The Goods

It’s day 11 (actually it’s day 12, but I’m a slacker and have fallen behind) of the 30 Day Poetry Challenge, and guess what? When they said it would be a “challenge,” turns out they meant that it would be challenging.

Who knew!

Originally I intended not to spend any more than 5 to 10 minutes on these posts, but as they have progressively grown more challenging, I have been inclined to rise to the challenge. Which looks like me putting my forehead in my hand and grinding my teeth whilst I attempt to be clever and creative and Grand Canyon deep. I’m not sure if I have succeeded, but I am loving these prompts and I wanted to share today’s with you.

 

Happy Saturday/Sunday, friends!

 

Day 11 – Write a list poem.

vintage_housewife_cook

Tips and suggestions for the handling and dispensing of virtues and other savories

~

Store kindness and mercy in reliable tupperware (nothing worse than stale charity)

Prepare and deliver intentions on the same day (possibly doesn’t age well)

Place humor at eye level and within arm’s reach (perspectives will clarify or conceal)

Poke theories and assumptions with a sharp truth (might still be gooey in the center)

Launder patience and keep folded in the linen closet (this will behoove you when unexpected guests arrive)

Begin each day with a bowl gratitude (otherwise you will forget to eat it)

Measure responsibilities for each day only (tomorrow is finicky and fickle)

If not on your person, peace should be kept somewhere safe and secret (I assure you this is for everyone’s benefit)

Rinse, rinse, rinse (rinsing is key to avoiding moods and attitudes gone bad)

Only serve opinions when the harvest is ripe (when in doubt, give it one more day)

Wisdom will keep for ages (but if you don’t share it then people will be none the wiser)

Wait twenty minutes before serving hurt feelings (additionally, running emotions beneath cool water reduces the risk of future cuts)

Look at all insights beneath a magnifying glass (this helps determine if they’re genuine or fake)

Be certain to monitor good deeds (they can spoil)

Generosity is like a tree: give it lots of water and plenty of sunshine and it will produce the sweetest fruit

Grace (give it prodigiously, and don’t be embarrassed to take some for yourself)

When the dog bites . . .

Today I stray from Meaty Ave. and head down Dalliance Ln. Won’t you join me, please?

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The Balloons Will Fly

It’s been so long, I think I may have forgotten how to do this . . .

I’m sitting here, telling myself “just pick a topic and go.” But that in itself is the problem. I have an abundance of raw and uncultivated fodder, and the prospect of culling the relevant and essential from the “stuff that makes me me” is moderately overwhelming. I’ve never been very good at narrowing down things. I imagine most writers contend with this persnickety character trait. Or is it just me?

When I sit down to write a scene that hasn’t quite developed, but rather spotted my imagination with colorful gems of potentiality, I can’t help but swoon, moaning, “Oh, the possibilities!” This results in a milieu of mundane and bizarre tactics and responses.

A) Check my Twitter

B) Stare at the computer screen and wait for genius to strike

C) Get a glass of water

D) Check my Facebook

E) Make a snack

F) Check my e-mail

G) Give myself a short pep-talk: “Come on, it’s easy — just write something, anything, doesn’t matter what, just write. Writewritewritewritewritewritewritewrite.”

H) Realize I’ve had a small, but nonetheless stunting, mental break

I) Practice cathartic pacing and breathing, all the while still actively engaged in tactic “G.”

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Surprise Me

It’s been said that “Life is an adventure.” I would agree with this statement, but I think it’s important to keep in mind that the word “adventure” is not synonymous with the words party or celebration. I think many of us — myself included — associate adventure with “a good time.” We need look no further than “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” to know this is not always the case.

Off the top of my head I can name at least a dozen experiences I would consider adventures, though not pleasant ones; things I tried once, endured, and will never do again. That’s the idea, though: you can’t be sure you won’t enjoy something until you’ve tried it. I can say with full assurance that oysters, outdoor camping, stilletos (or any abnormally high-heels, for that matter), cities bearing extreme temperatures, prune juice, attending tourist attractions during peak-season, traveling long distances on small boats, that stuff you put on pizza to give it an extra “kick,” experimental skin-care regiments, and outdoor concerts where they permit smoking, are all things I will never do again.

To some degree, an adventure is an activity or process whereby you are not certain of the outcome. Either it will be positive or negative; seldom will you have an ambivalent adventure. That is, unless, you consider trying out a new wattage of lightbulb an adventure; which, in that case, I am not judging you . . . well, maybe I am a little.

