Alas, fair maiden
bereft of biting remarks
all your teeth are gone
* * *
Alas, fair maiden
your ears continue to grow
as your stature shrinks
* * *
Alas, fair maiden
eat chocolate, drink wine, love, laugh
life is pretty good
* * *
I can’t believe I’m actually going to do this, I thought, as I wrote Stroppy and the Astronaut, part II for this writing challenge from Esther Newton. The sentence (in red) has to be included somewhere in the story:
Click here for my first “Stroppy Story” which might, or might not, help you understand this one.
I fall asleep when I try to meditate. Doesn’t matter what type of meditation, I fall asleep. So I’m now practicing my own form: “Meditative Amusement” (or should I call it “Amusing Meditation” or “Mindful Amusement”?).
Here’s what led me to Amusing Meditation: Jacqui Murray who has an excellent writing blog – Word Dreams (among many other blogs) introduced me to Esther Newton, a British author, who has a weekly writing challenge . . .
This week’s challenge is to write a 20-word story, using the words, ‘fairy’, ‘tomato’, ‘stroppy’, ‘nuzzling’ and ‘astronaut’.
My 20-word story:
*”A practice of concentrated focus upon a sound, object, visualization, the breath, movement, or attention itself in order to increase awareness of the present moment, reduce stress, promote relaxation, and enhance personal and spiritual growth.”
Recently two very close and dear friends died. They were both younger than me – by at least 10 years. I was hit by painful sadness and simultaneously comforted by a belief:
Several years ago I was depressed. Life was the color of dirty grey. I was in a fibromyalgia flare and feeling helpless. I wasn’t suicidal, just weary, really weary, of pushing through the pain and exhaustion. Half jokingly I wrote to my Baha’i friend and mentor something to the effect: “I’m ready to leave this earthly plane. Beam me up into eternity”
You see, I had always assumed life here on earth as a human was separate from the “eternal realm”. I thought that after I died I would then be in eternity. It was a paradigm shift for me. It is strangely comforting to know we are all already in eternity – you, me, my friends.
English speakers equate sleep with zzzzzzzz, more specifically snoring. The British call sleeping “Catching some zeds.”
Chrrr, rrooooo, ZZZZ, guu guu, hu lu, kroohpyyh,
and so ends the A to Z Alphabet Challenge
It’s been a snoooooozzzzzzzzzzzzz
“X” gets tired and worries a lot
always being the one
to mark the spot
afraid no one will find it
unless he is there
He does it for free
no complaints or “why me?”
It’s his lot in life
no children or wife
just spots to mark
It’s really no lark
not having a say
where he’s to stay
I bet you wouldn’t like
always being put on the spot
So the least you might do
is pay him a fee
or occasionally use
a “Y” or a “Z”
“The Vampire squid from hell
is actually rather quite swell
He doesn’t suck blood
or lurk in the mud
but in chilly, dark waters drifts free
where he never eats meats
just low-calorie treats
that sink toward the bottom of the sea
A sighting is transforming
But here’s a forewarning
always go in the morning
and certainly not on a whim
For late at night you’ll die from fright
especially if you can’t swim
The scientific name for the species, Vampyroteuthis infernalis, translates to “vampire squid from hell,” but the animal’s behavior isn’t all that intimidating.
“Vampire squid drift in chilly, dark waters with low oxygen levels up to 9,800 feet (3,000 meters) below the surface. They have a low metabolism and they eat low-calorie foods — mostly “marine snow,” or clumps of particles, that sink down the water column.”
The new findings were published in the journal Current Biology.”
Have you ever heard of the Terror Bird?
He was real, it’s not absurd
At ten feet tall
his turds weren’t small
and his face alone
could turn you to stone
It would have frightened me so
to be kicked with his toe
knocked out with his breath
then pecked to death
What could I say to not be his prey?
“Good day, Mr Bird, I won’t get in your way”
“Whatever you want, whatever you say”
“It’s not nice to eat
my flesh for your meat”
It’s a relief to now know
His reign is no go
Terror Bird is toast
just bones at the most
or maybe . . . a 40 pound roast?
“An army of huge carnivorous “terror birds” — some as big as 10 feet tall — ruled South America for tens of millions of years before going extinct some 2.5 million years ago.”
“Now, with the discovery of a new species of terror bird called Llallawavis scagliai [in Argentina] paleontologists are gaining fresh insight into this fearsome family of top predators.”
