Saturday, December 28, 2013

end, elbow, light

I'm sitting in a cabin in Northwestern Washington state. H and his family are here, his mother rented the cabin for the holidays. The weather is completely different from Southern California. I've been preparing for this week of winter for months. I have warm boots, a coat with a reflective lining, two kinds of gloves, and I've been preparing mentally. Usually I don't like the cold at all but this time, prepared, I don't mind it much. The cabin is warm, the days are slow, filled with tea, reading and mostly quiet conversation.

We're close to the shore, a rocky swoop of beach covered in round stones and the exoskeletons of crabs, broken oyster shells. The wind comes down from the North, icy puffs that numb our faces while we walk. The beach is stuttered with driftwood, everything from small twigs to gnarled trunks, whorled and tangled with salt and seaweed. I'm not used to being this far North, the way the sun's arc is small, the light, when unobscured by the clouds, is at an angle that reminds me somehow of a sad violin. Maybe I'm melodramatic and miss my desert sky of bright blue, the sideways light reflecting off the pale green plants of the scrublands; the green up here is deeper, hungrier.

The end of the year is sometimes melancholic for me, looking back on everything I didn't get to do. This year everything is sweeter, such change and evolution. This has been the year of really getting into practices that ground me and the least few months I've been going deeper in the work that I've been craving for my entire life. I'm grateful. And love, this strange river carrying us places I didn't know I could go; even the rapids are good, the adrenaline and joy of getting through.

The writing has been a challenge this year, definitely. It comes harder but is so much sweeter for the struggle. Three novels, I've been chipping away at three novels. I'm crazy, maybe. But I have so much love for my characters, my flawed beauties navigating a world they don't completely understand. They're my friends at times. There is one character who roars at me when I need it, she has claws and teeth and isn't afraid to use them. And the licking of the wounds, the ones she gave me or ones received elsewhere, is glory; spit sacred.

There was an eclipse last night but the horizon here is small, trees tower, clouds hover. I wanted to see the orange moon but the sky didn't cooperate. Earlier in the evening the sky was willing and the stars and planets orbiting got me in the heart-gut. I once learned a way to look at small clusters of stars or planets without actually looking at them; it's about peripheral vision. If I want to give my attention to a particular star or planet, I look at everything around it, focus on what is brighter, then what I truly want to focus on will appear stronger in my peripheral vision (oh sweet subconscious of the eye!) than it would were I looking directly.

Heading further North tomorrow into Canada for a few days, the New Year, then a solo trek back home while H spends some weeks with family and friends. I'm looking to clean up a bit at this elbow of the season, pull back on the indulgences, indulge more in others. And the writing; calling, asking, singing and singing and singing. Love and joy to all of you this season and all seasons. Stay warm.

Monday, December 2, 2013

at the end of illness, laments and literal blood

I usually juice every day, a big green juice full of kale, spinach, apples, ginger, cucumber, lemon, celery and some sort of berry, usually raspberries. Due to a broken garbage disposal, general laziness and not wanting to deal with the pulp-y mess juicing brings, I stopped juicing a little over a week ago. Four days ago I got sick. I haven't been sick in over a year, not since I started my daily juicing/bone broth/cod liver oil routine. Crazy how removing just one daily medicine kick-dropped my immune system into vulnerability. I'm sitting here, sniffly, with a pile of bloody tissues beside me, as my nose membranes have been subject to so much blowing that the blood vessels have ruptured. Boo. I'm at the end of it but still, yech.

When I'm sick I drop into the lowest mood possible, so I stop talking, since everything that comes out of my mouth is a lament, a woe, an inner weeping for my hopeless and wasted future. I wrap myself in the electric blanket, drink broth, and despair. I stop meditating, which is pretty much a straight shot back into anxiety for me. I stop my other daily practices of mindfulness, the journaling, the little rituals I start and end my day with. The worst part is that I know when I'm sick I'm not the real me, but wounded, moping ego wears her cape on top of illness mountain and screams this is who I am! see me, dying and full of unfulfilled potential and unwritten books! I forgive myself the dramatics, as I am usually only this dramatic when I'm sick.

As for the unwritten books part, that specter haunts like no other. This weekend whilst wrapped in the coils of electric blanket I dipped into a fantasy classic that has been sitting on my shelf for years, unread. The book is just a few years younger than I am. As much as I love epics and fantasy, I am not enamored. Telling telling telling, a little showing. Exposition, exposition. Long monologues of backstory: Why is this happening? Because, young overly trusting naive one with the heart of gold, generations ago when blabby blah broke the tropey trope all the generic archetypes of mythical-heard-it all-before-land fell under the spell of boring masculinity and land ownership (penis) issues and all went to shite. Pass the grog. And you are our only hope for this all white, male dominated world of war and furrowed brows. Buuurp. Let's find you a teacher and kill said teacher before you are fully trained. Maybe I'm an asshole, but really?

Why is writing such a terror sometimes? It isn't that I don't enjoy the process, or the story, but approaching it at times is like approaching a storm, naked and with no protection. I don't know what I'm afraid of.  Failing, maybe, but I'll keep writing whether there is success in it or not. It's my thing. I suppose these is a part of me that is scared of success too, being open to criticism and there is so much internet out there that thrives on being mean, cruel. I am sensitive. But for all this the bigger terror is that I won't finish what I'm writing, that it won't make sense and (also, I'm literally bleeding all over my keyboard right now, my blood is literally dripping off my face onto my hands and the keys, NICE METAPHOR UNIVERSE! SUBTLE!) I'll fail in a way that isn't even stunning, just fizzle out in my own mediocrity.

Thanksgiving was lovely. My married sister spends the holiday with her husband's family and I always miss her. We have such a big, beautiful family. I truly love us. H fit in perfectly. He got to see me in full holiday cooking mode, with a strict schedule: crushing nuts, whipping eggs into meringue, tempering yolks into homemade custard, shocking the beans in ice. I love cooking, I know the end game is a full belly, tongue exhausted from all the flavors. If only I could write the way I cook, messy and covered in raw ingredients that through some mysterious alchemy of guided hand and instructions, turns into something everyone wants to put into their mouth.