Trying to Write Again…

I know that any serious writer will tell you, do it daily. Exercise the gift. I have to say that the hardest times for me to write have been when I know that there is a huge truth I want to communicate that has to do with pain. I think that then it’s the most real. The writers, lyrics, musicians, poets etc. I tend to respect the most have such a bravery about them to do that. They just say it. They toss caution to the wind and breathe in and breathe out and say the hard thing.

What makes it so hard for me? I watch them do it with sucess. I watch them do it with some honest trepidation, but since it’s truth they feel lead to communicate they just do it. It’s not that many of them don’t way the cost. It isn’t that they are loose cannons or reckless. They do care what people think. But they say where they stand anyway. Why do I struggle so much doing that?

I think I often use the argument “I don’t know if I’m doing this right technically. What if I don’t form it correctly before delivering the message? Did I “cross my t’s and dot my i’s” so to speak. What if the mechanics are wrong and I look ignorant?” It’s just an excuse. I once wrote and posted whether I got it technically immaculate or not. Once upon a time I just wanted to write. And I wrote. I wrote honestly what I believed at that time from the information I had to work with and what I knew. I know that maybe the technique still is a worry for me, but that isn’t the real wall I am trying to break through.

I often argue, “No one wants to hear this. They aren’t listening anyway. Why do it? Like Brandi Carlile says, “But the stories don’t mean anything, when you’ve got no one to tell them to…” (Carlile, 2007) .” That also didn’t matter to me when I felt like had freedom to write. I had to write. Whether someone was listening or not. I still do. I will journal, scribble on napkins, menus, used envelopes, whatever I can find, but I write. It’s what I do. So that isn’t the wall either.

I think the barrier has to do with a lack of privacy and judgement. I recently went with a very dear friend who is a communications professor to faux audit her class. I sat in the room listening to a panel of approximately six women of various ages discuss interpersonal communications. One of the topics was, why is it so challenging to discuss negatively percieved emotions. Why is it so hard to share them? I’ve been thinking a lot about all that I heard that night. Let me offer this as a summary of sorts. It doesn’t cover everything, but it says a lot of what was raised in that room.

Allison Iraheta – Scars

Truth and art are often times a great deal like a newborn child. You want to protect it. It is personal to the one who sees it. It is dynamic. It breathes. It grows. It can be hurt. It’s part of who you are. Often it tells a great deal about the one who claims to believe it. We’ve all been scarred. “Did I say something stupid?”

A more comical expression of the seniment can be found in L. M. Montegomery’s classic Anne of the Island. Anne Shirley finds that her best-friend submitted her story as an advertisement. Anne explains her pain about this:

“I feel as if I were disgraced forever. What do you think a mother would feel
like if she found her child tattooed over with a baking powder advertisement? I
feel just the same. I loved my poor little story, and I wrote it out of the best
that was in me. And it is SACRILEGE to have it degraded to the level of a baking
powder advertisement” (Montgomery, 1915)

While this seems comical when you read it (Unless you are an artist or a writer then it’s more bittersweet because you get it!)  the truth inherient in art is serious and exposing our hearts that freely is exposing it to judgement. What will people think of me if they know. No one can see in out hearts and heads and there there are so many truths that make us who we are that it just seems safer and easier to protect behind out rib cages and skulls.

Recently I’ve done a great deal of soul searching and a lot of changes have occured in my life. I don’t know which is worse for me, the fear of what people think of me or the fear of what I think people think of me. Letting truth out exposes you and it exposes those you love. You want to keep those you love in an ivory tower and you want the world to love them, too. Love is so all inclusive on the one hand while private and sacred in the other. That’s why our homes and bedrooms have doors. Doors that open up when we want to share and feel safe. Doors that close when we want to be intimate and in a healthy way selfish. When you write something down, it’s doors wide open.  Artist Jennifer Knapp wrote,

“Careful what you say
Careful who might hear
Someone else inside the
universe
Could write it down
And you’ll be hearing it for years” (Knapp, 2010)

Basically if you’re going to write it, be prepared to own it. That is what scares me. Can I own it? Can I say it and own the consequences?

