Friday, October 21, 2016

I had some real trouble getting to sleep last night.
Yesterday, the building that holds my art studio went up in flames. Firefighters couldn’t let me in there, but they were able to grab one large work-in-progress and assure me that all my stuff in containers should be fine. I took the painting home in the back of my van. It smells like smoke.
Like I said, I haven’t been up to see yet, but I figure my losses amount to a junky laptop, a new-ish printer, a whole stack of paper and canvases and boards for painting on. Most likely a few of my recently-finished works, but they’re not a huge loss.
I’ll keep finding ways of being creative, of making art, of adding to the beauty. I barely lost anything.
I have family who’ve got nothing to lose.
I’m talking about the Syrians, the Sudanese, the Somalians, the Iraqis – the Chibok, the Kaka’i, the Muslims, the Christians, the Yazidis – it doesn’t even make sense to separate these humans this way, because they’re all HUMANS like me. Family.
You know that gnawing feeling in your stomach when it’s been a while since your last meal? In your throat when you’re thirsty? In your limbs when the plans you made got cancelled or burned or soaked in firehose water, or you missed the bus?
I don’t have to keep on. You know where I’m going with this.
All I wanna say is, if you feel bad at all for me, please take a moment to give. $5 to a Human Rights non-profit (I know a good one). Print a poster for a cause. Share a campaign online. Encourage those who have intentionally stepped out of their comfortable homes and schedules and safety zones to make a difference in this world. Fund their work.
So we can sleep better tonight.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

she told me to write this down

i've been meeting with a Professional Listener.

i need to hear myself say the words i think, which is kind of a big deal, because typically the words i think don't actually exist. they start as things i feel and dissolve from there. formulating feelings into words and then saying them out loud is a big deal. it takes assertiveness, and i'm not assertive.

i'm a mirror.

that's what i told my Professional Listener. i barely formulate words, and i don't formulate plans, and i don't formulate steps for arriving at plans. i'm alive and i live, and while i'm living i see shit that needs doing, so i get shit done.

i follow. i reflect. i'm a mirror.

my Professional Listener says that this is okay, as long as i don't get lost in it. "Me" isn't supposed to disappear.

who's Me?

i grew up in a family that was led around by a lot of religious people -- scratch that -- "religiosity people". since i'm a girl, they told me that God spoke to them and told me to trust them and told me that girls are meant to grow into ladies and told me that ladies are meant to be led into wifehood and told me that wives are meant to be led into motherhood and told me that mothers are meant to quietly raise children and tell them the Gospel.

and i did, and i do, and i read my Bible, too; but Jesus spoke to me there, too, and He never said any of that other stuff to Me.

i love my family, the wind on my face, the sun on my back, the smell of wet dirt, the way light filters through maple leaves and blades of grass, the things i find underwater, the way i feel when i run far or stand on my head or drink wine or dance to loud music or sing or be quiet or cuss a lot.

i spend a lot of time there.

i love Jesus and Christians and Agnostics and Atheists and Buddhists and Muslims and everyone else, too. i love the pain of helping people out of pain. i love relationships. i love to reflect. i love to make art. i love reflecting for others, to help them see.

i need to spend a lot of time there, too.

the last time i met with my Professional Listener, i left with a vague sense that it was time for me to meet Me. i felt that assertiveness was the path to Me and saw my lack of assertiveness reflected in my utter inability to win at chess.

i picked up a friend's invitation to play online chess. i played and played, hoping to kick-start some assertiveness. it took time and attention, but i figured it'd be worth the investment.

he'd send me screen-shots of moves i should have made, scrawled over with the words, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING".

i dunno. playing chess?

i gave yoga a shot, too. in the mornings, as a way to wake my body and greet the day. i have a girlfriend who does this. she does the shit out of it.

i'm just shitty at yoga.

i'm better at reflecting. my family and friends see Me and are beautiful -- i should try painting them, not being them. a lot of painful, lovely things are right in front of me. if i give them time and attention they'll become plans, and then those plans will become art.

art for Me.

art for others, to help them see.

this i assert: i'm becoming a better mirror.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ryan O'Reilly, honestly.

