Thursday, September 30, 2010

Quill #69 - Comin' Through the Wry (2010)

My voice got a compliment
Last night,
Not for the first time.

Apparently I sound a lot like my
Well-to-do Southern grandmother,
Look like her,
Walk like her.

I don't have her natural
Eloquence in clothing.
She wore Pendleton jackets,
Silk scarves.

I wear jeans
And sneakers.
For dress-up,
Black sneakers.

She sewed,
My other grandma crocheted.
I do some of both.

But when I gaze in the mirror,
I see her looking back,
A patient smile,
Crush-crinkled eyes
That have watched a
Lot of water fall.

Her other granddaughters
Resemble different parentage.
Yet, they were her fulfillment,
Slender and tall,
The perfect children.

She'd had a rough life,
Wasn't proud of her roots,
Her harsh daddy and the
Thieves and traitors behind him.

Did she ignore me,
Because she couldn't bear
To look at herself?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Quill #67 - Matter (2010, for Rae)

Her name, though pretty,
Didn't matter.
She was beautiful,
Both body and spirit,
Didn't matter.
She was talented and smart
And that mattered,
But those weren't the
They just helped her express what
Really was important
About her life,
About everything.
Being religious intrigued her,

Believing in God was vital to her.
And these things helped her deal,
So they mattered,
But they were only

Tools she
Needed to keep going.

And she knew
What mattered in her life.

She was an inspiration
To keep others from despair.
Her spirit was the
Crux of the matter,
And still is.
She's alive.
Thank God!
And she matters.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Miracle Needed, Desperately.

I have only met Zailin once and do not know his family well. The family members who offer him a place to stay when he visits Omaha for medical treatment are dear friends of mine. That is how I have become interested in Zailin and his family.

I have been told that Zailin's time is drawing to an end. The tumor has always been inoperable, but now their time is short, too. There is no power on earth that can save this little boy, or his family.

His parents have asked for healing. If you believe in the power of spirit, of prayer, of anything outside yourself, please ask for healing for Zailin and his family. Only a miracle can save them.

Please help heal Zailin and his family.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quill #65 - 25 Things About Me (crossposted from FaceBook)

1. When I was a child, the only pets I ever loved died tragic deaths.

One hung itself on a leash when my parents weren't watching it while I was visiting grandparents, one was hit by a school bus on the street in front of our house, one was 14 years old when I got her and died within a few months, one got pneumonia because my parents wouldn't let it live in the house, and one died of car fumes because my parents didn't want the puppy in the car and the ride in the trunk took too long. I think this, combined with my father's attitude toward pets, made me the kind of person who is afraid to be attached too strongly to animals.

2. I'm a Libra. And while I've never put a whole lot of stock in astrology, I have taken the concept of fairness to heart. I have always been the kind of person who sought fairness and tried to be fair to others. I have often failed, but not for lack of trying.

3. The first time I remember being put on a diet was when I was eight years old. My mother decided she wasn't happy with her own appearance and she wanted company on her calorie counting program. At the time, I was normal for my age and development.

4. My high school class voted me the "Hardest Worker." In the four years, I got maybe two or three grades lower than an A, and placed third in my class. We were told that the top 5 people were so close that officials had to go back to grade school to assess who would be valedictorian.

5. The top two professions I wanted to follow, when I graduated in 1979, were denied to me because of my gender.

6. I had three miscarriages between my two children, mostly due to stress. In fact, our son was a miracle baby because I almost lost him twice, and daughter was a miracle baby because, even though I was under some of the worst stress of my life at that point, absolutely nothing went wrong with the pregnancy. Just for the record, I'm proud of both my children and cherish the time we spend together, even moreso now that I have a wonderful daughter-in-law and grandkids.

7. I am a philosophical Taoist. I believe that Christ was influenced by Taoism during the time he wandered and that the best parts of his message came from this earlier wisdom. I also think that much of his message has been distorted. I respect almost all religions. One of the few I don't respect, sadly, is the Taoist religion as it is now practiced. I would still defend the right to worship it.

8. I appreciate my parents and the childhood they gave me. I don't think they were perfect, and people make mistakes, but they did the best they could. All flaws in my character are my fault, not theirs. I also appreciate the extended family I had. I didn't always show my gratitude, but it was there. Is there.

