Category: Blog

Losing Sight of the Point in Charlottesville

I recall a Parks and Recreation episode when Leslie was trying to help Ben run for office as his helpful, strong-willed, outspoken wife who had political experience. As was typical for the show, there was a surreal moment when an anti-feminist group came to this pie-baking contest that was traditional for the wives of running officials to participate in. Instead of making Leslie, the forward-thinking, 21st century minded female do it, Ben took over the task.

However, present at the contest was this group, this anti-feminist group that was shouting things about how women need to stop oppressing their husbands and Leslie was actually forcing Ben to do things he didn’t want to do.

While you watch this and think, “That’s ridiculous, no one is actually like that,” while at the same time taking into mind that they’re tackling a real life problem, you have events that break the News such as our most recent Nazi breakout into the streets of Virginia.

Here’s a bit of a brain twister for you. My husband is a recovering conspiracy theorist addict. It’s one of his most beloved quirks, and at the same time, not a quirk at all because some of the most relevant concerns he brings to me about our democracy aren’t so far-fetched at all and have had a lasting impact on the way I think about things.

While I’m somewhat of a progressive liberal, my husband leans conservative. Where I tend to wish that Hillary Clinton had been elected, even for the sake of saying that an intelligent female had beaten out a mysoginistic business man for the most important office in our country, he would say that Hillary Clinton is a murderer. I don’t know if that’s true, but anymore, WHAT THE HECK IS ACTUALLY TRUE?!

My point in offering that information is to pose something that my husband has brought to me before. First, that we are all participating in this crazy game where elected officials are playing a role, and the script is written by the highest bidder. The second would be that, and this isn’t actually all that conspiracy-like, there are parts of the opposing political parties that actually stir up strife just to divide the country.

These thoughts make it very difficult for me to articulate blame because I’m ever conscious of how I’m being manipulated to think certain things.

Just a year ago, I was in an office with some conservative women. There was a particular person who was against the BLM marches on overpasses. I love these women, so I won’t say too much about it except that I disagreed that there was anything wrong with it. Our very own MLK Jr. had taken to busy streets to peacefully protest the wrongs and injustices our country was committing.

It was in times like these that one of the women would bring up news articles about how the BLM protesters had gotten violent, or that far left protesters were burning down businesses, and all the while I’m thinking, “I didn’t hear that! How could I not have heard that?”

Well, while that’s a whole different can of worms, my point here isn’t that news media is all bent to suck your brain into its manipulative portal and bend you against your loved ones who think differently than you, it’s that we need to be conscious of the fact that we’re being manipulated. We need to stand on the side of the victims and of justice, and we need to condemn evil, no matter from which political standpoint it comes.

I read two articles just this morning, one about the hit-and-run driver from Charlottesville during the alt-right rally who killed one person and injured 19 others. One article said, “They’ve arrested the driver from Charlottesville, and it’s not who you think!” and the article went on to explain that the driver was a left-leaning democrat who was trying to stir up more hatred against the right by posing as an alt-right angry person. The next article I read was three stories down and it was about the identity of the driver as a military personnel, radical republican.

What’s wrong with this picture, I ask you?

First of all, why are media outlets unveiling the identity of the supposed murderer before the trial and conviction? Second of all, how is it possible that I don’t actually know what’s true because people can publish whatever they choose to manipulate the masses? Third of all, how is it possible that I haven’t seen one article on the identity of the person that was MURDERED?

This isn’t about the driver. It is not about him. This is about the victims of a hit-and-run. This is about the students at UVA who stood up in front of grown men to fight racial intolerance. And you know what, I can’t actually imagine how scared they were. I can’t imagine!

This is about inequity, inequality, oppression, and silence.

You know what else? Don’t detract from the issue by blaming our (admittedly incompetent) POTUS. It’s not about him, either. Because, you know what? I don’t think he cares enough to try and stop this at the source, and I don’t think he understands that at least part of what he stands for or says is being written down in the textbooks of alt-right crazy people who bring guns to a college campus.

This is about us. It’s about sane-minded people looking through the crud. I will not be manipulated. I will not give murderers their day of fame. I will not detract from the purpose of these learning moments by casting out blame for a group of people. I will target this issue at its source.

Systematic Racism. Anti-Semitism. Hatred. Intolerance.

