Monday, June 2, 2014

Water-girl Dreaming


This piece of aboriginal art was painted by Amy Gunawarri. To quote the literature that came with it: The story tells of a woman who was banished from her tribe and forced to live in the sea. Eventually she grew fins and scales on her body like a fish. She saved any of her tribe unfortunate enough to fall into the sea and unable to swim.
  
From what I remember learning about aboriginal spiritual beliefs, dreams are a glimpse into the after life.  It's interesting to me that the artist chose the name Water-girl Dreaming. I imagine she had a deeper meaning in mind when she painted this story.

Here's my version:




Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Morning Pages

This is a repost from my other blog, Awakening the Sleeper.


I awoke this morning to Errol Flynn making fun of me for being melodramatic. How ironic! The next half hour was spent arguing with him in my morning pages. This poor misguided drama king has not been properly trained for his role and has been given the wrong script. He's supposed to keep me real, yes, but not to the point of blocking my writing. After three pages, I believe I have won round one. - Day 15

I've been reading a book called The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron that was written to help people unblock their creative side. The author refers to the block as a little voice in your head that tells you there are more important things to do, and you're not good enough to be wasting your time on these creative endeavors. She calls it the “Censor”, and says that it's part of the “Logic” brain. Some people may be more familiar with the term “left brain”.

One of the exercises she recommends is the “morning pages”. You're supposed to write three pages of whatever comes to mind when you first wake up. It's not supposed to be good. It's supposed to be a release or vent of all the whiny anxieties that “stand in the way of your creativity”. I call it getting-all-the-crap-out-so-I-can-focus-better.

It's interesting to note that writing requires the use of both sides of the brain. The left brain or logical side is needed to put words into a logical order of structured sentences, and the right brain or creative side is needed to find the right words to convey the thoughts. The act of writing helps unite the two sides for a common purpose, creating more of a balance between the two.

I am not a morning person. My mind is anything but peaceful when I first wake up. Sometimes, there's an entire army of negative thoughts marching around in my head. I usually try not to pay attention to them; try to force myself to focus on positive things. When that gets too difficult, I daydream; dream up happier places to go to. All of this is done without realizing it. The morning pages have made me more aware of my thought patterns and habits first thing in the morning.

On some days, I write 3 pages of rants, on others, it's a 3 page pity party. On my better days, it becomes a list of things I need to do that day or hope to accomplish sometime in the near future. I find that I am able to think more clearly throughout the day, and remember things better, since I've started this.

Not long after I first started writing morning pages, I had a weird dream with Errol Flynn over-acting a scene where he was supposed to be relating a sad childhood story. He was dressed as one of the Three Musketeers with a sword in his hand. The acting was so bad it was funny. While I was writing about the dream in my morning pages, I realized he was making fun of me, especially the sword-pen connection. At that time, I was still putting this blog together, and still writing my personal weight loss story. My “Censor” was trying to tell me that all of this was a waste of time.

Those 3 pages became a lecture to my censor, which I have named Errol. I spoke as a boss to an employee, or a director to an actor. I said things like: “Your role is a necessary role, but you have become confused about your job description. You are overstepping your boundaries. Stop blocking my writing!”

Therapists call this self talk. Affirmations are a form of self talk. There are some rules to remember with self talk. For example, the subconscious doesn't recognize negative words like “don't”, “not”, “no”, and “never”. If you say, “Don't block my writing.” It hears, “Do block my writing.”

Another is that you can't deny a part of yourself, because you don't like what it's telling you, which is essentially what I had been doing by ignoring the negative thoughts. If your finger was broken, you wouldn't cut it off. Likewise, the negative voice or censor shouldn't be cut off (or told to get lost), but redirected to function in a healing capacity. If I say that it has become confused about it's job description, then I need to redefine what I want it's job description to be, which is what I tried to do that morning.

It was a struggle first thing in the morning to find the right words to tell Errol what I thought he shouldn't be doing. I kept wanting to use negative words. And then, I had to figure out what I thought he should be doing. It took a couple of mornings to get it right, and may take a few more. Hopefully by putting it in writing, I'm forcing both sides of my brain to work together on this. I think it's paying off.

