Tag Archives: inspiration

splatter art with guts and goodness – she’s ALIVE!

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splatter art with guts and goodness – she’s ALIVE!

it’s working. everything i set out to do with this blog is working! heeHEEEE!

now, you might think, what’s working? you blogged some random thoughts, quit over a year ago and haven’t published a thing since. ah! and that’s where you’d be mistaken, friend. (yes, mr. doubty-doubt-yourself demon, i’m talking to you!)

reading my last post made me misty. that was quite some time ago, in quite specific times. despite my absence since and any speculation that might have come from a few of my last public musings, i still have full access to sharp objects including pens, my daughter still has a mother and people are still subject to my words, whether scribbled or babbled, dramatic or droll. i didn’t forget about this space where i left my heart and dreams and attempts at humor across page after page; where every click and every comment from my readers changed my worldview just a little. attempting to contain that expanded worldview within my myopic daily calendar pretty well made my head explode.

and this is what i found squirming amid the bits of grey matter:

hardheadpress.com: a small press with guts and goodness embracing a golden age of publishing 
(my new press!)

and its first successful release by San Francisco author Ezekiel Tyrus:

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already i’ve realized at least 100 tiny dreams i hardly knew i had. the critical reception has been great so far and a groundswell has begun, especially in San Francisco, rippling all the way out to fledgling fanbases in Toronto and greater Ontario. the author and i have a hilarious connection and a now deep relationship. i couldn’t be more proud or feel more lucky to have produced his striking debut. Ezekiel (Zeke) recently hosted a very successful reading at one of my “churches” –  San Francisco’s

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he has several more events scheduled for the Bay area in October and November, with details forthcoming. i’ll go ahead of course and throw in an Amazon link to Eli,Ely for those of you who’d like to skip straight to the shopping cart. e-book readers will have to wait until October, your breathless anticipation is appreciated! feel free to contact me here or email me with inquiries, requests, your outrage at my outrageousness, or anything else you don’t want to leave in the comments section below.

“Like” hardheadpress at https://www.facebook.com/hardheadpress and follow us on Twitter @hardheadpress.com

thank you and the Universal energy that blessed this harvest of ideas and dreams. life is better after 40. no question.

namaste

-aft

 

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you don’t yell at a sleepwalker. he may fall and break his neck – from sunset boulevard

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i think in dramatic words sometimes. above the din of my sarcastic humor and chastising taskmaster is the voice of my internal norma desmond, her tongue lingering on the L’s in romantic, tragic words like languish and lament, and on her lips making O’s in gentle words like repose and opiate. 

languish is a favorite word of mine lately (opiate might be if i could do something other than lament the absence). even as my life blooms with possibilities and positivities, i wake most days to a wilted spirit. many mornings i lay with a single eye open, attempting to motivate myself for a work day. first i navigate my regular monday-through-friday desire to pierce my jugular with a nearby ballpoint. i imagine the gentle return to sleep as blood loss saps the energy already en route to my list-maker and worry wheels. (ok, norma, your toddler would not appreciate the leave-behind of life without mommy….though i suspect she’d be delighted at the opportunity to use an entire box of dora bandaids with no lecture on how many bleeding children in the world can’t afford them.) after wistfully ruling out a dramatic, unexpected suicide after which all my words would be published and celebrated posthumously, i imagine my life without corporate responsibility and the need for 8 billable hours a day. i laugh at the anticipated death of the word deliverables in my life and lexicon. lastly, i drift through a few fanciful ideas, words, projects, plots and characters that i’d rather play with today.

that last part leaves me relatively certain i’m not just a sad sack of lazy. i’ve convinced myself that if i had a different focus, my jugular wouldn’t look so inviting to sharp-ish objects, and my natural spark would keep my smiles and insides warm. i picture a life where i write, read, cook and love my family full-time. in it i get to paint and decorate our new house without so much as a nod to anything but my daughter, my man, my aspirations and a sunny sky. i sort through all of these imaginings before i change my sleepy breathing. finally, i reluctantly rise and pry my mind open enough to make coffee. problem salved.

