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Words

The words you speak kiss me with promises
of time filled with love
and moments
precious and fleeting

Your eyes speak a language of understanding
of times behind us
and memories
yet to be made

Your heart urges mine into the same rhythm
of life and living
and anticipation
of what remains

It’s simple with you and me.

Because of where we have been

We understand where we are going

And cherish the road that takes us there

 

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A Love of Poetry

Robert Louise Stevenson illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith

* Illustration by Jessie Willcox Smith *

I have always loved classic poetry. I am sure it is because my mother read poems to us as children. When my own children were born, I read the same poems to them in hopes they would remember and in some way bridge the generations to a grandmother they were never blessed to meet.

Today I came across one of my simple favorites from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses – a book every child should have – entitled ‘Auntie’s Skirts’.

My aunts did not wear skirts. They grew up during WWII when many women left the home and went to work to support the war efforts. I am sure the beautiful illustrations by Jessie Willcox Smith helped turn Stevenson’s words into a magical world for me.

I hope there is a new generation of writers who love poetry and celebrate the beauty and grace of the poets that made my childhood so magical. I close my eyes and imagine a the simple observations of every day life detailed with words spun of gold.

If you are a writer, I challenge you to write today. If you are a poet, I challenge you to pen beautiful prose that will inspire the imagination of readers and illustrators alike. We need you both for our future generation of dreamers and lovers of the written word.

Auntie’s Skirts

Whenever Auntie moves around,
Her dresses make a curious sound,
They trail behind her up the floor,
And trundle after through the door.

(Many thanks to Project Gutenberg for making literature readily accessible to millions.)

5

Internet, Writing and Bunnies

This will be short. Our internet and cable have been down since last night. Living out in the country means the wait for repair is extended. It will be tomorrow before a technician is able to try and resolve the problem. We have tried all the possible remedies to no avail. So it is time to punt.

We are so technologically dependent. With Hurricane Florence approaching, the outage makes it harder to check the status of the storm. A lot of my tasks today were hampered.

I planned to work on a short story I had shelved a year or so ago. I finally found my last draft tucked quietly away in the cloud. I was able to download it to my phone and thought through the magic of Apple’s Airdrop I would be able to transfer it to my laptop so I can write. Writing a lengthy story on a five inch screen just does not work. Thankfully, Airdrop worked!

After a long morning, I was feeling frustrated. I glanced outside just in time to see our resident wild bunny. A few days ago I remarked to my husband that I had not seen the bunny for months. And today, when I needed a breathable moment, there he was. He always makes me smile.

So there you have it. Maybe this is preparing us for what lies ahead. Right now I will just think about the bunny.

Now off to write – keeping myself in the positive lane on my little mountain roadway.

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Blogging Every Day For a Year

Yes, friends, this is what I signed up for. My daughter said, “Mom, that’s great but this is so much more than your 30 days of NaNoWriMo!!!!”  She is so right but I feel an unfamiliar dedication to this project.

NaNoWriMo is an annual event in which writers from all over the world set out to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It takes place every November and every year I join. I do not always finish. Honestly, I do not always get halfway. So what makes me think I will blog every day for 365 days?

img_6708First of all, my creative mind often gets sidetracked from everyday stresses and obligations. Writing a blog allows me to write about those events and clear them out of my way. Secondly, NaNoWriMo is very volume and deadline driven. Having that kind of pressure does not always work for me.

I also like to write about little miracles and little beautiful occurrences throughout the day. Like today, for example, I saw the most beautiful butterfly. It was blue and its wings glistened in the sunlight. I had just watered the plants and the butterfly swooped down to the little puddle of water I created on the sidewalk. It was just a tiny moment in my day but it has stayed with me all day.

Since I decided to do this project with my friend, Maitri, I seem to have a motivation I have been lacking. I know I need to be careful not to set too many expectations for myself, but I am anxious to work on things I have set aside for far too long. I think I have needed the push.

I have decided to create yet another WordPress blog for this 365 day adventure. I have a website I considered putting it on, but it is under construction and I did not want to bog down my blog with the design work I need to finish. I also decided not to blog here because this blog to me has a different purpose and so much family history. It just means something different to me.

So, if you care to follow along on this 365 day journey, I would welcome the company and the encouragement. I’ll be blogging on a new WordPress blog: From Cave Walls. I’ll be there for the next year starting September 24th!

