Friday, August 26, 2011


Through the hanging fog in the morning, I count on the light to crack through and when it does, I feel renewed. I think to myself how dependent my moods are on the light.

Driving down the freeway I beam at the rich burgundy leaves on the trees, glistening back into my senses, carving a place inside of me, to stay. Even without camera, I am constantly taking photos with my mind, with the connective cord inside my soul.

Driving down the streets, I see the Crepe Myrtle is in bloom, rich fuchsia petals jutting out—many trees lined down the street divider, a welcome sight—nature commingling with the fruits of industry.

I miss my old home, where nature was right there outside my door. Surrounded by tall Pines, Mountains, even a lane of Bamboo; Deer, plenty of cackling Squirrels, and Coyote.

But Nature still finds me and I always find her—always in my soul.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Journaling - Three Images of Laundry

My right hand has been acting up, so this I write down in my paper journal first. It does this from time to time, especially when I click and move the computer mouse around and type at speeds to keep up with the words to push out of my mind. It doesn't help holding and scrolling my iPod Touch for long periods, holding my hand up, and the repetitive motions.  Last night it felt swollen and my fingers felt crunched up. Holding the pen gives my hand some flexibility; I'll have to try exercises to strengthen my hand and fingers and forearm. I'm also using my left hand for the mouse and typing to give my right hand a break. After I write this down, I will use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to get this onto the screen. I used it a few times and this is the reason I bought it. At times like this when the need to write and share find a way, but I know if I don't rest my hand and arm, it will only get worse.

I have three small bits that I wrote in my journals on three different laundry days. The first one is a poem that took me by surprise. There were sad thoughts and tears from nowhere—somewhere—as I drove to laundry that day. When I arrived at the Laundromat, after stuffing the washing machines, I plopped down on the chair, wiped my tears and the poem I share came out.

The next two laundry days occurred at a different Laundromat than the first and they were a little closer together in time. The second one I typed directly into the Apple App called Wonderful Days. The third one I penned into my miniature note book and dictated it onto this page here.

Another one comes to mind that I wrote at yet another Laundromat one or two years ago, but I don't know which journal that ended up in.


Journaling - Three Images of Laundry

July 1, 2011

Today it rained inside
my heart.

Driving, the familiar
Roads suddenly made me
feel lost. The familiar
becoming unfamiliar.

The dark clouds have moved
upon me. I've ignored
them, but they won't
let go of me.

I tell myself that it
will pass and I know
it will; and I suppose
the rain will always be
there raining on my
heart. A heart in a
glass box tucked away,
the rain trying to force
itself out—trapped, yet free. Is it possible
to be both trapped
and free?—a sort of Ying and Yang; life and death;
happiness and sadness.

The heart never lies.


August 12, 2011

Laundry morning. Not bad. Late start. First stop 7-11 to get $1 from super lotto. Second stop longs, I mean CVS. Returned one item bought soap and fabric softeners. Third stop bank to get two rolls of quarters. Not too crowded, loaded up, headed to Jack in the Box for breakfast, then to the thrift store to look. Found a few skirts and a dress. Tried them on and left with one cute light green skirt and a cute Old Navy dress in tans and browns. Came back to laundry, much busier. Loaded dryers up then sat down and looked at Interior Castle and read a few poems. I really like Carl Sandburg’s poems—at least I like the two that were included. 9 5 7. That's how long on each of the three dryers. The clouds are whispy today, just the way I like them. They look like dancing fluted flowers. It makes me feel calm inside when I see whispy clouds. Spinning, spinning, the clothes are spinning colors and whites. I'm glad they are spinning and not my thoughts. Peace and love to all.


