In Honor of Love Surpassing Time

Ashes drift swiftly
over ocean waves
to settle down
into the deep
where lovers meet.

Uncle Gene has passed
to join his beloved
Auntie Helen
in a lover’s dance over the waves.

Married after many marriages
their love grew strong
supporting each other
through unprecedented loss of a beloved daughter
and a son-in-law  who died later of a broken heart.

Their love blessed our marriage
Great Aunt Helen only approved
my marriage to her favorite niece’s son
after tasting the magic
of Mom’s applesauce spice cake
made with my nervously loving hands
in the desert of Arizona.
Together they moved to
beloved Hawaii
to spend their waning years
in beauty
in color
in peace.

But Auntie Helen
left too soon
her ashes flying
and sinking
beyond Gene’s reach.

Gene lived on
with loving hands supporting him
until the time came
for him to let go.

95 years old.

His ashes will soon
drift swiftly
over ocean waves
to settle down
into the deep
where lovers meet.

RIP Uncle Gene 1917-2012

Lisa Head’s to the Big City, A Rebus

Tomorrow I will get on a 

and head back to

I will meet my friend

who is beautiful inside and out.

teaches for

and asked me to come be a guest lecturer in her class.

What that really means is that I will be my normal, goofy self.

I hope she knows what to expect.

In addition to the

(where the students will be much older)

I get to enjoy a girl’s weekend in

which will include:

and

although I’m sure nothing will make me look as beautiful as

We will also attend a performance of THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF HEDDA GABLER at

which I am very excited about.

According to

there are more adventures in store as well.

So if you don’t hear from me for a few days,

Just know that I am out and about with a huge

on my face.

Without Sleep

Insomnia spooky5.JPG

Insomnia spooky5.JPG (Photo credit: Buddha Rhubarb)

Without sleep
your mind journeys
many directions at once
playing tricks
tempting you with possibilities
you can never catch.

Without sleep
shadows in the night
become creatures of the night
harrowing calls
urge you to hide under the covers
there is no comfort there,
there is no sleep.

Without sleep
your mind begins to write
nonsense words
meaningless blobs
letters written in
invisible ink
blood
imagination
fading into oblivion.

Without sleep
your body succumbs
to aches and pains
yearning for the release of
a dreamless sleep
that is an
inevitable
impossibility

Without sleep
everything becomes meaningless.

The Box . . . The Story Continues.

A few weeks ago, as part of the 100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups, I wrote a post called The Box which seemed to spark some interest. (I am repeating it below so you don’t have to go look at that post unless you want to) Yesterday, I declared I was going to try to extend some of my challenges into fuller fledged stories.  I hope you like it.  Eek!

It came special delivery with a simple note attached in handwriting she had not seen except in the letters her mother had kept. Love letters, from her father, a man who left Cindy long ago. A man she would rather forget.

“I’m sorry,” the note said, attached to the red box.

The small box was heavy and cool, made out of material that Cindy could not identify.

She tried to hide it away in a closet, but it seemed to call to her.  She pulled it out and placed it on the mantle, where she intentionally ignored it.

Until the night it glowed.

At first she thought she was imagining the glow. A spark, deep in the center of a box that looked almost solid, it disappeared when she looked directly at the box. She avoided looking whenever she could. She started avoiding the room.

Sometimes, though, when she walked by she would catch a glimpse of a spark that simply could not be there.

“The sun must be hitting it just right,” she told herself, even on cloudy days.

Other times when she walked by the room, she heard the call that had made her pull the strange box out of the closet.  Words she could not understand sung in a tuneless melody.

“I wish my neighbor wouldn’t listen to her music so loudly.”

After that, she kept the door closed, living as comfortably as she could in the other rooms of her cozy cottage.

But then the power went out. A surprise snowstorm knocked down tree limbs heavy with new growth, causing chaos in the area. Cindy had no choice but to go in and light a fire for warmth. Carrying a flashlight and some matches she opened the door, to find a room full of warm, sparkling red light.

The box was glowing, and she couldn’t ignore it.

The room itself felt warm, as if the fire had already been lit.  But there was no fire, only the glow of the red box.

