Monday, December 12, 2011

New Chapter

oh mother moon
looks like you’ve got a story to tell
tell us. tell us at least half.
light our eyes like stars—pause our busy & our blue rays.
give us something to tell our neighbors.
tell the news. tell our children.
whisper one version here. one version there.
let us come together & cipher it out the next day.
let us all say i know… she told me too.

Having just witnessed a lunar eclipse in the heavens of Japan, I feel changed. It isn’t the kind of change that one would wear like a new scarf or sassy hat, nor is it the kind of change that happens rapidly like walking into a building in daylight and returning to a parked car in darkness. It is a simmering crock pot kind of change...or, picture the late 80’s when teen agers wore pleather jackets, penny loafers and white socks and got in long lines and did the “tic.” One upward then downward motion of the hand and wrist slowing moving to the elbow, then the upper arm, then the neck and head, then miraculously to the next person. Yes. This is the kind of change I am speaking of. Crock pot 80’s dance change.
Last I wrote I was still getting settled. If I told you that I was all settled and everything made sense now and was in perfect order I’d be the biggest blogger liar ever. What I can say is that I feel grounded. I feel less anxiety about NOT being settled. Most of my sad moments have to do with missing my comforts…have to do with me being a spoiled American. Has all to do with missing my family and friends. Has to do with being able to communicate with strangers. Has to do with me not being able to visit my favorite cafĂ© on the daily and not being able to hug a stranger at least once a day. I am not settled but I am planted.
I am learning about Japanese culture and the Japanese language through O.J.L.T. (On the Job Life Training). I have visited several places. Each place having its own distinct energy. I can successfully navigate my way around a restaurant, train station or bathroom. I have learned by trial and fire what not to do in terms of my body language and without compromising the woman I am. I have—changed. I have worn others slippers and managed to put into perspective certain things I had an aversion to or didn’t understand fully. I have fallen in love with Tori Gates, Buddhist and Shinto temples, Japanese folklore, literature, herstory and pride. I have grown accustomed to bathless bathrooms, tiny kitchens and the most beautiful trees. I am fascinated by laundry and the story each garment blowing in the wind holds. I have learned to accept that streets are skinny and people on bikes are big. Fear of death is not a popular notion here. Fear at all is not a popular notion. I have changed. I need this talk of fear being what some call in the states false evidence of illusions appearing real. In my heart I want to be the woman on the bike zooming side by side a semi on a road no wider than a bowling lane fearlessly. (Okay so not really but you get it.)
I am entering a new chapter in my life. I remember being 21 wondering what kind of woman I’d be at 40. I remember I said I wanted to achieve the following: 1. Beauty inside and out 2.Career happiness 3. Traveling 4. Writing daily 5. Vegetarianism 6. An activist of some sort 7. Young looking 8. Great mom. If you asked me now what I want for myself at 40, some of those things on the list would definitely still be the same but I would add so much more. This whole 40 business has been simmering for a long time. Between welcoming in the New Year and welcoming a big birthday my life to do list is as follows (certainly not a complete list yet):
Be present and mindful
Celebrate/Honor/Value the people in my life (old and new)
Move forward past pain and judgment
Deepen my sense of joy
Empty out the tiny residue of fear(s)
Breathe cleansing breaths often
Laugh more
Drink more water
Follow up with myself/love on myself the way I follow up/love on others
Take time to sometimes see myself as a child of the universe not an adult of the world
Hug more
Receive love
Verbalize my thoughts more
Climb Mount Fuji
Honor my writing time
Read more books (all subjects)
Yoga (Yes I still hate downward dog)
Spend more time with the elders in my life. I need their wisdom.
Spend more time with the teens/kids in my life. I need their wisdom.
Dance more
Not cut my hair for a year
Less coffee (yea right)
Meditate more
Learn the Japanese language
Recycle my own nuggets of wisdom
Burn negative thoughts.

As you read this stand up and get in line. Get in your 80’s teen mind frame. Get your arm ready for 2012. This tic’s for you. May it catch you and keep you until I write again.