truth is, i’m not the kind to embrace i’ll-be-happy-when’s, but i’m not thinking so clearly lately. i turn 40 in two months. i’ve been divorced a year this weekend. (this, at least, is offset by cinco de mayo and my new love’s birthday…plus the fact that the word “weekend” applies.) then there is the part where my mom passed away less than six weeks ago, followed closely by my beloved old kitty. maybe someday i’ll blog about what it’s like in the maelstrom of a catholic-military family reunion-funeral. picture way too much alcohol, more proximity than any of us can stand experience regularly, and you get a lot of bittersweet nostalgia plus a giant bag of tempers and tears. i got predictably ill upon my return home and just haven’t felt my Self much since.

but i am working out. sometimes i eat well. i’m here writing words. i’m loving my loving and lovable friends. and i’m trying hard to crawl from languishing to largess in my spirit of accountability and professional pride. i’m using what i know, and i am happy much of the time, despite the morose tone today.

grief is a funny thing. it doesn’t stay separated into nice neat piles based on cause, and it doesn’t respond all that much to logic or efforts to “express it all” so as not to stumble across its remnants later. it also isn’t clear about itself, hiding in clumsiness, self-doubt, old hurts, and sudden loud noises. you can drink all the water you want, eat a field of whole foods, run around the world once a day, journal, pray, numb out…none of it can fill the gaping wound of loss any faster than it could fill the gaping wound of surgery.

i’m sort of dreading mothers’ day this year. i’m excited for the celebration with my tiny daughter, but there is a blurry spot where my focus has been all these years. this year my spirit will celebrate with my mom’s, and that has to be enough…beautifully enough.

that’s one thing i know about this life…that it is enough, beautifully enough, whether we like it or not. when it’s grey inside you, the sun still shines waiting for the return of your toothy smile and easy laughter. when grief is a stifling syrup of breaths and blur, the relief that one day comes is accompanied by new vision and a deeper soul. it’s always enough. many times too much.

i grew up next to sunset boulevard. the tiny one in melbourne beach, florida. perhaps that’s where my norma was born, bound for luxury, luster, lazing and a laugh lines. i’ve already got the last part in place. that’s the best one anyway.

Fruition…the fruit of fearful fearlessness

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well, something’s working. and it’s definitely not the pain relievers i took for my neck, which now hurts on both sides upon rising from tussly, tossy sleep. but something is working away, like a kernel searching and translating, sending synapses through pink tunnels of grey matter, burrowing, borrowing, invading my waking and sleeping thoughts.

i’ve started writing. well, duh, you say, i’ve been kind enough to humor your postings now for three weeks….where is this going, trish? i’ve tapped into the creative, the exhilarated, the pensively consumed and they’ve packed themselves in a delicately doilied handbasket headed straight to Fruition. the mental artists i’ve gathered to push me and and inspire me have been busy, painting my life the color of music, sunlight, euphoria and Love. what has me gushing through this written portion of my poetic license exam? despite my rushed morning yesterday, despite a busy and silly day, spent in american malls and plastic parking lots, i found the heart and mind to crawl deep inside another mind, a character, a fiction, and spill some of her story on paper. ok, well…spill some on screen.

it seems that this “don’t look down” and “just practice your craft” attitude is worth something. i’m sticking with it. i’m finding that by surrounding myself with encouraging and courageous people, i am suddenly encouraged and courageous. throw in a mix of my soul food, mostly music and lust and freedom and words, and suddenly a seed planted more than two decades ago in a desperate, starving, teenage mind, is growing like jack’s beanstalk from my fingers and heart. so, before i’m “ready,” before there is “enough time,” before i have “a leg to stand on,” i’ve roped myself into posting here in some dependable fashion…ready and read or not, and now also into finishing 60 or so more episodes of fiction writing like i had last night…60 or so more episodes of literary brilliance…to complete my first great american novel. teehee.

ok, granted, i’ve started a few before…but this one is different. this one burns and churns in my mind and then writes it’s characters, illuminating for me the heart of the matter one simple line at a time. i’m in a new phase of life, where i’m writing because it’s FUN, less concerned than ever that it’s perfect or brilliant  in the opinions of my exhaulted literati. i’m writing without much attention to other than what pleases me, page to page. i’m writing because i’m meant to and because to not finish something would be as great a disservice to my deathbed as any i could imagine. i want to put my money where my fingers and bragging words are…i want to give it my everything…my heart, time, ego and humor. i’m inspired even as i’m aggravated by a recent car commercial that suggests that missing it’s end of summer sales event would garner the same deathbed regrets as never penning the novel i promised myself…and every friend i’ve met in 25 years of travel, boasting and fantasizing.

