Monday, May 03, 2004

Real Life Heroes

We're living in an age of heroes, now.

I watch the news, and they keep naming people heroes. This guy died in the war, this kid died of cancer, this man died in a fire. Sometimes people are alive and they get named heroes-- people who make it home from war, people who survive cancer, people who get other people out of fires. Now, I'm not saying these people aren't heroes, necessarily, but I don't know if just suriving or dying in difficult situations actually makes one a hero. Does a heroic action make one a hero? Does dying? If it does, then doesn't that make ALL of us heroes, sooner or later?

An age of heroes...

Funny to think of it that way. As if we're in a Greek epic. As if we are living through the Greatest of times, with a capital "G".

What if we did think about it that way? What if we just got rid of all the cynism that said the world was all fucked up. What if we got rid of the romanticism that said some other time was better, some other age was the one with all the great deeds, some other people were the heroes.

What if we actually lived our lives as if WE were the heroes-- not some military leader in history, nor in fiction.

For that matter, what if we realized we didn't need some outside force to make us heroes-- nobody pinning a medal on our chests, no newspapers declaring us so. No key to the city here, just us and the choices we make.

Because that's what it's about, isn't it? The choices we make? It's about facing adversity in our lives and choosing the right path, even if it's harder. Choosing to struggle on because you know it is for the better. Sometimes those difficulties might be public enough to get you declared a hero in the papers, but frankly daily struggles can be just as difficult.

When I was a kid, I thought I was going through the craziest, most traumatic childhood. I thought being poor, living across the street from crack dens, having a crazy, unpredictable abusive father terrorizing our house was the worst thing I could have gone through. One of my main purposes in life was to hide what my life was like. It was so horrible, I was so shamed.

It wasn't until I was older that I realized I didn't do anything wrong, and stopped hiding. I shared my stories, and heard others, and that's when I realized that so many of those other stories were so much worse. More tragedy, more pain, more suffering. I started to minimize my story. It wasn't as bad. I didn't deserve to feel like I had survived anything really difficult. It was just normal life. I was just a normal kid, normal person. No hero, here.

I grew up identifying with the heroes. The first books I read were full of heroes, fairytales, myths, Little House on the Prairie, even. Characters who faced down adversity and won in the end. It helped me going through my own adversity, because I knew there was something better down the road... or I believed it anyway.

A hero is someone who not only faces down adversity, but also takes action to make things better, even if it is just selling the cow for a bunch of magic beans. They are not at the mercy of the world around them, but the active principle. The hero has the goal of something better, a better life for their kids, a better world for all kids, a better, stronger self.

Sometimes, I think the last one is the hardest goal of all-- making yourself better and stronger, so that you are better able to achieve the larger goals. Facing down your fear. Dealing with your past traumas. Opening up to the people and possiblities around you. Moving forward, always moving forward.

It's fricking exhausting to be the hero of your own story. It's so tiring to know that you are the one who has to make it all happen. No one else to do it for you-- no knight in shining armor-- unless that knight is you yourself.

Is it worth it all? Being a hero? Is it worth the hard work? When I'm struggling with being the me I want to be, I don't know. It doesn't feel like it. It's too damn hard. The results always seem to come so slow, or not at all. Certainly, there's no newspaper recognizing me for my struggle. And I still have to do the daily grind. Sometimes that daily grind is harder to deal with than the awfulness of my childhood. It's just not as clear, my struggle. It's just not as easy to say I will persevere. The goals of making things better just aren't as desperate.

The daily grind isn't that bad, really. I'm getting along, okay, letting life take me in it's flow.

So why bother struggling to be the hero?

I have to think about it, seriously. Why SHOULD I bother? Why should anyone? Why do we need heroes?

But then, imagine a world full of heroes-- and I don't mean the ones who dive into burning fires or get paid to carry guns, or make millions of dollars throwing a ball around-- I mean a world full of everyday heroes. A world of people struggling to be the best Them, so they could take action, and make things happen. Make things better. What if we weren't all just waiting for someone else to do it? What if everyone was working to contribute something?

Frankly, I think it would cause a lot of trouble. All those people at cross purposes-- all wanting DIFFERENT better worlds. It would throw a wrench into the nice easy works that have been going on for so long. (A good reason for the powers that be not to want everyone to be a hero.)

A world of heroes. An Age of Heroes. Every single one of us a hero, big or small, young or old, rich or poor. Hmmm.

Think about it....

Friday, April 23, 2004

I Have a Secret

I am a little bit of a monster.

You'd never be able to tell from the outside. From the outside, I am small and pretty, just a girl. I dress in skirts and heels, and have even on occasion been called things like "fancy," and "girly-girl." (to which I strongly object.) I am sweet and kind. I have manners. I apologize to people, and make sure people are okay. Babies like me, and so do domesticated pets. I make real homecooked meals. I even own, and can keep living, a whole window full of potted plants.

But I am a monster inside. A slavering, ravening, spitting, hissing, growling, tooth-gnashing monster.

I am selfish. I don't care about others. No one else matters but me, nothing else matters but my stories and my poems. My paintings and drawings. The pen in my hand and the paint splattered on my face. I don't give a shit about the rules of this world that says I am supposed to be and do what it says. I could run away and live for years in a cave in the woods, eating what I have grown or killed myself, as long as I had my art. Sometimes that's what I want. To get out and away from all these boxed in rules and pretty, pretty surfaces. I would like to dance in the moonlight. Cast spells to the sea. Let the dirt cake under my nails.

Screw it all. Screw everything but the monster in me.

But I have to admit, I am frightened of the monster.

There's no place for her in this world. In this world she's called crazy. People lock her up. Pump her full of drugs so that she can be balanced, so that she can be normal.

What's a monster-girl to do?

Where is the place for her ravening?

I am not suffering from Writer's Block

This is no joke, this is my life.

Ah ha. I walk around complaining about headaches and how tired I am. I don't have enough time or money. I am distracted, I watch tv or stare off into space. Lazy, poor nutrition, too much to drink last night or last weekend. Blah, blah-blah, blah-blah.

Good lord, girl. Do you want to tick tock your life away like this?

I guess I am feeling as if my life passing me by is going to explode like a mad gorilla. I am going to explode like a mad gorilla because I am mad at myself for finding excuse after excuse as to why I can not write.

This is the problem with being an artist. It's like being in a relationship. It's great and wonderful and fulfilling as long as things are going great. When the art is flowing, you don't see how it could ever stop. You exist in this land of milk and honey. Perfection. Wonderment.

But when there's a jam up somewhere in your head-- and things start to slow down, and you have to work and struggle to get words on the page-- uh oh. This is no fun. This is hard work. This can be painful. This is not what the fairy tale books said it was supposed to be. Run away! Run away!

This is no block. I refuse to call it a block. It's just a little dam I have to work my way through. Rotten beavers damming up my works. Oh, wait. I'm the one that put it there. Why would I do that? I want to write.


I want to have my novel go well. I want to finish it. I want to send out my poetry. I want to have my career take off....


Someone, I don't remember who, once said that you will put in front of you whatever struggles you need to reach your goal.

What an interesting perspective-- that your struggles, your blocks, your difficulties, are actually stepping stones towards your goals. Hmmm.

And that you are the one placing these blocks in your way.

Almost as if, somewhere inside of you, you know what you are doing.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Dress Rehearsal

Spring has come in earnest. Maybe that's why my mind is turning to being productive, to creating, to taking my life seriously.

Well, no, that's not fair. I am taking my life seriously, it's going pretty well, and is promising to go even better after a few actions have been taken. But I have to say, that I'm getting antsy about it all. I feel as if I have been going so slowly, not really acting as if my life, daily grind and all, is actually a part of my REAL life.

My REAL life is somewhere down the line, when I do the things I need to do. When I start writing my novel again. When I send my poetry out to be published. When I get myself a portfolio and slides and figure out what the hell to do with all my art. When I get a better job. When I start a creativity workshop.

My REAL life is out there... in the future. Not this, not right now, where I'm just kind of preparing for my REAL life.

Yes, yes. It's quite obvious that's a silly way to look at it. Because if REAL life is out there somewhere, then what the hell is going on right here and now. Dress rehearsal? I don't think so. Tell that to the trees that are just full to bursting with life and green juices. They may not have brains, but they know that after this Spring, after rebirth and growth and Summer lushness, comes Winter.

Years are made up, after all, of these short seconds that we are frittering away.

And death, down the way, maybe forty or fifty years, maybe tomorrow, is a call to life. Use the time we have-- ENJOY the time we have, 'cause it's all the time we'll ever have.

Maybe we need to pay attention to the things that are really pulling us. On a deep level, not distractions. The things that ring with our soul, the things that have been building for years.

This writing thing, this art thing, this is not a passing fancy. This is something that needs to be done, even if I am afraid of it, afraid of not being good enough, afraid of wasting all my time and never getting anywhere. Being creative is an integral part of me-- sometimes it feels so important that it is just easier and safer to put my energies else where.

I wonder if somewhere in my human psyche, I think that by avoiding my art and my writing I can somehow avoid stepping into the flow of life and death.

Maybe my procrastination is because I don't feel ready for REAL life, but instead want to stay in dress rehearsal. (There is no dress rehearsal, girl. This is it.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Flying Woman

Feeling up in the air.

Always feeling up in the air.

That's because life could, at any moment, change into something different.

Maybe it won't change into a spotted purple people eater, but it changes, is changing, constantly. Maybe I just feel it more now because I have consciously taken myself out of the predictable life I was living as a teacher, and into the life of the artist, the on-edge, the adventurer ready to take a dive. (Although I do love my couch. My adventures will probably be along the lines of mental, spiritual, artistic, romantic, etc. Not climbing mount Kilimanjaro.)

