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Showing posts from January, 2016

Burn Your Vision Board

Sometimes you cannot be sure you've come up with the right vision for yourself. I always feel like I have the path laid out, but lately it's been taking on a life of its own. I'm reminded to stop trying to be creative. I read this article once and I keep going back to it (click on image to read). A few days ago when I made the decision to quit everything that was getting in my way of creativity, a friend sent me this poem by Danielle Dulsky over at Rebelle Society. This is who I am now. I am a Wolf Wilder as Katherine Rundell explains in her masterpiece.  ________________________________ winter witch, burn your vision board: misbehaving under the wolf moon.
The new moon’s birth in January is heralded by the primal pitch of a wolf-mother’s howl, and you have heard this with your womb-ears. In the deep darkness of your Winter Witch’s psyche, you let this sound rip through your carefully orchestrated objectives and unearth your neatly nested seeds. Woman, burn…

The Attic of Oxford, where I actually leave the house

Despite being raised by a fiercely Anglophile mother, I had never been to Europe before turning 21. So I took things into my own hands. I went to London with my best friend Anna when we turned 22. 
The dichotomy between the two of us would have been obvious to more well travelled people. Those people might have said traveling together could be a mistake. Anna had been working for three years; I was just out of college. She had tons of money; I had none. She wanted to visit London in a way I thought suited a more seasoned adult: stay in a nice hotel, go to chic restaurants, and shop at Harrod’s. I wanted to hang out in pubs like the Eagle and Child Pub in Oxford where Tolkein and C.S. Lewis had spent their time talking about writing and difficult issues. I couldn't wait to look for flea markets. The thought of renting bikes and scooting in and out of King’s College thrilled me. We fought about anything we disagreed on before we started finding things to argue about that didn't…

Grilled Cheese: A One Sentence Story

I climbed out of the warm bed because our hunger could not be dismissed after he told me about his mother making perfect hamburgers for breakfast which spurred me to admit I make a perfect grilled cheese sandwich and happened to have all the ingredients right out there in that kitchen of mine, including the thinly sliced Pepperidge Farm white sandwich bread and extra sharp cheddar cheese, prompting him to say foolishly that he thought American cheese might melt better when we all know it’s the sharpness in the cheddar that, in the absence of other flavors (except for very good unsalted butter) creates a perfect bite of tangy, buttery, crunchy, smoothness allowing us to fall in love as we sat on my white kitchen counters in the pitch of night and savored the simplicity of life which rendered all previous troubles and unappetizing meals moot.

Seeing Paris (from the apartment window)

As I packed each box, I typed up a list of its exact contents and taped it to the top of the box. I was heading to Paris for an undecided amount of time.
     My father said, "just go."
     My brother's now ex-wife said, "I have an apartment you can live in."
     I thought, "I have no other plans."
So I bought the tickets and left the return trip open ended. Then I packed some ten odd boxes of everything I owned in the world less a few articles of clothing and shipped those boxes to a friend in Boston for safe keeping. My family members laughed when they saw that I was headed to Paris with one large suitcase. In Paris, I thought, I can be anyone I want to be. The big problem was that I had no idea who that might be. So I packed things a Parisian might wear. Jeans, white t-shirts, an Hermes scarf, a few black basics, and some shoes. I didn't want to overdo it.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

That first walk up the three flights of stairs to the perfectly …


The requirement of an autobiographer is that he write the "truth of his experience", but memory is a delicate subject now isn't it? When my family gets together, inevitably the talk turns to "remember when?" One brother will start to tell that story of how my mother dumped water over his head to wake him up and the rest of us will roll our eyes at each other remembering how it really happened. It is a time and a place, memory, but it is also a person. One person. One person who remembers it as it was for her. We must read a memoir as if it were her truth which means much of the lines will smudge together where we won't be able to read in between. We must be okay with that. Perception is reality after all.
I've been writing a whole lot about myself lately and I often think about a quote from the literary journal Creative Nonfiction:something about how your family will hate you once you start writing about them. I'm careful when I write. I'm caref…

String too short to be saved

Once as I was looking through the bookshelves of an old friend, I stumbled upon a book by American poet Donald Hall. The book was titled String Too Short To Be Saved. He prefaced the book by explaining that as he explored his mother's attic, he found a box with her neat handwriting on the label: String too short to be saved. Later I read that this moved Joan Didion and Ralph Fletcher as much as it moved me. It's these details about life, the small pieces that seem to amount to nothing that will add up to something later when they are connected with other small bits. Like Hall's mother, I save these bits--no, not the stuff, I hate stuff--these words that seem to amount to nothing. They are the words that will bring my pieces to life. Instead of a shoebox in the attic, I keep them in my notebook because you just never know.


Recently I wrote a poem about how my daughter has become afraid of everything. It's been a tough phase for sure. She never wants to be without me. At one or two years old this is a phase everyone understands, but at eight it starts to wear thin. We took it seriously from the get-go. Bringing her to the therapist we love and trust. The one who helped our son through the transition of skipping a grade right into the craziness of middle school. There, she talked it out and left the office practically floating on air. She chatted all the way back to school. She laughed at the silly things that used to make her laugh. Even her teacher noticed her giddiness. Therapy helped in a way my discussions with her did not. It also gave us new language to use. "Your internal alarm is being over-sensitive and you need  to reset it and remind yourself that it's not working right." 
Then my husband and I got another idea. Let's make her room a special place to be! So we put a week…

Parts of Me

The parts of me
that did not survive
my childhood

a ballerina
an artist
and a veterinarian.

I look for them
in my writing,
in my solitude,
in my children,

or animal watching

One Little Word

A few years ago I started using One Little Word as a guiding force in my life. I learned about this concept from Ali Edwards. My OLW is a  mantra for me. I do everything in my power to incorporate my word into everything I do. Last year (2015) my word was iWrite. I reflected on what I write, why I write, how I write, and who I am as a writer. I shared my writing with teachers, writers. and my students. I breathed writing in 2015. I joined conversations from a writing perspective and I created space for writing within the chaos of my life. I wrote every single day in 2015 and it changed me. This year I started reading Gretchen Rubin's Project Happiness book. I liked how methodical she was about finding what made her happy and making it a part of her happiness practice. I decided to take it on for myself. I ordered her one sentence happiness journal and started it on January 1st. I found a great bracelet on Etsy that will help me stay true to my mantra this year. HAPPINESS