“Llallawavis likely lived around 3.5 million years ago, near the end of terror birds’ reign, according to the researchers. It stood about four feet tall and weighed about 40 pounds.”
An article describing the findings was published online March 20 in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.
Have you noticed that I’ve been amusing myself writing poems lately? (If you haven’t noticed that is evidence you are not reading my blog as often as you should be!)
My chronic fatigue has reared its “rear”. Sitting and moving my fingers on the keyboard, one at a time, is about all the physical energy I have had to expend. (mental energy is another matter . . .)
All the duckies in a queue
lined up one by one, two by two
waiting for their water-wings
floaties, tubes and safety things
For duckies who can’t swim
no need to give up life & limb
Any help to get ashore
is well worth waiting for
“It’s a ducky thing,” they quack and quip
“Much cheaper than a rescue ship.”
As I grow old
my hair grows bold
From out of nowhere hair is there
I pick & pluck the pesky hair
anywhere from lip to neck
I pluck a bushel and a peck
Then absently I rub my chin
another hair has grown in!
Some are white, others black
sharp as a nail, small as a tack
Where was I when they grew back?
Maybe this research shows why chin hair keeps growing in thicker and more luxuriant? (With a low density pluck I might have more luck)
“. . . plucking 200 hairs in a particular density and pattern can generate 1.200 hairs to grow . . . “
“From a circular patch of mouse skin the investigators plucked 200 hairs. The circle had a medium density of 5mm in diameter. Scientist also tried low-density pluck (6mm circle), but the regeneration did not occur. In higher density pluck they tried extracting the same number of hairs from a patch of 4mm but only 780 new hairs grew.”
“Neither pulling out all the hairs was useful. All the hairs grew back but there were no extra hairs. So the best results were obtained when the circles had diameters between 3 and 5mm. This led to a regeneration between 450 and 1.300 hairs.”
“The mechanism behind their pluck-to-thicken method is called “quorum sensing,” or how a system responds to targeted stimuli that affects select members.”
“. . . the immune cells secrete molecules that, in large numbers signal both the plucked and un-plucked follicles to grow hair.”
“The team of researchers was led by Cheng-Ming Chuong, Principal Investigator, University of Southern California Stem Cell and their research was based on the “quorum sensing” principle.”
The underlying principle of “quorum sensing” is what the regenerative process relies on. “Quorum sensing” refers at the way in which a system responds to a stimuli which only affect some of the member, not all of them.”
I google for fun, news, entertainment but most of all I Google for information: How to properly floss, what’s a blobfish, why do I look older than I feel?
I Goggled this research article which makes me wonder if all my Goggling is lowering my IQ . . .
“But at any moment you’re also just a few taps away from becoming an insufferable know-it-all. Searching for answers online gives people an inflated sense of their own knowledge, according to a study. It makes people think they know more than they actually do.”
“We think the information is leaking into our head, but really the information is stored somewhere else entirely,” Matthew Fisher, a doctoral student in cognitive psychology at Yale University, tells Shots.” “The more we rely on the Internet, Fisher says, the harder it will be to draw a line between where our knowledge ends and the web begins. And unlike poring through books or debating peers, asking the Internet is unique because it’s so effortless.”
“We are not forced to face our own ignorance and ask for help; we can just look up the answer immediately,” Fisher writes in an email. “We think these features make it more likely for people to consider knowledge stored online as their own.”
Read the entire article if you dare google this link! http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/04/02/396810355/searching-online-may-make-you-think-youre-smarter-than-you-are
Where to Next is the BEST travel blog. Peggy and her husband John travel to the most interesting places. LeggyPeggy’s post about traveling by camel in Rajasthan India is my inspiration for the “C“-word! Here’s an excerpt (Ya gotta read the whole post Where to Next and see the pictures):
“Poor John is never keen on riding animals. Horses are out. Bull-riding is out. Emus and ostriches are out. Donkeys are marginally okay because, as he says, it’s not that far to fall off a donkey.”
“So you can imagine he wasn’t at all impressed when he realised that our travels in India included two days in the Thar Desert on CAMELS.”
“Oh, you should have heard him grumble and grumble and grumble. But he swallowed his complaints, mounted a camel and was heaved high into the air.”
