Life is not a straight line. It's a downpour of gifts, please – hold out your hand

Thank you for being here. I'm so glad you're here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


Note: This is a blurb that came out during a ten-minute writing practice (For introduction to writing practice, please click).  It is in its raw, unedited form. The prompt for this particular piece was an object my little girls had placed in a box...a small plastic castle filled with glittery-little-girl makeup. For more information on writing practice, click on the heading writing practice at the top of the page.

Oh the beauty and sweetness of little girls and their glitter; little girls and their rainbow-colored fairy wings, little girls who lie awake at night wondering if this will be the night the fairies come and sprinkle them with fairy dust so they too can fly.

What is it like to be young and new at it all? To be seeing things for the first time, to know so little and want so much. I wish I could remember better those days when I was young. What do I remember?

I see the chunky little girl I was with the pigtails and freckles, taking walks by myself at the age of three. My mother said I insisted that I go alone. She would watch my small body disappear over the hill and would wonder where it was that I would go. I wonder now what drove me to go off alone at such a young age. Was there something I was looking for even then? Did I think it was around the corner, on the other side of the street, just over the hill?

As I write now, I know there was nothing I was looking for, nothing material anyway. What I did want and knew I could find on those quiet little walks, was time to myself; time to be with my curious little mind, time to look at the cracks in the sidewalks and the tall-rooted trees. I wanted a reprieve from all the noise they made, all the earth-shattering fear they both had and couldn't help but pass to their young children.

They were just children themselves, afraid to look themselves in the mirror, afraid to admit they had no idea who they were, afraid to admit they shouldn't be where they found themselves-married at the age of eighteen, pregnant too soon, and lost inside their tired bodies. They were just kids and still needed to be taken care of by the beings who had never done it right.

Yes. I walked away from that, toward the sunlight, around the corner toward the rooted trees, a few steps away from his anger and her silence and their refusal to pick it all up and start again.

My mom said that when I was two-ish, she would come home from working those late-night shifts and I would be, once again, standing up in my crib saying over and over again, Mommy, I don't understand. Mommy I don't understand.

Note: *What I have written below came out in a timed (ten minute) writing practice. Other than spell check (and adding a few periods here and there) it is in its unedited, raw form. Please click on writing practice (in the archive) for more detailed information on writing practice.

Writing Practice: Prompt: It doesn't have to stop here...10 minutes

It doesn't have to stop here. It doesn't have to start here either. Not here. Not at this red light, half way through the intersection. It doesn't have to be an obstacle; this road, these lines and lanes. If you swerve to one side, lean into the shadow, allow the sun to warm you for a while, maybe you'll see that there is no box, no lid, no dividers. This clock, this calendar, these people, that past, don't have to decide it all.

She hesitates. The steady beat, doors closing in the background. And some appliance humming in distress, over-exerting itself after a long day of use. I can relate. It's been a long day for me too. Too much background noise. He taps the keys one by one, slow then fast. The table feels hard, the air too chilled. I wish I had bundled a bit more, a few more layers would take this chill away.

I am trying to direct this writing, feel myself holding my breath, distracted by the music and my busy, noisy mind. What does he think? What will they say? Where are their voices, their thoughts, their opinions? Where do they want to go?

If you find yourself on the wrong bus, perhaps you should get off. Or you could always go along for the ride, passively bumping along, bumping along until you are bumped off or hit a pot hole or a road block. Where are you trying to get, dear friend?

How appropriate, this song. Stand By Me. Who do you want to stand by? Who do you want to brush shoulders with? Who do you trust without hesitation? Do we look upon the same sky? Do you see the same mountains I see? Would you move one for me?

My pen slows, winding down. Tick-tick goes the clock. It's time.
Note: *What I have written below came out in a timed (ten minute) writing practice. Other than spell check (and adding a few periods here and there) it is in its unedited, raw form. Please click on writing practice for more detailed information.

Practice: Prompt-- The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses over it: 10 minutes

The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses over it. There are dark corners in my mind that I don't seem to have access to. My heart tries to reach in there and move things around, tries to fill the gap of all that emptiness.

This one has got me thinking way too much and I don't want to think. I want to take a blanket and place it on a sandy beach, shake the wrinkles out and sit for a long time. I want to watch the sky turn from light blue to pale yellow and pink and then orange. The ocean would be churning restlessly, white foam on the shore. There is nothing obstructing my view here. The air is crisp, the wind light and caressing. I sink my feet into the still warm sand and look out to endless ocean. I look to each side of me. There is nothing but sand. No people, no voices, no distractions. There is no one I need to be, no one that places demands on me or wants me to be any way. I settle deeper into the sand.

The waves crash again and again. The sun is gone for the day. I wait now in quiet for that first star to appear and then another and then too many for me to count. The sky is full now of little lights-billions of little lights. The world is big. So huge and vast and full and empty, so beautiful and ugly, so loud and quiet. I am nothing but a quiet observer, in a quiet moment, fleeting and forgetful. Here today, gone tomorrow. It's all pretty insignificant really, and at the same time, so very significant.

What will I do here today that will still be here tomorrow? And maybe that's part of the problem--all the trying rather than simply being, with the warm sand, the foaming waves, the billions of stars and something I can feel but will never see.

Writing Practice: Prompt: What are the two places that pull you? 10 minutes
Pg: 204, Old Friend From Far Away, Natalie Goldberg's new book:
Often we are pulled between two places. They can be where you were brought up versus where you live now; a country place versus a city place; the sea versus the plains. What are the two places that pull you? (Of course, there might be more, but for right now distill it to two.) Often they are projections of our inner psyche.
Go. Ten minutes. Tell us about them. Give us the pull, the conflict, the desire. Write.
I am pulled out of sleep this morning by a distant memory. There is snow on the ground. It has fallen thick through the night. I lie in bed and anticipate the day of fresh powder, fresh air, fresh laughter from young, exhilarated mouths.

There is no alarm clock next to my bed, no lunch packed full in a brown paper bag. There is no one to say good morning to. I stretch my arms above, way up, so they reach the white wall behind me. I stretch my feet and legs at the same time. I can take my time here, I can roll over when I‘m ready, eat slowly and deliberately.

I can take a long, hot, rejuvenating shower. There is no one that will follow. I do not have to save an ounce of hot water for anyone.

He does not wait for me to kiss him goodbye. I do not have to pretend I want to or that I care that he has not packed a lunch, that I have not packed one for him.

I do not have to make toast for the little ones, struggle to get tiny feet into tiny socks. I do not have to hold them to me, whining and wiggling, while I drag a thin comb through their tangled hair.

No, I do not. I allow the spray of water to soothe me as I hold my head up, mouth open, drinking in the moisture, the nourishment. I am in Fiji now, sitting in a warm pool, a waterfall massaging my shoulders, my neck, my back. I look beneath the surface. I see bright blue starfish there; they are still and silent and settled on the bottom. I sit in that warm Pacific until my body grows limp with relaxation, my mind grows silent with inactivity.

And then maybe I will crack open a pineapple, peel each layer of its hard skin and dive in, face first, to its juicy, sweet center. I will do this with my eyes closed and my body open. I am raw here on this island--raw and alive, raw and wide open.

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♥ Julia