grown ups are like that....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hey there, honey...

My friend Christina gave me some unfiltered beeswax and some honeycomb from her beehive.
 I stuffed the whole mess into an old stocking and added the stocking to the top of a double boiler. I learned this method on THIS website.
 I made sure to have a clean drink carton on hand.  I cut off the top.

I turned the heat to medium and watched as the clear wax seep through the hose. When it appeared all the wax was rendered, I discarded the hose full of dirt, bee bodies, bee bread, and pollen.

 I added a second pair of hose over my juice carton and poured my clear, hot wax through it.


 After the filtered wax cooled all that was left was wax and a little bit of brown watery stuff.

 The dark watery stuff was a little sweet, but wasn't pure honey.  I discarded it as well.
 And now I have some lovely wax to make candles!!!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Lit up!

I was a guest on the brand new radio show, Lit up! with Nina Alvarez.  Go check it out!


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Flow

There are days when you sit in front of the computer for hours writing, editing, reading, submitting. Your butt starts to hurt so you break for tea. It grows cold, though, because your fingers are simply flying over the keyboard.  No time for sips of tea.  Your eyes strain, but you press on.  Today you have a lot to say.  You have no idea where it comes from or why, but you don't question the flow. You embrace it.

Other days you'll sit in front of that same computer and nothing comes.  You screw around on Facebook.  You read the dumbest news stores.  On-line shop. Text your friends.  These are the days you'll get mad and hate yourself and wish you decided on a different life and feel defeated.

But those days are also part of the flow. Like it or not, it is best to embrace that part of life as well.

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Today my fingers fly and so does my heart.  Tomorrow...who knows?  But no matter what I plan to simply go with the flow.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Craft

I stand in the craft store looking for wire and the little clamps that you use at the end of a beaded project to hold the whole thing together.  But I don’t have my instruction book with me. I don’t know what I’m looking for, not really. My daughter stands beside me exasperated and eager to just get out of here so we can go to the mall. But I’m determined.  I want to make prayer beads for meditation.  So far I’ve collected a pink skull bead, a rose quartz bead, a cowrie shell, an evil eye, and a small pomander ball filled with osha root.  I’m keeping my eye out for a small cross and a bumble bee.


I stare at the wall of supplies and realize that I’m totally at a loss.  Do I need those fancy jewelry pliers?  What about the cowrie?  How do I wrap it? Or do I drill a hole in it? I’m clearly confused, but I try to maintain my cool.  I’m not sure if I want to be like the other moms in there buying scrapbook supplies and puff paints or if I want to be like the cool Bohemian twenty-somethings buying steam punk beads and modge podge.  Maybe I don’t want to be like either.    

 I distract myself with candles. There is an audible sigh from the teen.

“Why do you always buy so many candles? It’s weird.” 

I ignore this comment and ask her if I should get scented or unscented white votives. 

“Unscented, of course.” 

She knows I’ll cover each in perfumed oil anyway.  She knows that the synthetic fragrances in the scented candles won’t mix with the smell of incense and sage that permeates my house.  Two of my best friends say my house smells like a hippie, but they like it.  I just secretly thank god it doesn’t smell like a dog.



I’m back at the beads. I pick up various bags of wire.  I simply have no idea what the hell I think I’m doing.  Prayer beads?  What kind of new agey jerk have I become?  I feel silly and like I’m grasping for something totally out of my reach and beyond my age and absolutely trendy. 

Screw it. I’m going to do it anyway. I grab a bag of generic “Craft Wire” in various colors and toss it in the cart with my unscented white votives, three empty bottles that I’ll later fill with Four Thieves vinegar, and a tiny purple stuffed octopus that my daughter urges me to get.



I buy my random assortment of treasures and head for the car.  My daughter puts the new octopus toy on the dash board and we name him Periwinkle. At home, I stash the wire with the beads I’ve collected. I set my candles on my table and put the vinegar jars in the cupboard.



I haven’t begun my prayer bead project yet. Sometimes I’ll take all the beads out and look at them, study their shape and size.  But I don’t do anything with them besides keep them in a pretty box my mother gave to me that I keep right next to the sage and scented oils. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Resolved

I am not usually one to make New Year’s resolutions.  I usually make my big yearly changes back in October when the nights are getting longer and endings are in the air.  But this year I think I’ll make one.

I resolve to further embrace the life of a writer.

I realize that it sounds pretentious to don this label and pronounce it to the world, but it is real, from the heart, and a resolution that I intend to keep.  But what, exactly, does that even mean? What is “the life of a writer” exactly? 

To me, being a writer means. . .


. . . being at peace with the fact that I will never make the kind of money others around me do.

It means turning down jobs and opportunities that don’t feed my soul.

