Taking Back Control

We are fastened to one another by fraying knots.

Mottled steel. I want to rid myself of you.

Shrug you off like a winter jacket on the first day of spring.

Breathe relief into the heavy air as I feel you slide away from me.

I don’t want you to be happy, I don’t think you deserve it.

But is there even a you to begin with? Are you sentient? Are you real?

Because you are not true. I know that much.

I know that you can make me feel unworthy and small.

I know that you have the power to change me.

Shift and model me into whatever your will suggests.

I know that this control you have over me is no one’s fault but my own.

I know that life would be much cleaner, much healthier without you.

You whisper insecurities in my ear then shout them to the world.

You tell me it’s not enough. Nothing I do is enough.

I reach for happiness and feel my fingertips graze atop joy’s ruffled edges. Just as quickly gone. You’ve pulled me away, back to reality. Back to misanthropy. You stunt my happiness in ways you’ll never care to know.

You will take and take and take until I am a husk.

An empty shell awaiting orders from its owner.

Because eventually you will own me. My person, my spirit, my life.

You are a festering sore upon my back. You cultivate deeper into me with each passing day. Each passing hour.

This is why I must bid you farewell dear ego. For it is no one’s fault but my own. These deep seated cries of sorrow you sow.

I cast you away from my soul, as I have so many times before.

No longer will I allow you to live at the forefront my will.

No longer will I let you inside my common sense or rational thoughts.

I will leave you stranded and wondering what happened.

Alone and desolate.

Bereft.

But how long will it last?

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Alive

I am desperate. Desperate for the time and energy to be the person I know I can be if only I could muster the effort to build and grow her properly. I am exhausted. Not tired. Exhausted. Bushed from the stress that hovers over my head like undetectable clouds which rain droplets of bad news upon my exposed skin. Popping on impact they startle me into weary submission.

We as humans have this uncanny aptitude to blame others for our misfortunes. If we cannot blame our fellow human we will blame the universe. If not the universe, we blame God or Satan or the neighbour’s dog, Spot. We seem to be programmed to repel blame from ourselves, hurdling it onto one another like grenades of misery. If there is no one left to blame we simply throw our heads to the heavens and scream with self-indulgent despair, “Why Me?! Why is my life the worst?” And when we receive no answer we blame the heavens for not responding to our pleas.

But if anything, I am introspective. Active in the knowledge that I have free will. I am absorbed in the lifeblood of the mundane, the everyday, the commonplace. I can see the prospect of tomorrow and how I must build on today to get to that place. I am willing to work for growth. I am freedom. Absolute uninhibited freedom. Freedom to grow. Freedom to be. Freedom to become anything despite the weariness that clings to back. Despite the setback and the obstacles. I am choice. And when I grow tired, distraught with the holdups that tarnish all hope for future days I will remind myself. I am alive.

Glass Surface

Some days my life feels like a vast ocean.

Stretching far across a skyline

That seems unending. Daunting.

Tasks pile up. Unread books

Upon a dusty shelf.

Waiting for someone to pick them up.

Waiting for someone to sort it all out for me.

And somedays it all appears to be too much.

The bulk of obligation buckles my knees.

Wobbles my feet.

I wonder somedays if I can lasso it

Into regulation.

Can I compact the monthly, weekly, daily duties

So they become attainable?

Tie them into a routine?

Neat and tidy.

While floating over this sea of responsibility

Moons passing. Water droplets detach

In skyward propulsion.

And the anxiety melts away,

Fat in a red-hot pan.

Starlight glimmers off the tasks

I once obsessed about.

Now casting perfect shadows, lengthy as the threats

Of incompletion which worried me moments before.

Handsome. Disordered. Ruffled chaos. Beautiful disaray.

Bliss peeking through slats of agitation.

Fence posts of contentment erected amid

Goals for future days.

And it occurs to me that most days,

This life-ocean seems vast and unnerving.

But it also builds dreams upon its glass surface.

Aflame At Both Ends

The words have been sticky lately. Have you noticed? I haven’t been proficient in keeping up with my 100 words a day. The lack of words, the lack of creativity is causing a blockage. A brain blockage. It is the business which causes this thought constipation. The business. The thing is its own entity in our meager little lives. So large in its importance it has formed biospheres around itself. It is now our life support.

I believe the business is on some sort of brink. It feels as though there has been a slight build of expectation within it for some time now. Soon, it will explode into popularity. Well, hopefully. There is a palpable anticipatory feel to the thing as of late. This detonation of our family-run restaurant has not been without blood, sweat and tears however. It is not a simple miracle which has unfolded upon us; laying out a treasure trove of opportunity. No there has been toil.  Donkeywork and drudgery. Wedges squeezed between our loved ones over lack of time and attendance. Tears spilt over desperation. A constant fear that failure, some catastrophic blunder that will entomb us. This fear is always lingering. Tickling our consciousness as we imagine future days. Reminding us that there is no rest for the weary in the entrepreneur’s life.  Telling and retelling the tales of hardship that comes along with self employment.

