Jul 23 2015

for dear life


Finding center in an asymmetrical world is never easy.

Balance is always elusive, and mostly, temporary.


But you can find your axis, even as you spin.

And that’s the piece you hold onto.





Jan 23 2014


Last night, despite single-digit temperatures, I went out to dinner with my mom, sister and niece. My body balked at the notion of going anywhere in this cold, but I forced my inner hermit into silence and got dressed to go all the same. And we had a great time, just catching up and laughing and being silly.

Silly is good.

I find myself, especially at this time of year, living by rote, filling my days with habits and patterns and same-old same-old, and it’s nice to veer off the beaten path and walk through a field, cut through an alley, wander aimlessly. I don’t do that often enough.

Lately, I’ve barely had time to write in the mornings, and I am missing that particular habit, one that’s surely worth keeping. My days have felt slightly off, rushed, harried, and it’s taken me this long to figure out why. I’m out of my groove.

But life is funny like that, it doesn’t really allow you to stay in any one rut for very long, things are always changing, shifting, moving. Even when you try to hold your place, you can feel the earth tilting beneath you, forcing you to change your stance just to remain upright.

But change is also good; in some ways, it’s what keeps us going.

I cut all my hair off. (Or rather, I had a professional do it). I’m leaving the house more often, to spend time with the people I love. I’m reading books like they are food. Or air. Or both. I’m organizing.

I look in the mirror and hardly recognize myself.

Except this morning I got up and smiled at the outrageous case of bedhead I’d acquired during the night, looking as if I’d spent the night spinning on my head like a top. (Truly, it’s my superpower).

Ah yes, there I am.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

My inner hermit takes great comfort in that.

Jul 18 2013


Already, I find myself taking green for granted.

It’s hot, hot out there, and the landscape has changed from the yellow green of spring to the grey green of summer.

I try to remind myself how much I will crave this green come February, but I also remind myself that human nature drives us forward–always, always–into what’s next. We have such a hard time standing in place and embracing what’s there before us.

I accept this as truth even as I try to change it. I pick bits of time from vine and branch, and savor them like wine. I remind myself how precious every moment is, but just like anything you have enough of, I assume there will always be one more. And another, and another and another.

I try to find the balance between my own pragmatic mind and the ticking of the clock.

And then some days I don’t think about any of this at all, because it’s summer, and really, all I need is to soak up some sunshine.

We are always growing, always setting seed, always reaching for the light. I don’t care so much about trying to control any of it any more, I am happy to just let it happen. I don’t take any path at all, I just wander towards whatever strikes my fancy, with dirty feet and blistered toes.

I always end up in the same place anyway, here, beneath this same old golden sun.

My green eyes match the horizon just now, and if you don’t look too hard, you might not even see me.

But I’ll be out there, wandering, until winter brings me home.



Mar 28 2013

pull up a chair
{scintilla day 16}


What would it have been like if your life had turned out
the way you wanted when you were a kid


Early in the morning, and sometimes late at night, this is the chair I sit in. A strong chair, as the Cowboy Junkies song goes, one sturdy enough to hold me in place while I write or dream or drink tea and stare out the window. A chair strong enough to keep me grounded. And so I sit here pondering this question, trying to remember all the things I wanted my life to be like when I was a child.

It’s a hard question to answer at my age, hard not to filter my response through everything I’ve learned since then, hard to remember what I really thought when I was seven, or ten or fifteen.

I remember that I wanted to be a photographer. I remember that I was painfully shy and awkward and what I wanted most was to fit in. I remember that I always felt different, and what I wanted instead was to feel special. I remember that there was always this strange ache in my heart that I could neither define or relieve. But that makes it sounds like I wasn’t happy, and mostly, I think I was.

I don’t remember wanting to be a poet. One day I just started writing. But I didn’t really think about it, I never thought about growing up to be a writer. I just wrote when the poetry was there, like an impulse or a bodily function. I wrote through all my fears and awkward years, my first heartbreak and my tears, all that angst and lost girl floundering.

In school, I wasn’t the artsy type. I was a nerd. A full-blown geek, one of the smart kids who dressed like a dork and got almost perfect grades. For a while, in high school, I tried harder to fit in, I bought designer jeans and permed my hair, I got contacts and the same shoes that all the girls wore: docksiders and clogs. But I never even managed to fool myself into believing that I was like them. They knew too many things I didn’t. They saw the world in a way I couldn’t. They knew how to do their hair and apply their makeup, how to flirt with boys and get asked to the prom, how to sneak out for parties, how to run with the crowd.

I was never that girl. By the time I was a senior, I stopped trying to be. No, I stopped wanting to be. I dressed like a hippie (when this was so NOT in fashion). I let my hair grow long and straight and parted down the middle. And mostly, I kept to myself. I was waiting. For my life to start. I hadn’t yet figured out where I wanted to be, but I had figured out where I didn’t want to be.

My guidance counselor tried to talk me into going to college for engineering. I had the grades, but absolutely no inclination. And I admit that there are times now, in moments of bill-paying, when I wish I had. When I consider how my life could have been if I’d walked down that path. But my soul would have been miserable. I knew that even then, though I couldn’t have put it into words.

Ultimately, the real answer to this question is that my life would look almost exactly the way it does now. If magic existed and I could change things, there would be slightly more money and lots more windows.

And I might be driving a ’67 Mustang.

But other than that, I’m good.

I have this chair and a pencil and these words and some stories.

And I love life.

It can’t turn out any better than that.




this post is part of the scintilla project. see more here.

Sep 27 2010

word verification

every day i write words on a page. type them on a keyboard.
string them together like beads.

i have a lot of jewelry.

so are all these words just adornment? if i pull out a paragraph
and wear it for the day, does it make me look better? does it change my appearance? does it enhance my life?

does it make me into something other than the person i am when
i roll out of bed in the morning, looking much the worse for wear?

i feel different when i write, i feel like the real me, but that sounds so silly because, of course, i am always the real me, i can’t be anything different.

but all of the censors that are in place when i am face to face with people disappear when i write.

all of the doubts, the insecurities, the nerves.

gone, when i write.

it feels more like my natural language than speaking does.

it feels like the voice of my soul.

i can only hear that voice when i write.

is that weird?

May 16 2010

breathing space

Dust. It collects everywhere. On shelves and witches balls, in corners and my mind. It is pervasive, invasive, persuasive. It makes me want to give up, cry uncle, sing defeat.

I can’t keep up with the dust, so I’ve stopped trying. I let it sit there and ruminate on my blind eye turned elsewhere. Waiting. Dust knows we are enemies. In fact, we literally are, I am allergic.

But it is deeper than its own thin layer, dust. It is a sign of inertia. The battle of life, age, entropy.

Dust is dead. Dead space, dead air, dead cells. The opposite of life.

I watch it float through the air trapped in rays of sunshine, trying its best to look pretty. I feel it settle down around me, all the while making snide comments on my laziness. I smell its musty, fusty, dried up scent, just reeking of neglect.

Dust is illiterate, but I read the words that I draw in its layers and cringe at their implication. Clean me. Notice me. Take care.

It is not my fault, this dust, it is something that happens. We can remove it, daily, weekly, monthly, as often as there is time, but it will always return, unwanted visitor, benign blanket, ambivalent disguise.

I tackle dust, every so often, when I can’t tolerate its presence any longer. I wash and scrub and eradicate this evidence of days gone by, of life’s slow and steady passing. I make it sparkle.

We both know it is a losing battle.

But we pretend for a day, or at least an hour,

that I am victorious.