Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Spirit of the Season

“I heard the bells on Christmas Day; their old familiar carols play, and wild and sweet the word repeat of peace on earth, good-will to men!” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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The picture above is my Christmas tree this year, which is pretty much the same view from one year to another, with the exception of ornaments playing merry-go-round and trading places. The framed mural behind the tree blinded by the brilliance of multi-color lights is an electric guitar beside the words ‘When Words Fail, Music Speaks’.

To my deaf ears music is the twining of the chords played upon an individual’s spirit, the basis for our compassion, dreams, hopes, and most of all our actions. The mural says more about the holiday season to me than the tree itself. You see, regrettably I sometimes forget the simple truths around me on display all throughout the year and conspire with Grinch like devotion to fill the space beneath the tree to overflowing. ‘When Words Fail, Music Speaks’ – with a Grinch’s heart I silence my spirit, those inner chords with murmurs of more this and more that, until I’m bereft of any music at all and undeniably words have failed.

A kind word from a stranger or loved one strikes a chord from within, a helping hand and a bit of compassion strums a few more chords and ‘Music Speaks’. Perhaps there is no true season for giving, maybe it’s a little bit more - a reminder of what we can give of ourselves the whole year long. This season, this year, in this moment...listen to the twang of your fellowman’s spirit playing loud and clear and add your own to the orchestra of life. Without a doubt, you’ll leave a more lasting impression than anything else found under the tree.

“When Christmas bells are swinging above the fields of snow, we hear sweet voices ringing from lands of long ago, and etched on vacant places are half-forgotten faces of friends we used to cherish, and loves we used to know.” – Ella Wheeler Wilcox

From my spirit to yours,
Merry Christmas! I’ll see you in the New Year sweet friends!
Indigo Ravenwood

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November Ballast

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I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain. – Mary Frye

November curdled into being soon after tripping over October, only to lose her autumnal identity to December’s bully impatience given to squalls of snow talcum. One month clumsily falls and drifts into another and I’m lost in between seasons of warring transgression. These turbulent months are threaded heavy by limbs of holiday cheer or digress - whichever tempura fits. I’m left adrift among words weather weary in nature and floundering in spiritual ether.

In a slow procession the nearby woodland disappeared under bulldozers and backhoes and all I can envisage are the years it takes for a single tree to root and thicken with bark. The view became a barren mud lake, missing her children’s limbs which used to vie for skyline. Children - yes, for all that grows is a sentient life in it’s own right; the earth a mother whose womb they shared. The pup’s chest rumbles in a whine beside me in spiritual discourse which passes from dog to woman – our shared pain for what was once a forest. She looks up at me searching for reasoning I don’t have and I apologize for the ilk of human cudgel.

And I find the backhoe of my imagination can’t seem to dig deep enough for words. Leaving me to wonder, has desire mined my intelligence to the point, I'm left with nothing more than a barren slate - a muddy expanse of word sludge? Did I cultivate the depths and forget my morality and emotional sentience? Words are structured like tree limbs entwined into a forest of sentences and paragraphs like woodland husbandry. The writer in me must learn to plow gently and weave between the soil of soul and prose, without up heaving the basic foundation of natural nuance and wonderment.

In the forest of my imagination words dance like fey crossing the void into reality and I write a never ending tree line of wordage against humanities angst. So if November sank her hooks deep in a ballast of inspiration; will December herald what words convey in secret places of the heart?

*Click on Link for Mary Frye's poem "Do Not Stand at my Grave And Weep"

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Picture found here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Woods

"When it comes time to die, be not like those whose hearts are filled with the fear of death, so when their time comes they weep and pray for a little more time to live their lives over again in a different way. Sing your death song, and die like a hero going home.” - Chief Aupumut, Mohican. 1725

The woman screamed in anguish, fist pumping against her chest, “What are you doing! Stop…stop can’t you hear their screams!” She dropped to her knees in the middle of the clearing and crawled toward them begging, “What have you done? The forest bleeds…”

Rough hands dragged her away.

“Stupid Indian hag! Go home with your superstitious bullshit.” A man yelled after her, following close behind waving a wad of papers in hand. “Land’s mine brought and paid for. Git out of here and don’t come around here no-more!” He sneered, eyes gloated with victory. Dumb Injun actually thought he’d leave the trees standing. Lies, all lies.

He was privy to the rumors circulating through town, about the wild woman who rescued strays by the edge of the forest. Animals that is, not people. She stayed to herself, preferring the company of trees and beast over neighbors. The new land owner let loose a hard laugh; Too bad witch, to each his own.

To each his own, the raven haired woman whispered, tears streaming down her face. Her chant lifted by the wind, flew swiftly toward the four directions. With a dagger she carved her plea in blood upon her skin. While whispers echoed in the ears of ancestors long gone and those yet to be born. She called forth the forest phantoms each by their sacred name; she called them one and all.

In the silence which followed, the moonlight vanished behind a storm cloud of raven wings carrying the old ones answer. They descend in darkness to flood the woman’s mouth – choking, devouring her soul as they plundered the depths of what remained of her human shell. Her loyal dog ran the gamut and jumped into the swirl of wings and darkness; only to be swallowed whole. At night’s end a beautiful creature stood muddied and half skinned, a rabid beast beside her. For vengeance has its price…

Don’t go in the forest, for the forest contains secrets best left alone. The deeper you stroll; chances are you’ll come across the savage undead. With a demented smile, she’ll greet you warmly before tearing out your throat and leaving the remains for her loyal companion.

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The woods they bleed no more.