In my art, I have a woman who keeps showing up-- a flying woman-- or is she falling? It's so hard to tell. She's been showing up for, oh, ten, twelve years. Since college. She shows up in many places, in many guises. Sometimes it's about my confusion. Sometimes it's because I feel like I'm soaring.

I feel like that woman, now. I have so many opportunities, so many possibilities in front of me, and yet... somehow, I'm still floating around, not really grabbing hold. Not landing on the ground and making things real.

Maybe my floating/falling woman isn't that active. Maybe she's all about maybes. Or maybe she just is right now.

I think I need to start working on a workshop to teach. No, not start working on one. I've been doing these suckers for five years. The work is done, the curriculum is practically set. What I should do is just put it together. Just start it. Chose a time, find a place. Get the members to commit. And do it.

Maybe if I were in a community of artists and creatives, I would find it easier to be out there in the world with my art and my writing. Maybe if we were all in one of my workshops, using our creativity to deal with what it means to be human, what it means to be an artist, and all the joys and pains that entails, maybe everyone would be able to fly better.

Tuesday, April 13, 2004


I thought I lost my last blog entry. One of those computer snafus. So instead of getting pissed, I simply rewrote it from the top of my head. It was different, but okay.

Then when I published that one, and took a quick gander, it turned out that I didn't lose the first one at all.

So now I have two of the same, but different entries.

I thought I'd keep them. It's all about the process, anyway.

Self Portrait

The Spring rains fall hard. Thunder and lightning that seems to come from nowhere, although all winter has been building for this. Clouds have been forming in the warm upwellings of the Pacific, until they could flow across the globe to land here, on us, on the waiting trees and ground.

It has been a long winter. Cold and hard, and we have been hiding from the ice, to tired to hope for the green leaves that must ultimately come.

I have not been writing. I have not been creative at all, but I am ready to. I've been holding out, just like the green leaves, apparently.

My novel is waiting. I am yearning to paint, although I am not. I've been giving my time to other things, because life does move on. Things happen, seemingly out of nowhere, although they have been building just as much as these rain clouds.

I am in love.

As hard as that is to say, to admit, to toss out into the void for whomever to read, it is good. Most of my time has been given to him, to love, to our relationship. And that is good.

And even for my art, my poor neglected poetry, it is good.

The thing about art, that I'm realizing, is that it is all wrapped up in what it means to be human. You can not separate the human that is you from the creating you are doing. Anything in your life that is affecting you, is affecting your art, because art is about being human. It is going into the depths of what it means to be human. And so, if you have stuff that needs to be dealt with, you'd better deal with it, or it will come up.

For instance. I have not written.

And I can't really blame it on my new relationship. No, it's all me. Although it may have something to do with my relationship-- or atleast, what relationships mean to me.

You see, when I was a kid, my mother gave up any ambitions she might have had for herself to be a wife and mother. She gave up her art so that my father could be an artist. She was his helpmate, taking care of his home so he could be a genius. She was his assistant when he was making films. She put food on the table or struggled with how to pay for it, so he could focus on art.

Now, that won't fly with me. I am the artist. There will be no giving this up-- and yet I find my instinct is to do just that. To go right back to the familiar way of being that I grew up with. And then my instinct is to run away from the instinct, run away from relationship. Run away from creating. Hide my art and writing away, so no on can see it. Hide my heart from a man who would touch it. Hide my feelings from my family who hurt me so long ago.

Run away. Hide. Give up. These are the dark secrets of being human. Of being me.

And when I write, they come up. It's what my novel is about. And when I don't write, they come what. It's what gets in my way.

We are not just the artists who are throwing paint on a canvas. It does not come from the ether, it comes from inside. It comes from the life we have created, and the stories we tell to ourselves about who we are and what life means.

Every painting is a self portrait of the artist. Every story is the story of the soul.

I am not a poet
I am a poem.

Writing My Soul

It's raining today, hard. It's thundering. It should make me depressed, but I like it. This is spring rain. This is the kind that means winter is over. Next week, the leaves will be out on all the trees. The sun will shine, the temperature will soar.

Oh, my heart will soar. We really need this, Spring. We really need the warmth. It can be so hard and cold here in this city. We hide from the ice entirely too much.

I have not been writing. I have not been painting. I have not been being creative at all. My energies have gone else

It's taking its toll on me, this not being creative, but I have to recognize what is going on in my life to make this happen-- or not happen as the case may be.

You see, life has moved on. Unexpected developments occur. Like thunder and lightning, seemingly out of nowhere, although it took all winter to get here. I am in love.

It was hard to say that, hard to admit, hard to toss it out there into the void for whomever to read. But it was also good. It's a wonderful thing, but it changes life, changes my routine.

So I have not been creative, I have instead been spending all the time I could with him. I needed to, and wanted to, and our relationship deserves that focus.

But as the days go on, that little/big part of me is trying to sneak its way back into my life. It can't be denied because it is who I am-- my art. I must give in.

But, god, it isn't easy.

What I realize is that being an artist is hard, because whatever shit you have to deal with in your life-- parental resentments, money rackets, anger at yourself or your lover, insecurity, feeling unlovable-- whatever it is, that shit is going to rise up and demand to be heard. Because art digs into the depths, and surrounds the whole. It is about being human, so all the things that make you human are going to need to be dealt with so that you can create.

That's why it's so hard. That's why people turn to drink and drugs and other things designed to numb them sufficiently to allow it all to come up without tearing their insides out.

So when I struggle with not writing my novel right now, I am also struggling with my issues. Here I am, in a new relationship, and putting that first-- just like my mom always did with my dad. She never went into her own art, her own stories. She didn't become a filmmaker on her own, though she loved it. Instead, she was a wife and a mother and a helpmate. She made it possible for my father to be an artist, she gave up herself.

So I am struggling with the instinct to do the same, and the instinct to run away from that instinct. And with what having a relationship means to me. And with what it means to hide away, hide my writing from anyone who would read it. Hide my heart from a man who would touch it. Hide my feelings from my family who hurt me a long time ago.

What it means to be human. What it means to be me.

So when I write, these things come up. This is the story I am writing. And when I don't write, these things come up, because it is me, human, who is hiding, who is running, who is witholding and afraid.

Everything I am informs what I create. Everythinig I am informs what I do. How I act.

All painters are creating self portraits. All writers, are writing their souls.

I am not a poet,
but a poem.

Friday, April 02, 2004

Life Sucks... and then it doesn't

This is a cynical world. I, however, have decided to screw cynicism. It's SOOOO nineties. (I'm joking. I don't give a shit what was in style in the nineties and no longer is.) I have decided to screw cynicism because all it is, is dissappointed romanticism. All those cynics, a long time ago, once believed in the world, and in wonderful things happening. Then, they were confronted with the world and all of its sucky things. Maybe they were 9, maybe they were 19, maybe they were 69, but they started not believing in wonderful things. Cynics are defeated romantics, that's why they are so tough, so hard to reason with. It's all about heart break.

I have been there, though. I have been the one who no longer believed in the world being right. I hated it. It was kind of hard to want to keep struggling. So I decided to start believing that things could be good. That people had good reasons for what they did, or atleast, they did not have evil reasons. I decided to believe that at heart, people were good.

Not, however, that they were perfect. I don't believe that people are always noble, but that they have their own reasons, and those reasons, within the circumstances that they were living, were, in essence, good. They may be the wrong decisions, but you know what? Just because they are not doing things the way I would do them doesn't actually mean they are bad. Maybe they just have to travel their own road.

Everyone is on their own journey. They have their own lessons to learn, and maybe they have to deal with their own personal dissapointments and struggles so that they can grow and learn on their own.

I am perfectly aware of how corny my ideas could sound. I'm a fricking Pollyana. But you know what? This world is all fucked up, and that's what makes it interesting. The world is all fucked up, and that is what's normal. The world is all fucked up because this world is figuring out how to be this world. So am I, so is everyone else.

And life sucks for a while, and then it's cool, and then it sucks again, but if you have faith that it will come around to cool again, it's not quite as hard to get through.

Thursday, April 01, 2004


When you give your heart to a thing, a person, a place, a project, a life-- whatever-- what you're doing is allowing yourself to be open. It's about saying "yes." When you give your heart, it's about a willingness to see what happens next, what comes next, what might be around the next corner. It might be deliriously wonderful, or it might be disaster and crushed dreams.

When you give your heart, truly, it's not about, "well, I love this today, but tomorrow I may love something different." It's more like making that thing a part of who you are, inextricable from everything that built you up in the first place. You can't shake something that you have given your heart to. There is no return clause when you give your heart.

People freak out about commitment, about how hard it is to actually be vulnerable, to want something with the possiblity of not getting it, to put your heart on the line. It's much better to keep things on the surface. Much better to stay cynical and not believe in anything. It keeps our poor, delicate hearts safe.

Maybe you have techniques that are less obvious. Maybe you think things to death, plan and consider, and all that. I do that. It's a stalling measure-- you WANT to give your heart, but you're afraid to, so you pretend you already have given your heart and fill all the hours and choices up with over-thinking. Intellectualism. Why else be a writer? So I can write/think everything to death, and I can stall actual commitment of heart as much as possible.

But this is dangerous, this half-commitment. You give your heart but keep a death grip on it, so you can yank it back when it gets too dangerous. It feels safer, but it's not. Well, you keep your heart armored, but you never actually allow what you love to reach you. So you never get it. You are setting yourself up for failure until you actually let go and allow yourself to love, no matter what may come.