9. I enjoy intellectual pursuits, but the whole reason for living is to love and be loved by others. Without family and friends, I wouldn't have reason to continue.

10. I don't think kids today are worse than kids before our time, or that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. I think, rather, that I'm more aware of problems that I mostly ignored when I was busy raising kids and working for survival. Now that I have time to pay more attention, I'm astounded by the problems that need fixing. On the bright side, I trust my kids and their generation to make a better future. I see evidence of improvement in some areas that I thought were lost causes.

11. I have spent most of my life refusing to hate anyone, ever. I have forgiven people who hurt my family, who hurt me, even those who hurt my children when they were small children. And, at this time in my life, I find myself angry enough with certain politicians that it's a good thing I'll never meet them. It's a good thing I don't carry weapons. I'm not sure that I wouldn't consider it worth spending the rest of my life in prison to remove their influences from the world. This is something I'm having to work to overcome in myself.

12. I don't like wind hitting my face. I feel like I can't breathe and start to panic.

13. I'm so scared of heights that I get vertigo in balconies. I've been this way all of my life and, to my knowledge, I've never fallen or been dropped from a height.

14. Candles, incenses and strong odors of any kind, especially chemical or floral, cause me to have serious headaches, get congested, and have trouble breathing. They actually affect me almost as badly as cigarette smoke. I often have to leave a store, restaurant, or even a friend's house due to the beautiful scents around me.

15. I'm thrilled to be playing Miss Maudie Atkinson in To Kill a Mockingbird. I think I was extremely fortunate to be chosen for the play and to have been given this part, especially, because I like being a champion for positive change.

16. I have given away, mostly to strangers, mostly to children, almost 14,000 books. If more books given to children didn't make -some- kind of difference, it wasn't for lack of trying. I'm 4libros on if you want to look.

17. I was a theatre critic in St. Louis for a few years for a public radio station.

18. My three favorite (non-religious) books are _The_Princess_Bride_ by William Goldman, _Illusions_ by Richard Bach (author of Jonathan Livingston Seagull), and _A_Dirty_Job_ by Christopher Moore. I also enjoy Terry Pratchett's Discworld series. There are many many more I could recommend, but these are my top few.

19. The most I was ever paid for a short story or poem was $50. That's happened three times, all three from winning literary contests. My short story, "The Mountain," has been published in small magazines five times.

20. This November 1st will be husband's and my 30th wedding anniversary. When we married, there were people actively opposed to our union. In fact, there were so many rumors that ours was a "necessary" wedding that, when I had trouble saying my vows, the minister almost stopped the ceremony. The rumors were completely unfounded. I was so much in love that, every time I looked at him, I started crying from happiness. My mother had the same problem at her wedding.

21. I crochet baby blankets and other items for charity.

22. Thanks mostly to my parents, I've visited almost every state in the union, three provinces of Canada, two Mexican states and London, England. I've lived in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Nebraska, Colorado and Arizona. In my almost 49 years of life, I've moved about 44 times.

23. I collect obscure poetry, owls, fiber arts, good quality pencils, and books.

24. I plan to copy this note from FaceBook to my blog. I've only been blogging for a few months. I started with the idea of putting all my writings in one place, so that my kids could read it, if they ever wanted to. The project has grown and I find myself writing more than I have in some time. Additionally, blogging has opened up a whole new community to me, one that has some very interesting people in it.

25. The best stories I ever told were imagined to entertain my middle brother at times during our childhood when our parents put me in charge of him and we had few to no toys to play with. I doubt he remembers "Pirate Ship" and "Junkyard Orphans." I barely do. But, this skill saved me from numerous spankings. I was the eldest and his actions reflected on my own, and I can only remember one time in my entire youth when he was held accountable for misbehaving when I was "in charge." Rather than resenting anyone for this normal part of family life, I am grateful for the development it gave to my creativity. Kids today have too many distractions from exploring their own minds. ;-) Yeah, I know, that's an "old person" thing to say.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Quill #57 - Photo Album (1974)

All the memories of the past
In one tiny corner,
Smiles of friends ages lost
Packed as one forever,

Little thoughts and notes you made
Years and years ago,
Things you did and words you said
That only you would know,

