Tag: churning



[from my journal yesterday morning, 2/14/13,
on the occasion of day one of my big, milestone birthday]

Today I wake up
a milestone birthday.
This is the birthday card I send myself.
I call it My Womanifesto.

I have no more time to waste

on conforming
or contorting
in hopes that you will find me pleasing or worthwhile.
If you are that focused on me,
if you are willing to devote so much time and energy
to keeping me small so you can feel late and powerful,
I give that back to you and call it what it is: your problem.

I will not sit still
Or be quiet
Or calm down
on command
ever again.

Don’t expect me to show my work
simply because you don’t understand.
I am out of apologies, justifications, and explanations-on-demand
and I am not restocking.

Never again will I diminish my light
or quiet my voice
or step aside
– especially when i know i am right –
for fear it will diminish you
or make you feel bad
or incur your wrath.
That is your problem to deal with.

You may label me
and make assumptions
about me
simply because I am
a Southerner
and a Woman,
because I call people I care about Sugar
am funny
carry too many pounds
don’t use phrases like
“for the common good”
“it’s not fair”.
Yes, you can surely do that . . .
and it will show
your ignorance
and small mindedness.
It will say much more about you
than you are trying to say
about me.

No longer will I sit in the
cold drab metal folding chair
in the dim corner of the room
waiting on somebody . . . anybody . . . to ask me to dance.

I don’t have to like you
And you don’t have to like me,
and even if we do like each other,
we don’t have to agree on everything.
But know this: I will not stand still
while you berate me
or insult me
or call me names
or stomp, kick, or otherwise malign me
because I think differently.
Don’t have to
and I won’t.

If I like you and believe in what you are doing,
I will be your number one cheerleader.
I will support you, encourage you, hold you.
I will help you any way I can but know this:
I will not be disrespected or taken advantage of ever again.
And I will not give you something simply because
I have it
and you want it.
That’s where the word earn comes into play.

I will ask you daily if you’ve thought for yourself
so be ready for it,
because it’s what I’m most passionate about:
thinking for yourself.
I will if you will.
I abhor bandwagon mentality,
despise it, I tell you,
and I will do everything within my power
to support you as you burn your bushel basket.
This political correctness stuff
has to stop.
We are different,
and we each shine in our own way.
I am ready to embrace my shine,
to turn it loose,
and I’m ready for you to do the same.

I am declaring to us both
how I will live my life from this point forward:
no excuses,
and no apologies.
This is a big, milestone birthday
and for the first time in my life,
I feel free to unzip, step out, speak up.
I have tenure, you see,
so I can take up as much space as I want
and I can make as much noise as I want
and I can speak and move and live
as raucously and as tenderly
as I want.

I . . . have . . . tenure.

[ ::: ]

I love this woman, and I love this post.

Bushel Basket Burning


This is a photo of my beloved husband, Andy,
taken yesterday as he was buying me the bushel basket
that topped the list of
What I Want For My Big Milestone Birthday.
I have a plan, you see:
I will decorate this basket,
festoon it with ribbons
and words of wagging fingers,
most from long-forgotten,
unnamed voices,
words that nevertheless linger deep and long.
“Who do you think you are?”
“What gives you the right?”
“Well, you’re getting too big for your britches.”
I will write these words (and more) on the basket,
trim them with ribbons and glitter and sparkle,
then I will set fire to the basket,
while singing
“This Little Light of Mine”.
and dancing.
Oh good lord
how I will dance.



i cleaned windows today.

on one,
i used
glass cleaner,
paper towels,
and elbow grease.

on the other,
i used

i can see clearly now.

marking time, 1


it’s a good way to spend some time
every now ‘n then.
wish i could do it more often.
perhaps i should work on that
cause creativity is as necessary
as oxygen,
if you ask me.



battening down,
i call it.

riding the thread
to places
and known but forgotten
and known . . . but maybe not really.

and still
relaxing in its predictability.

up and down

space for pondering things like
being taken care of
self reliance
my children
my female ancestors
who spent a goodly
part of each day
about fine lines
humility from self-deprecating humor,
for example
and how easy it is for us
to believe the worst in ourselves
instead of the best.
why is that, anyway?

back and forth

thinking backwards about what was,
forward about what if,
and right now
about what is.
or what i sense

in and out

thoughts flying.
then released.
then forgotten,
then erased.


tumult, 2


sometimes when you just keep going
when you just keep grappling
when you just flatout refuse to stop,
beautiful shiny
colorful jewels
spill forth
from the very epicenter
of the chaotic

the chaotic tumult
is ragged,
it is seldom
mistaken for
or comfortable.
and the shiny treasures
that spew –
they’re nondescript
and indecipherable,
at least at first,
but still
they shine on,

:: ~ ::

Today’s altar is this altar cloth,
dedicated to the treasures that
sometimes spring from
tenacious tumult.

More about 365 Altars



i am agog
with images,
and i want to stitch
most of them
but sometimes
(more often than not)
when i pick up cloth
and thread a needle,
i see blank.
it’s neither white
or black
just the color
of nothing.
and then i worry
if i ever really
saw any images
in the first place
or if this is a sign
that i’m not to stitch
the images.
maybe i’m just
going crazy,
my creative capability.

things swirl
and grow.

who do i think i am,
(there’s no question mark
because that is no question.)

i refuse to live
in nothingness,
so i turn my hands loose
to grapple.
to gather
and join
and to give
my hands
without interference,
i set my brain
aside in a playpen
and turn it loose.

or do i?

is that even possible?

i remember the delightful
conversation i had with my son’s
girlfriend this past
sunday morning.
she regaled me with
the overlay
of her undergraduate
humanities studies.
at the essential core
was identity
and from there,
each year was
spent reading about
and pondering
identity in
specific contexts.

i want a copy of her
(is this how you say
“more than one syllabus”?)
(i’m fluent only in
english and southern,
you know.)
when she can dig it
out of storage
so i can forge
down that same
will i find myself
there in the books
she read
so many years ago?
will i finally know
who i am
why i’m here
and what i am
supposed to do
on my stay?

do i make too much of this?
where “this” is
my self,
my life?

why can’t i just be satisfied
to be here,
to take one day
at a time,
living it
wherever it takes me?

am i too big for
my britches
in even considering
that i’m here for a
particular purpose?

is that too high falutin’?

who do i think i am?

is that the voice of
my big, bad

and as if that isn’t enough,
i’m on the verge
of a new identity,
one that has me
and pinging
and tumbling
in emotional
and existential

:: ~ ::


my mother loves irises,
and they are beginning to
fill her backyard
with color.
seen through my macro lens,
they appear as
an entryway.
perhaps not a yellow brick road,
but a road nevetheless.
a road leading into
the unknown.
into possibility.
into Mystery.
an altar
of the finest
most inviting
(if not the most unsettling)

More about 365 Altars

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Allow me to introduce myself . . .

Hey, Sugar! I'm Jeanne Hewell-Chambers: writer ~ stitcher ~ storyteller ~ one-woman performer ~ creator & founder of The 70273 Project, and I'm mighty glad you're here. Make yourself at home, and if you have any questions, just holler.

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