fiction · inspiration · speculative fiction

Storytime: Feb 20

2.20.19.jpgIt was easy enough to imagine how it had all begun, looking over the vast crumbling waste. Gertie hoisted her pack higher on her shoulder and squoze her little brother’s sweating hand. Addie turned bleary, out-of-focus eyes up toward her, a mess of dark hair matted against his feverish forehead.

I have to get him somewhere cool, she thought, not for the first time.  From where they stood, she could make out the glint of a snaking stream off to the north, what she knew was north because of the dense, curling moss on that side of the trees they’d just come through.  Between their woods and that stream was a groundswell of tumult, and silence.

It was one of the eeriest pieces of this disaster: the one lonely caw of a raven, maybe returned in hopeful camaraderie, maybe echoing out like fingers grasping in the dark for a friend no longer there.

Adam sniveled a little, bringing Gertie back from her reverie.  It was difficult to stay focused when the dim, umber air clung so close.

“You feelin’ a swim, l’il bro?” she asked more cheerfully than she felt.

“Water,” he nodded, solemnly.

Gertie swung her eyes over the dirt-to-gravel-to-pavement path before them, into the hulk of what was once “the city.”  She inhaled deeply, steeling herself, and that nasty, sour air twisted in her lungs, but she held in her cough and breathed it out slowly, slowly to keep from making the same racking sounds Addie’d been making for the last hour.

One foot out, she began to lead him down.

 

Advertisements
action · inspiration · self-care

That’s Better!

3.28.18

Not usually one for a “day in the life” blog, but it seems essential following yesterday’s declaration of time limiting my literary indulgences.  So what did I do yesterday with all my “new-found” time?!

Firstly, on the drive to work, I did listen to The Success Principles… but only after I tried to listen to NPR, to music, (dontwanna dontwanna… oh wow, this is really inspiring).  And so it was.  The author, Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, was describing the “principle” of delegating anything that is not in our “core genius” or core competencies.  (I immediately texted my girl friend to ask for the number of her house cleaner!)

At work, during my break, I went outside where it was sunny and hot and I could watch my soon-to-be-graduated 8th graders play basketball while making gangly attempts at flirting with one another;)

On the drive home, my copy of The Year of Yes had expired, so I went into podcasts to see what Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations had for me — and they had Lin-Manuel Miranda.  *swoon!!*  I think his interview has been the most authentic of those I’ve heard, and I was thrilled to listen as I slogged through the traffic home, where we were all set upon by an awful accident that increased my 45-minute commute to 1.5 hours… BUT!  After Lin-Manuel, I began the Stephen Colbert interview and by the time I parked out front of my house, it was still sunny, warm, and light out.

Drop off my bags, change into stretchy pants and sneakers, douse on some sunscreen — and text a girl friend.  I arrived home to the pair of tickets I’d ordered to SF Symphony’s pipe organ recital — THE THING HAS OVER 8,000 PIPES!!!  I’m enamored of pipe organs and would go and diddle around on the one at Mills College when I was studying there.  The one in SF is grand, gorgeous, and I had a gift certificate, so I bought two hopeful tickets without an idea of who might accompany me.

Yesterday, I finally had a brainwave (with all my extra, non-dragon-eaten braincells) to connect with a girlfriend from Mills whose been active in a group of medieval songsters.  Yeah, that sounds like the right person.

So off into the sunshine I went, for an hour and a half!  I walked the cemetery/park I used to run, and talked with a heron and an oak tree and some sparrows.  I jogged the downhill and leapt into the running/flying part I love so much.  It was light out, warm, and easy.  I remembered how much I love to run/fly.

On the walk back, I texted with another girl friend and on arriving home went straight to the couch to read.  Physics.

I’d ordered a college text in January when I thought I’d be able to attend College of Marin’s physics class, but it turns out I need the prerequisite that’s only offered in the fall.  (The math-based prerequisite.)  But!  One step at a time.  So I lay on the couch, reading the dry humor of a physics professor for an hour, watching the time tick towards 8pm when I could finally open the 5th book of the Game of Thrones.

But there was still time to spare… I couldn’t open it til 8:00… what to do??

Well, I could floss?  Okay.  I could do those dishes in the sink?  Okay.  Ah, and here’s my Mills singing girlfriend agreeing to accompany me in May.  And now it’s 8:01!

Perfect.  Truly, perfect.

