Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Bundles of Thread

The pattern: I remember the words that have been written and then imagine the words that have yet to be born onto paper.

The words yet to come inevitably feel enormous in the waiting. As each breath passes, my chest is heavier, made of denser stuff than bone. Someone has surgically switched out my bones for an iron breast plate; I can feel it grinding, pressing, squeezing.

It’s already hard to breathe; writing feels impossible. But the ache is still there, the ache is always there. It’s the quiet festering, it’s the bulb slowly forcing up through soil. Thick green sprouts will surely burst from my rib cage soon, poking between bones like fingers thrusting through prison bars.

It is an ache that burns worse when I am still; I understand why so many keep busy like compulsive liars. If the choreography becomes more frantic, more manic, the floor doesn’t turn to lava. If the floor doesn’t turn to lava, the acrobats don’t slip through.

This is an ache of an old family friend I’ve shared tea and scones with while discussing cello music and what it feels like to fall. It’s the itching skin of a former lover that pulled on my hair, jerking my head back as we wrestled to whisper pie recipes and names of crayon colors in my ear.

Timberwolf. One pound of blackberries. Grated lemon zest. Bittersweet. One cup of sugar. Jazzberry Jam.

The ache is a mute child that never learned to speak on her own, so she relies on me to communicate. Everything comes all at once, too much liquid down one plastic funnel and you wind up with milk all over your hands. What’s the best way to get all this across anyhow? Efficiently? Consistently? Creatively? With the stubs of crayons that have lost their wrappers scratched into newsprint or on plaster walls? It changes, as do the thoughts and the words. They build up and up and up like cardboard bricks until the only way out is pulling out a single brick and letting the whole tower wobble. Maybe the tower crumbles.

Then I’m left with a mute child and a toppled castle tower. And the ache.

Always the ache. It never, ever goes away. Writing doesn’t make it go away, neither does painting. All these things do is lubricate the iron breastplate; the machine moves more easily and stretches into the ache. Not to diminish, but to relish. The ache becomes a well worked muscle; vulnerable in the microfibers, but stronger as a whole.

Oh, if I could tell you all of the thoughts that have spun themselves into thread inside my chest. Soft thread, brittle thread, golden thread, invisible thread; I gather them into neat bundles and pass them to friends in the form of love and reminders. Often, that thread is all I am capable of giving. I reach out to you not because I demand something in return; I reach out because I ache and need to stretch towards something meaningful and beautiful. I reach out because otherwise I would be buried beneath the thought threads I create.

I am careful to whom I offer my bundles; they are often still attached to me, wrapped and knotted around my lungs and my throat or the connective tissue between my joints. If you pull too hard or I thrust too quickly I very well may bleed. If I take too long to offer, I may leave the pile of thread at an empty door, an unattended post. Some bundles people mistook for straw, or perhaps they saw something I did not wish to admit. I have not decided if these moments were my fault, or simply just were.

Winter symbolizes a turning inward. An eye swiveling back to inspect what beats underneath the flesh, or a hand pausing before it reaches out to offer another coil of thread. Have I felt frantic? I suppose I have, at times. This year has been full. Important people have died. Important people die every year, but this year was my family’s turn to feel that weight. My family and my friends; you lovelies know exactly who you are. It has been a very full year, has it not? I’ve begun to feel over extended, even as I feel isolated and wrapped up within my thoughts and feelings; I’d like to try a different approach.

I’d like to write you letters.

Will you take a letter? 

Friday, March 28, 2014

In which we go... everywhere. Cause there's just a lot of stuff to get through.

Occasionally, when I walk out of the bathroom or into my work building, I imagine a stranger, clothes tattered and dirt dusted, hair wildly askew, a pair of spectacles perched crookedly on the edgiest edge of their nose. They look at me, sagging mouth and bruised eye sockets, and whimper: “You… you didn’t blog. Why didn’t you blog?!”

Only then do I realize this person seems familiar.

Only, you know, not. But for dramatizing the niggling guilt I feel over ignoring this little home base, it isn’t terrible.

Here’s the problem with slacking on a personal blog: enough time goes by and suddenly your next post isn’t just about the bullshit or inspiring stuff from last week. It isn’t about the thought you had a couple hours ago, or the new project you’ve been spending the last few days tirelessly pouring over.

Suddenly, you’ve got months’ worth of mud, rock, and gold flakes to try and sift through. You’re helplessly staring at a mountain thinking, “Maybe I’ll start tomorrow.”

Shit, so how are you? Been good? Ups and downs? Yeah, I feel you. What have I been up to? Oh, well, been thinkin’ about a lot of stuff, but you know, since when is that new.

Though there have been fresh waves of ideas and ponderings, I suppose you could call them, that chew at my ear when I’m not paying attention. Mostly gaining my equilibrium back and, you know, paying taxes. I still believe that people are always in a state of flux about what they think and hold true about the world (if they’re self-aware, actively curious folk). Not that we should never take a stand on anything. But in a constant exploration, even one that builds upon a specific world/universe view and foundation, it’s so important to push a little, to challenge, to doubt, swing back to center, and then doubt again.