I beg of you to ask questions about what you read. Ask questions about who should be the focus of our news outlets. We need to take back our brains and think for ourselves, throw out our political thinking boxes, and demand that justice is seen from all sides. Stop telling your internet browsers to give you spoon-fed political sow feed. Seek out answers! Seek out answers!

Change starts with you. Change starts with me. Look your black friends in the eyes, look your Muslim community members in the face, look your Jewish, Christian, Republican, Democrat, Hispanic, Latino, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, South African, Ugandan, Puerto Rican friends straight in the eyeballs and understand. Understand.

We are all humans and we have to share this Earth. So let’s figure out how to do it sooner rather than later.


The Lonely and the UnQuiet Minds

Some of the times that I’m most convinced there is a God, there is no powerful glimpse, no experience of torrential downpour with the echo chamber of thunder to scream to me “Here I am.”  Sometimes, there is that quiet whisper and in nothing you were expecting, but in the trembling fulfillment of a promise that you have awaited for so long.

I see God powerfully and yet underwhelmingly in humans, more specifically, my humans.

Today, my husband finally came through on his promise to make me a CD of his music. HIS music that he wrote, that he mastered, that he brought from the recesses of his brilliant mind into fruition through technology. I had been nagging him to make me one, and he came through with two.

To test out the music, we hopped into my old car whose speakers deliver music more exceptionally than any newfangled add-in could, and we drove through the rural night to experience his compositions.

I’m not ashamed to say that I experienced a transcendence through time, space, and matter to reach God in these moments. Sounds idiotic, probably, but I don’t know any other way to say it.

I was an extremely lonely child, one with nightmares that regularly shook me out of peacefulness, one with visions of dead loved ones and panicked premonitions of my own death to take the joy out of childhood. I was strange and not accepted, and I was dying for God to give me someone.

I remember begging God for a new brain when I was probably 12 or 13 years old. I would scream for relief inside my own head so the images would stop, so I could just live and be at peace.

Little did I know that the turmoil inside my own safe place, the lockbox of my consciousness, was churning into something that would form Taylor. It would form the individual, and the result would be something that I’m proud to be. It’s not fun to live in a brain that experiences everything vividly, sometimes horrifyingly, and it’s extremely lonely to live in such a headspace because it’s difficult to connect with other people when you genuinely believe that there’s no one in this world that could quite get what and who you are.

I am an artist. God knew that when he molded me from stardust and breathed into me to form my writhing, unsatisfied, searching soul. He knew that my journey would be lonely, but he told me in small ways “Your time will come.”

I think God knows what it’s like to be lonely. I don’t think that I would want to worship a God who was so far distanced from creation that he couldn’t understand the most painful parts of the existence he designed. He knows. And he was there with me all the times I begged for that person who would be what I desired in a life-friend.

So, as I drove with my husband down the winding roads, often wooded, at some points shrouded in salmon light from the clouded sunset that draped over us, I touched God and I finally was able to wrap his fulfilled promise around my throat like a wool scarf at the end of a very long, frigid winter day.

I found him.

Listening to Parker’s music was like tapping into the frequency of his soul, and I, at times, felt so overwhelmed with the beauty of it that I wanted to disappear and lay on my back in it. I wanted to wade in the existence of a soul like his that I was sure, in the peaks of my loneliness, didn’t exist.

 

 


the 4th of July

I laid in bed, my husband’s arm hugged to my chest as fireworks popped off outside our window, and I felt a vivid realization of time as fluid. Centuries past seemed to collide on me as I imagined the millions of others who had laid in bed listening to fireworks as July the 4th burned into July the 5th. I don’t consider myself a patriotic person, and I’ve tried to call myself a-political, but it seems I can’t lack an opinion no matter how hard I try. Still, the bursts of colored fire, tightly packaged in these combustible popsicle wrappers, the booming echo of their explosions radiating across the sky…there’s nothing in me that can fight the bits of poesy in the starbursts.

As I sat on the porch, my love in front of me, mosquitos biting my wrists and ankles, we could barely see these cannon-fire magic shows above the tops of neighboring trees. Faintly, lightning crackled its superiority in the clouds surrounding us. The stars were covered by weary storm fodder; the gray skies had been present all day for their heavy rains. But, it was clear now, and all the darker was the sheet of sky for the fireworks to balance themselves against.