"I cured with the power that came through me. Of course, it was not I who cured, it was the power from the Outer World, the visions and the ceremonies had only made me like a hole through which the power could come to the two-leggeds." - Black Elk, Oglala

*A bit of fun this Halloween. Pictures are thanks to MakeMeZombie.com. No animals were hurt in this retelling.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

From One Coffin to Another

Photobucket'Tis now the very witching time of night, when churchyards yawn and hell itself breathes out contagion to this world…Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.

The above quotes belong to none other than William Shakespeare and Edgar Allan Poe. Don’t they make a haunting compilation - interesting dinner guest you’d invite to the table on All Hallows Eve? This time of year is fertile ground for a host of dead poets and authors to frighten one’s muse out of hiding.

Do you hear the chalkboard on nails screeching at the window, making the hair curl on the back of your neck and sending a chill up your spine like a Latino ghoul dancing a salsa? I do, shrill, bone deep enough for even my deaf ears. My candle was nearly burnt out, when, by the glimmer of the half-extinguished light, I saw the dull yellow eye. (Mary Shelley)

Ah, but why take up company with the dead. Dead is dead. Besides they can always be dug up for a macabre dance or a séance. Why not visit with other dreadful (ghoul inspiring) writers of the uncanny and destitute or just plain horrifying? The living versions of course, although truly…frightening personas in their own rights. How do you come about such an invite? I’ll be glad to twist your spine and help decapitate all remaining brain cells of sanity…by sending you here --> The Coffin Hop. A place where you’ll find the likes of Anthony J. Rapino, Milo James FowlerAaron Polson - danse macabre friends of my muse, among others.

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Oh, alright already, I’ll tell you what the Coffin Hop is, since apparently I twisted your spinal column a little (just a tad) too hard and cut off a few synapses. To be frank, you get a chance to visit multiple horror writers October 24-31st for a thrill fest of a time. Some I’ve heard are even offering up a few treats in place of tricks. To be honest, I would prefer a trick that would freeze a scream in my throat, but that’s me. No, no, there will be nothing from yours truly. I prefer to wait and skin myself alive down to pulsing vein and muscle sometime in the future. *Sly grin* You had no idea? Oh, you poor soul. It’s always the most innocent one you need to watch out for.

“I could not help feeling that they were evil things - mountains of madness whose farther slopes looked out over some accursed ultimate abyss.” H.P. Lovecraft (Still visiting with the old ones, go on already breathe new life into the fresh bait).

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Changing Skins

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“I wake up, heart up my throat, a fear taste - getting ready for the changing skin.” Anne Marie Macari

The seasons eclipse and September’s damp foray crashes into autumn's crisp decay. Summer’s strangle hold on my muse unfurls one varying hue at a time. Almost overnight her green foliage gave up the ghost of a season and began dressing in shades of burgundy, gold, and burnished orange.

Breathe deep.

“In this everywhere of blunt and soft sinking, I am the heavy hollow snared.” Deborah Landau

An autumnal day where the musky summer warmth is wrestled in one last tussle to the earth and the road winds higher, lending autumn her due. Jaco Pastorius’s Opus Pocus serenades the warm scent of burnished leaves as they twist and turn in downward spirals and shades of rust grow deeper still. A woodland’s invite to the heart of the mountains sun dappled rapture.

Breathe deep. The writer begins to stir…

Summer’s opulence peels back to skin and bare bones grafted with a season’s worth of words. Bone deep the muse engraves her characters and instills them with life. Awaken psyche, the day grows late. Time for a change of skin - a costume of layered leaves and twigs with which to dance among the woodland sprites in autumn’s ballroom.

Breathe deep. Life is intoxicating. It’s also the essence and the soul of the writer’s muse.

Season’s change - What skin are you wearing and do you possess the courage to disrobe and expose that which needs changing? I’m learning. - Indigo



(Curious - how I would know what this sounds like since I'm deaf? It has to do with the acoustics inside a car and vibrations bouncing off every surface.)

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Words Float

“There are intangible realities which float near us, formless and without words; realities which no one has thought out, and which are excluded for lack of interpreters.” -
Natalie Clifford Barney

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Words float in the space between two sets of deep brown eyes staring at one another almost nose to nose. In the muted glow of the bedside lamp, a cold black nose buries itself in long tendrils of hair smelling the essence of the woman she adores. She in turn, smiles and wraps her arms around the warm fur of the pup and pulls her close in an embrace. Quiet serenity rises to the surface of connection and floats on the dim cascades of light dust upward – spreading out beyond words.

A woman sits in the midst of flood debris on a kitchen chair in her yard, chin cradled in the palm of her hand. Heartbreak etches lines across her features, weighing her shoulders weary. The heavy sigh that escapes chokes in a spiral of clay and mud becoming airborne. I watch for a moment more as the car drives past and will words to strengthen and float on hope. In quiet defiance she still breathes. Words float between strangers in the intervals of reality.

A light chill kisses tender lips as they breathe in the crisp evening. Waves of cotton strata weave a cloak across the fading skyline. Bombast green leaves are red rimmed losing defiance against the coming autumn. My nose wrinkles at the cloying smell of crabapples rotting beneath heavy limbs. Before long deer will arrive and strip the foliage of the remaining fruit. I wrap the grandfather sweater tighter around me like a glove as if that alone could squeeze the words forth - words which quietly simmer in the silence, cloaked in my safe haven of fortunate.