Read the post to get the full Camel experience Poor John survives two days on a Camel
*“Camels can go for days or even weeks with little or no food or water. Desert people feed their camels dates, grass, and such grains as wheat and oats. In zoos, the animals eat hay and dry grains–about 3.5 kilograms of each every day. When a camel travels across the desert, food may be hard to find. The animal may have to live on dried leaves, seeds, and whatever desert plants it can find. A camel can eat a thorny twig without hurting its mouth. The lining of the mouth is so tough that the sharp thorns cannot push through the skin. If food is very scarce, a camel will eat anything–bones, fish, meat, leather, and even its owner’s tent.
A camel does not chew its food well before swallowing it. The animal’s stomach has three sections, one of which stores the poorly chewed food. This food, or cud, is later returned to the mouth in a ball-like glob, and the camel chews it. The chewed food is then swallowed and goes to the other parts of the stomach to be completely digested. Camels, deer, cattle, and other kinds of animals that digest their food in this way are called ruminants.” Camel Farms.com
Bob the Blobfish has been a regular on this blog for years. His commentary is broadly heralded by readers as being bold, beautifully brash and brilliantly blunt
“In 2013 The blobfish was voted the “World’s Ugliest Animal”, based on photographs of decompressed specimens, and adopted as the mascot of the Ugly Animal Preservation Society, in an initiative “dedicated to raising the profile of some of Mother Nature’s more aesthetically challenged children”‘
The A-Z writing challenge is Absurdly Zonkers. Writing a post every day (except on Sunday) using the alphabet is not for the faint of heart. So that’s why I’m absolutely doing it.
by Michael Pomranz
“Remember when you were a little kid and Mom used to tell you, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away?” And then remember when you became a snotty teenager and you told Mom she was an idiot? Well, turns out Mom was wrong, and you were right!”
“A team of researchers recently set out to see if the old apple rhyme actually held any water. After looking at over 8,000 participants, their study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, provided no statically significant proof that an apple a day actually leads to fewer doctor’s visits.
“What researchers did uncover, however, was that apple eaters were “marginally more successful at avoiding prescription medications” than non-apple eaters. “Evidence does not support that an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” the study’s authors concluded, “however, the small fraction of US adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications.” Hopefully, Republicans are paying attention: Encouraging people to eat more apples might be a great Obamacare replacement.”
When I was young (just a few years ago . . . ) I thought it wasn’t a poem unless it rhymed. Shakespeare, Pound, Chaucer were agonizing for me to read in college, much less understand. I’ve grown to appreciate poetry and how it paints pictures, feelings, sentiments, hopes & dreams with words . . . much like visual journals.
It’s haiku prompt day today but as a favor to all my friends who don’t like haiku . . . Joyce . . . READ THIS!
POSSIBILITIES by Wislawa Szymborska
I prefer movies.
I prefer cats.
I prefer the oaks along the Warta.
I prefer Dickens to Dostoyevsky.
I prefer myself liking people
to myself loving mankind.
I prefer keeping a needle and thread on hand, just in case.
I prefer the color green.
I prefer not to maintain
that reason is to blame for everything.
I prefer exceptions.
I prefer to leave early.
I prefer talking to doctors about something else.
I prefer the old fine-lined illustrations.
I prefer the absurdity of writing poems
to the absurdity of not writing poems.
I prefer, where love’s concerned, nonspecific anniversaries
that can be celebrated every day.
I prefer moralists
who promise me nothing.
I prefer cunning kindness to the over-trustful kind.
I prefer the earth in civvies.
I prefer conquered to conquering countries.
I prefer having some reservations.
I prefer the hell of chaos to the hell of order.
I prefer Grimms’ fairy tales to the newspapers’ front pages.
I prefer leaves without flowers to flowers without leaves.
I prefer dogs with uncropped tails.
I prefer light eyes, since mine are dark.
I prefer desk drawers.
I prefer many things that I haven’t mentioned here
to many things I’ve also left unsaid.
I prefer zeroes on the loose
to those lined up behind a cipher.
I prefer the time of insects to the time of stars.
I prefer to knock on wood.
I prefer not to ask how much longer and when.
I prefer keeping in mind even the possibility
that existence has its own reason for being.
“Polish poet and translator Wislawa Szymborska (July 2, 1923–February 1, 2012). In 1996, Szymborska was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality.” Upon announcing the prize, the Nobel commission noted her reputation as “the Mozart of poetry” but added that there is also “something of the fury of Beethoven in her creative work.”
