Friday, May 30, 2008

What We Carry

I carried my life, like a stone,
in a ragged pocket, but I
had a true weaving song, a sly
way with rhythm, a healing tone.
Jay Wright

Read more here...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Poppy Season


'tis the season. For poppies. They are everywhere. Orange everywhere. During the day, they're shiny little suns. At dusk, they fold up like umbrellas. Little orange umbrellas. I love, love, love, love, love them. They exude life, to me, life and love. Don't know why. They just do.

Most of the poppies around my house are wild. But I've encouraged them. Talked to them. Pulled up the grass around them. Mario too. He has mowed around them with our little electric mower. If one falls or gets trampled on, I shake them around my steps so the little seeds fall onto the ground.

The ones in my flower garden are all ones I planted. Or seeded. Orange gorgeous luscious California poppies.

I've planted Oriental poppies, too. Ahhhh. All different colors.

I've been doing more than just worshipping poppies. A bit.

I've been spending as much time outside as I can. Out in the woods. Hanging with the trees. The birds. The green green greenness of my world. I sit on the ground deep in the woods surrounded by trees, mostly cedars. They grow up forever. I sit with the yellow wood violets. Over there is a deer's head orchid. Oh man. I love this place. I listen to the trees, search out bones, stories. It's all there.

I'm not trying to do anything except get through each day. Not trying to fix myself. If I feel bad, I feel bad. If I want to eat, I eat. If I want to watch TV, I watch TV. Well, you get the idea. Sometimes I sob and sob. I miss Linda more than ever. And sometimes when I think about what happened to my mom, it feels like a nightmare. I keep wanting to tell her so many things.

But this is all part of the process. Trying not to fight it.

At night, I sleep. One night I slept 12 hours, another night 10 hours, 11. And my dreamworld is so rich. One night I dreamed I lost my laptop and toolbox. It was an inside job. I was frantic. Doesn't take a genius to figure that one out. Especially when the dreamer is a writer who is wondering if she will ever want to write again. Another night, I told a rich girl that when the world collapsed—and it was going to collapse—the rich were going to have the worst time of it because they didn't know how to do anything. (Funny dream!)

Last night in my dream, Mario and I decided it was time to go home.

And this morning I felt more at home. I worked in my garden. I pulled grass from the poppies. I did library work. Played cards with friends. Thought of a new angle for a book I was working on six months ago. Wondered if maybe I might start writing again.

Who knows?

It's poppy season.

It is enough to worship poppies right now.


Read more here...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I'm talking about the kind you write, not the kind you serve.

Unless, of course, someone is serving you sentences.


I am reading Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and For Those Who Want to Write Them. I seldom read writing books, but today, I decided I wanted to look and see what was out there. I wanted to somehow stimulate my creativity—I wanted to fall in love with writing again, or at least remember why I used to write.

I've always loved stories. But I loved words, too. I loved sentences.

Prose talks about a young writer who went to dinner with his high-powered agent who asked him what he wanted to write about. The writer said "subject matter wasn't all that important to him. What he really cared about, what he wanted most of all was to write...really great sentences. The agent sighed. His eyelids fluttered. After a moment he said, 'Promise me that you will never, ever in your life say that to an American publisher.'"

Yes, it's this little secret so many of us writers have: We love sentences. Yet to be a good novelist, I believe you can't polish your sentences too much. One cannot stand out from the rest. Writing a novel is about creating a tapestry where all the threads weave together to become something beautiful. The threads aren't separate; they aren't one shinier than the next.

Still, I love sentences. I love words. I love economy and clarity. I want to learn to love again.

Sounds like the beginning of a romance novel, doesn't it?

A corny one. A bad one.

Just imagine heaving bosoms.

OK. Let's not.

Sitting in Powell's today, I started remembering all the books I had read. How they had changed my life—or at least my world view, my view of self, for a time. Even the books that bored me. I was an English major in college, got my Masters in American Lit. When I started reading modern and contemporary fiction, it was a revelation. I worshipped the words Ernest Hemingway hung his characters on, loved the sentences F. Scott Fitzgerald gave his characters, was in awe by the ennui Joan Didion could convey with punctuation. I loved it. I loved literature. I loved studying it. I knew where all the treasures were hidden. Eventually.

That was back when I had beginner's mind. When writing wasn't something I did to try and make a living.

Someday I will have a conversation about art and creativity and consumption and buying and selling. Not tonight though. I don't care about that tonight. Tonight I sit next to my sweetheart who is reading another book I bought today: The Art of Subtext. (My stories always have subtext; subtext is the clothing my sentences wear: Some people notice the clothes, some people don't, but they all still see the sentences.)