What's funny about this entry is that I am actually writing about being a writer, about my novel, about committing and exploring and discovering, about letting go and not being so afraid to win/lose what I have wanted since I was fifteen.

And yet, it sure sounds like romance, don't it?

I suppose that life is like that. What is really true echoes,-- and I don't mean facts, but truth. When you've got a struggle that you have to deal with, it shows up in every important area in your life, not just the ones that you would expect. And when a law works on a big level, it often works on micro levels-- like say, "a body at rest stays at rest." Yeah, that's physics, but can anyone say it doesn't go for when your body is slug-like sitting on the couch, remote in hand?-- that body will continue to rest unless acted on by an outside force.

So when you come upon a truth in your life, if you watch it, you can actually find the pattern repeating itself again and again, large, small, internally, externally. Chances are, it's not just a personal truth, but a human truth, too, so you can see other people struggling and following the same patterns, also.

One of the things about the universe that I love is that you can actually see these patterns repeating themselves. It so clear, and startling in it's clarity. For instance, a lightning bolt follows the same pattern as a river bed, which follows the same pattern as a tree branch, which follows the same pattern as a crack in the sidewalk, which follows the same pattern as the veins and ateries sending blood to your beating heart. Ba-dump. Ba-dump.

Maybe actually this realization of the patterns in life can help in the bravery needed to give your heart fully. Because maybe the outcomes, the possibilities, the blind future that we are all rushing towards, is not so very unknown at all. Perhaps it, too, follows patterns, and maybe if we trust in the universe, then we can recognize that we have been through these patterns, theses struggles before-- and, actually, we made it through before. We will survive. We will prosper. We will, even, grow.



Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Change, change, change.

I've been running around like a crazy head. Wrapped up in how life just keeps moving forward. Things happen. New opportunities arise, and the old desires and goals, sometimes it's hard to keep up with them.

I've always been like this. I am always doing twenty thousand things at once. A million projects. A billion ideas. Or perhaps it's better to say, I always WANT to do twenty thousand things, because when it comes down to it, I just can't, or don't, get them all done. At least not to my liking.

Projects fade. Trips and plans and commitments start to get less important when the new trips and plans and commitments come on board.

I suppose this is natural. I suppose this is part of life. Life certainly isn't static, although sometimes we want to control things so they always stay the same. Our plans have a funny way of changing on us, because we change and the world changes, buildings go down, new ones go up, some people move away, other people step in to your life. What you want changes. Does who you are change?

I feel pretty much the same person I was ten years ago, but many things about me have changed. And that's a good thing. I look forward to these changes. I suppose I expect them to happen-- I just don't want the changes to be for the worse.

Maybe it's better to go with the changes, consciously recognize the new choices you have, and how things around you have transformed, and then accept them. I think that gives you more control in how your life turns out than if you resist the changes, trying to hold onto the old ways.

It gives you control because you don't have to fight against life. Trying to hold the ocean back is a fruitless endeavor. Allowing things to change allows you to choose the new paths you take, instead of getting stuck, stranded in your dry land of "HAS TO BE" while surrounded by all these unasked for changes.

So, here I am, things switching up around me. Now, what am I gonna do? Try to maintain my old habits and plans? Or am I going to re-evaluate the goals here. Try find the things that are most important to me-- which may have changed-- and then try to find the ways to make these things happen.

I think this is what I want to do, I think this is the way to move forward and keep growing and make sure those changes are positive ones, or atleast constructive ones.

I think it's gonna take a bit of thinking on it.

And then it's gonna take a lot of action.

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Life Stirs

Lately, I have wanted to write.

This is not an inconsequential thing. Writing has been a "someday" proposition for quite a while. There have been all sorts of have-tos before I could ever get back to writing my novel. I "have to" figure out what I am writing. I "have to" get a new computer/get the old computer running/head to the computer center and buy some time on a computer that works. (How did anyone ever write anything longer than a page in the days before home computers?) I "have to" re-read and edit what I already have. I "have to" stop complaining and just write.

But all of that "having to" just made me tired.

Now, I WANT to write.

Maybe it's because I finally did get my new computer. (Yeay!) Maybe it's because I have been waiting table/bartending for long enough that the novelty has worn off, and I am back to remembering that I really need to do something important and productive with my life. (Wait, that's another "have to".) Maybe it's because I am in a new relationship with a new man, and Spring is finally here, and life has turned over and started to wake up. (Gr-roan, grumble, what time IS it?)

I have been transcribing what I have already written into my new computer. The beast (the computer, that is,) I borrowed from a friend is an ancient and tricksey thing. So I have to re-type everything. You would think that this was a pain in the ass, but actually, it's been really valuable.

All that old work, so much of it stream of consciousness, is now being molded with the vision I have been developing in the long months of being technologically challenged. I was "forced" not to write, but that made me think deep, and long about my book, and sent it back into the soup that is my brain. What has floated to the top of that soup is some sense.

I don't know what sense it is entirely, but it's starting to mesh. The random half-formed pieces are being placed next to each other, and I am am surprised to find them fitting together to make something whole.

I feel that having patience with my novel is paying off.

Lies! I didn't have patience. I wanted my novel, I wanted it written, and I wanted it done NOW, no YESTERDAY. I would force the words out of my head, because I had to write PAGES. I had to have writing practice. I had to BE a writer, or what use was it to quit teaching?

But that's why having my computer crash back in September, and losing half my novel, and having to struggle with so many tech blocks to writing might actually have been the best thing for my story. Because if I didn't have all the glitches, I might just have kept writing forward because I was impatient to have something written. Some sort of product that might someday get published and make me a REAL writer. Forcing it to come before it was time, a premature birth of my work, possibly never able to breathe on its own.

But now, let me repeat. I actually WANT to write.

Now, I feel the movement of the story under the surface, or not quite under the surface. And I think it might be able to survive being born.

Saturday, March 20, 2004

Spring has Sprung!

The snow has melted away, the clouds flitted off to other corners of the world. The sky is blue and there is a soft breeze. It isn't quite flip flop weather yet, but the promise is in the wind.

Not only Spring, but I feel new things brewing.

I am excited to write.

Wonderful things. We think we always have to be so anguished about doing this stuff-- the suffering artist. We have to grip the deep dark insides of our souls and pull them out like taffy. Work, strain, struggle.

Sometimes, maybe we have forgotten all the things that made us want to be artists in the first place. The thrill of getting caught up in another world of our own creation. The feel of the keys under the fingers, or the way the paint spreads out from the brush, or the vibration in the throat when that note hits just write. It just feels good, creating.

It can't always be that awful and hard to be a writer or an artist of every stripe? No one would willingly sit down to torture everyday unless they were getting something out of it. It's not like we're at the mercy of some outside force, here. I know that there is no one else but me there when I sit down to write, or think about writing (or not writing as the case may be.) I can only come to the conclusion that I am the one who is torturing me.


I think I will spring into Spring, and into all the action, creativity, fertility, and pretty flowers that entails. Sunny Side of the Street. Optimism. Possibility.

Is this a New York City girl?

Even New York can be rose colored in Spring.

(Just please, god, don't let winter come back for at least nine more months.)

Friday, March 19, 2004

Back in Business

I finally got my laptop. Yeay!

Here I am. Ready and waiting to face the world, to face the words.

It's exciting, the new toy aspect of it. But it's also scary. Now it's time to get down to work. Now it's time to turn back to my novel. Open up those doors and jump through. No more stalling, no more excuses.

This is the opening to the rest of my life, the latest opening, anyway. The doors keep stretching wide, and I keep walking through them and being introduced to new doors, new mouse holes, new windows.

Are those doors the opportunities I am faced with? Are they the choices I have made? The actions I take?

Sometimes I think we don't realize how much control we have in our own lives. It's a lot easier to talk about how stuck we are and we have no options and all possibilities really just aren't possiblities.

I think I know why we do this, why we trap ourselves in our own helplessness.

Because it's hard to be responsible for your own life. It's hard and scary, and a big pressure. There is no telling what the results of you taking responsibility for your own life might be. You might fail. You might suck. You might work and work and work forever and ever, and STILL never get anywhere. You might be great. You might get famous. That's almost more scary than sucking. What doors, what new scary, awesome possibilities might be through THOSE doors?

Oh, fear. We-- I have given fear so much power in my life, that it became my king. I lived that fear, daily, hourly, each tick of the clock.

But there came a time when I got tired of the Fear King, when I realized that as long as fear ruled over my life, then the things I really wanted would never come true. They would never be manifested, because I would be running as fast and as far as I could from what I wanted. And the more I wanted it, the farther I would run, because the more it mattered, and the more scared I was.

Change my relationship to fear.

I'll step up to my own throne. Queen Rowena, I am. Goddess Rowena.

Frankly, old King Fear still has a place, I'm not gonna lie. It scares the shit out of me to pick up my novel again, or to paint large paintings that someobody might actually want to buy/sell/hang on their walls to impress their friends, or to dive into a relationship that really might go somewhere.

But Goddess Rowena is never at the mercy of King Fear. He is an advisor, that is all. And he can be sent away. He does not have last say, anymore.

So, that said, it's time to get down to work.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

A Brief Intermission

I have been so out of commission, lately. The technical difficulties of not having a computer have been getting to me. But NOT for very much longer. I have ordered my new laptop and am just waiting for delivery of said miraculous invention.