 

action · art · community · dreams · help · inspiration

Re-Ignition.

Normal
0
0
1
392
2237
18
4
2747
11.1287

0

0
0

Unstructured time isn’t the best for me, and yet I am
feeling a bit panicky about my upcoming full-time employment in sales starting
on Tuesday. What has been lovely about
this time, besides the “brain space” I spoke of the other day is that I’ve
gotten to take my long walks again, meet up with my folks again, play with my cat again.
I’ve enjoyed being unemployed, though I know it’s not
sustainable.
On that note, though, I’ve been meeting up to “co-work” at cafes with a friend
also looking for work and get some applicationing done.
This has led to conversations, which have led to ideas, which are leading to
action. Particularly around things that “light me up.”
Such as the long-lost “LocalArtists Productions” I started
a few years ago, which hosted a successful group art show, but in which I
put too much of my own money and ended up in a pickle. Since then, I’ve
sort of let that idea drift. But talking to my new friend about what lights me,
I said, “My favorite thing I’ve ever done? This group art show I put on.”

Even as I sat listening to my friend at her CD release party
the other week, I looked around the space. I came home and looked up the rental
costs for that space: this could be a great place to host another one.
I love bringing people
together, people who “normally would not mix.” I’ve met so many types of
artists on my path – poets, writers, painters, photographers, musicians, actors – that
it only makes
sense that I bring
them together. “Oh, you make jewelry, my friend does still photography, maybe
you can work together.” “You’re a painter, my friend just participated in an
open studios, maybe you can talk to her about getting your work out there.”
There are too many opportunities to learn from and
collaborate with each other. I don’t want us to miss any!
So, I may be starting a Kickstarter campaign soon. To pay
off my back rent (accrued when I was in chemo) so that I can rent out the art
studio space on the 4th floor of my apartment building. I said to my friend
over our laptops, “Yeah, people would be willing to donate to a cancer survivor
who wants to produce art again, wouldn’t they?”
They’re slightly different avenues I’m beginning to chase
down again: One is the studio space I want to rent so that I can start working again. The other is the creation
of a space for artists to get together, these events and gatherings that I
love to host.
I feel putting grease behind one will help with the grease
behind the other. And so, before I start my full-time work on Tuesday, my
friend and I are going to brainstorm about the video, and maybe even get to
making it.
Because time is ticking away and we all have art to make and
people to meet. 

career · clarity · inspiration · love · spirituality · writing

I’ve started hearing voices again.

Normal
0
0
1
305
1740
14
3
2136
11.1287

0

0
0

I’ve started hearing voices again.
Now, before you call the padded-room brigade, this is a good thing.
In the time and space I’ve had since quitting my full-time
job at the end of October (despite the roar of negative thoughts and virulent
self-questioning), I have begun to find space behind the thinking. And it is
within this space that I’ve always germinated the seeds of my writing.
When I explain it in person, I raise my arm behind my
head, and wave my hand in the general direction of “back here.” I tell them
that it’s like there’s a room back behind my head, where the ideas start to
percolate. They marinate, germinate, ruminate, and when they’re ready — the indicator popping up like the thermometer in a slab of roasting turkey — I open
the door and chase them onto a page.
By the time the door opens, they’re pretty fully-formed. But
they need the time and space and freedom to sit back there, talking amongst
themselves, these ideas. I can hear them back there, murmuring. I begin to hear bits of
phrases. The sense of a topic, a genre.
My waking thoughts start to curve in that direction; they
start to gather information that all funnels to the same place. I collect these bits and feed them like coal into a furnace.
It’s partly, I know, the time and space that I have to
think, not crowded with the demands of a 40-hour job. But it’s also working on
“To Kill a Mockingbird,” reading the book at night, becoming immersed the language. (I used the word “rightly” twice in a recent blog; I become a sponge and a
regurgitant of what I feed my brain.) It’s also watching Netflix’s “Peaky Blinders,” and
being stunned by the cinematography, the bold and sweeping camera work
inspiring me, reminding me of the nuance and exaltation of art.
It’s listening to NPR, and a man’s purple report of bison grazing in Canada, when the song of birds “split the
silence like a candle,” and it became “the end of a day that started as a
morning.”
I begin to collect these images, words, sensations like a
magpie, not knowing what will be useful, but shoveling it all in anyway,
trusting my process of alchemy.
I’ve begun hearing voices again. And this brings me hope.

adulthood · authenticity · inspiration · letting go · poetry · transformation · uncertainty · vision

Who’s Next?