It means letting snide comments about liberal arts degrees and people’s jokes about maids and housekeepers slide right off my back.

It means writing every day.

Every.

Single.

Day.

It means coloring mandalas at two in the afternoon on a Tuesday.

It means having a house that is always slightly messy and is perfumed with incense. 

It means that I probably won’t travel as much as my wealthier peers.

 It means that it is ok to grieve over that but not to let that grief stop me from writing and push me towards work I don’t love just so that I have more cash in my hands and plane tickets in my pocket.


It means creating a safe, special, and loving place to live right here in my own small town.

It means filling my space with objects that may seem like clutter but are really inspiration—candles, and glitter, and children’s crafts, and postcards, and magazine clippings, and feathers, and herbs, and crystals, and photos, and plants, and art. . .



 It means surrounding myself with people who support my craft and actually read my work and show up when it counts.

It means letting go of people who have belittled me or been unkind.

It means failing. A lot. Some of what I write will be crap. That will have to be ok.

It means accepting that some of what I write will also be absolutely amazing.  It means knowing that without apology.


It means that I will sometimes get rejected when I submit my work.

It means that sometimes I will get accepted.

It means seeing the world with my heart and crying too much and dreaming quite a bit and never feeling bad about any of it.


It means being free.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Mama


Three years old or thirteen, it doesn’t matter--you always want your mama when you’re sick in the night.

I hold her tight as she trembles.  I spoon against her slight body and realize that, actually, she’s not so slight after all.  She’s curvy and womanly and almost as tall as I am.  But right now this girl-woman is shaking with illness and fatigue. She snuggles closer and I wrap my arm around her waist.  My neck aches; her bed is too small for the two of us. I consider moving to the floor and realize that she doesn't just need me in the same room; she needs me right next to her like when she was a baby.

 Earlier in the night I heard her desperate call of, “MAMA!” from my room. Every imaginable boogie man swam in my head.  I stumbled down the hall only to find her bed empty. Instead I found her in the bathroom, sobbing over the toilet bowl. She finally let it all come up and out, and I got her back to bed where we are now.

I feel guilty as I silently pray that no one else gets sick before Christmas Eve.  I stare at the bottom of the top bunk while I whisper a mother’s incantation. . .

Let her be ok. Let her feel better.  Spare my boy this.  Spare ME this. 

I look around the room and see all that makes her my daughter: Chap Stick on the night stand, candles on the dresser, bookshelves two deep, messy journals, tie-dye socks, posters of foreign lands, sea shells, crystals.

 She sprints from the room and I race behind her. She dry heaves again over the commode.  I notice she is gripping tight to her glasses, the cute turquoise and black pair.  She is afraid they’ll fall in the bowl.  I slide them off of her face, and she empties her stomach again.  I sweep back her hair and hold back my own tears.  It makes my heart clench to see her so weak.  I cover her in towels and watch as she lays her cheek on the tile.  I remember moments when viruses or beer or heartache put me in a similar spot.  I remember that all I wanted was a clean towel and a cold tile floor and my mama. 

She decides on a shower, and I let her have her privacy though every cell in my body wants to sit on the toilet lid and make sure she is ok and that she doesn't slip in her shaky state.  But I don’t stay. I go back to her bed and nod off to sleep.  I have fitful dreams of lost babies and an absent friend.  I dream my daughter is driving a car.  I dream of an empty museum and yellow flowers with wooden stems.


At some point she comes back and I help her dress in fleece PJs and warm socks. I tuck her in and slip away, back to my own bed. At eight-o’clock my mom calls and I snuggle under the covers with the phone and pretend she is with me, keeping me warm in my big empty bed. 
1973

2011

2014


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Writer

Several months ago I handed my husband a stack of  Poets & Writers magazines and told him to get rid of them.

"Recycle them, take them to the library, leave them in the English Department.  I don't care, just get rid of them"

I had declared--rather childishly, I admit--that I was done with writing. I was no good at it, I felt, and the local writing community did not support my writing efforts or the literary reading series I host. I felt lost and ridiculous and tired of trying. I was done.

Several weeks ago I woke with a start and tears filled my eyes.  I needed to write again.  I couldn't contain the words roiling in my brain and belly and heart.

With the help of a professional writing coach and editor I began again. I've written almost every day for four weeks. I've submitted one creative non-fiction piece and have several others earmarked for either editing for future submission or inclusion in a book.

Today I found that stack of magazines hidden under a shelf.  I showed them to my husband.

"I couldn't do it.  I would just have been wrong."

This gesture was more loving than any bouquet of flowers or fancy piece of jewelry. I think I'll keep those magazines indefinitely now.  I'll look at them and remember that someone special loves me.  I will look at them and remember that I am a writer.