I know that I shoudn't let little things like not having a computer get in the way of being what I want to be, but, you know, sometimes you have to work so hard not to let them get in the way, that you get exhausted. Plus, I've been working a lot so that I could afford my new computer. (not that I can afford it anyway.)

The wonderlanding continues, I just have to return to documenting it all.

And I will.

I am committed to this, this life. No excuses.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

We Can Do No Great Things. Only Small Things With Great Love.

--Mother Theresa

I was talking to a friend about how we so often try to make ourselves smaller than we are. We put ourselves down. We shy away from the things that might show the world how great we are. We apologize, we play small, we stay small-- we hide.

It's what I do. I minimize my talents, I keep them in the shadows, because frankly, I'm afraid of putting myself out there with the big fish. I don't know why it's so frightening. What is there to be afraid of?

I look at the people who are doing the things I dream of doing and think, "oh, that's not me. I can't do it." But that's my insecurity talking. It's me making me miniscule.

When I look at things objectively, when I look at the things I can do, that I actually do, and hold them up against the light of those big fish, I realize my worth is no less than theirs. The difference is that they have declared their right to be out in the sun, in the big pool, with the other big fish. And they have actually done something to get there-- even if that something is just taking advantage of the opportunities they have recieved. THEY are not hiding.

(me, i hide, frightened of my own fishness.)

I'm not going to deny my fear. Fear is important, it shows us when we are up to something important. Ofcourse, that doesn't mean I should let my fear stop me. And I gotta be realistic here. I need baby steps, or I stumble. Gotta keep something small, so I don't feel so lost.

It really all comes down to how I want to look at the situation. And I've already made my decision about it.

I've decided that the whole idea of greatness is fucking stupid. I mean, maybe we can do things that end up being powerful and beautiful, maybe we CAN influence people, but how can anyone dive in when they are thinking "I am GREAT. My work is GREAT. This is BIG and HUGE and IMPORTANT. I am ONE OF THE FABULOUS ONES."

I mean, did Einstein come up with the Theory of Relativity while thinking, "Man, I'm a genius, time to swing that great idea that will change the way we think about the universe?"

No. Any sort of idea like that is absolutely setting you up for failure-- whether you want to paint the next great painting, or write the "Great American Novel," (as if any one novel could encompass all of America,) or find your soul mate on your next blind date. Expectations of grandeur are NOT the way to do great things.

I like Mother Theresa's idea. You don't set out to change the world, you set out to feed one person, or write the poem that is running through your mind, or play that set with as much feeling as you can, or commit yourself to your novel because those characters are as alive in your mind as the cousin who died ten years ago, but still resides in your heart and family and memory.

You don't set out to be great and famous and respected. You respect your ideas and yourself and your time and your vision and your talent. You make that the star in your attention. You love what you are doing. You love yourself.

It's not about the critics, or the trends, or the galleries, or the record execs, or the someday-fans, or even your mother. It's about the fire inside of you. The passion inside of you.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Younger Than Springtime

I stepped outside today to meet my friend for lunch, and was stunned. The weather, ah the weather. Sun. Blue sky. Nearly balmy temperatures.

Oh my god. I think this long cold winter is over.

There's something about the weather opening up that lets the mind open up. You kind of get unstuffed. In the winter, everything seems dark, and closed, somehow. Dry. Harsh. Not just the weather but inside.

Spring, though, is the birth of new things.

I think sometimes we forget how connected we are to the cycles of nature. Maybe if we allowed ourselves to go with the natural flow of life, we wouldn't always feel like we were fighting. We... me. I wouldn't feel that way. There is a season for everything, they say.

I wish I could live closer to nature. Follow the seasons and the sun, the harvest, the hunt. Instead, we run around breaking our lives into false divisions. What is a week, really? Someone just randomly decided to make weeks how we plan our lives. (Unless you think god really did create the world in six days and then took a break on the seventh. Then it makes perfect sense.) Nine to five. Is that really the most productive schedule?

Or what about age? I mean, why is it that 16, 18, 21, 30 are these definitive ages.
Take 30. By then, people are supposed to be well set in their lives, know what it is they are doing and be on that path that leads them to success and fruitfulness. How many people freak out when they hit the big 3-0? Who decided that 30 was the age when people were supposed to be already there?

It causes a lot of unneccesary panic, I think, to make these markers iin life.

Maybe some people are ready to be really IN their lives when they are 18, maybe some need another 20 years to decide what they are, who they are.

I've been thinking about artists-- particularly musicians. If you were to go by the music industry, the best time in a musician's creative life would be from about 18 to 25. I mean, that's what they are selling, right? That's who they are looking for. But, doesn't it take life experience, long practice, and development to really grow into your talent?

Take for intance American Idol. All those young fresh faced kids. Scrubbed clean of dirt and personality. Maybe they can sing, some of them, but where is the depth? It takes a while to grow into who you are, both as a person and as an artist. Anybody can be polished and synthesized into something you can play on the radio stations, but is that what it means to be an artist? All I know is that when I watch that show and cringe at the kids onstage, I would really like to hear and see someone who is comfortable with who they are, as artist and human.

We as a society spend too much time with all these false definitions. Youth and beauty do not equal quality. We are run by these "should be's." You should be somewhere by 18, by 25, oh lord, by 30, you're already over the hill. Follow the schedule that someone has set out for you-- who was that, any way?

I don't know. Here I am living the life of a 23 year old, bartending and painting and being free. But I don't fee like I'm caught in some eternal adolescence. Where I am is important to my growth as an artist and a person. And, I am not at the same place as the 23 year old writers/artists/musicians/actors who are waiting tables and beginning their careers as artists.

I'm really glad that I took the time to develop my mind, my craft, my spirit,, my life. I'm glad I went down a different path as a teacher. I would never give that up, even though it might have set me back on my path as an artist/writer.

I'm not on the map anymore. I'm not following the prescribed road that I thought I was supposed to. I'm over the age of thirty and have still not published my fiction and poetry, have still not had that gallery show. For that matter, I have not gotten married or had kids. Once upon a time, I thought you had to do all that before you were thirty or you wouldn't get there. I thought life was over once you hit thirty.

According to all those definitions and landmarks, my youth has flown, and all my opportunities. All the maps I made when I was ten, fifteen, twenty-one have all flown out the window.

Mapless, I am.

Boundless. Ageless. All potential-- like Springtime.


Monday, February 23, 2004


I work at a restaurant where I am one of the oldest people working on the floor and on the bar. I'm 33, and most of the girls, right now, are about 23. Some only 19 or 21.

I listen to them talk about themselves. They say they are fat. They all say they are fat.

None of them are fat.

"Look at how big my arms are."

"I wish I had your flat stomach."

"Am I fat? Do you think I'm getting fat? Do I look fat?"

They will not believe me when I tell them they are not fat, they are fine, they are beautiful, they are in fact slender. All they see is what is wrong with themselves. None of them think the others are fat, just them, they're all wrong. They're not good enough.

Man, what we do to ourselves.

I don't know if this is a girl thing or if guys do it too.

What would it be like if everyone could actually see how much they rock, be honest with themselves about what is good and desirable and amazing about themselves? Would they then have power in their lives? Would they then be able to pour their energy into loving themselves and others, being productive, making breakthroughs, living the life they want to live-- instead of self loathing?

What would the world be like if everyone believed they deserved love-- not in an overcompensatory way, but actually really honoring themselves?

That's what I want for my own life. Even if I don't suffer from body dismorphic disorder the way the girls at my job do (and that's because I worked on making peace with my body, and un-surprisingly, now I recognize that my body rocks.), I still put myself down for a multitude of other imagined wrongs.

I am going to practice honoring the rest of my life and talents and skills and choices and in fact, the whole of who I am.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Language of the Land

Life is crazy. Life is complicated. Life is this constant balance of active and passive, thought and deed.

It's not that there's anything crazy going on in my life, now, except for me. I've been in a little bit of a funk. I think I've figured out why. It's basically because I don't feel like I am in action. I don't feel like I am doing what I need to do in order to be able to feed my higher goals.

Turns out, getting my rent paid is not a higher goal.

So, I need to put my energy, my focus into what is important, not what is happening around me. I get so pulled off base by the immediacies of living. And I keep ignoring the fact that what I need to balance myself is a spiritual practice. Somehow, it seems like such a waste of time, hours spent staring at a wall that don't end with a product in hand. Silly girl, huh, thinking product is just what you can hold in your hand.

It's just like what I was talking about before, how I need to accept and value the silent times, the dark times, the shadow times, because they are what feed the large and loud times. Spirit feeds physical, just as physical feeds spiritual.

Being an artist is like being in the wilderness without any sign posts-- at least for me. I have to learn the language of the land and one of the languages is spiritual. But even so, I've got to keep the action going, too. I've got to keep the feet moving, the hands moving. It's not just about taking in the signs around me, but about doing something with them.

Stay in action. Be out in the world-- but not mindlessly-- with purpose. Don't get pulled off course by all the chattering worries. God, it's so easy to be pulled off course. Stay on course.

And dream.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The Art Warrior

If you want to be an artist, my friend, you have to not take the easy way out. You have to fight against your own desire to be lazy, to go for the quick and fast, to take the path of least resistance, and you have to struggle. It is work to be an artist, and not just an artist, but a person who is actively leading their own lives. It's hard.

Resist. Struggle. Work.

Is this the life I have chosen for myself? Is this the way I want to keep it up? Because this is what I am consigning myself to, a life of struggle and hard work. Resistance. Fighting. Wow. I'm getting tired just thinking of it. No wonder I have to make myself sit down in front of the computer. No wonder my novel is languishing in the nowhere land that is inside my head. No wonder I look at my art and all I can think of is what I haven't done.

