Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Why would you support an institution that has been abusing children for generations? How can you weekly give your heart to an organization that for centuries tortured people? How can you make yourself vulnerable and seek spiritual guidance or benefit in a place that demeans you? How can you humble yourself and offer praise in a house whose keepers do not respect who you are? Again and again, acts of cruelty, inhumanity, and reckless evil are exposed, and still the flocks make weekly pilgrimages. Why do you not shout with outrage? Demand better? Overthrow the corrupt leaders and take back your safe havens that have been anything but safe for many of those around you? If I believed, it might be worth a rebellion, but I don't, and so I just keep moving farther and farther away.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


I am of two minds regarding remakes.  There are stories that are so compelling, we return to them again and again, revealing in new ways the universal truths they share.  The themes are so meaningful to us in our human experience that each new generation hears them and retells them in their own way.  These stories offer us an experience of new discovery each time we pass them forward.  I appreciate the role these stories play in our arts and in our lives.

Then there are stories that are retold because of personal connections with the material.  This can also be a meaningful reason for a long as the storyteller takes the time to make sure there is something meaningful being shared.  This type of remake could illuminate the experiences of a subculture, for example, or educate about a certain philosophy.  Far too often, what I see is a story being retold because someone liked it when they were young.  Nostalgia is powerful stuff, potent emotion.  I don't, however, think it is a strong enough reason alone to remake an already-told story, rather than creating an original story of one's own.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Sometimes envy crowds out the joy and appreciation for the wonderful things in my life I could otherwise hold in my heart. I hear about the travels of some friend, or the artistic endeavors of another, or even such things as the acquisition of a car, a house, or a great job, and I wonder when I will be able to have such things. A hiatus of a year, or a few years, isn't so long in the grand plan of a life. I must try to not feel as though I am unwinding time and moving in reverse.  These feelings can damage my judgement, push me towards wallowing in depression and self-pity, and block my view of where I'm heading.  It's a long road I'm on, and many good things are still to come.  I can't expect to enjoy them all at the same time.

Friday, March 16, 2012


On overcast days, sojourn to the beach,
heavy grey clouds hanging,
the ocean frothy slate washing up,
salty scent, of jasmine   bougainvillea   sage,
quiet and cool except the volleyball players and joggers,
but mostly my own thoughts
and the infinity of the horizon.

Sunny days, take to the shade of the forest trails,
dirt mountain paths, leafy canopies
alternating cool shade and warm sun patches,
pines, mist and moist rock, river beds, soft pine needles orange and green, and moss
birds fluttering, chirping, cooing,
sweat and heavy breath relieved by occasional breezes.

Snowfall brings me out for storefront browsing,
gift shopping, coffee sipping,
stylish wools and tweeds, oft-neglected boots for more than just fun,
soft fluffy flakes landing in my hair before melting away,
brisk, cold, sharp air, scent of frost like barbs but welcome and fresh,
smoothness of cold skin, watery eyes, pink cheeks.

Rainy moody favorite moments,
indoors with a good window view
to see and hear the thundering drops making impact,
lilacs rich   heavy   tearful,
songs like the cure and the clash,
favorite flannel and a teenage heart of passion.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Not Ordinary

I have a neighbor who has a flower pinwheel stuck into the soil outside her door. Whenever I take little Fox out for a walk, he stops to admire this decoration. (He is starting to understand the idea of wind, and to gesture when he notices it blowing.) He gets very excited when the breeze sets the flower twirling. I remembered seeing pinwheels during a recent visit to the local 99 cent store, so I was thinking about buying one for him. Upon reflection, I thought that if he had a pinwheel of his own, it would become ordinary and he would no longer experience the thrill of passing the neighbors'.

I think about this idea whenever I take him on excursions with me. When we're in a store, he may be excited about all of the colorful toys he sees, but I want him to find fun in just looking at them. I don't buy him a new toy each time we're out. If he becomes animated, pointing at various delights, I talk to him about what they are, perhaps let him see what they feel like, but we don't need to own them. I want him to learn to enjoy the potential, the anticipation, the imagining of what each thing could be like. I want the idea of them to hold some magic.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Opportunistic Beliefs

If you don't believe in ghosts, can you be afraid of them? Do you pray to a god in whom you don't believe during a moment of crisis? Is that brief moment of belief real? What does it mean if the belief is dismissed when the fear has passed, safety is assured, and rational thought returns? Is it just a type of hope? Is it a wish for some power outside oneself to save the day? Is it opportunistic selfishness? Could it be called co-opting the advantages of the faithful? And what about that spooky encounter that send chills and goosebumps down your body? Fiction and fantasy can have such real and tangible effects on us.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Golden Hour