Words float intangible, touching down on lives we’ve lived, spaces we’ve been, and memories which either soothe or strangle. They exist in between one heart beat and another, in second hesitations between breathing and holding on. Sometimes even writers can’t possibly interpret these passages floating down upon them in a space of a few words. We can’t dispute the essence which quivers on the tips of our tongues and leaves us mute. This knowledgeable existence of words is formless and entwined, paused amid moments.

The lexis between you and I, our unspoken vocabulary - spent a summer marinating in wisdom, speculation, and life. My words are adrift; here’s to hoping they find a delicate landing between my brown eyes and yours like the warm fur of a gentle pup.

*Dedicated to all the people in the neighboring area who recently lost homes and livelihoods in the Upstate NY floods. May your grace and courage continue to outshine the debris. - Indigo

Picture found here

Friday, July 22, 2011

Sketches of Humanity

“A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul.” – Aldous Huxley

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“We give in to our fears by small degrees” the quote began. I stopped rifling through the pages of my notebook and continued to read. “For all our bravery it won’t stop the world from changing in the blink of an eye. We come away different, changed in subtle ways. Life is the teacher who first taught us there are no guarantees or warnings to duck when we’re sucker punched out of left field. Instinct or impulse, who’s to say why we take the hand we’re dealt and make the most of it. An act ingrained in our humanity much like breathing with each unconscious inhale and exhale which escapes our lungs.”

In retrospect I realized this paragraph described me; the whole context of what, how, and why I write. The guts of what I strive to explore in words, the pain, survival, and hardship underlining my every waking moment. The want and need to understand why something brings someone joy or awakens a smile. For every action there must be a reaction, a need to know how you got from point A to point B, without some miraculous injection of surrealism.

Keep this in mind while I mention a book I recently read that didn’t quite…mesh well with me. One of those feel good books, with pages drenched in sappy, too good to be true plot lines throughout. No, I won’t mention which book. You’ll discover why soon enough. Although not my usual fare, I still read the book all the way through. Why? I think in the end, I wanted to try to understand why the author wrote the book to begin with. Why not disperse a bit of pain and agony, along the way to give each emotion a worthy contender and a reason to be appreciated?

Every book that is written has some deep rooted catharsis of the writer enmeshed beneath the words. Take away the believability and reality from the equation and what is left? Did the author need to write this book for an escape, a diversion from life? My experience tells me reality is stranger than fiction, so imagination alone isn’t enough of a directive to explain away the cheat sheet of happily ever after fairytale ending. I want to see the characters earn that ending.

Without a doubt someone will have read this book and found substance where I found none.

Do we read to escape or to better understand and grasp a different viewpoint of life? Everyone takes what they need from between the pages of a book.

Reasoning is always peppered throughout the bold overview beneath words unspoken on a page, if we look. Yet words alone don’t quite encompass the whole, do they? We tend to take what we need from words. The mediocre becomes a balm to fear and pain, comedy a filter against heartbreak and stress, and horror grinding reality into bone.

Hence the quote beginning this post, “A bad book is as much a labor to write as a good one.” A gift of words in any format isn’t to be taken lightly. I won’t judge a book, I’m more likely to explore the author. What I will do is write for me, plant echoes of myself between the words, and someday get read by someone who found substance between the pages…when someone else might not. And maybe, someone will even have the same view of something I wrote such as the book I couldn’t fathom. Words hold secrets entrapped between the pages, treasure troves for individual discretion. How deep will you dig between the lines? - Indigo

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Storms of Thought

“Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head.” Mark Twain


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The cell phone sits like dead weight sinking through ropey tendon and scraped bone to the depths of the woman and the hand that held it. Her heartbeat is a frantic cacophony threatening to burst her ribcage, ripping fibrous tissue and skin until her fear is exploited.

“In the end the decision is yours to make.” They always say that don’t they, she thought, as if she had a choice to begin with. When in reality only one existed.
“What would you recommend if it were your wife in my place?”
“Surgery, this will only get worse over time.”
Faced with the point blank question, her doctor didn’t have any reason for subterfuge.

The phone slides from her hand, bouncing off the surface of the coffee table with a jarring thud. Remember this, she tells herself. When this is all over remember every single detail and ache.
***

The mirror seldom lies, she thought staring at her reflection. Here and there streaks of gray belayed an age her face thankfully didn’t betray. She captures a few strands and fingers them gently. This she can do something about, making a mental note to buy hair dye and fix the faux passe before surgery. Gray hollow ovals encircle her brown eyes giving them a deeper depth. Sleep wasn’t exactly a friend these days, toying with emotions and stress like a jugglers balls threatening to crash down at any minute.

Her mouth pulls into a half grimace, scrunching up one cheek. Is this how she would write the wait and outcome; with this mock determination to make the most of things, while befriending denial until the inevitable? Is she supposed to keep a brave face and bald face lie in the face of courage?

“You’ll heal.” She tells the twin in the mirror. Remember this. The woman realizes bravado lies to the face of the heart, reality writes things far differently.

Would I have written this part into the story…I’m not so sure.
***

The laptop slams shut with a disgruntled curse. What else did they want from her? How many forms and pleas for help before they relinquished control back to her? How can they leave her with nothing? Those were her words, her contacts, and followers. She worked hard to build some of those relationships and now in one fell swoop she was cut off. Her stomach gurgled threatening to spew, is this how it felt to be heartsick?

None of this had been her fault. The hacker left her feeling violated and raped of control. The worst, the utmost worst, she was cut off from her words. Words with substance and experience, those utterances of bravado she knew she had at one time and needed more than ever.

“Stupid asses!” The angry tirade poured out of her. The weeks of worry and stress bubbled over to full fledged outrage.