Normal
0
0
1
654
3732
31
7
4583
11.1287

0

0
0

“Creativity requires the courage to let go of
certainties.” ― Erich Fromm
This is the quote of the day relating to the daily
meditation I’m doing through the Oprah/Deepak 21-day challenge.
Strangely or not, it’s what I was writing about in my
morning pages before I logged into the meditation. The idea of uncertainty, of
letting go of what’s known. And how very close to that I feel right now.
I found out yesterday I didn’t get the job I was in several
rounds of interviews and mock sessions for during the last two weeks. And all
for the better, I think. In fact, I’d reached out to an old schoolmate I’d seen
on LinkedIn had worked there to ask her thoughts. And when I wrote back that
they didn’t hire me, she wrote: You are better off. That place is a shit hole.
So there’s that!
But, this morning as I reflected on where I am, with the one
avenue I was pursuing more actively than others cut short, I find myself
without an exact destination. Which is where in fact I’ve been, but I’ve been
distracted with the possibility of this employment.
What brought me to considering the question of Who’s Next
was my bringing out an old reader packet of poems from an undergrad course I
took. I’d brought it down a few days ago; I was 22 when I took the class,
finishing up from the lost semester when I’d been otherwise engaged in a padded
room.
The day after I brought the packet down, a friend of mine
mentioned teaching again, putting together a C.V. (a teacher’s resume) and
syllabus. I went online to higheredjobs.com yesterday to poke around and see.
And again, I sort of went all blank about it. I see titles like Professor of
18th and 19th Century Romanticism or of Rhetoric, and I call myself
uninterested and unqualified.
And then after a while of poking around online anyway, my
computer overheated and shut down on me, which was probably for the best!
But, today I opened that packet labeled Twentieth Century
Poetry II, and I read the names and poems of Robert Bly, Gwendolyn Brooks, yes, even the
ubiquitous Plath. I read my margin notes, and was amused to see that my
handwriting looked as it does now.
I was interested in the poems, but I wasn’t sparked. These were the
dreams and longings of a different person. The person who ate these poems up,
who devoured and analyzed and waxed prosaic marginalia.
I remember the classroom I was in when we read Spenser’s
Faerie Queene. I remember being the one student who was really intrigued by his
epic traitorous, political poem hidden in monarch-approved meter. I remember the classroom where the professor
told us stories of the poets’ lives, who’d met who and exchanged letters, the
relationships behind their lyrics.
I remember the room for my make-up semester, on a different
campus, since my cohort had graduated. The computer lab where I wrote short
stories and saved them onto the new smaller, square floppy disks that were
actually hard.
This morning I reread the same works that meant so much to
me then, a woman who felt she had no voice, and poetry was a quiet art that
could conjure hurricanes, that could release those that were teeming in my
body.
But, I don’t feel it in the same way now. I of course want
new generations of students to hear tales of those smoky rooms where creativity
was incubated and smile in camaraderie at Spenser’s thinly veiled subversion.
But, I don’t know. Is it me? Is it me now?
There’s a quote from a Yogi tea bag I have taped over my
kitchen sink, along with all the others I felt necessary to collect. It reads:
Empty yourself and let the Universe fill you.
I haven’t ever really known what that meant, or how to do
it. I haven’t known how to let go of all I know, of all my plans, of labeling
what I know and feel and have done as relevant or useless. I haven’t been able
to answer the call of that tea quote until today.
I do feel emptied. I
feel emptied of direction, of specific ambition, of perspective on myself. But it’s not a negative
feeling.
I feel like a student in a new class, but one I don’t know
the course title to. I don’t know which of my skills will be useful in this new
class, what of my knowledge will be relevant.
I don’t know if I’ll need a paintbrush or a calculator, what I’ll grow to learn, or who will be my teachers. I don’t know who else I’ll meet in class, and who I’ll
never see again. I don’t know the iteration of myself who will be called upon to
show up here, or who will be created from being here.
I only know that this nameless class is the only one on my course schedule
for the foreseeable future, and that perhaps at the end of it, I may be able to
answer what iteration of Molly is next.

authenticity · community · courage · direction · faith · help · inspiration · perseverance

From all quarters (and nickels and dimes).

