Lourdes Mint's Mid-Life Miracle

Real-time memoir of the coming year (5/20/14 – 15) and the achievement of a life-long dream

Archive for the tag “Art and artists”

There is always “burn” here now.

Pretty+Flames+2-7-2007+3-36-23+PM+2816x2112There is always “burn” here now.

Door knobs burn in my hand as I turn them, so I leave the inside ones open. Even the floor burns the bottoms of my feet, so: shoes, but they burn also. These words too, all words, whether I think or say or read them, they all burn now. Sometimes./

To hear them, these ones here, spoken aloud in this room today — w/ no one aside from me listening, no music playing, nothing baking — to hear them without burning, what I would give for that! To be back there, here but back then, in my dream of life again, where it was plenty warm enough, what I would give./

There were times I’d think I must have come from there to here through someplace really cold. I’d think, could I have died that day? That day I “wakened” to the smell of all my pies burning and you knocking as loud as you could on the door. “What’s burning? Are you okay? What’s going on with your hair?”/

We threw the pies into the garden, laughing. You cut my hair in the kitchen to help fix me back up as we aired the place out. “What happened, though? Did you fall asleep? Since when do you bake pies and for what?” I opened you some wine and we spent the rest of the day together./

But I watched the pies slowly disappear alone. It took weeks and then one downpour finally carried the rest away./

Today, I know I came through someplace really cold to get here. Why else, how else, could touching these now — these plastic keys — burn me so? So that the plainest words/thoughts, uttered as plainly as I can manage, are birds barely escaping a flame and then at the very last second returning or just stopping, letting it happen, letting it wrap them and hold them in its hot hands until they turn to ash?/

There is always “burn” here, but I’ve begun to wonder if it might be okay for a time./

After all, crying now is like climbing a tree—but on another planet. Crying: Why? How? It doesn’t happen here, I don’t think, but I’m not completely sure (having learned about evaporation so long ago). I do know it’s not okay not to cry ever./

I know too that today nothing is baking, no music is playing, and no one knocks or doesn’t knock at the door. And I know I didn’t die that day. I am being still and quiet, no more words aloud for now, dreaming of when I was “just warm enough” and wishing I could cry, here or on some other planet, any planet (except Mercury, Venus)./

And yet. Even though these words, my memories, the door, the floor, the bottoms of me feet — ALL of it burns, all of it is burning me — I begin to think it could all turn out all right, that one day I will be just warm enough again.

***

THIS is a repost, thanks. I’ve been gone from here for SIX long months. I consider it a bit of providence that I log back in tonight, after several days (weeks? months?) of thinking about this blog AND THIS POEM especially, and find that BURN is the one-word daily prompt. Today. When I log back in … But so, I have nothing new here now, I don’t think, am exhausted, but I jump back in to this — everything — holding the hand of my 47-year-old self from two years ago. I trust no one more.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/burn/

https://wordpress.com/post/lourdesmint.wordpress.com/678

 

 

NaNoWriMo –> NoMo!

Blobs grow in beloved gardens (1975), by F. Hundertwasser

Midnight tonight is the end of NaNoWriMo, but I’m done for now. I did 22,325 of the 50,000-word goal, so YES there was a supernova-like burst of “story” near the end. It’s hard to know how much of what I’ve done is good, especially since I could only write a little bit here and there, but I don’t think any of this has been a waste of time and believe I’ll finish post-NaNoWriMo. The coolest thing of all is that my main characters are talking to me (again) after being stowed away for so long. And they have a lot to say that I never even thought of before. What a wild, weird thing the mind is!

“go alone — crawl, stumble, stagger — but go alone”

“You must be Independent, Independent, Independent –jm105-256— don’t talk so much but do more — go your own way and let your neighbour go his… Shake off all the props — the props tradition and authority give you and go alone — crawl, stumble, stagger — but go alone.”

