Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Apparently I forgot I had a writing voice. I think I'll attempt to write a bit more from now on, it's been a long and harrowing journey, but I think I might finally have something worth writing about again. It may be just a pea-sized nugget of words, but heck, it's a great way to track my manic thinking over the years.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What Next Big Universe?

Unfulfilled potential is an unsatisfying feeling. Something like wanting to go out, but having nothing to wear, or having no money to get groceries, or realizing you've just run out something, but the shops have all closed for the night. You know you could do something wonderful, if only you weren't held back by yourself, your apathy, your lack of education, your lack of connection, your lack of courage. There is nothing quite as wonderful as being given an opportunity, but sometimes that just wonderful feeling is swiftly cut short by insecurity, fear and feelings of incompetence. Do I know myself to be competent? Yes. Do I know myself to be smart? Yes. Then what is this all about? Why does my courage sabotage itself by flinging it's entirety out the window? Where did that window come from in the first place? Somewhere, years ago, that window was built within my little soul as a defense to broken promises. I suppose it was a way to escape my own frustration with being poor, homely, unpopular, lied to. It was an escape from having to have my hopes smashed by someone else, and instead I taught myself to say "Thank you folks, but look, I can smash my own hopes! Look I can stop before I even get started!" Oh boy, what a terrible way to cope!
Well, news flash, I am well capable of trying hard for what I want, and having an escape route that doesn't involve a window but another opportunity. Yes, another and if that doesn't work, maybe another?
Perhaps I've let myself be too damaged by unforeseen circumstances. I've felt so locked into lack of community, into lack of happiness and I've felt locked in by my own decisions to move not once, but twice in the last few years, not across town, but across the country. Boston, you sucked my soul out and left me dry of compassion and empathy. Virginia, you have been both the most difficult time of my life and the most enlightening and oh, Seattle, how I long for you, but we are not meant to be at this time. So we need to move on, maybe someday we can be reunited.
Right now, here, in Virginia, I've got to make my life work, I've got to live here, be present, not withdraw from the enjoyment and potential I have here. I cannot live anymore in the uncertainty of happiness, God is with me, Justin is with me, I am with me. I will settle, I will move on, I will do something great, perhaps, with my pebble sized enthusiasm, I may impact others, and I may change for the better. I will overcome, with God's help.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Beginning of a Long Year.

We moved to Boston in the middle of July, leaving friends and family behind and looking forward to what may lie ahead. We decided to leave a week earlier then planned because we realized we needed a few days to look for apartments before August set in. With a Penkse truck packed up with our posessions and memories, we started out on our six day journey across this vast country. The first day, we drove through Washington state, Idaho and made it to the middle of Montana before we stopped to camp for the night. we stayed at a sketchy, pay-on-your-honor, 10$ a night camping spot on a river. The town was nothing but a gas station, a few rickety houses and several "meth watch" signs. There was no firewood to cook our dinners on, so we scoured the surrounding areas for sticks and logs, and when we did get a fire going, it was so dry and hot we thought we'd catch the whole world on fire. We went to sleep with the sun and woke up at 6, ready to go.
The sun rose up over green hills and pastures, it was one of the most beautiful things we'd ever seen. We drove all that day through the rest of Montana through dry Wyoming and finally into the black hills of South Dakota. Eleven hours of straight driving, and little food made us desperate so we opted for a hotel, where we could get a break from the scorching heat. Early we rose, the next morning, refilled our cooler with ice and hit the road. The prairies were glorious. the felt neverending. We drove through city after city, population 15 or 19 apparently or some other ridiculously small number, but they were big enough to be on the map. We realized then, just how far from home we already were. I had never seen land so flat and sky so big, it was a revelation to be sure, and gorgeous. Minnesota is where we laid our heads that night, in a beautiful little campground surrounded by trees, the campsite director let us stay there for free, because she was amazed by how far we were traveling, and how far we still had to go. The moon rose that night and we were in awe of how good the world could be, we heard critters in the woods and saw lightning bugs in the forest, like fairies in some myth. Our souls rested. The next morning we made oatmeal and changed clothes behind the truck, we knew that today, we would see my sister in Chicago.
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and then, there we were. Just a few short hours on the road. It was surreal to find my sister in another state, and to hang out with her though I had just said goodbye in Seattle. We ate, walked the city, there were fireworks on the lake and we watched them from beside a glorious fountain. Every time the wind picked up, we got soaked by fountain spray, but it was magical. Justin went with my sister's boyfriend to get the car, and she and I took a train to meet them. We took the wrong train though, and had a midnight adventure through Chicago suburbs to find an available restroom, then sat conspicuously on a bench beneath a "Park and Shop" sign. the morning was dramatic with goodbyes and my sister's relationship stuff but we had to go and get on our way. There wasn't time to visit other friends, though I wanted to.
That day we drove all the way to New York through the rest of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and we slept just miles from Niagra falls in a KOA cabin. Our firewood was wet, so dinner didn't happen til after 9, we drank beers and wished we could just get to Massachusetts and turn right back around. It was sinking in that we were almost to our destination.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