She stared at the box in shock. Her emotions warred inside her. The part of her that loved mystery wanted to walk forward. The nugget of anger at her father that she had held onto for so long pulled her back. Fear of the unknown battled with her innate desire for knowledge. She found herself slowly walking forward, as if the atmosphere had grown thick and she had to wade through it. She reached her hand up and touched the smoothness of the box, still cool despite the warmth in the room and the strength of its light.

“What is this?” She whispered, knowing there was only one way to find the answer. “What did you send me Daddy?”

She found the clasp that held the box closed. Her hands trembled as she tried to figure out its elaborate mechanism.

She opened the box, and music filled the room along with a flash of energy and light so powerful it flung Cindy backward, where she hit the bookcase and fell on the floor stunned.

When she came to, the brightness had faded somewhat and she found herself looking at a man she could only remember in flashes, and from faded photos that her mother had saved with the letters. The man she remembered from then had been strong and handsome, with dark black hair and deep eyes that tricked the viewer, often appearing to be different colors–one a dark brown, the other glinted almost green.

This man looked different, except he had her father’s eyes. His hair was long and silver. His rugged features aged and tired, reflecting a man hardened by unknown trials but also the lines of laughter.

“Daddy?” Cindy asked, her voice cracking in fear and surprise. She pulled herself up onto the sofa, feeling the weakness in her legs caused by the crack to her head, but also disbelief. How could her father be in front of her? How could he have appeared out of a tiny red box?

“I finally found my way back to you,” he said, and his voice brought back memories of long ago.  “I never meant to leave you, little girl.”

Cindy found it difficult to form words. “I don’t understand,” she whispered.

“I know you don’t,” he said. He picked up the red box that was still glowing but not as brightly, and handed it to her. “But you’ve opened the box, and now you will know the truth.”

Holding it in her hand, Cindy suddenly knew. She felt its pulse. She heard the music of its song, and she knew. The box was from a place that she only remembered in her dreams, a place where she had only ever been with her father at her side

Holding the box brought back a memory of a scene from long ago, which she thought was just part of her nightmare. The scene came to life in front of her eyes:

Her mother clasped tiny Cindy in her hands as her father rushed them away from a house much bigger than the tiny cottage she called home now.  He led them to a cave hidden underneath some vines.

“Here’s the passage,” he said. He hugged them both tightly and gave them each loving kisses.

 “I don’t want to leave you behind,” her mother said.

“It’s the only choice,” her father said. “I will come for you when it is safe, and I have destroyed the Wizard. Otherwise we will always be hunted.”

“But what of this other world?” her mother asked. “What if they realize that we are not from there?”

“They will never know. I’ve arranged everything. I’ve even given you a little cottage that I furnished with love. It’s not home, but I hope it will serve. Goodbye, I love you both.”

And with that her mother stumbled the last few steps into the cave. They looked back toward her father and a light flared between them. Cindy closed her eyes against the glare. When she opened them again, they were in the cottage. The cottage she would live in, watching her mother’s sadness. The cottage she would inherit when her mother succumbed to the sadness and withered away as the years passed and her father did not return.

Cindy opened her eyes again, to see her father standing in front of her, tears pouring down his face.

“I’m so sorry,” he said, his voice clogged with emotion.

Cindy looked at the box in her hands. She knew that it had come from a very special place.

A place called home.

Seeking Strength

“Your living isn’t determined by what life brings to you as it is by the attitude you bring to your life.” (Sherrilyn Kenyon)

Precarious piles
of unbalanced worries
fragile and threatening.
Be cautious
Slowly you make your way through
One step at a time
before
everything
topples
burying you beneath
things you cannot change
dreams you have not found
worries that belong to you
but also someone else.
A mind lost
A lump found
an expense building
a government crumbling
a world gone mad
A hope–
empty
A future–
unsure.
Yet at the base of the pile
Underneath the wispy papers
and the collapsing packages
lies the strength of belief
in yourself
in justice
in dreams
in words.
Sometime your strength wavers
Yet it cannot fade. It lies within you,
and is the foundation for all. The pile will not fall.