August 20, 2011

A man, possibly without a permanent home. Clothes circling. All the colors of the rainbow heated, tossed and balancing. Radio playing songs. People still piling in with laundry. But the man. He stands out and I feel a lump in my throat. I sense him in the corner of the long line of dryers—waiting, thinking. He finally decides to walk by, slowly. I look up briefly, a quiet hello with my eyes. His aura—I can't see it (I can't actually see auras but that's the first word that came to my mind), but his being seems warm yet frazzled and has the scent of alcohol. His steps match his pace, that careful gait that comes with the territory—the one where one has had so much that they are numb and calculated and feel good with bittersweet feelings. Laundry day has its constants, but then it also has other changes. Today, this man's shadow casts over the colorful clothes and leaves my heart stuck in my throat. And this little itty bitty gnat keeps buzzing around me. This particular laundry day makes me feel grateful and also makes me feel compassion. Peace to you dear man.


Afterthought. I'm thankful for Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I forgot how much patience it can take. It definitely has a way of slowing things down and that's a good thing in this super fast world. I had to be more careful than usual reading over this to catch words that the program heard different than what I said.

Happy journaling & happy day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

7 Golden Monkeys

To enter, you must first cross a bridge. On the right is a crescent pattern of five or six stone seats set around a pond of water, with a waterfall in the background. A large copper wire Dragon, at least 100 feet long hangs high, a great protective force.

At first I do not see these sights. Hungry, I know I'm drawn to the beauty of this Chinese restaurant, a certain ambiance that I feel and feed on. There are other restaurants to the left and right of this one. But I choose this one.

It's when I decide to sit at the bar for a quick snack that I am taken in by the carefully designed scene before my eyes.

The bar counter is set up in a curvature that wraps around and creates a semi circle. The counter tops, a polished black granite with specks of white glimmer that reflect off the light like little white fish in the sea.

After I place my order of hot and sour soup, pot stickers, and a coke, I sit there mesmerized. I feel like I'm sitting before an artistic, aesthetic feat of creativity and symbolism. I count...4, 5, 6, 7 Golden Monkeys.  Seven  Golden Monkey statues three or four feet tall, spread around. Each seems to have a role in this divine scene; and in a way, as I look around, taking in the whole, it reminds me of a carousel, but it's also more. Each monkey has a different facial expression—inviting, playful, powerful. The ceiling is round or appears round, an upside down red paper mâché umbrella that is about three feet in diameter suspended from the center of the ceiling. The ceilings are a heavenly blue with white ornate bordering depicting clouds or water. There is painted a priestess in the background. I can only see the robe from my viewpoint. Her robes are painted in soft lilac tones. Chinese characters also wrap the base of the sky. The side walls are painted royal blue and regal red—side by side.

My imagination cannot get enough of the scene. I eat my soup, take bites of my pot stickers and still gaze up at the monkeys. One in particular catches my fancy. He is holding onto a pole with one hand, the other extended in a welcoming gesture—a big smile on his face. It is also gold and thick with detail that suggests either a cord or also conjures images of a carousel.

All of the usual elements seem to be present: Earth, fire, air, water, heaven.

As I was readying to leave, I turned in my seat to the right taking in the rest of the restaurant, and that's when I noticed the great dragon that I did not see upon entering. Beautiful, thick copper—copper being one of my favorite metals—I was in awe. He was a sight to behold and kept me there in his gaze for a few moments before I descended from my seat, passing the pond and walking back across the bridge.

Transported, I was, as if in a boat, streaming down the river, paddles in hand—paddling down the river with my mind, entering this great cultural art. I felt both at peace and tantalized, rejuvenated, and thankful for having chosen this place to enjoy my meal—a meal in paradise—a meal in another time and place, yet right here, right now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Procedural Death ~ Processing

Different things have been on my mind. It’s a slow period at work and at times I get antsy. But once I accept and get used to this lull, I’m able to invite the clear slate and let my mind wander—about ways to improve or introduce new ideas. During the process, I usually stumble upon or keep coming back to interests that only started as small flickers and then I seize upon them. But one of my downfalls—wait—I mean one of the challenges that can be both productive and not so productive—the story of my life—is that I get excited about something new and either it takes or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, I try to absorb as much on the surface as possible and then see where that leads me. I’ve come to accept that I love information, ideas, anything that gets me thinking and/or creating. And with that, I’ve had to accept that I end up not walking too steadily down any one path. I seem to keep many paths open.