~ Charles Rennie Mackintosh

Independent, YES, for sure! (Original would be nice too, but is not necessary. I mention it because I think people often confuse independence with originality, which can be a real problem for their creativity and productivity, but maybe that’s a post for another day.) Neighbors — oh, there are many I’d gladly follow home. Don’t think I have too many props to shake off, but am willing to crawl, etc., if needed. BUT I love this guy’s designs (behold one iteration of his famous rose) … just not 100% sure about his ideas.

More to the point of this post: writing can be lonely, not for the bloggiest of bloggers maybe, but for lots of the rest of us. So, just so I can connect (or in hopes of connecting … even if I don’t know it’s happened), I am giving myself permission to quote other people liberally here in my blog or provide links to whatever, anything I feel like doing this month (so pretty much like every other month!), as I work to put out 1700+ words per day for NaNoWriMo.

It’s Day 2 and I’ve done 2,345 words (not bad, the quantity I mean), but my narrative point of view is shifting all over the place and not in a clever way. Plus my tenses are sliding, willy nilly, forward and backward and off to the side (though that’s typical for me because sometimes I do feel like past, present, future, etc., are all here in the same place at the same time). Also, even though every 50 words or so come easy, these are followed by hundreds that feel like I am punching myself in the face or, no: trying to put on clothes that are a few sizes too small … and wet and itchy too. I’m haunted about how little I feel I know about the world, how my seven-year-old referred to me as “odd” today, how my main character is male again (and apparently has two interchangeable names). I’m also bothered that I can’t picture him clearly yet, but I can see what he sees, feel what he feels, etc.

I’m thinking, he could look like this:

Brosseau-Tom1868-2_cr-CareyBraswell[1](This is a young[er] Tom Brosseau and here’s a song of his: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vcWe–L7AM)

OR he might look like this:th98WXLH1R

(The is the young, late Vic Chesnutt and one of his tunes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2KyL1MlqW0)

No surprise that I’m conjuring the images of song writers I greatly admire to help embody my protagonist. No surprise, but no explanation (now) either. In the end, it doesn’t really matter who I’m picturing anyway, I just need to see his face. And I can’t yet.

On the bright side, whatever he turns out looking like, I like him a lot so far and that’s helpful because I will be meeting with Nohl/Ben every day (or as often as I can) until we get his story done.

 

Today I begin “I Brought You Back”

What would you do if you had a gift or ability that you weren’t entirely comfortable with? (What DO you do?) And what if this ability might be considered inhuman, impossible … supernatural, even? And you used your “gift” sometimes but not others, for reasons you couldn’t always understand or explain, and the consequences of your actions were more often than not completely different from what you expected: sometimes just so clearly WRONG; other ti450px-william_blake_-_christ_in_the_sepulchre_guarded_by_angelsmes, though, wondrous, unambiguously RIGHT — restoring necessary joy and goodness to the people you love, the world, all and everything? (But sometimes, don’t forget, sometimes: wrong, wrong, wrong … ?) What would you do?

“Quit doing it and let time pass, let all kinds of time pass.” This is my main character Nohl’s solution as the story/novel starts — that and to get as far away as possible from the mess he feels he’s created, cut his few ties with the past, etc., but NOT before telling EVERYTHING to someone he can barely call “friend” nor before doing his thing one last time.

The novel will follow one person’s complicated, lonesome relationship with his gift, each time he’s used it and how it “worked out,” ending with his decision about how to move forward … and an opportunity, with someone he now considers a true friend, to put that decision to the test.

This is the spark for the novel I’ll be working on this month (through NaNoWriMo). I’m being perhaps irritatingly mysterious/vague re: the gift because I don’t think it’s really what the story’s about, but I’m also afraid that mere mention of the word that best describes the gift would put an END to some things that I need, now. (More vagaries, sorry…)  Really, the gift could be any ability or talent that a person might have and feel ambivalent about and unclear on how, whether, why to develop it — unsure about whether it’s a good or bad thing. My writing this novel represents my decision to embrace a gift I’m not sure how I feel about … and not even sure I have. And I’m going to draw some pictures (or create some kind of visuals) to go with it, I think — also maybe a recording. Here goes!

