Tag Archives: writing

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

Standard
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:

hhplogoLOgrayscaleFrontCover

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

beat museum logo

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

 

Advertisements

on all 4s in life’s great relay race of love, laughter & loss

Standard

these struggling tides of life that seem
in wayward, aimless course to tend,
are eddies of the mighty stream
that rolls to its appointed end.

william cullen bryant

i’m sipping black coffee this morning since i ran out of creamer and the milk in my fridge went over. it separated into rotten milk-flakes as i attempted to make do without my half-n-half yesterday. mmmm. now there’s some great imagery for a monday morning. how’s your cereal?

i’ve been out of creamer for at least 4 days. i’ve had half-ready mail decorating the seats of my pre-schooler dirtied car for 4 days. i’ve been medicating a(nother) UTI for 4 days. i have a half finished report at work, overdue 4 days.

i’m going to lose my mom, quite possibly in less than 4 days. she might last as long as the early cherry blossoms my family and i admired yesterday, those gnarled trees’ magnificence displayed first with bursting flowers, then with the soft green canopy meant for picnics and shaded family strolls. or my phone could ring in 4 hours, 4 minutes, 4 seconds….i will very soon lose her body to the stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis she received two octobers ago.

my life this year is rife with eras ending. in some cases, the indication comes from within as i watch and feel the dying of patterns that no longer suit me. in other cases, it’s Life’s great cycle coming to reclaim the spent bodies of souls who’ve shared their energy with me all these years from hearts so loved and loving. then there are cases where the end of an era is most clearly marked by a new beginning, by the clearing of disaster debris and the discovery of a well-built foundation from which to face and embrace all of the wonder and growth yet to come.

in about 4 months, i’ll be 40. does life ever wrap things up in this tidy, if not painful a fashion? it’s been a long, long last 4 years. perhaps in 2012 this culminates and then lets me go, relieved, reborn, refreshed for my next 4 decades. no doubt 2012 will roll to its appointed end, likely with less drama than the rollercoasters of 2010 & 11, but still with its own disorienting curves, hysterical climbs and disconcerting drops.

in honor of my new beginnings and this one shot at life, i will send this missive into the ether. i will nurture and feed my future. i will write. i started this blog last July with those 3 words and 1 promise from head to heart…that i would do it for me, outrageous me, that i would practice this craft and put words together no matter if i had many or no readers to impress. i don’t need wordpress to get famous nor will i write my pulitzer winning novel for my “followers.” i will never fulfill my dreams while seeking the approval of others who are struggling toward their own. i’m here because my dreams and fantasies are mine to indulge, fulfill, achieve or regret.

and therein lies another era’s ending, one that makes space for a life lived in comfortable skin, connected to the center of my Being and my reason for Being on this earth, in tune with where i am this very moment. and so i take 4 breaths and publish my 4 cents…and thank each and every reader 4 times from the bottom of my heart.

namaste

 

put this antique on the roadshow…a life less lustrous

Standard

it is nighttime, not typically the right time for my write time, but this first day of a brand new year begs for words to greet it. tiny christmas lights twinkle their last wishes my way as i finally sit down and start to play with my words. mmm, words…they tickle and comfort me with soft ideas and breathy inspiration, so close to my heart they change its rhythm sometimes. so special is the feeling, that most of my reflections on the passing of 2011 fall on how i found my words again.

my writer’s mind started this day by reading again a “note” i posted the same day last year. i was in a similar mood. new year’s day seems to find me pensive if not a little melancholy…i’m noticing a trend. i wonder if it’s always been that way.

at that time, i timidly published those private thoughts on facebook, shared among friends, and was humbled and warmed by the responses. i had no idea why i would make public what amounted to a typical, front porch, rocking chair-style journal entry. i quiver a little now at the implications of that morning and of those words i released into this balance of electricity and magnetism we call life.

i’ve often claimed i was a writer, the declaration always carrying the casual, apologetic tone of weekend artists and idols.  i hadn’t earned the right to describe it as more than a hobby, often started, often stopped. i still haven’t. i’m still scared i never will. and so i was afraid to talk about how i was feeling, that my words were coming back to me, flirting with me, teasing me…that it felt like they were coming back to stay, maybe to change my life.

but seven months after describing what i could only hope was an awakening and not just another lucid dream, i started this blog. during those seven months, all filled up with other kinds of living, i almost let it happen again…the steam evaporate from my passionate breaths and dreams. but something tugged at my focus, sending reminders on airplanes to denver, pulling my emotions to the surface on the surface streets of jack and dean’s LoDo, painting rainbows over mountains and monuments like a child in a coloring book. the awakening continued.

i write. i can say that now, at the beginning of 2012, without the internal wince of a fearful fraud.

woven throughout my post last year is a desire to break through my apathy. i desperately wanted to give some things to myself in 2011. i was hoping i could find the “discipline” or “motivation,” to make and break some habits, imagining what it would look like when i got everything right. the fantasy view. knowing how my soul rebels against the words “discipline” and “motivation,” i pushed a prayer out there with a promise to myself to keep down the  “shoulds,”  embrace when possible the “coulds,” and not worry so much about making them “dids.”