 

References:
Carlile, Brandi (Performer). (2007). The Story [Recorded by Brandi Carlile]. On The Story [Medium of recording: CD] New York : Sony. (2007)

Gad, Toby (Lyricist), & James, Elyssa (Lyricist). (2010). Scars [Recorded by Allison Iraheta]. On Just Like You [Medium of recording: CD] New York City: 19/Jive. (2010)

Knapp, Jennifer (Performer). (2010). Dive In. On Letting Go [Medium of
recording: CD] Nashville: Graylin Records/Thirty Tigers. (2010)

Montgomery, L. M. (1915). Anne of the island. Canada: L. C. Page & Co

The Chasm

It’s tight and stretched out like the skin over a drum

It’s too much but not enough thin

It’s rushing about all frantic while sitting absolutely still

It’s greeting guests who haven’t shown up you

It’s a ravaging bloated too full devouring starvation

It’s too hot while being all clammy dry damp with cold

It’s a pressure cooker of wide open spaces

“You are just fine. You have what you need. It just takes a little time.

There are those so much worse off than you are. You’re doing just fine.

No one thinks you aren’t trying.”

I know. I know. I know.

It’s a squirming. It’s adjusting a too tight collar. It’s a frantic screaming silence.

It’s just fine. It’s just fine. It’s just fine. It’s just fine.

Lovin’ “Everybody’s Girl”

       Jen Foster is a remarkable singer/ song writer I recently ran across. I love her songs “Amen” and “All This Time” a great deal. She has others that are incredible as well. The one that is repeating in my cds even now is off the album also entitled “Everybody’s Girl”. It is worth finding. Perhaps it’s the everybody’s girl in me that draws me to it. It really moves me. I don’t have a clip, but these are the lyrics.

“I don’t know why you don’t go back to college and get your degree,” he said
“You could be anything you want to be if you’d only believe that you’re
Worthy, beautiful, you don’t need their approval,
And I’ll be the rock that you can lean on…”
“I’ve watched you work the room – people hanging on every word,
You build it, then kill it, leaving a mystery everybody needs,
You’re broken, beautiful, you fascinate them all,
And they’ll be the wind that you will lean on…”
“And why are you everybody’s girl?
Why (do) you throw your arms around the world?
When I am all you need to see you through, ”
“I don’t believe it, no, I don’t believe it, no, I don’t know, know about you…”
“I don’t know why you don’t give up the wild life and come be with me, you know,
‘Cause I feel you, and I’m real, you’ve gotta believe that I never would leave
you, ’cause
I’m strong, dependable, and I could give you the world,
Why can’t I be the one you lean on?”
“And why are you everybody’s girl?
Why (do) you throw your arms around the world?
When I am all you need to see you through,”
I don’t believe it, no I don’t believe it, no, I don’t know, know about you…”
“Because I always fell short, because they always wanted more
Because he left and shut the door before you came along
I couldn’t feel anybody’s love, so everybody’s love was not enough
But I know one day, it’s going to fill me up
And that’s why I am everybody’s girl
That’s why I throw my arms around the world
‘Cause I cannot believe it could be true
I don’t believe it, no I don’t believe it, no, I don’t know, know about you
That’s why I am everybody’s girl
That’s why I throw my arms around the world
‘Cause I cannot believe it could be true”

Reference:

[ From: http://www.metrolyrics.com/everybodys-girl-lyrics-jen-foster.html ]

Foster, Jen K. (Performer). (2003). Everybody’s Girl [Recorded by Jen Foster]. On Everybody’s Girl [Medium of recording: CD] Rt./Amer Garage. (2003)

 

Rebuilding….

     “A German woman once recounted to me how the Americans, in the last days of World War II, had bombed her hometown, a charming North Bavarian place with a splendid church and no military value. The town was a mess: Bodies lay unburied, water and electricity were out, and food supplies were unmoved. What did the townspeople do? She shrugged, “We waited for the Americans to come and tell us what to do.”  (Roskin, 2011)

When you have lived with someone constantly telling you what to do, other options seem impossible. Even in the wake of total devastation, you can’t think. You can’t move. You freeze. You wait for someone who seems to have power to take up commanding you again. You wait for soemone who looks like they have control to shout the orders. You have been told you have no answers, you can’t do, you aren’t (fill in the blank) for so long that you cannot move. You know you’ll make a mistake. You know you won’t have the courage. You know you won’t have the answer. So you just stand still. Until finally something inside you makes you realize that even when you are standing still two things are happening. You are dying doing nothing. And life will go on around you. It will not stop. It will not stop if you fail. It will not stop if you suceed. You must move and catch up. But it is terrifying. It is painful. It is seemingly impossible.