At the end of each day, I write a random paragraph about anything that comes to mind as an exercise for a writing group that I belong to. The paragraph in italics above was that day's paragraph.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Victory



The humiliation of Dahlia's awkward ascent from the floor had been caused by muscles too weak to lift her and joints too inflamed to hold her weight. But, not today. Today, dignity lunges forward to take a bow on confident and empowered legs.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

New Blog - Awakening the Sleeper


My new blog

I have a new blog for my work as a personal trainer and wellness coach. I'm posting tips, recipes, and my personal stories relating to health and fitness there. The logo and mission statements are a result from the Wings 4 You exercises I worked here on this blog. My hope is for Awakening the Sleeper to be a continuation of the process I started back then.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Photography Haiku

These photos seemed like a poem to me.



winter glass striates


defies lonely evening chill


mute rage radiates

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Whiny Drivel

This first poem was done for The Mag, but I didn't get it posted in time to link over there.
Danseuse ajustant sa bretelle by Edgar Degas
Gray

ethereal penumbra
aged gray
cast outside
curtain call

used merely
to incite jealousy

ephemeral ballet
lured backstage
dark maze of
theatrical vanity

he's embarrassed
to be seen with her


This next one was a picture prompt for the Creative Writers of North Houston group.
Summer Picture by Andrew Blackman


addiction

innocence fuels imagination
guilt draws a blank
one weekend we hold hands though we're “just friends”
the next, you find better things to do
one weekend we live in a fantasy world
the next, I'm pissed at you
forgiveness fuels imagination
anger draws a blank

sugary addiction feeds fantasy
roller coaster ribbons entangle strength
binding creativity in circus tents
round and round we go
as balloons float away
and rose petals drop to the ground


The last one was a picture prompt for the Word Crafters writing group. The picture was e-mailed to me, so I don't know who to credit or where to link to.
couch on road.jpg by ?

 
BFE

you'd like me to be adorned in gold
but you don't want to be the one to pay
what I've got will do for now, so...
you'd figure out the rest along the way

you found me thumbing a ride
and pretended to be going my way
hoping I'd save you from someone's crime
now I'm the one who gets to pay

watching life pass me by
living a lie
in the middle of BFE

were you aware
thatcha dropped me here
Mr. Generosity?

alone again, sitting in a ditch
smiling at asphalt to pass the time
I earned your trust, but lost your interest
still pay you honor, while I've lost mine

I call you friend, though clouds thunder
can't let go, though you were never mine
you're smile drives me with such skill and wonder
smoothly rolling through years of wasted time

watching life pass me by
living a lie
in the middle of BFE

did you realize
your lies would paralyze
Mr. Congeniality?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Relief from the Heat





Well, I guess it's officially fall in Houston, though we probably won't see any fall color until December. I'm still working on writing everyday this month for the October Wine and Write, but not getting much done on the weekends. The weather's been too nice to stay inside and write.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Where Has The Time Gone?

Special thanks to Carrie for sending me this link to a poetry site called The Mag.

This week's prompt at The Mag



“Wow, everybody's in a hurry.” He observes while basking on a bench in the middle of a park; or is it a meadow? Doesn't matter. The air is light and breezy, and the sky so bright that it bleaches the colors of the day.



They must be on their lunch breaks. He muses as people whisk by and then fade into the shadows of their office buildings; or are they trees? The mystery of his surroundings holds little interest for him at the moment. He's more intrigued by the way the shadows seem to engulf the passersby as they reach the edge of the grassy plot. The glare of sunlight befogs the perception of everything that enters the shadows.



It is out of this sun bathed fog, a gray-haired woman approaches with a weathered smile and tired eyes that reveal a spark of passion as she sits down on the bench beside him. Though she looks much older than him, her strangely familiar warmth makes his pulse race, and awkwardness interrupts the peaceful afternoon, as he struggles to start a conversation with her.



“Hi...” He pauses when he realizes she's trying to tell him something. Her eyes start to water as she softly moves her lips, but makes no sound. Wearily, she glances over her shoulder, and he notices that the shadows appear to be stretching toward her, hushing the glare of day.



“Where has the time gone?” He mumbles.



