Monday, October 20, 2014


  I was born in 1974. Year of the Tiger. I have always felt such an affinity for cats of all kinds but the tiger is my cat of dreams. My fiery spirit animal. I channel Tiger energy in moments when I require strength. Lately my inner Tigress has been wide awake and roaring all day long.
   Last year my daughter entered kindergarten at a private school. The admissions process was long, exhausting and we were lucky enough to receive a scholarship. I don't want to get into too many details (out of respect for the families involved) but my daughter is being bullied by another little girl in her class. This began from the start of school last year and has only gotten worse. I feel like the teacher (who is new to the school) is, somewhat, minimizing my concerns. I'm meeting with the teachers tomorrow, then going to the head of school to talk about the situation. We are already evaluating other options and considering homeschooling until next year if need be. I am in full Tigress mode: awake, active, fierce, commanding... My concerns are valid and I won't be pacified until a positive resolution is reached.
    There were a few instances of bullying when my son was younger but at bigger (public) schools, it was easier for my son to avoid kids that were being less than kind. Luckily, I felt that the teachers and administration took things very seriously and had defined protocols in place. In a intimate private school setting it seems harder to deal with. Classes are smaller and there is only one class per grade.
If my daughter stays at this school, she will be in the same class with this girl every single year...

   I watch over my children carefully, gathering details, observing moments. My childhood was not a comforting, safe place. I know what misery looks like and it's a place I never want my children to live in. I seek to support, protect, encourage joy and find the best possible environment for my young ones.It's not an option to settle for anything less than ideal.
  I hardly slept this weekend, have knots in my stomach and feel so distracted form all my other life demands. I just want my little girl to feel happy, safe. And she does not.  I will be going into the meeting tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully there is a positive outcome. Trying to do my best to feeeeel optimistic but my gut is telling me to pull her out of there and then figure out the next step... xo m

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

creative life & daily practices...

  Autumn always finds me busy as a bee. There's back to school for my children, a swift succession of holidays, many close friend and family birthdays to celebrate and, I have realized that, Autumn is my most intensive creative period. As the days turn darker, cooler, we are forced more often indoors, I am swept away by mental adventures, stories, ideas...

  As a teen and young adult I was steadfast in my belief that my writing was something than need not be cultivated or regimented in any way. I guess when I had a surplus of time and minimal responsibilities, that worked for me. I could write and create whenever the mood hit, able to drop whatever I was doing and get lost chasing my muses. Writers and artists I admired (Sylvia Plath, Rimbaud, Byron, Anne Sexton, the Brontes...) were generally of the self-destructive or tortured variety. I thought that's how all artists lived/worked. I was naive, hadn't thoroughly researched how many of my beloved artists and writers approached their work. I knew F. Scott Fitzgerald had a mentally ill wife (who was an amazing artist herself, to whom he wrote beautiful love letters) a deep affinity for gin, partied all night and grew up in the South... That was enough for me, I idealized what I saw as the romantic aspects of his character. Had I delved deeper into his process I would've know that he spent most of his daytime hours in front of his typewriter. Writing was approached as a full time job. Although not always wholeheartedly... When I was 24 I had a quote from an F. Scott biography tattooed on my right arm:

"I've found my line
 from now on this comes first
This is my immediate duty
Without this I am nothing"
  F. Scott said he wished he'd said that to himself about his writing after he'd finished Gatsby. I idealistically got my tattoo and then kinda forgot about it as life got busy, I cultivated my own fondness for loud parties and staying up all night, left my husband, became a single parent... I let my writing diminish in size and frequency. I still wrote in a journal, though not dutifully, I blogged on occasion but was not giving life to fiction (which I enjoy most of all) or memoir.

