-Monkey Mind, Don’t Feed the Monkey, March 10th, 2007
Archive for March, 2007
Posted in Animals & Critters, Memoir, Practice, Work, Writing, Writing Practices, tagged Duluth, memory, Monkey Mind, the past, vintage, Writers, Writing, writing practice on March 30, 2007 | Leave a Comment »
Time to get to the heart of the beast. Silent predator. Guardian. Of what? The intangible tangerine. I miss the silence. The scheduled flights West. I will be going East, end of May, beginning of June. Geography. The Monkey may follow me. To the heart of the South. Breeding some nameless representation of gangly limbs and chirping mouths, receding gums. Wreeereeereereeree. My allergies are acting up. Doubts creep in. At the center is a thing that is less than me.
Everyone seems so confident on TV. What happened to Mister Ed? Airplane glue? Remember those models you used to put together? Cars. They were model cars. A 57 Chevy. Ford Model T. A 63 Volkswagen. But me, I put together models of Frankenstein’s wife. I read Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe. The Fly. Tom Sawyer, too. I could never get into books about Victorian women in crinoline dresses. I wanted to. But I couldn’t.
Wait, I don’t have allergies? I am allergic to work. I’m tired. I need rest. I’m heading to Duluth, to sit by the Mother Lake, the womb of the earth, half Canadian, half American, and skim stones across the surface. It’s the tension that holds them up, the rocks, I mean. The draw bridge will rise. The snow will be gone. The wind will blow. On Park Point Beach the gulls will be flying. You will run in the rain like last time. There were dying butterflies out of season. Come to think of it, there were beetles running along the sand.
One summer I went with a friend and sat on the beach. I didn’t know her well. We laughed so much. And had a picnic in the sand. I got so burnt, I had to have a friend bring aloe vera and Solarcaine over the next day. I couldn’t move. I think it was the last thing we ever did together, the last time I saw her. I never think of her anymore. Except, look, there she is on the page.
That’s what happens. People come and they go. But when you are linked by blood, someone usually remembers what happened. Is that what they mean when they say blood is thicker than water?
Don’t feed the Monkey. Or as least if you do, make him tell you the time.
Friday, March 30th, 2007
i come here often
to ponder higher learning
ice like busted glass
crinkly brown leaves glow
first bare feet of the season
away from center
cool black mud follows
the ripple of blowing hair
under secret feet
out of season wind
shadowboxing the bare elm
winding in and out
green spouts under black pant cuff
gnat, a rising star
twisted shadow branch
you can walk any season
while going nowhere
juicy green center
the perimeter is dry
sweat between my legs
grubby spring tadpole
dark undertones on the lake
snap to attention
winter is over
from crumbling insanity
springs eternal life
humbled by the saints
who walked tight curves before me
moon high in the sky
talking to Louis
in lotus blossom petals
Chartres calls me home
sun hot on white face
naked feet to unthawed ground
mosquito flits by
near the end of March
how bad i need a haircut
stepping in the door
wavy grass petals
undefined by crooked lines
spikes from a spiral
tennis ball popping
off a catgut racket head
damp earth underfoot
rings of blanket ice
i miss the snowy season
the itch in my nose
lone fly buzzes by
a leaf between pasty toes
yells, “March 25th!”
I stopped at Porky’s
remembered the fire pig year
grass grows as I walk
on the edge again
a stubborn leaf pricked my sole
out came a reindeer
a woman walks near
fire red pants & orange striped top
she wants what i have
drive peace & spread love
dare it to follow you here
chasing a faux tale
part of my practice
mixes raw heat with cold fire
a mother’s last wish
-haiku from labyrinth walk, March 26th, 2007
Posted in Body, Culture, Death, Family, Labyrinths, Life, Maps, Personal, Place, Practice, Relationships, Seasons, Spirituality, Structure, tagged meditation, Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet, walking the labyrinth on March 27, 2007 | 7 Comments »
I walked the labyrinth yesterday. It was 83 degrees in the Twin Cities on a March 26th. Shirts were off, motorcycles tuned, potholes exposed. The temperature threw me. Three weeks ago, we were knee deep in the worst blizzard in 25 years.
I took off my Land’s End quilted moccasins, stripped off my wool socks, rolled up my pant cuffs, and started walking. The cool mud under my feet grounded me. Twenty minutes to the center. Fifteen minutes out.
The journey out is always faster. I don’t know why.
I sat at the center of 6 lotus drops with undefined edges. Growing blades of grass mark the petals in other seasons. But we are only a few days on this side of Spring.