Today we stopped at the Tao of Tea before Powell's and grocery shopping. I put pen to paper like the old days and I started a story, a novel. It may never go any further. But I enjoyed the process. I enjoyed writing something about someone with no expectations of anyone liking it. I enjoyed bucking conventional wisdom (always start with a bang). I enjoyed being in the desert and watching what unfolded. Even if it was just like watching a bud about to bloom. Can you ever actually see that moment? And is it a moment? Moments. Or is it a process? Like putting down one word and then another and then another. Creating sentences that become threads that become...stories.


The sky was blue. Good luck blue. Beauty blue. Bird egg blue before it cracked open and faded. Blue like blue should be.

The sun was hot. That surprised Sara. The air was dry. Her skin was already tightening, and she had been there two minutes. She stood on a sidewalk next to her brown car, a sidewalk that eventually melted into the earth like white chocolate on either side of her.

A ghost-colored cat walked up to the car and looked at it. It sat on its haunches and watched the car. The car hissed slightly. "It's not alive," Sara said. The cat did not look at her. She shrugged.

She had been disappeared before.

Did. Not. Take it.


She squinted as she looked around. Tried to ignore her body's nauseating response to fear. Kafka could not have imagined a more institutional-looking group of buildings. Brown boxes. Uninteresting brown boxes with windows. With window.

Sara looked at the mountains riding the horizon in the distance. Low mountains. Old mountains. Bloody mountains slouching into or out of the desert, looking like the back of some giant iguana.

A car drove up. Shiny untrue blue. Dust billowed around it and Sara when it stopped. The cat walked over to Sara and rubbed her legs with its body.

"Nice to meet you," Sara said.

A man emerged from the car, draped in desert dust. He grinned when he saw her. The gold in his teeth caught the sun and blinded her.

"Wolf, you old dog," Sara said. It surprised her she could still pretend to be a regular person.

"You lost your hair," Sara said.

"You lost your life," he said.

"Fuck you," she said. Mildly. She pulled away from him and they looked at one another.

"I don't know about this, Sara," Wolf said. "This is nowhere villa and you don't belong nowhere."

Read more here...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Consider the Lilies

Or consider the poppies. The California poppies are in full bloom. So amazing how orange they are. How full of sun they are.

Mario and I just had a decadent dinner while we watched Lilies of the Field. Except for the fact that they dubbed in someone else's voice over Poitier's when he was singing "Amen," this movie is near perfect. A near perfect story, too. My kind of story. About creating community. I never knew until today that it was filmed near the east part of Tucson, where Mario and I stay every year, where the Church of the Old Mermaids was born. When Poitier first comes on screen, my breath catches in my throat. Has there ever been a more beautiful human being on the planet than Sidney Poitier?

It's been strange in our little community lately. Nearly two weeks ago, six seal lions were found dead in traps on the Columbia River. The authorities said they had been shot. No one doubted this. We knew some people around here were absolutely capable of this. When resources become endangered around here, people tend to blame nature, not themselves, not anything humans have done. It's not about the dams. It's not about pollution. It's never about over-fishing. "It's the damn seals." (Or fill in the blank. "It's the damn wolves." "It's the damn spotted owls." You get the picture.) The news media interviewed fishermen down by the dam, where the seals were blamed for poaching salmon the fisherman wanted, and the fishermen unanimously said that "it's about time" and "somebody should have done something" a long time ago.

Only that's not what happened. Apparently the poor animals died of heatstroke once they got caught in the traps. No one shot them. Of course, someone may have closed the doors on the seal lions on purpose. The story is probably not over.

A couple days after this happened, three Yakama fishermen went out onto the Columbia River near here to check their nets. They never came back. Their overturned boat was found in shallow waters near where they went out. Members of the Yakama Nation came from near and far and set up a tent village by the river. They have said they will stay until the loved ones are found.

I knew about the missing fishermen. I did not know people were still out on the river looking for them. I didn't know about the new village along the Columbia River until someone emailed our Gathering group yesterday about it and said they could use some food. First thing this morning, I went to our local grocery and bought a bunch of stuff. I figured the need was immediate, so I didn't try to cook anything. I had trouble figuring out what to buy. They said they needed hot side dishes, but they didn't have any place to keep things refrigerated. They wanted baked goods, too. I stared at the stuff in the grocery store trying to imagine what people actually eat. We eat so differently from most people, so I had no idea! Baked goods? They all had sugar in them. Hot dishes? They all had dairy products in them. I remembered that Native Americans are more susceptible to being lactose intolerant. Finally I got a couple of baked chickens, some mac & cheese (hot), three pies, a bag of apples, bananas, and orange juice.

It was supposed to be 100 degrees today, so I drove right down to the encampment, by Home Valley (near to Wind Mountain). I drove across the railroad tracks, then turned right and went down a long dirt road. The tall trees lining the road were green with new leaves, creating a kind of cool sanctuary. I drove by trucks with empty trailers until I got to a row of tents. I stopped the car in the middle of the road so I could unload.