I’ll be honest: I feel better when I talk about famous people’s failures.

It’s because I’m a human being: a marvellous, wondrous, dirty, stinking human being. My brain has barely been tapped for all of its glorious potential; my mouth has uttered prose and vulgarities alike; my GI tract makes poo. I am one of seven-point-five-billion living watermarks of human potential.

Discussing foibles of the elite is cathartic for me: the depths to which the latest superstar has fallen make good cover for my own follies. Where classic truck meets restaurant, there’s no room for my burnt chicken from last week, or my raw chicken from the week before, or my failure to produce anything nutritious for dinner earlier tonight. When innocent lives could have been at stake, yelling at my kids seems innocuous.

Here’s the truth: for every Ryan O’Reilly and Jay Z and Martha Stewart, there’s a slew of us who are just as amazing and gifted and beautiful and stupid. Heck, who’s to say I wouldn’t wreck a Tim Hortons or cheat on BeyoncĂ© or evade my taxes, given the chance?

What can prevent foolishness from happening? A dad who scrapes his way through college without knowing how to read, now hailed one of the finest life coaches there is? A mom who always opened her home to foster kids? Brothers who inspire each other to be top-caliber players and gentlemen? A sister who sweats it out just as hard as the guys? A California girl to do yoga with?

This terrible event doesn’t change a thing. The potential was always there. The O’Reillys are still the O’Reillys, and I’m still me, and as wonderful as I think I am, I’ll probably screw something up again tomorrow.

The only reason I’m quite sure that a beautifully restored ’51 Chevy would be any safer in my hands? I don’t really go out at night.

He got off all charges, because money and power. We've lost him, boys. BOOOOOOO

Saturday, November 22, 2014

eight years here

a rush,
a ride,
a roller-coaster:

everything we were,
what was,
what happened for good,
what never happened
and what never should have.

the promises,
the smiles,
the hugs and hand-shakes,
the hints,
the songs,
the things left unsaid.

the years,
the tears,
the best intentions,
the ones who paved that road
and those who got left behind.

this house,
this home,
this family

and our Father.

who art in Heaven.
Thy Kingdom come,
Thy will be done
on earth,
as it is in Heaven.

give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.

and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

for Thine is the Kingdom,
and all of the power,
and all of the glory,
forever and ever
and ever.


Monday, July 14, 2014

what little light?

i thought you were a firefly
when i looked down from hilltop high
to see you floating down below
and skipping 'cross the water so.
your course was straight; your speed was high:
it changed the mind of my silly eye.
it would have been a special sight
to catch a firefly tonight.

Friday, June 20, 2014

happy birthday to you

you’ve been thirty-five years
(and that’s more than a few),
in a world t'was much duller
before there was you.

you’re fun, strong and loving;
your walk's pure and true.
a man of integrity:
that’s ever-so you.

you’ve never claimed scholarship,
but you’ve half a clue;
and i’ve read worser grammar
before reading you.

i’ve known a few things –
made some wrong guesses, too –
but i knew i done right
when i made you my boo.

we root for arch-enemies;
jerseys red, white and blue;
but our boys are a hat trick!
make a good team, we do.

we’ve been bumped and been bruised,
eaten way too much poo;
but we did it together.
that’s the joy of me and you.

you bring out my beauty;
add light to my view;
help me to paint;
make every day new.

i can’t possibly remember,
but it seems truly true
that the world is much better
ever since there was you.

Friday, February 7, 2014

bathtub reverie

little boy,
lisping tongue and fingernails bitten under mess of blond,
i love you.

tiny joy,
soft and sleepy and heavy with sickness,
i'll care for you.

rub shampoo into your hair,
lift your face to the air,
let soap bubbles carry away.

i find it hard to be so still,
but when you need me like this, fall apart like that,
you remind me...

...of faith,
naked-flung along my arm,
slipping quietly into sleep.

...of love,
eyes closed and seeing, fingers softly holding
the places where i find myself.

...of duty,
and of beauty,
these moments i spend myself upon

against the water,
against time
-- i know not how long --

holding on,
holding you close,
holding you up.