auténtico

solitude-quotes-6

I equate authenticity with the freedom to be myself e.g. of saying what I really think (not to hurt or wound) instead of keeping silent, of not tending to the endless, tedious exhausting business of having to “fit in”. I used to feel guilty when I had those feelings. I still feel a frisson of envy for those people who can ”tell it like it is.” (I often find that these people who brandish honesty and forthrightness resent the hell out of me when I express my opinion!)

Somewhere along the way I changed from being an extrovert to an introvert.

My mother was an uber extrovert; she charmed in any social situation and could make small talk with a stump. She viewed anyone who eschewed the company of others as eccentric, probably neurotic or at worst seriously disturbed. There were probably more than a few introverts in my family. There was a reason my grandfather used to disappear after spending a few hours en famille.

When I was a university student I could not tolerate solitude. When I was alone, I felt vulnerable and anxious. I had to be among friends or mingling in crowds of people every waking minute. Like a true extrovert, I derived energy from other people. Sadly, a frenetic social calendar is inimical to great academic achievement, at least in my experience.

The process of becoming an introvert began after I was married.  I wasn’t “me” anymore, I was just an extension of my husband and not a very interesting one at that. I stopped speaking up because people were not interested in what I had to say (dismissed as dumb blonde right out of the starting gate) or did not understand (e.g. They thought Monty Python was a new cartoon character) They were more interested in my husband, I was just the accessory on his arm.  Anyway, how do you compete with a chef? People are endlessly enthralled by the cooking profession or probably food has universal appeal. Ancillary to being married to a chef is the ability to be alone – a lot. They work 16+ hour days and you can forget about holidays or time off. I adapted to being on my own, then on my own with kids. I would have to say the process started then and is complete today. (I was probably a closet introvert all along!)

I am most content curled up on my couch with a book in hand and laptop close by. (Tweet, post, blog, et cetera) I like to travel, hike, stay fit, go to concerts and plays, explore and experience new things as often as I can. I have people who I care about and who care about me and that’s enough. One good thing about getting older is that I care less and less what others think of me. I have too much to do and too many other things on my mind.

I am an unabashed introvert and my mother would still not understand.

Radical Authenticity

ici et maintenant

riverwatch

It was particularly difficult to say farewell to summer this year. I relished in the long lazy days of reading, writing, going for meandering walks or just watching the sky. I love those kind of days when you can take your time, appreciate what is around you and can go to bed at night without dreading the next day. (or wake up in the middle of the night with your mind running like a hamster on his treadmill!)

With the advent of fall, that relaxed regime has had quite an adrenaline shot. I am back in the frenzy of work, work and more work. Everyone is back in town from their summer vacations and leap right into the frenetic routine of work-meetings-work-meetings-work-meetings. To personify, summer is soft and languid while fall is hard-edged and brisk. (Not to mention winter is coming) While the alternative of being unemployed has zero appeal, it is hard not to feel wistful about the loose, unfettered days of summer.

Here and Now

envie

“Don’t criticize what you can’t understand.”
Bob Dylan

thewomen1939

ENVY

Mistresses of the sidelong glance, pursed lips and narrowed eyes

their claws out in anticipation.

An interloper will not obey group norms

byzantine to all

but their inbred nucleus.

Heads adjoined, a hydra of bile,

they spew a lethal cocktail of hatred and malice,

a blitzkrieg of pettiness, innuendo and spite

thoroughly and relentlessly as a conqueror razes a city.

They drag her through the noxious sludge of degradation.

Inevitable denouement is ostracism final as ancient Athens,

a surgical cut

until she is laid bare,

her spirit torn to dirty scraps pelted by the wind.

Satisfied, they begin once more.

 

Open-Minded

Liste: rule of 5’s

Bucket list -Rule of 5’s

Places to see

Paris – City of Light, embodiment of beauty, art and culture – catacombs with ossuaries mute testimonies centuries of death

Great Wall of China – Built over two millennia 13,170 miles of fortifications to repel invading hordes, visible from space

Castle Bran – homebase of notorious Wallachian prince with a penchant for a particular execution method – possible inspiration for Stoker’s count

Moscow & St. Petersburg – Red Square, Lenin’s Tomb, Kremlin, Hermitage, Tsarskoye Selo

London – Theatre, museums, afternoon tea, Ripper Walking Tour

Things to do

Skydiving – my life in freefall

Scuba diving – see what lies upon the ocean floor: exotic marine creatures ,rusted hulks , sunken galleons

Everest – gaze in awe at gateway to the roof of the world;
Death zone awaits

Learn another language

Write a book

Reading List

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Night by Elie Wiesel
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho

5 improvements

Let go of the detritus of life (what doesn’t matter in the end)

Fitness – up workouts to 6 days per week

Keep in touch with family more often

Start to do volunteer work again

Patience, patience, patience

post to show up in our grid.
The Poetry of List-Making

enfant méchant

Carol’s Mom 

When she smiles no crows feet MotherDaughterApronsPromo1pleat the corners of her eyes

or laugh lines groove around her mouth.