 

“You fight evil with all you do”

Great song, wonderful little short story … except the meatball, in my opinion. 😉

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Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – Lay and Love (2007) – YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UxaXYBrdRdA
I didn’t realize this video is controversial among Will Oldham admirers. One person calls it “sleazy and ironic.” I’m no Pollyanna, but I saw it as almost exactly the opposite. And “someone” (my husband) told me this morning he thought it was very disturbing (paraphrasing a bit here): “the White Man and all his money funding a frivolous and tawdry adventure for people requiring more basic forms of support” — and I get that. But I saw it more like this: here’s this sort of odd guy who’s come across some money (I don’t think rich people flash around wads of cash like that) and doesn’t know what to do with it so he sets out to do some good, if misguided, thing with it. It’s a “good” shaped out of his own experience of life, which maybe only some can (or would even try to) imagine. But I do think it’s kind of beautiful (except the meatball). And the song just IS beautiful, period. Hear for yourself.

Questions from Deep Space

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Trick Questions.”

A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing an in-depth piece* — about you. What are the three questions you really hope she doesn’t ask you?

SONY DSC

Question I hope she’d ask: “Are you named after the Magnolia Fabrics wallpaper ‘Lourdes Mint’? (Me: Why yes, I am!)

Assuming I MUST answer 100% truthfully, I’d dread these Qs:

What is the weirdest or most anti-social thing you’ve done, thought, enjoyed, sought out, etc.? Anything along those lines would really put me in an awkward position. Still, even though I’ve always feared what I’ve felt to be my weirdnesses, I’ve never thought of them as unusual in the extreme. I’m sure I would not be alone in any of my answers, but I shudder to think of my company… and, truly, of judgment. My freak flag is on the larger side probably, but I usually wave it alone, in the dark, etc. I sometimes find that those that wave them most vigorously and visibly are not very freaky at all.

How many books have you read, really, all the way through? I hope/bet it’s more than I think, but I don’t track these things very carefully. I have no idea. I don’t claim to be  a voracious reader or even a particularly good reader — space out quite a bit, need to reread again and again. I also don’t feel obliged to read anything I don’t strongly desire  or feel a compelling need or responsibility to read, anymore. BUT I have yet to hear of a single successful and good writer who is not also a huge reader. Overall, one could say I’ve lived a very unwriterly life … on the surface in any case.

What’s your favorite [fill in the blank]? I am bothered by the fact that I’m so bothered by questions about favorites. One problem is that I’m never sure what mine are — in pretty much any category. I just don’t look at things this way and I guess I feel like that points to some significant lack in me: lack of identity (conviction?), something unformed inside me. I also don’t like Qs about who’s been the biggest influence in my life or which are the most significant, formative experiences of my childhood or life thus far. If I had to answer with something other than, “I really don’t know (yet?),” I would have to completely fabricate a response.

*Funny? When I first looked at this  prompt, I read “A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing in deep space about you.”

I did my thing (Part 2)

There’s no “I did my thing (Part 1)” so this may be cheating (but there is this: https://lourdesmint.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1214).

Anyway my thing was such a small thing: mailing a check — which is not to say that money is no object for us or the person we owed it to, because that’s definitely not the case. But in the grand scheme of getting our monster of a house ready for sale, this was one of the smaller costs … and we were then VERY close to putting it on the market. So mailing that check that day, with my old friend Rochelle’s words of wisdom in mind, I had to ask myself: exactly why had I procrastinated with this particular check, along with several other final DETAILS really, when working on the house/the move has been such a time-hog and soul-sucker for more than a year now?

The answer may be obvious. I have no idea. It’s going to take a while for me to dig myself out of the hole I fell into and regain perspective … or perhaps discover an entirely new one. But I think the biggest challenge will be in not looking for another albatross to hang around my neck once this one falls away. IMG_3520

People can become accustomed to and very adept at adjusting for the weight of their burdens, the frenzied tempo of chronic stress, even the warped “comfort zone” that is defined by the ever-widening gap of what they feel must do and what they can actually do. Looking back, I see I have traded in one albatross for another for as long as I can remember. I’m not sure why. But I don’t think it’s as much about being a glutton for punishment as it is about not being sure what I should or, no,  can do with my (relative) freedom — once more time & space become available in my life again.