Hope to see you there! Happy Blogging!

 

 

 

 

 

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Weaving Cobweb Ladders

Today I have been strolling through time. I have been in my head a lot and trying to make some sense of where I am emotionally. For the last few years I feel I have been straddling the fence between living and dying. So much loss in my life has brought me to the realization that I am stuck. I need to move on and today I realized for the first time in a long time, that I am ready to do so.

I recently signed up to take what I thought was going to be a rather innocuous online writing class. I’m not sure why I signed up to begin with other than I knew of the teacher, Maitri Libellule, from an online community. She always had my respect so I decided to go for it. I had no idea what to expect and I immediately began to question whether I should do this. I mean, after all, I’m not ‘really’ a writer. I have a history of starting and stopping projects and honestly, l half expected this to turn out the same.

Boy was I wrong. Maitri has created a safe space where a group of very diverse women from across the globe look forward to gathering. Once a week, for two hours, we are guided through some very sacred work. I didn’t expect it. It can make you feel vulnerable and exposed but even so, we all seem to flourish there.

Through my own writing, I have examined people and places I did not necessarily want to visit. I have found a deeper place I had kept hidden – buried almost – because that seemed safer somehow.

What I am realizing is when you bury events, or pain, or even happiness from seeing the light, the darkness seeps into you soul. You don’t realize it. You may not even know it’s happening until something happens to release it all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not a therapy session, although the writing can be very therapeutic. This class is designed to remove those things that block us from being everything we can be – everything we were meant to be. I was stuck. I know that. I knew it years ago, but I refused to acknowledge it.

In all the dust, I have found cobwebs which I am now spinning into ladders. I am climbing out. I am finding myself and my voice. My voice has been sad and dark for a long time and I am tired of feeling that way. I have JOY in my life and I want to see it in the full light of day.

So, how do I accomplish such a huge goal? For one, I remain faithful to the commitment to attend The Sunday Night Writing Group For Women that Maitri so generously hosts every week. Secondly, I have committed to join her and blog every day for 365 days. Wow. That sounds overwhelming. What will I talk about? Maybe just my every day life. Maybe my dreams. Maybe my projects. Maybe I will even blog about some of the sadness in my life, but I know I will not make that the prevailing theme of what I write. I do not want to feel stuck any more.

It is a first step. Now I need to decide where to blog – here or on a totally new blog. I have a week or so to decide so I will post here and let everyone know what I plan to do.

I am anxious to explore this time, these feelings, this newfound joy. I am moving into a place of greater joy and that makes me happy. I am so thankful for this class and for the revelations it has uncovered for me. I am moving and movement feels glorious when you have been stagnant as long as I have been.

If you are curious about this class, click the link above and read about it. Currently, registrations are closed, but I urge anyone that earnestly wants to dive deep into their lives through writing to at least check it out. You will not be sorry.

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

Rumi

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NaNoWriMo and a Cast of Characters

IMG951291November 1st is fast approaching. That crazy time every year when I try to architect 50,000 words toward writing a novel. I can honestly say that I am 100% successful in starting the process. I can also say the completion of my goal is a bit more on the dismal side. I could moan and groan about that, but the truth is, I’m okay with the results. As I look over the challenges our family has faced over the last 10 years, I am amazed any of us are still able to speak in complete sentences.

My focus today is a little preparation before the writing starts. I don’t do character development, nor do I create plot lines. I fly by the seat of my pants. That works for me. The characters live fully within my head and I take them everywhere I go. They have coffee with me, sometimes they take my side in arguments and sometimes they laugh at me in my most clumsy moments. That’s how I know they are real and relatable.

I will say I need to get into the mindset of writing. I don’t use a lot of flourish, but I call on memories to remind me of the feeling of a moment. It’s hard to explain so I decided today I would write a little about some of those memories and get the creative juices flowing.

I have a memory that has been in my mind for weeks now of my grandmother. She was a strong woman and when I close my eyes, I see her vividly. I remember long ago I was on a plane and I stared constantly at the woman sitting on the aisle one row in front of me. She looked just like Granny, just a little younger. I found myself wanting to talk to her, to tap her on the shoulder, to have a moment with her. She was quiet and reserved, but her face, her stature, her smile. It was crippling.

