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Archive for the ‘Write On!’ Category

My brain is weary of those bullet pointed resume words customized daily. It is squishy, I know. It is no longer the taunt and fit muscle that hunts for dots to connect, that draws pictures in starry skies.

The stumble occurred on a random May morning over coffee. Story A Day. My interest perked but there were other more important things to tend. I left. I customized.

I don’t believe in coincidence – perhaps this is the open window, the rabbit hole filled with adventure to follow. I returned. I read and gathered. I chewed slowly for a month.

The prompt: Epistolary Stories.

I read or heard a story about a poet who telling of her craft said that sometimes words rush at her like a freight train when she’s in the garden. She drops the hoe and sprints to the house for pen and paper. Sometimes she makes it in time so the words ink themselves as gift, no thought, no editing. Sometimes her foot catches on the top porch step. She is late and the train rushes through her as if she were a tunnel. At which point, the words come perfectly backwards.

The saying goes like this: “It’s either a light at the end of the tunnel or a freight train coming.”

“No worries,” I whisper to self while opening a blank page. “You like trains.”

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I made a promise, after hearing & recording all that was said, on that old bench. I used the words ‘never’ and ‘ever’ and closed the door & dead bolted.

Beforehand, I battled it out loud. I used words like atonement for, jealousy of & lording over. But I was weary & the wind was too strong. So like a house of cards, I toppled. It is best to lie still lest the beast be further aroused, I thought. Silence can be golden, I consoled.

In my mind, the facts flared. After all, I had done the calculations in the early morning hours. I made lists, cataloging the whole against the slightest mention into one column, then flushing it further into positive & negative. I knew these darts slung while I sat slumped were myopic, knew in black & white the wrongs, but my soles were sore from treading, my muscles tired of strain.

So I willed it. I vowed the quit.

And instead of scraps scrawled and tucked away, each time a phrase rose gentle swift, each time a verb turned in dance with the sun or a stray leaf, I spun around resolute & refused to note. I refused to embrace & my arms ached deeper.

Then came the reminder of who I was in brotherly laughter. Then came the sharing on a bold twirling whim, one I had back spaced out of many times. Then came the question of “why not” & the honest answer & the retort “ridiculous.”

And I girded & I wrote & stitched & slept because all of this is what was needed in one day.

And now I offer fumbling apologies for delighting in wonder at how far exactly ants dig & why the sky is so blue some days. For my need to relive in order to understand. For my need to document the search in order to finally arrive.

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“If I can’t find God in the ordinary places of life, either I’m not looking hard enough or he’s not nearly as approachable as I need him to be.   This is a paradox too. God appears in all the ordinary places, burning bushes, naked Barbies, plumbing disasters. But when he does, those places become holy. Moses had to take his shoes off.” ~from an interview with Marcus Goodyear, Barbies at Communion

He says he approaches God by writing poetry. He says this is how he offers the formality of incense and genuflection to God who is every detail. This is how he makes Him real and how He makes him real.

I don’t know how I came to this quote. I don’t know how I recalled it during the holiday purge of torn paper scraps and ribbon and cardboard boxes from carpet and couch cushion. It just came.

I was thinking honestly of a woman who didn’t want to lose sight during the rush of gifts, of ribbon, of parties and baking. She said she wanted to stay focused on Him, to remember the bumper sticker slogan “Remember the Reason for the Season.” I told her I would pray for holy vision. And I did and do because I battle myopia too.

I was scooping up, sorting bits and shoving into a bag when I stopped to read what I had written on wood and given to my husband in that silly girl homemade way.

It was our first anniversary – the paper anniversary. I created on a plain wood slab this mosaic of sorts from bits. I remember sitting cross-legged on the tile floor contemplating placement of this image and that image and twirling with messy mind to the process of making paper – the grind of rough bark and sweet insides into pulp, the pressing into shape, the purge of impurities, the heat – most of which to me is a mystery that could be cleared by Google or the public library. Perhaps it was the thought of flame that led me here to the place where shoes are taken off.

I remember I was holding the bag, looking through the living room door into the kitchen. The children began to bang a drum with steady intent. Their voices were muddy sounding groans instead of lilting melody and chorus. They were playing Cowboys & Indians. I had seen each head adorned with the feathers earlier. And I thought of Mary nursing a still sticky babe in a filthy manger and of those who would arrive weary from travel and how the Holy Spirit deconstructs groans then shoved the scraps gathered deep.

“What is it about the everyday that appeals to you?” the interviewer asks.

“It’s where I live!” exclaims Marcus Goodyear. I smile and wonder if his words were blurted internal with that joy of obvious and hint of duh like I would have said it.