Warning! Do NOT read the story of Little Red Riding hood that has been circulating. It’s filled with violence and death.
Dedicated to all adoptees, whether two or four-legged.
by Freddie Parker Westerfield
Once upon a time in a land far away lived a little orphan wolf. How he became an orphan is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.
The tale simply begins: Abandoned and never having been around others of his own kind the little orphan wolf didn’t know what sharp teeth he had. He didn’t know what big eyes he had. He didn’t know what a bushy tail he had. He didn’t know how hairy he was. He didn’t know how scary he was. All he knew was that he was alone in a big forest filled with creatures and critters that ran away from him as soon as he approached.
So the little orphan wolf covered himself with branches and leaves to listen to the birds sing to each other in the trees.
He laid in tall grass to watch the squirrels play so they wouldn’t leap out of his sight.
He hid behind bushes to sneak peaks at the deer eating their meals.
But every day, all day, he was alone: every morning he ate by himself; every evening he played by himself; every night he settled down to sleep, alone.
One day the little orphan wolf decided to set out from his forest home to find someone, somewhere, to be his friend.
Along the way he came upon a little girl. She had a yellow curl and wore a red cape and hood. Why she wore a red cape and hood is not known, the records being lost long ago in the archives of the forest.
Because she was young, and bigger than the little orphan wolf she wasn’t scared, she didn’t run away, she stopped and asked: “Where are you going Mr. Wolf?”
“I’m off to find a friend so that I am not alone. I’m off to find a friend to share my meals with. I am off to find a friend to play with and most of all I off to find a friend to talk with. I am very lonely.”
The little girl with the yellow curl wearing the red cape and hood, feeling sorry for the little orphan wolf, said, “Come with me to Grandma’s house. She makes delicious muffins with the berries I pick in the forest. She sits at the table while I eat the muffins and listens to me talk. Grandma loves all of God’s creatures. She can’t be your grandma, but maybe she can be your friend.”
“I don’t know what a Grandma is,” replied the little orphan wolf, “but she sounds exactly like the friend I’m looking for.”
And so the little orphan wolf set off with the little girl with a curl who wore a red cape and hood to Grandma’s house.
They passed by a giant berry bush. “Stop here to pick berries for the delicious muffins Grandma makes,” said the little girl. They picked only the very ripest berries and carefully carried them in the pockets of the red cape.
They passed by a field of flowers. “Stop here to pick flowers for Grandma to put on the table where we sit and she listens to me talk,” explained the little girl. They picked a bouquet of blue and pink flowers and carefully wrapped them in the red hood.
They passed a bubbling brook where cool waters ran. “Let’s stop here for a drink to refresh ourselves after all our work picking berries and flowers,” suggested the little girl. They drank from the bubbling brook and carefully rested on the red cape so as not to crush the berries or smash the flowers.
As they walked over the crest of a hill the little girl pointed and exclaimed, “Look! There’s Grandma’s house. Let’s see if she will be your friend.”
The little orphan wolf peeked out from behind the red cape not sure what a grandma was. His eyes grew bigger and bigger as he watched Grandma greet the little girl with a big hug and the biggest, most wonderful smile, neither of which he had ever seen before.
The little girl announced, “Grandma, I’ve brought you berries so you can make me delicious muffins. I’ve brought you flowers to put on the table where we sit and you listen to me talk. I’ve brought you a little orphan wolf who is lonely and looking for a friend”
Never having met a grandma before and not knowing how to greet one the little orphan wolf opened his mouth, showed his sharp teeth and wagged his bushy tail.
“My! What sharp white teeth you have”, gasped grandma. “The better to protect you with” replied the little orphan wolf.
“My! What big brown eyes you have,” marveled Grandma. “The better to lovingly look up at you with”, replied the little orphan wolf. “
“My! What a bushy tail you have,” exclaimed Grandma. “The better to wag at you with happiness,” replied the little orphan wolf.
“My! How fluffy your hair is,” declared Grandma. “The better to cuddle with and keep you warm,” said the little orphan wolf.
“Oh my goodness”, sighed Grandma. “I will be your friend and feed you delicious berry treats, while you sit and listen to me.”
“And because you are one of God’s creatures I will call you FREDDIE.”