For some time I’ve had a certain fascination with what happens from a familial and procedural point of view when someone dies. This curiosity became more embedded when I saw it play out in different ways that you see when you’re right up close with it.

Tax is not my thing. But I work for a small tax and accounting office and I envision that I’ll stay there until the boss retires. It’s my choice and there are many good reasons for me to stay. On the plus side, I have flexibility—which is very important—and I don’t like titles much. I assist: Sometimes that means making coffee, finding files, doing light bookkeeping, keeping the office in order; and sometimes it means preparing simple tax returns when we have simple ones. The plus side, for me, of a small office is that I get to do a variety of tasks. The main thing I enjoy about my job is being able to be helpful in some way—that’s why assistant positions always appeal to me. I’m a behind the scene’s person and I like it that way.

In order to make my job more interesting, I try to get to know the people behind the numbers through their tax returns or other documents. Of course, I have to keep this all to myself and inside the office for the obvious reasons. The small tax office offers a variety of different tax and accounting services, and an area that I am beginning to find quite interesting is related to Trusts and Estates. The area I’m most interested in is not on the tax side, but on the procedural side. So I was thinking, if the boss decides to retire early or if scenarios occur, I think I might enjoy being an assistant in a small office that deals in writing Wills and Trusts for families. This has catapulted me into learning a little more on my own. I started by doing a search on my Kindle Reader and found three titles that sound promising:

Living Trusts for Everyone: Why a Will is Not the Way to Settle Your Estate.

By Ronald Farmington Sharp

Kiplinger’s Estate Planning: The Complete Guide to Wills, Trusts, and Maximizing Your Legacy.
By John Ventura

Dead Hands: A Social History of Wills, Trusts, and Inheritance Law.
By Lawrence Friedman

Just by reading the preface and table of contents of the first one and the introduction and table of the contents of the last two, I’m really looking forward to reading these. The last one sounds like a very interesting read.

I am also planning on taking a two night class in the near future called “Trusts & Estate Planning Made Simple.” I don’t know how simple it can be made, but I look forward to bringing my questions and getting an overview of the process. I also hope to at least skim enough of the books by then, so that I don’t come with a completely blank slate.  

A big motivation for me in this area comes from what I have witnessed around me, both positive and negative, of what can happen to a family if someone dies without some form of instrument, be it Will or Trust or both. It really touches a deep core in my soul because the process can be made more manageable with some planning. I’ve gleaned a little here and there, and now I hope to dive in and learn more, and perhaps I will land somewhere where I can help in some way, even if it’s behind the curtain.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Animal Dreams

I could see the land for as far as my eyes could reach. Was I walking or did I have an animal instinct inside myself?

The wheat colored grass crunched underfoot. I sensed that I wore a heavy regal robe or was it a sheer night dress? As if in a flash of a moment, animals started charging up from the water that had no place in this African desert like plane. The images flashed by in a whir. I started running and then a lion latched onto my back. I could feel his hot breath on my neck. At first I wanted to scream and then I started roaring to stand my ground. I growled and roared and puffed my chest out as much as I could, given that my whole body was being subdued under the lion’s power. I was expecting that at any moment I would feel his mighty teeth rip into my flesh, but he seemed to only want to hold on. It seems that I was still able to walk and then I threw myself into the water on my back to try and crush him, drown him, weaken him. I sensed he was growing weaker. He did not seem like a lionly lion. He was still attached to me but I didn’t feel scared. I did not like not being able to see his face. I did not know what he was thinking. I walked, keeping my hands close to where his paws met my neck. I could not release him. As I kept walking, I took my arm, reached behind me and to my amazement, I picked him off my back. He was a limp sack and didn’t seem a lion any longer. I threw his carcass respectfully back into the earth that had mixed with water. The sea that had risen and then flattened. I felt uneasy. I didn’t know how to make sense of this.

