Tag: time

of then, of now, of forever

Stjohnsshadows2

it seems there’s so little time left
which means i must be selective
not must
but want
i want to be selective about how i spend the time i have left.

i want to do big little things that 
will change not the world
but my world.

near the top of The List:
to spend some time reconciling with
prayer
and poetry.

Stjohnsshadows1

it seems to me that prayer is usually a petition
made on behalf of self or someone else.
it’s a turning over (something i’m not very good at).

poetry is more of a turning out.
turning inside out.

maybe prayer is a turning inside out when there’s nowhere else to turn.

i’ve been mad at both for too long
poetry because of
that english teacher who
focused too much on the rules
(which sounded a lot like history class
with its unending string of dates)
and was too generous with her red ink.
with prayer
because i was taught
that not everybody could do it.
everybody should do it
everybody must do it
but not everybody could do it.
only men
were to speak to god.
my contribution was to be part of the
every-head-bowed-every-eye-closed gang.
i was first puzzled then angry
that i couldn’t pray by my own self.
not in front of anybody anyway.
it was okay if i prayed without moving my lips.

but now i pray throughout the day.
i pray to trees, asking for strength and wisdom.
and to the falls asking for relief and clearing.
i pray to the sky asking for a bigger vision
and to the clouds for nap time.
to the blooms i pray delight and gratitude
and to the boulders, i pray a sigh.
to the afternoon i pray a dance.
sometimes i lay out my ponderments and uncertainties
and ask for clarity and maybe a sign.
i pray to daddy asking for help with this or that.
i pray in a host of ways to a host of recipients
and i still don’t move my lips all that much.

one thing prayer and poetry have in common:
no words are necessarily required.
walking can be a prayer or a poem.
same goes for
singing 
laughing 
crying 
cooking 
and even cleaning.

with the right attitude and choices,
days can be prayers and poems.
entire lives can be prayers and poems.

Thefalls05apr15

the engineer planted flowers yesterday.
my son called.
my daughter smiled.
the sky thundered.
the trees danced.
the cats napped.
i stitched.

i rest my case.

I Am Here . . . Even When I’m Not

I’d always heard that the older you get, the faster time flies.

It’s true.

2014 was the year I wanted days filled with making (stitching); marking (writing); moving (walking), and laughing (enough said). I assigned each a color: orange for making; aqua for marking; red for moving; and purple for laughing. I kept my journal in a big 8.5 x 11 sketchbook, one for each quarter. The paper was most excellent – no bleed through at all – but it was big and it was heavy.

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My haptic and visual tracker for 2014, a cloth called Evidence, is not yet finished. It’s big and bulky, and I’m using my sewing machine for a change. Maybe one day soon I’ll be home long enough to finish it. Fingers crossed.

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Last week, I came across a 1959 desk diary. Unused. Because it’s for the food industry, the first 50-100 pages are shiny, glossy pages filled with recipes. I love the look of this book – filled with possibilities. Love the pebbly texture of the red cover. Love the quote at the bottom of each page. Love wondering about the person who owned it . . . and didn’t use it after the first 3 days. I wonder if I could fit my do’s and done’s on just one wide-ruled page.