  Now, with not enough time and a towering mountain of work & mama responsibilities, I have began implementing a rhythm of daily practices to support and encourage my creative life and well, damn, finish all these projects. I have been known to not always complete a great many of my passionate stories. I am not content to just let this thing, this energy slip away and hide. My creative routine is pretty basic and wonderful in it's simplicity!
   I sit and write. It's really that simple. I make myself sit at certain times in certain places and eventually I write things. Every morning, first thing after dropping my kids at school, I go to a coffee shop, get coffee and sit and write. I have a notebook in my purse. Sometimes, I bring my laptop but usually just actually writing with pen on paper works best for me. I write again or edit in the afternoon, just after lunch. I write again when the kids go to bed. These aren't the only times I write but these are the times I do make sure to always write. It's working well. Pages are filling up, Short stories are being finished. The neglected novel is growing, getting edited and transforming into something completely new.

  I also need time outside, rain or shine, every day. I get so much inspiration from life/nature. My imaginary world is born of Black clouds, mist & rain, rolling waves, leaves underfoot, counting fairy rings of mushrooms, a murder or crows circling evergreens and cawing... So much beauty everywhere about me if I can make my internal loop silent and demand my mind whine a little quieter. I remain open and wait for images to appear. And they always come.

  I listened to Nick Cave talk about his creative process on npr a few weeks back and was (no duh...) immensely inspired.  Now I need to get inspired to make soup. It's chilly, kids will be home soon and everyone will be talking, all at once around the dinner table, of the day. xo m

Monday, September 22, 2014

king ink

   So today is Nick Cave's birthday. He was born in 1957. Today he is 57. Oh so grateful this wizardly wordsmith (that writes with a female audience in mind) was born and is so productive and his art is wonderful and never ceases to cheer me up. I'm not exactly obsessed, more like I love the art and the fact that he exists. Quite enamored. What a stunning man...

  I'm working on a short story about a bunch of cultists devoted to Mr. Cave. They live in a haunted house next to the sea. Not sure where it's going yet... xo m

Sunday, September 21, 2014

love & romance

  In my earliest imaginings I was obsessed with and spent many hours lost in wonder over love and romance. These elusive "things" continue to be my main areas of interest. Everything I do, think, am is infused with this ideal that, at one time, was a youthful cultivation of persona. An intensely traumatic childhood combined with a thoroughly sensitive nature had enabled me to be a perfect candidate for dreaming my fantastical realm into actual perception. By the time I was a tween the romantic persona had become so ingrained into existence that I realized I was no longer actively trying or pondering the why, what, hows of love and romance, I had simply become that which I sought to attain.
  Any friend I've ever had would probably describe me as "romantic" first off. In high school I used to sit and burn incense while I read Rimbaud, Byron, Anais Nin, Fitzgerald even the Marquis de Sade aloud at lunchtime to my girlfriends. I would fall into fits of obsessive infatuation over this boy and that, or become so hopelessly enamored of a certain band that their music was the word of God.
  I realize that there is a dreary scientific/biological explanation for all these feelings that live inside me. Yet I still prefer to think of love and romance as a magic spell or an altered state brought on by mystical forces beyond my control. I live my life based on the stirrings I feel in my heart or the fluttering inside my stomach. I guess that is, in some way, biology speaking to me. My body tells me when a situation is right or warns me when it could be wrong. I am highly aware and listen to these signs. But when I am in love I lose my head, judgement disappears and I forget to think. I become consumed and live, governed by my senses, drunk on the alchemical combination of scent, skin, taste... My vision becomes such that the object of my affection is transformed into a bright, otherworldly, beacon of light. They cease to be human and are elevated above all others in my mind. I am extreme in almost all areas of my life, especially love. I don't know how to enter into it casually, with restraint. I can only be myself and when I feel the power of love as it surrounds me, I don't stop to think "wait, slow down.." When my feelings are returned, I give the person my love and I don't hold back. I kiss, compliment, talk and listen all night long, just to try and understand what it is that makes this other person who they are. I want to know about their feelings, history, dreams and ambitions. I don't seek to change, control or tame them, I want to fall in beside them and experience life as it is unfolding.
  My birth date card is the Queen of Clubs. I'm into astrology, lunar cycles, divination, magic (which were once the sciences of their time). I ponder the psychic and otherworldly realms and my place in them. I rely on forces unseen. I wait for visions to come in dreams or signs. I wait for illumination and it does appear. I'm soooo very averse to conflict, authority and debate. I envision a world of pure, transcendent beauty and enjoyment. My heart tells me that my true love finds me endlessly fascinating and my emotional nature endearing.
  The last 3 years have been so full of emotional discovery of self. I am uncovering a life that was once hidden. My views on love and romance have changed somewhat and for the better but I still rely on what the birds sound like in the sky and the butterflies that reside in my stomach. I feel my way into relationships that unfold like poetry. At times the story goes awry and I wonder "Where did it go?". How could feelings so strongly felt and a connection so effortlessly forged denigrate into resentful bickering and misunderstandings? What's the point of criticism or correcting ones lover when you could be wrapping your arms about them and smothering them in kisses?
  I was talking to a friend today about relationships and he said that he had a theory about chemistry and we talked about it awhile, "If the chemistry is like an 8, or even a 7, out of 10, I RUN!" he said. hmm... Well I always seek out a 10. I don't know what to even think about his theory... I'm not sensible or able to impose rules onto how a partner appears.
  ...And now I am going to write a story about a house. I'm working on short stories right now because anything else is too monumental and demanding. I have imposed some rules onto my writing. I have to sit in a certain space and write for at least an hour a day. And anytime I feel the urge to check stupid facebook I have to write a paragraph (I feel like checking it a lot!). My stories are, as always, a mixture of experiences and fiction. A bit of truth flowers into a fantasy... xo m