this morning my neck is almost paralyzed from too many computer hours and not enough sunlight. my daughter is beginning to whistfully call for a rescue from a cheery saturday morning crib. it’s one of the last pool weekends of the summer. it’s time to recharge, to keep this wave rolling and my spirit high upon its face. i love this feeling, i love these words, and i love everyone who’s ever bothered to read a single one of mine.

to anyone with the spark of a writer’s soul out there…especially the ones caught up in day-to-day doldrums or drama, i will share with you what a writer told me once long ago. he was a prolific guy, in his early 20s, already penning book number 3. i’m not sure any of them were publishable, many written in wee hours fueled by scary drugs that also became the subject of much of his work…and likely his line of work….but he had a passion for words that only other nerdy writers ever really understand. i wasn’t writing a lot at the time, and his words struck me, and then reverberated through years of writing even less. as i lamented the difference between my heart’s desire and my (un)productivity, he said, “a writer never stops writing, sometimes we just stop recording for a while.”

i’ve carried that statement in my writer’s mind, repeated it several times following laments and trips to the poser closet, and hoped always that the reassurance it offers would be more than a platitude for me, that it would portend my mid-life or late-life authoring genius. that’s one of the cool things about writing…you can start the career whenever it strikes you. i’ve always known that i had until my deathbed to pull it off.

i hate to jinx myself, i fear spouting my enthusiasm all over the web, when i’ve only just begun to weave a tale, a tale i can see all the way to the end, but that needs about 88,000 more words to be believable. but accountability, putting the energy out there and staking everything on this momentum, this ride…well, so far it’s workin’ for me. i’ve never been so “all in.” i thought “all in” would be scarier…that it would be harder than this to “not look down,” but i’m finding that it feels a little bit like skydiving…you think it’s scary until you do it…then you realize it’s all just bliss and release…that fear is just fear, not Fruition…and that the risk is worth it and what living is all about.

up the down stairway to heaven…a game of habits

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i will lament a little this morning about habits (not the kind that nuns wear…perhaps there is a nun blogger out there writing that post as i write mine…follow my tags and maybe you’ll find that one too). the whole concept of “habits” is entirely too complex. i mean, how complicated should it be? do new things that are good for you, stop some that are bad…pull it off with some consistency and call them habits. so why is it so haaarrrrrd?

habits to me seem like one of those God games…like women’s menstrual cycles or irony…like a drinking game or little kids’ game where every round, someone gets to add a new rule. God and SuperFriends sat around laughing their ethereal asses off, throwing in things like, “make the bad ones really hard to break!” and, “the easy ones all have to be bad.” and the sillier (or drunker) They got, the more esoteric and obtuse the rule:  “oh, oh! and make the good ones hard to notice…I mean, like where, like, the more good ones you make, the more bad ones you see!”

i’ve made a few good habits lately, and broken a few bad ones. i need to acknowledge that because all i see are the things i still haven’t managed to habitualize, and all of the patterns i maintain despite evidence that altering them would make me feel better in the long run. ug, and there it is…(one of) the problem(s) between habits and me. i don’t like long runs. in fact i hate them. the cross country races i had to run (slowly) in high school still haunt me like a phantom stitch in my side or ghost shin splints. i say “had to run” because it was considered “pre-season” soccer training. “hey people (coach!), there is a reason i’m a goalie!” my dad used to try to comfort me by telling me, “mastersons will get there, we just won’t get there first.” that was quite comforting, come to think of it.

i digress. my point is, i’ve noticed that bad habits seem to come with all of those wonderful things that bring instant gratification, while good habits inevitably involve “the long run.” and here’s a fun rule: most things that bring instant gratification will destroy you in the long run. ARG! so we spend all kinds of time trying to turn long-run oriented results into something that feels good now. “mmmm, i like these carrots better than chips ahoy rainbow cookies anyway.” that’s some joke. thanks Guys and Girls up there…i hope you are having a good time with this game, Someone should.

