28 April 2008

Fairy Dust & Ruby Slippers

I believe in magic. I do.

There, I said it. Whew, load off.

I believe in the unexplainable, in the mystical, in the mythical.

I believe in wonder, in marvel.

I believe.

I don’t know if I believe magic can inhabit us bodily, as much as I believe it floats around us.

It swirls and sparkles and shines all around.

Like glittery feathers on currents of wind. Fireflies and pixies.

Or maybe just like the wind itself.

Because you can’t actually ‘see’ the wind, but the effects of it are clear, if we are watching for it.

Maybe we can’t actually ‘see’ magic, but the results are all around. IF we take the time, slow down and pay attention.

I believe. I do.

This being true, that I believe, you might think my life would be filled with wonder and whimsy and reflections of light. But alas. No. The reason this ‘no’ is so, is because I am SO. Mostly, we are all SO. (To say this ‘SO’ properly, you have to say it as you let out all the air in your lungs. Try this.)

We are heavy with SO. We are SO busy living, thinking, planning, scheming, meaning to get to this and to that. We are SO busy reflecting and analyzing and remembering and prophesying and whining and the magic is missed.

Even knowing this, even with this (pardon me for saying so, but. . . . .) amazing insight, I still miss it, most of the time. I seem to, mostly, be SO busy looking ahead and SO busy looking behind. Foolish. Particularly foolish, because I’m aware of a better way and still fall short.

My inexcusably lame excuse is ‘habit.’ I’ve always done it this way. It’s hard (and maybe a bit scary) to even think about doing life a different way. I am in the habit of missing the magic.

For me the magic is in the calm. It’s in the peace and breathing. For me, magic is in the smallest, least planned moments of my life. I love to look for magic in the coincidence, in the serendipity, in the space between other things. I want to share a little list of examples here, but somehow, feel doing so, would trivialize the magic.

I’m also thinking, that some people are more likely to beget magic than others. There are some people in my life with whom magic is simply more likely to happen. In fact, now that I think about it, I seem to have a disproportionately high amount of people in my life who are not exactly the magic-spawning types.

Boy, wouldn’t that make a great title: Spawn of the Magic Lagoon

Maybe it’s a chemistry thing. My daughter and I, together, seem to walk in a multitude of magical moments. Like her idea of magic, matches up very well with my idea of magic.

We have great magic chemistry.

Or it may also be a proximity thing, because my two sons no longer live at home and so, we have much less opportunity to experience shared magic. It definitely happens, but is less frequent.

Funny but the more I go on here about magic, the less magic seems to be floating around me.

So, off I go.
I may have a long way to go until I am regularly breathing in magic, but I think I’m one-step closer because . . . . .

I believe.


19 April 2008

Violets are not blue

Apparently April is National Poetry Month.

I confess I wouldn't have any idea what National Month we are in, except that I work in a library and finding out such things seems to be an occupational hazard. Oh well, you take the bad with the good.

I am not a poet. And am, in point of fact, quite easily annoyed by poetry.

Poetry bothers me in the same way that fine art bothers me.
I do not know enough about what's good,
what's bad,
what's classic,
what's contemporary,
what's edgy and whatever.
So my participating in an intelligent discussion is astronomically unlikely. I find this annoying.

The cliche, "I know what I like" is true of me in fine art and in poetry. And mostly what I like is Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. As you can tell, I'm quite the connoisseur.

Now if you're a poet, plug your ears during this next part.

Poets themselves, tend to annoy me. Sometimes I think they TRY to be obscure and confusing in their work. I think they might actually enjoy that blank stare they get from most people after hearing their poetry. If they read one of their poems and the listener instantly 'get's the meaning, actually understands the point, then they've failed and it must be bad poetry. Because if it were a superior poem, no one would have the first clue what the hell it's about. It's this smug, arrogant sniff that turns me off.