Saturday, September 13, 2014

the golden state...

   Tomorrow I will be in California (I'm going to visit my "special gentleman friend" as one lady friend says...). Each visit home is full of learning. My relationship with my home state is ever changing. There is such an intense duality in my nature that when it comes to most people, places, things... I seem to love furiously and in a bittersweet way-even if this loving only happens in my mind. It's the way my brain works, I strive to find balance through extremities.
   Growing up in Southern California was a love affair full of eternal sunshine, warmth and outdoor freedom. It's easy to be a kid there, no jackets or mittens to worry about. When I was little we were allowed, expected to roam our neighborhood, only needing to return before night fall. Yet there was an internal darkness always inside me. I wasn't able to fully enjoy being sunshine-y and free then. I was wrestling with the confusing problems of dealing with my drug addict mother and a number of other abusive adults.I couldn't wait to get away and moved to Oregon a month after I graduated high school.
  Over the next several years I moved around Oregon and Washington (and back to California) often. I made the mistake of thinking that the place was a large part of the problem and that my discontent would cease if I just found the right place to live in. After my son was born I couldn't just pick up and move on a whim so I began to examine my thoughts and feelings and shortly discovered that my issues were the real issue and started working on emotional health, healing, sorting through my feelings and eventually got to a place of contentment and became comfortable with who I am.
  I love the Northwest. It is a magical place. It's also the only home my children have ever known. But there is still a part of me that misses California. Like a long lost lover I want to reconnect with because at the time of our first romance I wasn't ready for that kind of love yet... (Oh... this post is ripe with simile and metaphor. What am I even going on about... home, love...) I feel like you all understand...