Time passed. By now it seemed I was wearing a white cloth that had become soiled and torn by the elements. I walked with very little energy, shoulders slouched, feet like cement blocks. I came upon a woman in a cavern like post. She asked me to explain everything that had happened— how I had arrived and this is where I began.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Bike Tune Up

I was inspired—motivated by Keiko Amano’s blog, “New Bike.” I have been telling myself for the past few weeks that I need to take my bike to fix the flats and see about a tune up. I have not been on my bike in close to two years. For many years it was my main transportation to work; not a far ride, but a good 60 minute ride roundtrip. My body felt good. Sometimes I felt lazy, but afterward I was pleased.

Tuesday morning before work I placed the bike in the back of the truck and off we went—the bike and I. When I unlocked the cord, I had a close look at how much more rust and pollen and rain water had built up. I felt bad at how much I had neglected my bike.  

I also felt a little shift in myself knowing that I would soon be joined with my bike again. I felt as though I was also getting a tune up since this in one area in my life that I let fall off the map—exercise. My body thrives on physical activity and I like the feeling of my legs propelling me forward as my arms and hands hold me up, along with my core. The slight tingling through my legs as I go faster; and then the rhythm that I eventually find; and when no one else is on the trail, I can hear the hum of the wheels on the pavement. 

Reading Keiko’s blog made me realize how much I missed riding my bike and reading about her experience with her new bike and her old childhood memories was the motivation I needed to turn my thoughts into action—thank you, Keiko!

Back at the bike store, I walked my bike into the back end where the repair shop is and waited for assistance. The gentleman asked me, “What can I do for you?”

“I’d like to fix the flats and get a tune up,” I said.

He put the bike up on the rack, poked at a few things and said it would need a new cassette and a new chain, as well as the tune up and tire repair. He then told me the cost and also said a new bike would be about twice as much. I said, “Let’s go ahead and do it.” He said it would probably be done by Friday and they would call when it was ready.

My bike has been with me for 18 years. It’s a Trek Antelope, black frame, with the name of the make and model written in purple. The water bottle holder is also purple. Purple is a color I gravitate toward. My bike and I, we’ve been through a lot together. I remember all those years and the many rides on the trails and off. I remember one time in particular when I was a little more daring and rode down rough terrain in the hills that was both dry dirt and a somewhat steep slope back down. I was going fast, worried that I may lose control and fall if I hit one wrong bump or put the brake on too hard. I could feel the vibration of the rough dirt road all the way through my fingers and arms. What a feeling! I’m glad that I did that a few times because now, I may not have that same sense of meeting danger head on. I didn’t even wear a helmet back them. Now, I wear a helmet—no matter what.

And there was the time I rode up on dirt trails, that were part of a trail system. These roads had a lot of cuts in them where the water flowed through creating a large gaps in the road at certain points. Coming back down, I hit a one of the dips and I went flying forward off my bike. No helmet. Big rock near my head. Luckily, I didn’t hit my head. I was fine, except for the large scrapes on my legs and arms that were bleeding. It hurt and my legs felt sensitive for a week or two. It’s a strange feeling getting thrown from your bike. It happened so fast that it left no time to react. Up one minute, down the next.

Together again. I wanted to test out my bike after the tune up and repair. I picked it up on Friday and planned on riding it on Saturday. I took it on the trails Saturday morning. I started out on the streets until I connected with the trail. At first it was a slow start because there were a lot of walkers and other leisurely bikers. After I reached a certain point on the trail, I had it to myself for a while. It was at this time, that the uncontrollable smile began forming on my lips; when I could feel the wind and hear that hum. I felt like it was just me and my bike, as one—gliding along, with the trees and flowers in our sight as we passed them on the trail. At one point, I gazed to the left—took my eyes off the road for a moment, and then something made me look back. Whoa, almost went right into a big hole. I looked up just in time or I would have ended up in the weeds.