In between bursts of expensive, gunpowder parades we watched the empty space and our eyes caught a single floating flame. My heart, my heart…a paper lantern. Dear me, do I love paper lanterns. If I can see poesy in the ostentatious shows of colored explosions, then how much more so can I see it in the small glinting flame, puffing up the balloon which carried across the sky and into the distance. It was alone, there. And as it carried itself gently, never drooping, never showing signs of weakness, the fireworks did not go off. All eyes were on this tiny balloon, a humble “Here I am.”

Parker said, as the popping off continued, “I don’t think many people think about fireworks like they’re meant to. It’s supposed to represent cannons and gunshots. It’s supposed to represent war.”

I thought on that for a little while afterwards. In fact, I never had realized that. Of course, I knew it was supposed to represent many other concepts like freedom, victory, and independence. I knew that it was supposed to blaze in colors of red, white, and blue as if we were branding a giant American flag on the stars. Yet, I don’t think I had ever quite seen them with so complicated a lens. The red, rivers of blood from desperate men, jamming their own rifles so they wouldn’t have to shoot. Rivers of blood from men who were screaming out their last, heavy groaning calls of identity.

War is not beautiful, no matter what many people think. Perhaps, if I try, I can see that valor, patriotism, and sacrifice are some of the most beautiful things in the world, but I can hardly see blood, broken families, and murdered surrogates in the face of mixed up ideals as beautiful. But, here I am writing about the poesy of colored explosions.

I used to be enamored by military, and in many ways, I still am. I am enamored with military persons and the bravery that they have that I simply don’t. I am enamored with their minds and bodies, honed for protecting strangers here, and strangers abroad. I am enamored with women fighting alongside men, proving that every kind of heart and every kind of face seeks justice. But, I don’t know that I’ll ever get over the glimpses of dying fathers, brothers, and uncles, mothers, sisters, and aunts, sacrificed for a disagreement that apparently couldn’t have been solved by communion, by peaceful negotiation. I suppose what I’m saying is that I wish mankind were different than they are. In some ways, at least.

This is why I sometimes feel like politics are a game. For me, life itself is precious. Not each breath that I take, though I do honor and gladly receive those, life in the utter implausible existence of beings that go about their existences with a purpose. I wonder what our purpose is.

It’s impossible to sit at a fireworks show and not think back on every other fireworks show that you’ve visited. For me, sometimes these flashes of time gone by only come back to visit with a surge of tears and heartache. Fields, itchy grass and picnic blankets, cokes and lawn chairs, pomegranate chocolate in the cool air of the elevated city of Denver, photo shutters clicking and shlacking, cousins and grandparents. My fourth of July of the past was never really thinking about war or fireworks, not about being grateful, or about creating a ruckus, because none of those things were a part of it. Our chaste celebrations of the past didn’t mean much to me at the time, but each passing year further glues them, further jams them deeper into my mind because my 4ths were about family.

Family has come to mean a great deal to me. And of course, fireworks, war, and family…these are all matters of great poesy.

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=160978&picture=4th-of-july-fireworks

 


Paris Climate Agreement and a Scared Artist

Barren world

Where once-mighty beasts,

Predator and prey

Served their cyclic nature,

Their instinct

As true to Her beauty as the rain

And Her colored sunshine–

 

Barren world

Full of legends

Spoken in too-silent night

Where even the breeze knows better

Than to land on human faces–

These legends

Are too magnificent

To be believed:

Cats bigger than men,

Fish smarter than children…

 

Barren world,

I dig in your soul

For a place to bury my heart,

For as you thirst,

So my throat croaks for relief;

As you die,

So I die, also.

I hear you, aching world,

But they have taken too much.

 

The Paris Climate Agreement is a collective effort for advancement. What might seem a hindrance to industry to some can only create opportunity and the drive to improve industry in the face of need: need for a robust economy, need for a healthy Earth.

The news that Mr. Trump is planning to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement has trickled down the news outlets of the internet and to my unbelieving eyes, and today I ponder what could possibly be wrong or threatening about teaming up with world leaders to protect our people and our planet from poisons that we set loose into the air we breathe.

