~ from cats, dogs and nature to the flowering of body, mind and spirit ~

Friday, August 19, 2011

Being Begin

plucked from the ether and
dropped to the earth
to enjoy the blessings 
of precious rebirth
land on a soft bed of moss evergreen
while the wee folk cavort--merry, unseen
I land with a feather-light bump on Her belly 
and know from the first that we all will be well
captured by ravens that caw in the trees 
carried on wings that fly with the breeze 
soaring over desert and scaling the mountains 
to race with the dolphins and splash in the fountains
we are all One in this glorious world
ever creature that lives, every boy, every girl
jumping and shouting 
my heart full to the brim 
while adventures are calling 
me out on a whim
I join with the air as we sway to and fro 
among all the flowers that shimmer and glow
I join with the fire as the sun heats the sand 
and cook with the flames that are guided by hand
I join with the waters of vital resources 
that lovingly share without guilt or remorse
I join with the earth in magnificent splendor 
while walking or sitting in stillness...I wonder
where upon all of these joys do I pause 
and how to give thanks beyond all the causes
of heartache we bring to the innocents here
how do I help and wipe away tears 
of harm that have fallen through arrogant minds 
that see not and know not through eyes that are blind
all I can do is embrace Her wonders 
of life and love and beauteous thunder 
that crashes in storms amazing in power
Her strength that reduces our egos in each passing hour
we cannot come close to the glory She gives 
in all that Creation has brought here to live
even destruction is a need to transform 
and step back, I see Her love in this normal 
pattern of shifting, cleansing, renewal
She is our home and we are her fuel
we are a nutrient 
energies sent
to give of ourselves so that more may flourish
that is our calling to love and to nourish
each one of us has a capacity clear 
to share and grow with all far and near
listen to what Her voice is now saying
cannot we hear the path She is laying
before us strewn with emeralds, 
diamonds and stone
for all are as equals
none are alone
I feel her this morning singing within 
and laughing with me as I write with pink pen
to script what I hear falling rapidly down
to catch just a glimpse of what may be found
here on this paper a gift from the trees
who harness the breath for all of our needs
reflected within
being begin

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Changing Smile

Road Trip.
My 'fix.'
Journey to the pines, the mountains, hours away.
Changing tapestry leads me on further and further; I could have continued for days.
Expanding vistas above and below, desert cactus giving way to grassy meadows in the high plains, as sharp sun eases into a pillow of clouds where at one point they create a rectangle around pale blue sky, like cotton balls stuck to an invisible frame of unknown origin.
And I drive.
The pure bliss of motion and transforming landscape, windows down once the heat begins to abate, and I breathe in the enriched air of beloved pine boughs glistening and inviting

Barely planned, a spur-of-the-moment trip, clothes inadequate for traipsing through a narrow trail with tall weeds and thin grasses and bold branches reaching out to connect and caress my hair.
The boys and I find a rocky outcropping, we sit, blessed moist air inhaled upon a cool breeze, softening lung tissue, easing stress.
Droplets of rain fall upon parched skin.
Listen to Her familiar voice singing through babbling brook and chittering folk hiding from view while a lizard scurries over a near rock before quick doggy eyes glimpse the crouched form.
Green, deep and vibrant, glorious.

The Museum of Northern Arizona grounds--inside and out--are serene, and I enjoy meandering through the exhibits so beautifully presented with loving attention to every detail. I will return when I have more time to leisurely absorb the history, beauty, art and skills shared of the native people of northern Arizona. Their Spirit flows through the lines of thread and paint upon woven blankets and bowls, upon pottery, canvas and mural.

The dogs are waiting in the car parked in a shady spot, comfortable with the more than 30-degree cooler temperature, yet the four-hour drive home beckons in the mid-afternoon overcast with thunder clouds and sporadic rain that falls in clumps like Gaia is dropping it from cupped hands, a little here, more there, and then a pause...wait...before dipping Her hands into the eternally full well of blessings once more.

Odd how much I enjoy long drives when often I can barely get myself down the road to the grocery store until the cupboards are nearly bare. The call of the open road feels deeply ingrained within my very cells and, like a Gypsy, I adore the journey even without a destination ... maybe more when the not knowing where I will stop is pulling me onward.
The unknown mystery of Her changing smile.
What will Gaia be wearing when I get there?