I wrote haiku into a Supergirl pocket tablet with the new Space Pen Liz gave me last week. And then I plopped on my back, legs straight out, and stared at the sky. The moon was backlit against a crisp New Mexico blue. I snapped a few photographs from my position on the ground. I had a thought of David Bowie – planet earth to moon, planet earth to moon.
I was thinking about my step-mother in South Carolina as I walked. She’s been sick, bedridden for some time. My brother called from Pennsylvania on Sunday to tell me that my step-dad wanted me to know – her time may be short. I prayed for her as I walked. But if it is her time to let go, I prayed for the strength it would take to surrender.
With the cool earth at my back, in the center of 41 feet of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet labyrinth, my brother called on the cell. I had forgotten to turn it off. I debated whether or not to answer it. But I knew what he was calling about. So I flipped open the phone.
I told him where I was. He smiled; I could hear it in his voice. We talked for only a few minutes. But the connection felt true.
I sat a few minutes longer, observing a twisted shadow in the distance across the lawn. The walk out moved quickly. I stepped. I wrote. I swerved out of the lines to let a woman pass on the rutted path. She nodded and whispered, “Thank you.”
Each toe dropped to the earth in tune. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have bare feet on earth. In the space between winter and spring, I had both feet firmly planted on the ground. It was the first time in weeks.
Tuesday, March 27th, 2007
-related to post, Labyrinth
Posted in Art, Doodling, Life, Personal, Politics, Spirituality, Writing, tagged coloring outside the lines, learning to paint, learning to use color, not being a perfectionist, painting fast on March 26, 2007 | 2 Comments »
I started experimenting with color this weekend. The paintbrush is a foreign instrument. I prefer pens. You can control them. They are precise.
Paintbrushes are the opposite. Flimsy and loose. You can’t stop the red from bleeding off the lips and on to the chin. Kind of like when you apply too much lipstick. It gets on your teeth, smears your upper lip. It’s a mess, but even lipstick comes in a tube and can be applied between the lines.
My relationship to painting and painting instruments is young. Like where I once was with writing and writing instruments. When I was in college my handwriting was small and compact. People I studied with commented on how tidy my class notes were, and I was popular with students who made a habit of missing class.
Now, with so many years of writing under my belt, my handwriting is big and loopy. I sometimes can’t read it myself. I still start out small but once I get going in a piece, my hand loosens up. It has to to keep up with my thoughts.
I watch my daughter when she paints. She finishes a painting in ten or fifteen minutes. She never stays between the lines. Colors bleed. Sometimes the black sky dominates. Her paintings are beautiful. She tells me, “Look, Mom,” and then she says, “I like this one.”
When I was her age I was already a perfectionist. My parents encouraged me to be a realist. The more life-like my houses–with their three-dimensional roofs–the more encouragement I received. Grade school teachers, too, handed out gold stars for stiff, upright trees and intact, smiling families standing in a row.
I picked up drawing last summer after years of hiatus. I’m still tight with my hand; hence, the doodles. Just finish the piece, I tell myself. Finish it, turn the page, do the next one.
I don’t know that I’ll ever do anything with my art but publish it on this blog. I’m not worrying about it much right now. The blog at least has me drawing again. And it’s getting me curious about the paint stuff. Color, hue, tone, and the brushes. Wow. The variety is endless.
Mostly I’m sick of not coloring outside the lines. It’s become metaphor for the way I sometimes live my life. Cautiously. I’m ready to let go.
Last week there were cracked pocks of ice along the trail in the park near my house. This week, no snow remains. Only dead dry crinkled brown with lime green shooting through the cracks. The ice skating pond across the street is almost dry. There are pools of water waiting to soak into permafrosted soil. I am lonely. I am lonely most days. I was writing about this in another practice this morning. I think it’s part of a contemplative life, this loneliness.
I want to go walk the labyrinth. I wonder if the snow has melted from her curves. I need to go pick up my taxes and mail them. I want to run wild. It’s not possible. I have obligations and responsibilities. Next weekend, I’m going up to Duluth with Liz. It will be thawing on the North Shore, too.
A photo of Wordraw standing near Caffe Tazza flicked across the screensaver as I was writing. I briefly glanced up and there he was on his cell phone to a friend with a newborn. I remember the lady bugs in the window of the Taos storefront. And how warm the sun was on my face. Spring comes to Taos earlier than here in the North. I wonder if it’s the way the ground freezes real hard here. And tumbles out of itself in gusty March winds.
It doesn’t feel like a typical March. Seventies yesterday. We opened the windows and a cross breeze blew through the house most of the day. I am weary. And need a break. Next weekend away will feel good to me. I am noticing that I am ready to make a life of this writing thing. Not really the way I thought it would look. I might never get to do just one thing around writing. It may always be this combination of darts in and out of the real world and the fictional one in my mind.