I was nervous. I was the only non-Native person there. It's always disconcerting to be a stranger in a strange land. I didn't want to interfere or be seen as an interloper. It is conventional wisdom in the gorge that, generally speaking, the Native Americans take care of themselves and stay to themselves; there isn't a lot of cultural mixing. The Anglos stay to themselves; the Native Americans stay to themselves; the Hispanics stay to themselves. For a gal who believed in groovin' with people from all kinds of cultures, this was shocking to me when I first moved here. But now, I understand that people like to be around people like themselves, people who make them feel comfortable. It's natural. Unfortunately, I am rarely comfortable with my own people in my own culture. (Let's face it; I am rarely comfortable. Perhaps comfort is overrated.)

Anyway, I got out of the car and asked a couple of people where I could take the food. I did feel like an intruder. But hell, I thought, I've got eighty bucks worth of groceries I wasn't ever gonna eat so someone was going to eat it. (I hate waste.) A man came and helped me with the groceries. He joked about taking the chicken to his tent and eating it. I ducked into the kitchen tent. It was dark inside. We put the groceries on a table, and the man disappeared. 

A woman with a clipboard introduced herself to me. (As usual, I'm not naming people; just because I'm a writer doesn't mean that everyone I meet has to become a character in my life.) Then the woman told me where everything was in the tent. Everything was organized. The plastic wrap in this box, the aluminum foil there, the pots and pans there, the actual kitchen in through there. People came and asked her questions. She introduced me to the cook. I asked how the families were doing. She said they were out on the river, and the people here were trying to make certain the search and rescue people and the family had food, wanted to make certain they were taken care of.

The women said I could stay and help, but I hadn't eaten yet, so I went back home, took a shower, and got something to eat. Then I stopped at the grocery store again and bought some foil, since they said they were running short. Then I returned to the encampment. I went back to the kitchen tent and asked if I could help with anything. They said they were pretty much caught up. I definitely felt like a fifth wheel. Uncomfortable. Stupid that I'd come all the way back here and now had nothing to do. I didn't know anyone. Didn't know what to do. I wondered what the hell I was doing there. I wasn't needed.

But then the cook suggested I might want to help do the dishes.

So that's what I did. Alongside another woman, I scrubbed pots in the kitchen, opposite of the stoves. Beneath my feet was grass and uneven ground. Outside a hot wind shook the trees. I imagined all the boats out on the river beyond. Someone poured hot water heated on the stove into two plastic tubs, one for the soapy water, one for the rinse water. We kept doing the dishes. People came into the tent and introduced themselves to me. Said their names and held out their hands. Everyone was very gracious. Not that it was about me! This was all about trying to bring comfort to those who had lost their family members. When my mom died, it really helped that people thought of us, that they came and visited and called. Even when I didn't talk to someone, I appreciated their thoughts, their actions. That's what people do in a community: They come together to help one another. When my mom died, one cousin just kept doing the dishes. That was great because then we didn't have to think about it.

So I did dishes.

Soon after a fierce wind went through the camp, it got very hot in the tent. The cook opened up the flaps, and that helped a little. I dried the pots and pans and put them away. It seemed now that I had actually done some work, I was OK. Then I helped put frosting on a bunch of cakes. We cut the cakes up and carried them over to the dining tent and put one cake on each table.

About then I met a woman who worked with Mario's boss's wife, and suddenly everything felt better—like I was part of the community rather than an intruder. This woman and I talked for a while. It was one of her relatives who had been lost on the river. She said they always knew every time someone went out that they might not come back, that was just part of it. I asked if that made it any easier. She said no.

The cook and I sat near the kitchen stoves, where oddly enough it was cooler, and we broke off the ends of a lot of asparagus. We threw the good parts in one box and the end parts in another box. She talked about what they were having for lunch—I had seen the spaghetti and potatoes, but she said they were waiting for the eels and the hot dogs. I had been assiduous about not asking a lot of questions. After all, I was there to help, not to be a tourist. But when I heard the mention of eels, I asked about them. Eels? Did you say eels? Yep, you've never had eels? I shook my head. Where do you get them? Off rocks in the river. She said, "They're gooood." Several other people said the same thing.

When we had gotten halfway through the asparagus, the cook said, come on, I'll show you the eels. We stepped outside of the tent. It felt so fresh and cool, although it was probably over eighty degrees. Around the back of the tent was a huge grill. A man was turning over whatever was on it and said that it would be ready in five or ten minutes. I followed this woman—who had the best laugh of anyone I've ever met—a bit away from the grill to these two men who were standing at a piece of board about as tall as I am, about three feet wide. At the top of the board were about four nails several inches a part. The whole board was streaked red with blood and guts. Stuck to one of the nails was an eel about two feet long, maybe two inches wide. One man was slicing it down the middle and removing the guts.

