Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Make Messes

I adore messes.

Messes are:
1) The result of creativity
2) A reason to make creative excuses
3) An excuse to be creative
4)  Reminders to make space for creativity

Wait. Did I remember to mention the 'C' word?


Not THAT 'C' word. THIS 'C' word:


Messes comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and rhythms. What did you create with your mess today?

The Smell

The Christmas tree smells
Like the brick wall at the light rail stop
Near Pratt Street
The perfect place to write your name
Vertically without being seen
We thought the smell was
The Christmas greens wilting on the wall
Above the heat vent
We moved it to the perfect place
All the neighbors could see

We thought the smell was permeating,
carried in the warm gas wind,
Through the door
Perfect! We'll move the swag
To the curb with the Christmas mulch

The smell persists. I didn't go there.
Did you? We packed away Christmas
Under the stairs
We'll open the windows. The winter is perfect
To freeze our toes. We'll wear socks

The smell. THE SMELL!
Here's a Santa clothespin. Close your nose.
Up it goes
No perfect escape. Nowhere to go
We stare as the cat squats down

Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I reread a Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes about Jungian female archetypes recently and something new sticks every time I read it. This time it was a word:


In our culture alone is very scary word. We are afraid of dying alone. We feel sorry for our friends to who spend holidays alone. We find life partners so we won't be alone.

Consider a new way to look at alone. Alone started out as two words


At some point in language history all one was squished together to be alone.

Take a look at these pictures. Pick one and describe how alone looks to you.


Air tickles and smells of sea and conifer leaves
Lifting heady breath
One of me, miles granite crevasses
North points to
Endings or beginnings. All one

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Dizzy Dance

Stop for 5 seconds.

Today is December 21, 2011.

We are sitting on a watered rock that is hurdling through space at 67,000 miles per hour or 30km per second flying around super hot ball of gas moving 7.3 times faster than our rock that is tucked inside the arm of galaxy that moving 4.5 times faster than the gaseous ball.


 Dizzy yet?

Facts from

Monday, December 19, 2011

Balance--Tip the Scale

I spend time in the light. I associate light with a lot of things--love, laughter, healing, life. I send light bombs when traffic seems to be overly aggressive, and I'm lost in the speed and hurry. I send light when I hear of someone sick or ill. I send light when something wonderful happens.

I thrive in the light.

I've also spent time in the darkness--the days of dark when life is hopeless.

Today I've opened the closet door and "to do" buried me. Here in the darkness, I find my courage; I know my fear. They lead back to the light.

Balance lives in darkness and in light. Cherish both. Where's your darkness? How does it lead you back to the light?


Behind me
Under Stairs
Sidewalk cracks
Attic corners

Out breath spaces
Closed eyes
Toe fuzzies

Mashed-up rainbows
Invisible yin, chasing yang

Lingering for rain
Bathed in light
Saved today,
tucked away.
                                                                               Darkness left

Monday, December 12, 2011


Last September I decided to learn how to play the guitar. I really wanted a piano because I already know how to play one. A guitar is cheaper and transportable and doesn't require removing my favorite writing chair from my favorite writing view.

A guitar is something new.

I'm an adult, so I can do what ever I want, right?

Fine. There's more.

I was madly in love, and I wanted my love to write us a love song on his 12-string guitar. Love did not write our song, and I was determined to write and play a song of my own. I stared up at a wall of beautiful guitars in awe and indecision. I walked out of the music store with a lefty acoustic, a hard case, and thee months of lessons.

Playing the guitar requires diligence and practice and then more practice and diligence. Unlike the straight line of a piano, the guitar operates under the theory of chaos. Guitars make no logical sense.

I do not do chaos.

For the first month I couldn't feel the fingertips in my left hand. I had a blister on my right thumb from strumming. I couldn't read guitar tab. I played everything up-side-down. I practiced 30 minutes every night. I showed myself no mercy. My teacher* laughed.

Six months ago, I wrote a song full of love and joy. I sang it until I didn't cry anymore.