I guess that is a theme for me of late. The push and pull of faith and doubt. Not in the biblical sense, but relishing in live and creating, focusing on something that feeds my soul, while simultaneously examining my thoughts and assumptions. Not self-deprecating self-doubt, but “I see potential or good in this and I want to keep getting better/making it better.” And it’s strange. There are still a lot of things that I haven’t balanced out since moving down here but I feel okay. Exciting things are still happening.

One big update: I’ve been regimenting hours to work on stories and other writing projects. (Just because I haven’t been blogging, doesn’t mean I’ve been letting the teats go dry, I promise! Milk’s a flowin.) I kept burning myself out on the weekends or psyching myself out, so every night after work for the last couple weeks I’ve spent time writing or editing. My current project is a fairytale of sorts, something close to my heart. I grew up reading fairytale-esque short stories; one of my favorite childhood books was this anthology called Fearless Girls, Wise Women, and Beloved Sisters. That book contained fables and tales from all over the world and I would read and reread it beginning to end countless times. Working on one of my own was the perfect place to start given the head butting I’ve been doing with the first round of rewrites on the novel.

As beta reading, further editing, and other projects unfold, I will make a point to keep everyone in the loop of what happens next. All I can really say is a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me these last few months in their own ways. Some near, some far, some offering encouragement, some just offering a hand reaching out to connect, I love all of you. In this turbulent time I’ve felt lonely, sure, but I know I have a solid foundation of good people. I just want you to know that I don’t forget that.

Best wishes, and don’t forget to be awesome. Until next time, soon!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Good Knight.

My eyeballs keep rolling back to the little time display at the bottom right of my screen. Has another minute passed? Oh. Okay. Okay, focus. Has it passed now? No. Oh, oh, wait, 11:09! Shit. Shitshit. I ned to get to sleep.

As I told my mother, my Night Owl alter-ego is quite grumpy about my 6am alarm. Insert obligatory joke about my Knight in Owling armor advocating for my obscenely late bedtime. He just wants to spend more time with me, that’s all. Hehe. I’m dating a Knight Owl.

11:12. Shitshitshit.

So all of this (meaning the above ramble) came about, as they say, because of reasons. Namely, extreme writing constipation. Earlier, as I sat in a bookstore glaring sullenly at this exact same computer, the revision of my story mooned me from across the screen like the cheeky bastard it is. I’ve been stuck at this one particular part for weeks. So conversations were had, I twisted my mouth disapprovingly at the scroll of text and keep repeating: “No, no. It just doesn’t work. Something’s not right. Something’s missing.”


Sometimes I get stuck. Sometimes the thing that’s doing the sticking needs to be reexamined and possibly changed so the sticking can become unsticky so the stuck becomes unstuck. Follow me?


I put the chapter away. I went to watch YouTube videos and let the tantrum-inducing knot in my stomach subside. I can come back to this later. I can retrace my steps a little to approach my problem from another angle. Because sometimes the way I want my characters to be is not the way they should be.

But I knew I needed to write something. My fingers get itchy. I get itchy. And I think about how Neil Gaiman is like the close uncle who I grew up with and continues mentoring me with old stories and new advice, how you never really learn how to write, you just learn how to write the thing you’re writing and the next thing will be a whole new meeting and lesson. How this thing that I do, blogging, journaling, is a voice in my head that is unlike and so like the voice I use as an auditory expression and as you read this you probably have your own voice speaking this run on sentence to you.

And I think that’s weird. And interesting. It’s a different kind of space to share with people.

11:28. Even Sir Owl is admitting I need to sleep. But you’ve wound me up so thoroughly, dear Knight, how do you expect me to sleep?

11:29. I often mutter out loud to myself. When I’m solving a problem, walking through the steps, pondering an idea, having a conversation. It’s like a hand leading me through a process, focusing me and encouraging me to explore. When the voice stops, when my characters stop speaking to me, the knot in my stomach returns and I sometimes search and listen too hard, groping blindly for the frayed end of the rope.

11:33. I hear you. I will follow. Good Knight, may we dream of adventures to bring to a waking world. 

Sunday, January 12, 2014

32oz Santa Cruz Lemonade water bottle and a damn good song.

I keep telling myself that my blogs don’t always have to be “about” something.

It doesn’t help.


Two things happened in the last 48 hours that reminded me, in a sudden, head-snapping rush, that I am not completely separated from the person I identified as “me” 9 or 10 months ago.

And that’s when I go, “Shit. It's been almost a year?”

A lot happens in a year.

Thing number one: I finally obtained a 32 ounce, glass, Santa Cruz Lemonade bottle. Which means I resurrected my habit of using one as a water bottle and carrying it around with me like a third boob, obsessively guzzling its contents (my simile kinda crapped out when I got to “guzzling;” I apologize for the weird mental images you may be experiencing right now).