Turning back toward him, she unfolds a piece of paper and hands it to him. It reads:



Dearest Mike,



I’m so sorry I flinched

When you would get upset

Cowered, though you were never harsh

Transfused childhood-violence-guilt

To your innocent heart…

Though you understood why

Your heart still choked




I’m so sorry you became

My ingrained psychotropic replacement addiction

An impossible role

That you patiently endured

While I convulsed and transformed

A screaming withdrawal

That left you feeling you could do nothing right




I’m so sorry you’re not here to see

The transfiguration

Your seventeen years of faithfulness created

Accepting and supporting me

Forming and growing with me…

Your reward is despoiled prematurely

My evolution is empty without you



All my love,

Your remorseful wife



The paper turns to ash and is carried away by the breeze before he can read the last two lines. Staring at the now vacant spot on the bench beside him, an emptiness deep inside festers, but only momentarily until the peacefulness of the day rolls back in. The shadows recede once more to the edge of the lea, and the sky brightens.



“I wonder if I should be heading home now?” He examines the hand less watch face strapped to his wrist. Guess not. Resting his elbows on the back of the bench and one foot across the other knee, he settles back into life on the other side of a dream.


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Walking in the Mire


Anger is like getting lost in a swamp. Eventually, you're going to have to relieve yourself. And, while it might feel good coming out, you're left standing in it. Not only that, but you just added to all the shit you're already wading through.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Wine & Write 2013



I've recently joined a wonderful writing group here in Houston, and one of the authors is hosting a writing challenge called October Wine & Write 2013. The idea is simple – write something every day for the month of October and drink wine while doing it (the wine part is optional). Well, I think I'll give it a try, except tonight might be more of a “Whine” & Write effort, especially since I don't have any wine. Too bad, too, because a bottle of wine might have had some success in diluting a little of the whine.

I would like to whine about my computer. I am now a Linux user, and have been since March of this year. Windows just wasn't working for me on this ancient relic of a computer, and since I can't afford a new one right now, I wiped the hard drive using Dban Boot & Nuke, and installed a Fedora based operating system. I'm not a computer geek, though, and really had no idea of what I was getting into.

I quickly learned that Fedora is not for beginners. You need to know how to connect to repositories and which ones are the right ones for compiling and installing software on your system or “distro” as the geeks like to call it. Linux systems are pretty particular in general, so when you find you don't have the right rpm's to compile software and try do a work around that locks up the computer, the worse thing you can do is cut the power to the hard drive. With Linux, this will apparently corrupt the grub and prevent the operating system from ever booting up again. (if you're still with me and understand what I'm talking about, then you probably know more about Linux than I do)

Suffice it to say, that I lost everything I had been writing for a new story I was working on. This happened around July or August during my last attempt to write something every day, and in my nausea, haven't been able to write anything since.

It's bad enough that I, the queen of backing everything up, didn't back the files up on my external hard drive, but to add cyber gas and bloating to my already sour stomach, I later learned that I could've retrieved those files with a free program called PhotoRec, if I hadn't installed a new operating system right on top of them. I could've run Linux Mint (the operating system I'm currently using) from a bootable CD to retrieve them. Aaaayeeeeee! This has resulted in some serious creative constipation (everyone can thank Sue for that metaphor).

As I mentioned, I am now using Linux Mint, an Ubuntu based OS, which is so much more user friendly. All Linux is free software and uses less space and RAM than Windows or Mac, which makes it great for old computers like mine. I created the above picture while playing around with a free vector program called Inkscape, and did the finishing touches using a free graphics program called Gimp, all with only a single core processor and less than 2 gig of RAM. I could not have done it with XP; I didn't have enough RAM. I am truly grateful for every one that contributes to the Free Software Foundation and Open Source Initiative, but there's definitely a learning curve when switching over.

I would recommend to anyone thinking about switching, to install your home directory on a separate partition from the OS, so if the OS crashes, you can reinstall it without affecting your home directory. I finally figured out to do this, but not before crashing my system a second time when I tried to move it to the new partition. I didn't have enough room on my hard drive to copy my home directory in the same partition, and then move it to the new one. I know it's possible, because I experimented on an even older computer first, and it worked fine. But, the older computer had a larger drive. Here's where you can find the instructions on how to do it, but trust me, it's a lot easier to do during the installation if you're using Linux Mint.