Where upon the little orphan wolf looked up at Grandma with big eyes, wagged his bushy tail, stuck out his wet tongue and gave Grandma an appreciative lick.
He had found his friend.
My haiku was inspired by Carolyn Thomas’ Post-Traumatic Growth: how a crisis makes life better – or not. Carolyn had a myocardial infarction – the “widowmaker” heart attack. Since that life altering experience she has been overwhelmingly affected by the ongoing pain of coronary microvascular disease.
Until I read Carolyn’s excellent post I had never heard of Post Traumatic GROWTH:
“Post-Traumatic Growth is the experience of positive change that occurs as a result of the struggle with highly challenging life crises.
“Although the term is new, the idea that great good can come from great suffering is ancient.”
“Reports of Post-Traumatic Growth have been found in people who have experienced bereavement, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV infection, cancer, bone marrow transplantation, heart attacks, coping with the medical problems of children, transportation accidents, house fires, sexual assault and sexual abuse, combat, refugee experiences, and being taken hostage.”
Read this informative and thought-provoking post and Carolyn’s concern for patients & people regarding this concept. Click HERE
Oh baby, it’s cold outside!
so step on my feet we’ll go for a ride
Open your bill for a swill of krill
Mommy will make sure you get your fill
I don’t know about you but I secretly harbor “anticipations” when there is a first in my life – a hope that I will miraculously be a different person when I wake up the day after.
Because two big firsts – my 70th birthday and retirement – occurred almost simultaneously just MAYBE, I think, maybe this time I’ll have a genuine epiphany – spectacular insight into who I REALLY am at the core of my being . . . or at least a surge of renewed energy.
I was trying to describe to a friend what it felt like the first day after I turned 70, saw my last client and was officially retired. “. . . kinda like right after my first sexual “experience” – I was disappointed that I didn’t feel like a different person, more mature, sophisticated, enlightened, intelligent, alive, but I did wonder if other people could tell.”
Same experience all over again: Don’t feel any different; Don’t feel more mature, sophisticated, enlightened, intelligent, alive . . . but perhaps other people can tell something big just happened to me by how I walk or talk or act?
So far no one seems to notice anything . . . maybe that’s because I’m trying not to walk funny.
(inspired by and with apology to Helen Reddy)
Going to a sit-down movie in the 1950’s was a big treat. Before the feature film there were cartoons and a black and white newsreel which often showed men testing jetpacks. It was fascinating watching them suit up and then “blasting off”. It was also scary. I was sure that by the time I was an adult everyone would use jet-packs for transportation and I was terrified of heights.
I’m relieved jetpacks never came into vogue. Where I live all the electrical lines are underground and I would be flying blind.
I wonder if these pilots are old enough to remember newsreels and men flying with jetpacks?
“The costs of the shoot are unknown, but each jet has a list price of $300 million, so it’s safe to assume that well over $1.5 billion of machinery was on the line.”
“Airbus recently took this remarkable skill [flying in formation] to a whole new level in a promo video designed to show off its new A350 XWB passenger jet. The beautifully choreographed stunt involved five of the brand-new A350-900 jets, as well as two chase planes and a helicopter.”
Here’s the article: Watch Airbus risk 15 billion in a wild airplane stunt
Thanks Lyn for sending this spectacular ride.
I eat all the leftovers in the refrigerator. I make a batch of brownies from a mix and eat the batter slowly, very slowly, breathing in the chocolately aroma, feeling the slightly gritty grains of batter between my tongue and roof of my mouth. Spoonful by spoonful the intense sweetness permeates every sense of my being. I eat all the batter because turning on the oven is too complicated and not understanding what temperature or how long they need to bake too dangerous.
I search all the kitchen cupboards. The only thing left that is edible is a box of Saltine crackers and ketchup, necessities of life when you are a student and working your way through college. Intently focused, I carefully break the crackers apart into their neat little squares and slowly, carefully arrange them on a plate. It takes time to decorate them with swirls and globs of ketchup before I carefully spread the red with the tines of a fork marveling at the artistic lines I’m creating in the ketchup.
“Taste this – they’re delicious, like the best pizza ever.” I walk slowly, carefully balancing the plate, into the living room toward my roommate Shelly who’s sitting on our Salvation Army couch, her feet propped up on the wooden spool coffee table that once held wire cable for telephone repair and abandoned on a Berkeley street corner.