I love play making music as much as I love writing. The cool thing about a guitar is that you can make the same note or chord at least two ways. I learned more than how to make a pretty song and a chord.
  • I learned chaos theory--now I can find my way in and out of almost any kind of trouble
  • I learned patience for those times when no one hears me
  • I leaned diligence because I can say it again tomorrow
  • I learned to be gentle with myself so I can sleep at night
I still can't play that song I wrote on the guitar. The trouble is the F-cord.

I stopped practicing, and I am here at the beginning.


I'm not a beginner because I'm learning how to strum or where to put my fingers or how to make cords. I'm beginning because I've lost the strength in my left hand. It gets tired to fast to make it through a 30 minute lesson. My bars are muted on the high strings and require both strength in your left hand the muscles of your lower back. Bars are also absolutely necessary to play an F-cord. I'm back to my fourth lesson: Power cords...only this time I get to play with  three fingers instead of two. Soon, with diligence and patience and gentleness, I'll play an F-chord, and then I'll play that song.

Beginnings are new and humbling and exciting and petrifying and joyful. Where have you stopped practicing? Are you ready to begin again? What's new in this beginning?

*Thanks to Charlie, my teacher--F-chord extraordinaire.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Singing Harmony

I'm in this relationship. Ten years ago, it was about fun and love and my insatiable need to give an underdog and show someone what it is like to fly--and when I'm honest with myself, there was a lot in it for me too. Now this relationship is more of a misunderstanding, and I have a lot stories.

We all have stories. Looking at our stories from a literary view it's like this. When we look at the truths in the stories we hold closest to our hearts, we forget that we write and tell our stories. Facts are facts, and the tone is sung in many different harmonies.

In my stories of this important relationship how do I separate my story from the human being? Where do I stand nose-to-nose, and where do I let go?

Tearing down my stories is painful, joyous, and everything in between. It means admitting that I'm wrong, that I have treated someone unfairly, or that I may have to make a change in how I am. More daunting, is realizing that someone has the same stories about me and singing a new harmony doesn't mean I'll be seen in a new way. I keep practicing, and I keep loving into it.

Here's a song that reminds me to keep practicing:

My professor Dianne Connelly says humans word the world. We make history. Dianne also says a story is not for the teller, the story is for the sake of the listener.

Today look at one of your stories and the tone you sing in. What story do you want your great-great grandchildren to hear? What story do you want to teach your children? Our stories are contagious, and we are all writers.


Garbage spews forth
From your rotting larynx
Suffocating the dust particles
Dancing in the sunlight
You mouth closes

My numb tongue
Bitten through
Pausing to lilt sulfur
Between black powder dust
Invitation for reaction

Shoulders kiss my ribs
Sun casts tree shadows
Behind your head
Winded branches tap the rhythm
I breathe, singing in the rain

Letting garbage lie
Letting powder fall
Seeds planted in thirds
For next year's flowers
Will you sing the fifth?


Monday, December 5, 2011

Don't Question the Universe

Today has been the oddest of days. It reminds me of the Taoist story of  Maybe. Normally, I would have worried and questioned myself into a headache, a backache, or vomitted by now. I haven't.

Our fiber line was cut this weekend, so we didn’t have Internet.

I kept my cool.

I didn't flip out when the phone company said they couldn't fix it until Monday and I was going to miss work and couldn't even work from home since I didn't have a connection.

If we had had Internet, I wouldn't have gone to bed by 9PM last night, and I wouldn't have gotten up to run this morning. I wouldn't have known the circuit breaker for the treadmill tripped.

I kept my cool and decided since I was already in may sneakers, I would run anyway.
The same circuit also powers the freezer so I got the extension cord. If I hadn't used the extension cord to power the treadmill before I plugged it into the freezer, I wouldn't have noticed that the extension cord has to to be placed just so or it won't work.

I kept my cool

If I hadn't been home this afternoon waiting for the phone company to reattach the fiber line, I wouldn't have been playing with Legos, and I wouldn't have remembered what a sweet amazing genius I live with.

I'm still cool.

The chicken stock is frozen, contact with the outside world is reestablished and who knows what the universe will reveal tomorrow.

What's in your way today? Let go of the questions and welcome each oddity as a gift.