Yet despite all of this anxiety up against our backs, there is still hope. An optimistic sentiment, carried close by waves of determination and willpower alone. It is always there, though sometimes only a faint whisper behind the realities of owning and operating a local business in this time of box stores and free delivery with orders over ten dollars.

So yes, the words have been sticky as a result. They cling to the side of my tongue each morning as I attempt to spit them onto a blank page. They dangle from my subconscious at the most inopportune times, retracting and fastening securely to some inoperable place once the opportunity to expel them presents itself.

This is not to say my love affair with these words each morning is through. At this point, the writing cannot be touched. It has become too important, too essential to sanity. It has become an anchor that steadies against high tide. So despite the sentences sticking to that somewhere place I cannot seem to reach, I will keep on pulling them out piece by piece. Fragments of thoughts and dreams waylaid to this screen perhaps one day—when time and creativity is once again on my side—to be made whole again.

The You’s of Yesterday and Tomorrow

Once upon a lifetime, you were never tired. Minutes passed by like molasses through a sieve; long lasting and bittersweet.  You didn’t know that one day the easiness, the jovial adventures of youth would flit away like tissue paper pieces caught in a windstorm. Altering and shifting ever so slightly so you wouldn’t detect the change until years later. You didn’t know that life was so delicate. So defining.

You were wet cheeked and waiting for trouble. You had faith. Not confidence, more of a conviction for the unthoughtful standards which surrounded you.

You were beautiful. Fresh faced, energetic—never dog-tired and dragging your body from A to B as you do now. You were filled with lifeblood. You exuded it through tiny pores upon your glistening skin.

You were oh so positive. Dappled envy and the want for material goods had not yet sullied your go-getter attitude. You bled eagerness.

You look back on these days not with bitterness but an unbidden appreciation.

Because despite how able and animated you once were, you decide as you sit and sip coffee this early morning that you wouldn’t trade it back. You quite enjoy the person who writes these words today. You now have the confidence to take this realisation and lay it out, spread it along the various nooks and crannies of your life, let all the past and future you’s see it.

Life is defining, and the actions of the past have prepared you, primed your inner and outer self to be melded and shaped into a future person. Days, years, lifetimes past have initiated the process and it is your job to continue the construction until there is nothing left to construct.

The Voices

There are strange voices in my house. My brain registers this immediately. Men’s voices, of low register but not my husband’s. My heart does not so much thud against the rib cage but wedge itself there. It is pumping wildly while my brain tries to work out why I am hearing these non-husband voices in my home at 4 o’clock in the morning. They do not say words. At least I do not decipher words coming out of them. It is a string of sound carried by imperceptible winches and cranes throughout the hallway and into my eardrums. The meanings are murky. Dangerous simply because I do not understand them.

I am immobilised for what seems like minutes but surely is mere milliseconds before I hear the thing that makes me move without thought. Lars’ voice rings out amidst them. A falsetto, nimble and piercing, summoning me like magnetised current.

I am desperately pulling myself out of that place where waking meets sleep. I am dragging my soggy conscience up from an ocean of dreams and wringing it out upon reality. I am willing myself to be present because I do not know what will greet me once I get to the voices.

“What is going on? What?” I mutter as I round the corner out of my bedroom and into the fringe.

“Ma’am.” Says the police officer. “Don’t be alarmed.” There are three of them plus my 9 year old son huddled in the small landing area of my home’s front doorway. “Your son called 911 tonight.” Lars is microscopic compared to their large uniform clad bodies. He is a tadpole among giants.

“Oh my God what happened?” It sounds so stupid as it passes over my lips and into the moment. Is that all you can say Lindsay? Is that all you can come up with? I am directing the question at Lars. I move towards him, touch his face, his hair, hold him in front of me like a shield to ward off the angst which has set up residence in my chest and abdomen.

“Sophie heard a voice downstairs. We called for you and Dad but when you didn’t come we got scared so I called the cops.” My son is saying. His voice is strong in this moment, he is sure and confident in a way that I’ve never seen in him before.  He sees that I am upset. “Mom, we were yelling for you. You didn’t answer. I didn’t know what else to do.” He does not cry. This is strange for Lars. Tears tend to be his first resort in high pressure situations such as finding oneself in tight quarters with three police officers and having to explain the beckoning of their assistance in the wee hours of the morning.

I look at the officer closest to me without acknowledging what Lars has said. “I’m so sorry to have wasted your time.” Embarrassment tears through me. I know the kind of offence it is to make a false 911 call.  “I have no idea why I didn’t hear them calling for me. Oh my gosh I’m just so sorry this happened.” I feel as though I should be reprimanded for this situation although I cannot quite put my finger on why.

