Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Lilac Vigil

The lilac blossoms on the shrubs lining our front yard are pushing hard to burst out.  We thought they would make it as the sun teased us this morning, but are still just a promise of purple against green.  

My novel is still mostly dormant, but pushing hard to claim existence.  Closeting oneself, albeit  in pleasant surroundings, is hard.  After 40+ hours plugged into an office, I want Saturdays to be unplugged: lounging with people I love, talking, reading aloud, eating, walking, watching movies.  

What am I learning about this process?  No writing will happen until after I do Morning Pages.  Journaling for 30” minimum is the rite for re-engaging with my Self, to cross the threshold from deliberately self-suppressing activity all week to jumping up and down, laughing, flinging my arms and butt and saying “Here I am!” on the written page, of course.  Giving of oneself with any authenticity and sincerity requires having a self that produces the gift.  The lilac vigil continues.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Living Out Loud

So far, I'd say my Living Out Loud has been a whisper!  I just read most of my college class reunion book for this 35 year issue.  The entries become more bold, transparent, as we grow older - what's to gloss or hide?  We are what we have been.  What is left is to say it.  If one is really brave, one could also say what dreams are still there - waiting.
I did not submit an entry this time, there were plenty of excuses for not having the time, which is no excuse, and which makes these entries so much more a gift.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

A Memorable Evening of Synchronicity

Last night I attended a book event at our local bookstore featuring the new book, Women, Spirituality and Transformative Leadership.  The subtitle is Where Grace meets Power.  Two of the four editors were present and the author of one of the articles.  The synchronicity began when my husband called me at work yesterday afternoon to tell me about the event and thought I might be interested.
1st synchronicity - my mother had recommended the book to me several weeks earlier after attending a book event at her church; 
2nd synchronicity - Kay Lindahl, one of the editors present, knows my mother and is, in fact, a member of her church and co-founded the church bookstore where my mother now volunteers;
3rd synchronicity - the author present, Carol Flinders, is also a co-author of Laurel’s Kitchen, the seminal book on vegetarian cooking and a lifestyle that defies commercialism;
4th synchronicity - ideas about leadership & women, self-authority, finding one’s voice - a theme in the book - and this webpage - have been percolating in me for quite a while.
These are impressive women, not just for their personal accomplishments and this book, but for their faith in seeking, and what might come by making connections with other women.  This is an interactive book; we talked about circles of women coming together, and what women have accomplished by supporting each other and being present.  There are so many angles on this, it’s very exciting!
It’s raining hard outside and I’ve got my Saturday morning coffee and the book. I will look for more opportunities to connect with these women, including their webpage,

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring - Where are you?

Spring 2012 isn't coming fast enough!  Warm air, morning sunshine, hiking in Pt Reyes.... I need you!  Last week was spent in bed with pneumonia and high temperatures, my husband was diagnosed this week  with pneumonia after weeks of coughing and dragging around.   You see?  never let a cold drag on and on.  Take care of it and go to the doctor.  That's the news from this corner of the world.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Tree of Life & Other Matters

My name is Marilyn and I am a breast cancer survivor of 11-1/2 years.  I was diagnosed a Stage 2 in July 2000.   I had been married only two years, my first marriage, his second.  One of the lasting memories from that time is my husband sitting beside my bed or chair at each treatment, reading aloud from Harry Potter.  His dramatic reading filled my cubicle with the voices of Harry, Hermione, Ron and especially Dobby, with whom he channeled a particularly good supplicating tone.

Other realities at that time were mostly sensate - fear, isolation (I'm a recluse at heart, which meant I had to force myself to connect with people more than I usually do), occasional nausea (very little, thanks to pharmacological tweaking), and loss in several forms.  There was also - in the sensate realm - an effortless conviction that there is love in the world, not perfect or pervasive, but working actively, regardless of my efforts.  There was a sublimity about life.  I would sit on the front step of our cottage, and literally watch the roses grow and the dead leaves from the sycamore turn to humus.  I was in the present, knowing that that was all I had, quite profoundly, that is what any of us has - this moment.  There are no guarantees of anything except that.

In six weeks I stop popping that little white pill each morning, femara, the last of my anti-cancer drug prescriptions.  The side effects have blurred into daily living so much that I am barely aware of them.  There is some trepidation about not having that magic pill to scare aware the cancer demon from my threshold.  Still, I look forward to a prescription-free life.

A word on three movies:

The Artist is a miniature gem of filmcraft.

The Tree of Life - it took courage to produce this film; it is poetry as much as storytelling.  Set aside the strictures of form and definition and you will be enthralled.  Order it from Netflix and you can set it aside for an intermission, when you feel too saturated to take it all in at once.  A Terrence Malick film.

And here is one that came out in 2008 and was India's official entry for Oscar contention, but was not nominated - sadly.  Like Stars On Earth is gripping and entertaining.  It does what good storytelling does - digs deep into our minds when we're not looking and pulls us out of those dark corners into light, warmth, love.  This is one of my all time, most loved movies.  Directed by Aamir Khan, who also plays an important role in the film, and written by Amole Gupte.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Prelude to Thanksgiving

My husband and I visited my mother in her new home last weekend.  She is 81 now, and had been unsteady on her feet enough that she decided a year ago, perhaps earlier, that she needed to live with family.  She made the move in September from her own home and well-established life in another state, to a cottage on the property of my brother's home on the California coast.
Now, I can visualize where she sits to eat meals, where Buddy, her teddy bear dog, settles on the porch, what it's like for her to use her cane stepping onto the driveway.  She has four fabulous grandchildren, ages 8, 14, 16, and 18, stopping by each day, giving her hugs, delivering her mail.  Her voice on the phone has a lift, she sounds rested since she's now retired as well, and is exploring the vicinity, having screwed up her courage to drive along now familiar routes.  She's also found a church home.  (Son and family belong to a different denomination.)
May we all age so well and courageously!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Progress Report

It's amazing!  If you speak out loud what you hope for, the universe will respond.
I was speaking with a woman who works at the local independent bookstore about how-do-writers-connect-in-this-town and she invited me to join her and two other women in a writers group that they started some time ago.  But, it had been dormant a while, she said.  We met last night in a downtown coffeeshop.  She provided the prompts to get us started on short free-writing, and voila - magic!  We were writing great stuff!  THANK YOU!  This is so exciting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Graphite Scribbles

I started scribbling nonsense words with pencil on yellow carbon paper my Mom gave us kids in long and short connected strokes before I'd graduated from block letters, just because I couldn't wait for the freehand of script.  
A well turned sentence is such a beautiful thing.  What are the beautiful things in my life?  Hiking a coastal trail in Pacific fog, listening to the Faure Requiem in a silent, packed church.   I've taken writing classes occasionally and hope to publish something really good someday - doesn't have to be great, just good.  So, here goes!