Friday, August 12, 2011


She flows through me and winds Her way in the world;
as a stream we touch those who thirst 
and feel the hunger of kindred souls.

All I am is a stalk of grass within the Field 
that has somehow managed to find that elusive grain of salt, 
that tiny nutrient that wasn't far from my roots 
yet had less to do with me than with the Whole of Life 
enveloping all existence in form. 
The salt that was carried within my reach 
so I could stretch out and feel its energy 
calling to me like a song, 
like the vibration of a crystal 
tuned to the frequency I needed, 
or me tuned to Hers in my unaware need 
yet we found each other and I am nourished. 
Where do I find the humble essence of knowing 
that it is through Her Grace that the perfect amount of salt fell within reach? 
Too much can poison yet
Gaia's trickling tears carried the nutrient 
toward my yearning lost tendrils 
that weakly grew in one direction ... alone. 
Did another being join to push and shove, 
swallow and release, 
the salt within reach? 
I received a gift that brings joy and wellness, 
one that I say grace for within each moment. 
How to share with humility and happiness? 
Is my smile genuine in Love? 
Do I pause to witness the journey of the one on their own path 
and offer them a grain of salt, 
the nutrient, 
the seed just as it was gifted to me? 
I know not why the salt appeared 
with its taste so appealing I could not resist 
yet once I felt Her song on my tongue 
I was carried within the melody 
and we flow in harmony 
through the winding ways of the world, 
nourished together, 
by each other, 
releasing and opening, 
Ahhh ... there is it, 
the secret--
non-attachment to the salt. 
Let it fall from my eye, 
from my sweat, 
from my heart 
and realize that 
I do not have to see who tastes it 
or know who adds it to their daily bread as I do. 

She flows through me and winds Her way in the world;
as a stream we quench those who thirst 
and feed the hunger of kindred souls.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Suet Pudding Anyone?

While settling in to our new house in Arizona, I thought it a good opportunity to start reading some more books on writing during my self-imposed breaks. (I am quite an expert in the art of allowing oneself plenty of breaks from manual labor.) I feel a little bit daunted by all that I have to learn, but also inspired by the encouragement of the authors.

"What is important is not the lucky break, the stopping of the train--that's only part of it. Life is full of trains that stop. What counts is what we are doing with our lives when there is no opportunity and not a train in sight." ~ Phyllis A. Whitney, Guide to Fiction Writing

Ms. Whitney is sharing the above based upon her own experience of hard work and lucky breaks; she emphasizes that we continue to write, to learn, to grow as writers so that when that train stops . . . we can climb aboard.

Every book I've read during the past couple weeks has provided great suggestions on technique, methods from the perspectives of both mistakes and excellent examples.

In How to Write a Damn Good Novel, James Frey offers a chapter on the topic of 'premise' which I thoroughly enjoyed. He mentions Aristotle's "unity of action" and how the ancient writer declares that stories should have "all the organic unity of a living creature." Mr. Frey summarizes that:

"The premise of a story is simply a statement of what happens to the characters as a result of the core conflict in the story."

Reading about the various views of premise, plot, or theme has helped me clarify my first draft of the manuscript on which I'm currently working. I have a lot of rewriting to do, yet I'm excited about it because I can envision a better story.

Also, my first draft contains significant amounts of informational dumping. How to avoid that? I liked Chris Roerden's explanations and examples throughout Don't Sabotage Your Submission and I will be able to remember her "slice, dice and splice" approach. Catchy!

In Plot & Structure by James Scott Bell, his advice is helpful throughout, but I am particularly drawn to his comments regarding another author--David Morrell and Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing (which is now on my wish list). Mr. Bell writes that:

"Morrell's method is geared toward getting deeper into your story idea, finding out why you really want to write it. It's a trip into the subconscious and the place where real writing power resides."

Many of my scenes are total disasters, but at least now I have ideas about how to fix them. Jack Bickham gives clear, straight-forward advice in The 38 Most Common Fiction Writing Mistakes when he lists a process for deciding, in each scene, the goal, the scene question, opposition to the goal, writing moment-by-moment with summary, and then how to end by answering the scene question badly so that the story continues. And, in The Writer's Digest Guide to Good Writing, Arthur Gordon (1941) offers a simple, specific tip on pace: "Plan each scene of your story as if the scene were a complete story in itself."