“Don’t apologise. At least you know your son knows what to do in an emergency.” Says the officer. He smiles and the anxiety, the bombshell of having a sound sleep interjected upon so curtly, begins to sputter away like ice thrown on a bed of coals.

The officers and I go through the usual information that you must go through when having police called to your home under false pretences. Then they tell us to get some sleep and are on their way. They are kind and understanding. They have made us feel at ease in this uneasy situation.

I tuck in Lars and Sophie (who had no qualms retelling the events leading up to the infamous call to our police officer guests, but now is woefully exhausted as I kiss her on the forehead.) I ease through the 911 phone call talk. The same talk I imagine many parent folk have had with their littles. I try not to sound menacing. I tightrope walk between explaining that this number is for emergency only but to always call it if it is indeed an emergency. I don’t know if they fully get it and all I can do is hope they understand the severity of the situation.

They fall asleep quickly as children do. The excitement does not seem to disturb them as it does me and the even rise and fall of their breathing soon twirls up into the air above their beds. I take a good look around the basement where they sleep because I cannot shake free from my mind the “voices” Sophie heard that initiated this debacle. However, my search comes up clear, thank friggen God.

Strong black coffee now drips at flat intervals into the craft and I mull over what has just happened. Sleep will not come to me this early morning. Right now it feels as though sleep will never come to me again. Why didn’t I wake up to their calls for me? Why was I so ashamed over this situation I had no control over? Was it a dream which had awakened Sophie so abruptly? And was it truly so terrifying to warrant a call to the police?

Shadows reach out to me from lamplight crescents across the wall. The moonlight ambience, the stillness of others sleep makes the state of affairs all the more strange and unnerving. I want to pick through the events, dissect them to discover their hidden layers. I want to uproot what has just happened. Lay it out for future clarification.

But now, as I tap the keys of this familiar keyboard I come up blank on all accounts. An obscure film has covered over all logical reasoning and it becomes a “just is” event. Perhaps in the surety of sunrise, light might be shed on the unusual happenings of this early morning wake up call. Until then, it remains as strange as the voices which woke me from my sleep.

 

post birthday brain drain followed by an insanely busy weekend

My brain is foggy this morning from too many birthday beers the night before. A to-do list hangs in the corner of my mind. Out of reach. The words and their meanings blurred from the remaining wisps of yesterday’s joviality. I’m not ready to come back to reality.

But like most necessary things, reality forces its way inside. Jostling the recent past’s fun and games out of my head as though it was cattle being steered away from danger by melodic humanoid voices. And once again I find myself readying for new adventures.

This weekend The Hot Wire has been invited to the Alberta Food and Beverage Expo. We participated last year and it was a blast. Although last year we had twice the help. This year challenges have arose because there is never simplicity when it comes to the life of restauranteering. But like everything else, we have divided our tasks and conquered accordingly. Hopefully.

It doesn’t help that my head feels like ten thousand dish pit rags have been shoved in through the ear canals and must remain to stew there forevermore, but alas, that is the price I pay for birthday shenanigans.

I don’t want to stop writing this morning. The moment I stop is the moment I must begin the list. The list I still cannot seem to focus on and nail down to a concrete plan of action. The moment I stop pounding keys is the moment that it all becomes the now, the, I’ve got to get shit done right now. The moment I stop letting the words fall onto the page is the moment I must stop slurping down coffee in a warm living room and traverse my way out into the cold and snow.

I suspect it will be like most things and I will be dreading the next 48 hours for as long as possible. But as they happen, as they pass by me like a fast-action replay it will not seem menacing at all. The list will get done, the prepping and packing will commence, the set up will fly by, the people will eat and we will survive. And likely, have a whole lot of fun while doing it all.

Because if we aren’t enjoying even the challenging things, what are we doing anyways?

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Thirty Two Years

It’s official! I have lived for thirty two years. I have had thirty two years worth of adventures. Thirty two years of learning and growing. How little time it feels like when placed up against the worldwide scope of things. Yet it simultaneously is lifespans and magnificent. I am a world wrapped up into thirty two years of memory, hope for the future, and a simple beautiful existence. And I am in awe to see what the next thirty two years has in store.

I woke up this morning thinking that I would take the morning off writing. I would laze in the living room sipping coffee and surfing Facebook. I would luxuriate and not worry over the realm of words which long to break free from my brain.  I would revel in the nothingness of the morning. The nothing things.

But as it is, the mind does not work as such. After having written (nearly) every morning for almost two months now it seems that I cannot simply turn it off. The words sneak into my fingers and leak outwards like ink from a wizened pen.

This morning as I tried to relax I discovered that the most comforting thing of all is to allow the sentences to form, the ideas to arrange themselves and then simply freefall down the literary rabbit hole.

Little did I know that these past few months have provided me with the greatest birthday gift of all; a renewed and uninhibited love for creating. What a wonderful gift to give oneself.

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Collecting brain-frizz and releasing it.