 

 

Your “plans” will never go as planned if …

Your “plans” will never go as planned if you make no plans. I really don’t like TOO MUCH of this kind of talk, coming out of my mouth or going into my ears, buzzing around in my mind, but today it fits. This week, this month, this year — I could go on — it FITS! Although it’s not really that I had no plans as much, I think, as that I might not have shared them best with the people who needed to know them most …

But I don’t want to hear, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” I don’t want to hear about the importance of spontaneity, etc. I have a PhD in that. Yes, I’m all for spontaneity, but to go well, even it benefits from a plan — in fact, I don’t think it can’t truly exist in the absence of a good plan. Without one to derail or to bust yourself out of, what is spontaneity really except doing something you feel like doing pretty close to the time you first thought of doing it? (No big deal.)

And how about free-wheeling? Love IT. (If my doctorate was in Spontaneity, my dissertation was on Free-wheeling.) But there too: you’ve gotta have that wheel in order to pull it off. And historically there’s not much that’s a bigger deal than the wheel when it comes to forward motion, progress, etc. At this very moment, I can’t think of a single thing. But maybe that’s because of where I am today, this week, this month, this year.

Anyway, look at this splendid young woman. I’ll bet she has herself a plan. Wheels too!

tumblr_ntltvx1RQi1tstj1ho1_500

Found on inked-dollz.blogspot.jp

“Drafts” are the new “so?”

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/______-is-the-new-______/

[Please excuse me for choosing my own blog. Felt like something I needed to do today.]

*I have 57 drafts and only 38 (39 now, actually) “published” … things. So? What is a published thing anyway, for many of us, but a draft that has somehow tripped the system, slipped through our over-zealous, ultra-self-censoring, hyper-critical inner critic? Anyway, here’s one that slipped through.

 

38 published, 57 drafts, and my blog’s goal’s

“Due date” has gone by, so by, that I

No longer see clearly the [X] on the horizon. (That dot that was my goal.)

 

But I look often. Things I’ve seen:

A fallen tree, an empty house, a man walking, hands in pockets, and a

Windmill, still. Once, I saw a fox with a rabbit in its mouth!

That was my favorite.

 

Today, though, I don’t know. Can’t make it out.

But, oh!, I know it just moved … closer no less. Or was it me, toward it? (Ha! Noooo.)

I’ve been moving lots lately but not in that direction. I’ve been wishing lots too that it —  my goal, that dot — would come to me, for me, at me,

Any way it wants, with or without rabbit. I’ll take it! But I know. I know. I’ve always known.

 

And I’m actually accepting the “failure,” for now, have taken my hands from the throat of she who failed. (I need her: me.)

And with that grip loosened, I see her becoming beauty-full again, feel laughter pushing up through her throat (words to follow?), eyes opening wide once more, synapses (many? most? all?) firing up, firing one another up,

Stretching out to meet, connect, grab hold, and go. Someplace new. Again and again!

 

So I’ll stop looking for that leaf that wasn’t loosed when fall came early this year, a guest of spring and now summer and soon to be master of the house.

The sun has said go ahead: stop. God, I’ve heard, likes (loves) me after all — no matter what I say or (don’t) do. I hear someone, many, saying, “rest.”

And yet: that dot, my goal. Can’t wash the (imagined) taste of rabbit from my mouth.

And yet, there was nothing here before and now:

38 published, 57 drafts, and me.

We’re still here. I have my crown.

 

 

“Bittersweet symphony” for sure

IMG_0022My blog ending is pending … but our move-out date is not extending! So much to do, so best to start with first things first. Right? Sure.

