Category Archives: loss

Let’s begin again

Several months have passed in complete silence. This is primarily due to the fact that I have undergone a complete metamorphosis and spent my energy on positive life changes. Most of which I’m not going to tell you about — but you can just know that they are huge and empowering. Indeed, one reason I haven’t written is that some of my old friends and loves would not understand or believe me. There has been a lot of letting go of the past and negative residuals — hopefully anyone impacted will one day understand. My bigger hope is that maybe me changing will prompt positive action in others.

I will, however, share the fact that I am trying to get in shape and have begun training for a 5k in August. Ah, yes, August. The dreaded Atlanta month. The peak of humidity and sweat and grime. I’m not being an idiot about it though. I am starting slow and only training in the cool of the day. I’ll let you know how my reconnecting with my body goes. I’ve lived a life of contemplation and have decided that action is called for.

Wish me luck and more words from me sooner than you think!

Tomorrow is another day

And yet, not.
I’m taking an extreme approach to solving the riddles of my allergies and beginning, what is called (I’m not making this up) the Strict Elimination Diet. Which means I’ll consist of air and water for a few weeks. Well, that and ground turkey, rice, chicken and squash (maybe some green leafy stuff too).
For some reason, I’m super excited by this — sure, give me a few days and I’ll win any crank of the year contest out there. But for now, it is nice to think of starting with a clean slate and adding foods back in to see if they agree or disagree.
We’ll see how it all works out. Who knows, maybe I’ll be prompted to write out of a lack of caffeine? (that’s the one that will hurt the most)
A friend recently commented that it is good to give up something every few years. Guess I’ll catch up the next few weeks by giving up everything.
Wish me luck!

Rekindled

I’ve just been reading the NYTimes article about the Winter Solstice. It brought back Rome and my teenage years and rambling in the woods and all the mythology of my life so far. There is a whole life of shadow and another of the Sun that we can’t even begin to pinpoint within ourselves. Yet I do intend to try soon.

This past weekend I was able to participate in a lighting of a fire, this time it was burning rum off of chocolate to make a really tasty mousse — regardless of the reason, this convergence of themes has reminded me to light the fires of the things we need to get rid of. So I’m going to collect those bits of consciousness and memory and acknowledge that I’ve learned from their pain/experience/moment and then I’m going to burn them on their little scrapes of paper. I’m going to celebrate the fear and cycle of life with every little flicker. Allow them to lift off and enter the inky dark. I’ll see the new that comes from it.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Aughts be gone

I wanted to write something lovely, something that would tidy up the decade nicely so I could send it on its way. But, like so much of the past 10 years, I’m out of time.

In an earlier post, I pointed out that it has been a sucky decade — but I’m a creature of positive and negative, so let me point out some of the good things that have (personally) happened.

  • My god-daughter was born in this decade. That would be the number one good thing. She redeems a lot, in my mind.
  • I earned my 2nd Masters and that has led me to a profession that I love and feel comfortable in.
  • Naturally, I can’t not mention Italy. Being able to survive and experience life outside of my comfort zone; getting to know wonderful people; walking the streets of Florence; well — the whole life I lived there has left a permanent and beautiful mark on me.
  • Alternately, living in Tallahassee definitely allowed me to meet some of the best and most interesting people ever. Those Tally days where I emerged from heart ache, walked the quiet neighborhood of pine trees, laughed with Cheryl, played with little Evan, and all of the time with Claudia and the muslibfolk — well, that helped make me stronger.

There are little things, private things that I’ll leave off. But I will say I find it fitting that I left Atlanta in 1999 and ended the aughts back here. Honestly, it’s been a mixed bag of tricks. The whole decade has been that. Maybe it’s not the decade’s fault. I know deep down that is life. Good and bad, pain and pleasure, alienation and connection. It will happen again and again, in different ways for us all. The repetition can be a comforting hum.

Happy New Decade everyone! I’m taking Kimbre’s advice and blending it with my own needs. So tonight I’ll be a bit social and say goodbye to the aughts with friends, but will wake early and great the new year alone and looking at the world. Greens and black-eyed peas to follow (certo).