"She's never seen an eel before," the woman said.

"No? Never seen any eel?" one of the men said.

"No," I said. "Just on TV shows. Then they had these big mouths with lots of teeth and they came out of holes in rocks." I demonstrated all of this silliness with my hands.

"These aren't like those," she said. "These are smaller. Some people mistake them for snakes in the river."

We watched for a minute, and then we went over to the grill. The woman told the man that I'd never had eels before. "No? They're good." He said he'd just been over to 15 mile the other day to get the eels but he got there too late and others had gone out. I wondered where 15 mile was but I didn't ask.

We returned to the tent and broke off more asparagus tips. One of the women who sat with me thanked me for doing the dishes. She said it was a big help. Soon after, lunch was ready. One of the women told me that the cooks don't eat until everyone else has eaten. We kept breaking asparagus as they sang prayers in the dining tent. Something very peaceful about sitting with these women, helping prepare food, and listening to a man sing prayers before lunch.

Then it was about time for me to leave. The cook offered me some eel. I remembered that many vegetarian Buddhist monks eat meat if their hosts offer it. So I took the proffered eel and ate it. It looked like charcoal. It tasted like sausage.

Then I left. Drove home. Wondered again why I often feel more at home with cultures that aren't my own. Not all cultures. Not Eastern European. Not Chinese. Japanese. Not that I feel uncomfortable with those cultures, but I don't feel as though I've come home. But many times with Hispanic and Native American people, I do. And with the Irish. I'm more comfortable. That's the wrong word. Everything just feels more real. Maybe it's the language, the sound of the words, the singsong. Maybe it's because it all feels like a dance, it all feels grounded in something. For some reason.

I can't explain it because I don't understand it. It just felt so real sitting in that tent with those women today. As though I was a part of something. I rarely feel that.

I'm so sorry for those families who lost their sons, husbands, brothers, fathers. I am sorry for our community that these fishermen have died.

And now it's Saturday morning. I'm hoping it's not as hot today. I have to drive to Tigard in twenty minutes, and I haven't eaten, showered, or packed a lunch. Why am I going to sit in a building all day today? It looks so beautiful outside. Across the street, bright red rhodies are blooming. And our poppies.

I long to build a church, like Homer in Lilies of the Field. Or sit along the river helping with lunch. Listening to the wind and the songs. Ahhh, do you hear the birds? They are outside in my church, already built. The air is so still. The morning sun is just past golden. I'm already home. I'm already in community. Always. I just need to remember that.

May You Commune in Beauty!

Read more here...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Writing Conversation

Geez freaking Louise. I LOVE this! I have had this conversation (and tried not to have this conversation) a million times. (And that's no exaggeration, totally, dudettes.) Every writer out there will laugh and weep to see this. I bow down to Dennis Cass. You are the man. No, you are the writer—since you're on the tube now. (See: irony.)

Thanks, Sara, for this gem.

Read more here...

Get Out the Shovels & Stop the War

Bush is calling Dems appeasers because they want to talk with leaders instead of bombing their countries. Senator Biden said, "This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset…and make this kind of ridiculous statement." Calling a pile of shit a pile of shit. Right on, Joe!

So let's count the days until we have a regime change here—and do whatever we can in the meantime to keep the US from bombing Iran. We tried to stop them from bombing Iraq. So I'm not optimistic. Still, we do what we can. CodePink has an excellent resource page and list of things to do.

Read more here...

Adieu, False Heart

(Adieu False Heart, Linda Rondstadt & Ann Savoy)

I'm sitting on my bed listening to Ruby's playlist. Surprise, surprise: I like it too. It's cold in my house so I'm under my quilt here until it warms up. And it is going to warm up. We're supposed to be in the nineties today. Very bizarre. I can see snow up in the hills. How do the trees and other flora and fauna deal with these huge temperature variations?

Yesterday I read my ARC of Ruby's Imagine. As I read it, I remembered why I write. I write because these wonderful characters come to me and whisper their stories in my ear. And I write them down. What joy.

Ruby's Imagine was the most difficult book I've ever written. Both Ruby's Imagine and Broken Moon were hard. They are both people who are so different from me, the way they think, the way they talk. So I often doubted the voice. Not their voice—but my ability to put it down on paper, to convey their story in their voices. As I read Ruby's Imagine yesterday, I fell in love all over again with her, with Ruby, with her magic, her love of her world. I wanted to wrap my arms around her and tell her, I love you. I will protect you. I will care for you. But I already did my part: told her story. Soon she flies on her own.

Longtime readers know that once I've written the story, once it's finished, it's not mine any more. I can read it as if someone else wrote it. It's a nice feeling.