I look at the homespun again this morning, amazed that I offered my thick preschool  handiwork to a real artist. The words were scrawled in flurry I remember. “Holy Spirit you are welcome and wanted here.” “A plan bigger. A mystery bolder.” This is my marriage prayer, I remember musing with Crayola marker in hand. To have and hold and stay together solid in that plain paper way that goes unnoticed. Now three years later, the ink is blurred and messy because time has sunk it deep into the grains and this makes me smile contentedly wide.

“It’s a way of taking my shoes off and showing respect to God when I catch glimpses of him.”

I wrap his words tightly around me and genuflect.

____

Humbly I invite you to join me for In Other Words by quietly leaving your link in the comment box.

Please visit others who have written too and leave a brief note. The power of encouragement and acknowledgement binds like no other.

All thru Him,

Cin

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I was returning to rhythms slowly, gently. I was sleeping & eating & reading & breathing more fully after weeks of rushing about with thoughts of “just-as-soon-as.”

Then I received the email asking if I wanted to host In Other Words.

I told no one for two full days because I was shocked still from invitation and the hot winds of doubting question and thought that blew in quickly behind.

“Y’all really want me? I’m a rolling train wreck!”

“What quote do I have to use? I don’t think I have anything of use.”

“What if I booger this up royally? My potential is so high.”

“What part could this front of the room stuff have in the big picture?”

“Why do they want me?”

“I can’t do it. I’ll be in Arizona that day.”

“Is it a sin to miss this opportunity? To say No, I gotta thing I gotta do?”

My husband while doing other things said yes I should. So I did with shaking knee and shallow breath.

And I picked a quote rock-paper-scissor style from several that didn’t have a story of day attached. I wanted one that was blank. It still is blank.

“And why should the good of anyone depend on the prayer of another? I can only answer with the return question. ‘Why should my love be powerless to help another?’ ” ~ George MacDonald

The instructions are simple: Read the quote, write it down, stuff it in your pocket, chew and sift as we all do. Then write from where you are right now using it as the launch pad. Next Tuesday leave a comment containing your link.

Please join me with your words.

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I was daydreaming like I do when the task has space in it for a bit of other thought to seep in a swirl. Like that light breeze that comes from somewhere unseen to open the screen door slightly with one foot on the threshold, that pulls and pushes the childless swing lightly.

And my phone hummed with a lit screen, pulling me.

I don’t remember what was said. The conversation was probably wrapped in logistics spurred by happenings as they are.

Returning to spacious task, I twirled and danced then texted.

“how wild & weird that I’m sitting here & thinking so hard about you then you call. Its as if you knew. And Im still smiling. Love”

And I was. And I felt awkward hitting send. I gush openly rarely. I felt brave & nodded to God gratefully through the open door for the strength.

“esp…like my Mom and me have…love”

I chuckled. I completed task. I thought of ESP, of mind reading, of supernatural senses, of love with the capital, the extra key stroke, and without.

There’s an openness there, I think. Extra Sensory Perception. There’s a tapping in, a cleaning out, an open doorness.

Kything is a better word. It’s an old word, primitive, meaning communication without words, silence. Meaning ultimately a vulnerability and openness to energy, an invisible tethering, perhaps umbilical in meaning – both center and cord.

Kything.

I may have spelled it wrong.

The feel of it in my mouth, its breathiness, is what I carried as I went about the business of packing to travel again. Like a bird, I began to fly in its air.

Is tethered the best word to describe? To tie down, give a short leash, to limit.

When I say to self “it’s time to center up,” am I tethering? Or is it the true river deep kything? Sinking in steadily like when I sit silently, pushing away world. Is this what I seek, when I say I crave silence?

Perhaps to kythe is to touch web. Those thin filaments that meld together lightly loosely, but with strength to connect one to another, to create home, beauty and hold dew in such a way that pulls one in, despite prejudice of maker.

And I pushed the cart outside, into brightness of sun, into a breeze that brings a coolness to neck and crook of arm.

Perhaps its like a kite string. I flew a kite about a year or so ago. As I held the string and taught our youngest son how to keep it taunt yet loose, I wondered if the hum I felt, was the wind’s voice. Or angels. I pictured it in my head graph like, jumping up and down on screen like a TV hospital heartbeat.

I thought of ultrasound, of the wand jellied and rubbed across wide belly searching center of me for pulse of someone I haven’t seen with eyes yet, but know.

I jerked the cart hard, rounding the corner, to the ramp.

I chuckled at self, at the wandering, at the flood of verse that rises about marriage, about beauty, about a love that needs no words to communicate, at the bigness, at my hair that keeps swishing into my eyes and mouth, at the swirl of mystery and my small grasp.