Somehow I couldn’t resist a certain task that I’m sure could have waited or not been done at all. We’ve accumulated many “outdoor things” during our five years here — rocks, twigs, other things found on walks and brought home, which we’ve then attempted to domesticate in some manner or another. And as much as each meant to us at the time, we canNOT take ALL of them with us. We could toss them over the fence into the forest, home to many of them anyway, or scatter them in the garden. Whatever. But no. They were gathered too lovingly, I was thinking, for us to part w/ them so unceremoniously. We’d have to sort them, choose our favorites, let the rest go. (We’ve got a sort of have a system going.) I told myself also that we’d treat this homely little task with as much respect as we’ve shown items w/ more obvious value or utility; I’d make it something fun for Elliot (the main gatherer of the outdoor things, after all), not to mention a positive learning experience, right? We make room for the future by letting go of the past, right? Right. In the end, though, I’m pretty sure this guy here (w/ the bone) got the most out of the whole process, aside from me …

Elliot didn’t seem to give a hoot what stayed or went, it turned out (pang), but gave me “permission” to do what needed to be done w/ the outdoor things, which I might have balked at if I’d had more energy and didn’t secretly covet the idea of full creative control — things being what they are now. When I was done, Elliot stared at my creation, blankly, clearly nonplussed, finally mustered a lukewarm “cool…” and was off again in a flash (double-pang). That’s his foot there!IMG_0033

It’s hard to know what to make of Elliot’s easy way with belongings. Does he have so much that he doesn’t truly value any one thing for very long? Probably there’s some of that there, even though he has nowhere near what I’ve seen at some of his friends’ houses. Is he too young to fully appreciate the sweetness of the memories I’ve attached to these objects? Yes, again, probably so — which seems as it should be. Has he been lucky enough NOT to inherit whatever gene it is that predisposes my father and me (and my grandmother before us) to holding on a little too long to a little too much? Honestly, I hope so. Does he totally understand that we’re really moving? That I kind of doubt, and this is one of the reasons we’ve been pushing so hard to do it this year, before second grade, rather than next — the younger kids are, the easier the transition is supposed to be for them.

But there is also just this: that the little boy who wanted so much to bring these things into the house (despite my labeling them “outdoor things,” which was more because I hoped he wouldn’t be like me with my boxes of rocks and such), and who finally got his way (my way, anyway), is changing. Elliot still brings home a stick or rock every now and then, but it has to be pretty special — either very unusual (e.g., a twig resembling a snake or a wizard’s wand) or sparkly enough to hint at potential real-world value (“Could this rock be a real diamond if we shined it up?”). And he is now ready to cash in the baby teeth he’s accumulated (five to date) after having kept them like treasures for months and months (I think he was more creeped out by the idea of the Tooth Fairy than he was uninterested in money). Now, he’s willing risk a visit from the Tooth Fairy (even though I never could explain to him why she wanted kids’ baby teeth) if it means he can buy a Lego Legends of Chima Mammoth — he almost has enough money. A tooth or two, he figures, should do the trick.

So anyway, after Elliot left the scene, I sat and admired our collection, my work, for quite a while, remembering the stories behind some of the objects we’d gathered together. I felt good, too, about the odd items I’d interspersed with the outdoor things, some that were handmade and others that just seemed to fit. The wooded back yard looks especially beautiful this time of year, but I turned my back on it, not wanting to fall under its spell again (the main reason we chose this house), OR maybe not wanting to see — in the context of it — this strange thing I’d chosen to do with my limited time/energy before the move. Anyway, after disassembling the arrangement, I whittled the collection down to what would fit on a single piece of paper. I was quite pleased w/ myself, until later I found several more mini-collections outdoor things stowed here and there. I threw up my hands! That’s it, I told myself in frustration: for now, I’m all about packing, a PACKING machine.

The next day I made an ear (out of sculpy, a type of clay) for a decorative wooden horse that lost one in a bad fall during our last move — w/ a little paint, he will be restored to his original beauty. But that will have to wait. Today, for real, I’m a PACKING machine. No more silliness. The time for “purposeless” acts is over, temporarily — at least according to me, now, at this moment in time.

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