Persons loved or never met,
Mementos of the first and last,
I.O.U.s still in debt,
Edges yellow with the dust,

And well mixed in with the fun,
Together with the strife,
All these items put as one
Are the story of your life.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Quill #56 - Policy (Sept. 1, 2010)

She was the kind of person who tried to stock goodness for a rainy day,
As if she believed she'd need lots extra for some personal holocaust of evilness in her final days,
Or worried about an accidental changing of her ways that would strike thousands dead
And she needed to pre-compensate by saving their souls times a power of ten.
She took the Boy Scout motto to unreasonable heights when it came to afterlife insurance.
But she wasn't trying to be paid for eternity,
And she wasn't paying past due bills with love.
I would have liked to know what her Nemesis was doing to make her work so hard when she was dying,
Already sure of her destination.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Quill #55 - Hand-made (2010)

One letter chains
To the next, words
Stringing along, a
Symphony of loops
And lines, a single
Piece of string that
Grows into an afghan
Crocheted by sounds,
Hooked by pencil.
One lost link

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Quill #54 - Legends (1979)

I have heard of a time when the sun stood still and the stars reversed their course.

I have read of when the earth and sky were not two different parts.

I know of a place where, long ago, the sun set in the east.

I am told that time spins 'round itself, and that everything repeats.

[inspired by _Worlds_In_Collision_ by Immanuel Velikovsky]


Vision (1980)

Candles nestle in stone encasements nailed into a wall,
As corners hide the beings that are locked into their shattered ageless pasts,
Trapped within the mirror image illusions of themselves,
Reflections casting eerie shadows down the endless hall.
It is dark, for the night unfolds their stormy ends,
And turns what was and will be into now.
All ancient err and future ill is naught.
For time is an infinity.
The circle never stops.


[inspired by my emo period in life]

[pictures 1-3, taken of a local theater by me. picture #4, stock photo of pyramids.]

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quill #53 - The Fourth of July (1973)

Sparks igniting from the fire,
Color shooting into the sky,
Bursting brightly high and higher,
Then disappearing by and by.

Celebrating peace and happiness,
Brought to us from long ago,
Men who braved and did their best,
Whose lives were lost to win the war.

Years and years from then called now,
Winning still the peace won then,
With our best years still to go,
America must be till the end!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quill #52 - Trim (2010)

Fifteen years I spent growing that braid. Brushed it often, kept my
Hair soft and strong, all one length and even. In that space of time,
I lost my mother, buried my father, moved four times, raised a
Daughter, said farewell to a son, gained a grandchild, his loving
Mama, lost Grandma, two aunts, cousin to cancer, developed
Diabetes and heart disease. Three pets died, gained two more and,
In all that time, I never thought I would cut it again so
Casually, as if it meant nothing to me, when that was
My only pride but how could you say no to a child without
Tresses at all? I sent fifteen inches, one for each year, to
Locks of Love, through the salon. And they sent me a postcard that
I should frame and hang, saying thank you, thank you, for growing hair,
A most valued skill. I wonder what the child will look like who
Wears the empty space from around my head, and whether fifteen
Inches will bring them, like reverse voodoo, fifteen years more life.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Quill #51 - My Love, My Lady Love (Jan, 1982)

Upon a hill there is a house
Surrounded by a grove
Wth relatives all gathered close
To see my lady love.

Her little house is neat and clean,
No speck of dust within.
A nicer house cannot be seen
And still be built by men.

Today it is her wedding day
And yet she sits in gloom,
And all the world is dark and grey
For I am not her groom.

For on the hill there is a house
Surrounded by a grove,
With relatives all gathered close,
And therein lies my love.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quill #50 - Pumpkin (2010)

She has a new love in her life,
And I'm happy for her.
I want her to experience
All the joys,
All the love,
All the freedom and laughter,
Everything wonderful in huge quantities,
More than I did,
More than any before her.
It is not jealousy that binds my heart
And causes my eyes to leak.
It is knowing how little time
I have left to spend with her.


Song nears its ending,
Lilting flowers to my ears,
I hug my daughter.

Bird flies free with wind,
Speeding over bright meadows.
My feet wear stone shoes.

Pumpkin seed flowers
Into handsome orange fruit.
Stem will soon be cut.


