Monday, March 29, 2010

What Writers Do

We get up. We sit at a desk or table, and we write. We drink tea or coffee or gin and write. We listen to jazz and write. We smoke a cigarette and write.

While we are writing we do not think critically. Or worry. Or judge, or hate, or fear, or doubt, or preach. We write.

If we do any of these latter things while writing, we are not writing. The ego is writing. If the ego is writing, it's not true writing. It may appeal to other's egos, but not to another's soul.

Friday, March 26, 2010


Writers are givers - we hope to influence, uplift, encourage, entertain, beautify. Yet we must also learn to receive.

We assume we know what the words we use mean, but often words have fuller, deeper meanings than we suspect. I wished to understand more about receiving, so I looked up the word receive in my trusty, thick, vintage Webster's Encyclopedia of Dictionaries.

The scientific meaning of receive is "a vessel in which spirits are distilled to essence." Fantastic, right?

As writers we are receiving the spirit, distilling it to essence, and passing it on. When our readers receive our words, they are doing much the same. It is beautiful to contemplate.

So, is the spirit the muse? Is nature the muse? Where does inspiration (meaning, literally, breath) come from?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Diary of a Soul

While walking down Second Avenue a fragment of a dream passed through me.

I was sitting at an outdoor cafe at night - some warm place - maybe tropical or European - and I had truly been there. The blueberries and pink flowers bloomed along my path in the daytime in San Diego and a song played on my mind. Light speared the palms.

It was like entering Theta state and reverie, just the sense of myself, instantaneous, somewhere else - a parallel life. I have never believed in reincarnation to this point. But it may have been the future, I don't know.

My fingers smelled of rosemary - I had pinched some and kept walking. I would start a perfume store, I thought, and this pungency would underlie each scent, because people love beauty. Yet we are called to different things. Some to make perfumes, and some to dream.

It could be that in our dreams we are alive in other places, other times.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


It is the season of Lent in the church calendar. The season of self examination and repentance. Someone once told me we feel it whether we're Catholic or not. Maybe that explains why I've been feeling so much regret lately, and an urge to change my ways.

One thing I realized is that by praying for what I want, I actually create "more want."

Another is that I spend way to much time trying to figure life out (and asking God to help me figure it out) instead of celebrating life (as the Spirit wishes.)

I get trapped in my mind and it's such a small space.

The other day when one of my friends was feeling bad I told her to take a walk and to look as far as she could. (The far view restores the soul.)

From the newly reopened bridge in my neighborhood I can see almost to Mexico. I just have to find the right angle to get the highest view.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Seeds Begin to Bloom

Speaking to Taos Pottery Princess just now on phone about timing. Why do good things take so long to happen to good people? But the Spirit whispers, Be happy now. (Then, when we get the stuff we want, we'll be even happier...)

My dream of following O'keeffe and living in New Mexico didn't happen for fourteen years after the writing down of the vision. The seeds of dreams bloomed in their own time. I had things I had to do first.

I had to go back to Colorado. I went back to school. One way I healed my life was to take two years of Psychology classes.

(We worked on finding the disowned selves, learned to remain calm, and explored dream objects and landscapes with teachers who had been at Menninger in the bio-feedback heyday - a very rich education.)

During that time a friend talked me into taking a creative writing class with her. Poetry came back into my life before painting did. I would not have thought it, or dreamed it that way, but the seeds were underground, and hidden.

Poetry saved my life. It saved my creative spirit, informed my intellect, lifted me somewhere I had never been, or knew existed. Pablo Neruda was the angel, and my teacher his messenger.

Now there was an open window, a quince tree outside in bloom, an attic room looking out into stars and moonlit blossoms. All I needed was a pen and a notebook and the muse. The muse returned to me much as my soul had. Maybe they were the same being.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oprah is Everywhere

Today Oprah had on Diane Sawyer and they briefly discussed Chelsea King, the girl I wrote about a few days ago, who was found murdered near my friend's house. (The perpetrator's parents live in her neighborhood. Scary)

I went on Oprah's site to post a comment and start a discussion, to try and spread my idea that self-defense should be taught to girls in PE classes at school.

So far, no one has responded and it occurs to me that the chances of anyone finding your words, even on Oprah's site, are slim to none. I still don't know what happened to all our blogs that disappeared. (God forbid Google should ever decide to off us all in one fell swoop!)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Woman Walking Her God

Grief shuts us down, makes us unable, ironically, to receive comfort.(Irony is a tool of the bad angel - paradox a tool of the good.)

Anyway, on the way to the newly opened First Avenue Bridge I passed a garden. Raindrops on the roses leaves. Diamonds, if viewed in the right light.

("The beauty of the world/ breaks through/ my brokenness...")

I walked on to the bridge. A million diamonds multiplying in the trees, the shadow of a woman walking her dog (a woman walking her God?) and from halfway across, the whole of San Diego Bay. Then further, at the end, green and gold trees with small glimpses of water between the leaves.

The whole vista is beautiful, as is the tiny glimpse. Perspective is everything.

Sometimes the Spirit gives a garden - sometimes a bridge.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Self Defense

Friday I took the train up north along the coast. The ocean, and some hillsides that look like Africa - lion colored grass and red dirt - native plants - like San Diego looked before people came.

My college friend picked me up in Oceanside, then we drove inland, toward blue mountains. Near her new house, we passed a park surrounded by hiking trails and shallow waterways. She told me a teenage girl had disappeared from there the day before.

The next day her daughter had a birthday party. I have known her since she was born. She is now sixteen. The theme was "I don't wanna to grow up." There was a pink castle jumping gym, a play dough station, dress up clothes, a taco bar. About twenty kids came. All so polite and sweet and gorgeous.

I couldn't help but think of the family of the missing girl. And the earthquake in Chile. All the suffering going on while we were having fun. A poignant contrast, which somehow, to me, made the time sweeter.

Yesterday police found the body of the girl. A repeat sex offender is in custody. My heart hammers whenever I think about it. I have no idea what to do besides pray. Normally, I avoid the news, as it steals my equalibrium. But this is so close to home.

I am not an activist, but an artist. By choice.

Yet what I wish is that all girls in every P.E. class from first grade on would be taught self defense. These perpetrators should not be on the streets, but they are. Men in power, obviously, aren't going to fix this for us. Women and girls are going to have to get strong on their own.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Seeds of Dreams

When the soul comes back she has seeds in her hands. They are the forgotten dreams. But not everything blooms at once. It is slow. The picture has to fill in. I didn't start painting again for a few years. Or writing poems. I did write songs.

One of my songs said "Like an angel flying close to the ground/ reaching out to scatter/ stars like seeds falling from her hands..."

I had to do some things. I was on my own for the first time. I had my own apartment. I was raising my son, alone. I was the sole breadwinner.

I spent the long hot summer in Nebraska, working for my aunt, renting from my uncle. They too helped save me. (Note that Heaven provided this plan as soon as I made the decision to leave my marriage.)

Even though I was free I sometimes felt the deepest loneliness imaginable. I felt as if I had become Loneliness.