I remember in Middle School getting into an argument with one of the smartest kids in my class over whether Climate Change was real or not. I remember bringing a long, print out page of web links to him and shoving it in his face as “proof” that he was wrong–Climate change is real. Climate change is a concern. (Though, back then, it was still called Global Warming.) It’s strange for me to look back on that because, these days, people try to separate climate concerns by political affiliation. I grew up in a Conservative/Libertarian type household (though I can say I’ve long drifted away from that sort of affiliation) and I was only a child when I took so strongly to the idea that we were harming our beautiful planet.

These facts aren’t refutable anymore. If you don’t believe in pollution, climate change, poisoned waters and slowly-going-extinct animals in our most beautiful ecosystems, then you’re the crock! It takes a willfulness beyond my comprehension to deny the piles of evidence and studies done over this. I think that willfulness is the key here, because, in point of fact, I don’t believe Mr. Trump disbelieves Climate Change, I think he is stubbornly refusing to acknowledge it in order to further his goals.

I understand that jobs are important; in fact, they are essential! I also understand that there might be setbacks in the short term in trying to create a more efficient way of doing things! Isn’t that like the sixth law of Physics? (Joke.) However, our most incredible advancements as a human race come out of need. If we get comfortable, and if we think that there’s no need to improve, and we deny that there IS need to improve, then our machinery gets old, our methods get stale, we stagnate and fall behind the rest of the world in technology.

Advancement is important. It’s absolutely necessary. Though I fear for all the practical reasons that we will fall behind, I fear most of all that we are irreversibly aging and destroying our planet by this obstinance, this refusal to advance our methods into clean energy. What a magnificent place we’ve been given to live on, cultivate and care for, photograph, paint, write of, read about…The Earth is a living, changing entity, and we must slow the rate of her decay which we have only worsened by our smoke pillars and automobiles.

I won’t be daft enough to say that Climate Change is all man-made. I think that we can’t expect anything to last on into eternity, and at some point our ancient Earth will die. Our sun cannot continue being at the perfect conditions for life forever. In case you, dear reader, were unaware, our Earth is an incredible statistical impossibility. Our sun, a yellow sun at the perfect temperature, and at the perfect distance from our planet, does not cook us or let us freeze. Our rotation, the distance from our moon, the pull of the tides, the change of the seasons; they are all orchestrations of majesty to facilitate life. As far as we know, we are the only ones to have benefited from some an impossible set up. So, yes. The world will die some day. That’s undeniable. However, our planet is as stubborn as we are to give up Her existence. She still feeds us, waters us, houses us, and she astounds us.

I’m scared of losing Her. I consider Her a friend, an inspiration, a satellite of Divinity. We can’t afford to waste any more time.


Yeah, I Got Married. Whatsittooya?

A rotund boulder has been sitting on my mind, squashing out farts of ideas as it creaks a barely comprehensible whisper…you are not good enough. You are doomed.

These pointed thoughts of self-doubt extend endlessly in all directions. I am concerned for the hardiness of my abilities, for the strength of my state of mind, for my possibilities of success, but also I fear for the failure of the most basic parts of me. I fear failure of my character and my humanity. I fear dissolution.

Perhaps I fear that the failure of things to which I devote myself is an indication of a failure of myself. Perhaps that’s always what I’ve felt, and I can’t help but think that those thoughts wouldn’t be an issue if someone hadn’t radically modified beautiful, figure-it-out-as-you-go ideas into crappy substitutes out of bitterness.

Because none of us are so good at leaving things alone, letting them flourish in delightful ambiguity, cultures and times have created stigmas out of unshaped or highly-valued ideas (love, marriage, success, identity). The cultures and the times rot away the amoeba shape into crisp, but unforgiving lines. These lines, once amorphous, molded into shapes which suit each sculptor, now seem rigid and immovable. These transformations have gone from concepts to rules, and rules are terrifying because “What happens if you break the rules?”

Transformations like: “togetherness” to “contractual obligations,”

friendship” to “bread winning” to “house keeping” to “duties,”

giving” to “trade” and “return on investment.”

The pureness of these once beautifully ambiguous concepts like marriage and all the nestled, sub-divided ideals have been totally corroded into commercial, socially and culturally acceptable, role-cementing rules and regulations.

I think to myself, “I’ve got an amoeba partnership, and how I’d love to keep it as it is.” There are no “You shoulds” and “I shoulds,” there are no, “Don’t dos” and “Must dos,” but that still beautiful unmoldedness of just “doing” and just “enjoying.” How I panic and want to cling to these moments when I think, “When will it happen? When will the ‘hard times’ come?”