There is another way to look at this, this life's work, this life's passion. There must be a way to frame it so it doesn't always seem as if I have to fight fight fight to let it come to light.

Is it work? Writing, painting, creating? Is it WORK? It isn't always easy, but is it like punching the clock? Is it like tending bar? Is it like that? It feels more precious than working in a Gap folding tshirts. More like it is a thing coming up from below, trying to be born. A thing worth doing. A thing that is woven together of the stuff that I am made of.

I don't want to look at it as if it is a grind that I HAVE to do. Something to dread. It's not a day job. Instead, to me, creating and all that comes with it is something that is holy. And truly, it is something that I need to do for me, in order to feel complete and full in my own life.

Really, I've got to get over my own fear of putting in all that energy and time that it takes-- maybe that's what I'm talking about when I say it's hard work. Really I've got to get over my fear of not doing it right, and of not being good enough.

You know what? You've got to be BRAVE to be an artist. Brave and strong. You've got to be a fricking warrior.


Monday, February 16, 2004

L. O. V. E.

Love. According to all the rules of the English lanuage, shouldn't it be said differently? Shouldn't that silent e change everything. Shouldn't it sound like "loave", warm and crusty and rising with the heat? But it's not, it's "Luv." Somehow it feels like a cheat. It's what those teeny bopper girls sign on their letters to their bestest friends. It's puppies and kittens and valentines day with paper lace and chocolate flowers. I luv u. U luv me. Blah blah blah.

It's like valentines day, a made up holiday used to sell greeting cards and hike up the prices of roses.

I've never been a fan of Valentines Day-- no that's not true. I lie. I actually have evidence of when I was a fan of Valentines day, way back in Junior High School when I wrote in my very first diary how I was looking forward to it, and maybe this boy liked me and maybe that boy liked me, and when it came down to it, the only anything I got was a little box of candy from my mom, and it wasn't even chocolate, it was hard candy, but I didn't blame her, she didn't know what was inside of the box.

The deep and dirty secret here about me and love is that I am a reformed romantic, the worst kind. The kind who grew up on fairy tales and true love and happily ever after, and after years of disappointment, became disenchanted. No longer caught up in the spelll-- and yet secretly hungering for the return of the story, prince charming and all.

I write about this subject because, for all I couldn't care less about Valentines Day, I was bartending that day, and my customers couldn't help talking of love. Some of them imagined themselves in love with me.

Love is a real thing. People hook all their hopes onto it, I think. I do. But how much hard work is it? Love is hard? Once you get past the first rush of ohmigodIcan'tbelievethisishappeningtome it starts to be an effort. Thinking of someone else all the time, worrying about them, fitting your life into theirs. Committing to that person, not just the romance of them, but the reality of them.

It's been a long time since I've been in love. I thought I no longer believed in it. I thought it was all a mad up fantasy, a sociological phenomenon that we have created in this age and time. I walked around with all my fairy tales squashed flat. (Geesh! Poor little frog prince.)

But then, I think I might have rediscovered fairy tales, and the subconscious, and the collective unconscious, and archetypes, and all those things that make living and being human a lot more complicated than science and all its measurements would have us think.

Maybe love is about the unseen things that connect us. That stuff without a name, energy or affinity, or- or-- what is that stuff?

I don't know. I don't know. All I know is that it is not about chocolates and paper valentines. It is much deeper and realer than that.

But what I have rediscovered is that I believe in it. I have faith.

All is good in the world as long as I have faith that there is love.


Missed a couple days here. But that's okay. I've been working. As a bartender. Ah, yes, my glalmorous life. Basically it just takes too much time, and my schedule is wonky. Now if I could go home and do my blogging I would have time, but, with the computer down... that is not working.

I am working on a plan to get myself a new laptop that can accomodate all my needs-- they aren't that great, but they are more needy than I thought they would be.

I at last have something besides my rent to work towards paying. Maybe it will make me more ambitious.

Friday, February 13, 2004

Shadow Stepping

One step after another, boys and girls. And baby steps at that.

Huge, large, King Kong steps scare the hell out of me. They make me think that my legs are just too damn short, I am too damn small. That I have to run to keep up, that I just CAN'T keep up.

What good is it living in your dreams for the future, anyway? Can people do that? Can they say, "I want to write a novel and have it published and be fabulously reviewed and sell lots of copies, and I want to have a gallery show and be fabulously reviewed and sell lots of paintings, and I want to fall in love with a guy who is fabulously in love with me and make lots of babies," and then just live their lives in this brilliant sunshine? Is that possible? Or is that just some Hollywood thing, like in the movies where they montage all the difficult parts-- like actually writing or painting or finding the right guy? Damn Hollywood for making us think life is like a novel with all the drudgery edited out.

Silly girl should take silly-girl steps, just one after the other. Baby steps get you far, you know.

Love where you are. Love the muscles in your legs that pull and push your body foward. Love your wide Flintstone feet that keep you stable. Love your hair blowing into your face. Love your eyes that keep seeing what's off down that road, that you're trying to get to even though you can't see how to get there. Love your heart beat that keeps the machine pumping. Love the fear that gets it racing.

Tough one, there. Love the fear. Love the darkness. Love the shadow that you are casting as you walk into the light. The brighter that light, the deeper and darker the shadow.

Oh, yes, I am ambitious, and I have come from a dark place. Sometimes, walking through those shadows is easier than walking through the light. I knew I had to stay positive and strong if I was going to be able to make it through. I knew I had to be my own light. I'm so used to it, so used to looking for the light that I have forgotten how to find the value in my own shadow.

What is my own shadow? I need to embrace it, it's a part of me, and I know I need it if I want to be a successful artist, if I want to create successful art.

I think my shadow self might be the lonely girl-- not the hipster, or the rockstar, although she's part of me, also, too long ignored-- the lonely girl who sits at home in the dark on friday nights, writing in her journal and painting and listening to Kate Bush or Ella Fitzgerald. The wallflower who brought books to parties and watched everyone around her as they performed. My shadow self might be the same girl who grew up in madness and poverty, but found strength in imagination, dreaming, stories, and silence.

She's not cool, my shadow girl, but I like her, and you know what? For all her silence and geekiness and lonely moon-eyes, she has gotten me farther and deeper than any big King Kong monster.

Maybe in her own way, she is as big as a King Kong. As strong. Maybe she had her own way of getting down that road, an underground way, one I haven't explored for a very long time.

I think maybe it's time.

Thursday, February 12, 2004

My Worries Can Take Their Cookies and Go Sit in the Corner

I feel a little like I'm running around crazy today. Here's my first day off of the restaurant in five days, and I have to interview and artist in her gallery, meet up with a friend to trade tarot readings, stop in at work to get something to eat, and then off to the computer center to write my article and send it to the editor.

Only now do I get to write in my blog, and I'm gettiing restless with all the things I have not done, the people I have not called, the situations I have not taken care of. (the writing I have not written. the art I have not arted. (rhymes with farted.))

It's hard to take a breath. So I will do that now.

Yeah, no. Still tense.

But I have to admit, today was pretty good, regardless. (The computer center is almost empty and it's wierding me out though. I've been here too long. (got to get me a laptop.))

I really enjoyed going to this exhibit and talking to the artist. It made me realize that I am prepared for this career in art. I've often felt like I don't know enough about anything. I know a little about a lot of things, but haven't really felt like an expert in many things people think are important.

Talking to the artist, though, I was able to draw on my generalist knowledge and get a whole huge lot out of it. The woman said she felt like she should have had a pad and paper to write down what I was saying. About HER work.

Sometimes it really doesn't take very much to feel like you are being validated.

Having that conversation with her made me feel like I belonged here, in wonderland, continuing my wondering, and walking down this path.

I have to remember not to get sidetracked though by daily worries, and daily fears, and daily insecurities.

The worries and fears and insecurities can contribute, I suppose, it's hard to get them to shut up, but after that, they need to take their cookie and go sit in the corner. They've had their say.

It's my turn to live my life.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The Things We Do to Keep the Flame Burning

One caveat: Wonderland is not all fun and games. There is danger here, too.

Right now, I am in danger of losing my soul, of being wrapped up and tied into a knotty little bow.

How? Why? Oh, dear lord, no, how could this happen?

It's the insidious little problem of the "Day Job."

For me, that means my job waiting tables and bartending. For someone else, it could be a job in the public schools, or at a cafe, or in a computer company, or The Gap, or on Wall Street-- it really doesn't matter how important or how slight the job is, that job can suck all the juice out of you.

It's one of the reasons I make the joke, "I quit teaching to be a waiter-- I mean-- 'writer'."

Be a writer, be a painter, I said to myself. And I set out on the task. But living here in NYC, in Williamsburg, that means I have a doozy of a monthly rent to pay. Seeing that I am not independently wealthy, nor supported by parents nor partner nor patron-- well, I gots ta work for that rent.

I got a room mate, I did, so at least I didn't have quite so much rent to pay, but all my other schemes and scams fell apart. But I had so much experience waiting tables-- I've been doing it since 92-- I thought it would be no biggie to start up again in the restaurant industry. Easy. Cake. No sweat. And it wouldn't take my creative and intellectual energy the way a "real job" would.

Maybe I am coming to realize there is no such thing as a job that is not "real." You put in your hours. You put in your energy. You come away with some cash. (hopefully.) But the more of that time and energy you invest in that job, the more invested you become in that job. The problems and politics may be petty and stupid, but they are gonna be there every day. And that takes a toll.