Still, I don't feel like writing. I think it happened when I was told I can't make a living writing. It felt like a slap in the face, even though it was really a statement of fact. I hadn't made a living writing in twenty-seven years! That's the definition of crazy, isn't it? Doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

I figure some new doors will open, right? Blue doors. New Mexican blue doors...

I really want to get in the car and drive to New Mexico. OK. That's not precisely true. I want to be in New Mexico. Santa Fe, actually, or Taos. I want to kiss the sky. No. I want to French kiss that blue, blue New Mexico sky. We'll see. It would be a long drive by myself. I may get tired and lonely, and I don't need any more of that. On the other hand, maybe I'd get to New Mexico and decide I want to work on Butch. Do you remember Butch? I started that about three years ago and I never went back to it. I read it last night and just got such a kick out of it. And then there's another New Mexico book I want to write called Fierce. I can't remember if I mentioned it or not.

Mostly I just want to be there. But I don't want to leave my sweetie. Plus I can't really afford it. I need to stay here and do my library work. Plant my garden. My rosemary bush is so big now that there's not room for a garden. Mario suggested pruning it. Pruning my magical mystical profound wise goddess Rosemary?

Do you think my expression of horror conveyed my answer to him? Poor guy. Every time he prepares to mow the lawn I walk around showing him what he can and can't run over. See these leaves? They will be poppies. We never ever mow poppies. And that there, well, that's gonna be a daisy. Or yeah, those were going to be daffodils. (Every single year he mows the daffodils.) I forgot to tell him not to cut the rhubarb and I glanced out the window yesterday and saw all the rhubarb stalks dead and gone, giant bright red leaves on the compost pile. Darlin', people harvest those and eat them. Like our landlord. His eyes widened. Oops.

OK. It's a beautiful day. I'm going to eat and then go out into the woods. Hang out with the Leprechaun of the Forest. Learn the ways of the forest peeps. Or sit on a log and rest. Breathe deeply. Listen to the water in the creek rush by. Maybe dance a little.

Or go sit on my garden and have a heart to heart with the Rosemary. She knows all.

Oh yeah. And do some work.

There was a point to this post, but I lost it. Not to worry. Perhaps I just meant to say hello. Ask how you all are.

Breathe, breath, breathe...

May You Dance in Beauty!

Read more here...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mario Writes

Indeed he does. And writes well. Mario Milosevic has a new website at Mariowrites. Yeah! He has a blog, plus a short bio with a cute photo, and a bibliography. Best of all you can find out about his books here. Look around. Have fun. Mostly, read Mario's work. No one thinks like he does; no one writes like he does. You want something different, read Mario. You want something moving, read Mario. You want something funny, read Mario. Want to read all of the above, read Terrastina & Mazolli. You want to read something amazing, always, read Mario.

Read more here...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Moon Day

We're back home from the coast. Mario is out mowing the lawn. I'm cooking and watching TV. I've given myself an hour to watch junky TV. Yeah! We just got back from a two hour hike in the forest. It was our first time on the Falling Creek trail this season. Long time readers of Furious Spinner know it's our favorite place to hike. We usually go the first day it opens for the season, but there was so much snow that we haven't been able to go until today, six weeks from opening. It felt like coming home. Ahhhh

Do you remember from Counting on Wildflowers that we usually have seen hundreds of deer's head orchids by now. Today we saw fifteen deer's head orchids on the trail. Gorgeous, all fifteen of them.

We were on the trail alone for the most part. Lots of elk fumets along the trail. Squirrel midden piles everywhere, too. Don't know if that means there were more squirrels this past winter or they just ate more.

Saw some trilliums. A few blue anemones. Yellow violets. So many downed Douglas firs. Two hundred years old and more. Now they'll become nurse logs. The thing with trees in the forest is that even when they are dead, they are alive. I've seen trees that have been downed for years that sprout leaves and new branches.

I had fun on the coast. I walked on the beach for hours. Saw a bald eagle hanging out next to a group of harbor seals on the beach of an island across the canal. The bald eagle was so still that I thought s/he was a piece of drift wood. A great blue heron was on the other side of the harbor seals. I watched the tide come in, watched it flow into the harbor like a living thing. Sensual, sinuous. Of course the Old Sea is living. Alive.

Anyway, it was marvelous. I could see how people mistook seals for mermaids. Those eyes look so human—or something. And now when I see their tails, they remind me so much of mermaids. I lived with seals for four years; never noticed these things before.

I sat and hung out with the seals for a long while. They stayed around me as I sat on the sand. Whenever anyone else came by, they disappeared. Funny. Perhaps I had become Invisible. Or they just saw me for the Old Mermaid I truly am.

Last night was the first time Mario and I had been home together in ten days.

Tomorrow I go to the surgeon for my check-up. It's been two years now since the surgery. Knock on wood everything will be fine. I'm a little concerned because my sense of smell has been off for so many weeks—really since my mom died.