Bike Tune Up. When I see those words: Tune Up—it makes me realize that this is only the beginning, and to some degree, I have more “Tune Up” work to do. Maintaining my well being is an ongoing process and I know this in mind, body, and soul, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy work. I have to continue with the process and remember to get those “Tune Ups” in whatever way that manifests at any given time.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Remembering Mother

I remember my mother sitting in bed reading her Woman’s Day magazines. She would read the stories and begin weeping. She would call me in and say how she felt. She would point her finger to the story and then say something through sobs about how her own family didn’t treat her this way—didn’t show her this love. To some degree I know what she means now. My young mind possibly understood at some level way back then, but to reflect back and see her moved so deeply by a story, by words, by human life—when she herself was incapable of giving and receiving in that fuzzy way—it’s an image that I hold up with two fingers, to examine in the light, to feel love for her and to know that none of us—neither myself, nor my brothers were able to penetrate that deep coat of iron that she stood behind. She was dying, she knew it. We all knew it, but we didn’t want to believe.

This morning when I was on Yahoo! News, a story caught my eye: “Girl Risked Life to Save Drowning Boy.” A image of two rescuers holding the boy’s limp body with the great ocean in the background. I clicked to continue reading. As I continued, my stomach began getting that push and I began weeping. I was so touched by the young girl, whom, did not listen to her father’s pleas and instead did what she felt she needed to do.

This made me think of my mother—I felt like she probably did when she read her stories of real life—of risking something for someone you don’t even know. Humans are magnificent creatures and we are connected in ways that are both right there at the surface and even deeper—we are embedded and folded within all the waves of the ocean, undulating together in this sea—wonderful, mysterious sea.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Few Books – Bits: Reaction & Reflection

I haven't been going to the second hand store book section as much lately but thought I was due a visit. One book did catch my eye: First I saw Flannery O'Connor's name in bold letters stare back at me from the book spine. I examined the book: She adorned the cover, a photo of her on her Georgia home porch. A book of commemorative essays to honor her on her seventy-five year day of birth*: Flannery O'Connor: In Celebration of Genius edited by Sarah Gordon. I've often heard O’Connor’s name but never knew anything about her and didn't read any of her stories. I checked out one of her short story collections from the library some time ago, but didn't feel ready, so I returned it unread.

I was intrigued by this book of commemorative essays, so I bought it. I am still reading it and am thoroughly enjoying it. When I finish, I look forward to reading O'Connor's stories. I don't think it will be easy because it sounds as though she takes her readers to disturbing places, but my feeling is it's well worth the trip.

*The book was written in 2000. O’Connor’s birthday: March 25, 2000.

One book that I abandoned after 70 or 80 pages was one I had high hopes for: An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender. I appreciated the quirkiness of the characters at first and actually became fond of one in particular. At times, the way that Bender describes things is beautiful and poetic. But overall, the writing style did not work for me after a while. It didn’t seem to have a natural constant flow for me; and I did not relate with, nor really care for the main character. I became bogged down with the ax, that seemed a character all it’s own. It was just too much, almost a forced magic realism. I wanted so much to like it.

Another quirky book that I did like very much, even though one could say there wasn’t much plot to it is: The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Paolo Giordano. I first saw this book in Barnes and Noble and decided to try a sample on Kindle. I was hooked. Was it the imperfect and quirky characters that I was drawn to? The feeling of not fitting in and being at the mercy of bullies? I can't say that the book was a page turner. I can't even say that there was a full story here, but something about it kept me there; perhaps it was the dull feeling of guilt that the protagonist had for having abandoned his sister and the awkwardness of the second protagonist for her bum leg. Both were scarred physically and mentally and for this I suppose it kept me there. I felt something for these characters and wanted the ending to be one way, but it turned out another more unclosed way, which makes sense, really, because that is how real life can be--where you go along in parallel and then the ways drift off into directions you have control of, yet that feeling of not having control is there too. It was a satisfying read and somewhat disturbing, with moments of normalcy, but not much.