Admittedly I am a brain-frizz collector. Days stretch by where I have no desire to learn or grow, to read or even write. These are the times when I sit on my phone frying my thoughts with Facebook nonsense and addictive games with bright colors and flashing lights. If I listen just right I could probably hear the sizzle of each brain cell as my endorphins run rampant from reaching a high score. Like yolk hitting a hot pan.

Sometimes it just is too much. The worries that accompany the everyday, the stress of tomorrow, the constant angst that comes with being a business owner. Sometimes everything stacks up so high that not even a good book can show me sanctuary. Sometimes turning the brain off and mindlessly looking at hilarious memes or carelessly stacking colorful blocks to reach a goal is just what I need to get past the hump I find in front of me. Sometimes I just need a pause.

But look, I can clearly see that the continuation of this practice would be insanely unhealthy. I’m not so naive to think that ostriching this shit is going to make any of my mental or emotional baggage disappear. If anything I am just hoping to stack it up up and away like the little blocks I stack in the phone games. This method is unreasonable at best. At worst it is completely delusional. And lets be honest delusion and I go together like spaghetti and meatballs. Or corn and a husk. Or a lava lamp and the goopy “lava” that is inside of it.

The worst part is now. Right now. This precise moment when I realise that I have to stop hiding away from everything. I must confront my stress. I must challenge my worries about the future. I must put down the phone with the Facebook and the games and the other distractions that make life so easy to forget about and I must go out in the world and live.

So I have roughly three hundred unfinished writing projects on my laptop right now and I suppose this is as good of place as any to get started. The realisation that I cannot live on pause for the rest of my life may be a tough one to take but once I fling myself out of it and get back on track I do not regret it. Because it feels good to try again.

Maybe sometimes we all just need a little pause to appreciate the hard work we put into this life.

Counting on the Countdown

Does a new year seep in like water over a floor from a leaky faucet? Drowning the old. Cleansing the playing area for a bright future. Or perhaps it rushes us, quick and without hesitation. 11:59pm it is one year and the next moment we find ourselves in a year not yet lived in.

This is why we countdown. We steel our brains for the shock of finding ourselves in future times. But that’s not entirely right is it? Because it feels exactly the same as the year previous had. We walk the same streets. We love the same humans. We say the same things that either get us into trouble or the opposite. And like every New Year’s celebration we talk fervently about how awful the year before was. Pretending it wasn’t exact the same as it had been the year before that and the year before that. Perhaps a few of the nouns change from on year to another but the overall gist, the mindset, usually remains on track.

Or maybe the newness of the year ticks away like a grandfather clock on flowered wallpaper. As soon as the clock strikes midnight the countdown—the real countdown, the big one—begins. Inaudibly we countdown with it because we are programmed to yearn for future days. Each rotation of the Earth brings us closer to enriched lives. Or so we want to believe.

I guess instead of resolutions this year I will make a promise to myself of a different kind. To stop counting down. To stop looking for something else in some near or distant future. To stop running for a finish line that I cannot see because in truth I do not know where it is only that it rests in future days. This year I will learn to appreciate the right now, whatever that may be. To really sit with my kids and listen to their outlandish stories without having a to-do list in the back of my brain. To kiss my husband and simply be there in that moment for as long as we can possibly stand. To write and not have to worry about whether or not the words will ever be published. Just write. To fall in love with the moments that make up this life. The countdown is infinite and none of us have that much time to waste.

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The Cold Cuts Clean Through

Snowflakes (too many to count so I will simply pluralize)

Fly through the dim lamplight outside my living room window.

Live ice particles by the millions slice through glacial twilight.

Severing a once healthy semblance of a sunny future.

Restorative measures will be taken

Once the storm has run its course.

Life rages outside this frame. Battles of survival frenzy for stability.

Hostility winning, taking shape.

Sculpting future days in the brain’s wavelengths

Forever flurries disco-hop over my thoughts

Like lethal icicles dropping from a building side façade

Exploding upon impact with the frosted ground.

The sound of wind through a keyhole

Wakes me from this reverie and the

Flakes still fly outside in their icy state.

And I, must brave the storm.

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As the literary fish would sing: Just Keep Writing, Just Keep Writing.

A cold coffee sits to the left of me and I am itchy all over. It is perhaps the worst morning in the history of mornings. I used the wrong laundry detergent resulting in a body wide rash upon my peach sensitive skin. The coffee is cold because I’ve spent the better half of the morning trying to pull something, anything, out of my brain and place it methodically onto the bank page. All the while forgetting about the mug of fuel. And the proverbial trash can is brimming with crumpled up attempts at brilliance.