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Then I spied this little jewel, a 1955 diary from Westinghouse Electric Supply. It’s possible my father-in-law was given one of these, seeing as how he was an electrical contractor. I wish us all a life that’s far bigger than this space allows for documentation.

~~~~~~~~~

I seem almost obsessed with creating a tangible legacy, with leaving some track of my existence. The more I am away from writing and stitching, the smaller and more insignificant I feel. The more time I spend tending to others, the more I disappear. I dread dying and having my tombstone say “She helped a lot of people”, leaving my kids to wonder who I really was. And then again, maybe I overestimate their interest in me. I keep a journal – be it digital, written, or stitched – to prove to myself I’m here. You can just call me Kilroy.

these shoes were sure ‘nough made for walking, and that’s just what i’m doin’

Shoes

I recognize all too well that post-rape/abuse/bullying response, the acceptance of what the “Well, what were you wearing at the time?” or “Well, you’re just so pretty, what did you expect?” responses because you desperately need to make sense of the whole thing, to understand why this happened, and they always ask those questions with such authority. It takes a long time – and I mean a l-o-n-g time – to figure out that without a doubt, you were not to blame, so now, decades later, I begin to appreciate and applaud and adorn this body that for far too long I’ve treated as a head rack.

But no more. My clock is ticking, you see, and each tick can put me closer to death OR each tick can put me closer to living the life I want to live. I get to choose, and I choose what’s behind door #2.

My son gave me a fitbit last Christmas, and last week I finally started feeding the thing (and feeding it well), walking 74,636 steps (which translates into 32.11 miles) and climbed 40 flights of stairs – all in these cute shoes that my friend Jeanie introduced me to. One day I walked 23,299 steps, and though I slept real good that night, nothing ached – not my feet, not my ankles, not my legs – not once. These shoes are much more incredible than they look.

I’ve set a goal of 10k steps a day, and (so far) I get my steps in come hell or high water. I’m staying with my daughter this week, and I get the last 3-4k steps in every night by walking up and down the driveway while tucking my husband in. Last Friday night I went to the grocery store at 11 p.m. and walked the aisles till I met my quota mites before turing into a pumpkin. I walk ruts in the floor at my son’s house last week and at my daughter’s house this week, going up and down and down and up the halls.

I’m feeling better, eating less, and looking forward to going shopping for new clothes without hearing other shoppers whisper things like “Who do you think you are looking at that color or that youthful cut?” or my personal favorite “Do you really think that will fit you? Bahahahahahahaha” . . . and so on. They don’t say these things out loud, of course, but I have special hearing, you see, so I know what they’re saying and thinking.

Yes, all this walking to nowhere takes time out of my already full-to-the-busting-point life, but the funny thing is, when I make the effort to live a balanced life that includes things like walking and writing and stitching, time bends to make room for all the parts to fit in the space of a day. Magic. My friend Angela has a treadmill desk, and I see one in my future, too. Thanks to my special hearing, I hear them say “Obsessed. You’re downright obsessed.” But me? I say Nah, I’m dedicated and committed, and there’s a difference.

Delights from today’s 10,000 steps include . . .

blooms:

Flower

and blooms-on-the-way:

Lotus

a rusty thing that’s going home with me:

Rustything

and a pink caddy wall shelf (that’s also going home with me because it begged and I was weak):]

Pinkcaddy

a leisure suit with a ruffled, big-collared shirt (that are NOT going home with me because I was stronger by then):

Leisuresuit

Ruffledshirt

and this peaceful eye full that I’ll just have to lust after because orange just isn’t my color:

Buddha

15 minutes

This month, because I live for non-conformity (and to keep from having to think of something to write about) I am participating in a challenge designed to celebrate Ralph Waldo Emerson’s 208th birthday. (Honestly, he doesn’t look a day over 112 to me.)

Today’s prompt:
(Okay, it was yesterday’s prompt, but I never got around to it yesterday, so in the spirit of nonconformity, I’m doubling up today.)
We are afraid of truth, afraid of fortune, afraid of death, and afraid of each other. Our age yields no great and perfect persons. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

You just discovered you have fifteen minutes to live.
1. Set a timer for fifteen minutes.
2. Write the story that has to be written.

~~~
CuteClock

it isn’t about clocks.
(but isn’t this the cutest little clock?
sure do hope to inherit it one day.)

or words.
it’s about living.
pure, unadulterated
living.
so what say
we rev up and
live a chapter
in that 15 minutes?

January’s Idea of Time Management

Logs

Don’t read. There’s time for enrichment and enjoyment later. You’ve much more important work that needs to get out the door now.

Don’t exercise. Moving from bed to desk chair to bathroom to kitchen to table to laundry room and back to bed is enough movement for now.

Don’t slow down to write thank you notes. You’ll still be thankful later.

Don’t turn on any music, it might distract you and make you forget what needs to be done now.

Bubble baths, leisurely walks in the wood, afternoons spent behind a book are indulgences you earn by getting things done. And since you haven’t gotten nearly enough done, head down and back to work with you.

When you can’t sleep at night, just lay there and think about how awful it is that you can’t sleep. Or get up and get something done. But don’t you dare get up to write or draw or read or stitch.

Just keep saying “Yes” and eliminate every form of “no” from your vocabulary.

Put your friends on hold. If they’re really true friends, they’ll still be around when you’ve caught up.