Remember this; the vulnerability and sense of utter helplessness that overcomes you - the loss and anger. Remember it exactly like this; scathing hatred and tears.
***

Life registers close to the heart. Everything around us is a character study on life. The fount in which we slice a vein and find substance for words, those mirrored life experiences - begin with the writer (the heart) and echo outward.

The above experiences could be anyone. Their reactions might not be shared ones. The question is did you feel anything? Did I manage to put you in the woman’s shoes even for a moment? If I did then I’ve succeeded – if not, I have my work cut out for me. I will say this though; sometimes the outcome is never quite what we expect. - Indigo


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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Voracious Details

“Knowledge of an apparently trivial detail quite often makes it possible to see into the depth of things.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Bleach limbs stick out stark and naked like bones against the thriving summer green foliage of trees beside the desiccated birch. A gaunt and ugly eyesore - the noble sentinel refuses to give up his guard and place among the forest; drying moans of slick bark, stretching sunward and challenging the wind’s torment. Is the lone birch’s bravery lost among the mass of fawning perfection?

***

A rivulet of perspiration rolls down my neck, pausing in place until the oscillating warm air from the fan sweeps by, before gliding down a tendril of loose hair, and rolling toward t-shirt absorption. Eyes blink with salt tethers of heat haze and drone lazily across the floor to settle on fur puddles lazing traverse floor boards. A breathe escapes with a heavy pull and tug of lungs, as I grasp to breathe slow and steady against the weight of condensation. Summer’s tyranny is heat induced.
***

Hair windblown from the open window, the cool current carries the scent of deep woods; the kind of deep wood where the sun barely slants between leaden limbs of towering pine and oak. Moist, dark, soil deep scents, shades of sun blockers in a lost sea of branches and ferns. Ominous patches of dark back roads winding ever deeper into the depths of the mountain’s basement. Before falling into shadows gloam the road begins to spiral heavenward, desperate to catch the height of a crow’s flight.

Plowed fields span the girth of heaven, doused in a fermenting storm front. The breathless vista of far mountains bathed in mist hurts the heart. Nature calls with the spirit of earthen drums and the ground thrums beneath my feet. I ache to plant myself between the rows, forever lost in the visage before me. Pockets of splendor touched and untouched by civilization, lost in the knowing.

***

Life is found in the depths of the details. Whenever we gleam over the details in books, we miss the skin and bones which bring characters and words alive. We miss a chance to step into the author’s mind. Worlds and dreams become reality one small detail at a time through intricate descriptions and places we’ve never been.

More and more I’m left hungry for the details - the visual plethora of imaginations. If it’s not the destination but the journey – what are you looking for in your story or life?
- Indigo

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Ocean in Me

“To him it is an ocean, unfathomable, and without a shore.” – William Godwin

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I need to be here. The breeze taste of salt tang - warmth. I swallow huge gulps of air current like a piquant ambrosia sliding into the warm confines of stomach melt, savoring the breath of dry salt on wet lips like the rim of a margarita.

The smell is intoxicating, a sweet noxious sulphur of taffeta salt brine and baked sand.

Coarse granules wick across the fine hair on my arms, tickling tobacco paper thin coats of abrasion. My toes ooze down sinking in silt, battered by effervesce froth. A tendril of kelp sloshes around my ankle, tugging, daring me to follow the waves retreat back into the ocean. The shoreline reverberates down to my bones with each thunderous crash, thrumming a vibrato.

I close my eyes and listen to a child’s bubbly laughter, followed by slapped footfalls against wet sand racing away from galloping waves. A seagull caws from the air overhead. The ocean roars thrashing wave after wave against the shell laden coast. I hear her faint heartbeat as she sucks her current back like a child suckling a nipple. Music comes to me faintly from somewhere up the cliff, a sonata serenading the tempest.

Sand and salt buffet the heat of the day against my body - I need to be here.

I open my eyes and I’m back in the confines of my home, a thousand miles away from the nearest ocean. The rain beats a steady cacophony against the window, sliding down in streaming rivulets. Teal blue skies are now a hazard grey. Feeling a hard ridge pricking my palm I look down to find a lone sea shell and I smile.

The imagination of a writer can take you anywhere in the world; because of words I can ride the waves in the ocean of me…anytime I desire. In reality I haven’t seen them in years. - Indigo

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Shattered Perception

“Writers will write not to be outlaw heroes of some under culture but mainly to save themselves, to survive as individuals.”- Don Delillo

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The following words are visceral. I never had any rationale to be anything else in my writing; there is no portent here or animosity. My words are simply ‘dipped heavily in reality’.

Many of my long time readers have assumed I’m writing a memoir. I’m not. Thousands of tear-your-heart-out stories arrive in ink on any given day. So many…I’m only one. Truth be told, I want my words in any format to be what draws my readers in - not compassion or pity (a germane consideration). Not unlike any other writer, I want my lexis alone to carry weight, to sustain someone’s thirst for reading.

So what exactly am I writing? Ah, the boxed perception - choose one over another. Why not explore? I’ve proven my ability on a poetic level. Would it surprise you to learn I can play rather well in the horror field? Before you wander away, claiming I’m taking you down a road you won’t tread, hear me out.

I read horror, suspense, thrillers (other genres). I have this innate ability to recognize the monsters parading around in human guise (life lessons). Every one of us has a base fear; one or more things that curdle our stomach, fears which crawl beneath the skin like an itch they can’t scratch. Ignoring the itch won’t make it stop nor halt the fear. Why does it scare us so much, is there more reality and suffrage in view within the horrifying than anything else?