So I’ve decided to scrap brilliance and just talk. Sometimes just talking is all one can really do. It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find the words to write every day. This is disappointing because I was doing pretty well for a while there. It’s been over a month of writing one hundred words a day and I would have liked to report back that this endeavour has upped my productivity in other writing prospects and I am sailing along in my literary goals. Alas this is not the case. There is just always something that seems to stop me from writing. Something physical, some worry, some state of affairs that I literally have no control over but cannot stop stressing about therefore inhibiting me from writing one single word upon paper due to my brain being so full of other non-matters. Brain clutter. Sometimes it’s not brain clutter, sometimes it is legitimate worries and that deepens the block to extraordinary measures.

It is beginning to feel like this blog is just me posting about being stuck. And that isn’t getting me anywhere now is it?

So what now? Where do I go from here? Do I keep writing, or should I say, do I keep complaining about not being able to write? Do I vow to never write about writing again on this thing? Do I transfer my 100 words a day to some other, more viable, writing endeavor? Who determines what is viable?

Maybe I simply need to up the ante to 500 words a day. Or perhaps drop it to 50? Possibly it is the pressure of the word count which is getting to me. I doubt it. I think that is actually the only thing that keeps me posting every day.

It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the ache. The ache that is buried under all of the daily worries and strife. The ache that mostly always hides in the private crooks of my mind. The ache that murmurs to me about writing when I am least expecting it. The ache doesn’t come to me now, as I sit here drivelling upon this word processing document. Nor does it let itself be heard when I am attempting to rummage up my latest poem or short story. That would actually be helpful. That would be a great driving force to finish the thing. A vote of confidence to put it out there for others to gobble up. The ache comes to me when I am taking a customer’s order at work. It says, this is all fine and dandy for now Lindsay but you can’t keep running from it forever. Soon you must buckle down, nose to the grindstone. The ache comes to me when I am worrying about my kids. It asks what kind of a role model I am trying to be by shoving aside the one thing I’ve always wanted to be because it is simply too difficult to achieve. The ache thumps and thuds against my chest when I am driving and listening to an amazing audio-book and I think, I want to create something like this. I want to write down worlds.

Yet the muse does not follow upon the coattails of these weary thoughts. I am simply left with all of the daily worries and concerns and an emptiness that seems impossible to fill.

Well that’s about all of the lamenting I have time for today so with that I shall bid you adieu. The coffee needs warming and I’ve seriously got to get some lotion on this itchy skin. Then maybe I will be able to jot a few notes down for later use. Wrangle a few words out. Sling a sentence or two.

Because if I am anything, it is resilient.

Just a tad of an existential crisis, no big deal.

Perspective is a beautiful thing. I don’t think I get too much of it nowadays. I’ve somehow allowed life to run me over, drag me down into a sinkhole of stressful responsibility and aging obligations. I worry so much about what my next step will be I forget all of the best stuff.

Like the way the kids laugh at my lame jokes and still tell me I’m the funniest. And how my husband stares at me as we watch the tube. He tells me he loves me with such blissful exultation I have never been able to imagine otherwise.

Our home is warm and comfortable on these cold winter days. We have good food to fill our bellies with and clean beds to find security in. Homemade knitted blankets tossed over the back of our couches to insure the utmost of coziness and hot coffee and tea at the ready. Pictures hang upon the wall, they represent us—the love that we all share.

We have a business. A restaurant that is the epitome of a “small business” and though it is taking its time to find its feet our loyal customers still only have the greatest things to say about it. And I know that it will come. All good things do.

However at any given moment I have a minuscule humanoid living in the back of my brain whispering warnings of failure and strife about my life as a writer. Sometimes it gets so carried away I begin hearing loud trumpets and drums parading around in there telling me my time has already passed for such tomfoolery. The smooth bluegrass sounds of the sax will melodically remind me that I am nearly 32 years old and as far as I am aware not able to turn back time. Flutes cheerily spout tunes that tingle between my ears and they ring out in harmony explaining that if it hasn’t happened yet, it likely never will. And one single chime of a triangle compares me to every other writer in history and it tells me I am simply not good enough to publish.

These are the thoughts that plague my brain as I go about business pretending to be a normal person.

But it’s not really the fear of failure that I’m so worried about. Because I’ve not failed if I only continue to write even one lovely word a day. That much is actually clear in this topsy-turvy brain of mine. I’m worried about my writing going mute. Losing interest. Losing the words, the stories that pop up in my brain. How long does it take for it to simply shut off? How many rejection messages is my quota for one lifetime?

These are the notes that sing loudest from the quartet inside my head. My better judgement tells me that it is a silly worry because right now, right here the thought of not writing seems far-fetched, implausible.

Then the perspective rinses over me, cleaning these thoughts of self-destruction away if only for a moment. The perspective reads to me some of my earlier writings and I see how far I’ve come. There is a distinct evolution of writing, of aptitude there. This gives me hope. If only for the fact that I am still growing and learning as a writer. Anything which has the facility to move forward will likely not have the wherewithal to fizzle out any time soon.

So I will keep on writing. I will keep on submitting stories, pushing poetry and posting anything else I can conjure up if only to quiet the noise of worry that hides in the corners of my awareness.