I can remember discussing napping schedules with my pediatrician during my son's early check-ups.  On numerous occasions she said that once he started taking longer naps, (1 - 2 1/2 hours), I would find I could get a lot done during these naps.  I thought to myself, what's the big deal with an hour or two?  How is that such a significant amount of time?  But after months of feeling tethered to baby-care tasks throughout each entire day, a 1-2 hour block suddenly seems like a golden hour...or two.  I am suddenly the wonder woman of single hour multitasking, accomplishing more within that one little nap than I might have done in an entire evening, in my pre-baby days.  It's amazing how a finite amount of time can stretch or shrink depending not only on whether you are enjoying yourself, but also on how you have been spending your time lately, and thus how precious that time has come to be.  Those little gifts of quiet time also give me time to think and to write.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Just Honest

I want to be done with cynicism. When I talk and when I write, I try to no longer protect myself from feeling dumb, or from being perceived as uncool. I still worry about whether my take on something is well-informed. I worry that if I put an opinion out there, I will later change my mind and wish I could take back the words. I fear that my vehement argument for a particular way to do something will be seen as a dismissal of any other choice. Yet, I am trying to say, anyway, my thoughts and my feelings. Unguarded. Not hipster-"vulnerable", ha ha. Just honest.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

To Record or Be Present?

Is it better to record a meaningful moment with photographs and videos, or to be fully present and just experience it? I don''t believe those who say they are present while snapping away. Not completely. I enjoy things more without the burden of documenting. Even an enjoyable act such as photography can be also a burden. The screen becomes so ever-present. A layer of removal between the eyes and the world. Between the mind and others in the world. A compromise, a middle ground can be negotiated while the purity of complete presence is still tainted. Yet the benefits of images that spark brilliantly clear memories are a weighty counterbalance in this argument.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Life Together

I am so moved by long marriages. A life committed to a single partner isn't for everyone, but for those who seek it and find it, oh what rich rewards! It is a precious thing to be by your love's side through growth and discovery and soul-shaping experiences. Living within my love's view makes me want to live a worthwhile life. Remembering to step back, to be able to see this very moment as one small part of the big overall arc of our lives together, motivates me to set aside the petty worries, to let go of talk of menial household tasks and responsibilities, and to make each encounter together a moment worth remembering. If this morning's events were written into a play, which exchanges would I edit out? Did I say or do anything that my love can think fondly of throughout our hours apart? Or did I drag out an old burden from the pile in the corner and add a weight to his load to carry through the day? When I see him again, what can I offer to let warmth and light into his heart? These are daily choices, and sometimes I make the wrong one. If I remind myself more often to make the choice that will make us both happier, then such choices can become easy habits, and ultimately become simply the way I live my life. This can smooth the way towards fashioning a lifelong adventure to be lived together, hand in hand.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


I just started reading a book about habits: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.  I heard the author being interviewed on AirTalk, and what really caught my interest were the stories of people who made major changes in their lives after first changing a single habit.  It's an amazing thought, the idea that one could start a chain of improvements within oneself by taking advantage of the brain's penchant for efficiency (or laziness).  It may be well worth the effort of establishing a new habit to coerce yourself into regular exercise or healthier eating.  Perhaps I can find ways to create habits for myself to improve my frequently faulty memory.  This knowledge clarifies why shaking up the usual routine can get the brain fired up, revealing new solutions to old problems.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

How to Say It

I am an awkward phone conversationalist. I attribute this to the fact that I am very visually oriented. I learn things much more easily if the content is presented in a visual format. In conversations, I depend on reading body language cues from the person I'm talking with, and I feel more confident knowing I can rely on gestures to aid in my own expression or clarification. I can help myself hold a better telephone conversation with preparation and notes. (This sounds silly, even to myself, because of course preparation should help anyone. Recognizing it and acting on it is a good practice.) But I often wish I was better at off-the-cuff discussions.

Other exercises have helped me improve this skill. Offering verbal critiques of theatrical work--especially immediately after viewing--as I had to do throughout grad school, was excellent practice. Writing is also a beneficial exercise, as it helps me refine the act of structuring my thoughts, and offers me continuous practice in using elegant grammar. Choosing how to express an idea--deciding how to articulate a thought--forces me to clarify what I really think about the matter.

Friday, March 2, 2012


It is such a wonderful thing to arrive home.  It doesn't matter that it is only a rented cubbyhole, nearly identical to the rows of cubbyholes around it.   It doesn't belong to me, and when I'm done with it, someone else will call it home.  But right now, that little space is reserved for me.  I can count on it being there, looking as I left it, welcoming me at the end of a long and busy day.  It's a safe haven.  I can hide out there, if I feel I need to.  Some days, it's nice to know I have that option. 

If it were suddenly lost or taken, by a tornado or a bank, it would feel like the ground disappearing from beneath my feet.  It sometimes seems like a luxury, but always feels like a necessity.  It's amazing how having a place of one's own can be a grounding oasis, a source of strength, safety, and stability.