I find fear, pain, sorrow; all give way to opposing emotions, courage, compassion, hope. I won’t draw a line through any human being or life experience. All of what you perceive, the ugly demographic to the beautiful poetic go hand in hand. We short sight ourselves when we refuse to acknowledge far more emotional baggage exist in one form or another in our lives. How would you know to love, if not having seen hate in all it’s nefarious philandering? Hope without having lost something to want for, or fear without having been frightened.

Yes, it is a very delicate balance beam to foray. We’ve witnessed what happens when someone crosses a line and becomes destructive, hateful, and murderous. The question is would you recognize the beauty in your life if you had not been aware of the revolting?

A friend of mine said to me today, “People obsess about the outline, but can’t be bothered to color inside the lines.” She’s right. We obsess with our happily ever after and never quite appreciate the darker aspects we trespass on the journey. Life is a multi-facet compromise made of a colorful humanity. There is no black and white drawn ideology. We can draw in, outside, over the lines if we so choose.

Some people might be amazed to discover Edgar Allan Poe had a bounty of gorgeous sentiments penned on love. You didn’t know that? A fine example of viewing only one aspect of someone’s writing.

Kahlil Gibran wrote, “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” We can’t - I won’t overlook the scars in all their horrifying detail in my writing. The trick is to find the beauty in the wreckage while still aware of the broken pieces left lying about… I can give you numerous examples; all you need to do is examine your own lives to see instances of where the horrifying touched down. Our lives are shattered perceptions in which we traverse words between the poetic to the horrendous. You can’t dip your pen in one without experiencing the other.

We are all books that need to be read at a deeper level, savored between pages, breathings of words defining heart and soul; from the bitter ugly truth and depths of cruelty, to the exquisite magnificence of unfound beauty. I’ll continue to slice a vein and bleed all over the page – reality is horrifyingly frightening amid the splendor.
- Indigo

Picture Can Be Found Here

Saturday, April 9, 2011

In Between Seasons

“You will find that it is all very familiar…the strange and faraway places where you’ve never been. The wild unknown leads you to a place just around the corner. Take a picture when you get there…the road is you.” – J. Bebe, R. Hammond

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My heart belongs to the open road. Always has…always will.

There is a hidden mystery beyond each curve and bend in the road. Nature defends against the ongoing tirade of human occupancy and cloaks her crevices in the foliage of decrepit urban decay. Asphalt fractures and leans precarious into coverts; tree limbs stretch skyward warmed by the sun’s prompt to tangle wires, downing lines; vines, roots, push and prod the loose gravel apart weeping for sunlight. These sacred sentinels are what draw me each and every time further into their womb, up the winding mountain back roads. I too wish to leave my humanity behind.

Today the road beckoned with open arms. Come see us, we’ve grow. Mother earth is awake, come see…

Clones of naked bark reached stick limbs skyward tickling the Persian sky until it burst into giggles of strata wisp. A familiar land mark slides into view - ‘The hand of God’, a tree trunk in a field sharpened by time and pointing toward the heavens. A few weather worn barns gave up the ghost losing the war with the elements. Grass the color of wheat balled and rolled across fields not yet warmed into spring’s recurring bottle green. A mare held her head high nostrils sniffing the air, tail waving a salute readying for the scourge of flies soon to come. Although heart warming one and all, I continued looking for another undiscovered bend or turn in the road.

A left hand turn into another right and the familiar began to fall away as winding twist in the roads rose higher and higher up the mountain. A smile teased across my face at the sight of snow sulking in the shadows beneath pine boughs. The vista opened up to reveal the next slope on the rollercoaster highway and a lake spread out in the valley below. Ice bathed all but her shore, slowly slinking back on itself and giving way to winters mourning. This was a haven I’d not traveled before. Every fiber of my being grinned with anticipation as the tires ate the asphalt and moved with the contours of the land around me.

A spontaneous day, urged on impulse bared the soul of the open road between seasons. I couldn’t help but feel as if I’d been let in on a secret kept hidden from prying eyes. There is an incredible intensity in the in-between, a not quite ready, almost, and I am here sense of understanding – which is ethereal in its beauty.

Life has been my greatest teacher.

As a writer, I trace life lessons across the pages of a book. In those ‘I’m not quite done moments’, there is still concrete substance to my words with room to grow. Everything sits in between seasons before blooming to full potential. We begin; we grow, flourish, and complete the cycle. - Indigo

Original picture here

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Truth and Bone

“Sometimes I can feel you breathing into me.
And these hands I can feel them tugging at my sleeve,
I move through the day in the rhythm that I've known.
I've got this crazy dream of stripping down to truth and bone.”

Arms stretched overhead with fingertips hooked into opposing hands, muscle and sinew thrum, pulling, contorting, ache to the surface. The wonder dog pretends to stretch with me, front paws in a halleluiah bow with her tail swishing the air, back legs splayed in a ‘watch me do a split slide’. Head cocked, she does a dog’s version of an eyebrow raise to see if I notice. I burst out laughing, leaving her with a goofy grin. She knows my moods and how to play heartstrings. I’d be lost without her.

The chill morning seeps skin deep, raising goosebumps along my arms. Goofy is content to lie beside me in front of the fire. Limeade green sprouts of grass tease through the leavings of winter melt frozen in mid dance. Blight or temptation of Spring is anyone’s guess. The window belays the truth. A wintry moan gently raps a staccato in assent. Not yet.

I roll my shoulders. The bitter cold is settling bone deep and I desire nothing more than something fresh, alive – a torpor blue injected into a sublime gray sky, a melding of seasonal angst.