Gallery

Some stuff that has recently made me happy

Progress in the search for an AIDS vaccine: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/25/health/research/25aids.html I’ve been waiting for this since I was very young and watching the first person I knew die of AIDS. And some (maybe reasonably so), let’s just call them Justin, have … Continue reading

Top 5 things I miss

Soulpancake is a fun site that tries to give voice to all of us out there in answering life’s big questions. If you’ve never checked it out, and you like to contemplate the depth of the well, then you should hop over there. (Thanks Shelby for introducing it to me.)

I am not an incredibly active participant. Occasionally I’ll answer a question. Today was one such day. They asked what are the top 5 things you miss. Since most of you do not Twitter me or Facebook me (or any of the other obnoxious, highly entertaining ways people communicate now) I thought I’d post mine here. But really do go and read some of the other answers. It’s nice and personal and somehow encouraging.

In no real order mine are:

  • The feeling that everything was mysterious, connected and somewhat magical.
  • Time away from technology.
  • Guilt free swilling of coca-cola and eating hostess cupcakes.
  • Mixed tapes, mohawks, leather jackets and the ability to appreciate punk (i.e being 16).
  • My cat Skunk Ape.

Naturally I’ve lost people in my life who would make the list — namely my grandmother, grandfather and aunt — but there are others that miss them more and to put them in a list doesn’t seem fair to them. For the same reason Skunk Ape was almost excluded, but if I had to prioritize my list, she would be the number one thing I miss.

What would your top 5 be?

(Oh, and the series Northern Exposure almost made the list. )

WD Snodgrass RIP

Working on my Master’s in creative writing found me at odds with two forces, let’s just call them the mother and father of GSU’s poetry department. Bottoms clearly the mother: nurturing of the newbies, had good intuition, disorganized and taught from the heart and often from the cuff.  Stokesbury was the disciplinarian, often too honest, organized — not nurturing by a long shot, more demanding than anything. Both improved me and earned my deep respect. Bottoms introduced me to some great loves: Roethke, Bishop, Lowell and (of course) Dickie. Stokesbury led me to unexpected treasures, the main being Clampitt, but not far behind were  Snodgrass and Merwin.

Snodgrass, who died Tuesday of lung cancer, I will never forget. In my mind, he’s the author of an incredible line of poetry that oddly enough helped forge my future. (Maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic; drama used to be the bottle I would drink from often — I’ve since opted for other vices, like distraction.) Regardless, Stokesbury was famous for his brutal end of term exams. 60% of your grade depended on them. We had examined probably a hundred or so poems and a few dozen poets — not to mention our own — and Stokesbury (if memory serves me right) picked a line from 6 poems and you had to write complete essays on 3 of them and something brief about the other 3 (identify author, time, title, etc.).

And I saw the line “Freiheit” and I ran with it. Of course it was the Snodgrass’ poem about the Goebbels’ last days in Hitler Germany and their suicide and infanticide. It’s a stunning glimpse into reasoning.  Right? Oh no. My mind is wrong. “Freiheit” actually came from Amy Clampitt’s beautiful poem, “Beethovan, Opus 111”  about her father burning poison ivy that eventually killed him and the release of life.  Stokesbury could read a poem like no ones business and I remember almost breaking into a sweat when I heard him speak the word “freiheit”.

And yet, in spite of the impact, I continue (then and now) to associate it with Snodgrass. And so I ended up with a B in the class. People outside of the academic incest fest that is a creative writing workshop may think that’s no big deal. But to get a B in a Master’s level course — one that is your specialty — it really isn’t acceptable.  So I opted out of the MFA and wrapped up my MA (much to the dismay of Stokesbury) and left Atlanta. Obviously other reasons led to this, but “freiheit” is the one that sticks.

Fitting that the German word for freedom led me so far away.

So I’ve returned and watch another dawn break in Atlanta at my desk as the bespectacled librarian and I wonder about freedom and choices and the flow and reason. And Snodgrass is now gone.

How we all stumble.

Freiheit. Freiheit!