looking back today was a spiritual moment. i had prophesied my year and then fulfilled it. i didn’t do it with resolutions. i didn’t do it with promises. i gently gave myself the right, not the obligation, to keep trying…to know we never really get it right…to be happy that i’m doing my best, even when my best doesn’t impress me very much.

i spent 2011 making and breaking habits i’d struggled with for years, decades, a lifetime in some cases. i was afraid to mention a single one loudly for fear i would flag again and shrink further from those who had encouraged me.  the jinx i would deliver myself was ever-impending and inevitable. i preferred to try and fail in private…no need for the world to know the weakness of my follow through.

but i did mention it…in  some detail, out here for the world to see, and on display in my physical world too…and the jinx never came. my cautious, intentional steps toward things i finally really wanted continued, even as i sensed the heights i was reaching, even as i lost touch sometimes with the earth beneath my feat. and feet.

i grew to love 2011. i imagine it will always be a favorite, despite its pits and zits. it’s in the record books for me. it started with such a lackluster opening act, but at the time, i wasn’t really interested in lustrous things anyway.  i wanted to see everything at its rawest, most naked…where i could trust it and my own perceptions. i knew that recently, as the luster had worn from some of my treasures, i found i’d been fooled by a more than a few.

sometimes your favorite things turn out to be pretty unspectacular, even ugly, when all the sparkly parts are gone.

sometimes under a little patina you find a masterpiece aging with its own tasteful hue. and that was me. my life in 2011. i found the masterpiece under all of the shiny tragedy and fantasy.

and i found out that sometimes luster can be restored. a little can be nice.

i started it all by putting it out there on facebook. my private words and thoughts. i only apologized a few times for doing it, and i will only apologize once here. i still don’t know what i’m doing. but i’m doing. and i’m less and less afraid to do it out loud…to live my outrageous life as outrageous me.

i kissed 2012’s arrival much more sweetly than 2011’s.  last year was like a rocket launch with all of that potential energy on the launchpad, not much movement at first…then slowly it rises…until it inconspicuously hits cruising speeds that barely translate in the earthly mind. and that all fits neatly into my lustrous little world view. 2012 sounds so space age to me. i think i’m cruising for a while, with some good systems go.

i’ll see you same time, same place next year, alphabet. you and me…we’re good together. and to my friends and readers, happy new year…again.

a first time shameless promoter announces rare moment of follow through…

Standard

hardheadcopy.com

i did it! i put up a website and asked for business! by God i said i’d make an example of myself in this blog and i’m doing it. i’ve absolutely NO time to comment much on this imperfectly perfect first try.  check it out, tell your friends.

and in typical actionfiguretrish style…i’m off to pee in a cup! kidneys. man-aLIVE!

fist at the sky, belly full of laughter…what is up with mondays lately?

Standard

it’s a ridiculously quick stop by here to let anyone who might wonder my whereabouts or general well-being that i’m struggling to post regularly because i’m laughing too hard at life’s most dependable practical joke. consistency. HA! my outrageous life laughs threateningly with a shaking fist at all my attempts to fit myself into the routines i think i must if i’m to live well and avoid raising a sociopath. that little sociopath now has the flu. did i say HA!?**

so she’s lethargic and needy, resting comfortably and a regular two-year old in a spastic rotating circle of you’ll-never-get-close-to-a-normal-day speeds.  i’m now off to rustle up some sick food…define and select the bare minimums at my 9-5er…eek out as much work as i can on my first commercial copywriting project under HardHeadpress (HardHeadpress.com is under construction…tacky mention but i’m starting somewhere)…prepare the family, home and workplace for two more days of rather unexpected travel (not far, just far enough to be travel thanks to the twice-daily impassable monolith that is the DC area traffic spike)…and whatever else decides to join the joke.

riveting i know. oh, and i’ll squeeze in a hockey game somehow tomorrow night. it’s outrageous when i put it all on paper (screen, whatever). i’m not as lazy or as much of a slacker as i feel like i am. it’s like reading about someone else’s busier, cooler life. eye-opening. heart-opening. you should try it sometime.

so til something like a more reasonable morning, i wish you all happy, heart-filled living. and i’m not bailing…i’m not talking “haitus”…i’ve not yet earned a vacation hour at this new writing gig. i’m just announcing a high probability of an irregular smattering of thoughts and words, just enough to feed me (and maybe your curiosity)…definitely with less regularity than the irregularity i’ve already established.

there…the pressure is off…freedom on. discipline is a funny thing. maybe my best discipline is just pressing on. pressing…ha…HardHeadpress…ha again. man, i love a happy semantic accident.

** flu? no way, mundane! further inspection reveals suspected hand, foot & mouth disease or her first herpes outbreak. ah, childhood.

offpeak ghoul removal…book ahead and save!

