The Journey as Sestina

 I felt like writing poetry today, and decided to challenge myself by writing in a form called Sestina. I’ve only used this form once before, in a poem I wrote years ago for my sister called “A Sestina from the Heart”


Box by box, item by item, I pack for our move
to a place both familiar and yet unknown
pursuing a life or perhaps a dream
of days filled with fulfilling work and challenges
met with a smile, a laugh, and joy
and evenings filled with stars, friends, and peace.

What will it take to find that peace?
Does the solution lie with this next move?
Or does the truth lie with inner joy
and acceptance that life is a journey into the unknown
with every day bringing new challenges
as we pursue our ever-changing dream?

What happens when we become unsure and dream-
less, tossing and turning at night in search of elusive peace?
Perhaps the search for a new dream becomes one of the challenges
which keeps a soul vibrant and constantly on the move
always  embracing the unexpected and the unknown
which will sometimes bring sadness but more often joy.

What if you find life is not filled with joy?
Or that everything you hope for is only a dream?
Then the next step becomes another unknown
followed by another, and another, and another until you find the peace-
ful place inside your heart which encourages a move
toward other dreams, other stories, other challenges.

Unless, of course, you wish for a life without challenges,
but for me that seems like a life without joy.
For me a successful challenge is a move
toward the next step of the journey and piece of the dream.
Knowing I can handle what comes gives me a sense of peace
even as I journey into the unknown.

I knowingly take steps toward the unknown
trusting that life will not give me any challenges
I cannot face. Knowing that even days not filled with peace,
can still be filled with joy.
As long as I keep working toward a dream
then nothing bad will happen on this, or any,  move.

While I don’t know what challenges this move
will bring, I believe that the unknown dream
is the one that will bring me peace and joy.

Sometimes I Wish . . .

Sometimes I wish
I could just let go.
Let my mind fall into the
secret world of insanity
where life takes on the shapes of your dreams.

But I know those dreams could easily turn into nightmares.

Sometimes I wish
I could just let go
of responsibility and appropriateness
of doing good in the face of bad
of my sense of decency and justice
that other people find so easy to ignore.

But then my heart weeps.

Sometimes I wish I could just let go
of the fears that hold me back
and the kindness that does the same.
I wish I could become the tigress
fighting for her family despite
the pain she may inflict
on others.
Or the secret viper whose poisonous bite
destroys without care.

Sometimes I wish . . .

But then

H is for . . .

I have been struggling a little today, with a blank screen and a blank mind. This will be a week of juggling too many balls at once, and I am feeling overwhelmed. When I posted on Facebook that I had nothing to say and no “H” words to write about, my dear friend Beth suggested that perhaps I need to write about the word HELP! I took that idea, and then borrowed a little from the inspiration of the wonderful Kathy McCullough at Reinventing the Event Horizon who has been sharing her fabulous art that reveals so much of the pain and beauty in her psyche. I thought I’d take to color and paper, and see where my mind brought me. This is the result:

H is for the Hills that I have yet to climb.

His for the Hopelessness that builds inside.

H is for Happiness I yearn for and Hope to find.

H is for the Heaven in my daughter’s Hazel eyes.

H is for the Home and the Hearth of my dreams

H is for the Hurt that I try to abate.

H is for Hunger that I Hope to feed.

H is for the Humor that Helps me Live.

What Happens Next?

My most recent unknown started here. (Photo by Steve Kramer


I’ve noticed that many people lately live fearful lives.

There seem to be many causes for this:

  • The economy: which leaves financial security and career opportunities unknown
  • Nature: which leaves the question of the entire earth surviving into the future unknown
  • An aging society: which leaves us open to more unknown diseases and health issues
  • Overwhelming possibilities: which makes more people feel like something is wrong when their path to “success” is unknown
  • Loss of community: which makes people feel alone in the unknown.

Does anyone see the common word here? It is the unknown.

Many of my friends have been feeling this fear lately. Either in person or on Facebook, or even in the blogosphere, people are becoming overwhelmed by the unknown, as I was reminded reading A. Hab’s post yesterday.

I am no exception, but I don’t want to live in fear anymore.

I have been living with the unknown for several years now. Actually, I think it has been longer than that. I entered the unknown when I graduated with a Ph.D and then had no idea what I really wanted to do with my life. I’d achieved many dreams, but didn’t have any new clear dreams or goals. I moved further into the unknown when my husband, through the politics of academia, was not given tenure in his position–just as the economy crashed. So we moved blindly forward hoping to find a place to land safely and call home.

We landed on our feet, but we still live in the unknown because this does not feel like home. I am beginning to discover new dreams, but that becomes harder because I am now fully ensconced in early Middle Age. For some reason it feels harder to dream big when you have to support a family and compete against people half your age. But shouldn’t experience be more valuable than youth? You would think so.