So now, I raise my wine glass (with only water in it) to what I hope is the end of my whine about my computer, and the beginning of a month of free flowing words. After all, wine does have a laxative affect. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Picking Up the Pieces


This is my latest project, hanging on the wall right above my computer monitor. Mary helped motivate me to finish it with her project titled False Advertising. It's a beautiful collage with a heart breaking story of abuse. I liked the idea of using tissue paper, and decided to incorporate some in mine. Also, the theme of hands is similar, but I actually got the idea for that while sitting with my hands together one day, and noticed that they made the shape of an upside down heart. It seemed so appropriate for this piece to have the sun shining through an upside down heart.

One of the pieces of my life that I've been working on picking up is my social life. I met a very interesting woman at the pool the other day who is involved with an international organization called One Billion Rising that is raising awareness of human trafficking, rape and abuse through dance. The mayor of the city of Houston (Houston is the #1 city for human trafficking) had asked her to organize a dance for an event she was having to promote her new human trafficking task force called Shine a Light on Human Trafficking.




Yup, you guessed it. I've been dancing on the steps of city hall along with about 70 other civic minded dancers. Even though I'm a terrible dancer, I had a lot of fun and met some really nice people. I'm in the video above, but hiding way in the back. If you look close enough, you'll see me for a split second a couple of times. Fortunately, the camera man didn't catch me trampling over the poor cello player who played for the candlelight ceremony right before our dance.

Here's a video of the song written for One Billion Rising called Break the Chain:



I love this song. Here's the lyrics:

I raise my arms to the sky
On my knees I pray
I'm not afraid anymore
I will walk through that door
Walk, dance, rise
Walk, dance, rise

I can see a world where we all live
Safe and free from all oppression
No more rape or incest, or abuse
Women are not a possession

You've never owned me, don't even know me I'm not invisible, I'm simply wonderful I feel my heart for the first time racing I feel alive, I feel so amazing

I dance cause I love
Dance cause I dream
Dance cause I've had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside down
Its time to break the chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain
Dance, rise
Dance, rise

In the middle of this madness, we will stand I know there is a better world Take your sisters & your brothers by the hand Reach out to every woman & girl

This is my body, my body's holy
No more excuses, no more abuses
We are mothers, we are teachers,
We are beautiful, beautiful creatures

I dance cause I love
Dance cause I dream
Dance cause I've had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside down
It's time to break the chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain

Dance Break Inst.

Dance, rise
Dance, rise

Sister won't you help me, sister won't you rise x4

Dance, rise
Dance, rise

Sister won't you help me, sister won't you rise x4

This is my body, my body's holy
No more excuses, no more abuses
We are mothers, we are teachers,
We are beautiful, beautiful creatures

I dance cause I love
Dance cause I dream
Dance cause I've had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside down
Its time to break the chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain

(Repeat chorus)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

When Dr. Suess gets lost





















Swishingphad

The alluring Swishingphad
wishes and swishes into Xeerynbad
causing an 18 Szirj pile up
with an overturned Wyndstrup

“What the hell are you doing?!”
“Swishingpharism is only for the Flooing!”
cried the mucked up Wyndstrup
“You are not able to keep up!”

Oh fickle Swishingphad
leaving Xeerynbad fuming mad
rejects and abandons me
your fading sparkle is all I see

“Get out, get out you quagmapoo!”
“fluxing and muxing is all you do!”
in a panic, the Szirjes wail
“You are always doomed to fail!”

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Silent Poem

I finally wrote a poem to go with this pic, as suggested by my friends here.




Silent


I have been taken down

like an ornament

put away

silent night


I’m going to walk away

like a senile patient

in shame

silent day


I’ll forget what I’ve learned

like keys left behind

at the lake

silent descent


And deposit rusty bones

like leaf covered litter

decorating a

silent trail

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Big Thicket 2011


It's been 4 years, a hurrican, and a drought since my last visit to the Big Thicket.


Nature has been dealing some daunting blows lately, but the Thicket perseveres.


Many of the oxbows have dried up (like this one here) and the Thicket looks a little thin from tree loss, but as the Ranger pointed out to us, this area is one of the least affected areas in the state from the drought.