     I have found in my life recently that what is most helpful to me are examples… not dictators, but positive examples. Those who call you out to come on and move, but who won’t do it all for you. Those who have guidance and resources and experience you don’t have who have made it and tell you YOU CAN TOO. Even when you can’t believe it. They get under your shoulders. They bear your burden with you, not for you. They heal even if it hurts. They may have to push a little. They may have to fight you as you fight your terror and the world around you. But they don’t quit on you or for you. Rebuilding is so hard and energy consuming. But it will happen with you as a participant or as material it consumes to get it done. The world “grows” on.  

Reference

Roskin, M.G. (2011). Countries and concepts: Politics, geography, culture (11th ed.). New York: Longman

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/9/6/1252254230481/Second-world-war-A-homele-001.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/11/second-world-war-europe-ruins&usg=__BuOSUEK4N9clsIkGJTCMCH3UTYU=&h=276&w=460&sz=31&hl=en&start=0&sig2=oIi2dSC7-NdQV_tR22Yxsg&zoom=1&tbnid=cgJk9VFfBMJCaM:&tbnh=145&tbnw=196&ei=8oB_Tbm9PM6gtgemkoDKCA&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dsecond%2Bworld%2Bwar%2Ba%2Bhomeless%2Blady%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26biw%3D1259%26bih%3D604%26tbs%3Disch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=116&vpy=106&dur=31&hovh=174&hovw=290&tx=186&ty=108&oei=8oB_Tbm9PM6gtgemkoDKCA&page=1&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0

Wisdom

        One of the greatest blessings in my life in last few years has been a group of friends I met on a fan forum board. I don’t generally sign up on tons of those sites. It’s not usually my thing. The truth is I was looking for some answers, I wanted to write and have it read immediately, and I fell in love with a particular set of characters this particular forum celebrated. I joined the board. I wrote a bit. I listened a lot!

       Instead of trying to gush on and on about why I love these folks, let me allow what I often hear through just one very special lady speak for itself.

“…Think about the tropical rainforest. Once upon a time, scientists and farmers thought it grew where it did because the soil HAD to be the richest on the planet. WRONG! They cut the forest down… only to discover that the soils are amongst the most nutrient depleted in the world. All of the nutrients are bound up in the biomass. What makes the rainforest so rich and amazing is the speed at which nutrients and energy are transferred and cycled through an astonishing variety of plants and animals that are all incredibly different and each fills a unique niche.

Life is like that. Every one of us fills different niches in making the world a richer place. But, when we put up barriers and refuse to fill any niche in helping that life/love/energy/God flow through the whole system, we not only stunt our own growth, but impoverish the world as a whole.” – Terri Willard, March 13, 2011

       This has probably been one of the worst and most taxing years I have ever lived through. So many changes in my life that I can’t keep up. I just pull a Dory

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adqLaecr9WY

and muddle forward one step at a time. I am able to “just keep swimming” even when it feels like just treading water in part because of the voices of  friends like “T.”. It’s not hero worship (although she knows I think she’s a hero!). Terri is beautifully human. Terri is my friend. I am very lucky to know her. I am totally honored to know her family. They are really beautiful. I am blessed to learn along side them.

Isn’t it Funny?

New text book

Just in today

And

You’d thrill to run me through it

So close to

Keeping my promise

And

Wish you could see it

Isn’t it funny

In a million tiny ways

You

Cross my mind still

Isn’t it funny

In a million tiny ways

You

Still stop my heart

Heard a new joke

Just today

And

I’d love to hear you laughing

Had a discussion

Closed minded people

And

I’d love to hear your perspective

Isn’t it funny

You changed my life

But

You couldn’t say the words

Isn’t it funny how

You are never far

But

I’ll never touch you.

I never touched you.

Isn’t it funny.

It’s been a long time

Since I heard

Your voice

It’s still pealing in my mind’s ear

Things stay the same

Things change just the same

And

You changed me

You are changing me.

I never touched you.

You are changing me.

Isn’t it funny.

Sculpture to Sculptor

http://www.adamspr.com/WomensCouncilArboretum.htm

I have stopped watching for details dropped
I would love to say that I am not still waiting
But I have never lied well

Funny how a certain letter, a specific color, a taste
Some random joke, a song bird, rain on a pane
Bring memories still.