This is not to say that I do not appreciate other people's love of poetry.
Just like I appreciate other people's love of dogs, just keep them off my property, off my leg and make sure they keep their fleas to themselves. No offense.

Okay, so I believe I've clearly established that I am no poet and I have very little appreciation for poetry. So I really have no reason to be celebrating National Poetry Month.... Or so I thought......

Because when I think about it more closely, I realize that my dislike for poems does not equal my love of lyrics. I love reading lyrics, quoting lyrics, posting lyrics here and there. And I think we'd all agree that a good majority of lyrics are poetry put to music.

So is it the musical part that softens my poetry hating spirit? Maybe.

Or maybe instead, when I hear verse set to music, as opposed to standing alone, I can feel the heart's cry in the lyrics. Cries of joy, jealously, grief, elation, longing. When put to music, the same exact words seems to speaks to me instead of aggravating me. It doesn't feel conceited, condescending and grating on my nerves with music attached. Is my soul savage and needing to be soothed by song? Yes, I think there is something to this. There is surely some deep, profound, difficult to understand philosophical reason why I love lyrics but do not like poems.


Or maybe .....

I just like lyrics better because they usually rhyme. Like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein.

Anyway, in honor of National Poetry Month, or NPM as some of us call it, I am including here bits and pieces of some of my favorite lyrical poems:

Helplessly hoping her harlequin hovers nearby
Awaiting a word
Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit
He runs
Wishing he could fly
Only to trip at the sound of good-bye

Wordlessly watching he waits by the window
And wonders
At the empty place inside

Heartlessly helping himself to her bad dreams
He worries
Did he hear a good-bye
or even Hello

They are one person
They are too alone
They are three together
They are for each other

Helplessly Hoping:
Written and performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young


Once divided...nothing left to subtract...
Some words when spoken...can't be taken back...
Walks on his own...with thoughts he can't help thinking...
Future's above...but in the past he's slow and sinking...
Caught a bolt 'a lightnin'...cursed the day he let it go...
Nothingman... nothingman... isn't it something?

She once believed...in every story he had to tell...
One day she stiffened...took the other side...
Empty stares...from each corner of a shared prison cell...
One just escapes...one's left inside the well...
And he who forgets...will be destined to remember...

Nothingman by Pearl Jam

Your day breaks, your mind aches
There will be time when all the things she said will fill your head
You won't forget her
And in her eyes you see nothing
No sign of love behind the tears
Cried for no one
A love that should have lasted years

For No One
from the Revolver album by The Beatles

She calls me just to talk
She's my lover, she's a friend of mine
She says Hey mister you wanna take a walk
In the wild west end sometime?

And I get trouble with my breathing
She says Boys don't know anything
But I know what I want
I want everything

Expresso Love (on Dire Straits' Alchemy album):
written by Mark Knopfler (and no, it's not about some guy with a crush on a nasty bikini barista.)

There are many many more.
Blackbird by the Beatles.
All Apologies by Nirvana.
Promises by Eric Clapton.

Happy NPM! Or is it Merry? Anyway....

Send me your favorite poem if you want to,

as long as it rhymes.....

and it's not about a dog. . . . .

( AND as long as it doesn't start with 'There once was a girl from.....')

13 April 2008

Can't Not

Lately, there seems to be a social 'movement' to be more positive.

To send more optimistic, happy thoughts and energy out into the universe. Focus on what's good and light and hopeful. And I am not opposed to this.

Wait, let me rephrase that, "I am in support of this."
(Although some of my posts might suggest otherwise.)

In fact, in a few areas of my life, I live this positive philosophy. Or at least, try to.

Entertainment is the first thing that comes to mind.
I have done a relatively good job of not filling my precious free time with violence, terror, murder, rape, mayhem and horror, then lying to myself by calling it 'entertainment.' I'll let you know what I actually call it another, more negative, day. Because I know that you are dying to find out.
(Humor me, here.)