The Brothers Karamazov is back on my radar. I have a feeling this is going to be part of my fall and winter reading.

I also enjoy children’s books and one that I had the pleasure of reading recently was No Roses for Harry! by Gene Zion. I remember Harry from childhood. My mother brought home the other book, Harry the Dirty Dog by the same author. I came across Harry again when I was trying to find any available e-book or audio on the library website, so that I could test it out on my Kindle. When I saw the audio, I had to check it out and listen. It then prompted me to check out the hard copy—to connect with that aspect of my childhood. No Roses for Harry! is a charming story with complimentary illustrations by Margaret Bloy Graham.

A book I enjoyed very much was Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray. I wasn't sure if it was going to pull me in when it was recommended to me. This turned out to be a delightful story about a woman who loves baking and resorts to cake, both in mind and baking as her way of dealing with stress. Other family conflicts are added to the mix and the story continues unfolding with deft movement and memorable characters. Complete with a handful of cake recipes, one that stood out was a sweet potato bundt cake with rum plumped raisins and a spiked sugar glaze. Treat yourself to a warm slice of cake. I think that anyone that reads this book will be able to take something from it. It’s a fun read and so much more.

Searching around on the Amazon Kindle store, I came across The Journal Keeper: A Memoir by Phyllis Theroux. As a Journal keeper myself, I am enjoying this one very much. It's relatable, the writing is vivid and reflective, and I also enjoy when she shares quotes and the books they are from and how she weaves them into her journal. One book that I recently ordered that she quoted from is an autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran: And There was Light: Blind Hero of the French Resistance. I may not have come across this book, if not for her mentioning it. I enjoyed Helen Keller’s The World I live In, and this book made me think of her. I am interested in reading Lusseyran’s autobiography to be allowed a window into his vision of the world after losing his sight and of learning a little bit about his experience of being a significant part of the French Resistance. It’s a part of history I know nothing about and this will be a digestible way for me to learn from his perspective. I am also looking forward to his writing because the sample that Theroux chose was beautiful and the few pages I have read so far make me feel happy that the book found me.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Feelings of suffocation
of her own doing. The filmstrip
plays over. Worry.
Worry that has no reason. One moment
happy, then calm. A few hours later, a trigger.
Triggers catch her by surprise. She begins
drowning in her own thoughts, reaching
for the surface, but sinking back down.
Unable to step back completely to get
perspective. Is the line curved this way or
That? She wants the level to feel balanced;
she doesn’t want to keep playing the reel in
her head, but at certain moments, it plays itself
and then the cycle starts back up. She knows it
will pass, but will it be too late? Will it dissolve
into fragments that cannot be brought back to one
fine piece?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Morning Ruckus

Even though there is still plenty of Summer left, the feeling of Fall is near. A calmness— a brittleness in the distance, of tiny branches crackling—Blue Jays collecting. I heard the Crows the other morning. They are an annoyance to my significant other, but to me their ca-cawing is music—if not a smooth melody, a little out of tune, I drink it in just the same. I wondered why they were making such a ruckus, though, on that morning—it was out of the norm. I peeked outside and saw a crew of them and then I had forgotten that, oh yes, someone had placed a bird feeder up in the tree a few windows down. The crows were mostly sharing the seed, but there was one that was kept at bay—they would not let him join in for some reason—and that was why there was so much noise on that morning.


I downloaded a poetry App from the iTunes store that simulates the magnetic poetry concept, only you move tiles around with your fingers instead of picking them up.

Here’s a link for more information. It’s initially free and then if you’d like to purchase different “packages” there is a small fee.

Here’s a poem that I made with the App. The photo is a screenshot of it.


