Seattle, WA
Poet, blogger, lawyer, educator, sista, sister, aunt, daughter, mentor, friend, dog owner, lover of music and all things gluten free... Writing about all of this and more.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why I Write

I write because I have a story to tell and because my soul demands that I tell it in written form and through the spoken word. I write because it is who I am. I write because it is my therapy. I write because I want to share something lasting with others and with the world. I write so that I can make new friends long after I'm gone from this world. I write because I always have. I write because I always will. I write because it would make my Gram proud. I write because not doing so would be wrong. I write because the future me will want to know what the present me is thinking, just as the present me benefits tremendously from what the former me has to say. I write because it helps me remember. I write because it helps me forget. I write because it is what I love to do. I write because it is the way I pain, sing, and dance; it is the way I communicate soul, identity, pain, love, aspiration, inspiration, imagination, shame, delight, curiosity, anxiety, joy, and art. I write because it is my worship--it is my way of giving glory to my creator because it is fulfillment of His purpose for me. I write because that is what I must do in this life, if I want to do this life well.

This is beautiful

Monday, March 29, 2010

Three Minutes...

From "An Old Friend From Far Away," a writing exercise. Spend three minutes writing each of these:

The Best Song of My Life:

I don't think I can do song, but I can say the best album for me for my life has is by Erykah Badu. Is it Orange Moon? It's the album that has that song on it. It must have come out around 2001 or so, and ever since it first came out it has spoken to me, calmed my spirit, got me riled up, got me crunk, got me dancing, got me feeling better, or allowed me to sit in my own self-pity without feeling too, well, pitiful. I love Erykah's soul-voice. Actually, now that I think of it, if I had to have a soundtrack for this blog, that whole album would probably be it. She's the bomb, that lady. You know how you hear a song and it transports you back to a time in your life? That album is like that, but each song takes me back to various points in my life. It's awesome.

What I Can't Live Without:
Hmm... I want to say the organic gummy cubs from PCC grocery, or something silly like that. I honestly don't know, at least not right of the bat. Well, I've got three minutes to try and figure it out. I would say it would be very difficult for me to live without access to music. But then again, I was just writing about the best music of my life so perhaps that's why that comes to mind. One thing, as crazy as it sounds, that has been a part of my life all of my adulthood, has been the routine of going to a coffee shop, posting up with a notepad and pen or a good book or my laptop or just a pencil and some napkins, and doing something word related--writing, reading, or both. I guess I would be hard-pressed to try and live without the ability to write down my thoughts or create new art through words. I don't even want to think about that.

What I Can't Forget:
There are things I wish I could forget that I cannot, like scenes from my life that changed the way I saw life for the worse or just were filled with so much pain that I am now unable to be the carefree, happy-go-lucky person I used to be. People are often surprised to hear pieces of that story because I can be such a cheerful person. But my cheerfulness is just a way I approach my daily, public life. I also have dark moments and I have to say these probably come from things I can't forget but wish I could. I won't even get into it much further than to say if I could forget them I would. On a lighter, happier note, I don't think I could ever forget John 3:16 or my ABCs. Those were so ingrained in me at such a young age I would literally have to be lobotomized to forget them.

At night I think Of:
So many things that sometimes it's difficult to get to sleep! I think about my life and my purpose and time... how it just flows on by without our consent and out of our hands. As I approach 30 I'm beginning to recognize the fact that the time is now to live out our dreams and try new things, take risks, live fully, make mistakes. I think about death, too, which is a morbid and dark thing to think about, I know, but it's there... just somewhere in the future, so I think about it. I think about mundane things too like what bills I have and haven't paid, what I will get or make for lunch tomorrow, what I will do first at work, how long I can truly stay in bed and still get up and make it to work on time. Sometimes I think about my family and wonder what they are thinking right now. Sometimes I think about things that I avoid all day, but in the quiet of the night they come back around to the forefront of my mind and look me straight in the eye, demanding my attention.

Okay, that was three minutes apiece. I like these little exercises in here. Thanks for reading my totally random thoughts.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Page Count: 41

Progress report: 10,175 words, about 41 pages (based on the standard manuscript page length of 250 words)!

Let me just say, Woop woop! Well, actually let me slow my roll and not start celebrating just yet. After all, I have 16 days to write the remaining 59 pages. That means I gotta be on point and write about 3.7 pages per day.

Prayer, y'all, prayer.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Funny how it all comes together...

I wrote this poem a good while back but as I delve more deeply into the writing process (no ugly facebook profile, that's my vain motivation!) it is requiring me to re-explore my past. The poem is, quite obviously, about having a broken heart. Interestingly I think it works as a good precursor poem to the new one I'm working on, Lumps and Scars. So I just tacked that one on to the end to see how it flows--what do you think? I think it's very interesting how things come together... Here it is (for now, untitled):

You didn't know how to love me so I had to do it myself
Had to grow bigger arms that could hold me, fight for me
Had to brew my own tea to sip when weary
Sing my own comfort songs and run my own bath water and craft my own pep talks

Don't mistake my independence, my strength, for inaccessibility or coldness
I welcome a tea-partner
someone with whom I can stand back to back, fighting,
chest to chest, holding,
or hand in hand, singing

But you didn't know how to be that person so I had to be it myself
Had to write our names in the sand and watch the tide wash them, wash us away
Smell the salt air, let it stick to my lungs
penetrate my wounded heart like rubbing alcohol
Embrace the pain, knowing it was only the beginning

I'm embracing the pain because I know it's the beginning
I know it comes right before beauty, like birth
I'm letting the hurt work in me to create newness and life and joy
I'm allowing myself to feel it, letting the salt sink into my wounded heart

A scab is a shelter for my healing heart, ugly only to keep the thieves out
black-blooded armor that will only peel back and pour sweet oxygen onto fresh flesh when it is strong enough

I pray patience and gentle handling of this miraculous healing work
No rush, because deep scars yield bitterness and I only need quiet, loving reminders to be kind to myself
I only need scars that tell stories I can tell without my voice cracking or tears spilling out...