“Taste these – just like pizza, they are delicious,” I repeat, shoving the plate into Shelley’s line of vision as she blankly stares in the direction of the orange paper-mache flower in the milk carton that decorates the wooden spool. Mechanically, and without the enthusiasm I think warranted, she chews slowly, very slowly, silently, reflectively. Not waiting for her response I eat the rest of the pizza crackers while carrying the plate back to the kitchen to make more.
by Angus Chen
“Shortly after toking up, a lot of marijuana users find that there’s one burning question on their minds: “Why am I so hungry?” Researchers have been probing different parts of the brain looking for the root cause of the marijuana munchies for years. Now, a team of neuroscientists [led by Tamas Horvath at the Yale School of Medicine] report that they have stumbled onto a major clue buried in a cluster of neurons they thought was responsible for making you feel full.”
“An effect when cannibus is introduced in the brain . . . “creates a kind of runaway hungry effect. “Even if you just had dinner and you smoke the pot, all of a sudden these neurons that told you to stop eating become the drivers of hunger,” Horvath says. It’s a bit like slamming down on the brakes and finding weed has turned it into another gas pedal.
” . . . Last year, researchers foundthat cannabinoids lit up the brain’s olfactory center, making mice more sensitive to smells. Before that, other researchers discovered cannabinoids were increasing levels of dopamine in the brain; that’s the swoon that comes with eating tasty things.”
To read the entire article click here
I’ve been 70 for 4 days and I still feel like I’m 69 . . . maybe I’ll feel my age in a few more days.
My long-time “Fibro-friend” came to celebrate my birthday with me. She wasn’t invited but she came anyway. She said that’s what friends are for. But I showed her and didn’t have a celebration. Here’s my birthday pome to me (in blue) with an intro by “Mac”:
(with apologies to Fleetwood Mac)
“If you wake up and don’t want to smile
If it takes just a little while
Open your eyes and look at the day
You’ll see things in a different way”
“Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow
Don’t stop. It’ll soon be here”
A live performance of Fleetwood Mac’s classic hit, ‘Don’t Stop’ with help from the University of Southern California’s Trojans Marching Band
Just realized I need to update my oh-so-many profiles that are swirling around in cyberspace.
Less than an academic exercise changing my profile has become a psychological dilemma in ego-identification. Since I have no specific direction I’ve decided to call myself a Used-to-Be Therapist. Used-to-Be has a ring of experience with just a hint of being washed up. I think I’ll also add BEing-in-Progress. The combination of Used-to-Be and BEing-in Progress creates a bit of intrigue.
I’m a serial monogamist when it comes to my professional identity. I don’t like to break up with my current identity until I have another identity lined up in the wings. When I break the news “I don’t love you anymore” to any job I’ve had it’s comforting to run into the arms of my new job for solace, security and paycheck.
I’ve worked since I was 16. So for 60 decades, give or take a few years, I’ve prided myself in being INDEPENDENT. Ok – It’s not always pride, some of the time self-pity, much of the time martyrdom and most of the time resignation. But for 60 decades I’ve never had the title DEPENDENT.
Used-to-Be-Independent, Dependent in-Progess? You’ll have to keep checking all my cyber profiles to see what my current status is. I’ll probably decide after I receive my first social SECURITY check.
You may know it as stream-of-consciousness, non-stop writing, free writing – all the same names for what amounts to writing with no thought to spelling punctuation, whether it makes sense or not. Just write. I call it brain-dump.
It’s a writing technique used for warm-up, breaking into writer’s block or uncovering unconscious process. In the journal class today we were given the prompt “We do not write in order to be understood, we write in order to understand” (C.Day Lewis).
I typed out my journal page (I hope you appreciate the lengths I go to for you my readers!) to show you an unedited glimpse into what a sample of free-writing looks like.
But first!!! here’s the ditty that came out of my free-write:
My tiny trains of thought
Hopefully if I run out of steam
I will stay on track
I think I can I think I can I think I can.