Fogged up glasses don’t slide to the tip of her nose

while she squints at her sewing.

No cigarette wobbles from the side of her mouth drizzling

ashes

or underarms flap when she waves.

Her hair is curled to a neat blonde casque

no Medusa grey coils dangle from her kerchief.

No greenish blue veins snake their way up her legs

or broad hips sway like a dray mare.

instead there is you

to cook my meals, wash my clothes , wipe my tears

and know that I wish that you were not my mother.

Portraits

conexiones

Moving from a static website to WordPress was long overdue for me. I marvel at how long it  took me to make the transition, the blog format is soooooooooo much better. I had (LOL) maintained a website for my rapidly —depreciating in value (you’re only as good as your last project and other demoralizing peptalks) portfolio but lost interest and enthusiasm. Starting a blog was one of the best moves I ever made for myself. I am doing exactly what I always wanted to do – write and connect with others who are writing or creating. Blogging is perfect for any mode of writing (poetry, fiction,non-fiction, endless possibilities there), photography (working to improve my skills and knowledge, I might actually use my DSLR this time) and encourages being part of a community. Blogging and online activities have supplanted my writing groups of old and I don’t miss them one bit.

I participate i-see-you-wallpaper_thumbin Twitter 6 word story writing prompts (favs include

“Come September tropical memories of you” or

“Let me loosen your collar Reverend”

“Give my lower left ventricle for you”

which are challenging but a lot of fun. Instagram is another enjoyable outlet. I haven’t put much effort into Facebook – not many of my friends or family are into writing or photography although I might inflict my practice photos on them just for fun.

For me connection means that every time I receive a like for a blog post or a tweet I know that someone out there likes what I write or identifies with what I am saying. My thoughts have resonated with someone else if only for a few moments. I appreciated the comment I received on one of my posts – Ouvrir. I was feeling negative that day and it was encouraging that someone took the time to read the post and make a thoughtful comment.
There are so many blogs here that are well-written, thoughtful commentaries on life or display photos of extraordinary beauty. Some make me laugh or ponder life while some make me sad but they usually leave an indelible impression on me.

Appreciation to all who liked my posts or followed my blog!

voyage

This began as folklore, morphed into a short story then into a poem so in a way this has been a shared journey that is far from complete.

At Dusk 

Bernice walks where no one goes

away from trucks that roar and spit out gravel

along weed clogged prairie trails with pungent scent of skunk and badger.

Daytime haze gives way to dusk

dusk-prairie-5051883

dust motes hang suspended in the moist air.

‘Round the bluff come horse and rider

the man’s head bowed upon his chest.

The horse drags hooves through thick powdery dirt

Closer now, she smells smoke and sweat of bygone battles

could touch his blood encrusted side, trace his wounds with her fingers.

The rider turns, stares down at her

his obsidian eyes gleam with fury and pain.

She wants to run but cannot move.

They turn off the trail parting the tall weeds

that slap the horses rump.

His head is a dark spot weaving through the field,

Bernice watches as they disappear into the twilight.
Shared Journeys

consilium

A utilitarian piece of advice …

“Consider where it comes from” – sounds cryptic enough. When used to interpret human behaviour, this simple pronouncement comes in pretty handy. As a child (and none-too-infrequently overlapping into adulthood unfortunately) I became upset when people criticized, blamed, ridiculed or otherwise crapped on my day. Coming home from school red faced and furious, I would regale my poor mother with tales of persecution and cruelty. For every Suzie said this or Monica said that, she would shrug and say,”well consider where it comes from.” This simply means “stop and think about who is saying this, why  and what does it say about them?“ When I stopped to consider the type of person that said these things, I romg-my-mother-was-right-about-everything-funny-poster-printealized I didn’t really like them very much anyway and their behaviour didn’t bother me anymore. As I went through life, anyone who behaved negatively usually had their own agenda and wanted nothing more than to ruin someone else’s day because they were miserable themselves or had their own issues.

“You’re a loser,” this from my grade school nemesis to which I considered yeah well you can barely spell cat so I guess that would make you a little bitter.

“If you want to look like her you should work out more,” this from an ex-boyfriend to which I considered yeah well poor guy you must know that your days as Lothario are indeed numbered due to your teeny pot belly and receding hairline.

“Your kid is not on the team,” this from a smug soccer mom to which I considered yeah well she is beloved by all her peers and teachers unlike your kid who is a dead ringer for King Joffrey.

I only regret that I wasted so much valuable time worrying about offending or displeasing someone when I had done nothing wrong – it was all about them. This brief but pithy statement got me through many a bad day and gave me the ability to disregard the negative people around me. [ or just not give a %^&]

A Piece of Advice