Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rereads & Housecleaning

As an English teacher, I stressed the importance of rereading, rewriting, and rethinking ones writing.  Its best to be in a good mood before you start.  Tonight, I reread quite a few of my blogs and was left with the taste of sawdust in my mouth.  Better to leave it for tomorrow.  I find that as I contemplate taking this writing thing more seriously, I am looking with a more critical eye at my writing.  I think I need to trim the fat, clean up my lines, get more clear and concise in my language.  Lots of work to do.  Must get into shape. 
So here goes.  I will try to discipline myself again to writing....on a weekly basis.  I'll work my way up to daily.  Can't run a marathon right off the shot. 
I'll start with brisk walking and build from there. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Magical Night

I sat in the room filled with people, all with their own story, all hoping to make it a good one.  Each of us had come to get inspiration, direction, a new focus.  I left with $10 burning a proverbial hole in my pocket.

One of the speakers at the Storyline conference shared how he decided to create opportunities for his church members to live a better story.  Normally, churches ask for money.  The plate goes around and you put your offering in.  That's how it roles.  This guy Mack, decided to break $26,000 dollars into small denominations ($5, $10, $20) and hand it out to anyone who would take one. The catch was: this money is God's money; they were to pray and use it to tell a better story as good as they could come up with; and lastly, none of that money was to come back to the church.

They did the same thing at this conference I went to, and I, being a sucker for a challenge, took one of the envelopes.

I am also a procrastinator.  

About two months ago, right after the Storyline conference, with that $10 burning a hole in my pocket (and heart), I was invited along to a fund raising dinner for an organization called AOET.  I was keeping my eyes open for a good way to tell a better story with $10.  I found it that night while listening to the heart behind AOET.  (check out the impetus behind this org at  A young, high school aged girl spoke about how she decided to try to raise enough money to build a house in a new village ($26,000).  I have never tried to raise money for anything, so how a then 15 year old just got it into her head to set that goal for herself and do it was inspiring to me.

As I sat there listening, I thought about Facebook; I know it's a shocker to most of you- I am not totally addicted to Facebook...yet.  Earlier that evening I had noticed that I had 540 friends.  Five HUNDRED and forty.  Suddenly the thought occurred to me, "How hard would it be to raise $26,000...540....26,000...540."  Then I started doing the math, that took more than a few minutes, I can tell you, and you know what I figured out?  Fifty bucks. Fifty bucks each is all it would take to raise the money to build a house.  What do you say?  Want to build a house with me?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Today at The Bridge...

This is dedicated to all the hands.  You know who you are.


There is a reticence in me; I hold back.
I was not born this way,
The wild fearless part of me was taught
                                     Being Careful.

I saw the abyss, the dark yawning void.
It reached out and welcomed me.
Its caressing echo beckoned me.
At the moment I was acquiescing to the pull,
Hands grasped me
By the arm, by the hair
by the heart, dead thing that it was, and pulled me back.
They held on for my life.

The nothing:
It lamented the loss of me
I lamented the loss of nothingness.

On that edge, I felt the weight, the pain, the terror of everything that had driven me to
This end.
I despaired of ever being free.
I wanted to jump.

But Hands...
Hands all around me,
They held.
They were strong when I was not.
They held me when I couldn't.
They were hope when I had none.

I lay there drowning, in pain,
...and slowly, slowly
Something began to rise, grow,
pierce its tender shoot out of my fallow heart.

It was Hope
And it became stronger.
None of the previous cheap, false hope, this was not plastic,
But a living thing.

It broke through the hardened surface and, like green things do,
Restored by destroying.

And now, I hope.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

And The Sun Poured In Like Butterscotch....

This is the first morning in a long time (a whole four months) that I haven't had to wake up to go somewhere.  What a luxury.  I made an egg white and leftover ratatouille breakfast and sat down with a cup of coffee and Anne Lamott's new book Imperfect Birds to enjoy said breakfast.  As I sat eating and humming Chelsea Morning by Joni Mitchell I realized: I am at peace.

How far I've come; how much my life has changed in the last two years. How much am I blessed.  How many people I have to thank for their love and support.  I can only wish the kind of people I have will be available to you should you ever need it. 

Life will never be perfect, and there will be struggle till the day we die.  You know what I'm talking about.  But when you know you are loved, when you are well loved and you can take that in, the struggle becomes less the point.

Guess I'm just feeling grateful...and hopeful.  Its a good place to be.  Much love.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore

Maybe its the influence of Glee, but everything seems to be coming out with a theme song from some 80's power ballad lately. I swear after watching the finale (3 times in 2 days) I could NOT get "Faithfully" by Journey out of my head...or, for that matter, Finn. 

Are you ready for embarrassing admission number two? I cannot stop watching...well lets say it rhymes with Shmilight. I don't know why either. The acting is so-so, the love story they portray is unhealthy at best, unrealistic for sure, and quite possibly the most immature rendering of two people's feelings for each other I have ever witnessed. OK, I'll give you (if you'll give me) that the scenery is beautiful. So besides the cinematography, which is the only thing I'll admit (out loud) I like about this movie, what is it about this movie that has me watching it over and over again?