Mario had a grand time at his writing workshop. It wasn't so much about writing as getting published and learning how to do outlines and proposals. All of that is very different from what it used to be, so it's good to know what works now.

I am hoping he writes lots of books and gets them published and makes a good living. I am slowly letting it all go, the writing stuff. I haven't stopped writing, as I told you, but I have no interest in trying to get published any more or in writing novels. At least right now. If I could figure out how to put pdfs up on blogger, I would do that for all my unpublished novels, right now. They would be imperfect (just as my published novels are), but at least they would be available to people.

I got the ARC of Ruby's Imagine today. It is quite lovely. I hope lots of people read Ruby's story. It is very dear to me, especially since I wrote it for Linda.

People keep asking me how I did on Mother's Day. I'm sad pretty much all the time, so yesterday wasn't any different. It's a process, I suppose. I'll walk through it. I'm resting and reading. I'm reading Candace Pert's Molecules of Emotion. It's fascinating to me, especially since at one time I wanted to be a research biologist. I'm also reading Feeding Your Demons by Tsultrim Allione and rereading Medicine for the Earth by Sandra Ingerman. Sandy talks about not feeding those parts of us that are toxic (although she says it much better, by using a metaphor which I can't recall well enough to repeat) whereas Tsultrim Allione encourages us to feed our demons. All very confusing sometimes. I have been fascinated with the Chöd practice for years, which is essentially what this book is about. I've seen Chöd described as a form of self-sacrifice, but I don't see it that way; I think of Chöd as the Dakini blade cutting off the head of the ego.

Christianity, much of Buddhism, and even the Celtic shamanism I've studied has too much focus on self-sacrifice. That's not really my thing. In fact, I think we've got too many people running around with martyr complexes. To make ourselves sacred and to make what we do sacred is grand and wonderful. The literal meaning of "sacrifice" is to "make holy." But I believe that it is better for us if we live fully in this world and as fully in joy as possible. Sacrifice for the sake of suffering, for the sake of some whacked view that suffering makes one holier or better than others, is, to my mind, ridiculous. And if I believed in sin, I would say that was sinful.

Anyway, I'm reading those books. Also just got Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound by David Rothenberg. I listened to his CD (which came with the book) where he made music to accompany whale songs last night. I was not impressed. I like just listening to the whales without the human stuff. I almost bought Pagan Visions For a Sustainable Future, but it's an antho, and I never ever read anthos when I buy them. Sometimes if I check them out from the library I'll actually read them, but not if I buy it. I tend to like to read books written by one person, with one vision. I am much more comfortable with pagan witchy philosophy and pagan spirituality than anything else. We revel in this world, in the sensuous. We want to celebrate life, not try and figure out a way to get dead to go onto another world. (How could anything be as cool as this planet?)

All right, time for a bath. I'll float in my part of the Old Sea. Mario is finished with the grass. I hope to spend the rest of the week working on my garden and getting my yard into shape. Won't that be fun? And catching up on my library work. Cooking.

Pretty cool, eh?

It'll be all right.

Read more here...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Old Sea

I'm in the strange little place on the Oregon coast. I can hear them doing dishes downstairs in the restaurant kitchen. Every once in a while I hear something from the writing group down the hall. That's where Mario is. I'm sitting cross-legged on this tiny little bed. It'll be interesting to see how Mario and I manage to sleep on it together.

Perhaps we'll "curl together like two rings on a dark hand."

I will be with the Old Sea and the Old Mermaids this weekend, so I may not be posting much. After I hugged my sweetheart, I went down to the beach. Ahhhhh. I took a few pics.

Breathe, breathe, breathe...

Foam on the beach—I'd never seen so many colors in it before.



Isn't she beautiful?


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This is Who You Want for Prez?

I can't believe she said this. Clinton says she should be the candidate because white people will vote for her. Pardon me? And she's got Harvey Weinstein twisting Nancy Pelosi's arm, threatening to stop donations to the Democratic party if she doesn't get them to do a revote in Michigan and Florida. (Another reason we need some kind of campaign finance legislation.) This is dirty stuff. It seems it's about winning at all costs.

If Clinton keeps bad-mouthing Obama, I'm afraid the Republicans will win, and then we'll have eight more years of Bush. I don't have to tell you what that means. So if you support Clinton, please call her and tell her you don't agree with her tactics. This is raw ambition at its worst. And even if it isn't raw ambition, even if they believe she would be the best candidate, is this how you think the campaign should go?

Here's another reason you don't want Clinton or McCain to be president. McCain believes in the president as monarch. I believe Clinton does as well. Since Reagan on (and in other cases before then), the executive branch has gotten stronger and stronger, helped along by a weak Congress. The three branches of government are supposed to be equal. Right now, all branches are failing.