Another area I work on, with some success, is what and how I eat.
I give myself full permission to eat junk, when the urge dictates. But for the most part, I'm pretty good about satisfying my hunger with healthy food. And even more importantly, I try to honor each meal with my focus and attention. I try to keep from eating in a hurry, on the run. I try to slow down and appreciate my meals, to savor them. It helps me to be more grateful for what sustains me, physically. I also feel that my body uses the food more efficiently and healthfully, to my benefit, when I can eat happily and appreciatively.

Not surprisingly, considering the world in which we live, there are still many areas of my life, (the majority, at times), where my perspective is slightly, or overtly, negative. I'll not list them, for now. And don't you start listing them yourself.

One, I will mention here. I am guilty of phrasing things in the negative.

Often, speaking in terms of . . . .

what I can't do,

what I'm not feeling,

what I'm not getting and so forth.

This is, admittedly, something to work on and I'll keep you informed.

In the meantime . . . . . .

There is one, specific 'negative' that I have decided to, without apology, include and embrace in my life.

The phrase, "I can't not . . . . ."

Before now, I was sometimes 'reminded,' by those with good intentions, to rephrase this into the positive. In terms of what "I can . . . " instead. I tried to comply, but it felt wrong. Even so, instead of listening to my heart, I would beat myself up with 'shoulds.'

"I should be more positive."

"I should speak in the affirmative."

"I should say things with more optimism."

So, even in my attempts to conform to the positive, I continued to look at the negative side.

Then, a few days ago, I was having a too brief, and all too rare conversation with a friend, to whom I was trying to explain how it is that I write.
And the only thing I could utter was: "I can't not."

It's the truth. I can't not write. It simply isn't possible.

This is not to say that days, and weeks do not sometimes pass without my writing down a single creative word. But, don't be fooled, it will be written. The 'material' in my head, the thoughts, the rants, the stories, the characters, the plots, the bullshit, the truth would send me running for the nearest cliff, if it couldn't be released. Even if, at irregular intervals.

It isn't my claim that it will necessarily be interesting thoughts, rants, stories and such, but it will not stay inside me. The pressure would be too much. I could equate it to a volcano, or a pressure cooker, or even a shaken bottle of champagne but it would still not suffice. I would be headed straight for madness, if for some reason I couldn't vent in one written form or another.

My sanity, for what it's worth, would be in grave peril.

My partner in conversation hadn't understood this in regards to writing, until I used the phrase "I can't not" and then he seemed to instantly understand. He could relate, because he had a 'can't not' in his life, as well. Lucky man.

I am thinking we all should have at least one "can't not."

"I can't not meditate."

"I can't not dance in the rain."

"I can't not sing what's in my heart."

"I can't not splash in puddles."

"I can't not paint the sky."

"I can't not read Barbie's blog."

"I can't not fly kites."

Valid "can't nots," all

(Disclaimer: "I can't not play WoW" is not what I'm talking about here, today. And there are probably support groups in your area for such things.)

The positive version, of the above statements, simply does not adequately express the truth, the actual sentiment behind the words.

"I can write music" or "I will write music" just does not say the same thing as "I can't not write music." Even if it's amped up to "I must write music," this can be misinterpreted. It could sound like a chore one needs to do, but doesn't want to do.

I've come to the following personal conclusion.

I will no longer be debating this issue in my head,
I will no longer be hard on myself for using these words,
I will proudly and loudly say exactly what "I can't not. . . ."

Stay tuned. . . . . .

06 April 2008

Tube socks, Tighty-whiteys and Typical

Men ‘bitch’ about their wives. Their girlfriends. It’s customary and it’s expected.

It's a social dynamic men engage in, I believe, in attempt to prove they are MEN!

This common behavior spans a wide range. From the overt manner of “my wife, the nag . . ." to the almost undetectable and subtle“Gotta give ‘the’ wife a call.” Some men pass it off as harmless joking.

