Thursday, March 23, 2006


My new mantra: Almost Done. Almost Done.
It's said that the older we get the more difficult it is to learn new things. I don't know how true that is. Maybe it is true if you spend down time trying to forget what you did all day along. But for those of us who like to remember everything we do with clarity, learning new things is like the air that we breathe. I do wish though, like the hard drive of my lovely laptop, I could compartmentalize all the little bits of this and bits of that into organized drawers and files, to be pulled out as needed. Mostly this kind of thing doesn't bother me, until I lay my head on pillow and find that like a calculator, my mind tabulates information and runs it back at me in speedy display.
In six weeks I have learned some basic programming techniques which programmer 'friends' who have spent huge sums of cash in university told me couldn't be done. Perhaps it is the spending of that cash that made them think education is only gotten when paid to someone who has a variety of initials after their name. Obviously nothing could be further from the truth. Of course, we need to qualify the expression "Paid for". Hahaha. We pay for things sometimes in a currency richer than green paper - like blood or time. Although other than a couple of new wrinkles under my poor traitorous eyes, I see no lasting harm from pushing the envelope.

I am happy to be so busy. It has kept me from feeling a certain depth of depression about moving here which I still haven't completely reconciled with. I have met a few very good people. And then I have met many really creepy people - people who could give me nightmares if I weren't so dog tired by nightfall. People whose words are so ugly that they make me embarrassed for them - that such ugliness could be borne by humans.
Many years ago I excised some ugly language from my life. Not just gender based language, but language that I deemed offensive to racial makeup, sexual preference, education, socio-economic background. Language is a funny thing - we use it as a high form of communication, and we humans use it to disenfranchise others. Perhaps it is more about making ourselves feel better about who we are than making others feel bad about who they are. Whatever the case, ugly language serves no purpose other than to point out to others (me) that someone is lacking in self esteem. Yes, Indiana - one of the three states in the union which refuses to pass an Anti-Hate law. A state which would create prejudice in careers, housing, social services and other human needs based on a person's sexual preference. A state which prefers polling places to be in churches than in libraries or schools. A "red" state. A conservative state. EEEEKKKK. What am I doing here? Am I being tested to see if I can find the proper language to make people who don't want to see equality do just that - see equality and why it is necessary?

Yes, I get depressed about being here. Indiana has less than 2% of it's total landmass devoted to public spaces. I have hunted for a park to go walking in and with little success. Most of the city parks in my area are located next to industrial sites. I have yet to see a space of trees that has any sense of the wild. I have yet to find solitude among trees. Or to hear the silence of snow on bare branches, the birdsong of returning robins, my boots squelching in mud on a less traveled path.
I am wilderness bereft. I long for crane song. I long for a long walk in the snow or spring rain. I long so much for the rarefied air of Lake Michigan on my face, turning my hair to ringlets, my nose red, my cheeks raw. I long for silence and space.
I miss my last, small home. Here it is endless rooms; endless, dusty rooms beckoning to be dusted or vacuumed or to have the blinds opened. I miss the small space and economy of my Wisconsin home. I miss seeing the bulbs I planted in the front garden come up. I miss the snap of prayer flags on a windy morning. I miss Thursday night 'Salons" at our house where friends would gather and we'd call each other names like "republicat" or "democan" and talk about W and his daddy, the first King George and wonder where America would be in 20 years. I miss my artist friends and drum circles and the snippy way Judes would comment about so and so's new painting. I miss Olympia Brown U.U. even if I never joined, I miss the open-ness and acceptance.
Who knew Indiana could be this far north, yet feel that far south? I do not miss the woman I met at the hair dressers last week who said in a loud voice "I am SOOOOO not a coat person". I did chuckle though as I slid on my nice Norwegian jacket and headed out into the snow showers ....