Image by Roger Boulay

The Continuing Adventures of Alice (100WCGU)

This week’s 100 Word Challenge for Grownups from Julia asked us to use the phrase ….‘What was the rabbit late for,’ wondered Alice…… That seemed simple enough, until I realized the other part of this challenge:

the last 10 words are going to be used to start a piece by someone else next week!!”

I refuse to worry about whether or not my last 10 words are a good prompt or motivator for someone else. I just wanted to see if I could write in “Alice’s” voice.  Here is the result:

The White Rabbit

The White Rabbit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What was the rabbit late for,” wondered Alice. “I mean, rabbits can’t really be very important people, can they? Important people are always rushing off to meetings and whatnot and barely have enough time to stop for a cup of tea. Imagine a rabbit drinking tea.” She laughed at his thought, until she walked into a log that had fallen across her path. At her present height of 8 inches tall, the log seemed more like a mountain, and its covering of velvety purple moss made it challenging to get a handhold. “Why this log would be a proper throne for a king.”

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Alice (fron...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Alice (frontispiece) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Little Announcement

I am tired of myself and my excuses. If I want to be a writer, I need to indeed follow a story through to its end. As I embark on a novel writing project, I am even more aware of my excuses and my backing away from challenges. So, I am giving myself a new challenged, based off of these 100 word challenges. How many times have I used the challenge to spark a little piece of fiction, only to leave it dangling while readers clamor for more? I am going to attempt to finish those unfinished stories, but still keep them succinct.  I will post them here for your reading pleasure (or for you to completely ignore if that suits your desire) Wish me luck.

Tilting at Windmills or The Search for True Heroes

“So many misconceptions surround the notion of heroism. Far too many categorize a hero as a champion on the battlefield, a commander of legions, a master of rare talent or ability. Granted, there have been heroes who fit those descriptions. But many men of great evil as well. Heed me. A hero sacrifices for the greater good. A hero is true to his or her conscience. In short, heroism means doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Although any person could fit that description, very few do.” (Brandon Mull, Beyonders: A World Without Heroes, 110)

Those words resonated with me as I was re-reading Beyonders yesterday in preparation for reading the second book in the series.  I love this description of heroism, because it suggests that regular people can accomplish great things, if they do it for the right reasons.

It sometimes feels like, we live in a world lacking in heroes. I know, there are plenty of heroes that fit the misconceived description. There are even a few heroes that “do the right thing regardless of the consequences” but they are hard to find amidst all the cacophony of causes and complaints that barrage us daily.

I find myself wanting to hide under the covers because I feel like I am constantly tilting at windmills.

But perhaps a true hero keeps tilting at the windmills, even when faced with the impossibility of success.

Perhaps I have been looking for heroes in the wrong places . . . I’ve been looking for the ones that shout the loudest and make themselves known. But, when I think about it, the most heroic people I know are the quiet heroes. The ones who fight battles without need for recognition. The ones who seek to make change by setting good examples and speaking quiet truths. I’ve met teacher heroes and blogging heroes, I’ve met single mother heroes and artist heroes. I’ve met married heroes and single heroes. Heroic people are everywhere, but they don’t always get noticed in the middle of the chaos and the noise.

I believe it is time for me to, once again, celebrate the quiet heroes I’ve met in this world, because through them I honestly believe that the world can be a better place.  I’ve written about some of them in previous posts:

But I feel the need to find more of these quiet heroes in our world.

Who are the heroes in your life? Who do you admire for the way they approach the world?

 Does anyone want to tilt at windmills with me?

Seeking Sass and Style

Something strange is happening to me.

Perhaps it is because I just turned 43, leaving me safely ensconced in (early) middle age.

Perhaps it is the fact that I only have to get dressed decently once a week for the class I teach at a University. Otherwise my normal look involves the least dirty comfy clothes.

Perhaps it is the recent decision my hair has made to be the bane of my existence. It has embraced frizz as a permanent state of being, and has begun a subtle sneak attack introducing new white strands when I least expect it. I admit, I tried to conquer that through color. My first attempt (over a month ago) looked great, but didn’t last long. In a battle against yesterday’s monster, Nathan helped me with my second attempt yesterday.