The implication being that if it weren’t for the woman in his life, he’d be free to do as he pleases. He'd have a better life. The good life.

You've heard it, you've seen it. In commercials, sitcoms, movies, lunch conversation, on the commute to work, over a pool table. This is the socially acceptable ‘speak’ for men. It’s culturally correct.

"Poor me, my wife wants to spend the day together. But I was really looking forward to eight hours in the recliner, drinking cheap beer and then later, getting to know myself better over a five year old magazine. Why me?"

You may be a man. And you may be reading this, thinking, ‘Not me! I don’t speak badly of my wife.’ But can you say ‘Never?’ You have never, ever, once verbally disrespected the woman in your life? To a friend, a co-worker, to anyone? To yourself? To her face? You've never dismissed her as trivial and insignificant in the grand scheme of your egocentric, self-important life?

And simply because it’s the way men are expected to speak of women?

Think about it. If a guy were to regularly gush and rave about how wonderful his wife/girlfriend (of more than two months) is, how happy he is, how lucky he feels to have such an amazing woman in his life, he’d be forced to revoke his testicles.

He’d be ‘whipped.’

Men, who would be completely devastated and without redemption if their woman left them, strut around to one extent or another and verbally violate the affection he genuinely, sincerely holds for his wife or girl, just to prove himself manly, to the rest of the world.

"I'm tough, I'm macho. I wouldn't be caught dead revealing my gratitude for my wife. My affection for her, my love. What would the guys think?" It’s character revealing, don’t you think?

Like a teenager complaining about his parents. You would be an adolescent disgrace, if you were heard uttering complimentary or remotely flattering words about your parents. If caught, you’d be required to turn in your ‘emergency’ condom that expired four years ago.

And if the exercise of verbal ‘rejection’ weren’t enough, this bad behavior, like any ‘vice’ can lead to harder stuff. It seems to frequently drive a man to irrational, detrimental, relationship-destroying behavior.

My daughter and I watch a show called Gilmore Girls.
Seven seasons. (Three too many, but that’s another discussion.)

In this show, there is a peripheral character named Kirk. He’s a bit goofy, awkward, self-conscious. He's is in his late twenties/early thirties and probably lets him mom, whom he still lives with, pick out his 'outfit' each day. A 'late bloomer.'

Two or three seasons into the series, against most odds, Kirk gets himself a girlfriend. Lulu.

He did well. Lulu is cute, soft-soft spoken and a bit timid. Kirk's technique is rough at first. He’s a bit perplexed at his good fortune, but Lulu is patient (girl's usually have to be, don't they?) and he eventually gets the hang of being an attentive, appreciative, enthusiastic boyfriend.

A few seasons later, however, he’s becomes predictably arrogant, brash, overconfident in his relationship prowess.


He and Lulu are finishing breakfast in the local diner. Lulu says goodbye and gives Kirk a kiss on the cheek on her way to work for the day.

Kirk: (after Lulu has just walked out of the diner) Could somebody crack a window? Because I’m suffocating.

LUKE: What? (Luke is the diner’s, typically crabby, bachelor owner/cook/waiter.)

KIRK: Tell me you didn’t see that.

LUKE: See what, Kirk?

KIRK: Lulu! She’s smothering me!

LUKE: Smothering you?

KIRK: Everywhere I go, there she is. I’m sitting at the movies, who’s sitting next to me? Lulu. I go out to dinner. Who’s sitting across from me? Lulu. I’m hanging out on the couch, watching TV. Who’s right there next to me?

LUKE: Your mother?

KIRK: And Lulu! And at least Mother respects my personal space. Sometimes, when you’re watching Antiques Roadshow, you just don’t want somebody tickling your arm.
(Luke becomes distracted by and joins a nearby conversation. Scene ends.)

(Kirk returns to the diner, alone. It’s late afternoon, same day.)
Kirk: Hey, Luke, you want to grab a cold one tonight, bird-dog some chicas?

Luke: What?

