30 December 2011

One of These Mornings

Dear You Know Who You Are

I'm about to disappear.  Again. 

You don't need me -- or if you do, neither one of us is aware of it.

Last time I unFriended you, you sent me an email to flatter my stage work and let me know that unFriending you broke your heart.  You said "I want you in my life."  You used those words. I saved the email for awhile as proof.  Proof for who, I wonder?

Anyway, there's never a time for us to get together. We make dates and you break them.  Every single time.  You broke the date in the last 12 hours leading up to meeting time.

I am a confused voyeur, witnessing your FB conversations with others about how great last night was. Yes, I unsubscribed from your feeds and deleted you from the list of folks who can view my updates

but I'm getting to be like a bird lately -- flying with a light load

a light List

There's your name. We live spittin' distance apart and you break every date we make. It's not the date-breaking that's working my nerves. It's me leaving your name on my FB list just so you can see it there. Yeah, I know:  better women than I would just ignore you.  I'm odd that way.

Best wishes.  Every bright thing for your life. I am not angry; I just don't get it and I'm gone now.

29 December 2011

Facing Down the Dog

For Sojourner in the 21st Century, 2011 has been a year of making the acquaintance of well-fed, badly behaving dogs. Back home in the Midwest where I was raised, we woulda called these animals "spoiled."
In 2009-2010 I was still living in the South where, for the most part, dogs lived at the end of a long chain in the back yard. Back home, that arrangement woulda looked about right.

I don't want a dog on a chain in the back yard.  I don't want a dog looking shame-faced with a mouthful of my shoe or the sofa in his/her mouth.

Here's hoping that 2012 either settles me in my own space -- likely without a pet of any kind --
or brings more shared spaces and house-sit assignments 
where dogs and humans live together more peacefully.

Signs of Mastery

I just read a draft of one of J_______'s newest poems and I am bowled over by the mastery of craft she achieves in a "draft." My son designed a "mock up" promotional brochure for me not long ago and I was amazed by the professionalism of his "thrown together" work.  A short conversation with a small circle of Fools the other day evoked tears of laughter and joy, warmed my heart, opened my eyes, inspired an artistic notion and renewed my spirit. They are very good at what they do, including

Aware of our judgments, we seek to meet people where they are through the arts, education, advocacy and accompaniment. (from their Mission Statement)

All three of these wizardly entities have been steadily honing their crafts for many years, showing up (as far as I can see) nearly every day, putting in time.  Now, every time and everywhere they show up to do the thing they do, something beautiful appears. It might seem that simply applying oneself consistently over time raises the quality of everthing overall. 

It may be true.

But, where "beauty" is concerned, the mistake in that perception is apparent in the frequent displays of slip-shod workmanship, near-fatal oversights and burnt-out insensitivity among "professionals," service providers, educators, artists and others who, for pay or not, show up nearly every day, putting in their time. Examples are abundant.

Beyond simply applying oneself, "diligence" is the alchemical process:  


1.  constant and earnest effort to accomplish what is undertaken; persistent exertion of body or mind.

Word Origin & History

mid-14c., from O.Fr. diligence "attention, care," from L. diligentia "attentiveness, carefulness," from diligentem (nom. diligens) "attentive, assiduous, careful," originally prp. of diligere "value highly, love, choose," from dis- "apart" + legere "choose, gather" (see lecture). Sense evolved from "love" through "attentiveness" to "carefulness" to "steady effort."
Showing up every day, putting in time will produce....well, something or other.

Showing diligence, putting in attentive, careful time, paying dues (due diligence), where the object of interest is valued highly, loved....chosen

brings one closer to divine perfection.

I'm looking for evidence of diligence in my own life.  What am I doing with unmistakably more mastery today than 10 years ago?

27 December 2011


Last night I dreamed I had a premonition I was about to receive an email with "Pumpernickel" in the Subject line announcing my mother's death. I convinced myself the premonition was not to be believed since anyone informing me of my mother's death would not let me know via email.

When I remembered the dream today, the whole thing felt like an episode from a sitcom -- confusing and not really all that funny.

26 December 2011

Getting it Right

One must take off her fear like clothing;
One must travel at night;
This is the seeking after God. – Maureen Morehead, In a Yellow Room

As it appears in epigraph to Ahab’s Wife or, The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund

25 December 2011

On Christmas Day

I am stuck.
There are things on my mind that I want to write about but only if I can write well--flawless, clear, strong, beautiful.  Without that assurance, I have, for months now, been unwilling to show up here -- or anywhere else -- and put "pen to paper." Unwilling = afraid.

Today, the discrepancy between my fear and the fearless creativity I encourage in my students (what students?  Just one of the many news items I am not writing about...) is bothersome. Today I'm talking to myself the way I talk to the kids:  Perfection isn't real. Imperfection is more interesting and more fun. Often it takes doing a thing badly for awhile to get good at it. Process matters more than product. Blah blah.

I've developed an appetite for flattery and compliments. Not just for the blog but for everything. I've come to believe that I'm good at everything I do. Exceptional, in fact. I think I'm smart and fluent and perceptive and wise. 

Ego at work.

I want more space.  Space to fail.  To flounder.  To figure shit out. 

Luckily that space is free of cost and I don't have to ask permission. 

05 December 2011

Time Steps Forward

Your eyes gaze unblinking at me. This photo is the wallpaper for my computer desktop.
Hello little girl!  It's very late where you live.  Are you asleep? 
I imagine you are asleep. And dreaming...but you don't know what a dream is.

I am looking at your picture and searching for myself, some little evidence that you came into the world through me.  Through my son who came through me. I am looking for a trace of my own face.

You don't even know that I exist. You are dear to me even though I have never seen you.  
Hello little girl!  Welcome.