I like the results as far as color goes, but I have to do something with style.

Perhaps it is simply the “in” colors this season, bright pinks and corals that I have always loved.

Suddenly, I have started thinking about style. Suddenly I find myself seeking sassiness.

My new sassy sandals.

Be afraid, be very afraid.

The sandals are evidence that something has taken over my brain. Despite my 5 foot tall frame, I live in flats and sneakers, or the occasional 1 inch heeled cowboy boot.  But yesterday,  wedges called to me, saying “We are sassy and you want us!”  I tried many on, but none of them seemed to work until I put on this pair.

“Wow!” Nathan said.

Now I own  the sassiness.

Of course, being the fashion-notta that I am, I have to practice walking in these babies before I take them out in public. So I decided that I would walk around the house with them a little each day, figuring it might even help my legs get into shape a little.  Yesterday, I felt the beginnings of a blister forming, so I decided to protect my feet for this mornings sassy workout.

Still stylish in a Lisa's style way.

Nathan insisted on taking a picture, saying “you might want to blog about this.” So blame him for the craziness of this post.

Of course, once I started thinking about sass and style, I couldn’t stop. So I got dressed in one of my new purchases (made with birthday money last week). I can’t decide if I look:

a) matronly
b) like a maniac
or c) Sassy

All I know is I have to do something with my hair.

Suggestions?

The Monster

It loves to creep in when you are sleeping, oozing into your dreams and manipulating them to promote the utmost confusion and terror. Of course, then those dreams wake you up, and the rest of the night becomes one of tossing, turning, insecurity. “To sleep, perchance to dream” but without sleep the dreams hold you hostage>

The monster has been there.

Next it weighs you down in bed, making you tired and unable or willing to get up. But to stay in bed means to sleep more and to sleep means to dream. A vicious cycle.

You wake up and begin to write. Three pages. Morning pages. Pages intended to get the monster out of your head and enable you to face the day with energy and creativity. But the monster grips your pain, making each stroke painful. The monster whispers in your ear, “It’s futile. This won’t help. You can’t escape.”

Somehow you write the pages anyway. The monster hasn’t completely won.

Perhaps you get up, but the monster has not let you out of its grasp. No, it tricks you into thinking that everything is good. That you have defeated it and sent it back into its dark and stinking lair. You try to greet the day with cheer and a positive attitude, shaking off the grip of the monster.

“I’ll make my own breakfast.”

“These eggs taste funny.”

“Do I have to?”

Harmless words that have nothing to do with you. But, the monster twists them, using its power over language so that you hear this instead:

“You don’t know how to cook.”

“Daddy makes better eggs.”

“You are such a nag.”

The monsters niggles and pokes until every moment of being awake is almost as torturous as the moments of the dream. The sun refuses to come out, because it too is afraid of the monster.  Words circle around you and suffocate you. You try to escape in the words of others, but that only allows the monster a new form of attack. “That writer is better than you. You have no original ideas. That person is more popular. . . ” The comparisons that hold you down, away from even trying.

You take a shower, hoping to wash the monster’s slime off of you. To cleanse away the tentacles and claws.

For a moment it works, lulling you into a false sense of security. You feel your breath ease. You begin to relax. Your eyes begin to close, falling into the comfort of a new kind of sleep, after the disturbances of the previous night.

But the monster knows how to get in once you sleep.  The cycle begins again.

I want to get out a torch and slay the monster. This is not the beast of Beauty and the Beast, trapped in the form of monsters by his own ego, but basically innocent. This is not the Hunchback of Notre Dame, hated for a deformity and because of people’s ignorance. This monster is invisible and hurtful. This monster is terrifying and powerful. This monster grips many of us in its grasp and will not let go.

I’m ready to fight it. Lisa the Depression Slayer is on duty now, and she intends to win.

 

Little Bird With A Big Voice

Little bird with a big voice
to whom do you call?

Flying free from tree to tree
your song beckons to me.

I follow, seeking to understand
the message of your song.

I do not know your name
I cannot capture your beauty
even in the frame of my camera.

Yet your call still echoes
and I follow.

A call of joy, of loneliness
of yearning, of peace, of freedom.

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