Kirk: As of 0700 this evening, I’m going to be a free man.

Luke: You are?

Kirk: I am. Giving Lulu the old heave-ho, hitting the eject button.

Luke: Kirk?

Kirk: And I owe it all to you, buddy.

Luke: Me?

Kirk: You inspired me. I look at you, and I think “This guy’s doing it right.” Slave to no master. You come home at 3:00 in the morning, no one cares. You want to eat dessert for dinner, no one cares. You walk around in your tube socks and tighty-whiteys (ew!), no one cares. No one cares what you do or where you go. So, what do you say, Luke? You want to be my wingman, Goose to my Maverick? (Singing into a large spoon.)
“You never close your eyes, anymore, when I kiss your lips. And there’s no tenderness…”

(Luke grabs Kirk by the scruff of the neck, mid-lyric.)
Luke: Listen, you pinhead, you should be kissing the ground that Lulu walks on. Why that sweet girl lets you within 100 miles of her is beyond me, but she does. You are the luckiest man on the planet to have a girl like that looking out for you and caring about you. And if you say so much as one unkind word to her, I will personally break every bone in your body. You got me?

I love this scene. Luke is by no means a warm and fuzzy type of guy. And he can, usually, hardly stand Kirk’s oddities and eccentricities. This diner owner is easily annoyed and a social introvert. For him to care enough to speak up here, is quite the unusual and heart-felt display. Not to mention, completely socially unacceptable. Hope no one was looking.

I’ve felt, for a long time now, that if men in general, had any idea how amazing women are, and treated them like they were amazing, instead of as a bother to their schedule or a nuisance to contend with, then life as we know it, (and we know it as stressful, hostile, harsh, unpleasant, unfortunate, obnoxious, foul, loathsome, intolerable and more,) would end. What a wonderful world it would be.

Big statement. I stand by it.

It may be occurring to you, right about now, that some women, some you've known, have proven themselves quite capable of some pretty heinous and callous behavior themselves. Granted. If provoked. I contend that this is not their default strategy in life, but has, over the span of their life, become necessary, simply to survive. Self-defense, in a most unfortunate sense.

You show me a bitter, hard, unfeeling woman and I’ll show you a woman who was treated poorly by a man to whom she trusted her heart: her father, her brothers, an early boyfriend, an oblivious husband.

If, and apparently this is simply too much to ask, her humble beginnings had been under the care of men who were overwhelmingly grateful for her, appreciative of her, amazed by her special spirit of generosity and nurturing, well then, she would be a completely different woman.

Could have been, would have been. Should have been.

You can ignore and dismiss the ‘special’ within a woman, but you lose a treasure most valuable. It’s a steep price to pay. Yet, it’s a common and popular transaction. If your relationship goal is for ordinary, uninspired, banal and cliché, this is a sure method. If you want to prove yourself unoriginal and trite, it’s a well trod but easy to navigate path.

It’s effortless, it requires no investment, no personal integrity on your part . . . . . and it’s definitely one way of doing it.

Just one girl’s opinion. Mine. Take it for what it’s worth.

01 April 2008

Chocolates on my Pillow

Blog POST preface:

Do you think if I start writing a blog post on the last day of one month and write past midnight into the early morning of the first day of the next month that it would count as two months worth of posts?

Just wondering.

The post on the list of LOVEs felt surprisingly satisfying. Especially considering the frame of mind I was in, prior to starting that post. I think it may have actually changed the chemical balance in my brain as I wrote.
I heard somewhere (probably in a Talking Book as I drove to work) that if you are in a bad mood and you deliberately smile, going against your emotional grain, it changes the chemistry in your body and decreases your hostility, or sadness, or loneliness or whatever has you down.

I tried it. And I have to say there may be something to this. I don't think it's the smile that makes so much of a difference, as much as the fact that I cannot seem to smile and scowl at the same time. I feel the relief of negativity much more around my eyes than I do around my mouth, when I try this. It actually feels better even as I sit here and write about it.