i wish i had a story to tell,
one of nobleness and life,
but the only words that sit on my tongue
are those of feeble poetry
yet to be writ.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Don't offer ginger candy to a homeless man

I was sitting in the back alley with my husband, having a cigarette, like I do, on a Sunday afternoon. We were chatting, like we do, when I noticed a man walking down the alley. This is not unusual. As the man passed I saw that he was carrying a guitar and wearing weary-looking clothes. He told us to ignore him, and that he didn't want anything, and in general I try not to pay much attention to anyone coming down the alley, as to respect privacy and keep my nose out of other peoples business.(run-on sentence)
We had gone back inside, and whilst sitting around the house, we decided that we wanted to get out of the city for the day. Because we have no vehicle in which to escape the city, we chose to ride the ferry to Bremerton and back. It's a cheap and beautiful option, for us poor, car less folks who live downtown. Anyway, we left the house, and when we got to the end of the block we were joined by the homeless man who walked through the alley about a half hour earlier. This seemed like an odd coincidence, but we embraced it.
The man, lets call him Bobby, asked Justin if he had any change. Justin said no. Bobby asked Justin if he had any dollar bills. Justin again said no, but reached into his pocket and pulled out a chewy ginger candy and offered it to the homeless man. It was all we had at the time, and was not offered in a rude or demeaning way, and so Bobby kept talking to us. He said; "Do you know what the word eclectic means?" and Justin replied that he did and said that it meant diverse. Bobby then corrected Justin and said; "No, eclectic means that you really like one thing, like, I bet only 37 people woke up this morning and said "I really want a piece of ginger candy." That's a really eclectic taste." I'm pretty sure he actually meant "acquired taste," and we were starting to get the point that this man didn't like what we had offered him. Anyway, we kept walking and Bobby walked alongside us, and made a comment-question; " You're probably an agnostic, huh?" Justin replied that the was not, and then Bobby asked Justin if he was a Christian. To which Justin replied; "Yes." Then, still trying to get something other than conversation, Bobby asked Justin this question: " If Jesus were here, right now, in this day and age, what do you think he would do for me, a homeless veteran with a bad back?"
This whole time I had been silent, just listening to Bobby talk and to what Justin was saying. But this was it. I had the perfect answer. I spoke out of honesty, and I was not unkind.
"Offer you a piece of ginger candy." was all I said.
Jesus didn't have much, he would have healed the man, and said go and work, you are healed and so on. But no kidding, I felt like if Jesus had owned one piece of special ginger candy, kept in his pocket for his journey, he would have offered it to the first person who asked for something.
In any case, whatever Jesus would have done, my answer was not wanted. Bobby's immediate response was, "#@$* you *&$^#, God bless you,
#@$* you, get out of here,*&$^#. I'm not talking to you anymore. God bless you, #@$* you! #@$* you guys. God bless you."
I guess ginger candy is a sore subject for Bobby, and anything we did or said for the two blocks we walked with him or the fact that we talked and walked with him for two blocks meant nothing. The timing was perfect, and unscripted, I just hope something Justin said made it meaningful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Violence!! Blood!!