still, i have to play the game, or lose to sloth, indulgence, heart disease and/or a drug problem…or end up crippled from sports and fun my body is not prepared to withstand. so this morning i take some stock and look at some of the long run homers i’ve hit lately, to clear my vision and let me see progress that might motivate me to make more. so…the biggest? i quit smoking cigarettes (for the millionth and final time) more than two months ago. talk about easy to make and hilariously difficult to break! secondly, i’ve managed to habitualize keeping my home pretty tidy. thirdly…and now i’m stretching…um, let’s go with sleeping in my bed almost every night instead of the Couch of Even Crappier Sleep.

i have started one habit…not exactly easy to maintain…but that’s enjoyable and rewarding enough to beat the odds…it’s good now AND in the long run! it’s writing here, every day of the week except sunday. it takes some discipline. oh, how i hate that word, but in this case, its tactics are gentle. i don’t beat myself up over this habit…i don’t spend scads of time thinking up reasons to skip it before i decide to get to it (ahem…i’m talking about you, exercise!). i guess it’s easy for me to like it in the moment and let “the long run” benefits develop on their own. i have no end goal in mind when i write. (well, there is that pulitzer committee thing….).

i don’t know if i can maintain this habit. i don’t know if i can make other ones feel this good. i’ve heard rumors that they all get easier the closer you get to habitualization. (by the way, i’m fairly certain “habitualize” in all its forms is not actually a word…but i figure if i use it enough, it may become a linguistic habit across our lexicon…that’s me making up rules to my own games…hahaHA!). like i said, i’ve established some healthy habits lately, broken a few bad ones…but they are hard to see. i do see that i need to drink more water, eat healthier, drink less coffee, exercise more, walk my dog more, stop procrastinating on all the administrivia that haunts me, and meditate regularly (for more than a minute and a half).

for today though, i will try to enjoy all my new and shiny habits, and pat myself on the back for being here, for trying and for succeeding at lots of things…and for trying again when i fail. join me today…look at what you do well, for yourself and for others. shine a new light on your habits and find the good ones that keep you going everyday (if you see some bad ones you’d like to work on, that’s ok too). i think making a habit of appreciating yourself might just make this game fun(ner). i’m talkin’ fun for a girl and a boy…and though there is no victory, just “game over” at death,  i will still shake my hand at the sky and laugh every time my little slinky of a life continues its journey down the stairway to heaven…oh, wait…am i going the wrong way? ah well, it’s not the destination right? or did i just discover another twisted rule?

tee up the blues….live it, sing it, ping it

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wow. i’m so excited about the 96% humidity outside. it should feel like a good ol’ mississippi morning out there, though mississippi is 800 miles away. and at the risk of sounding rather bourgeois, i will admit that i will be golfing really badly in this humidity and sun later this afternoon. that would be cart golfing…because i am of the lazy bourgeoisie if i am of them at all.

i think the last time i golfed (badly) might have been that dreamy, foggy, magical day when i got engaged in the Pali mountains of Oahu. that means it’s been probably 7 years since i set my barely used spikes on the links. my shiny golf bag will need a dusting. i’ve golfed about a half dozen times in my life, but i liked it. so i will do it again and channel my inner tiger…that would be Tigger, not Tiger W. (hell, i’d take Tony the Tiger over a meeting with Mr. Woods any day…even a Tony mascot in a fur costume…and my friends all know how i feel about mascots <shudder>). i’m actually hoping i won’t be reminded of Tiger too much, or see any Schwarzeneggers meeting up for a tee time with any Edwardses…real or figurative. the likelihood that anyone from those families would end up at my local county 9-hole practice course i realize is quite absurd, but my brain is great at absurd…my heart might even be better…and fear takes the gold everytime.

so what the hell am i alluding to? i suppose i can’t be this vague and honest at the same time. i’m talking about golfing badly and taking back another little piece of my premarital life. i will claim it for my Self, as part of the true and outrageous life i have in front of me. i’ve read that blogs like mine should be intimate. i’ve read and been told by hemingway and dear friends to, “write hard about what hurts.” so in the interest of Being my most outrageous, honest Self, and maybe helping a few people Be theirs, i will share with you something hard that hurts.