I look over at my best friend, husband, the most beautiful human on God’s green Earth and I want to cry for fear that things will get bad…because that’s what people tell me will happen. We tell each other, “Things will be hard.”

But why? Why must they be hard? Because life is? I think that’s a man-created rule, and I don’t wish to believe it.

Perhaps it’s willful obstinance to believe that two best friends can go on living peacefully, laughing off blunders, passing off moodiness, and giving to each other without asking, but I was always very good at being stubborn.

I think it absolutely horrifying that the amoeba shape of love and commitment has been bludgeoned into conformity for a culture that loves rules, loves boxes, loves power structures and docile wives. The jokes, the “pity me” cries for help from married couples, the witnessed fights and dissolved marriages, they all cry loudly, they all scream at me their dominance, their control over me.

But, as I search for something louder, I settle on the faint breathing of my husband, the rustling of skin on skin as he rubs his feet together. As I search for something as domineering as these hardened voices, all I can pick up on is the light sensation of a hand on my arm, the joy of a laughing smile, the smell of a day-old-shower.

Happy marriages don’t scream as loudly as sad ones, unfortunately, and if they did, our culture would tell it to shut itself up. Maybe the word marriage is damaged beyond repair, especially for me, but the idea of me…of him…and of us, that one’s not damaged.

I think I’ll slip on a protective cover littered with “I love yous” and hugs for no real reason. I’ll glue it to the surface with sloppy kisses and let those quiet reminders overwhelm me, tired as I am of all the screaming.


The Humanity of Our Elderly

In the carefully-equalized biome of the retirement center I work at, there live a great diversity of people who refuse categorization:

A man with dementia who sometimes recognizes me, smiles, and may say some sort of hello–who sometimes doesn’t recognize anyone and is shuffled to a table by his unspeaking aide.

A woman who has been rude to me more than any other resident combined as she is chatting with a friend at a table. I overhear her say she won’t leave the cafeteria just yet, “I’ve been alone all morning.”

One of my favorite residents with a sense of humor so dry, you could use it as a pumice stone dates another of the favorites who cannot wait to hail me to the table to tell me about their date last night. He laughs as he explains that the date would not end because neither of them could get up from the couch.

Right next door to the laughing couple who joke blushingly about stealing “sugars” at the table, is the circle full of mourners who have just been told that a good friend’s daughter, a long-time friend of them all, has passed away unexpectedly. They cry and talk with heads close together; they hug each other and apologize to me for staying so late past close.

Sometimes I feel utterly filled up by the humanity of the residents. They seem so human, so unrecognizable inside the stereotypes that society wants to smother them with.

They infantilize each other; they joke about being in the way at every turn, at being useless, at being messy or incapable of something or another. They get sick, and I don’t see them for a while. They start off walking to the table, but they graduate soon to a walker or a wheelchair.

Many of them remember my name, though the chances are slim I’ll remember theirs.

I remember, “Jersey accent, coffee with his meal, sits at the table on the far right facing the room.”

I remember, “Two coke zeros to-go, always up to the husband who is never well enough to come down.”

I remember, “A tall glass of ice, red walker, her doctor says she can’t have caffeine.”

I wonder sometimes what I’ll be like in my old age and whether I’ll live joyfully, flirting with my husband at the table with me, getting knocked down by the aches and pains, but laughing through it. Or, perhaps, I’ll be scowling and distrustful of the young help, but I’ll be so lonely, no husband to greet me in my apartment, no children to visit me on Sundays.

I love these people, and they astonish me. What stories I will write, taking a piece here and a piece there, a funny smile, a quirk, a name, and I will make them immortal. I will not let their years pass into oblivion, because they have crossed the path of a writer.

Yes, the residents are mostly Trump-supporters and they occasionally get pretty crotchety when things aren’t cooked the way they’d like and the rolls aren’t their favorite kind and “what do you mean, the coke machine isn’t working?”

But, they are so beautifully human, so unadorned with stereotype. I can categorize them no more.

