Tag Archive | truth

#becausewecan: 82 Cards

A lot of things are going on in the world right now, and what we need is inspiration. The docotrs and scientists need inspiration to find a way to navigate us out of this mess. And we need inspiration to help us remain human and connected in a world of social distancing.

Some things happened the weekend of March 20th that inspired me. Some people inspired me. The first was Jennifer Pastiloff. If you dont follow her on Facebook or Instagram, you should. In the face of losing her livlihood, she decided to hang on by asking “How may I serve?” She did one of her classes online for a donation… to help feed others. To buy diapers, food. To help. She could have set it up and done her confrences that way– Zoomed her way into a paycheck. I still think she should consider it. But at this time, when we needed help, we needed to remember that you can always find 5 beautiful things right here and now… she gave me that reminder. That hope.

The other person that inspired me was Jon Bon Jovi. He did a video of the start of the song and asked that the people watching help write the rest. I don’t remember the name of the song, but i do remember thinking that he has already made an anthem for these crazy days. Because We Can. And also Army of One.

Those who know me know that Bon Jovi wrote the soundtrack to my life. At one point I toyed with writing a monologe set to their music. Is it any wonder that when I was looking for inspiration and comfort and the “Hell yes we can do this!” I turned to them, to the band that I grew up beside?


How many have seen the meme about writing cards to seniors in rehab care facilities? On Monday night i got a wild hair and called the one Dad had been in here locally.  They have 82 people there. Writing cards is my super power. I dont just sign my name, I write. 

And then God laughed. I wrote Tuesday. I came home from work Wednesday and crashed (essential employee). I wrote Thursday. Ended up on the phoen a lot Friday, still wrote thouh. I wrote on my breaks. I wrote on my lunch. I wrote on Saturday and on Sunday morning. And at some point, your brain goes to sleep and magic happens and you’re just creating.

I delivered 82 cards on Sunday. All the cards opened with “To My Special Friend” and ended with the note that they are special and they are loved. I signed only with my first name. No phone number, no return address. Because while it would be great to know if the right card got to the right person… I am fighting my need for positive reinforcement.

I did it because I am an #Armyofone, and #becausewecan.

And also because Jen Pastiloff asked “How May I Serve?”


Today I was deep in my feelings of failure. I’d received another rejection– a very nice one, one that told me how much the editor liked my story and it invited me to submit again to their anthologies.

As soon as I saw the email, I thought to myself: Great, another rejection. I hadn’t even read it yet.

My inner critic came up and attacked me. It’s not an editor– an editor improves your work. The Inner Critic trashes your work and your soul. “Great, I’m still almost good enough. Not there, never there, but almost good enough.”

It  was enough to make me cry.

Last week, I showed a very personal short story that I had experimented with to some beta readers. Ok, only one of them was really one of my normal Beta readers. Mostly, while they enjoyed the story, it confounded them. It almost made sense. I haven’t read the notes my regular beta reader sent me, but I think I will soon. She reads as an editor, not a critic. My other, who actually HAS edited my work, hasn’t read it yet. It’s out of my wheel house.

It’s real.

No dragons, witches or even an AI or space ship. No elves. Just something this side of way too real. I wrote it for one class, rewrote it for another and… people didn’t get it. I completely ignored the feedback from a classmate whose writing and crits I highly admire, though. The one that said I had spot on characterization, and the details of being cold were right as well.

The class that starts on Monday I’ve been looking forward to. It’s on writing linked short stories. I have read the course page backwards and forwards, and it didn’t say anything about the stories we write having to be in the literary vein– i.e. no fantasy, sci fi, speculative fiction. Can I catch a break? The last “normal” story I wrote confounded people.

So I did what any good, self respecting sulking writer does. I called my sister. She’s been a second mother to me all my life, and we’ve gotten a lot closer in the last few years. We talk Monday through Friday. And she told me what I needed to hear.

Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

You’re not almost good enough.

You’re almost there.



A Stranger Grief Than This…

Driving home the other night, I saw a man at the base of an ancient tree. He was on his haunches, his shoulders bowed with grief. In front of him, against the tree, was a white cross. He was planting flowers– spring flowers– at the base of the tree. From the comfort of my car, I watched as he created a shrine to a loved one. The music on the radio conspired with him, and… it was a moving moment.

Third person poignancy.

I have a mini-shrine in my room. Two collages of my mom, some of her tea cups, a thimble. Off to the side of the shelf where they are, is a picture of my mom at the Japanese Tea Garden in SF. She loved that place. But the thing is… this mini shrine… I barely look at it. I didn’t even think of it as a “shrine” until.. well, the other night, when I started thinking about shrines. It could be because it’s been up for so long. It could be because it’s been 20, 21 years.