Have you seen this writer, Glenn Greenwald? I'm interested in his book Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics. Mike Malloy was talking about him last night. Greenwald says that the Republicans figured out some elections back that they could never win on the real issues, so they decided that personal attacks and wedge issues paved the way to the White House and the Congress. And the media went right along with this.

They will try to do it again this election. We have to unite to make certain that doesn't happen, which means we all have to be truthtellers with our friends and relatives until the election. We don't have to demonize John McCain. Just give them the facts about what he's done and what he says he believes. Essentially, if McCain is elected it will be four (or eight) more years of Bush. Is this what anyone wants?

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Wednesday, May 7, 2008

How to Help the Burmese

As most of you know, Cyclone Nargis dealt a devasting blow to Myanmar/Burma. They now estimate that 100,000 people may have died. In part because of military junta, relief agencies are having trouble getting in. I searched for good places to make donations, but I'm having trouble finding them—at least ones I know and trust. At the bottom of the Wikipedia page on this is a list of places where you can send a targeted donation. If anyone hears of other good places where we can send donations—places which can actually get help to the people, let me know and I'll add links. So send your moula, prayers, enchantments—whatever you got—and help these people out.

P.S. Here's what Doctors Without Borders is saying.

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Morning Becomes Electric

With apologizes to Eugene O'Neill.

And Electra.

Perhaps it should be "mourning" becomes electric. It is cold, cloudy, foggy. And I am spacey. I'm supposed to be on the Oregon coast, but I'm still not there. When Mario arrived at the motel, he discovered they had recently shellacked the walls. I can't believe people still use that poisonous stuff. Man. They only had one room left, a kind of closet they don't normally rent out. So that's where Mario moved. I'm not sure I'm in the mood to sleep in a closet. Or not sleep in a closet since I almost always have trouble sleeping away from home for the first night or two.

So I'm still here. Feeding the hummingbirds. Watching the ants.

Last night I curled up on the couch and watched the election returns. It was kind of like watching a baseball game. To watch the lead narrow between them was something. Clinton won Indiana by about 20,000 votes. That ain't much. When I watch Hillary Clinton, I feel sad. I really want a woman as president. I see every day how misogyny is alive and well (or alive and sick) in this country. The snide remarks commentors make about her and other women are sickening. I've read articles about how feminists just don't get it, in relation to this election. Why don't "they" just back Obama. Give me a break. I'm a feminist. If you believe in equal rights for women, you're a feminist. Those people who say feminisit don't get it, don't get it if they don't see how Clinton has been talked about—if they don't see the scorn that has been heaped upon her because she's a woman. (I apologize for that tortured sentence.) You don't think it's time for a woman to be president? How about it's two hundred years past time. 2,000 years past time.

However, Clinton's mistake was that she voted for the war. Man or woman, she shouldn't have done that. Yes, Obama has voted to fund the war every chance he's gotten. He probably would have voted for the war, too, had he been in the Senate then. Also I do not like the way Clinton has campaigned. I talked with our Washington insider, and he said he doesn't care about negative campaigning. And I think that's indicative of Washington insiders. I don't think they understand that most of America is disgusted with politics as usual; we want a change. I want a revolution: A revolution of ideas which can transform our country and bring back our ideals and make them work for everyone. I think all this nonsense about Rev. Wright is just that: nonsense. When all of that started happening, Clinton should have said, "This is crap. Let's talk about the issues." Instead, she said, "I would have left that church." That showed such a lack of integrity, I thought.

Anyway, it's easier to think about politics than other things, isn't it?

I'm not looking forward to Sunday. Mom's Day. My first Mom's Day without my mom. *sigh* I need to cut my nails. Some are long, some are broken, some are short. My mom had beautiful, hard nails. Long. After my mom died, I didn't recognize her in that coffin. Just her hands. Momma's hands.

I'm no longer having reassuring dreams about Mom. I had a nightmare the other night.

I suppose it's part of the process.

Better eat something. Then maybe the morning will actually become electric.

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Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fun Writing Stuff

Broken Moon has gone into its third printing! Yeah! Thanks to everyone who bought a copy. I appreciate it. And you can now order Ruby's Imagine. Yeah! (There's no cover on the page yet, but you can go here to order it.) You won't get it for another four months, give or take, but you can order it! These things make me very happy.

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Monday, May 5, 2008


Saturday Night

It’s the middle of the night. I’m away from home. I was in bed for two hours trying to sleep. Sleep with a headache and an aching back. I just got up and got dressed and was going to drive home. It’s a Saturday night. The road home is long and windy. And dark. And I’ve gotten lost several times on this road in the daylight. Some sane part of me told the crazy part of me to get my ass back in bed. So here I am, ass and all, in bed. Annie Lennox is singing. The hepa fan is fanning. People are asleep all around me.