“I need you to cut through to where I'm hidden, I'm awkward and I'm too polite and I want two stars for arms like Orion I could breathe in and breathe in and breathe out.”

Breathe in and breathe out through my nostrils, breathe in deep, exhale. The day lies in front of me, a gift of time, minutes, hours, descending into the cerulean hues of evening. Mother Nature will unveil her heather carpet in due time. The longer she allows the earth to rest, to breathe, the more vibrant Spring will arrive in fountains of rainbow irradiance.

She taught me well.

In as much as I wish to rush headlong in my writing, I realize it’s crucial to let the prose breathe and move at her own schedule. To rush will temper the splendor of what may possibly unfold. We sit at opposing ends and distemper: me wanting, desiring more – her defiant perfection, correcting, and a willful rendition of words. Together, writer and prose aficionado will dance between the seasons of a book.

Truth and bone immersed in the depths of wisdom and want, human need and ticking time, all the sinews and muscle of what my writing heralds. Listen to the cadence of words displayed in colorful imagery in-between the seasons of a writer’s life.

“I move through the day in the rhythms that I've known.
I've got this crazy dream of stripping down to truth and bone.”

*This is my interpretation of Heather Nova’s ‘Truth and Bone’. I still get a thrill out of discovering a new to me artist. I still hear the words, even if only in my soul. Enjoy:



Lyrics can be found here.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A River of Words

“Some people spend their entire lives reading but never get beyond reading the words on the page, they don't understand that the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river and the reason they're there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it's the other side that matters.” – Jose Saramago

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I cry when I read my own writing. Always.

“You need to separate yourself from the characters. You’re not them, you can’t write yourself into every story.” But I do. Why wouldn’t I?

These filaments of life derive from me, my creations, my characters - given a semblance of a soul strewn across the page. It’s almost god-like to breathe life into the voices knocking about in my cranium for attention. I’m not them. Not by the end of the book. Surely, in the beginning they’re fleshed out and given personalities. I couldn’t contain all those personalities in one skull, even if I wanted to. No they’re not me in a fictional sense. In the end, I give something of myself far deeper, cloistered between words in a sentinel march across the computer screen.

Imagining somebody (real in every sense of a fictional context) into existence is all easy enough. However, I can’t discern where the line is drawn when it comes to conveying emotions, not if I want some kind of believability. How does anyone, imagine pain and heartbreak in any great profundity - no, those things I dumpster dive inside my soul for. On the page I’m devoid of skin, flesh, and ropey muscles, withered down to an open vein. The characters become my memory makers; curators to my first love, my anguish, my torment, all those hidden crevasses bound up in a heart.

If these innovations have supped enough on my emotions (soul sucking vortexes), they’ll begin to make their own mistakes and take on a life I never envisioned in the beginning. Some of my handiwork will eat the best parts of who I am - others will devour the broken shards of ugliness easily found in all of us (my hatred, my decayed moral compass). Those last take it from me and shrug into skin-suits devoid of humanity. They mimic life becoming the antagonist.

Words help us explore the places we go inside our minds, our hearts. Those things are the equivalent of what comes out in the stories we write. I’m pulled taut, the needle weaving the thread into the embroidery of a book. I get a glimpse of myself as I truly am between each struggle for the right word to voice what is felt. In the end discovering a way to keep who I am intact enough to bond with the architect of the lives I’ve built within a story.

“You need to separate yourself from the characters. You can’t write yourself into every story.” I must. How can it be any other way? Why do I cry when I read my own writing…the best parts of me, the weaver’s tapestry that’s been woven into a river of words is lapping at the other shore.



Picture from here

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Working Toward a Life

“I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all.” ~Richard Wright, American Hunger, 1977

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The words blur in front of me on the computer screen. My eyes squint - helps but doesn’t solve the problem. Frustrated, I shove my glasses up on my head and massage my temple between thumb and index finger with one hand and absently tug at my earring with the other.

What am I doing wrong? Why do this to yourself, it’s a word – ease up already.

Today’s tough, grueling even. I miss the creative aspect of my writing. Every fiber in me rebels against revising any more grammar mistakes, dialogue tags, or cropping yet another sentence.

I knock on my forehead with a closed fist. This is close but not what you had in mind is it? You know the word you need is right at the tip of your tongue. I knock against my forehead again for good measure in an attempt to shake inspiration from an overworked brain. Aggravated my notes are sent flying off the desk helter skelter.

One lone page floats in the air caught in an invisible draft and dances across the room to land near Pickles’ paws. She stomps the errant page flat and looks up at me questioning if this is a new game. I highlight the inappropriate word, slam my laptop shut, and slip out of the chair like a slinky into a muddled mess on the floor to crawl about picking up stray notes; checking as I go to see if my missing muse is somewhere in the mess. It is and Pickles is standing on it.

You could have done anything, anything at all, but YOU chose to write - something which takes months, years to master with little or no payout to show for all your work. In an ordinary job that would be akin to your boss criticizing everything you worked on in the past year and ordering you to redo the job without reimbursement for your time.

The days flow in like fashion until Saturday’s warmth teases my body into the car and the open road. No words, no laptop, and no manuscript. Doesn’t mean the inn in my head wasn’t overflowing with a no-vacancy sign in the window of my eyes. Johnny Cash is booming from the CD player. Vibrations echo through the car and lyrics heard in another lifetime fill the space between. The sky is a monster creep gray. Storm clouds threaten to pour hell down in buckets.