Our visiting friends, Sue and Bernie were just thankful to get away from freezing rain, and enjoy a sunny, spring-like hike through the woods.


Downtown Houston

city haze



church reflections



glass appiritions


Our friends from Canada, Sue and Bernie, wanted to see downtown Houston while they were here, so we took them up 60 floors in the Chase Building, down through the tunnel system (which was a waste of time thanks to the last few hurricanes), and then around photographing churches and glass reflections. I learned from the trip that Houston does indeed have a building more than 100 years old (Houston is such a new city by most standards). The church in the second pic is about 150 years old. Sue says that everyone they visit learns something new about the city they live in while they are there.



More From Galveston


While in Galveston with Sue and Bernie, we took the ferry over to Bolivar Peninsula from the island.


Sue and I spent the entire ride photographing the seagulls...


Then watched the sunset on the way back to the island, where we ate steamed clams and Italian seafood for dinner.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sue's Visit


My friend, Sue, and her husband, Bernie, came to visit us the last week of 2011. How exciting to meet for the first time someone that I've been friends with online for a while. We had a week of taking pictures, talking about writing and music, and showing my Canadian friends some of East Texas.



We spent a day in Galveston.



A day in downtown Houston.





Standing on top of the world on the 60th floor of the Chase Building.




And, a day at The Big Thicket National Park.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Madisons - Greener


My friends have produce a new CD, and asked me to do the cover art. I used Inception for the front cover, and Sprout for the back. The CD won't be released until February, but here's the video for the first single:



and here's how you can download the song:


See the sweet write up she gave me on her blog The Madisons, and say hi while you're there (she's still trying to get the hang of blogging and could use the encouragement).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Winter at the Beach



They've been continually working on rebuilding the beaches in Galveston since Ike. These were taken at the seawall where there are flower covered dunes once again. Yea!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Illustration Friday: Silent


Inspired by Mary's post for this weeks topic over at IF.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Tennessee Trip 2011


The Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee as seen from my friends' house. I went to visit for a week of hiking and relaxation. It was great to get away from the Texas heat and drought. The fall color was at it's peak.


We had a picnic dinner one night on a hill just up from their house. We ate Amish cheese with wine, and watched a front roll in.


The next morning, I awoke to this view outside my window. It's been months since I've seen it rain like this.


When the sun finally came out again, I went hiking around their property. They own about 100 acres in these mountains.


The hike was photographically inspiring. I've posted more pics here at Silk Creek Portal.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Haunted Tour



Haunted Tours

I once saw the Aurora Borealis
Tried to capture it, but it flitted away
Now I search for my faithful camera
Finding only incomplete equipment gifted me
In a misguided attempt to prepare for passage

I offer guided tours for your reading pleasure
Through secret corridors
Behind the walls of my childhood home
Where a colorless version of those Northern Lights
Flickers among apparitions that haunt here

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Whereas Exile



Inception



Embryo



Bithiah's Assignment

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Individuation/Assimilation?

...or the lack of both. This poem seems to demonstrate the lack. The > Language > Place Blog Carnival's theme this month is Individuation/Assimilation. I'm a little late to join the carnival this time, but thought I'd post this anyway. Maybe next month.



rush hour

stepping out of line
from a nameless crowd
and losing my place -
socially extrinsic

waste by-product of a
selfish generation
my speech is drunkenness
my sickness self-inflicted
coughing up anger chunks
intoxicating and toxic
ineffectual smears

driving exhaust-fumed freeways
with backward exit signs
slapping laughing faces
belligerently – just like them

groping for wisdom, but
babbling into empty ears
they see I’m lost
nakedness turned inside out
shame and weakness
bead up like sweat

they’re indifferent, and
I’m too tired
or maybe lazy
damned dyslexia



Loop 610's bridge over the Houston Ship Channel, obviously not during rush hour. To me this bridge reminds me of a giant serpent slithering across the landscape. Rush hour traffic gives it the illusion of movement. This pic was taken on a Sunday morning.


This is Beltway 8's bridge over the same ship channel. It makes me think of an invading Roman army. It's a toll bridge, so the traffic's not usually too heavy. This pic was taken during evening rush hour.


Here's a view of the east side of downtown, from 610's bridge. I live between the two bridges, but closer to 610.