I feel all...furled.

I’m in a strange place. Strange as in not home. Sometimes I am such a nester. Sometimes I am such a homebody. I wanted so much to drive home to take a bath, get into my bed, sleep, sleep, get up, fix breakfast in my kitchen. Even though Mario isn’t there. He’s gone to a workshop for eight days. I’m supposed to meet him, but if the weather doesn’t get better, I ain’t going. In fact, if the weather doesn’t get better, I may scrape some coin together and drive south.

I’ve got so much to do. Library stuff. Writing stuff. Don’t want to do any of it. Want to drive and drive, she said. Curl into a ball. Sleep. Watch hummingbirds. Lay on the ground. Watch the clouds.

I’m at a workshop. Part of this two year training I’m doing with Tom Cowan. Not sure I belong here. They are great people. I love being with them. Trust them. But most of them, maybe all of them, believe. In something. In a Divine Source. In an after life—or more life. Not in a religious dogmatic way. Just because. Because of their experience. Because of their studies. Because they just do.

I believe the world is made up of more than I can ever know. And sometimes it seems impossible for me to see anything beyond my nose.

Now Annie Lennox is singing, “Big Sky, I’m gonna hurt you.”

Makes me think of New Mexico. Driving. Driving. Driving. The sky so big. So blue. Huge mother ship clouds hovering above mesas that we try to drive to for...ever. And then we’re there, all at once. Just us. Mario and me. The sand is blond. White blond. I am so small compared with the bigness all around. I still ache. I am still lost. I am still tangled up in the thread of my life, the thread that should keep me connected. But I don’t care about any of that when I am there because I am home, where the red road meets the blue sky.

Strange. I ache for place now the way I used to ache for people when I was younger.

If I had money, I would move to New Mexico in a heartbeat. Tomorrow. I’d buy a place, make it sustainable. And that’s where I’d live.

Just realized that.

Or maybe that’s just middle of the night dark of the night soul thinking.


I’m home now. I never did drive home in the middle of the night, thank goodness. Yesterday as I was leaving the place, I was lost for about thirty minutes, driving along those winding roads not having a clue as to where I was. Once I got clear of the trees and could see the mountain, then I knew where to go. Of course, in the dark of the night, I wouldn’t have seen any mountains.


I’m home. It’s a beautiful day and I’m inside. In about two minutes, I’m going to put on some walking clothes and I’m gonna...walk.

The hummingbird feeder was empty when I got home late yesterday afternoon. I’ve filled it again, but the hummingbirds are snubbing me.

I’ll try not to take it personally.

Mario is attending a writing workshop—on the business of writing. He’s learning lots of good stuff. Publishing has changed so much in the last five to seven years, and it’s a good thing to keep up. I’ll go meet him soonish.

I got home to an empty house yesterday. Very strange. I went around trying to put things right. But my back and head hurt. Ended up on the couch watching TV. Still have the headache. Mario reminded me that I always get a headache when I go to these workshops. It’s very intense work. Love made visible...with a headache.

Aren’t I funny?

I miss my sweetheart. I want to sit in silence. On the steps. In the sun. Watch the ants make compelling shapes on the old cement. Wonder if they are trying to communicate with me using ant semaphore. Listen to the wind in the trees. Watch the first poppy unfurl its blossom.

Is there anything more beautiful than a poppy?

No secret in what the poppy is signalling to us. To the birds. Bees. World.

Love, baby. It’s all about love.

Everyone is an island is to themselves Annie sings.

I think she’s wrong.

Many things going on in my brain now. None of it is coming out very coherently. I will talk soon about my weekend.

Or else I won’t.

Right now I need to walk.

Walk it off, babies.

May You Walk in Beauty!

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Viral Green

If you haven't read Michael Pollan's piece Why Bother, please bother. Global climate change should be our number one concern. I had the same reaction Pollan did when I saw Al Gore's movie: Where are the solutions? Michael Pollan's solution is to plant gardens. A form of multiplying smallness. What's your solution?

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

Longshoreman Protest War

Thousands of dockworkers have shut down ports up and down the coast to protest the Iraq War. I haven't seen it covered on the major media markets, but maybe it has been. It doesn't matter. This is part of multiplying smallness. I commend the dockworkers for their courage and their action. We support you!

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Tulip, Poppy & Coyote Whispers

Don't forget to check out the Old Mermaid Journal. I am planning on posting on it three or four times a week, knock wood. I posted something today. Since I will be posting there regularly, I won't always announce it here. Just thought I would today...

By the way, Happy Beltane, May Day, and everything else day. May your creations bear fruit. May you know love & happiness.

Dance around the maypole today—or at least around your backyard.

Blessed beeee.

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All work copyright © Kim Antieau 2008-.