   Here in Washington, we have such damp, chilly mornings, we've collected so many first days of school, heavy blankets, the smell of fireplace and wood stove smoke in the air nightly. The comfort of home and the challenge I feel when entering Autumn-you know it's so wet and dark and seems endless and then you arrive at March and feel victorious as the first days of sunshine begin. I feel such a true pioneer spirit at times in The Northwest. I look into the eyes of strangers during a sudden downpour and we smile, shrug our shoulder and laugh as water runs into our eyes.
 I imagine what a life in California would look like. I imagine what community I might find there. Through July and August I would examine and fantasize (yes, obsess!) over every little idea and situation. I've mostly put those thoughts out of my mind and now am trying to concentrate on what is right now. To be, and that means: working a lot, collecting paper, school, finishing vamp book, getting ready for the winter, for now we are here and I am not sure what the future holds.
   Occasionally, on gloomy days I think of sunshine and am momentarily transported to the Golden State. I think a life there as an emotionally whole adult as opposed to that of a tormented child might be really wonderful.  But my love for Seattle is so strong. It's like my Heathcliff... Would I ever really love California like that?  See how my mind works? Over and over and around again. A true Libra. I used to get so annoyed when reading Linda Goodman astrology books because she seemed very biased in regards to Librans but , well, some of her observations may have had a ring of truth to them...

 Today there are so many errands and my son is performing with his Queens of the Stone Age cove band and then packing... x 3...
 Oh to laze in a field of borage watching the honey bees. Surrounded on all sides by evergreens.
  Tomorrow I will be on airplane heading to California. I'm excited to visit once more while it is still technically summertime! I'm waiting for fresh illuminations to be revealed. I'm excited to see what mysteries will be unveiled on this visit. Because, you know, we are still somewhat in love , the Golden State and I... xo m

Monday, August 25, 2014

weekending, summering on...

  Around here, school starts next week, next week, seriously. Of all the seasons, Summer always seems shortest. It is a season that is bittersweet. So full of travel (this year at least), visits from loved ones, weddings, way relaxed kid routines, outside time, lots of slacking (ahem, for reals...)  in the work dept... This summer sped by. I spend some time, daily, during every summer, imagining what life would look like it it was always summer. This year I found myself delving into imagining a possible life that could be even more summmmmer vibe, super vagabond, carefree, minimal, unschooled and just totally wild and free. What would that life look like?
  Long days spent building/making, immersed in the "real" work of planting seeds, planning & roaming hillsides, tending bees, milking goats, not constantly going into town, unplugged from the internet/iphone. It sounds good. I imagine my homesteading experience so vividly and it sounds right.  I crave the country life. I feel a bit of anxiety over the daily expectations and responsibilities city life brings. The cost of living, multiple social interactions, traffic/time spent in my car, consumerism overload, just crazy stimulation in general, it's all a bit much. I'm sounding like a broken record. A country Western one...

 My darling bud of so many years, Carlos,  was in town last week from Chicago and it was sweet to breakfast, gossip and just be together for the first time in a few years. So many of my dearest first Seattle friends have long since moved away to every different corner of the country.
  I've got the plum hookup again this summer. These came courtesy of my little ones summer play school. More on the way tomorrow. I've made plum jam, plum crisp and stored plenty in the freezer.
  I feel weird going into my old work to get treats cuz, I just hate doing that. It didn't really end badly I just feel strange being a customer after being an employee. My friend K.knows this about me and stopped by and got me macarons! Sooo sublime!

 My hair is pastel pink now. It's a good thing. The preteen and teen girls compliment me constantly and, surprisingly so do men over 70. Odd. but cute.
 Saturday night I was having an intense evening of over thinking just about everything and had to have a chill night. My Niece stayed over and we watched Far and Away (don't hate!) and I felt romantically intoxicated by the end of it. I'm a real sap when it comes to men (even pre-crazy Tom Cruise, professing big things in movies and books.
 Reading the cards has been a daily thing, a moment of clarity and meditation when I'm thinking weird things.
 Continuing to sell off and minimize things around here. Selling at sunday market nearly every weekend.
 My adorable niece is my pop up shop girl and selfie sister. We talk about Channing Tatum a lot...
 I have been reading  a gift from the sea this weekend after my friend sent it to me. I'm feeling it.  The ocean metaphor is really working here. I love it.
  Now I need to encourage my little one to eat so we can get back into the car and drive to the airport to pick up her older brother who has been away for 3 WEEKS! I am so excited!! xo m