 


Parents, Love Your Children

Tiny child, hungry for a small voice of assurance, looks into bewildered eyes. These eyes can’t seem to adjust, they blink and blink and try to find themselves in reality. Miracle of life, perfect and in-need, parents feed the child with soft words and hug her close to their chests. These adults, fully-formed in brain and in body do try to conceive of a greater love than this as they smell the rosy cheeks, pinch the chubby folds of kicking legs, peel radioactive diapers from the rashy butt.

But these parents, these humans braced for a life time of unshakable devotion–they forget. As this child grows a brain capable of thought, a mouth capable of speech that stings, a heart full of compulsions that lead her in directions that are firmly at opposite poles of their vision for her, they find no more chubby body to cling to, to smell and kiss, so they grab their dreams and ideals and clutch them fiercely to themselves. They sew protective garments for this new, living doll, stuffed full of expectations and fears. They don’t want to lose, too, these carefully nurtured visions.

But what of the child, once coddled, once adored, once spoken so softly to? She does still feel the phantom arms around her and dream of those words reaching her ears again. A simple, “I love you,” and trembling, tear-soaked hug bulging with hopes for her. This grown-up child still finds those bewildered eyes, but sees in her parent’s arms that eery doll; she feels the incongruity; she desires that they would leave this phantom of her created in their fear and invite her back. Her age has not changed her desire for acceptance, and her age has made her no less deserving of it. Her mind, her heart with lonely, searching calls, they are scared and isolated for fear of the doll, of the clutching, wide-eyed parents, and of herself.

There is no age at which a child feels ready to disappoint their parents. There is no age at which she needs those soft words less than before. But she does grow used to that odd, incongruous doll, and at some point, fears that they love it more than her. She won’t ask them to get rid of it, then. She knows it would hurt them to have to let it go.


Silence

Silence is sacred.

She is a ready patience, waiting for the opportunity to be allowed in; She is healing that permeates every clogged, porous cell, stamped dark with the noise of fruitlessness; She is cooling breath on the back of a hot neck, pulsing with angry blood, emotional blood which runs through the brain and into impetuousness. She acts like a cool rag, dampening the heat, healing the visceral wound. She settles over you like calm, blots away impurities like peace. She is sacred. She is ignored.

Though she vies for entry into the collective mind, it buzzes too loudly to sense her outside. It plays its music over the loud speakers in an attempt to numb the perpetual turnings of the sharp cogs, rusted and wretched for revolving too hard and too fast for too long.

She waits, still, outside of bookstores when even the monologue of a well-written page isn’t loud enough to overcome the music. She waits, where grocery carts and milk cartons need distracting from: music is the new silent. She waits, replaced, as desperately churning brains pump music in, trying to focus harder, trying to focus better, while she wishes so fervently that they would know she could do better. She would do better than the noise.

For those that sit, for those that find her in her readiness, they find her inextricable other face. They find that they can listen, that they hear themselves clearer than they ever have, and that they are smarter and more creative than they thought. She reminds them that they are worth listening to, as are the people around them. She reminds them that they don’t need to be afraid of her, for she is not ominous. Silence is accompanied by many noises which make up the panoply of life.

While one shuts off her own voice long enough to listen to the crooning of the world, Silence delights in her tearful acknowledgement of Nature’s music. Silence watches her breathe deeper and steadier, and to the girl, all worldly noises seem louder, seem unnecessary after their brief, but poignant encounter. It is sacred; it is claimed and protected; it is not to be brutalized.

Those that commune with Silence find the world raucous and disrespectful. To find one’s voice so pleasing that it can’t cease is an egregious crime. To find music so necessary to comfort in a quiet room is an expression of fear.

Silence does not blame the wounded for being fearful of the quiet, but she does wish them to give it a try and rediscover their own genius in the stillness.


Dogs Are Not Man’s Best Friend

Howling, aching creature. You wail at my departure, fearful that you’ve done something to deserve being left alone to die.

Once, so far, you’ve been uprooted. Your love lands recklessly where mine is careful, where mine is reluctant to let go. Here, you seized me. Your pointy whisker lips grace all areas of my face, peeking tongue wetting my freckles with individual kisses. You sniff, you must sniff my breath for every I love you. Believe me, dog, every breath is an I love you.