The hard edges have worn off my grief. It no longer crushes me under its unforgiving weight.

And yet, my shrine still stands. I may change it up tomorrow, or may leave it. But I think I’ll take my boy, and go to the local Japanese Tea Garden….. and let him discover why it was one of her favorite places. I can walk in the peace, meditate…
Well. Lets be honest. I have a 7 year old boy. I can trail behind him, taking deep breaths. Because no matter how hard, life does go on.

And it is ok to enjoy it.


Do you keep a journal? I did for years… through good times and right up until the point when I gave up my own voice.

I think journals are wonderful things. A repository for all the odd ball thoughts.. that I actually have followed up on. One night, I was writing in my journal by candlelight (pre kid days LOL) and it started a whole thing on what it felt like and what the light did and how people had been doing it for time unknown…. That eventually found itself in a story.

But then I just started writing pages and pages of I Hate You, and I knew it was time to quit for a while.

Now, I have a pretty pink leather bound journal. The inside pages are teeny tiny squares. a grid. It is not spiral bound, which is different for me, and I can tell you right now that I will not be writing on the backs of pages. Too risky— would hate to break the binding and loose all those beautiful words that I will fill it up with. It’s also awkward.

So why am I having such a hard time starting? It’s not fair! Everything is going too slow, and yet way too fast. I just can’t make sense of it all, and don’t know where to even begin.

But I’m a writer. And in order to tell fictional stories, I feel that I need to come completely honest with someone. Or something.


Even if it is a pink leather journal that has groovy paper but the wrong sort of binding.


So, am I the only one who prefers a specific type of binding on journals?


Oh crap. Who’s gonna hide it from my son? Can you imagine reading your mom’s journal? Actually, I think it might be cool to read my moms…. Would you want your children to read your personal journals?

Music at the Museum

Different segments of the arts often intertwine. Music, paintings, sculpting, words used in both poetry and prose… they all influence each other. Many times an author has a “Play List” included in their Author Notes, and our words are often bound with a work of art on the cover.

The Haggin Museum often has a music program held in the room with the thirteen naked ladies. (I don’t know the name of the painting, but suffice it to say that it is a hallmark in my life, is much prettier than “thirteen naked ladies” implies and I have postcards and the magnet of it.) The first time I went with my father, it was for a talk on the Stockton Opera by Jaffe, with musical selections on the piano as well as a soloist.

My father cried. Happy tears.

We went yesterday to hear the Divertimento String Quartet. The first selection that they played was everything I imagined: so light and airy that if you closed your eyes you could see the pretty girls dancing across polished wooden floors.

The second piece…not so much.

The piece was played well, but I have to say I’m glad that Velickovic gave a little talk about it  before hand, explaining the strife and anguish, the political climate of both the country and the composer at the time it was written.

Because that piece took my anger and amplified it right out of context.

Have I mentioned lately that I have anger issues?

We ended up leaving, right after the second piece was finished. It had nothing to do with the performance, but I had to pick my son up from his other grandparents and quite frankly my father could tell I was ready to pop a cork.

At the first movement washed over me, I thought of scenes such as to be found in swords and sorcery. As it escalated, so did my pissed-off-itude. I started thinking of the piece I kept starting to write, what I wanted it to be and what it keeps ending up being. And until yesterday, I have to tell ya, I had no intention of every really writing it.

It’s a rock opera using Bon Jovi songs. Originally intended as The Mommy Monologues,  I was going to talk about raising my little ray of sunshine.

The best intentions…

It keeps coming out as the Meth Monologues. As in my husband was a meth addict and I’m still pissed off not only at him but also at myself and want nothing more than to beat the crap out of something. I have always dealt with my anger through my writing. Always.

Still, I have tied my fingers into knots, trying *not* to write that story.

There are a million reasons why it’s not a viable project: I’ve never written a play, could never in a million years get the permissions needed to stage it, and even if I did it would be too hurtful to ever allow my son to see it.

It’s not a viable project.

But apparently, it’s what I need to write. I’m tired of keeping the crap  inside, battering at my fingers every time I sit down to write.

Maybe then I can start to forgive myself.

Explain it to me, Please


WHY OH WHY do people give you excuse (lie) after excuse (lie) on why they can’t do something, then get mad when you have beat down their excuses (lies)? And they’re mad at you!

Especially when all they would have to do is tell the truth. 1 time, no backpedaling, nothing to remember… The truth shall set you free and make it so that you don’t get people irked at you.

