My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as those who simply love to read. You will find eclectic snippets here—news of projects I’m working on, comments regarding books I enjoy, favorite authors, quotes, and reflections regarding my own experiences. I especially like to write about my dreams—those parables in the night seasons. Symbols and metaphors delight and intrigue me. You will find them here.
When I was eight years old I loved The Beatles. I had a huge crush on Paul McCartney. I guess I still do. In 1963 I'd sit in my pink bedroom, cross-legged on the ecru shag carpet, reminiscent of a poodle-like dog breed, holding the Rubber Soul album and sigh over the handsome faces of the "Fab Four." My dad had disparaging remarks about the long-haired foursome--"Hippies," he said, fingering his neatly trimmed mustache with thumb and forefinger, wearing his gray suit.
I remained transfixed. I'd carefully open my portable record player (the cover was brown faux snakeskin), switch it on, then blow lightly over the needle, loving the sound of my breath echoing through that childhood room, the white French Provencial dresser cluttered with hair ribbons, rubberbands, pennies and a music box with a ballerina that twirled on a spring when I opened the lid.
I liked all the songs, but would place the needle ever so gently over number six on side one. There was that slight hiss as the LP moved smoothly around the turntable before the song began. Michelle, ma belle I need to, I need to, I need to make you see oh, what you mean to me...Paul sang.
What with all my expectations long abandoned
My solitary nature notwithstanding
You're the one who pulled me
Out of that crashlanding
My stunning mystery companion~(Lyrics from Jackson Browne's My Stunning Mystery Companion)
This week the moon seemed to follow me, like some stunning mystery companion. One evening I spent several minutes gazing out my window at its golden orb, like a decanter of light. The inky craters etched on its white face seemed like pictographs--shadows of somthing I could not distinguish. Its simple presence, hanging there in the black night seemed to hold something for me--something I longed for but could not name.
And then that contemplative moment dissolved. I forgot about the moon, and real life swallowed me up. Meetings, deadlines, housework, doctor's appointments and finally taking my car in for its next check-up. I sat waiting to hear how much I would have to pay to keep me safely on the road. And there I sat by another mystery companion. I noted a purple cane was propped against her chair. She waited too for the monetary verdict for her 1992 Ford. I felt curious about this elegant woman. I guessed she was probably over eighty. She wore trendy black horn-rimmed glasses. Her Nike's sported neon-orange laces that matched her Coach bag trimmed in neon-orange leather. Her legs were pipe cleaners, white cotton socks clinging to her frail ankles. She wore a gold wedding band. She clutched a paperback romance novel.
He couldn't get out. I saw him sitting in the window sill as I walked to my car in the parking garage. He sat waiting, exhausted. From the bird's viewpoint, I'm sure it seemed to him that if he only tried a little harder he could take flight into the silvery sunlit day. But the clear pane of glass wouldn't permit him. I could tell when I saw him that he'd been trying for a while to flee. I drew close to him and could see the fine lines of black and white etched on his feathers, almost as if someone had painted them on with ink. His head feathers were ruffled, I think, from all his exertion. He sensed my nearness, the anxiety to get away from me causing him to make more attempts at flying through the towering window. When he raised his wings, I could see the loveliest shade of yellow on the sides of his body, the color of lemons.
It all started with the plum-colored dress--handsewn with hundreds of minute purple beads and sequins that glittered in the light. When I wore the floor-length gown, I thought I looked good in it, but when I saw pictures of myself wearing the dress, I felt disappointed and self-conscious. The photos indicated I'd gained a significant amount of weight. I knew I'd gained weight over the last two years--in fact weighed more than at nine months pregnant with one of my children. And now I saw the reality--in a living shade the color of wine.
And so I stepped out of contemplating that it would be a good idea to lose weight, and moved toward action--toward the grocery store. I told my husband I couldn't stand the extra weight anymore and decided to do something about it. He didn't say much, but helped me unload more vegetables, lean meats, fruit and nuts when I returned from Harris Teeter.
Two days later Giovanni and I are facing each other at the dinner table. In an attempt to support me on the new eating plan, he grilled chicken that I cut up over fresh greens. I am happily eating when the explosion happens.
I teach a class once a month at a local detention center. There is a group of women in a drug and alcohol program at the jail, and my class focuses on ways to reduce harm as it regards managing the disease of addiction. We talk a lot about coping skills--safe ways to manage anxiety and loneliness and anger.
Often to get the ball rolling, I bring an activity for the women to participate in. For this session I said, "Now imagine you're going on a very important and much-anticipated trip. You can only take three pieces of clothing, and a coat. You already own a nice pair of leather shoes. What would you choose to take and describe your coat?" The small room began to buzz with their imaginings. What woman does not like clothes? And these women do like to imagine themselves in prettier, nicer clothing, because they are outfitted in the same uniform--dingy gray and black striped prison wear, their shoes cheap plastic open-toed slides. Sometimes seeing their bare feet in those shoes fills me with sadness--big toes with chipped polish and heels toughened and black. Almost none of them wear socks, and their feet look cold. A thin-stick woman with haunting blue eyes breaks me from my reverie and says she would take black pants, a black top and a lime-green scarf--her coat heavy with a detachable hood and zip out lining. "I don't know where I'll be going, so I'll be prepared for any kind of weather."