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July’s Black Bird

I wanted to blame it on the black birds in that field. The one I drove past daily. The one whose supple fields were making their way towards gold. Was it exhaustion from battling heat and wind that caused the thin sharp blades to seep green? It felt too early for harvest.

I heard them each morning because despite the heat I had my windows rolled down. I wanted air. Real air. Moving air. I ignored the humidity. And I heard their caw and wing flap.

One day I met eyes with one on the entrance sign. Round orb protruding, mirroring me back, while I waited for the fella in front of me to turn.

His head shifted in jerks. His mouth opened slightly.

His left wing, the one I saw, shone iridescent purple and gold. Mirroring the ditch flowers and the field behind. We stared at each other with a bold brevity. But it has lasted longer.

I was writing in my head when I stopped and checked the rearview mirror to be certain the car behind would see me stopped on her morning commute to somewhere important. I was whispering and twirling in the words of my day, of the praises of this moment, of the hope for July.

Then the words were gone. All of them swirling in my head and scrawled on odd paper.

The ones left sounded like an adolescent whine, a plea for something unknown – I can’t handle my life right now.

I can’t handle the time pressure, the spreadsheets, the phone ringing, the dirty laundry, the clean laundry, the dinner dishes. I can’t handle my name being called one more time.

And I thought of that bird, shining splendour, in the way God made him. I thought of the way he stretched and pushed his voice out into the sky over the field so all who bothered to hear could hear. I thought of the way his wings must have been as strong as my legs and as long.  I thought of the way he lifted them together at once in blue-black swoop, like a choir robe,  to rise and glide and hunt for a hefty bug or lizard. I thought of his motion of soaring above the heat waves rising from pavement was prayer of surrender to do what he was supposed to do.

Now I think of him again as I look and tilt my head. As I hunt too.

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I put down fork to listen in sanctuary. Moved from this food in bowl filled with green mosaic to this that feeds me more.

“It’s not a Nashville album. There are no drums.”

And I know my face betrayed the chills rising across shoulders and down arms. So this is why she came to mind, so this is why I lifted her with love high into stormy cloud and bluest blank sky.

She is journeying and laying and mashing this world into that world. Pasting together what she’s learned from there to what she learned and is still learning here. She is ridding self of seams.

And I listened to her words I now carry in palm of heart where breeze swirls them lightly.

And I thought of those skies where I lifted her. And I thought of water. And of earth’s dust and rich plowed field. And how they layer effortlessly flowing together.

And I thought of drums, of how at times they feel like the pounding of horse hooves causing heart and brain to race faster in my world where urgency reigns supreme in this and that moment temporary.

And I thought of the sound of stand up bass, its gentleness of pulse deep and low like blood through heart, savoring each cord echoing romance liquid from hills high and green, making me and my world want to lean in more.

“Sometimes I prefer that sound. Bass sounds, ” I shrugged, “like, I don’t know, this,” and my arms made the wavy motion like water in curves, like swimming through veins, like wind through tall grasses on hill, like woman, because I didn’t have the words lined up yet. And I shrugged again and felt the chill move to fear of ridiculing self conscience. I blushed awkward and swallowed tongue.

And my husband spoke and gave names of others, as he does to make logical connection, and they talked. And I was grateful for his protective swoop and snatch he doesn’t know he gave.

As we sat and listened to her voice tell her story of her song, I wondered if she writes on the backs of receipts and random scraps found lying or on handmade paper made from pulp and seed and leaves ground and laid out thickly with flecks of dried petal visible.

On Sunday, she asked if I liked it. I was standing back, listening to others’ story and smiling.

And I fought the mist and blur. I squelched the rush of whispered yes and reach of hand to touch hers. I chirped amazement at question, “Are you kidding me? Incredible!” aware of the flutter in belly caused by the singling out. Again I was grateful for another’s saving swoop of words to pull attention from me.

Walking to my seat, I watched her take her place to lead in worship. I watched her body move with subtle ease making minor adjustment in stage light that ditches and burns the curve of chin, of hip, that deepens smile, that shines off the wisp of hair by her ear romantic.

Does she know I use her words?

That I fall apart, crumpled prostate onto floor, under the weight of all these things I carry? That I hum her psalm to rise and walk again?

Of course not, I quipped, internally jabbing at my awkward shyness and swallowed tongue.

She doesn’t know that her words course like a swollen river eddying and swirling, pulsing comfort deep with her voice, inviting me with her arms up and open vulnerable wide into beauty.

She doesn’t know that I have traced them, her words, hard with pencil onto this scrap and this piece until lead tore through, that I attempt to paste and mash my own, longing for seamless too.

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