i’m barely divorced. ug. that word. i’m not a “put my dirty laundry on the web” kind of person, but i’ve mentioned in several posts now references to my world falling apart, nay, even exploding…(though maybe imploding would be more appropriate given the amount of weight i felt…like a collapsing star, the crushing pressure in my chest…when all i thought i knew came crashing down on top of me one december saturday in 2009). the quick and dirty version is couched in paragraph two of this posting. i’m a trendsetter for sure, as evidenced by the recent strut down society’s catwalk, of marriages run aground by…hmmm…let’s call it virility + fertility. yes…my daughter has a half-sister out there, not much younger than she….most specifically not so much younger that she could have been conceived at any time other than when i was still quite swollen with my first and only pregnancy. so my ex did it first, before it was popular…though i know it is an age old tale…he then endured months of the non-stop, 24/7 News Cycle of Gossip while keeping his own secrets buried deep, only bubbling to the surface as nerves and some delusions about how this kind of situation might be resolved without (me) (ab)using golf clubs (clearly, not telling me was his best stab at a starting point).

i won’t delve too deeply into details, there are so many. but i will offer that he’s not an all-bad guy, that he’s working really hard to turn his life into something admirable and that he’s a great father (“good thing, ” i think sarcastically to myself…and to you, my gentle reader). so i’m here, writing my heart out, and turning my life back into something i admire and Love. part of Being outrageously me is acknowledging the fires that tempered my soul, steeled my heart, and stoked my passions only after almost burning the whole place down.

i have no grand vision of joining the LGPA one day (“good thing, ” i think sarcastically to myself…and to you, my gentle reader). i simply want to take my smiles and healing heart out in the sun to burn off some calories and sweat, and to re-up on some blood and tears lost in recent years past. i put all of this out here because i promised to make an example of myself on these pages, and my Self screams at me to let the world know how grand life can be, even after pain and grief unimaginable to those who’ve not walked through infidelity and the crushing financial implications of divorce and extracurricular child-rearing. i opted out of the latter obligation, but paid a lot for the trust i’d once given freely. still, i’m here, and not just here but ALIVE.  i carry some heaviness in my heart still, but it is illuminated by the light in my soul and by the Love of amazing people around me. heaviness, grief and disappointment are part of living, incalculable, unpredictable, inescapable. that’s what makes the Blues so blue and yet so satisfying…at least to me. i know…and feel…that sorrow is part of a bluesy, beautiful life…and today i happily accept the one i’m living.

Blues a healer, healer, all over the world…It healed me, it can heal you – John Lee Hooker

playdate with little miss Petulance

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man, that first cup of coffee went quickly. i think it’s burning my stomach lining i drank it so fast. i feel rushed this morning, knowing that i have a toddler sleeping upstairs, fresh from grandma and grandpa’s spoiler factory in western new york. a toddler who will wake like the tiny sleeping giant that she is, to throw joy, tantrums and whirling winds into my morning.

i feel reluctantly rushed this whole week, trying to sort out a bunch of my own evolution and squeeze it into a regular, worldly human’s schedule. i’m not complaining, or lamenting less inspired days gone by…but i do find myself whiny and petulant and feeling what i would call selfish. my inner toddler wishes i had my own “patron of the arts” to fund my free spirit…and a live-in “servant” (aka Personal Assistant?). unfortunately, i think people like that expect you to create some sort of art before they consider volunteering funding for further adventures. and i’m just not quite established or brilliant enough to attract unpaid interns for the PA job.

i look at my daughter’s new Curious George Mood Puzzle and realize that i’m in all of those moods at once…though the ache in the pit of my stomach is not real sickness, it’s Love sickness. it’s the kind of Love sickness that makes it hard to think about serious things for very long, the kind i don’t really want to go away, the kind i will never have enough sick leave at work to cover, the kind i’m suppose to manage, not “cure.” i wish giving and receiving Love to myself, to people and to these pages was a paying gig. i wish everything came as easily to me as words do from my mouth and fingertips.