To be a healer is a sacred gift.
There are rules and vows,
Years of studious work,
Even then, many guesses.
To save a life, cure ills,
These are precious talents.
No real skill is required to
Become a mother but
You can't save a life
That was never given.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Quill #49 - Soap Dish, Part Deux

For 25 years, I suffered in silence. This one little thing annoyed me, but I managed to remain quiet about it, until one day I snapped. I yelled at my whole family about the way they put the soap on the soapdish in the shower. How could they not know which side was up? One way gave maximum air-drying and minimum melting and they always did it the wrong way - or so I thought.

Almost the same day that I snapped, I found out I was wrong. I went to each person at whom I had yelled and apologized. I told them I was wrong, I was sorry for yelling at them, sorry for being wrong, and even sorry that I was the kind of person who sometimes yelled at others, and who was annoyed by stupid things. I asked them for forgiveness and told them that they had been right about which way to set the soap after a shower. Then, I asked them to return to their previous method. Each one was gracious and accepted my apologies. Each one asked me if I was sure of what I wanted, to which I nodded emphatically, and each one agreed to return to their old ways.

God, in his infinite wisdom, or Loki, in his infinite tricksterhood, has seen fit to remind me of my failings every single day for the rest of my life. Every member of my wonderfully loving family, who would do anything to make me happy, remembers me yelling at them, and what I wanted then. Not one of them remembers the apology.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quill #48 - Gnome, Sweet Gnome (1985)

The days pass sunless ever on,
No beams to blind me underground.
Yet all the star-souls in the sky
Will shine forever in my land.

We pick them lovingly, every gem,
Then polish all with care,
And place one on each treasure made.
They twinkle everywhere.

No seasons mar our handiwork,
No weather comes within,
No storms to frighten little gnomes
Of flashing knives and din.

Familiar streets are all I see,
No crowds nor traffic jams.
There is no point to hurrying
When time is in your hands.

Whatever happens on the top,
The famine and the war,
It need not bother us down here
If humans cannot share.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Quill #47 - Adult Cognitive Development

There are cognitive lessons that require a certain level of maturity to understand. They can be taught by rote prior to the child's readiness but will not truly be understood until the child matures into the lesson. Algebra is taught at a certain age in school mainly because it can't be taught any sooner with much success, and is one example of this kind of learning. It is not merely that the child hasn't learned enough about mathematics to gain from this new twist, it's also that their brains are not developed enough, not ready to think in these new ways. There are studies on this. I looked these up after writing my observations on this matter. (I'm ending a mental growth spurt.) (Nichan, read what's "normal" for a child of 18 months!)

Based upon my own experiences and the lives of other people, I have discovered that lessons requiring a certain maturity level continue all through life. There are things I did not understand until a certain level of maturation, and this seems to be true almost every time I learn something new. Furthermore, it explains why past cultures have revered older people. It isn't just that they have more experience; they have actually learned unique-to-their-age lessons from that experience - lessons we can't even perceive till we get there ourselves. These may be cultural adjustments, or adaptive behaviors learned at advanced ages, or it might be due to the 4-year brain maturity model. I'm not a scientist. The fact that this became evident to me without having studied anything about it should indicate that it's an observation with some merit.

Not every "old person" learns all the lessons. Many are stunted due to alcoholism or other barriers to growth but, for the most part, the older a person gets and the more experiences they have, the more they understand about life, particularly if they're paying attention to the lessons. If this sounds like a "duh" statement to you, then you're probably not getting what I mean. I'm saying that there are things we, even as adults, are not cognitively ready to learn or understand until our brains develop fully for understanding the new twist.

Explaining a lesson to someone younger - if the younger person listens - can assist them in the way that rote knowledge can assist you in school. They can avoid pitfalls if they do what they were told. But, even if the advice makes sense to the younger person, they aren't likely to fully understand why they were given that advice until they reach the maturity needed, themselves. This is more than just remembering advice our mothers gave us and finally understanding it due to a life change; it's a biological advancement within the brain.