“Who on earth really understands us we are understood by others only in reference to how the other perceives their own world thru their own lens which always clouded just like the mist that clouds the sky this morning I’m obscured obscured and I obscure how I see what I see through a clouded lens of my feelings and perceiving the cloud it’s hard to know what is real and what not obscured vision filter it thru a mist as if I see with the brightness I don’t know my reference my experience no one can ever know They think they know I think I know yet my senses are bound up in my brain scattering thoughts confused thinking between the past and present in the obscurity of the future I meant to write obscurity of the present, interesting slip of the pen in the scattering of thinking on paper no one knows what this means I don’t know what this means how am I suppose to know how am I suppose to understand what can’t be understood it’s safe to say no matter what I write no one will understand NOT EVEN ME how can we pretend to know much less pretend to understand always curious wanting to understand wanting to know it’s as if a long train pulled by a locomotive is coming can’t see the end if I’m at the beginning can’t see the beginning if I’m at the end and in the middle of it all are cars filled with the unknown going up a hill like the Little Engine that Could try to reach the top of the knowing to see other to the other side where it’s just a glide, just a downhill run where the brakes need to be applied not the foot on the throttle if a train has a throttle I think I can I think I can I think I can”.
That was the writing prompt today in the journal class. I don’t like to be reminded I should be happy, grateful . . . I blame it on college – being surrounded by barefoot “flower children”, wearing tie-dye, flowers stuck in flowing hair, singing about love (not to mention “practicing” it) while I was working 30 hours a week to pay for my education. Did I mention I went to The University of California at Berkeley . . . ?
Berkeley was a foreign country across the world from the Arizona high school I had attended: Girls were allowed to wear pants to school one day a year – rodeo day; The only drug I knew about was aspirin; Acid was hydrochloric; If you went barefoot the bottom of your feet would be seared from the 124 degree summer heat and; “Love” was “necking” at the drive-in theatre. (It was aptly called “necking” as all the action took place from the neck up).
I was out of my element in college. I watched, listened, standing on the outside looking in and had no clue I was observing a cultural phenomena. All my time and energy went to financial and academic survival.
Decades later hearing positive sayings, aphorisms, slogans my brain reels itself emotionally back to college when I was in survival mode – working, studying, envious of those who untied their ribbons and freely, spontaneously savored the gifts of each day of their lives.
Today I drive a VW Beetle with a peace sign on the side . . . go figure
“Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch.” Baha’i
As I “count up” to my 70th birthday” I think more and more about choice & inevitability, and the wonder of the unknown. When I received these pictures from my friend Sharon they struck me as reflecting the human condition . . . mine included.
Speak to me.
for the Source
soaring from the earth
in time and space
clinging by my roots
to a passage yet unknown
Thanks Sharon for sharing!
Becca Givens posts pictures of trees she photographs on her blog Sunday Trees. Becca has much more discipline than I do as it is every Sunday! Here’s some of her “trees” Sunday Trees 03, Sunday Trees 08, Sunday Trees 26 in the Mayan Ruins
What scares me the most (currently) is that no longer having a day job I’ll start self-medicating on daytime T.V., sugar and carbs. But I already self-medicate on sugar and carbs so adding TV into the Rx isn’t far-fetched.
So today, I resolutely turn off the morning talk show and attend a journal writing class. I know, I know, I hear you saying – “BUT JUDY! YOU’VE FACILITATED JOURNALING WORKSHOPS FOR DECADES”. (Ok, you didn’t say it, I did)
However, I CAN hear you saying: “BUT JUDY! YOU’VE NEVER TAUGHT WRITING, YOU DON’T KNOW EVERYTHING . BUT JUDY! YOU NEED OUTSIDE STRUCTURE. BUT JUDY! GET OFF YOUR BUTT”. You, my dear readers, are tough on me . . .
It’s a good-sized group of people about my own age – has to be roughly my own age because at 9:30 a.m. anyone younger is at work or jet skiing. Lots of women and 2 men. The teacher, Maryann Easley, is a published author, colorful, personable, well prepared and articulate. So far so good.
The exercise for this first class – pick a saying and do a quick-write. We are instructed to each take the piece of paper from the top as the box passes around. I’m an unruly student and pick from the middle of the pile:
in the moment
in the present
Eww, don’t like this one. That’ll teach me for not following the rules. I write:
I’m always in the moment
impossible not to be
it’s my brain that gets confused
thinks it’s in the past
or wishes for the future.
Bad brain! Will you never learn?
but when you're dead
the present is all I'll know.