I work ten hour shifts. Lately, I've been working five days a week. I feel like a frickin' lawyer or something. My energy IS going into this restaurant that means nothing to me, because I'm there, and I and my life are important to me.

For instance, there are people who are weasley and rodent-like, but they just may have a little bit of power over me. And they work that power. But I am too old, and too experienced, and too smart, goddammit, to allow petty people to disrespect me. (I've been trying really hard not to rant, so allow me this small tirade.)

So here I am, fighting for respect at a job that is only supposed to be about bringing home the rent. Bam! Soul suckage!

It's so easy, perilously easy, to forget the point of it all and get wrapped up in the daily trudge and struggle. This day job stuff is a means to an end. I allow them to schedule me so much because I need to find a way to buy a laptop, so that I can get my novel done, and someday get a website, and put my art book online and digitize my portfolio, and all sorts of things. I need this job (although, remember, this is not the only job it could be,) to keep my art going, to keep my life going. To keep my journey going. I'm taking a risk that I won't always need to keep a day job like this. Not like THIS, anyway.

My job is my job.

My real work is my art.

Remember that.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

And another thing...

Working at a bar, I hear all sorts of conversations. It's one of the reasons I wanted to bartend. The stories you hear, the things you witness, the characters-- no, not characters, the people with human problems and interests, and personalities, it's very, very interesting.

And being at the bar I am, it's almost as if I am at Williamsburg central. People pop in from all over, some people who have lived here all their lives, (and let me tell you, their stories are intense,) some people who heard about the neighborhood in one of those lifestyle magazines and thought they would be hip and cool if they came and sat in a bar and talked about what is hip and cool and what is not. (Nobody should be allowed to dictate what is hip and cool. And people who do? Well, really-- not that cool.) People have real conversations about art and music and stories and politics and society and love. (Not ALL the time. Sometimes they have regular conversations, too.) Sometimes I get to participate. Sometimes I just get to eavesdrop a little as I am making margaritas or martinis. I enjoy it. Usually. Sometimes, it just drags. It feels like wasted time.

Like last night. It just went on forever, and I had a back ache, and I was just so tired and bored. I don't really know why. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. I think it was just me that was feeling so down. If I had been in another place in my life, I would have thought that my life was not satisfying, but I'm enjoying the uncertainty, the adventure of my life. So I recognize it was just one of those days, (probably hormone induced,) that is no fun.

It slowed down really early and I stood around, doing nothing, and then, right before closing, all these people came into the bar-- the WORST situation-- wanting to drink long into the night, even after I call last call. Yuck. So I stand around, trying to get my cleaning done, trying to close, and listening to their drunken conversations.

Like the one where the guy said that he was probably a very talented writer, and he could put together some great stories, but he really just wasn't into sitting infront of the computer everyday. That was his problem. He didn't want to actually BE a writer. He didn't want to write, he just wanted to have written.

Honest to god, that's the hardest part of being a writer. It's actually working at it. It's hard for me. Scary, frustrating, confrontational-- anything that counts as difficult, that's what writing is. No, no, that's not right. Once I start writing, it's not always difficult, sometimes it flows like a rushing faucet. What is hard-- the hardest part-- is putting my ass in that chair infront of my computer (especially now that it's acting up and I have to go to the computer center.) There are just so many things that get in the way of writing, of doing art, of being an artist, but I if I want to write, that is the one inescapable truth-- I HAVE TO WRITE.

Then I realized I have something to add to my last entry of


#9. DO IT. Just fricking do it. If you want to be a painter, you have to paint, or you're not. If you want to be a musician, but you're just too busy to sit in front of your guitar, or piano or harp-- then you are not a musician. If you want to be an actor, and you are not in a play, or auditioning, or getting together a monologue or taking a class, then you aren't an actor. And for godsake, if you want to be a writer and you're not writing, you're not a writer, you're a wanna be writer-- and holy cow, that's a frustrating place to be. Maybe you don't want to BE an artist. Maybe you love art or music or books or whatever, but you don't want to put in the effort-- that's fine. Enjoy other people's stuff. Play around with your drums whenever you feel the urge. Write in your journal, or your short story when the thought takes you. Be happy. Have fun, but if you want to BE an artist, get ready for a ride, because it isn't always fun. It can be a lot of work. And painful, too, but so worth it.

Monday, February 09, 2004

How To Be An Artist

1. Be interested in the world around you. We are the world we live in. Our art comes out of it. The people we know and love and hate. The injustices. The sweetness. The puzzles.

2. Be open to the questions that have no answers. It's when we go beyond the easy solutions that we start to interact with things. You can see anything in the world from a million different perspectives, if you think you've got a lock on the one and only truth, you are closing yourself to all the other views.

3. Trust yourself. Do you think you can? Then you can. Do you think you see something? Then, yeah, you do. Believe in your intuition,your gut, your heart, your voice, your vision. Believe in your potential and your mind. Someone out there might gain something from you. Maybe YOU will be the one to gain something from that trust.

4. Experiment. Try new things. A new food. A new way of putting pen to paper. A new combination of chords. Try things that are new to you-- maybe someone else has done something similar somewhere, but, we're not talking about them. We are talking about you, and how YOU are being open to new ways of doing things. There is no wrong or right, there is only what IS. If it's not wrong or right, then you are free to figure out what might be more powerful, or more fun, or maybe what might resonate inside of you.

5. Go deep. Forget about the surface. We look at the surface everyday. It's what's easiest. Beware the easy answers. Try the second or third or fourth answer. Spend some time with the question-- or the image-- or the experience-- or the medium. Give time and energy so whatever it is that is trying to be born may grow.

6. Learn what others have done. Do you want to write poetry? Read it. Are you a painter at heart? Go to museums or galleries or buy a book on art history. Are you a rock star just waiting to be discovered? Listen to cds, watch videos, experience live music. We are artists within a tradition of other artists-- learn what that tradition is. That doesn't mean you have to copy anyone, or fit yourself in to what is already out there, but it helps to get your artistic vocabulary down, it helps you to figure out what you like and don't like, what you might like to explore. Sharing in other people's art also helps to get the juices flowing. Inspiration happens when you are in the conversation.

7. Talk about it-- to whoever will listen. Talk about your ideas, your struggles, your joys, your medium, your performance. Talk about whatever inspires you. Whatever juices you. If no one will listen, write in a journal, find a discussion on line, join a workshop or an organization-- just keep those ideas and words and conversations going.

8. SHARE. Art can be many different media-- but when it comes down to it, any "medium" is a thing that carries your thoughts and ideas and experiences through to another person, so that they may share in your existence. A medium is a conduit. The art isn't important in itself, it is important for what it can convey to another person. It's hard. It's scary. It's confronting, bu there is something about the other's gaze, or listening, that makes art come alive. Someone else interacts with this thing that came out of you. That someone doesn't have to be a gallery owner or a record company, maybe that someone is a loved one, or a teacher, or an anonymous person on a computer somewhere. Let your art go out into the world. You never know what could come back to you.

Is there more? Probably. But notice that I said nothing about going to school for art. I said nothing about MFAs, or publishing, or awards, or taking piano lessons when you were three. Art is not about getting a certificate that says you are an artist. It isn't about someone else saying that you are an artist, it is about declaring it for yourself. It is about a state of being. Being an artist is who you are inside. It is what you do. It is the thought and practice of being creative.

So if you want to be an artist-- do it. Be an artist.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

What Poor Alice Thought

"It was much pleasanter at home," thought poor Alice, "when one wasn't always growing larger and smaller, and being ordered about by mice and rabbits. I almost wish I hadn't gone down that rabbit hole-- and yet-- and yet-- it's rather curious, you know, this sort of life! I do wonder what can have happened to me! When I used to read fairy tales, I fancied that kind of thing never happened, and now here I am in the middle of one."

When I first came upon the idea of writing this Blog, the idea of "wonderlanding" was really just instinctual. I didn't think about. I knew I was interested in the book, in the idea of "Adventures in Wonderland," but I didn't really think about all the connections. I hadn't really read the book since I was a kid-- it was all just vague memories.

But... hmm... I suppose when we are diving head first down that rabbit hole, we don't really KNOW what is going to happen. It isn't really a choice, although chasing after that white rabbit might have been.

Poor Alice, growing so very large. Shrinking so very small.

I feel just the same sometimes. Sometimes, I'm so large the only thing that can hold me is the wide open sky. Sometimes I feel so small, that I feel lost, or I want to be lost, I just want to hide in a little mouse hole.

Expanding and contracting, trying to fix what's wrong so that we stretch out of shape, because the truth is, there was nothing wrong with us in the first place.

Maybe when I am large, I just need to go with that-- do the things that take height and breadth and width of vision, that take strength and voice and confidence.

And maybe when I am small, it is time to close in a little. To have those small little conversations that are about the essential stuff of life. To curl up in bed and maybe not answer the phone, even, because maybe sometimes, in order to deal with this wonderland, I have to recharge.

Large small large small.

What a crazy cycle. I suppose I could have stayed in the comfy, steady zone of teaching. It was frustrating, but known-- the problems were known, the schedule was known, the next year was pretty much predictable. If I had wanted that, it would have been easy. But just like poor Alice, I have to stand in awe a little of the amazing things that have, that could, that will happen when I let myself open up to them.

A fairy tale, she said. Is this life like a fairy tale?

And I'm not even going to mention those bossy mice and rabbits-- I know who they are, but they have no idea that they are rodents.

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Drive, Baby, Drive

I stepped out of time, a little. Took a day off and just read. There's nothing like getting caught up in a good book, and music on the stereo, and a nice cozy, warm couch. Mental health day?