I was listening to my husband and an old friend of his have a conversation at my table. Our small studio apartment allowed me to hear some of what was said from the kitchen, but the sanctuary of work was what I craved. Generally I feel more comfortable putting myself to a task rather than socializing, so I decided to clean the kitchen and make a little dinner. I suppose it was about six o'clock, I had started to tune out the other-roomly conversation and had absentmindedly placed myself in an comfortable spot in the kitchen. (To tell you where this comfort-spot is, I have to explain a little of how the kitchen is arranged. The refrigerator and stove are awkwardly situated at the end of my narrow kitchen, and they leave a small space in front of the window for me to stand while I cook. I could probably stand in front of the stove, but instead I always choose to stand beside, tucked between the fridge and the oven and the wall and window.) I was stirring the couscous and ground lamb when I heard a scuffle outside. Now normally I would pay no attention to noises from without my apartment, because I live downtown and noisy scuffling, shouting, or other such noises are common, especially during the day. Anyhow, on this particular day, from my comfort-spot, I heard these noises and decided to look. I peered out the window and saw a man wrestling another man to the ground. This piqued my interest, of course, and so I kept looking. I vaguely heard the man on the ground, quietly in his defense, plead to his aggressor. "I dont want to fight! I dont want to fight"
Which was promptly followed by his assailant grotesquely fist-pummeling his prey.
"Oh my God!! Someone's getting the shit beat out of them! Justin! Look out the window!" I said, running to the other room. Blow after blow, the victim's facial structure shook with the violent punches of his predator.
"Call 911! CALL 911!! I shouted to my husband as I ran back to the kitchen. I looked back out of the kitchen window. This time I noticed a man, walking calmly past, just inches from the violent beating. How could he just pass by and not try to do something? I yelled out the window to him, "DO SOMETHING."
Somehow this shocked the predator, and he began to flee, I saw a cop drive by, but how could he know there was an unconscious man just mere feet away? I needed to flag him down, I needed to. I couldn't control myself any longer, the adrenaline rush was too strong, my will to do.......... something.....took hold of me. Barefoot, and without anything in my hands, I ran. I heard my feet on the hardwood floor of my apartment, I heard the dull clunking of my feet in the hall, and I heard the slapping of my tender feet upon the rough sidewalk. I circled the building and there, lying on the pavement before me was an unconscious human life. The horror of the crime, the reality of the evil there, punched me square in the stomach.
Someone asked me if the cops had been called. I felt mute, but out of my panting lips came the answer to his question. I called to my husband inside the apartment to bring me some paper towels, unsure of when the medics would come. I guess I planned on putting pressure on the wound. The wound! A grotesque tennis ball sized lump on his temple, bleeding. Bleeding a puddle of transparent blood onto the dull grey sidewalk. Running down his ear! Running.
Onto the dull. Grey. Sidewalk!!
Cops and medics and new witnesses came as I stared. But their flashing lights and swarms only brought, uncertainty, languid confusion and indifference. The witnesses all told conflicting stories, some saw the man run to the ally, some saw him cross the street. I was useless, too adrenaline shaky, rattled and breathless to speak concisely. I had not seen what the predator looked like, what he had worn. I knew he was wearing a hat, but that was it. I could not claim to have seen anything, I knew that wrong information equaled bad information, so I quietly dismissed myself from the chaos of the streets. My head hung down in an emotion that was somewhere between powerlessness and uselessness.
I heard myself utter the words, "Lord Have Mercy," but those syllables flew sharply up into the trees with the wind, looped and fluttered back down only to land in the street.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Insecurities of a Pudgy Young Diva.

Yesterday I went to visit my sister and her kids. She lives in a clean and sober house with several other people and some of them also have children. While we were visiting, I was watching with curiosity, my four year old niece Zoey, interact with another little boy named Trey who lives in the house also. Here an account of what I observed;
Zoey approached Trey, hands behind her back and out of the chaos she asked in an almost inaudible voice, "Trey... do you still like me?"
"... You smell like fire" he answered
I could see the confusion and insecurity on her little face. " What does fire smell like?" she asked hopefully.
And with all the matter-of-factness of a little boy, he replied " I don't like the way fire smells... its stinky." All the while waving his hand in front of his nose and exaggeratedly scrunching up his face as if someone had just ran over a skunk and he was smelling it now for the first time.
Horrified and embarrassed, my niece flailed into a fit and stormed out of the room telling everyone to stop laughing at her (when in fact we were laughing at trey's passive aggressive answer to a question he was bound to fail answering.)
My nephew, Liam, told trey that what he had said wasn't nice, and to go apologise. Obediently, Trey went to find Zoey, who was on her way back to the room anyway, and apologised.
Minutes passed and I had gone back to what I was doing when I noticed that Trey had apologised again, and Zoey and he were hugging. Then Zoey, who cant leave well enough alone, said to Trey; "Smell me."
Then they each, in turn, leaned towards each other and sniffed.
She then asked; "What do I smell like?"
Trey looked up, searching his young mind for something good; "Not stinky, NOT STINKY," he said finally and with enthusiasm. Obviously he had recognized his earlier mistake and vowed not to make it again.
But Zoey asked again; "Yeah, but what do I smell like?"
Trey smiled as if he just came up with the perfect answer and replied gleefully; " You smell like good!"
And that was that.