I was so upset, I accidentally took a big old slurp of Ray’s chocolate mile. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except that I accidentally bought him sugar free chocolate sauce.

And I have a severe sensitivity to fake sugar. Apparently, it’s very close to chlorine (chemically speaking) and my body just can’t tolerate it.  Thankfully, the sauce only had Splenda and the other semi-not-too-bad one. The one that gives me a fierce headache but NOT the migrane, sick, I need to passout headache that nutrasweet gives me.

It’s been a rough night.

And I can still taste metal on the back of my tongue. That can’t be good, can it?

BUT— One good thing. I was laying down with Ray, and I said something about my head hurt. Zillions little boy kisses all over Mommy’s face and head, making her all better again. Love you, Buddy Boy!

Stories & Itty Bitty White Lies

So we’ve all been sick lately. Ray had Strep Throat, which made for a terrible weekend for him. High fevers, trouble swallowing… the whole she-bang. I’d been having problems with my ear, and feared I had given this terrible sickness to him but I didn’t have time to go to the doctors myself. Brian did, and discovered that he had the beginnings of Strep as well. (I finally made it to the doctor’s yesterday… By God’s grace no strep– ear infection with fluid build-up was my diagnosis).

SO. Most people who know me know that I have a general rule that I don’t lie. It bites you in the butt, makes it very hard to keep things straight, and quite frankly it’s not worth the loss of trust. I write fiction, tell stories… But as a general rule, no lying.

The story-telling comes naturally. I talked with Dad this morning, and told him about my ear and he told me a lovely story of why fluid build-up in my ears hurts like the dickens. Apparently, there is a ship in my ear, and when I shake it it causes waves. The masts rise and fall, nicking the top of my ear canal. And those poor mates trying to swab the decks are forced to run after loose cannons– every once in a while one will get away and explode– which causes the exploding pain only once in a while.  Very clearly a story, although it’s one I really really like! (I may steal it from you Dad, and make a children’s story about it!)

Yesterday was a long day for me. Went to work, hustled and bustled. Had to leave a bit early, because Auntie Gacca’s doctor office asked for her to come in early. Since she had watched Ray while he was still contagious for me– no brainer. But I hadn’t eaten except a couple of bites all day long. So. Took her to her doctor’s office, took her back home to a neighboring town, and went to see my doctor. AN HOUR AND A HALF WAIT. But, I got what I needed and it was now 7:30pm. I had a long drive home, had to take Gacca home still, and, well… I was hungry. So we hit the drive through.

Now, here comes the itty bitty white lie. When I got home, I told Brian that no, I didn’t eat at McD’s. I only got a sweet tea. Heh. AND OF COURSE I GOT CAUGHT IN THE LIE WHICH IS WHY I NORMALLY DON’T LIE!  Apparently, I dropped a couple of french fries while driving. SIGH.

SO. Why even bother? I’ll tell you. I only really do this with Brian. Why? Because it’s easier than dealing with the guilt trip or anger or pouting. I can take the consequences with everyone else, up to and including my bosses.  The truth is, lately, I don’t know what’s going on with him. There are some things that he’s dealing with, and it seems to make him upset all the time and of course the person who gets the brunt of it is me. Why? Because I stay. I won’t leave, or tell him he’s a bad person because he’s having a bad day.

Yesterday, he barely talked to me before work. Even though we shared a car ride to his work. I was in the bath-room a lot, and he didn’t ask why (violently sick, although I still made it to work, which is why I didn’t take anything substantial for lunch). I’m guessing he assumed I was in there, smoking, avoiding taking care of my responsibilities.

I wish, sometimes, that he could see the world through my eyes. That he could see the beauty and the joy and just let the other stuff fall away for a while. YES, I know that things are bad. I know that money is tight, and that yesterday was a horrible day at work and we have even more horrible things to come. But on the way home to pick up Gacca for her doctor’s appointment I saw the most beautiful sight. God had hung one of his paintings in the sky for me and I composed a (very bad) poem to him which I kept saying louder and louder about Belief.

Many people don’t get this about me. I am outwardly a very optimistic, rose colored glasses kind of girl. I know that things are bad right now. I KNOW that they might get worse and it breaks my heart. But I also believe deep down inside that there is a plan for us. There is beauty and joy even in the darkest times of life. Yes, it is hard. But someone has to be the cheer-leader. Someone has to try and make a happy home.

So what if that home has a little dust or a dirty dish or two? I never let the dishes over-flow (I can’t, no dishwasher and no counter space and a two year old with a five year old’s reach).  Complete filth does bother me, but a little dust, a little mess… not so much. Yes, I tend to nest. But that’s the way I am…. I love people for who they are.

Love me the same way.