Anyway. . . .

The LOVE list post inspired the following . . . . . actual POST:

I love staying in hotels.

Why do I love hotels? And is it true love, or just infatuation?

I can tell you that I love endless ice. A magic machine that produces crystal clear perfect chunks of ice with out end. I love that.

And I love room service. I hate the price but love being served my desired meal in my room. I love that. Clam chowder and sour dough bread. Cheese burger, milk shake and onion rings. Prime rib, baked potato and mixed green salad. Serve me. Love, love, love.

Then, and I love this too, clean up after me. Take away my mess and leave me to my glass of deep red wine. Or my deep glass of red wine.

I love relaxing in a tub that I didn’t have to clean before I climbed in. And I won’t have to clean after I get out. All the good of a bath and none of the bad. I love that.

I love that I don’t have to keep track of how much toilet paper there is. It simply is magically refilled every day. Every day! Sweet, sweet toilet paper fairy.

And the magic toilet paper fairy must have a best fairy friend responsible for the cute little shampoos and lotions and soaps. I love the little hotel fairies.

I'm writing this as I sit in a hotel. I wish I were here alone. Definitely and indefinitely.

But it isn’t all perfect.

It should be quieter.

What is it with parents thinking that their children do not require their supervision just because they are with in the walls of a relatively nice hotel? Putting aside the safety issue, why do they assume the rest of the hotel occupants are happy to put up with ten year old girls running laps around the third floor, while these parents drink draft beer or the house chardonnay in the lounge?

Or seven preteen boys unsupervised and huddled around the single free and unfiltered Internet terminal in the building?

And there is that nagging feeling of wondering just how clean these sheets really are. These pillows, the towels in the bathroom. That crystal clear ice? Try not to let yourself think about that too much.

And this room could be better ventilated. Or ventilated at all. I want to open a window that doesn’t over look the alley. I want to breathe well. I want to sleep with a cool breeze brushing my face. I need fresh air, for heaven sake.

There’s also the distraction factor.

I imagined sitting alone and undistracted in the tranquil courtyard of trees and plants and fountains and attractive décor. Typing away happily, productively. My goal was to write.

But instead I am not alone and I am not undistracted. The chairs here in the garden courtyard are stylish as hell but hell to sit in. And I can’t stop ‘people watching.’ Uninteresting people at that. Not a single interesting man, woman or child has crossed my path. No one worthy of study or speculation.

If I am to be distracted, at least it could be by a parade of attractive, interesting and dynamic individuals. But that, sadly is not the case. Ordinary is all I see. I’d be better off in Pioneer Square with a sleeping bag and a bottle in a plain brown wrapper. But we know me better than that, don’t we? I hate camping.

My last sixteen minutes of paid time. Check out at noon. And let’s review.

  • Get a lot of writing done about Jenna? No. None.

  • Get a lot of personal journal type writing done? No, none to speak of.

  • Any writing at all? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • Okay, then reading. Finish any books? No. Any chapters? No. Shut up.

So there you have it. I suck.

I have a very difficult time thinking of myself as an author, as a legitimate writer in any context, when this kind of thing happens. Wouldn’t you? Seriously. Time, space, opportunity, stories waiting to be told, and nothing. Impressive.

Why do I find it so easy to chew on myself like this? Why is it not as easy to build myself up, when the time calls for it? Seems unfair. I hate it, but this defeated feeling is the most comfortable one I know. And the saddest, suckiest part is, I am probably the most frequent fuel source for this particular emotion. How about that?

Wow, apparently I can seriously digress. . . . Back to hotels and what I love.

Is the key to my love of hotels, the infrequency of my hotel stays?
If I could live in a hotel, would the magic fade, just as it does with any love?
After the infatuation wears thin, and all you can see are the flaws ….

Would the fairies start to get on my nerves?

Flippin' fairies!