With love and gratitude for each of you.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Quick Thoughts


If you are reading this, you are getting a message from the future. Check the global clock to find out what day and time it is in Japan.
A short letter to let you know I have arrived. Physically.
I still find myself adjusting and just when I think I've gotten adjusted, more adjustments. Fortunately I am adjustment-friendly and I'm doing a fairly good job. Three times a week a tremor reminds me that I am not in Seattle anymore. Last weeks typhoon raised the love and admiration I hold in my heart for trees. It got me to thinking about roots. Being uprooted. What happens when a tree is still breathing but uprooted. It grows again. Of course there has to be folks around to help replant her, but she grows again.

I am very much in the uprooted but growing stage. Those of you who have been following me on this blog know that 40 is up ahead. This whole move, plus 40, uprooted, grow again phase/stage/place is both horribly frightening and amazingly fantastic. Sort of like eating a melted ice cream cone, in a thin cup, while driving. Cheers and Kompai for melted ice cream folks.

I plan to blog furiously and consistently and would love it if you checked back and commented regularly.
Thinking of you all across the sea's.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Flash Fiction, Downward Dog & Post-Knowing

The Set Up

If this were a chapter in a book, (which it is of course the book of my life), I would begin by saying once upon a time there was a woman who was 38 and is now, freshly 39. Maybe not really use the whole once upon a time thing. Maybe, instead, and now the continuing adventuraga of a woman. of a goddess who was 38 and is now 39. I would also not capitalize the first word of a sentence because sometimes…as a creative writer, I don’t do that. Because sometimes I am the goddess of the page and I don’t give a damn about the convention of conventions. Furthermore, sometimes I do. I would also use the made up word adventuraga, composed of adventure and saga. And then I might delete it all and say something like…All the events leading up to the here (1-38) place me in the right now (39.) Who knows? After that, I’d give the readers a bit of back-story and preface it with highlights and low-lights. You would remember the previous pages and sort of put it altogether like a jigsaw puzzle in your head.

Pretend you are the reader. Pretend you are on the 5th page of the 39th chapter and you’ve been filled in about as much as you can be in five pages. Lets say that it has the set up flash fiction. Let’s say now you make that noise that readers or audience members make when they’ve read or heard something deeply profound. It’s a mix of grunt + sigh + gasp. And now you are moving on to page 6. [If you are wondering what is the deal with the 5 and 6 it’s symbolic. I am now in the 6th week or so of being 39. Work with me. Lets say the writer is particularly grateful that you have chosen to read about her journey.

The Story Starts (The Story Continues?)

There is a real sense of urgency in me. Not the kind of gotta-go-pee-badly urgency. More like a—oh shoot-I-forgot-to-take-the-biscuits-out-of-the-oven kind of urgency. What kind of biscuits am I baking? Last week I was baking a culminating project at Seattle Girls’ School called MISSION, two manuscripts and processing moving to Japan in July. And always, always, in the mixing bowl: mothering and partnering. I think the biggest biscuit I am worrying about burning is fear of the unknown. I keep checking on it. Peeking in. Anxiously wondering will I know what I am supposed to know yet? I can’t exactly prick the unknown with a toothpick and get the answers. I find the unknown is tricky for me because there are so many things that I intuitively DO KNOW. Pretend this is the part in the novel, chapter 39, end of page 6, when you arrive, (enthralled of course) on page 7, the writer does something clever like break out in a list or poem or some font-friggn-tastic asterisk. Oh my goodness. Maybe all three!!!

The Crux

Thirty-shh haiku

had it figured out.
i mean at thirty eight. nine--
i have arrived. right?

Note to self and readers on the above. Don’t use every cool technique at once.

Things I Thought I Knew:

1. I am superwoman and I can do everything for everybody.
2. I am superwoman and I don’t need any sleep.
3. I am superwoman and I can go an entire day without food or water.
4. At any given moment I can totally erase the thought of any bad memory and never retain it once I have done the “healing” work around it.
5. I don’t need anyone to help me when I need help. No wait…I don’t need anyone to help me because I never need help and if I did, you wouldn’t know. Nope.
6. I am a writer. I am not a writer. I am a writer. I am not a writer. I am a writer.
7. Fifth grade girls like to be called “fifthies” because it is a term of endearment. (You think this is random but you’ll see why it’s on my list.)
8. I have already had a child who has been 12 and so of course I know how to parent to that age again. Of course! Two kids/same womb/same parents. Everything same.
9. Tree hugging is only symbolic. We should love the earth. Actually hug a tree? Not.
10. I walk a lot and I don’t need extra exercise. Especially not yoga. Screw downward dog and sweaty yoga-ites.
11. My capacity to love has a cap. A big cap. A giant ass cap. But a cap.

