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Writing to the Muse

A writer writes.

How deep do I have to scratch the surface to get to the blood of writing?

 

The writer writes

What is writing all about?

Is it about the creative impulse? Yes

Is it about something in my deepest self that needs expressing? Yes

Is the writing a body with muscle, bone, sinew, cells, and water? Yes

Where does the writing come from?

A deep well of intuition, inspiration and imagination.

In this room, brown is a prominent color. What does the brown evoke: libraries and drawing rooms, fireplaces and nighttime.

There is a woman in the room. An older woman who has a history. How can I tell? By the lines in her face, by the hesitation in her conversation, by the confidence in her walk. Will she tell me her history? She wouldn’t dare. It is not in her to bare her soul to someone she considers a stranger. Her Father told her to be quiet as a child, “children were to be seen and not heard.”

She looks away. She has the nerve not to answer my questions. She is comfortable in silence. I’m not. The phone is on the counter. I haven’t heard it ring in all the time I have spent in this room. Is the ringer off? Does she avoid people. I look at her face for the answers, but she has turned away. Her bangs have fallen over her eyes. I know she doesn’t want to be seen.

After looking around the room and seeing nothing to identify this woman, I ask her, “Do you have any family pictures?”

“No,” she answers abruptly without any further explanation.

“Are you from this part of the world?”

“No.” Again the answer is short and abrupt.

“Do you like living here? Do you plan on staying? Do you live with any one?”

“No, no, no.”

She has been trained to be polite. She knows she must offer me something for it to be an enjoyable afternoon.

“Would you like some Tea?” She asks. “Ellia, the woman that works for me is out this afternoon otherwise you would have been served tea way before now. I’m not good with this type of thing. Hospitality.” She looks at her hands. “I spend a lot of time alone,” she adds as an afterthought.

“I spend a lot of time alone.” I realize she has finally served me a bone. Here is a single sentence that gives me an entrée into her, but I need more. Much more.

“Why is that?” I ask.

She looks straight at me. Her nose is long and sharp. Her eyes are wide open and attentive. She is an attractive woman and I suspect that is why she can get away with saying so little. She stands up, turns away from me and leaves the room. When she returns, a good fifteen minuets later, she has a tray with a blue and white china tea pot and a platter of cookies. She puts the tray down on the ottoman near me.

During her absence I have thought of leaving. I have been looking for an excuse for leaving. I look at the tray, the china tea pot, probably left over from her mother, the white plate and the chocolate cookies that look way to sweet for my taste. Now it is me that is reticent.

After a long uncomfortable silence, I say, “I need something from you.”

“What is that?” She asks, attentive and  alert.

“Something alive, something tangible – flesh, blood, breathing. I need more from you. I can’t write without you. I can’t have a story without you.

She looks at me unflinching and replies, “well I guess you’ll have to make it up, won’t you.”

Some of my favorite things

 

 

 

 

 

I have always felt the Christmas season was a good time to look over my life and reflect deeply on it. As I did this, I began to think of all the things that make me smile. Here are just a few. What are yours?

The things that please me

  1. God
  2. Having a picture of a dog since I can’t have the real thing
  3. Snow on the mountain tops
  4. An unexpected letter from a friend
  5. Early morning light
  6. Sunset
  7. Rain storms
  8. A clean house
  9. A friends voice on the phone
  10. The ocean
  11. Learning something new
  12. Something delicious to eat
  13. something to eat when I’m hungry
  14. God
  15. Dinner in front of a fire
  16. Finishing something I don’t want to do
  17. A warm coat on a cold day
  18. Starbucks anywhere
  19. Homemade soup
  20. Farmers markets
  21. A hawk circling overhead
  22. Pelicans
  23. A beautiful piece of writing
  24. Meeting new people
  25. Exploring new territory
  26. The desert in the morning
  27. The desert in the spring
  28. Cactus flowers
  29. Marina del Ray
  30. Chocolate anything
  31. Sharing an intense moment with a friend
  32. Looking at someone who dresses creatively
  33. A new pair of boots
  34. Christmas anything
  35. God
  36. Chanukah candles
  37. Remembering my German studies
  38. Music – any kind
  39. People younger than me
  40. People older than me
  41. The feeling of a job well done
  42. God
  43. The Desert
  44. The Mountains
  45. Lakes and Streams
  46. The sound of trains in the distance
  47. Spending time with someone I love
  48. Spending time alone
  49. Finding something I lost
  50. Tear drops
  51. The sound of song birds
  52. Bunnies in the yard
  53. Lip gloss
  54. Meditating
  55. God
  56. Jack Rabbits
  57. Animals
  58. Playing solitaire
  59. Clean clothes
  60. A freshly made bed
  61. Warm towels
  62. The sun setting over the ocean
  63. God

A lament for humanity

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A day in life
Yesterday at Costco I met a man, maybe in his late thirties, wearing dog tags, torn gray t-shirt, jeans and a military cut. He asked me for financial help. I do help people on the street from time to time. I don’t particularly care about their story. I’m sure it’s not the whole truth, even if it has any resemblance to the truth at all. I’m always grateful for the life I have and want to help others.
I offered Bruce (he told me his name) a full tank of gas. There was a long line at the pumps. I waited near his car. Through the open driver’s window, I asked him questions, and he answered them. He told me he had been in the military for fourteen years, had been stationed at Edwards and was currently in 29 Palms. He said he was going through a divorce. I heard some discrepancies in his story but ignored them. He had car trouble, the starter wouldn’t turn over, and he said he just paid for a tire that cost him $89.00. As we moved up to the pump, the attendant came over and pulled me aside. He told me this man was not in the military, and was always at Costco begging for money. I decided to buy him gas anyway but walked away feeling saddened.

I was sad because he used the military, and because there are so many men and woman who are active military or returning vets that are trying their best, and could use a helping hand. This man debased something sacred.

When I go to my computer, and I’m beseeched with emails that will either open a flood of spam or put a virus on my machine, my heart aches. Why would someone do that?

I went to the Desert Crossing Shopping Center in Palm Desert later in the day and stumbled upon “The Lisa Project.” It’s a traveling exhibit that lets the viewer experience child abuse. Listening to the taped stories of abused children, I felt compassion and empathy. I am glad I can feel so deeply no matter how difficult it is. When that natural response is abused, that is sad. That’s when my heart aches. I so much want to believe in humanity, and when that belief is taken away, then I’m angry.