Speaking of which, I am finding The Writer's Digest Guide to Good Writing to be a thoroughly delightful read, filled with light-hearted anecdotes and sage advice. Perhaps because it begins with pieces from the 1920's. Like this descriptive paragraph on the "had horrors" from Laurence D'Orsay:

"If a story has strong and well-sustained entertainment value, an editor will overlook many technical flaws. But one thing he will not overlook, as a general rule, is a bad attack of the had horrors--a stodgy lump of bald and undisguised retrospect on the second, third and fourth pages. For that is destructive of entertainment value at the critical moment when, having caught the reader's attention by a good opening, the writer should strive to hold it by going straight ahead along dramatic lines. It is as if the chef offered you a slab of cold and greasy suet pudding after you had polished of the hors d'oeuvres, instead of serving some appetizing and nourishing soup."

BLECH! That image will stick with me, how about you? And, also in that book, Louis Dodge comments we must "say something" because it is not enough to write well yet say nothing:

"A story which says nothing (but does it well) is like a person who is faultlessly clad and good to look at, but who calls and says a few conversational things in a careful manner and goes away leaving an effect of strain. After the advent of such a person, how restful and good it is to welcome the friend who drops in informally and brings a real message of warmth, of positive meaning, of an original point of view. Better a beggar with a real tale of woe than a great diplomat who wears a mask."

Those are the kinds of phrases that will remain with me, helping me along as I turn to rewriting and revising my first draft.

Lastly, I return to another comment by Ms. Whitney because I felt she could have been referring to me specifically, and a problem I find myself falling into when I write:

"The developing of an active purpose for your main character is not easy. Unless I am careful, I frequently find that all sorts of problems--both my heroine's and those of other characters--are latent but not apparent. Or else some other character is working at his problem, while the heroine watches passively, as if she had no problem of her own--in which case she drifts along, just letting things happen to her. When this is the situation, there is no purpose, no 'attempt to resolve' on the part of the main character, and reader interest is likely to lag."

OUCH! At the same time, I felt good knowing that even a prolific writer whose stories I enjoyed so much may have experienced what I do when writing.

All in all, I have to say that I am encouraged to continue my writing journey...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


PRICKLY © Chepatchet | Dreamstime.com
Prickly Pear cactus show plump round digits upon the edges of their flat splayed pads like the toes of an ancient Being unable to walk on the earth so making footprints across the sky, the ripening fruit reflecting the shades of the stairway to heaven.
Full red glow across the eastern horizon where clouds hover in the myriad shades of the dawn light awaiting their moment of illumination.
A jack rabbit bounds across the desert with his cute little white tail laughing in our faces--I smile, the dogs' ears prick forward. We keep walking, absorbing the morning as the winds change direction constantly, one minute cooling my cheeks, the next whipping strands of hair into my mouth.
Echoes of past and present merge as I feel a resonance with this space.
Not until I reach home and no longer feel the winds do I realize that the clouds had carried with them a moisture within which to use in the palette and then brush across the sky, painting a moist vision of loveliness that I am unable to recreate or describe adequately in these flowing thoughts that pour out of me so easily, running down the canvas of mind in rivulets of color and vibration that cause my skin to tingle and eyes to sparkle--I feel them shimmer, I don't need to see them in the mirror that only shows a blue iris and dark pupil and whites now free of the blur of sleep and the red of dryness. 
Summer is clearly crimson in its pulsations of heat, mirages in the distance, beads of moisture near my hair line when seasons meet--summer and hormones, cycles and the change. 
An environment reflecting my inner shift as we retain the blessed moisture as much as possible so not to dry up, wither, break apart, blow away.
My flesh swells and rings tighten on plump digits, like the cactus who survives by cherishing the nourishing waters when they come--the rivers then running deep within where they spread and fill crevices and provide a sweet cushion of nectar that then reveals itself in ripened fruit...full, plump, red and delicious yet with a hint of tartness that reflects the heat of wisdom and passion held gently within. The spark. 
All the elements align in perfect synchronicity as we merge.
She is reflected in me and I am a pale mirror of Her exquisite Grace.
Together we ripen.

Monday, August 1, 2011

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