I am puzzling through this right now hoping that a blog post will help me figure it out. I'm not one of those gawker/stalker older women who is all into Edward Cullen. Frankly the pale faces on every single one of the vampires, I find, are ugly. I don't want some guy to be all broody all the time because of his tortured soul ( I lie, I totally go for the broody musician types). Neither do I want to be emotionally bounced around (he likes me, he doesn't like me).

I guess what it comes down to is that I want to be important to someone. And I want to be important enough that he'll go out of his way to get to know me. More than that, I want to be the principle character, the main player in my own life.  For so many years I have fit myself into whatever story is playing out, too afraid of failing at it to chance taking a larger role.  Sure I've added pizzazz to any ol' story line you put me in, but I was mostly a character actor, good for a laugh or a moment.

No longer.

I want my own life.  I want a story that won't be worth telling unless I'm in it.  And I want to share that story with someone special.  Let it be henceforth known, I am ready.

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Hanging my head in shame, I come back to my blog. I had such high hopes for myself and my resolve to write at least once a week. To be fair to myself, I do have a job. In fact I have two jobs, three if you count the once-a-week 3 hour gig I have on the side. All of these jobs have variable schedules, and on top of that I am searching for a summer job, and a job when I get to Portland in the Fall. I am just a little busy.
And that's a good thing.
I have re-discovered my love for teaching. It was there all along, but paired with my past experiences and therefore tinged with the scent of failure. Teaching was my last hold out; the last big boogety boogety in my closet of fear. Years ago, someone said to me, "Its like when a parent loses a child and they shut the door to that child's bedroom and seal it up like a tomb. There are rooms in your heart where a death has occurred and you've shut the door and said, 'I'll never go there again.'" I didn't understand these words at the time, but the truth in them has been revealed to me recently.
Part of my process of healing has been to revisit those places I have feared the most, the places I have experienced failure. The old me was so terrified of failure, that when I felt it coming on, I would, like a sinking ship trying to stop the inevitable, shut down the water safe doors. There was a problem with my response though. Every time I shut down the door and ran from the impending danger, I left behind something important. I left parts of myself to drown in the rising tide of fear.
But I was a little premature and panicky. There was no water that threatened to swamp the boat. Behind those too quickly deployed doors was the evidence of minor mistakes...nothing fatal. Maybe there was a pinprick sized leak in the hull. Nothing a little tar couldn't fix, nothing uncommon to the seafarer. Unfortunately my fear had clouded my judgment, and now there was a huge bulkhead door in the way and no way for me to observe the minor nature of the problem. As to opening the door to assess the situation, I was SURE that a wall of deathly water would rush over me, ending any hope of survival. Even approaching the door meant being submerged up to my neck in terror.
Those doors and those rooms only have the power over you that you give them. Each time I square off in front of another door I sealed long ago, the fear wanes a little more. I am learning that the fear that grips my heart is a liar. I open the door and discover no deathly threat. Each room rediscovered garners me the treasures I abandoned in panic; treasures I have carried as lost cargo for all these years, thinking myself a flooded ghost ship. Each room opened reacquaints me to myself.
I am becoming seaworthy.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Last Day of February

Its the last day of February (the month of LUUV...and incidentally the shortest month of the year. Coincidence? I think NOT!) and I am at a church (shall remain nameless) in Baldwinsville, in a store front, with my sister. Nice people. There is an old dude with a teal do-rag rocking out on an electric acoustic guitar set to stun. He's got some serious distortion going on. There are more people on stage than in the audience; total :18. Strangely, I'm not uncomfortable. I'm more detached than anything.


This expression of church/faith strikes me as largely innocuous. Not too effective, but certainly harmless. And I am maintaining a distance. I am a safe distance-aholic.

While the worship was gargle, rinse, repeating, I sat down to write, trying to engage God in some meaningful way...for me. I wrote this poem of sorts (as poemy as I get).

Is it broken?
Or am I?
I keep searching, but with less vehemence
The fight has gone out of me....or has it?
I seek a touchstone to
That which has gone dormant
Does it exist?
Or is that fever a sign of sickness,
And all I know of passion just

I know there is mystery in the unknown vastness of God
All the doors I have been shown to get out into that vastness
Have proved doors to:

Rooms with yellow wall paper
Classrooms with teachers who have never experienced the vastness trying to tell me about it.

I want the real deal.

I'm reticent.
I can't believe what I used to, because
The people who ushered me into the cell tried to tell me
The cell was the whole world.

I know that's a lie.

And I don't have to pretend it isn't anymore.
I know the difference between God and prison cell.

I choose to BELIEVE

Even though all that has been presented to me as THE ANSWER
Has been proven


You are not false.
You exist.
And you are good.

I stumble through the hall of doors,
Looking for the way out.
I don't trust any of my old guides...
I can't.

I'm so critical of the counterfeit, I worry I'll miss the truth.

But I know


KNOW the difference


TRUTH and Counterfeit

I trust my heart.
I trust that within me, that knows.

I will not settle for lies.

I haven't seen it yet
But I'll know it when I do.

I trust that I will not wander forever
In this dim wasteland of doors.

The right exit will show itself,
And I'll walk through with no hesitation.

Over the lintel it will say:

All who wander are not lost.