Everyday I wake up into the unknown.

Today I woke up without a clue what to write about, and almost a fear of facing this blog.  Today I woke up without a plan, without a goal, without a known.

But, as I write this, I know that’s okay. I have survived the unknown, and I will continue to survive the unknown.

That’s the only thing I really know. And I think that has to be enough.

Would anyone care to join me on an exciting adventure into the unknown? I promise you, it will be exciting and take us to places we could never imagine.

And, to reveal my inner Gleek–Rachel’s song from yesterdays show really goes along with how I’m feeling today:

Bizarre Imaginings

17/52 - A Midsummer Night's Dream

Wow! I just had a doozy of a dream. Because of my recent fascination with dream mythology, dream interpretation, and the images that represent the collective psyche of the feminine spirit, I am going to share before the images leave me for good.

Lying in bed wearing my daughter’s Halloween costume

A Bollywood dancer.

I hear my husband talking to her in the distance,

getting ready for school but discussing a sleepover

at a house owned by radicals.

She cannot go there, I scream in my head.

My husband enters the bedroom

the silky fabrics of my costume begin to lead to romance

but we start a serious discussion instead

about our daughter.

Suddenly my brother enters eating ice cream out of a carton

for breakfast.

The scene shifts, yet I am still wearing the pink and orange Bollywood costume.

I am now in some kind of beauty/talent competition

Both a contestant and an organizer.

But I am told by the head organizer (who is a person I shall not name but was recognizable )  that I cannot win

Because my name is not big enough

Because I am not a so-called professional.

I volunteer to take one of the “professional judges” to his hotel.

A person unknown to me.

We have dinner.

My husband joins us.

Italian food soaking in watery red sauce.

As we eat the discussion turns back to the sleepover

and the scary family.

I sit and worry about my daughter as the restaurant turns into a bus

We pass a smooth clear ocean,

bright pastel blue.

I leave the table to get closer to the smell of the waves and the feeling of the spray; but I am  still watching it through the windows of the bus.

Standing balanced as the bus wobbles across the road.

The ocean shifts

becoming storm-tossed.

Boiling white waves crashing toward the bus, spray shooting into the air.

I move forward to a single seat


feet encased in mud.

I watch the spray and start to cry

but the women behind me ignore my tears

They chatter away as if nothing is happening.

I try to scrape the mud off of my feet

while watching the power of the ocean.

I talk on the cell phone,

“If you harm my daughter, I will send every Nazi hunter in the world after you,” I say.

The ocean continues to crash, while someone tries to drive through it in a car towing a bunch of belongings;
not packed away, but small pieces of life laid out on a flat bed for all to see.

One woman behind me says, “I can’t believe they are doing that!” and laughs.

I can’t believe it either, I cry more.

The mud clings to  my feet more thickly

and  . . .

Then, my obnoxious dogs decide to have a bark-howl fest for absolutely no reason that I can see other the fact that I was sleeping and everyone else had left the house. My dogs don’t howl unless they are lonely or they hear sirens going by (they learned to howl at those because of the Great Dane next door). So I was forced out of the dream when I felt like I was approaching something, and yet I don’t know what.  I clearly understand some of this dream. I also know what some of the things are supposed to represent. But this dream, with vivid details including color, smell, taste and its bizarre mixture of people and scene shifts feels important to me somehow.

Why were my feet covered with mud? Why did the women ignore my tears? Why was I crying?

I want to understand this dream.

Does anyone out there have a clue about what it means?

Hours of Creative Madness


2500 Creative Commons Licenses

Image by qthomasbower via Flickr


There are moments when I am reminded of the wonderful stuff that can happen when passionately creative people get together and focus on one goal. Yesterday I was a director for the College 24 Hour Plays at the Inge Center for the Performing Arts. I won’t say brilliant pieces came out of it; some were good, some were interesting, some probably needed more work. But I will say that having a group of people focused on this one thing, the creation of fully staged 10 minute plays that didn’t exist the day before, was revitalizing. My cast (for the most part) were completely amazing; they dove into finding nuances and creating depth in roles that I believe truly nurtured the play.

I’ve experienced this kind of energy with a few people, and in a few situations. Now, I know that creating theatre doesn’t necessarily change the world (although I truly believe it has the power too). But, I am thinking about the potential power of bring a group of truly committed artists of all types in creating something good for the world. When egos are set aside, the air is filled with pulsing powers that could lead us somewhere amazing.

If we take the power of dreams, the creativity and drive of artists, and the power of groups, and the strength (but not the egos) of individuals, where might we go?

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