Creative Memories crap and I immediately put my house up for sale. It was, for this bohemian, rebellious poet who suddenly awoke to herself driving a minivan and living in a subdivision where everyone drove a minivan and had a matching house, the vertiable straw that broke the camel's back).
3. Not only buying every form of calendaring device and life-organizing tool to efficiently run a family, but actually using them with steadfast efficiency.
4. Having matching bed sets at all costs.
5. Pre-set, organized, planned out play dates.
6. The days running into each other like a series of Ground Hog days with no room or space or time left for the magic of spontaneity and passion and whim.
7. There are more.

The point, or maybe there isn't a point after all - just a moving sphere or blob or spatula - is that I have become (sort of) a person who does this shit because (sadly, somehow) it works. Sure, my bins don't match, and most of the crap inside them was given to me by people who felt my naked Christmas shrub/Hannukah bush was all together wanting. True too, that I make the calls or send the texts, albeit only moments before "pick-up", proposing a play date or two. (The dry-erase calendar posted at eye level for kids still shows signs of the manually filled in dates from back in September when I got it and.... I'm usually flying off the seat of my pants when it comes to attending school events (even though I programmed them into my smart phone weeks before) having forgotten almost every day of my life to actually look ahead and what is already on the schedule.)
What interests me about all of this right now is that I don't truly give a damn. I'm almost disappointed in myself for having taken the time to even write about it. AND, I still gotta get my ass of the computer and go pick up the kids, feed/love/coddle/admire them and then get them to gymnastics, sneak in a date with my guy, pick them up, feed 'em, read books, snuggle, turn off the lights, and "prepare" to do it all over again tomorrow.

So...for 50 minutes I was asked to recall some things. My childhood. The blazing sun, the freedom, the joy of no plans and no structure and simply radiant wild dirt-filled outdoor living. I remember it fondly and vaguely. Not so much as a series of events but as a feeling. Some eternal, parent-less summer in a safe neighborhood with no real rules. It is not so much that there were no parents, but they are noticeably absent from the memories, from the feelings that are evoked by the memories. Like maybe they were there, while this pack of wild children was running free all over the open hills between Tiburon and Corte Madera......but maybe they were organizing their bins or scheduling appointments, or crying into their Crystal Light.
I am one of those people who do not wish they had a different childhood. I feel lucky. I made lasting friendships and felt that the world belonged to me. I want that for my boys. A Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn kind of life that involved fishing poles and bare feet and all day adventures from one end of town to the other.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


I need to start by making an amends both to George W.Bush and to golden labs everywhere for suggesting that either were maybe one card short of a deck. I see now that it was mean and unnecessary - especially coming from a girl who is about as smart as a box of hair....on a good day. Even if I delete my previous blog, I get that any future running for the Republican party is over for me now once and for all - independent of what my somewhat "colored past" would have determined anyway. So, it's back to writing for me - and real estate. I just hope all the families out there with labs won't look elsewhere now that I've inadvertently slandered one of their family members.
I wrote that last night but then almost gave up blogging entirely - I was disappointed in myself for having, the day before, resorted to saying anything negative about a man I have never met. If I ever get the chance, I will apologize in person I suppose.
This feels too indulgent - this blogging about nothing in particular. Self-centered at least, if not downright narcissistic. I fell like I should be heralding a great cause or describing Mount Tam after a very fortunate run, or minding the stars.
I am not sure where all of this leads, except deeper into the rabbit hole. The Mad Hatter just knocked on my door. What a beautiful time for tea.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Organic Spam

Yep - you guessed it! My latest search for a new name ( which is becoming more of a sarcastic joke at this point, since all the supposed genius names I come up with are TAKEN) left me out in the cold again. Even was somebody else's idea before it was mine. So I guess this is what that "collective mind" is all about...the "we are one" I continue to be persuaded to believe in. The Buddhist booby prize...the Way.
When I was growing up, we went to church most Sundays. A congregational sort of hippy collective that read (somewhat metaphysically I think) from the Bible but which also hosted meditation classes and Tibetan bell playing on Tuesdays. I remember going to the bell session with my mom - she was a master at it - and writing an essay on why Jimmy Carter should be re-elected for president. I am pretty sure my main argument in his favor was "because he is nice". I felt this way about George W. Bush also - not that he should be re-elected but that he was probably just a "nice" guy who bit off more than he could chew. Maybe not the sharpest tool in the shed, but "nice" nonetheless. I just couldn't believe someone who could get their photograph taken reading a book to a children's class, holding the book upside down, could have the kind of calculating malice his adversaries suggesteded he was capable of. Also, I always thought of him more as a big (duh umm?) golden lab who thought hanging out with pitbulls would get him a better seat at the doggy park. Kinda like he was playing a game of pick-up baseball and he was way out of his league but didn't realize it until it was too late to quit without disappointing his dad.
I cannot imagine for a second why I am even suggesting to have an opinion about any of this. Sorry if I offend. Tough job, really, the Presidency...I couldn't do it.
I am not sure what class it was or even what grade, but I remember the teacher saying "Everything is political, even a bowl of fruit". I think it was an art class, maybe art history. The point I think the teacher was making was something along the lines of...if one had the resources to draw a bowl of fruit, or even to have a bowl of fruit to draw, one had means and having means, or not having means, was a matter of political persuasion. Does that make sense? It did when it was spoken - I'm just chopping it up with my wordiness.
I like poetry because it is quiet even when it is yelling. It makes one feel more than it allows for one to understand. At least, that is what it does for me. Like a good song it makes me ache - either for the sheer tragedy of it all or for the joy....and then there is that fine line where the two sensations mirror each other and I feel so damn happy to be sad.
I want to be a better. Just a better.
Mom, friend, wife, student, athlete, sister, daughter, niece, spatula....wind.
I want to wake up seizing the day when my head leaves the pillow and pass out praying to make a difference when I hit it at night. I want to live like I really am aware that this is all I got.