We can easily see this, as parents, when we try to get a toddler to avoid fire or a young teen to avoid expanding their horizons too quickly for their maturity level. The disconnect between our advice and their understanding is much easier to see at these ages. But, there are similar cognitive disconnects at all ages, something not easily explained to "fully grown" adults in their 20s, 30s, and older. Many of us find the thought offensive that older people might really have some mental advantage to our current selves. Younger brains might work faster, but older brains may actually be more fully developed.

We have not been raised to truly listen to our elders and many of us pooh-pooh their wisdom. Their generation is different from our own. Times are changing too quickly for them to keep up with modern issues. There are a million excuses. I'm guilty of this behavior, myself. And, as I said, not every elderly person paid attention to their lessons. Many had barriers to learning. But, we need to listen. If someone older makes any sense at all, at least pay attention to their advice, whether you follow it or not. They're probably trying to teach you algebra when you're in kindergarten.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Quill #46 - Gaming Poetry: Ring City & Dark Ring Cycle (1981)


A shadow in the dark
That other shadows fear,
A breath to blow the loudest horn
Though not be heard by ears,
A dream to bind realities
That never seems to pass,
A blade to shear the deepest fog
Yet cannot bend the grass,
And evergreen to fallen leaves,
An age that never ends,
A king among the ancient ones,
The law that never bends,
A bird that flies from house to house
And yet no feather owns,
But when the fire of day is gone,
The comes the light unknown.



When at last all shadows flee
And one light left to burn,
The dream shall waken those in peace
To knowledge they must learn.

One ring alone awaits the call
To save one ring from fate,
The chosen heir to fire's ring
Shall open trouble's gate.

An offspring of two kindred
The fire shall grow from hate,
But light and fire are lovers
And so the light shall mate.

And when the light and fire are one
Both kindreds shall unite,
The peace that was will always be
When all shall know the light.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Quill #45 - Fashions (2010)

I tried to help a young girl today.
She was sad and I tried to cheer her.
I didn't know that she wanted to cry,
Rail against fate, and throw her anger
Like shoes aimed toward minds.
My words inflamed her to greater sorrow,
Which befuddled me, confused.
I don't remember choosing emotions
As a monthly runway statement,
A daily garment of ennui.
Dramatic clothing, yes,
Not a cloak of drama,
Reactions but not confabulations.
I left her alone rather than argue.
That made her happier than I had.
She couldn't wait to complain how she was lonely.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Quill #44 - Challenged (2010)

"Write something humorous," he says,
"Not so depressing."
I frown at him and sigh.
Toy planes could land on my nose
And he would grin,
But I never know what is funny.
Whole audiences at theatres
Consider me warped.
And I'm always in the
When laughter catches me
And tears me apart,
Helpless to defend myself.
It's always a wry moment,
A peek into painful,
Something revealing,
A human moment
That unguards me,
And every row of heads
I snicker at my own thoughts
And he says, "Yeah!"
"Write about that."

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quill #43 - Whither (2000)

West of the Westward Arch,
Past Giant Muddy,
Under pines on flint hills,
Cranes stand watching me.

Sitting on fallen trunks,
I feel the Turtle
Channeling rich black mud.
Its spirit calls me.

"Let flow the grave regrets."
"Leave tearful endings."
"Shower the world with bliss,"
Manitous whisper.

"Someday this ache will end."
"Pain is but fleeting."
"Your heart will fill again;
All will be mended."

Still I sit silently,
Questing to hear him,
A voice I'll never know
On this world again.

I want his comforting;
Need his caresses.
My hand goes out to him,
Catching a zephyr.

Can he come back to me,
One of these moments?
Will he hold my soul in
His strong arms again?

Out of the woods beneath,
Katydids stop,
Calling me back from deep
Echoes of longing.

Where has he gone, my love?
Will I soon follow?
Tears drop upon my face;
The sky is weeping.

Tree splits before my eyes.
Lightning has struck it.
Low thunder mocks my cries.
I run to my car.

Safe in my sacred space,
I turn on static,
Waiting for messages
Sent by the storm god.

"Don't look into the past."
"Live in the moment."
"Enjoy the happiness
Gathered on this day."

Nothing is coming through,
None of the lessons.
Living is such a chore
Till this tempest ends.

I hear him call my name;
From river dirges.
My cell phone chirps to me.
Which song should I heed?

I see a ray of light
Flash through my window.
I know who should guide me.
And then, I follow.