OK. Is this a rant? Not really. Like I said, I've been busy, I'm learning. I am accomplishing stuff and I don't have time to think too much or feel sorry for myself. Hey, I have a home, food, warmth, clothes, a good man, a silly bird .... but dammit! I really am a simple woman and I miss that little simplicity I built in Racine.
That being said, when this darned pool opens and I can sit out side in the sun and read something great and absorbing, maybe, just maybe I will delete this rant and think about how I don't miss winter in Wisconsin.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Poetic Acceptance

A few months ago, I was introduced to an amazing woman from North Carolina, Erin Monahan. Erin was referred to me by another friend in North Carolina, Ron Hudson
Ron has been a friend of the family here since we eMet on 1 Giant Leap's forum board, then later, met in person at his home and again in New Orleans in January 2005. Ron hooked Erin and I up as Erin was putting together a not for profit organization which supports Parents who have lost a Child. Once we exchanged notes on NPOs, Erin and I began one of the funniest online relationships I have ever had the pleasure of participating in. Erin is one of the funniest women that I know. She also happens to be one of the most courageous, tireless and empathetic human beings walking this earth. We had countless hours of fun making each other spew coffee from our collective noses with jokes, irony and personal views of everyday life.
When Erin and I met, she was pregnant. Even pregnant and weighted down by concern Erin proved to be an inspiration to me while I struggled to get fledgling ScribeSpirit off the ground. Erin started 'Poetic Acceptance' because she and her husband lost their daughter, Alexis Jade to congenital heart defect in 2001. The story of how 'Poetic Acceptance' was born is long and not mine to relate here, it is the story for Erin to tell. When Erin learned that the baby she was carrying this past autumn also would suffer from the same heart problems, I was amazed that the news did not knock her to the floor. Not only did she remain on her feet, fighting, but she had the strength, presence of mind and courage to continue on with her plans to initiate the support group as a NPO.
Sometimes when we think that our lives are difficult, that we don't have the will to continue with something, a situation or person will touch our lives and show us that our own concerns are small compared to the concerns and troubles of others.
This is how Erin has touched my life, and the lives of others.
As a poet, Erin is extremely talented. As a humorist, Erin can make stone laugh. As a human being Erin is a fine example of the strength and tenacity of women. If you are coming here to read this sorry blog, then put it aside for a time and visit the link to Poetic Acceptance. If you are not capable of doing anything material to help out or support Erin or other parents
caught in the cycle of loss and grieving, then just send positive energy - any of that will be greatly appreciated.
If you are easily touched and inspired, you will find Poetic Acceptance to be a spot that fills you with hope and vision.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

My dirty little secret

I love poetry, I really do. But I don't like writing it. Especially when it rhymes. It makes me crazy because after crafting a poem that rhymes, my brain childishly does rhymes for the rest of the day - with everything. It is internally irritating.
Never the less, I recently found myself visiting a website that is all poetry. I spent a week on the site, getting to know how it functioned, some of the writing there and lastly some of the authors. It was a good week, but I felt terribly guilty at the end of it because I know there were so many other things that needed my attention.
While there, I actually felt I needed to produce some poetry - it is difficult to say "I am an author" without proving it. So I did just that; I wrote poems on command. Really, this is hard work. Not bust your ass hard work, but hard enough so that at the end of the day, you know you had a mental workout.
Well, getting around to it, here is a poem I wrote last week in response to something another poet wrote about wanting to release a well cared for caged bird she met.

For Sensual Sorceress from Sunkist the most excellent parrot: "Rest assured, author of "Caged Bird", life indoors can be grand!"

My plumage shines so brightly
yellow, orange and green
kissed by the sun so lightly
while mama and I preen

My food cup's never empty
of vegetables and fruit
of endless sumptuous bounty
a psittacine tribute.

My baths are always taken
in a painted pasta bowl,
I flap my wings and beckon
other captive birdie souls

Brightly colored toys present
something to ponder on
hidden nuts and seeds -a pageant
of homemade bird bonbons

i've never known true freedom
my hatching was a plan
and while profit was a symptom
I was accepted in this clan.

My name is Sunkist and I'm cherished
and a companion every day
within this flock I've flourished
and play and play and play.

In the wild I'd live for five years
if I were lucky, six
but here I know and have no fear
I'll live to sixty-six!

Humans keep cats and dogs and fish
yet think I'm different than those pets
any pet unloved lives a life of anguish
yet here there's no regrets.

Just listen and I'll tell you
what it means to be a bird
in field, forest or bayou
our shrinking world is altered

The rainforests are being cut and burned
and food is getting scarce;
while within this flock I'm never spurned -
I'm loved - and happily well versed.