Breathe, breath, pneuma
(poem with 2 “haiku verses”, Haiku Horizons’ prompt CIRCLE)
Carla Sonheim is pairing up with Lynn Whipple for another year-long on-line class. This time the concentration is simply on having fun making art. It’s really timely for me right now. My spark is sputtering – not out, but definitely needs some kindling and a match.
“Let us pray for eyes to see and ears to hear, and for hearts that long for peace.” ‘Abdu’l-Baha- Paris Talks, Baha’i World Faith
“The idea that ‘genius’ is just one step removed from ‘madness’ is a venerable one, and psychiatrists and psychologists have spent a great (perhaps an inordinate) amount of time looking for correlations between mental illness and creativity.”
“Now a new British study has examined whether poets exhibit more traits of psychosis than other people.”
“The researchers recruited 294 poets in an anonymous online survey; 92% of them had published their work. On the O-LIFE questionnaire, a self-report measure of psychotic symptoms, the poets scored above average on the “Unusual Experiences”, “Cognitive Disorganization” and “Impulsive Nonconformity” traits.”
“Furthermore, poets who described their work as ‘avant-garde’ scored even higher on “Unusual Experiences” and on a questionnaire of mood disorder symptoms.”
“Rates of self-reported mental illnesses were also high
two poets (0.7%) reported schizophrenia, 15 reported bipolar disorder (5.1%), 152 reported depression (51.7%) and 80 reported anxiety disorder (27.2%).
Although actually these percentages are not that much higher than we see in the general population.”
“So it seems as though poets are more prone to psychosis – or at least, they think that they are. All of the traits were self-reported. Could it be that poets, having internalized the ‘mad genius’ archetype, are more prone to describe themselves in those terms?”
Opened a surprise birthday season package today from my brother Rick. He stuffed this “cocoa” mug with chocolate. I unstuffed the mug and stuffed me.
Owls can rotate their heads and necks as much as 270 degrees “. . . owls have backup arteries, which offer a fresh supply of nutrients when blood vessels get closed off by rapid turning.
Their arteries also swell to collect any excess blood created in the process.” National Geographic
I bought paint today for the bedroom – grey paint, Grey Owl, the name on the paint chip. A quick trip to the paint store. “I like how you smile. I just told my last customer that I like to see smiles. I always say the first wrinkles I get will be right here”, she swipes her fingers around her mouth, “from smiling,” the clerk behind the counter looks at me straight in the eye. “I like how you smile”.
Maybe from 30 years of being a therapist, a scent people pick up just like Freddie my dog picks up with his nose – scents that I can’t, don’t detect. I watch her ring up my paint purchase.
“I just have a happy disposition. They say I’m like my mother. Always laughing. If my Mother saw someone trip and fall out there” – she looks outside through the plate-glass window – “she would laugh and laugh. But people never know what you feel inside, people never know if you have just been in your car, crying. People can’t see the sadness or pain inside. You can swipe your credit card now”, she takes a breath, “My mother died when I was 4 years old. I wasn’t allowed in the hospital. Maybe my brothers got to see her, got to say goodbye. I never saw her. I never said goodbye. I have two boys and a girl. My little girl always wants to be with me. I try to imagine what it was like for my Mother.”
I say something rather innocuous struck by how beautiful – smooth skin, clear, dark kinky hair, color streaked, pulled tightly back in a careless knot, bright red lipstick. Turning, gesturing, looking up, looking down at the computer she doesn’t stop moving, trapped behind the counter. She speaks fast, effortlessly, her words softened with Spanish sounding consonants. “My aunt raised me but I’ve never felt like a daughter. I never felt loved. My aunt already had 6 children but she told my Mom she would take care of me. My mother never told anyone she was dying. She didn’t want anyone to worry. I talk to my Mother. I tell her when I’m angry. I want to give you a hug.” – an effortless, tight hug separated by a counter. She picks up the ringing phone and motions me to get my paint.
Two gallons, one in each hand. They’re heavy, the wire handles digging painfully into my palms. She smiles and nods in my direction, still on the phone, as I walk out the automatic doors.
Grey Owl paint on the bedroom wall. Surrounded by the stark white molding it looks fresh and soothing . I’ll smile at the Grey Owl walls when I wake in the morning, a smile for the young woman in the paint store and her mother.
“The owl was honored as the keeper of spirits who had passed from one plane to another. Often myth indicates the owl accompanying a spirit to the underworld – winging its newly freed soul from the physical world into the realm of spirit.” animal-symbolism