Or maybe just a break.

I had a dream that I was driving, the other day. So what? you might think. Everyone drives, right? But no. I don't know how to drive. A true New Yorker, I was raised on the subways, not the highways, and so, I never really had the opportunity, nor the need to learn how to drive.

But the dream... See, now, I used to dream of riding in buses, and boats, and trains and cars. I was the passenger. But when I started to dream of being the one to guide the motion, I realized that it meant I was guiding my own life, not at someone else's mercy.

In this dream, I was driving the car, and I knew how to get where I needed to go, but I didn't really know how to work the car. I had trouble figuring out which was the brakes and which was the gas. I had trouble figuring out the appropriate speed and how to get into the right lane.

Definitely where my life is right now. I feel the changes, I know where I am going, I think, but what do I do in the act of getting there? What is the best move to make? Where is the necessary pedal. Am I going too fast? Not fast enough at all?

I see all the possibilities ahead of me, right now. I'm meeting people who are interested in what I am doing and can help me, but somehow I feel as if I might be missing the chances that are given me. I might be waiting, holding on to safety, braking, rather than stepping on the gas.

But then, maybe I'm not doing anything wrong. Maybe this is the way it works. Maybe I'm just gonna keep going and expect that I will get where I need to go. Accept that I will get where I need to go.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

Seeing in Colors

Today was a good day. A good day for not being a teacher (not that there's anything wrong with being a teacher,) a good day for waking up extra late, and lounging with my cats purring against me, a good day for taking my laundry out to be done, for getting a strong cup of coffee for the subway ride to the city. It was a good day to sit in Barnes and Noble, reading magazines and buying that book that I've been waiting for. It was a good day for shopping (actual shopping, not just the window type, where money was spent,) and for having veggie chili at one of my old favorite restaurants that I haven't been to since I was a teacher.

Today was a day where I saw in color.

A day when the greens and golds popped out of the subway station. Who knew that the subway platform, bastion of dust and mice, was filled with rich earth colors.

Today was a day where I looked and noticed how many different shades of white there are. Some parts of New York are built all of white marble, and with the clouds milky the way they were today, it was almost as if that white color spilled onto everything else around-- the bare branches of the trees, the asphalt underneath the wheels of the cars. Even the red brick buildings, and all the black winter coats, and the iron grates and fences, even they were washed with a pale white.

And when twilight fell-- everything turned blue. The buildings, angling off into the distance down 5th avenue reflected back the cobalt of the sky, but not all in one piece, but so that you could see how deep the streets were, how tall the building.

And then later, when it was true dark, all the blue went away, gone. Everything was deep shadows, brown and gray, and then light-- brilliant and sharp, in yellow, and red, and lemonade colors.

What does it mean that today I saw in colors?

No deep significance, just that there I was, living, and in that living, I was really present.

Today I saw in color.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Runaway Train

This creativity thing's a bitch.

No, that's not true. Again I'm being a bit dramatic.

Creativity, creating, is a mystery. A wonder. Yes, it does take a lot of energy-- when you are standing on the outside, it seems to take a prohibitive lot of energy.

It's just too much! But when you're inside, it's like you're caught up in the whirlwind of creative energy and you just can't help yourself. The ideas, the thoughts, the output, all keep coming.

Now, hold on there a minute, Rowena. If I make that my story, then I think I may end up makiing it harder on myself. If creating is something that I am powerless against, almost at the mercy of with no energy expended on my own, then whenever I was not just being swept away by the winds of art (rhymes with fart), I would feel cheated, feel it was too hard, feel like a failure.

Truth is, sometimes when creating is going full steam ahead, and I am caught up in it and hurtling forward so fast it feels like I will never stop, it feels like I am just cauht up in it, carried away-- but to only look at that runaway train is to not see all the effort that has gone before it.

There would never be a runaway train without the grinding start up-- Chug-a. Chug-a. Chug-a. The train wouldn't go without the slow build up and the constant stoking of the fire. Then there's the laboring up the hills, (I think I can, I think I can.)

The long stretch of unchecked momentum is just one part.

You know, you could take that metaphor a lot farther. Because that train wouldn't be going without those who laid the tracks across country. Or the industrial revolution that caused the trains to be. Or the immense age and pressure that created the fuel inside the earth. Or the big bang and resultiing gathering of the mineral matter needed to create a planet with bones of iron, that could hold and nurture all that we know of life.

Creativity is a mystery and a wonder. I don't know specifically where it comes from or how it can happen, but I have a sneakiing suspicion that it comes from everywhere, and everywhen. And it takes no more energy than it does to live.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Choose an Adventure

So what happens when we run into snags in our lives? When your computer goes off line for no known reason? When you don't make enough money to survive at your job bartending? When that guy who said he liked you never ever calls back?

It's really easy to get discouraged. To take the hurdle as a sign I am doing it all wrong.

I suppose this is when I have to roll with the punches, learn how to pick up and keep going. Get back on the damn horse.

Why do those ideas all seem so trite?

I suppose they are trite, it's just a sad truth that a lot of those trite ideas are so trite because they are often the reality of the situation. Finding an original solution to your problems, or a unique way of dealing with human difficulties is kind of stupid. I mean, if we've been having the same sort of problems since we began being conscious of having problems, then doesn't it follow that the answers to the basic human problems would be heard again and again and again????

Suck it up.

Get back on the horse.

Fine, but at the same time, we are creative, we humans, and we can take the trite solutions, try to get back on that horse, llike the old saying says, but still be open to the opportunities we get when we do what our momma, and her momma, and her momma before her said that we should do.

Long sentence? Yeah, but basically, here I am doing a blog entry, even though I have no internet at home. So I have to go out and buy time at a computer center. And yet, it's kinda nice. Here I am in the mini mall in Williamsburg, sitting infront of the window, watching all these interesting, artsy, wierdos (with all due respect to the wierdos) walk by. I am not curled in my pajamas on the couch, with John Edwards (the psychic, not the politico) on tv, my cats meowing to get fed, and a cooling cup of coffee on the table. What that means is that I am literally out there in the world, instead of isolating myself behind a computer screen. And ever time I put myself out into the world, I open myself up to opportunities.

And I am looking for opportunities of all types. Monetary, artistic, romantic, culinary, professional-- you name it.

I wonder, if I drew a flow chart of my life, what it would look like. How many times would a life snag have started me going in a new direction. I suppose it doesn't do any good to wonder what the other life paths would have looked like.

Wouldn't it be cool if our lives were like those stupid "choose an adventure" books from the eighties? They generally very boring books, but it was cool to explore the various ways the adventure could play out.

Oh, well. Too bad. I guess I'll just have to follow along to the end of this one.

technical difficulties

please stand by while I figure out what the hell is wrong with my computer. I will try to keep up with my postings.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Get Rid of the Dust

I run around all day long trying to do things. A lot of the time, if I do
"things", I feel good, and if I don't, I feel bad. Go Go Go. I fill my hours with activities, and if I can't, I fill them with distractions. Do Do Do. I ride up and down on this rollercoaster, sprinting from what I have to have done to what I have to do. Run Run Run. Lately, I've taken to writing down lists of what I do AFTER I do them, so I can feel better.

Good Bad Better Worse.

Sometimes being creative is really, really hard work. Sometimes, I think it's my thinking it's really hard work that makes it hard work.

Odiouswoman reminded me that sometimes what we need, or sometimes what is happening, is a fallow period-- a moment where we rest, and allow nature, allow our subconscious to digest all the running and doing and going.

There's something to be said for trusting the subconscious, those parts of us that we don't listen to as often as we should. There's something to be said for learning to breathe deep, to sit still, and to live consciously-- allowing what is trying to be born to grow in its own time.

A kid came into my bar today. Young, only 21, the other bartender commented on how sweet he was. "Like fresh grass," she said and that he'd probably get dirtied up as he got older. "But you don't have to get jaded," I said. I don't want to be jaded anymore-- although the dirt keeps settling on me, the dirt of everything I have to do to live.

"Get rid of the dust," the kid said, "that's what we need to do."

I suppose that's what I'm working on.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

The Will To Be an Artist

What is it that makes an artist?

I believe that anyone can be an artist, that it is in human nature to be creative. I've put a lot of energy into the concept-- study, teaching, writing, workshops-- all exploring how creativity can help us and open us up to our own lives.

Recently, though, I came upon a man who wrote that NOT everyone can be an artist. It got me thinking about some of the problems I've had in teaching some of my classes and workshops. Sometimes, people just get stuck, and they don't seem to be able to let go. In my mind, it is so easy to be creative-- but my friends and my students, I watch them just get-- flumoxed. Stopped, blocked. Blocked. Hmm. Creative block. (But I don't believe in that.)

Are these people the non artists that the guy was talking about?

I mean, maybe not everyone can be a painter, or a violinist, or a ballet dancer-- maybe we don't all have the physical capabilities for some art forms. Maybe our synapses don't snap that way, but we all have creative capabilities. Whether it is our visual sense, or grace, or great pitch, or a mind that thinks in music, or a way with herbs and spices, or the ability to put two pieces of wood together so it stays. I don't know. Maybe we're good with getting a group of people to work together happily. Doesn't it depend on what your definition of art is?

But the truth is, not everyone is an artist. And maybe society wouldn't work if everyone were ARTISTS. We do need doctors and sanitation workers and store clerks and presidents and such. Everyone has a role to play... but still, I have the question.

What IS an artist?

It's not about having some great skill or talent. Really, I don't think so. I've known lots of really talented people who aren't artists. I myself can sing pretty well, but I don't consider myself a singer.