I was perusing creative writing blogs this morning. I saw one in Portuguese, one in Swedish. I opened them but I couldn’t read them. I simply stared at the characters on the page, hoping something would sink through to me. I am that connected to someone who speaks Portuguese or lives in Sweden. And they are that close to me. I shrink when I realize that they will probably be able to read my blog. Because English is the dominant culture language.
I’ve been reintroduced to dominant culture thinking through Riane Eisler and Jean Shinoda Bolen and Alice Walker in the last month. I listen. I read. But all I have to do is go walk the labyrinth and the barriers melt away. The Spring thaw. Because that’s what happens with archetypes. All people can relate to them. The universal language.
But I’m supposed to be writing about spring break. When I was in college, we didn’t take the kind of wild spring breaks I see on TV these days. Thank goodness for small favors, to quote my mother. We might head over to a remote beach at the ocean for a day and walk the boardwalk. Back then I owned a mint green Ford Econoline van with my lover. I worked at an Alert gas station in the summers. Or pumped gas for semi’s.
It’s hard to remember spring breaks. Everything seemed to run right into fall and winter.
Monday, March 26th, 2007
Funny how on this Spring Break Monday morning I want the tile floor to be warm. It’s cold, cold as tile can be on a still cool morning. If I turn on the heat, then my mid-morning the whole house will be stuffy.
Spring. A transitional season. A season of wind, sudden snowfall, 80-degree days that make you fret summer will be a scorcher. Or today. A “normal” spring day. A breeze will start up by noon. The temperature will hit 68. Clouds will gather by late afternoon. A chance for rainstorms tomorrow.
I’m making it up. We had rain all Friday night and most of Saturday. Then sun yesterday. I’d like to say spring is my favorite season. A hopeful season. Warmth after a long, cold winter. The shoots on the elm trees are so brilliant green they make your eyes hurt. Especially elms, the weed of trees. Nasty little yellow seeds that by planting time will blow across fields and roads, move like swarms close to the ground.
Spring, and if it weren’t for the ushering in of summer I could pass on it. If I lived further north spring might be a continuation of winter. Nothing to write home about.
Good news is my allergies are not spring allergies. People around here are sneezing and crying about their allergies. Radio DJs home sick on a workday morning. I wouldn’t mind staying home, not sick, though. I wouldn’t mind being a kid again, having the week off for Spring Break. Wouldn’t mind spring one bit at all.
Posted in Bones, Culture, Film / TV / Video, Holidays, Laughing, Personal, Quotes, Random, Secrets, Taos, Things That Fly, tagged , Bones, Golden Lasso of Truth, Halloween, Quotes, superheroes, Wonder Woman on March 25, 2007 | 18 Comments »
I got a short, one page letter in the mail on Wonder Woman stationery from someone in last year’s Taos writing Intensive that inspired me to scour the world for Wonder Woman quotes.
It made me wonder if they actually remembered that writing practice I read about carrying the Golden Lasso of Truth through Missoula, Montana on Halloween, 1975, dressed in powder blue, unribbed long underwear, navy wrist bracelets, a fire red breast plate, and yellow domed headgear.
Or do they just love Wonder Woman as much as I do?
Here are the best quotes I found from DC comic books and the 1975 television series The New Original Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter. I also found The Wonder Woman Pages to be an incredible archive of information.
I’m reminded that TV, screen, and comic book scribes are writers, too.
“This is the Golden Lasso. Besides being made from an indestructible material, it also carries with it the power to compel people to tell the truth. Use it well, and with compassion.” – Queen Hippolyte (played by Cloris Leachman)
“Go in peace my daughter. And remember that, in a world of ordinary mortals, you are a Wonder Woman.” Queen Hippolyte
“Please take my hand. I give it to you as a gesture of friendship and love, and of faith freely given. I give you my hand and welcome you into my dream.” -Wonder Woman #167
“If it means interfering in an ensconced, outdated system, to help just one woman, man or child…I’m willing to accept the consequences.” -Wonder Woman #170
“What was it that John Lennon said? ‘Love is the flower you’ve got to let grow.’ Let it grow already, and quit trying to legislate it!” -Wonder Woman #200
“Of all people, you know who I am…who the world needs me to be. I’m Wonder Woman.” -Infinite Crisis #1
And, finally, my personal favorite:
” A new journey to be started.
A new promise to be fulfilled.
A new page to be written.
Go forth unto this waiting world with pen in hand, all you young scribes,
the open book awaits.
And above all else, be young.
For youth is your greatest weapon, your greatest tool.
Use it wisely.”
–Wonder Woman # 62 by George Perez
the scene where Vanessa Kapatelis graduates and Diana is hugging her
Sunday, March 25th, 2007