Don’t waste time putting things up – out of sight equals out of mind. Just pile things up on your desk, on the floor, on tabletops throughout the house. Consider creating mountains as creativity, if it makes you feel better.

Buy a gross of sticky note pads (okay, make it 2 gross) and write one item – only one – from your to do list on a single sticky note. Pretty soon your walls, ceilings, even your furniture will be colorfully shingled. (Of course at the rate you accomplish things, the sticky will eventually wear off, so be sure to write yourself a reminder to replace fallen notes.)

Accept every offer to go out to eat – every single offer. Just remember to eat fast so you can get back to work. The extra weight? Bah, you can lose that later.

Writing retreat with friends? You can do that one day when you’ve whittled down your to do list. You’ve already put it off for 8 months, anyway.

Want to be a writer? Just keep telling yourself that writing checks and meeting minutes and grocery lists and to do notes is writing. Then quit the whining and get back to work.

I’m so glad today is February 1.

um, about that new year’s plan

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’twas the season of more chaos than usual (deaths, travel plan changes, weather surprises, etc.), and though i rolled with it (and actually, in a strange sort of way, enjoyed letting it push me around), after i ushered everybody back to their lives and cleaned the house, i wanted nothing more than to bring some order to the aforementioned chaos. so i pondered and squinted and grunted and eventually churned out an admirable (if i do say so myself) plan.

and before it was 24 hours old, i had second thoughts.

i have something i want to write about, and for reasons i can’t explain – except maybe that i was drunk on (the illusion of) control – i bowed to the masculine, the left brain, my inner anal retentive or whatever you want to call it, and planned to rev up a dormant blog and post this particular topic there all by itself.

then my heart joined the party, and that changed everything.

now there was a stint when i had two blogs going, but a year or so ago i reached an age where i grew weary of compartmentalizing my life. shoot, i even chose the online name @whollyjeanne to profess to the world (and mostly to remind myself) my intention to shed the outgrown parts and bring me altogether. no more different pieces in different boxes, each box clearly labeled to avoid surprises and waste anybody’s time.

so i’ve scratched it off: no new old blog. when i come up with a name of this topic (maybe before), i’ll be writing about it here, giving it a category name and calling that fine.

two days into the year, i’m having marvelously huge fun writing 6 impossible things before bedtime. most of the time, i blow right on past 6 without even slowing down. creativity is funny like that.

opening up a new year

every year about this time, i become paralyzed. people share their plans and rituals for mapping out the new year, and they all sound so elegant, so elevated, so evolved that i just shut right down and limp through new year’s day, relying on my blackeyed peas and pork and turnipgreens to do their job so all will be well. last year, i vowed to craft my plan for 2011 in september, admonishing myself to let the satisfaction of early completion outweigh – in fact, shut down – any dreaded (and perhaps inevitable) second-guessing.

though it wasn’t in september, i did start earlier this year. and i spent a goodly part of last week talking about my plans with my chicklets, alison and kipp, and my friends angela kelsey, julie daley, and sally gentle. spent even more time making notes – one item per index card to allow for shuffling and flexibility and all that jazz. and yes, i inevitably read about the invitations and visualizations and resolutions, goals, dreams, plans, strategies, stepping stones, big rocks, quadrants, etc. other people use. i even allowed myself 20 minutes to look at (okay, drool over) paper planners cause though i haven’t added to my vast collection in the past three years, i am not too proud to admit my lingering addiction to time management systems (complete with pages of teensy little ole’ lines that i can hardly see, let alone write anything on) encased in colorful, conveniently pocketed-on-the-inside binders. though i’ve tried enough products to know otherwise, i’m here to tell you: when i hold a binder in my hands, i have no trouble imagining my life playing out smoothly, efficiently, and According To Plan. i can taste it, i tell you, and it is powerful.