Consider that

Pause       showing
then growl
flop to the fountains
question the fault
give change
well considered


Happy weekend and Happy writing!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I Remember…

It may seem like I’m always cleaning and tossing and finding. Well, yes, I do continue to weed out the clutter. I think it’s a life long process. I’ve got to stay on top of it. And so, yes I did get rid of a few more papers and I saw a slim folder with only three sheets of writing in it. Two I tossed; one I kept. I wanted to capture it, to share it here before getting rid of the piece of paper from where it came from. It looks like I wrote it on Valentines day, February 14, 2010. At the top I wrote, “Goldberg – I Remember.” Ahh, I say to myself, it must have come from one of my favorite writing books: Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.

I Remember…
Skinny dipping at different stages of life.
Watching grandma make tortillas and walking to the bus stop when her and grandpa didn’t see eye to eye—on her way to her brother’s house. Most of the time we would catch her before she got on the bus. We lived on the same block and the bus stop was right outside our house.
The peaceful look on mom's face when I told her how my brother got upset when I shaved my legs.  It was the first time I felt her tenderness toward me. I was twelve. She saw before her a young lady about to embark on her life and even though she knew she wouldn't be a part of it she seemed to have made peace with that.
The difficulties of school, from the subject matter, my shyness, to the clothes that I would sometimes wear. I remember being alone for large chunks of my life and always having a sense deep down that this is how I was meant to be, almost like it was part of my calling. It makes some sense but not entirely.
Malt-meal in my hair. Getting caught smoking, frilly dresses, certain teachers—good and bad; taps on my window during the night; sitting under the stars on a moonlit night.


I appreciate how simple the exercise is and what memories will be jogged at the time of writing it. I’ve been reading a few different books lately and I will probably post about them soon. But this whole process brought me back to my closet for another writing book because it’s been a while. I have enjoyed, but have savored—taking it very slowly—Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life.  She is the author of The Artist’s Way, another wonderful book that really got me writing every day—“Morning Pages”—and making “Artist Dates” with myself. It’s been at least a year since I picked up The Right to Write. I left off on page 64, A chapter titled “The Well.” I felt filled up after reading it. A chapter about filling up our wells, not letting them run dry.  She refers to “Artist Dates” as discussed in her other book—reminds us to go do something different by ourselves, whether it’s a visit to a museum, a garden, a fabric store—whatever our heart’s desire, as long as it’s a date with our self—alone.

When I come back to a book after some time, I find myself rereading the introduction. I love introductions. What Julia Cameron writes at the end of her introduction to The Right to Write, resonates with me deeply and also makes me light up with a smile inside, as I am one of those people she has convinced.

Thus, I conclude this blog with her quote from the introduction of The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life:

This book will be a cheerleader for those trying the writing life, a companion for those living it, and a thank-you to my own writing for the life it has given to me.  It is my hope that this book will help to heal writers who are broken, initiate writers who are afraid, and entice writers who are standing at river’s edge, wanting to put a toe in.

I have a fantasy.  It’s the pearly gates. St. Peter has out his questionnaire, he asks me the Big Question, “What did you do that we should let you in?”

“I convinced people they should write,” I tell him. The great gates swing open.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The River

It’s been almost a month since we went on a short camping trip to the Russian River area. It was a great time, my significant other and I joined his cousins—a nice family gathering with laughing, drinking, eating. I hadn’t been camping in quite some time. We spent a lot of time on the River, the water a balanced chill to cool off the blazing sun. I didn’t put on sunscreen, which I normally wouldn’t skip—and I paid dearly, for I was burnt and peeling and a little sore for a few days after. Being in the cool water is deceptive to the rays of hot sun.

Today I share this and the photo because what sticks in my mind—the feeling I capture from the trip is somehow summarized for me in this photo I took of a little boy that I saw canoeing across the river. He represents something—an innocence, a carefree nature—one that I still feel connected to within myself.