Normal
0
0
1
146
837
6
1
1027
11.1287

0

0
0

Of time necessity, today’s will be short. Strangely(?), I had a
very particular intention yesterday to show up to my job and do my best–my
actual best, not my “sorta kinda all you need to do” best.
By 1pm, I had a migraine so awful, I thought I’d puke, and
went home.
In addition, yesterday morning I received an email that proposed an
answer to a few of the questions I’ve been posing about purpose, direction,
intention, and desire for next steps. I forwarded it to a friend, and asked her
professional opinion and input. We got to talk (or email) about what interests
me, and what doesn’t, what I do want to engage in, what I don’t. And through
the course of our conversation, I came to a pretty good conclusion that may
result in more action. Because of the nature of my readership, I am necessarily
vague, but know that I sit here today with more information than I had
yesterday in answer to some of my recent questions.
As the saying goes: Call it odd, or call it G-d. 

community · direction · doubt · faith · inspiration · leadership · life · purpose · spirituality

“What’s the use in clapping if Tinkerbell’s just gonna die anyway?”

Normal
0
0
1
580
3309
27
6
4063
11.1287

0

0
0

Yesterday at rehearsal, I was changing into my costume in
the women’s stall and overheard two of the other actors reciting lines from
their monologue class last semester. This was the line.
It sounded so maudlin, purple, dramatic – and hilarious.
It’s nice when these kinds of pessimistic, nihilistic
phrases sound like humor to me instead of like truth. Depending on the day, it
could go either way.
But for right now, it sounds funny to me.
Because it’s a question I pique to. It’s a question I (and
we) have to answer for ourselves every single day. What is the use in trying,
living, loving, exploring, creating, learning, sharing, expressing, including,
communicating, if it’s all gonna turn to rat turds anyway?
I think it’s a question we are also privileged to be able to
ask ourselves. In many economic circumstances, in many not so small corners and
countries of the world, there isn’t the option to see the breadth of life and
question why we engage in it—there’s only “do what’s in front of you to keep on
living;” there’s only survive.
Therefore, it is a gift (and a curse) to have the opportunity to ask ourselves why we
should keep on keepin’ on. And we can choose to take the opportunity, or not.
If we forget the finality of mortality, we are (I am) apt to
waste time. To plod along, to not question, and not look up to see what
direction we’re going. Which is what yesterday’s blog was about.
I won’t repeat what I wrote around Cancer Time, about the
crazy-making imperative clock that then
can begin to sound when you start noting the temporality of things, which makes
you question if you’re allowed to sit on the couch and watch Netflix – or if
because of the finite nature of things, you’re only allowed to participate in activities that move the
needle of your life and humanity forward.
That kind of extremity can lead to paralyzation. We all need
a mind break.
But, what when that mind break goes on too long? When again
you begin to feel what Martha Graham called, “a queer divine dissatisfaction, a
blessed unrest”?
I have that divine dissatisfaction; it’s part of what keeps
most artists (and mathematicians and inventors)  tinkering at their “finished” work – there’s always something to
do, to improve, to make divine itself. But there is a quagmire when that divine
dissatisfaction is coupled with absence of direction or intention or
consistency.
Then it is only failure. And you’re back to paralyzation
again.
My dear aunt wrote me in response to my blog about courage
the other day. She was galled. She asked, in essence, if I, Molly, am not
courageous, if I am not a warrior goddess, than what on earth am I?
I agree with her (sometimes), that I am a warrior goddess.
Not that I’m unique or special in that; many of us are. But, I wrote a blog while sick that was
called, “What’s
the use of being a Shaman Warrior if you don’t get paid for it?
I asked myself in the car yesterday, driving to rehearsal,
what a warrior goddess does for a living? I thought about Gandhi and Mother
Theresa (if I may be so bold as to compare). And I answered, She teaches others
how to be warrior goddesses, too.
What that will look like, I wish I had more ideas. But, I
will continue to clap for Tinkerbell – because the “use anyway” is that I (and we
all) have been given the chance to touch and enhance the world around us and
within us. The use is that every time that we exchange a
moment of compassion and joy and true connection we illuminate the world. The use
is that every one of us is a beacon for everyone else, if we’re bold enough to
shine.
As you can see, I have the blessed unrest – if I could only
have the blessed roadmap, we’d be in business.