Monday, August 18, 2014


  In the last few years (and especially accelerated during the last year) I have embarked upon a journey of limiting possessions and setting my intentions towards a country life. I have too much stuff, too many things. I've thrifted most of my life and it's my job. Of course, far too many tings make it into the house. My once affordable (cheap even!) city is now home to seas of computer tech drones, corporate cannabis producers, net moguls, etc... There are no more deals in the Emerald city.
  In my 20s the mid sized frenzy of Seattle city/night life was just right to me-at times even too tame! I loved roaming the streets and bumping into friends and acquaintances at every corner. I've mentioned before, that I basically lived in bars and was a real prancing pony, girl about town. I thought it would never get old. I was a steadfast champion of the city.
  Slowly, my love affair with the night life soured. When I stopped drinking, etc. my disposition became more thoughtful and delicate. I now feel overwhelmed by all the noise and often brash or clashing personalities that I encounter. I feel like I am a sponge and absorb what I am immersed in and I don't really want to absorb everything that I finding here, in this city.
  I find myself dreaming of quietude and less of this and less of that. More space, more trees, dozens of hives full of bees, a vast garden to tend and goats to milk when I wake up. I daydream about the simple life, pick-up trucks, cabins and dirt roads. It's a kind of wallpaper in my brain. At one time, the daydreaming was enough to soothe my nerves. I had always planned that it would become reality but at a more distant future, 3-5 years off in the horizon. I feel more urgency today.
   Last weekend I was in the country, on a rural Island paradise, with the man of my dreams and it felt so perfectly quiet, calm and lovely. I've visited this Island before and I always leave feeling recharged and inspired and fiercely yearning for my own country heaven. I appreciate the limited choices of commerce and the lack of ugly shops, fast food joints and people people people everywhere.  You have so much more personal space in the country. Your own little bubble can grow bigger than the, what? 12 inches or so you try to maintain in the city... I love that my phone didn't work and I wasn't absent mindedly checking inane websites or my inbox for non-important emails.
   I have always felt most myself in nature-meadow, field, or forest. I can be psychically open and take off the spiritual armor I have to wear in the city. I enjoyed so many conversations about ideas, goals, experiences. Far too often the conversations I have with city friends lean toward consumption (new shops or restaurants visited or items bought) and extreme character criticisms (yep, gossip).
   I am tired of rushing all around town. I would not miss the sound of the buzz saw that my neighbor runs daily (everyday, for real, why!?). I am annoyed by the sound of the lawnmowers and leaf blowers everyone on my block is so fond of.  I want trees and dry grass and dirt and dandelions tufts and dragonflies and hillsides all around. I want to sit creek side and listen to the sounds birds and bugs make. I want to be sloooow and allowed to be still when I want to be. I want to be able to clearly hear my own thoughts.
  Last Sunday sweet Milla made us the best breakfast with vegetables from her garden. Her magical nest was hidden away in the unfamiliar hills and we drove around in circles a few times just trying to find our way off the rambling hillside.
 Nettles everywhere, overgrown and gone to seed.
 There were daytime mosquitoes and so many irritating flying ants-which now, don't seem so bad after all...
      A few days after we returned from the Island, my man went home. I made mixed berry jam and felt super sad that day. I don't think separation ever gets easier. Each time feels worse than the time before.  Having a very limited amount of time to spend with someone you are into is hard. I want to pretend my job is interesting and throw myself into work but my heart is not in it at all. I'm distracted. Though I am grateful to be distracted by thoughts that are intense and sweet in nature. I find it surprising that this man even exists because he is strikingly similar to me in all the best ways. This connection makes others dull by comparison. I don't want to dissect it (much...) or figure it out. I just want to feel it.

   Now I have a carload of total junk to drop off at the donation center up the street. Then I'm going to drink coffee, cut out patterns and go through all these books/downsize the shelves. I just want to move to my rural utopia right this minute. these things take time and all that... but still, I am moving forward and into a new phase of being. xo m