;-)

Some adventures are not within our control, however; you’re along for the ride whether you want to be or not, so buckle up.

Many of you will know I’ve been away for some time. This is because the last month of my life has been, to date, the most portentous adventure I have ever had. (I should mention now that I am doing much, much better presently, and where the physical issues are concerned, I am finding tremendous relief.) Over the course of what has felt like eons, never have I felt more abandoned, terrified, frustrated, isolated, despondent, frail, and grief-stricken. Paradoxically, never have I felt more loved (Michael Olsen, my heart beats your name), more cared for (Friends, both internet and tangibly based, your prayers, texts, e-mails, and comments softened sickness’ axe), more reliant upon a strength not my own (Father, I am yours, wholly and entirely), and strong. Yes, strong.

Because I survived.

At 30 years of age, I can say with a hundred precent certainty that it is true: whatever does not kill you will in fact make you stronger. Had I been given the option to forgo this growing opportunity, I would have steadfastly declined. Martyrdom isn’t really my thing.

Though I saw many doctors, not one of them could tell me what was going on. Could be this, could be that, this might be related, or it might not, and on and on. One thing they did agree on: get some sleep and try to relax. Hmm, alrighty then. Lovely advice; however, do you know what does not help one suffering from anxiety related insomnia relax? Multiple physicians expressing, explicitly, that it is imperative that you relax. A little counterintuitive, if you ask me.

I gave it a shot, though.

I read — thank you, Diana Gabaldon; once more you saved me from resorting to terrible literature — and I drank lots and lots of Sleepytime tea, with honey. An addict of anything sweet, I began to look forward to that part with great alacrity. And, after a while, lavender candle undulating beside me, I would begin to relax. Once I thought myself drowsy enough to nod off, I would make my way over to the bed and . . . . . . .

wait.

And there I continued to wait for some time. Usually I saw dawn’s arms stretch through my window before my eyelids shut for any length of time. My mind can be a wondrous place to frolic and play, to invent and explore; it can also be a prison. Many a night I lie awake wondering if tonight would be the night the Lord would take me home; shaking and shuddering with such vigor my bones ached and I dare not cry for fear of disrupting the fitfully slumbering beast named anxiety. This was my fear: that I might die. It grabbed me by throat with three spindly fingers, and squeeeeezed.

After a few weeks of this I realized that the only thing more frightening than actually dying, is spending large quantities of time contemplating when it will happen and how. In my bathroom was a whole drawer full of bottles, offering a reprieve from these thoughts; things that would numb it, numb me. But there was only one cure.

Complete surrender.

Just look at that sun! He made that!

Looking at this picture led me to consider something: we, the human race, we only needed not to burn or freeze to death, you see? A device, a source, a functioning constituent capable of rendering our survival, that’s all. It didn’t need to be a healing power, curing jaundice and imparting vitamin D on its rays. It certainly didn’t need to be pretty; turn the sky into a living, breathing painting each morning and evening. It didn’t need to consort with the breeze either, where together their union soothes our bones pliable, drenches our skin in warmth, prickles our skin, all to send a rush of shivers down our back. Wherever your feelings may lie on the sun’s derivation, you can’t tell me that when you look at it, whether it’s peeking over a mountaintop or melting into the horizon, or even simply glowing radiantly behind a curtain of diaphanous clouds, you don’t feel something stir and saunter deep within you; a visceral reaction.

This picture, it is me surrendering. It was taken last week while on a hike with my sweet husband. I wasn’t feeling wonderful, but I wasn’t feeling horrible either, and so we made the best of it. You see, I’ve decided that symptoms aside, if I can stand, walk, and talk, then I am going to do everything I normally do. I am going to exercise, I am going to go out to dinner, I am going to eat popcorn in bed. I may not be able to make myself unafraid, but I can choose how I will respond to that fear. I choose to live. So long as I am alive, I am going to live. And I do this by surrendering. I suspect I’ll have to do it quite a few more times. Millions, perhaps. The things that change who you are, good and bad — they don’t happen overnight. Where this road is leading me, I do not yet know, but therein lie the adventure, yes?

So, here I am. Surprise me.

Hoping you are well,

~ Cara

Tear tanks

Many of you will have heard of a love tank, I would think. If you haven’t, in short, the idea is that you have a metaphorical tank in which family and friends pour into by bringing love, support, goodness into your life. I wonder, though, will you have you ever heard of a tear tank? I only ask because this weekend I was compelled to think of mine, and how very unendurably full it had become. Maximum occupancy full. Don’t think I could have fit one more itty bitty tear in there.

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