Standard

i’m thinking about halloween this morning and wondering how i can dress up as one of my own demons. people have all kinds of demons…little drinking demons, big abusive demons, sneaky demons with credit cards and chubby demons with cupcakes. my demons chase me around taunting me with questions, what makes you think you are so special? there are so many writers and talented people willing to work harder than you…what makes you think you are good enough? you deserve nothing more than a boring life, a rolling grindstone and a smooth nose, like generations of your family before you. their chorus of jeers pressures me to do everything better and faster if i want something different from this life, all while telling me it’s already too late.

too late for what? i’m 39. on paper, i’ve got everything i need to start earning my living by living my dreams. so why don’t i just “start?” why am i lamenting here? the voices of the mind drowning the desires of the heart, it is so common but so powerful a deterrent to living our best outrageous lives as our best outrageous selves. we all hear them. those little devils go from door to door, chirping at all of us, weaving themselves into the fabric of our entire lives like beatles melodies or ed hardy drawings.

today my demons deliver me a crisis of courage…and motivation. they take advantage of this rain. they kick me around after a righteous round of sickness. so what does my halloween costume look like? what is the manifestation? a drunken, half-dead kerouac? a two-headed beast of parental practicality? a guilty catholic? i don’t know…but they are chasing me today…all my scariest specters are out, telling me that there are even more hiding in the october colored bushes. let’s get all of the ghouls out and slain…i’ve got business to attend to and dreams to fulfill. maybe i need a ghostbuster. i bet they have a website now. i should check groupon too. i don’t know, maybe i’d get a better deal once the halloween goblins and ghosts of all those christmases dry up.

time for the littlest ghoul to take over my day. she and spongebob are working out their agenda. according to her adamant commands, he will start his day upside down. yeah. he and i both.

clarity is in the coffee cup of the (be)holder

Standard

mmm. sip. sip. sigh.

i woke this morning in a shiny little tuesday mood. i got my overwhelm out in yesterdayze post and got down with my master spreadsheet of lists. i feel good about where that’s going. i’ve got a special nerd flag on order for the unveiling later this week, and for what it’s worth, i’m ok with the neurosis suggested by compiling my to-do lists into a spreadsheet of many workbooks. i think i needed to succumb to the overlord within and place my feet firmly atop terra-kinda-organized.

and in an effort to flex my priorities, i carved out some time in my yesterday to see a friend, a piece of my heart, as she visited quickly and departed my metro. our lunch and laughter left me lighthearted, and inspired some musical meditation on a sunny drive home. here’s a funny thing about feeding your soul with friends, or spending some moments thinking about nothing but the exact moment at hand, the clouds in the sky, a voice lifted in out of tune appreciation…this is the kind of stuff that seems to magically insert extra time and focus into a hairy, hectic day. the “i don’t have time for this” demons settle into their back seats for a snooze cruise, hardly fighting over who i think is most important, who is an “on purpose” task and who was an “accident.” they all snore lightly, nemo snacks spilling gently onto fuzzy, sticky floor mats of accomplishment, until i get them home and into their proper routines again.

mmm. sip. sip. sigh.

so i woke today in this great mood, my responsibilities no less than yesterday, ready to plod along methodically through the rows and columns i so lovingly labeled with due dates, the sheets i marked each with a one word purpose. i opened my laptop, wondering what profound thing might come alive at the end of coffee-sweat fingers in a grand central station full of thought trains. as i scanned some internet “news,” the following words leapt from a BBC page, the foaming cappuccino thumbnail next to them swirling soft cinnamon scents from the hands of my imaginary barista:

Coffee May Prevent Depression, Scientists Say http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15059266

HaHA!! one more sign that all is right in my world! now…in the name of fair reporting, i have to say that coffee did not/has not exactly prevented depression for me, nor for some other debbie- and danny-downers i know. however, the following quote from the article made my caffeinated heart sing and the starbucks card in my pocket hum with joy:

Despite valiant efforts to show how dangerous coffee is for us, it is not proving so.

reading deeply into the article, the statistics are not as compelling as i’d like…(except for the 4-cup threshold for best-in-class depression control…thank you for the tip!)…in fact the argument for the prevention of depression is tepid at best…but no one can take what they want from statistics better than i when i try! and though this particular study makes no mention of coffee as adjunctive therapy to antidepressant medication or mood stabilizers, the raised, quivering hands of medicated and over-caffeinated respondents suggest preliminary anecdotal support for the combination.

i’ve studied this independently for years, my own uncontrolled statistics left lying around in a bowl of crazy things i wish were true, under the coupon i have for “good” gevalia coffee. it seems these days that science is validating my instincts left and right, right and left. it’s inspiring. in fact, it’s downright humbling to be so ahead of our time…to feel so gifted.

so if you haven’t figured out by now that i’ve finished almost a whole pot by myself already this morning, you clearly must needs more cups yourself. pour on, my dim-eyed morning reader…it’s about prevention, prevention, prevention! an ounce of coffee is nothing (less than a 5-hour rush!)…and if you happen to stop by your local roaster today, feel free to pick me up a pound of that cure. whole bean please…something bold. and some half and half. mmmm. sip. sip. sigh.