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Nails on a chalkboard…that’s the mood this morning.

This morning I wake up and the worries of the world, no, the worries of my world stick to the front of my brain like a sloth to its tree…hmmm, that didn’t quite hit its mark did it? Like my daughter’s candy-glue fingers to the public bowl of toffee treats? Like my daughters candy-glue fingers to the whitened wall? Ah what about, like the tiny bit of tinfoil wrapping to the smarmy butter stick. Ugh, you know what, today is just not my day.

Anyways, the worries consume me. They eat up all of the joy and excitement I am supposed to have at this time of year. It is all of the normal things I worry about. Like business and money and how to possibly forge my way into the writing world when I have absolutely no qualifications to do such a preposterous thing. You know, the usual. It is not as though I am worrying about the extraterrestrial beings that are invading Earth or anything direr than that. I suspect my worries are quite similar (in a roundabout way) to those of anyone who woke up this morning with worries swimming through their brain’s wavelengths (perhaps a bit better?).

A deep sigh releases from my chest. My fingers keep pounding these keys looking for some kind of an answer. Some kind of release from the tightening sensation I’ve felt in my chest since opening my eyes this morning. They search for all of the things I want out of this life but seem to be finding impossible to gather up. The solution must be out there somewhere. In some deep recess of imagination or future thought or intention. It must be floating aimlessly; hoping and praying that sooner or later I will get my shit together just enough to reach out and grasp its concept. Put the pieces together and get the plan formulated to action. However right now, right here as I sit in this Christmas clad living room I cannot fathom even the smallest morsel of what this scheme could possibly be made up of.

At least the clinging anxieties of this morning have ebbed since placing my fingers to this keyboard. They will likely emerge again when I am driving or playing a game of Monopoly with the kids or shovelling snow from the driveway while cursing under my breath about all of the god damned fucking snow, but I suppose that is for later torment.

Maybe the trick of it is to find that release and work it regularly. Write out the worries. Sing out the stress. Draw out the disturbance. Everyone has something and the beautiful part of this strategy is while we are releasing these ill at ease feelings we are practising our craft, perfecting our craft. Carrying us closer to the endgame. Bringing us to where we want to be.

Read to me, you.

I wonder. I wonder, if you and I were to read the exact same line of poetry would we see the same thing? On the surface, yes. A linear stroke of verse written to satisfy collective logic. A sentence.

But deeper down, where irrational thoughts rest like tadpoles in a still pond  I suppose it is most likely that the words are made up of biospheres. They are unlike each other at all. They have different meanings, different shapes that take base from one brain to another.

The significance of one sentence, loose and languid may fall upon my subconscious like raindrops popping on cement. While sticking sternly, unrelentingly to the wall of yours for later use. For later amplification.

Ideas will worry away in some inside tunnel, diverse and hot, forever wandering if not quelled with common sense. They wrap themselves around the way we walk as we mull them over in our thoughts on the bus, at the party, in the supermarket checkout line.

One line of poetry can make a difference. It will change me internally. Capture a small part of my existence never to be returned. While these words breeze by your eyes like the white feathers of a dandelion on the air once they are touched to a child’s lips.

I have come to realize that it is the words who decide. They choose their captors; sinking their sights into unsuspecting souls who are merely looking for a quick read, some rouge knowledge, a bit of word to tide them over until their next fix.

One piece of small familiarity is all it takes. An acquaintance of time or space or person or feeling or language, and the sentence has taken you as its own.

This is why reading is such a miraculous thing.

Ideas transferred from one paper, one screen, one diner napkin old and coffee stained to the mind’s eye of the reader. Instantaneous, infectious. Soapsuds bursting under a running faucet, ideas pop and float into the atmosphere slightly changing the way we forever imagine life to be.

For me at least.

How about you?

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Working The Words Out

I am unqualified this morning. Blank and impotent. Usually the glow of this monitor helps me rummage up something, anything, before my time has waned. All it takes is one word. Or maybe several words joined together; mismatched and messy like the Velcro straps of a child’s shoe. Like the shoe, it allows me to get to the place I long to be. An idea will bloom into a great bulbous sphere of anticipation. The sphere screams out, pleading to be popped, insistent on spreading words and thoughts and ideas and presence to all who might look its way. These words long to leak outwards into a weary world. Into a vibrant world. Into a world that has not yet read these precise words in this precise way. Perhaps this morning, as snow filters downwards from a boundless black sky, my thoughts are too trivial, too reedy for something of that splendour. I glance towards the bottom left corner of this luminous screen and see that somehow, beyond all blight, my quota has been filled. The words are out of me. I’ve managed to pull them off my tongue in tiny bits and pieces in hopes that some word-famished fool will come to devour the tastes I leave in my wake. And I am satisfied. At least for now.

A notebook by the bed would be nice

Lindsay is lying in bed thinking about topics to write about. She really really, truly, really wants her blog to be hip and pop and fresh but sometimes she feels her writing is missing some vital element of…She can’t quite put her finger on it, perhaps, pizazz.