And I've got them, lumps and I've got scars
and I've cried tears
and counted stars
and wished upon them
Seen them shooting across the sky while leaning against my love's chest
and I've plucked flower petals with bated breath
with faith to move mountains, and hope that their outcome would lead to love

I've got scars and I've got lumps
and I've run races
skipped and jumped
suppressing grunts and gasps and grumbles
Holding it all together, watching my faith crumble into smaller-than-mustard seed remnants of innocence
but balancing it all in my hands, cupping it closely like water

I'm Hope's daughter
and She reminds me that
these lumps and scars are warrior-markings
they make me beautiful
they are physical proof of my dutiful, diligent nature
that, when this part of me sleeps i can easily wake her
with my cry for freedom
my freedom song

I've come a long way, running through brick walls and scaling fences
pushing through brush, crawling through trenches
conditioning my muscles with this resistance
crying freedom in every instance where air fills my lungs

I've clung to this warrior identity
sustaining lumps and scars and cuts and bruises
holding mustard seeds and water in my hands
Because I know the Plan and I'm running after it
With all my strength

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Page Count: 13

Not bad for week one. But I gotta have 42 by next week so I better re-up!

Monday, March 15, 2010

100 pages by April 8th or an UGLY FB PROFILE pic

So last week on my Goals Group Blog I acknowledged that I needed to implement some drastic steps to get my goal of writing a book by Nov 4, 2010 accomplished. In that spirit, I pledged to write 100 pages (out of an estimated 200-page piece) by April 8th. The rationale for this semi-crazy proclamation is that I'm way behind on my goal and I really want to achieve it.

Since the original posting last Tuesday I have made significant progress (final page count TBA tomorrow). I have made a concerted effort to sit and write this past week, and I am prioritizing building it into my routine, slowly but surely.

But... I was thinking, I need a little more heat under my butt. This ain't no good faith deal. What, you thought I was supposed to just report back that I did it, no verification necessary? Naw, naw, naw... I need PRESSURE!

So, as truly vain as the motivation may be, I think this will be effective. Here's what I'm adding: if I don't achieve my goal in time, I promise to put up a truly embarrassing photo of myself on facebook and leave it up there until I have written 100 pages. And if I don't come through on this or if folks are unimpressed by what I consider to be an embarrassing photo, I give my friends free license to go ahead and find a photo that is more suitable for the occasion and post it to my wall or even put it up as their facebook profile.

So, dear friends, please do me a favor and find a horrid pic of me and be ready to post it if I don't come through! Also, because I don't want to just publish 100 pages of my product on the blog, please let me know if you'd be willing to be my third-party person to verify that I actually did it.

Yikes! The lady, she means business! I'm scared of myself!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

On De-stressing

Okay. So I've been feeling super stressed out lately. My dear old dog is sick, a young lady I mentor has been struggling with some extremely serious issues, my job has been more demanding than usual, and I have been presented with some significant decisions regarding my dad's house (my house, I guess, now) and my short term future. So, yes, it's been a little crazy. And I promise not to complain too much, but to make matters worse I have acted in backward fashion and added to my plate in terms of community involvement/obligations instead of paring down, meanwhile cutting down on my writing time (hence my recent absence).

I'm not the only one. I have a handful of friends who have recently expressed to me that they feel very overwhelmed by the various stresses in their lives. Be it a sick parent, the ongoing grief from the loss of a loved one, a change in relationship status, stress at work, relocation, or a battle with mental health, we all have brushes with stress.

So how to deal? I don't know. I know that for me, it helps to write... and pray... and allow myself a day or too to feel glum. But if none of those things work for you, I thought I'd share something I found while looking into resources for my mentee. A simple little list of reminders of things you can do to mitigate the effects of feeling stressed out.

Self-care strategies for dealing with stress, trauma and crisis (courtesy of Crisis Clinic):

1. Stay away from mood-altering substances, including drugs and alcohol
2. Get plenty of rest so that you feel rested and relaxed
3. Eat well-balanced meals
4. Practice stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, mediation and visualization
5. Give yourself permission to feel bad. Schedule it in your day
6. Let yourself cry
7. Give yourself permission to feel good
8. Make small decisions daily to get control of your life back
9. If possible, put off major life decisions
10. Give yourself permission to focus on someone outside yourself
11. Structure your time and develop a routine
12. Lower expectations on what you think you “should be doing”
13. Take breaks from periods of isolation
14. Talk it out – even with a professional
15. Give yourself permission to do something that could feel good to you
16. Give and get physical touch. A hug can do wonders
17. Exercise – even a little bit
18. Remind yourself that your reactions are normal
19. Engage in practices that are meaningful to you such as prayer, walking in the woods, sitting quietly, reading inspirational material, talking a bath or journal writing
20. Do something that puts a smile on someone’s face

Smile :)