Wind gust fail to maneuver the car off the road. Out of the corner of my eye pine trees lift their boughs and sway in a multitude of wings ready to take flight. Fresh air creeps up my nostrils with the scent of Earth and wet grass from the open window. And for the first time in over a week I smile. Yes, the work is hard and some day’s words are even harder to come by…but that’s all right – I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Do what you love, and you will find a way to get it out to the world.” – Judy Collins.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

It's Dark in the Dark

“Sing then the core of dark and absolute oblivion where the soul at last is lost in utter peace.” - D. H. Lawrence

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I love writing evocative details, becoming the conductor who orchestrates words into prose which haunt the senses. So let’s try a writing exercise and take on the dark. With your permission, I’ll take you into the murky recesses of darkness, where there is substance, a mystery that threatens to overwhelm. Don’t let me haunt you…

The silence is infinite. The wind pulses against the windows in a blind attempt for purchase, scrabbling for a foothold among cracks and crevices. A peek through the wood blinds reveals tree limbs bent in throes against the howl and moan of the wind’s torment. A luxury compared to what awaits in the dark. My hand drops and lets the blinds fall back into place and the room becomes a haven for shadows steeped in slate gray, an evolving dark.

Sleep isn’t a welcome reprieve on any given night since the quiet stole in and took up permanent residence. I twine nervous fingers through my hair and begin the illustrative name game – smooth, black, long, straight…

My eyes narrow in frustration, pinching my forehead in anger. “I’m an adult,” comes out in harsh protest. “I’m not afraid of the dark – I’m not!” No, surely this obscured deadened sense of sight and hearing can’t hurt me. What if I closed my eyes and cowered beneath the blankets, like a child afraid of the boogey man in the closet, frightened – sleep deprived until morning releases me. My mind reneges and the shadows grow thick, consuming. Close your eyes, I dare myself. Close them tight and welcome tomorrow. What of the night? Should these hours escape so easily? Hours which mark a life in increments?

The fight still lingers against heavy eye-lids and two orbs straining to part the dark like the Red Sea. Fingers drape around the cat, like tendrils of a vine. There. Thump, thump, lub-zsa-dup slow and steady – a heartbeat. Let go. The night swarms in like hoards of black gnats. Don’t drown me out; give me something solid to sing the night to sleep in this never ending dark. I slip down into a sensory deprived chamber, my reality, my nightly ritual as the cloak of black residual sleep overcomes me.

Lub, dub, lub, dub…my ears pulse like the wind against a window pane; bereft of the cracks in my soul, hallowed by the sound lub, dub, lub, dub, of a heart beat. In this coffin of sleep, comes the sound of life.

Each of us has our own version of the dark and those things that go bump in the night. This is mine. We write about the things closest to us, our fears, and emotions which become a living breathing pheromone eked out on the page in front of us. For me the dark is a very real embodiment hovering ever closer as dusk falls. What breathes down your neck in the dark? Feel free to email (located on my profile page) your version or take a stab at this writing exercise on your own blog. I’d love to see your rendering of what the dark heralds.


Picture from here

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Not About the Money

“There are four questions of value in life... What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for, and what is worth dying for? The answer to each is the same. Only love.” – Don Juan de Marco

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Valentine’s Day is simply a reminder of what we should celebrate 365 days of the year. Rumor claims February 14th as the lover’s holiday. A wonderful concept, but I tend to believe the day should be set aside to remember all those you love, those who need love, even strangers who could use a bit of kindness. If you can succeed in remembering more than one other person on Valentine’s Day, perhaps you’ll create a tradition to share the same glorious feeling daily and turn it into a 365 day long tribute.

Need some ideas that won’t cost a fortune?

1) Grab a stack of post-it notes and leave one here and there, with words like, “Smile, you’re loved!”, or “The world is a better place with you here.” I’m sure you can think of a few others.

2) Smile at a complete stranger, for no other reason than your alive.

3) Try slow dancing without the music, just the concept of moving slowly to each others rhythm and heartbeat? You’ll be surprised.

4) Cook a meal with someone, not for someone – with. Share the kitchen; turn on some music and salsa the food onto the plate. (Seeing as you need to eat anyway – enjoy the experience).

5) Read to each other. Nothing can compare to the soothing lilt of someone reading to you. Place your hand on their chest; the words vibrate through your very being.

6) Watch a movie without the sound and ad-lib the voices. Who said laughter isn’t good for the soul?

7) Remember those Valentine’s we passed out as kids? Try passing them out to perfect strangers, allow yourself to be a kid again and share a smile with someone. They have super-hero’s for the guys.

And I’m done - sorry. I’m not going to do all the work for you. Seven is the magic number, seven days in a week…

365 Days of the year and it doesn’t have to be about money, you only sacrifice a heart (and maybe time) – yours. I should warn you though, acts of love and kindness become habit forming.

Meanwhile enjoy a song from the movie ‘Rent’ – Seasons of Love.



Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand
moments so dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year

In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights,
in cups of coffee, In inches, in miles
in laughter in strife,

In Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life

(chorus)
How about Love
how about love
how about love
measure in love
seasons of love
seasons of love

Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
Five hundred twenty five thousand
journeys to plan
Five hundred twenty five thousand
six hundred minutes
how do you measure the life of a woman
or a man

In truth that she learned
or in times that he cried
In the bridges he burned
or the way that she died

Its time now to sing out
though the story never ends
lets celebrate remember a year
in the life of friends

(chorus)



Picture from here

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Way it Reads...