You know, some dreams haunt
I still harbor certain fantasies
I still often wonder.

This Galatea had less impact on Pygmalion
Dreaming was no cupid, no breath of life
Flesh can be stone heavy.

Stone is better for this work.
Perhaps it was wise of you to leave
Me marble hard and ice cold.

Rebuilding requires materials.
Rebuilding demands icy reserves.
Flesh is weak even if the spirit is willing.

I understand that you scream in silences
That deafens even marble ears, Pygmalion.
No letter, bird, or color speaks clearer.

Still it is easier for me on cloudy days.
It is easier for me in silent winter, birdless.
Believe it or not marble bleeds and breathes.

Rebuilding will result in beauty.
Marble begets marble…less destructible.
Stronger if colder, harder, and older.

When …if …you visit your garden
Come see wisteria and morning glory
Life flourishing around marble.

Here’s to all those of Hairnet Brigade!

        I have twice now worked in a school cafeteria. That is work. The first time I helped make spaghetti, fresh baked garlic bread, salads, popcorn chicken, cups of sliced peaches, steamed veggies with cheese, and more. This morning it was fried chicken (oh yeah… hot grease and bone in! Move over, Colonel Sanders!), rice, gravy (brown not southern white), pineapple slices, BBQ (no bone) ribs sandwhiches, salads, fruit, fresh yeast rolls (don’t ask… they guard that secret recipe more than the guards at Fort Knox. I tried.), and more. Both times we served over 500 plates. We cleaned up before, during, and after! The first morning I rose at 4 a.m. and was off at 1:30 p.m. This time I was up at 6 a.m. and off at 2 p.m.

These ladies work so hard. I was sweaty. I was TIRED. I smelled like bleach and grease. My hair-do was more of a hair don’t! They were friendly. They were so organized. It was amazing to be involved. It really was.

     I know that there’s been some new related articles about school cafteria’s being the next the next to get a make over about nutrition and portion control. I know that celebs such as Jamie Oliver (http://www.jamieoliver.com/campaigns/jamies-food-revolution) and others are becoming activists on behalf of the children. I would like to say that what I saw was pretty healthy. I think there may be ways we could “trim the fat” so to speak, but for some kids in the US this is the only hot meal they may have all day with two parents working and healthy eating is costly. It costs in time. It costs in dollars. If you don’t believe it you haven’t really cooked lately. There are economic choices but in a home where time is as valuable as the dollar, those cafeteria ladies make a big dietary difference in children’s lives. I’m not saying that Mr. Oliver and others shouldn’t push for healthy choices. I am saying that active involvement and education of parents as well would help. And honestly, it will have to be made to be worth a working team of parent’s/ grandparents/ guardians’ time.

    My main reason to post however is to thank the ladies who do this faithfully for a group of less than enthusiastic at times children. It is hard work. It requires math skills, higher level thinking, coping skills, patience, observation, science, reading, and memory. Don’t brush over it as being anything less than a serious career!

 

These ladies have my well….

Hmmm… Wisdom of Jewel

     I’m one who generally needs to sike up before making decisions.  I had a really dear friend once say, “Is all your philosphy and theology packaged in song?” …. ponders….. Yes, most often it is.  I wanna be one too, Jewel. … pondering deeply and soul searching…

Hard Hitter

       One of my dearest friends sent me a link to the uncensored video of this song. For my more squimish readers, I won’t post it even though I respect it and think it was necessary. I had to share this song. The uncensored video arrested my attention and broke me. It was a healing break. Sometimes art doesn’t come clean and packaged pretty. Sometimes like a newborn baby in the delivery room it comes bloody and messy and packaged in pain. Sometimes that is the only way to say what needs to be said. Raw. Painful. Unsanitized. I know that image isn’t ok for some folks. But Pink left her mark on me with that video and I was moved. I will leave it to the discretion of my readers to find the original video if they want. I wouldn’t trade having experienced it for anything. It was hard. Very hard. But it was something that communicated clearly and changed me. Here is the censored version with no video. If you have the courage Pink had in writing the uncesored version and creating that video, I recommend you watch it. If not, I pray at least this censored version’s lyrics embeds this song deep in your heart and gives you the courage to find that “perfect” moment.

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