2011 will be fueled by my participation (and ultimate win, i’m tickled to say) in NaNoWriMo. after 3-4 years of tire kicking, i signed on the digital dotted line and publicly professed (to more than a few non-writers, admittedly, to provide a safe escape hatch should i not finish) my intention to write not the generally prescribed 1667 words a day but 2000 words a day. and though i’m not ashamed to tell you that i upped the ante on account of the fact that the over-achiever (aka teacher’s pet syndrome) in me runs deep, i am proud to say that i wrote more than 2k words every single day. which turned out to be a good thing because i lost the week of thanksgiving and still managed to finish a day early with more than 50k words. and the thing is, it felt so good – the structure, the repetition, the end-in-sight of it all – that i use that i bank on that satisfaction to lay down my tracks for 2011.

so with complete disregard for the the rightness or consideration for whether it’s noble and lofty enough, in 2011 i will:

1. move more. (not anything that involves large trucks complaining about getting in and out of our driveway, mind you. i’m talking about walking and dancing.)
2. become fluent in yoga. (one pose at a time. okay, maybe two to keep it interesting.)
3. read alice in wonderland. aloud. to myself. (starting in january)
4. finish the primary source interviews for the bank robbery book. (by 4/31/11)
5. complete (or at least cease) contextual research for the bank robbery book. (fourth quarter)
6. write 3 children’s books with my daughter. (first quarter)
7. edit the fictional book penned during nanowrimo. (second quarter)
8. attend blogher. (august)
9. meditate a minute at a time (cause let’s face it: i’ve had that beautiful silk zafu – black with golden dragons – for months now, and i just took the plastic off. which means that 20 minutes every day is highly unlikely.)
10. finish volume 1 of the book i’m compiling with my daughter. (third quarter)
11. get that new blog up. (check back tomorrow for details and a viewing!) change of plan
12. further investigate that idea i have for a digital community.
13. quit handing over my personal power.
14. get that broken tooth fixed.
15. uncover (recover?) my muchiness. (warning: this will likely involve unleashing my non-malicious irreverent self more often.)
16. look into completing certification in death education and counseling.
17. remodel our bedroom and create a guest space in nc.
18. learn more about the electronic gizmos i have (iphone 4, ipad, powerbook pro, flip camera, sony camera, livescribe echo pen) (remember apple’s newton? i had one.) and software i own so i can make my life easier through better use of technology.
19. cross-pollinate my creativity by enjoying bouts of making collages, slow cloth, and even playing the piano.
20. attend the storytelling festival in jonesborough, tn. (october)
21. trek to merion, pa to see the barnes collection in its natural and rightful habitat. (april)
22. finish papering the nc laundry room in photos (scanning each one before tacking it to the wall).
23. spend a day (or 3) in milledgeville, ga doing book research and visiting flannery o’conner’s place. (september)
24. be fiercely feminist and fiercely feminine. (there. i’ve said it out loud.) (no ned to quirm cause i’m just the And to Thelma and Louise.)
25. enjoy a monthly massage without feeling i have to earn it.
26. stop spending so many words just for the sake of saying something. (obviously, that starts tomorrow.)
27. write every. single. day. (format subject to change on a monthly basis to keep it interesting.)
28. conjure six impossible things daily before bedtime.
29. create full moon collages with jamie ridler. (jamie calls them dreamboards, but i’ll be doing them in my special collage journal cause i have authority issues, you know.)
30. pen a thank you note a day.
31. reorganize my studio in ga.
32. create walls i can write on.
33. conjure and share more stories (pronounced STO rees) of my altar girls.
34. finish up that production team handbook and the director’s checklist. (january)
35. call many of you sugar to your face.
36. sing out loud without clearing the room. (alison, this one has your name written all over it.)
37. create new e-digs for alison. (january)
38. develop a rhythm of 1 day a week or 1 week a month tending to the inevitable and necessary deskwork. (january, then maintenance throughout the year)
39. book and enjoy creative retreats with selected gal pals. (if interested, let me know.)
40. let go of those stories that just don’t fit me any more. (note: the old paper-tied-to-a-balloon trick just doesn’t work for me, so, shoot, how ’bout i invite you to my (digital) campfire and tell ’em to ya?)

conceptually speaking, in 2011 there will be:
less mass, more movement.
less accommodating, more truth telling.
less talking, more doing.
less squirming, more smiling.
less explanation, more full, deep, satisfyingly content experiencing.
less justification, more justbecause.

and because i’m such a sucker, here are my collages for 2011:

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(note at the bottom of the page: “If we’re not supposed to dance, why all this music?” from Gregory Orr’s poem “To Be Alive“)

and my color (pay no attention to the part that says 2010). (and hey, thanks, bridget.)

and my tangible totem:

2011TangibleTotem.jpg

and last, but definitely not least, my word: ship. (thanks, kipp.)

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