Things I Know Right Now At This Moment:

1. I am superwoman and if I feel like it, I can do everything for everybody IF I have done for myself and my cape is not in the cleaners.
2. I am superwoman and I need sleep. (I do not feel guilty about napping.)
3. I am superwoman and I will faint if I don’t eat food and drink plenty of water. (Seriously who knew these human traits were gonna keep creeping in?)
(I can dress my water up with lemons and limes and mint to make it extra-extra good.)
4. I cannot erase bad memories. Memories are made in pen not pencil. I can continue to work through how I feel about bad memories and I can see the memory as my lesson or a lesson for someone else. I can tell the story if I choose. I can be healed and still have a memory because I mean…I don’t have that Vulcan touch ability to erase thoughts. Not yet.
5. Even though I am superwoman, I may need help. When I need help I can call on my superfamily and superfriends to come to my rescue. (Yall remember the bat signal right?) I do not need to feel ashamed about needing help. I can also offer help to other help-resistant superwomen/men.
6. I am always a writer. A writer, me? Yes. Always. I am not a hobbyist writer. I am an ever- evolving writer. I am a writer. I am a writer. I am a writer. I am writing everyday. Yes…writing in my head does count.
7. Fifth grade girls DO NOT want to be called “fifthies” because it makes them feel less than, belittled and “like babies.” I will not use the term “fif-----,” again. I will also never allow anyone to belittle me or allow myself to feel less than when someone…attempts this whether knowingly or unknowingly. (F.Y.I. the word cute in the 18th century was used in a negative way as a shortening of the word acute which meant highly intellectual. The current definition of cute is: pleasing: smaller than the usual size but nicely arranged or appointed; a term of endearment applied to babies or young animals.) I’m just saying…
8. All children are different! It doesn’t matter if they emerged from the same glorious womb or same set of DNA pool. Where is that parenting manual? Oh right. None. ☺
9. Hugging a tree in my own personal experience has totally changed my life. Call me a hippie. Call me weird. Call me whatever but I tell you being in/with nature, walking barefoot, hugging a tree, staring at the moon, has really made me realize how much I appreciate planet earth and all its goodness. Hugging a tree charges me on the inside. Hugging a tree makes me feel connected to a higher power. How small and big I am in the vast universe. (This is where you do the profound mouth sound again.)
10. I need exercise. I do not like downward dog and people with fifty-five yoga outfits, 18 mats wondering why I can’t put my leg over my head calls for a bit of extra patience on my part. But I need it. I need exercise. I need yoga. I need 55 yoga outfits. Well…maybe only 50. Most importantly I respect the spiritual/historical concept of Yoga before it went commercial. I understand in all honesty I can practice yoga wearing whatever I want, wherever I want, with whomever I want, in full mind, body and soul meditation and I like it. And afterwards a walk and some other exercise is great too! I am especially proud of certain fabulous people I love who have been exercising maniacs, running marathons, going to the gym faithfully and those of you who can, by now, put both your legs over your head while doing a hand stand and drinking green tea. You rock. As for me, regular yoga, meditation and exercise is a great start.
11. My love for myself and others has no cap. My love is big. My love is expansive.

The Transition

Pretend you have arrived at page 8. You’ve been so captivated that you haven’t stretched so your legs hurt. You notice page 8 sort of comes out of nowhere, as if the writer wants you to take a break.

A Condensed List of Words I’m Loving Today/Have Used in a Current Manuscript:
1. Telluric
2. Snippet
3. Tarradiddle
4. Indigo
5. Unambiguous
6. Beddable
7. Stealthy
8. Temporal
9. Navigable
10. Gut
11. Grit
12. Preternatural
13. Aight

Pretend you will now put a very meaningful bookmark here on page 8, stretch, get some water, hang up your cape and look forward to the next couple of pages of the spot on and often random but meaningful journey of 39.