Tuesday, February 11, 2014


the heart house circa 2010 (now demolished, only an empty grassy lot)
there were angel statues in the windows

February. The pink month. The month hemmed with lace to soften its sharp edges. The month that wears hearts on the sleeves of its winter coat, for the snowflakes - icy valentines - are 




from the sky.

* * *

And time grinds on.

A few months ago I decided to make a change and naively stupidly believed simply making the decision was the hard part; that the universe would be so delighted with me it would clap its hands together, roll out a red carpet, and fling wide the doors. Perhaps even set a tiara on my head. (A small one, but sparkly). In fact, making the decision was hard but implementing it turns out to be even harder and involves any number of things that are necessary but far outside my comfort zone, any number of things I have mostly no control over. I'm almost completely at the mercy of geography and opportunity.

This change is one of process, with protocols to follow, although mostly it feels like a bullshitty game and I hate playing it, but it's the way the game is played and so I must. 

It's frustrating to make a decision like this and fall forward into nothing, the kind of nothing you hear after a magician taps his hat with his wand, the rimshot is played, the puff of smokes clears and 

no rabbit 

no dove 

no ladder of silky scarves

just the magician standing with an empty hat in hand, wondering what went wrong. And repeating this over and over and over again.

I find myself longing for way more than six impossible things before breakfast, lunch, and dinner, magical things, and I promised myself this year that unless I can wiggle my nose and unspill the milk, or click my shoes and wake up in California, unless I can pull a fat white rabbit out of a hat, there will be no magical thinking.

The meaning of magic, like so many good words, has been diluted beyond recognition. In my personal vocabulary, I aim to put it back into its rightful usage.

So no magic here.

Just waiting. 

Responding to the process when it calls.

Working on a snippet of writing here, and color mixing experiments there and entirely too much baking. Rereading Little Women and after that will be Francie and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. I listen for the train in the distance and take odd comfort in the sound of the dishwasher. There is a kitten who leaves crumpled paper balls on the bed, and a big orange cat who sits with me while I watch luge, snowboarding, skiing (sports I only watch every four years). I dream of Michigan in the fall, and wonder if all of this will have worked itself out by then. I make my own comforts.

And it will be March soon.

The green month.

The lucky month. 

Magic may be a no go, 
but I never said anything about luck.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

mermaid lessons

“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths
 and a great fear of shallow living.” 
(The Four-Chambered Heart, Anaïs Nin)

Last night, I dreamed I was on a ship with one other person - a ghost or just a hazy figure, I'm not sure which - on a lonely sea. The ghost person turned to some task at the opposite end of the boat and didn't see me when I fell overboard into what can only be described as diluted quicksand. I knew, as I was being swallowed up, I only had a few precious seconds before it would be too late for rescue. And almost instantly I was too far gone to save. 

I sank deeper and deeper into the muck and for awhile just surrendered to the inevitable, willed myself to close my eyes and go to sleep. But then, suddenly, I kicked my feet and thrust upward, could feel my neck muscles straining as I tilted my face towards the sky.

As I broke the surface, I woke up.


I miss my creative outlets.

So much of what matters to me creatively has been polluted. There is so very much to unlearn, and all my usual tricks - the things I've always counted on - are not working.  And it is a lonely process trying to find my way back.  I keep thinking I've turned a corner, and then - smack - right into a wall. The corner was only a trompe l'oeil painting of a corner.

I'm working so hard - unlearning the most damaging things. Unlearning is a hundred - a thousand! - times harder than learning something. 

I'm not afraid of depths. Not afraid of asking hard questions or getting dirty, or poking at the underbellies of things washed up on the shore. I'm just not. Like Nin, I too have a great fear of and even disregard for shallowness, for it's my observation and experience that the shallow ones aren't happier or lighter than everyone else. Willfully denying something, refusing to see something, doesn't make those somethings untrue, and doesn't make those somethings go away. Those somethings will find other ways to haunt you if you are too afraid to confront them.


What is the collective noun for mermaids?

Is there one?

In the sea I've been swimming in, I haven't seen one other.