So most nights, this night included, she rests in bed for a few minutes thinking over new and interesting things to write about.

The snow outside is drifting downwards in tiny specs, Lindsay does not let this fool her though, if this keeps up by morning the city will be nearly snowed in. Hmmm that won’t be good for business, Lindsay worries, but she pushes that thought from her mind. Stressing too much about work and snow and money and having to drive on treacherous roads puts a bit of a damper on the creative process. So she shoves the idea to a corner of her brain where she can rummage it up flap it out for later use.

But what to write about? What to pizazz them with? What words to use to wrap ideas around her readers brains? What subjects to sprinkle out upon conversation’s floor? What stories to tell?

That’s it! She’s got it! By golly gosh she’s gone dog gone and done it!

What a fine-looking first sentence, she thinks, as the words skip over her thought process like pebbles across a glass lake. Oh yes, this is good. So good! Lindsay is reveling in the pure pleasure of having thought of such mastery of her craft. Oh how glorious it feels to have done something well.

And with that thought sleep swims up from the place she keeps it in while the daylight hours shine and slowly pulls her down into the depths sleepy-time dreams.

The alarm clock rings at 4am sharp. Generally Lindsay wakes up a few minutes before the melodramatic droning of the alarm begins but not this morning. This morning she is dreaming about being locked in a reality TV show where she must sing Christmas carols in outlandish fashion to gather points in which she must horde in order to buy her way out of the house to freedom. If she does not get enough points by allotted time provided she will be promptly consumed  by Ed Sheeran. So needless to say, Lindsay has got to lay off the hot chocolate before bed time.

In any case she is excited to wake up because there lingering in her memory is the fact that last night she had rummaged up the greatest blog topic of the century and this morning she is going to bring it to fruition. It’s going to be awesome man.

She lays stock still. She is quite sure if she refrains from making any sudden movements it will come to her. The idea was huge. Colossal. There is no way it won’t come to her. Right? Any time now it will surface. First, nothing but the tiniest tip will show itself over the immense surface of the oceans which lives in Lindsay’s imagination. After she has deftly hooked the beast she will begin reeling it towards her, every inch closer it comes the more detail of the thing will be made clear. Eventually her fully shaped, fully beatified idea will be waiting in front of her, waiting to be written out for the peoples reading enjoyment.

She waits.

She waits some more.

Come on. Lindsay says in an anticipatory tone. Much like the tone one uses when waiting for the john on a morning following chili cheese dog dinner night.

Nothing. A stagnant tundra of nothingness is all that fills Lindsay’s brain this cold and dreary morning. She pulls herself out of bed and towards the coffee pot. She begins to brainstorm. Back to the drawing board. Square one.

She manages to piece together some convoluted piece of weirdness about writing and planning and forgetfulness but it just isn’t what she had hoped for. She wanted pizazz, she wanted grandeur. She wanted that damn idea she had come up with last night. She will have to keep a notebook by her bed from now on she thinks. It is the only way.

Lindsay’s only consolation on this morning of non creative accomplishment is the knowing that tomorrow is another day. Another blank space to fill. Another post to write. Or, more accurately—because Lindsay learns her lessons when need be—another post to copy down from her notebook from the night before.

Walk it off baby

 

I am making my usual rounds through dew dampened sidewalks when a phone chimes lively inside of my pocket. I’m about thirty minutes into my daily walk and I’ve built up a pace. I do not so much decided to ignore it but simply do not acknowledge its reality. My joints are well oiled from the natural lubricant of movement and they feel strong and able and willing. My arms swing slightly by my sides giving me momentum to travel forwards.

I walk because it clears my brain of the worry clouds which often muck things up in there. There is a lot of that. My imagination is on overdrive as of late and walking calms it to only a minimal hum. I can deal with humming. Humming won’t drive me nuts. I walk for the solitude of the matter. When I walk, I slap on some headphones and turn up whatever audiobook I am listening to at the moment (right now it is Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaids Tale) and I fall deep and uninhibitedly into the plot. The story clears away the stress that presses down on me, the same kind of stress that presses down on everyone. It allows me to mull things over and that gives way to the pea green sprouting of ideas, activating the forward thinking part of my brain.

When I am in the solitude of a daily walk, while my feet pound dirt clad walking paths, while the branches of trees reach down to greet me as I move deftly under them and the crisp air shrouds the exposed skin of my face I am bucolic. The hastiness, the cram of the daily grind is set to some invented side and an expressive feeling of simplicity slides through me. Before life became so impossibly important. Before newscast articles painted huge red exes upon our brains forever marking us in their forever ways. I walk a little faster now and the boot clop sound of a well-worn shoe smacking against ground sends me trance side.