I think being an ARTIST, really, is about committing to art. It's about being dedicated to your artform-- whether it's painting or baking or acting or blogging. It means you live your life with your art in the forefront. When you go about your daily business, there is always the active possibility that you could create something, or have a discussion about art, or witness something that gets you going into a new possibility for your art. Maybe you don't live and breathe painting or dancing, but when you go back to your art (which you always will, because you are dedicated) the life that you lived comes back and informs what you create.

I don't think being an artist means you have to model yourself after Picasso, or Pollock, or Van Gogh, or anyone out there. There are so many ways to BE an artist, and you don't have to be starving, or crazy, or addicted or a selfish bastard. Maybe you don't even have to show your stuff to anyone else.

But it does mean that you have to put in the thought, the time, the practice, the emotions, the experience, the experiments, the energy, the words.

Maybe it IS true that not everyone can be an artist, but I don't think it's anything that we're born with that says we are or aren't an artist. Honestly, I think being an artist takes a desire-- and not just a desire-- a will to be an artist.

It's the will to be an artist that makes an artist. Even if you are the most talented painter or singer or dancer in the world, if you lack the will and only paint or dance or sing when the notion strikes you, you might as well be chewing bubble gum. It's nice and fun and has a great flavor, but really, how far does it go beyond the moment?

On the other hand, if you aren't spectacularly "talented"-- aren't born with that perfect hand-eye coordination or the luck to be raised by people who want you to be an artist-- and you really have the WILL to be an artist, to explore life, to go deeper and challenge yourself, and learn your medium and practice techniques and face your fears of being not good enough or not an artist, or just too much of a damn human-- then, you know what? I think that you really are an artist.

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Inspire Me

Tell me... will the television do it? Will drinking beers and flirting with boys do it? Will surfing on line and answering emails do it? Will coffee? Will lying on the couch reading escapist fiction do it? Will flipping through fashion magazines do it?


You can ignore me. I am being rather dramatic and enjoying my own lack of inspiration.

In other words, I am wallowing in it.

The truth is, any of the above things can cause inspiration, can inspire me to be filled up with the creative spirit. The truth is, inspiration is about the energy you put into it. It's about saying YES, loudly and actively, instead of the constant, under the breath, whiny, miniscule, "nonononononononononononononononononononononononononononononononononononononono."

When I saw the real human ovary/fallopian tube/uterus on tv, with the doctor and Oprah talking about how delicate and beautiful a structure it is, I could have written a poem about our delicate and miraculous insides. But I didn't. I started moaning about not being inspired. (Yes, Virginia, even afternoon tv can inspire.)

I don't believe there is such a thing as writer's block. We may actually be stuck, for many different reasons, but I think we give ourselves the label, like hypochondria. It offers us an excuse to not be creative.
"Oh, no, I can't write my novel, I have writer's block."

It's like a trump. It's like shuffling off the responsibility for our own lives and creativity by blaming it all on "creative block." (I wonder if having a "fear of commitment" is the same sort of thing. Oh yeah, it is.)

Truth is maybe there's something that we aren't paying attention to, and that's why we're suffering this thing called block. Maybe it's fear. Maybe it is exactly the same thing as being afraid of commitment, or of failure, or success. Maybe my dad told me I was no good-- no, wait, that was my poetry professor. Maybe the idea of actually putting all your beautiful, wonderful, brilliant ideas into the light of day is just too damn threatening. What if the ideas can't stand up to the harsh noon sun? What if everyone laughs?

Hey, look where this post went. Right back to the last one, about embracing the dark. Yes, we actually have to face that fear down. Take a look and see if it's a genuine fear-- not if we are really afraid of it, obviously we are-- but the question is, is it really something to be afraid of. If someone laughs at you or says that you are no good, will you die? Will it even be true? Do you really believe it, and if so, then maybe the problem is not the fear, but instead your own lack of belief in yourself.

So many of my fears want me to say "no." And the fears win.

I haven't written in my novel for two weeks. I find other things to do that inch around the block, inch around my own desire to be creative, my own commitment to writing a novel. I write in my blog. I write in my journal. I paint a picture. I decorate my living room. I research poetry magazines and publishing. I search on line for interesting blogs.

It's like I am living my life with a little mutt at my heels. Yi!-yi!-yi!-yi!-yi! And I'm going about my day trying to ignore it, maybe feeding it little tidbits now and then that quiet the yapping. Maybe what I really need to do is to put on my jack boots and stomp on the mutt. Silence it once and for all. Or maybe I should pick it up and love it. Put it on my lap and let it sleep in warmth and comfort as I actually sit and write in my novel, allow inspiration to come because I can finally understand the whispers that I couldn't hear over the crying of my mutt-self-fears. Actually sit and write, that's what I need to do.

(No animals were harmed in the making of this blog.)

Friday, January 30, 2004

Perfectly Imperfect

The sooner we come to accept that we are all imperfect, that we are not always right, that we make mistakes and can be less than ideal in our choices, attitudes, desires and actions, the better we will be at being imperfect.

The better we will be at being... ahh! HUMAN.

It's kinda cool to be a human, stumbling along in the darkness, one foot in front of the other, occasional flashes of insight and vision-- like walking a country road in the middle of a midnight thunder storm. Frightening and dangerous, but thrilling.

It's so easy to be afraid of the darkness-- it's the unknown, the always-potential for the unexpected. The night hunters live there, and so do the pebbles that twist your ankle and bring you to your knees. But in the darkness are the stars, and the sound of the crickets, and the cool dew, the silvery light of the moon that makes everything gentle.

So what if we can accept the darkness inside of ourselves-- hurtling toward self destructiveness and apathy, destroying our own dreams ourselves because of the unknown that could come, the critics, the mistakes, the failures-- and also, strangely, the success, the love, the joy.

All that is unknown, too, and sometimes more scary than failure. It's much safer to stay where everything is familiar and known-- manicured and domesticated. That's where life is comfortable, where we have sanitized all the wildness and dark potential from it. Safe, comfortable because it is all planned out and set. A clear road, straight down the middle. We think everything will be predictable, no danger, no shocks-- heh, heh, like life is ever predictable.

Choosing to leave secure teaching for an unknown career in the arts was a wide-open, light of day choice. I knew that I was heading into a thing that challenged me, where I didn't feel secure, where the outcome was unknown. But I faced the knowledge that there was something wild and untamed inside of me that the rules and have-to's of the board of ed did not value. I valued it, more than I valued following somebody else's rules. And I also faced the knowledge that it was my fear that I wasn't good enough that kept me from diving whole-heartedly into art and writing.

That's the fear of the unknown. The darkness.

Maybe we try to keep the light and the dark too separate from eachother. We choke our lives with rules and boundaries, trying to keep it known and accepted and understood, and we run from the darkness back to the safety.

Maybe what we need to do is to try and illuminate the darkness in our lives, shine the light into it and begin to understand what it is this pain and unknown is made of. Maybe we also need to allow some of the darkness into our manicured lives. Like compost, the rotting bones of what we discard, it can only make our lives richer and deeper.

There's nothing wrong with order. There's also nothing wrong with wildness and imperfection. We're made of both, and the more we try to ignore and reject one or the other, maybe the less whole and imperfectly complete we are.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Perfect, Happy, Zen Goddess

Don't for an instant think that I am some zen buddha-like goddess. I am moody and lazy. I get pissed and spout off. I avoid the things I am afraid of and embrace all that is escapist. I get this place between my eyes and my ears where sometimes things get all tight and hot and I think everyone, everything is just stupid and nobody does anything right. I curse. I ignore people. I sleep too late and don't eat enough so I have no energy. I don't take care of myself, sometimes I don't even take care of my cats. I am in debt up to my ears and don't feel terribly motivated to get it all settled. I am a royal slob, and a minor snob. I am not nearly as nice as I used to be before I learned that boundaries were what kept people from walking all over you-- and that I don't have to waste my time with people I am not all that interested in. I make snap judgements, and I waffle in indecision.

In short, I am human.

Maybe some of my previous posts give this impression that I am totally at peace with myself and my world. I know what is important and am headed right to it.

So not true.

Today at worked sucked. Not in a oh-how-can-this-day-get-any-worse way, but in a kind of up and down, I'm-just-kind-of-pissed way. I felt out of it and disconnected. No reason for it. No attempt to see the grander, more meaningful side of life. I was not the better person. I was just a regular person.

And that's what I wanted to post, today. I came home and straight to my blog, no email, no surfing.

I was pissy and disconnected, annoyed by drunks and small tips and stupid waitresses (I am not even amending that to "shy and timid") and selfish bosses and macho busboys.

I did not have moments of enlightenment or existential understanding.
It was just a day.

And that's okay.

Hey, yeah. It is.

Maybe the myth of being happy is that it is this constant, ecstatic flow, or atleast this continual contentment, but maybe it's not. Like what a customer said about being an artist. He said "People think making art is always this orgasmic thing, and sometimes it is, but mostly, it's just a lot of work." Maybe happiness works like that, too. Maybe happiness is work-- or at least effort.

Maybe being happy means letting the being pissed go, even if it's fun to get pissed at things that don't matter. Maybe being happy means actually stopping to pay attention to what it all means and what it could mean, and rearranging your attitude until it's in a place where you can find a beautiful meaning again. Look at me, I'm back to being zen-Rowena again.

But then, you don't know how good it felt to realize that it was okay if my day was sucky, and I didn't have to be perfect, happy, zen goddess.

Being normal-- like letting out the breath held too long.