“Every reader, if he has a strong mind, reads himself into the book, and amalgamates his thoughts with those of the author.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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Momentarily blinded by a kaleidoscope of sunset cascading off my laptop screen, I wince and hold up a hand to block the sunlight streaming through the window - a disco strobe effect of shadow dances across my fingers in russet hues eclipsed by the glimmer of new falling snow. I can’t help but stare out the window entranced like a kitten by the cascading light show, moving my fingers this way and that to capture a different shadow play. Backlit by the brilliant white outside the window, I watch the gray orbs spotting the ceiling grow large with the setting of the sun's last milked beam.

I laugh to myself, thinking about how hysterical everyone was over the recent snowstorms; almost gloating they didn’t know how lucky they were.

The vibrating phone beside me catches my attention and I flip my phone open to see who called. Time stands still as I read and reread the text my daughter left. She was in an accident the day before, slamming into a guard rail, and skidding a 100 feet. Her car stopped just before the rail ended and dropped down an incline. The tire twisting sideways is the only thing that stopped her car from swerving into oncoming traffic. The accident ended with the passenger side crushed inward along the length of the car.

I couldn’t read beyond those words, part of me didn’t want to know anymore. I pushed/needed to force myself to finish. The sky grew somber gray outside as I lost my stomach for the beauty I witnessed mere minutes earlier and I read the last few lines of the text. Thankfully, she walked away without a scratch. Bullheaded like her mother, she rented a car the next day and returned to work, without pausing to take in what happened. I learned about the accident after the fact, it was out of my hands. Part of me wanted to bewail her driving and worry every little detail into absurdity. What did I do? I took a deep breathe…exhaled and remembered nature’s disco ball.

Not what you wanted to read? Would the hysterical mother be more preferable? Depends on how you read what I wrote. You can walk away and think I handled things well, or think me heartless not to bemoan the ice, and snow, and what this incident almost cost me. This could have turned out completely different and yes, I wouldn’t appreciate life the same way. The question is what does the reader need to take away? What part of what a writer writes makes it easier to swallow - makes it a more believable reality? So often the reality is never really what we expect, or sometimes want. Of course this is a true story. Still you might argue fiction plays out with a different outcome. Or does it?

Whatever you read, do you find yourself disappointed with the author’s response, or do you try on some level to understand the deeper meaning of what lies beneath the words? How many times have you put a book down because you couldn’t extend believability, and accept another possible human response other than the one you wanted? Would you rather, your fiction didn’t mirror life so closely?

Every writer has a choice to give a human face and reaction to their characters. If they do so and do it well – before finishing the book, you discover some element of yourself somewhere within those pages. I don’t believe writers expect their readers to completely grasp everything they write. All any writer can ask is you accept, not all reactions will mirror the way you perceive life. Stretch your mind enough to give life to the fiction. After all, reality is stranger than fiction on any given day.

If I’ve done my job as a writer, my words will elicit some kind of emotional response out of you.




Picture from here

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Swim Deeper

“Either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.” - Christopher Reeve

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I never liked waiting in a sterile examination room behind a closed door, wondering if they’ve forgotten somehow. Each minute makes my stomach tighten like a turning screw applying pressure, becoming near claustrophobic. The paper lining crackles under me and I take a deep breathe in an effort to sit still, worried the noise would give away my impatience.

Nearby Paul makes faces and pretends he’s going to examine me with various instruments. His presence is comforting, none the less he earns a glare for his efforts. No matter how large the word DEAF is written on the front of my file, they still at times fail to turn so I can read their lips, spurting a barrage of questions to the surrounding walls (nurses and doctors alike). So Paul is a necessary extra pair of ears.

My patience is soon rewarded by the door opening, which admits a new (to me) doctor. She appears nice enough, even if she at first talks slow like the animated pauses in a Roadrunner cartoon. Seconds later her questions and lips begin moving rapid fast – at a machine gun rat-a-tat pace. I glance toward Paul and he shrugs with a half grin and repeats what the doctor just said. Within minutes I become accustomed to her speech patterns and I’m able to communicate without help.

“You’re good!” The woman replies, after I repeat back the latest information to make sure I had my facts straight. The comment catches me off-guard. Reading lips has become so natural to me; I don’t grasp at first how it must seem to a hearing person. She’s actually excited and a little awed at the prospect of talking to a deaf person with no sign language. After the initial consult, I’m sent to make an appointment for a minor procedure, leaving the room still slightly baffled by the woman’s response.

Not even three minutes later, talking to the receptionist – she turns to me and exclaims, “You’re good!” After I finished a sentence for Paul in the midst of trying to repeat something he wasn’t sure I understood. By now I’m thoroughly amused; I seem to have become the novelty of the day. Or perhaps caught in an episode of ‘The Twilight Zone’ (the doctor’s office is located in Rod Serling’s home town after all). By nightfall amusement would turn to bravado. I had seen myself through the good doctor’s eyes.

Years ago I dared to jump off the pier of comfort I had originally submerged myself with my deafness. Something I had feared would alter my life had become an extension of me instead.

The thing about piers – is once you’ve jumped off they’re still in sight, still close by to grab hold and pull yourself up to safety. Unless you swim like the devil away with your arms and heart growing stronger with resilient determination, you might want to stay on board and never jump again. Crazy as it seems jumping isn’t enough in any scenario - you can either drown, swim, or grow into a vine entwined into the floorboards of a desecrated rickety pier (boredom).

I wasn’t happy treading water 6 years ago (with my deafness)…So why am I still in sight of the pier with my writing? My advice – swim deeper in whatever life offers, safety is lost in the stagnant recesses of not fully living.

**If it seems I’m talking about my deafness a lot on my blog of late - I am. Simply because there are some hard lessons here, reminders I need to stay the course with my writing.


Picture from here