The 32 ounce, glass, Santa Cruz Lemonade bottle was my water bottle. I kept one at the yoga studio. Religiously. Right before I went inside the studio class room I’d be sure to fill it up one last time, all the way to the veeery top. Then, screw on top, walk in, kick door stop, shut door, plunk that 32 ounce, glass, Santa Cruz Lemonade water bottle on the cabinet which also housed the sound system, turn off mood music, take a deep breath and…..

That person still feels very far away sometimes. But when I wrap my fingers around the top third of the bottle, where the concave curve is a perfect fit to my hand, I remember rubbing the diamond shaped indents as I held the glass container before, during, and after class. I remember my bare feet on a wood floor, the connection with my breath and the energy in the room. Electric.

Thing number two is Lord Huron. That band, their album represents something, evokes something very, very specific and visceral in me. A freedom, a joy, excitement, glee, hurt, uncertainty, choices… it doesn’t sound specific here but it’s an image super glued in one corner of my skull, maybe next to my left eye socket. Anyway, the last time I listened to a Lord Huron song was when I made the long road trip down to Southern California and officially decided to stay there. There wasn’t any emotional reason behind not listening to them again after that decision; I cancelled my Spotify subscription to tighten up the finances and since I didn’t own their album, I couldn’t conveniently stream it. Over time I just forgot about listening to them regularly. Until today. So I hopped on YouTube.

And it reminds me that that person, even from a year ago, is still a part of me. Thank god. 

"You’ve been gone for a long long time
You’ve been in the wind, you’ve been on my mind
You are the purest soul I’ve ever known in my life

Take your time, let the rivers guide you in
You know where you can find me again
I’ll be waiting here ‘till the stars fall out of the sky

When you left I was far too young
To know you’re worth more than the moon and the sun
You are still alive when I look to the sky in the night

I would wait for a thousand years
I would sit right here by the lake, my dear
You just let me know that you’re coming home
And I’ll wait for you

Years have gone but the pain is the same
I have passed my days by the sound of your name
Well they say that you’re gone and that I should move on
I wonder: how do they know, baby?

Death is a wall but it can’t be the end
You are my protector and my best friend
Well they say that you’re gone and that I should move on
I wonder: how do they know, baby?
How do they know? Well, they don’t"

Lord Huron – In the Wind

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Just happy.

I welcomed in the New Year with board games and over 800 miles of driving in 48 hours. The highlight of my trip was nestled somewhere between The Perfect Hug and becoming the King of Tokyo as the Cyber Bunny (which in my opinion, is the monster most well suited to me: badass and adorable). As I sat around the game table on New Year’s Eve, greedily snatching roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, cheese, rice crispy treats, and molasses chips and stuffing them into my face (not all at the same time) I didn’t think much on the “big possibilities” for the new year or its greater meaning and significance. I occasionally checked the trickle of “Happy New Year” text messages I received and joyfully replied, but I just felt happy to be where I was and grateful for the people closest to me (wherever they happened to be geographically).

I could easily dramatize 2013 as it did carry some rather dramatic changes. But the odd thing about this blog and my conversations with friends… the odd thing is, now that I’m sitting down to write a little bloggity-dee reflecting on this last year, I don’t have much else to say. I lived it, I wrote it, and I spoke it. Could I say, with flair, that this last year was hell? That it was challenging, displacing, heartbreaking and sad? Could I speak of the trees I watched dance, the eye contact I held with strangers, the deep soul love connection made and torn and gingerly handled? Or of the steps taken and the steps still needing to be taken? So many steps left. So very, very many and yet in this moment, as sleep begins to beckon to me, I’m content with letting a memory be a memory and a future, a future. No grandeur, no sweeping resolutions or sentimental statements or reading into what I’ve experienced and where I’m going.

I struggle to say I’m grateful for 2013 and what it offered, but I struggle to hate it in equal measure. The internal work I’ve done, the processing, the experiencing, is most clearly expressed in my blogs from last year but also the rough draft of my novel. I finished that draft shortly before 2013 ended, one year of work. As I start my edits and rewrites, I see the battle of what I was going through and what I was trying to say in those pages. My characters floundered in their own insecurity, though through no fault or even motivation of their own. The insecurity was mine; not just as a writer, but as a human being trying to make choices and changes.

Understandable, I think.

So standing on this side of last year, I can bear witness to a former self and incorporate her into a new being. I can allow myself that poetry, at least. But I think I’ll quietly slip into the new being like I would any other day, because how I felt on New Year’s Eve sums everything up: I’m just happy to be where I am. Home will continue to change, goals will continue to take shape, characters will continue to speak and surprise me, and tragedies will continue to occur along with beauty. Sometimes I don’t need any deeper meaning than that.

Much love to all of you!