My memory:

She sat in a rocking chair crafted by my grandfather, but it wasn’t rocking. It was pulled forward, rockers mid-air, balanced by her bare feet in front of the old heating register by the window. Wisps of gray hair escaped the bun and framed her face. Her glasses magnified the intensity in her eyes. I watched her grimace and blink as she read which made me realize some sort of conflict must be at hand. I had seen the same trait in my own mother so many times as she immersed herself in stories that kept the world at bay. These were the women who worked hard to make a small space in this world for me and for my life to come. I felt a great sense of admiration balanced with a healthy dose of caution because in some ways I slightly feared the woman I loved so much. I guess it was strength she exhibited for I had never seen her cry. She came close once when she told she had been accused of killing her own mother by controlling the dosage of morphine required to ease her pain. We never spoke of it again, but as I looked at her now I knew I saw her differently than most people. And for that, I was glad.

My writing calls upon those strong tactile memories. The small details that invoke a mood or a smell or a memory. Close your eyes. See someone. Now bring them into focus. All of your experiences with that person create what you see – often years of experiences that craft a very simple, fleeting moment.

In 4 days I will sit at a keyboard and attempt to write. I do not know what story will have formed in my mind by then, but I will sit and write and create something magical. Even if the only person who ever reads it is me.

For all my fellow writers – good luck. Drink lots of coffee and live fully with your characters. They will talk to you and may even try to distract your muse. Play along and remember, they aren’t in control – you are.

See you on the flip side.

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Hawks on the Hunt

IMAG1712-1-1My internal clock is out of sync. I open my eyes and realize it is early as I pull the sheet over my head in hopes of coaxing sleep to return. Thoughts start to swirl in my mind unwelcome at such an early hour. I concede that morning has claimed me as I swing my feet onto the floor.

I want to write, but nothing comes to mind other than all the chores and tasks that lie ahead of me. My mind has always run amuck and I have been helpless to stop it. I start writing……..delete, delete, delete. Nothing. Instead I decide to read other blogs for a bit. I try to write again……delete, delete, delete. This desire to write is really my desire to make this time productive. Relaxing is hard for me these days; I feel every moment must have a purpose.

That’s when I hear the hawks. The sun is just breaking through the trees — it must be time for breakfast. I step outside to hear them better. Usually the hawks are high in the trees, but not this morning. I can tell by the chatter of the squirrels they are on the hunt. With phone in hand, I try to record the sound. It’s audible, but the layers of morning sounds are hidden. I stop and listen. The hawks are the most prominent sound. Then, the squirrels. I hear a mockingbird and then the high-pitched chirp of the cardinals. As I walk the perimeter of the pool, the hawks take flight. Of course I am not prepared so I do not capture the grandeur of their flight into the morning sun.

IMAG1713-1-1I move on to the window seat and see activity starting at the bird feeder. The male cardinal is balding. This is a common sight this time of year – a condition caused by feather mites. On the ground, the squirrel digs for seeds dropped from the feeder. The squirrels are relentless, but we have one or two feeders designed to keep them at bay. They are only slightly effective.

A movement in the grapefruit tree catches my eye. The hawks. I watch as they move in and out of the low branches of the cedar and the grapefruit tree. They are stalking a squirrel as it uses the fence to find its way to the feeders. The hawks are almost always in pairs, so when I see a third hawk I look closer. There are two sets of hawks hunting. I watch them dive in and out of the trees, so caught up in their beauty I forget to try to photograph them. Quietly, I step outside, still only armed with my phone. The hawks are well concealed so my camera phone is ineffective. One hawk approaches the squirrel, but my movement thwarted its attempt. The second hawk flew out of hiding close overhead. The sound of the huge wings send chills down my spine. For a moment I wonder what it must be like for the creatures that fall prey to them – I shake my head. The hawks are gone.  As I turn to go back IMAG1714-1-1-1-1into the house I catch a glimpse of grey out of the corner of my eye.  I turn to see the hawk perched on the fence. I couldn’t get very close, and the camera is inadequate, but I am always so thrilled to see these majestic creatures. As quickly as he appeared, the hawk took flight again. Maybe this was the single reason my internal clock woke me at 6:00 am this morning. I smiled to myself as I walked back into the house.

Time to put the coffee on.