I’m scared to say it to you because I know you won’t believe me soon. I’ll grab your head and kiss the velvet, fiercely, desperately, as your new owner takes you to your home. You might think that I’ve found you flawed, that I’ve declared you an exile from my pack. But please, sniff my breath, sniff it while you can, graze me with those whiskers, let me smooth your fur with my lips and whisper comforts to you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

I find you satisfactory, lanky specimen. Though you goose-egged my shin in full-stride through the yard, I find you perfect.

Though you ate everything I left in your path like a goat with reckless abandon, I find you perfect.

I wonder at the short-lived, powerful attachment. You, ancient animal, and me, arrogant human. You imprinted on me the quack of your character with the first burped grumble. I mourn for you and I hope you don’t forget my breaths, the smell of it, the volume of my declarations.

How strange it is to love an animal. To feel the urge to lead, and yet love, to discipline and shower with every conceivable tickle, pat, and hug.

My charge, my friend, I declare you my guardian. A short while I anguished over your primal mind and worries, a short while I cared for you, and now I grow older, stronger, wiser for loving you.

You are a satellite, infused with the divinity of Creation. More than a friend, more than a companion, I find you, the beacon of God and I am astounded by the grace with which you diffuse His love with each lapping lick, each cheeky nibble.

 


Writing Exercise #1

 

I recently bought a book full of writing exercises. The first exercise encourages a James-Joyce-like internal monologue writing session. I thought I’d show you the bulk of the internal monologue I wrote down, and the monologue of a character I adapted it to. It was fun and enlightening to transform my own strange ravings into the even stranger ravings of a potential character that I’d very much like to explore later.

My internal monologue : Pre-transformation

The crows caw loudly, and I think of raw meat. Footsteps nearby, a clopping horse’s gallop. It is a strange turn taking between the birds and the clopping, the whirring of a pair of wings above and the response of a locking-car horn nearby. The carts, the wheels and rattles, moaning wind, echoing laughter.

I do feel alone here, but delighted by it. I think “what atrocious handwriting you have,” but still, I write my head down. Voices distract me and the heat sits like spring, jet engine blanket on me. I want to lean back and sleep.

Sickness shares the air with beauty. Trollopsing wasp, buoyant and disturbed by passing cars and their boom-boom hello. I still hear its thunder. Whoosh. Whir. I shouldn’t be stopping, but often if I don’t try to, my head stops thinking—goes blank and silent and comfortable.

A muscle is twingeing in my arm. Phone buzz and I see spots on my vision. Bleep. Caws sound jolly—not so argumentative. Red-headed angel trollop, over-the-shoulder bag—hello, parking lot visitors, I can ow hear your music. Turn it down. I take these things like invasions of my privacy, my personal space.

Ha, I can tell you BUZZ BUZZ dropped your phone. the crows are HAW HAW, laughing at you, too, but you don’t hear them. There’s so much noise and sometimes it smells like spring time, but often they disturb me. Do I hear singing? Sounded kind of ghostly.

Adapted character monologue using details from the exercise

The crows caw loudly, and I think of raw meat. Footsteps nearby, a clopping horse’s gallop; there are no horses near, but shoes are hooves when passages like wind tunnels carry noise beyond its half-life. The carts, the wheels and rattles, moaning wind, echoing laughter, they are carried one painted brick too far.

I do feel alone here, but delighted by it. I think “What atrociously un-hemmed pants you have” as I look down at my swinging legs, dangling from the garden wall. Still, I let my head silt its voices out. They distract me as the heat sits like a jet-engine blanket on my shoulders, persuading me to lean back and sleep.

I resist as I hear a tuberculoid cough wrack the dewey air. Sickness shares the air with beauty as before my eyes, a trollopsing wasp, bouyant and disturbed by mournful winds and its schwoop schwoop “hello” makes arcs and dips with its top-like body in the air. Whoosh, whirr, I hear the wind and wasp exchange their matter in a short flight to nowhere, and for a moment, the heat wins out as I stop and think of nothing. Often, if I don’t try to, my head stops thinking—goes blank and silent and comfortable.

A muscle is twingeing in my arm as I lean. I can’t move yet. I must observe. Twinge. The crows still haw haw; they sound more jolly—less argumentative. Maybe I only thought they were arguing when the mist was heavier and it felt like an evening for a murder.

The trailing end of a measure of a song drifts from the tunnel now, and its half-life turns it ghostly. I shiver, but my twingeing arm reminds me that it’s still not time to go.