“Ante up and kick in. . .”

On the eve of a weekend where I have set a pretty significant writing goal, I am a little discouraged. Whilst looking for the latest draft of said writing in order to prepare for my weekend, I found a conversation with a close friend of mine, where I was detailing a similar goal and my dedication to its completion by a respectable deadline.

This was in 2012. For the same story.

To add insult to injury, I was to print off this draft at work today, a clean one with no marks on it, so as to not be distracted by previous attempts at this goal. I had the joy of realizing I hadn’t ordered enough toner for the larger printer at work used by my colleagues, and was happy to know the smaller printer I used was still available to me.

The toner for the small printer ran out today.

So not only am I unable to print off my draft, but no one is able to use either printer until Monday. (Never fear, there is yet a third printer, but it’s on the other side of the building, and there is no reason for me to be at that one)

I don’t like to believe in fate, as I prefer random happenstance, and coincidence much more. But this is not boding well for my weekend.


Painting Her Portrait

Painting Her Portrait

I’m painting my portrait
An absolute likeness
Faithful to illustrate every fine line
I’m mastering detail
Highlighting defects
Making a permanent mirror to see
All of the faults that lie hidden in me

I’m painting my portrait
It’s plain and uneven
Reminding me what I am
What I must be
I’m leaving out nothing
No matter how painful
All of my flaws on display to be seen

Now my painting is done
I’ll start another
This one of her
And when I close my eyes, I clearly see her face
Capture her grace and poise
Fight back the tears
And I’m painting her portrait…

– Marla Schaffel, Jane Eyre, OBC

Stage 4

From good to bad to worse

You are slipping


Falling from your graceful state

Into a pit of painful permanence.

Your time is limited

Your brow is wet

And I am too far away to catch you.

What will happen when you gain momentum?

When there is nowhere else to go

but gone?

With a latte and a heavy heart, I returneth

Today I travel back to my new home, heavy with the knowledge that I may never see her again. I don’t want to think about it, ever, but deep inside I know the clock is ticking.

i always leave something behind when I travel. Call it a quirk or a flaw, but it never fails. Today I was filled with disappointment when I realized it was my headphones. I cannot travel without music, so I knew I would be making a purchase at the Albuquerque airport.

After perusing the vast display of options (really, I was impressed), I bought a pair of the cheapest they had and made my way. Afterall, an evening robbed of music is like losing the draft of a term paper you spent hours writing – you know you can survive, but it won’t be the same when you’re done.

I’m afraid the knowledge I learned on this trip is enough to preserve that feeling, even if I hadn’t forgotten my headphones.

Sunshine in the Southwest

I have been to this city so many times. Found family and support and enchantment, just like the license plate promises. I have sat outside every morning each time, coffee in hand, staring at the sky, and wondering why I didn’t choose a different life. Before my life even began, this place has offered me solace, peace, nostalgia, growth.

Though my family never seems to fully realize I keep aging, laughing and loving with me in some time warp where I am old enough for dirty jokes, but still too young to explore by myself or take care of my grandmother without the aid of one of them, I do not remain unchanged. 

I sometimes think that the definition of greatness would be to beget this lifestyle for another. I often exclaim to those significant in my life how important it is to experience acceptance like this, and strive to have them accompany me more times over than they could possibly ever commit to. Then other times, I have thought that it was my role in life to become the matriarch, to foster a family like this one, wherever I settled, so that my open mindedness would spawn a whole new generation of wonderful people, built specifically to bring the world to a better place.

I suppose it is selfish of me to no longer wish to do the latter, but to bring as much joy to the world as I possibly can, without the humble sacrifice of child-bearing that would accompany it. Because how do I really know that my greatness would spread so easily to others, and that a family experience like the one I have could be so easily duplicated?

Many of the things I do to create joy involves my writing, my singing, and my relationships with others. What then, would enrich me enough to consider myself great? What if I am already considered great? I have heard it, and thought I’d heard it, and yet still. I have not proved it to myself.

I worry that once I choose a route, I will realize it was always meant to be another instead. But then, isn’t the whole point of the path to greatness the path, instead of the goal? What happens after greatness transpires? You don’t always do everything right on the way to amazing, but at the very least, you don’t stand still. You don’t stagnate.

You deal with the not so great in order to rise above it. You become, you coalesce.

You keep breathing.

I get a little bit bigger and then, I’m just the same as I was

I’ve been thinking today about how life is a large collection of stories. Circular moments of circumstance and the recall of those moments in memory bring us a range of emotions.

My grandmother sat at the kitchen table with me this morning, a place I was raised to believe always meant “story-time”, and told me about the moments she recalls that make her the happiest. Knowing I am her only granddaughter, and my brother her only grandson, I knew she was gearing up to talk about us. I have a collection of stories she has told me more times than I can count, and was expecting one of those again, told in glorious technicolor, as was the only way her mind worked.

I was not altogether wrong. She told me how she often thought of my brother and I when we were toddlers. How she would set me in the playroom in her house, surround me with books or markers or dolls, and I would play by myself for hours. Singing, talking to myself, and making creations only a grandmother could love.

My brother, by contrast, would always require a playmate. She said he would be fine if anyone was engaging him, but there was nothing he could do to entertain himself as long as me. I recall from my own memory that he enjoyed my company at times, but once I was old enough to want his toys, he became the bossy older brother I knew in my preteen years. 

I was surprised to learn this information about us both, as my brother now requires little to no attention to keep busy, while I often find myself lonely beyond repair without a playmate. Until I realized that when I am alone, creating, I need to be in solitude. Having others around distracts me, especially other creative minds. I have done a lot of work with other writers, and though I gain quite a lot of insight regarding scope and detail for my own works (and theirs), when actually creating, I need to be alone. And when focused, I can entertain my mind for hours.

My grandmother went on to say that she would also think about the roles I would play when engaging her at this age. I had a “general store” I would set up, pricing all my dolls and books, and charging my shoppers an arm and a leg to buy my merchandise. I would also setup my “classroom”, taking the morning to color pages in my coloring book and instructing my dolls and my brother’s G.I. Joes on the importance of staying in the lines and learning the alphabet. 

Finally, I would fall prey to a very common role to little girls my age – the tea party. I had a little blue case that held about ten teacups and saucers, and would set them all around the house. My justification, I was told, was that you never knew when you would be thirsty, so I would bring tea to everyone in the house, and then leave cups on the staircase, the piano, and the ledge by the window, places my family would often come and go. 

I am awash in the strange feeling that came over me after I was told these stories. I have spent considerable time working in stores, and have entertained the desire to open my own used bookstore/cafe. I have also been a teacher, failing miserably after only one year. But both dreams I have had apparently since my toddler years. I wonder if the tea parties could be totally allocated to a little girl’s dream to be hospitable, or if I will one day be serving tea and hiding nourishment in plain sight of those who need it. 

The Last Snowfall

If this were the last snowfall
No more halos on evergreen
If this were the last glimpse of winter
What would these eyes see?

If this were the last slow curling
Of your fingers in my palm
If this were the last I felt you breathing
How would I carry on?

This is not the last snowfall
Not our last embrace
But if I were that kind of grateful
What would I try to say?

It’s okay to lie to a liar*

I guess it’s okay to lie
when you’re lying to a liar

They don’t know what they do
so you try to show them

by hurting them too.

But if you lie
even to a liar

You are still withholding truth
from yourself.

And you should apologize
when you have lied to a liar

Even if that liar is you.


*originally written 8/1/14