so today i will name my most recent amalgamation of moods…i shall call her Petulance. i look to my daughter for examples, for a crisp definition and easily recognizable signs that Petulance is eating up my day and spirit. she’s 2, she does petulant well. she expresses it outwardly, boldly, unapologetically and sometimes with a whine that, while irritating, is expected and correctable over time.  it is SO much less attractive on me. and even though i keep much of it concealed from the grownup world, i can see it in myself in the mirror, and in many of my recent spiritual reflections. lately, as fun and interesting things have populated my heartscape and schedule, i’ve not had much luck trying to overcome Petulance and her abhorrence for my 9-5 responsibilities.

it’s time to try something different, an experiment. today i will embrace Petulance and attempt to forgive myself for all of the whining, the sulking, the procrastination, the selfishness, the laziness and all of the inconsistencies and recriminations floating around my skull and clouding my vision of an enlightened life. i’m pretty sure that an enlightened life includes all of the moods and attributes included in these paragraphs. efforts to eliminate them feel futile (like my job sometimes)…so i will welcome Petulance and her constituents graciously as visitors, even if they are the kind most can only take in small doses. perhaps if i welcome them, feed them, comfort them and then show them kindly to the door, my magnanimity will have enough energy and focus leftover to spend on the tasks and dreams at hand.

my magnanimity may need a glass of whine…er…wine later and a grownup friend to talk to after entertaining Petulance all week. and my toddler may need a glass of (something age appropriate) and a stuffed elephant to talk to after dealing with one day of me. if anyone has suggestions for entertaining and wearing her out, i’m listening. i’m talking about suggestions for Petulance, not my 2-year old.

balanced beaming and bumper cars

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bleah. monday morning. my illuminated life still delivers plenty of dimly lit, squinty-eyed, grumbly-breathed monday mornings. i polished off a particularly outrageous, particularly “me” weekend last night knowing that the physical and psychic transition into this day might drag a bit…and it is. Reluctance is leading Team Motivation this morning and a couple of important members are missing from the round table.

coffee is speaking up, and like my dad, is always a little miffed at the ones who call in sick on a monday. it means that coffee has a LOT of extra work to do, and has to listen to the others bitch and moan while it covers the whole team’s ass. now coffee and another motivator..the one i’ve never met in person and whose name i don’t remember (instinct? survival instinct? something base like that)…are pushing me to live today, to do the things that make me proud and happy and that fund the rest of these words and dreams. work, dishes, laundry, cat-food shopping…it’s hard to push a limp body up a monday morning hill.

so this limp body is twitching, stretching proudly (and gently, ouch), and straightening up to face the parts of life that come after a weekend of friends, shooting guns for fun, baking yummy treats, playing scrabble, watching movies, losing sleep from all the excitement and then tubing my way down the shenandoah and potomac rivers on the clearest, sunniest day of the summer. i’m recovering from a weekend “off” – of a lot of things. i left my monday through friday job where it belongs, my baby girl was on her own vacation for a few days, and the darker side of my attitude took a good long hike. two of my favorite people provided companionship and affection and enough laughter to make my belly sore. i believe i made the most of a rockin’ summer weekend. if there was more to be made, i was too happy, busy and exhausted to notice.

i did notice this morning, however, all of the chores, tasks and obligations i either skipped or that were already laid out for this week. ugh. i’ve never been great at balance. i mean the physical kind. it plagued me in some sports that i was otherwise good at, and looms in my mind as the inevitable reason i would fail a roadside sobriety test, no matter my condition. i can’t even walk down a sidewalk without playing bumper cars between friends. i know there are ways to work on balance…core muscles, muscle memory and practice…but my innate sense of balance has a starting point, a set point…and it’s a little squirrely on its best day (except that squirrels are actually pretty good on a balance beam, if not a little spazztastic elsewhere). the point is, i know i can’t pull off “the dream,” my purpose, without working this balance thing.  the elated, the dreary, the bone-crushingly sad, the euphoric, the mystical, the blue, the exhilarating, the exhausting, the indignant and the livid…all of those influences inside me have to balance, at least enough to stay on or in view of the Path…wherever its twisty terrain leads. so right now i’m grateful for all of you “bumper cars” who help me stumble along. i’ll need a beltway-monday full of them today.