I am so happy here. Maybe happy isn’t the word to use because I am often happy elsewhere too. The feeling I have for here, this universe I find myself in while I am walking, is something altogether different. It is not to be shared. It is its own entity like the space inside a snow globe. It cannot be touched.

I am grateful to have this time to move and think and listen. And that is just one more thing that glasses over my thoughts as my feet move forward on my daily walk.

Chocolates in a bag

The woman’s face is wizened. Ripened from years of talking and laughing. It must be from laughing, or smiling at least because of the wrinkles which huddle around the corners of her mouth; all tiny sideways smiles themselves.

We make eye contact through the glass of my passenger side window. The Chinook winds cause her to squint and pull a hood up over her head. Oh for shit sakes, I mumble trying not to move my lips in case she is a lip reader, what the what is this now?

I busy myself by touching imaginary buttons on my phone. Busy people are unapproachable because they are too engrossed in whatever they are doing to speak to other humans. Or maybe it is because they have such a vital and important air about them. Or maybe they give off the undetectable stench of standoffishness. Or maybe it’s just that the brain is intuitive enough to detect that this person simply does not want to talk to you. In any case, this woman’s detector sensors are broken.

However she does not approach my car but the one parked behind me. I stealthily slip out of the driver’s seat to slink into the store without having to engage. Human contact, ugh. I hear a, “Oh thank you!” coming from the woman who sits in the vehicle to my rear. Her voice peaks at the end of the sentence as if she is partly asking a question. Something rectangular dangles from her fingers, she seems hesitant to touch it. As if it is slathered in goo.

The old woman gives a courteous nod of her head and moves on from the exchange. I realize I am staring, thus, I am caught. For being so seemingly delicate the woman moves with great agility towards me. A similar rectangle bag-box hangs resolutely from her fingers. She is upon me within seconds.

“Oh hello.” I say as I note that she has noted me noting her approach.

“Merry Christmas Dear.” Says the woman. Her voice is as you would expect the voice to be of the elderly. The bag-box dangles in the air. It begs me to take it. “Oh, what is this?” I say with too much question upon the question. She nods her head, inaudibly saying, don’t worry it’s not poison. And is that what I think? Am I so jaded from this damaged world that I would actually envision a lovely grandmother figure giving me a bag of fatal toxins in the Walmart parking lot?

I take the bag because it would be rude not to…No, correction, that is not why I take the bag. I take I bag because this little old lady’s eyes bore into me like a drill bit into origami paper. She smiles and says, “God bless dear.”

Ah I see, it is the pious on duty—spreading the word of Christmas to any unsuspecting soul who will unquestioningly take presents that are tossed in their general direction. Candy from a stranger. The bag is filled with stories about faith and the Lord Almighty and chocolates and a hymn printed out on a piece of yellowed paper.

I plop one of the chocolates in my mouth with one last lingering thought about poisoned apples and whatnot but push it away. I hope that one day I too can believe in something so unwaveringly, so devoutly. I smile and pop another chocolate in my mouth. Maybe one day.

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Warming up the in-inside

 

I am so much warmer than I use to be. The blanketing heat of self-assurance, confidence, comforts me like the safe embrace of a mothers hug.  Before starting 100 Words a Day the thought of writing would cause a deep stab of guilt and regret to course through me. I knew I should be writing but, oh whoa as me, I did not have the time, I could not find the words, my fingers were broken.

It felt as though sitting down to write would be the most difficult thing in the entire universe to do. I’ve birthed babies, nearly died from blood loss, raised a family, built a business and slapped a smile on while doing it all but writing? God no. No thank you Ma’am, that…that will definitely flatten me.

Writing was the easiest thing to push to the sidelines. How could I make time for something that I was not receiving immediate kickbacks from? What I didn’t see was that the rewards we draw from our creative enterprises are more beneficial to our souls than our pocketbooks. The prospect of a healthy soul is difficult to put a price on. We value our inside, our in-inside, differently than we do our physical body and external world. If we can see it, we can sooth it. No point in wasting time with the places that aren’t apparent to us.

It is an easy practice to fall into, one that I took on wholeheartedly. All the while the small nowhere-space next to my heart was crying out for a little kindness.

In times of chaos our creativity can seem as though it is a useless thing. A washed up nothingness that is better castoff for later days. We push it to the side and say, “I don’t have time for you now, Creativity.” Even though there is a slight longing in our voice as we toss it to the proverbial can.

I’ve discovered that it is precisely this creativity that helps to smooth out the chaos. Round out its edges. By shoving the meaningless things, the Facebooky and gossipy things to the side it was simple to make room for some souly things.  And I am already so much warmer because of it.

Our creative ventures are worth it. They cradle us unlike any material expedition could. As humans we forage creativity like bees to nectar. It is our nature to nurture the in-inside. But the external world, the sensible money making, “I have a million things to do” world tells us these prospects are a waste of time. Stop fighting it. Take a few minutes each day to do a little of what you love and then allow the rightness of it make you warm again.