What is Drastic + Dramatic

Sunday, December 25, 2011

how silently, how silently the wondrous gift was given

we didn't get any snow here in Utah for Christmas. that's fine by me. i don't care a whole lot for the way snow interferes on the roads. but i love the look of it.


my favorite is when an insulating cloud drags itself overhead, slowly grating along the frozen sky, shaking down frosted crystal shavings. it's the snow you can feel before you see it, because every sound has been muted, been absorbed into the floating flakes. when the snow finally touches, a faint echo of its vertical journey softly clicks on every surface: the trees' twiggy tongues, yellow grass eyelashes, rooftop nose ridges...

how silently, so silently love descends from pure heaven. today, no snow in the sky or on the ground, but piles and flurries of love in my heart this Christmas season. i'm not sure what did it. well, yes i am; Jesus did it, as he does with everything that involves love. i am just so filled with gratitude that my family is alive and well, that my friends are so many and so wonderful. i am surrounded by immovable snowpacks of miracles, unmeltable blessings.

as he came to earth, so he comes to hearts that invite him still to enter in. silently. you feel it before you see it. the noisy cares of the world and life are muted and absorbed in his endless love, which love will drift high in your heart; and instead of cover the roads, show the way; instead of chill the surface, ignite the core.

the greatest gift i could ever receive is a daily snow dusting of what the angels declared to simple shepherds tending their flocks that night: good tidings and great joy. I have a massive love for the gospel good tidings of Jesus Christ and am blessed with a testimony, gathered silently, experience by experience, that God did send that perfect child, who grew and lived as my model example; who atoned to take my scarlet sins and, through faith and repentance, renew my soul as though it were white as snow; and who died to bridge the way over death to life eternal.


by way of honest faith, i have had undeniable miracles in my life, simple and great, and i have come to know my Savior. he has granted my every, daily blessing.

and I am completely snowed in.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Nuclear Bombs and an English Major

Ahh, finally I can breathe without breaths taking up energy needed for deadlines. Free breathing, it's nice.

Whenever I exit school I see this plume of white smoke some distance to the north. Often it makes me ponder what it must have been like waking up all dandy, breathing free on a pleasant morning in August, year 1945. Then suddenly a lightning geyser punching through the ground, rocking even the dust of the earth beneath my sandaled feet. Standing some distance to the south I wouldn't die, but every eyelid blink would try for days to scrape the inverse x-ray pillar scarred to my retinas.

From where I see the smoky finger poking at the sky, my guess is the town of Pleasant Grove would disappear, become a giant gravel pit, every slab of cement an unmarked headstone. I used to live in PG. I want to say I remember what that plume is from. I can't. And I guess I can't help that I wonder what an atomic bomb shock wave would feel like.

I picture the people in the surgical clinic upon which the "Little Boy" released his nuclear tantrum: one minute bowing to check on a patient; lifting the page of a patient's chart; the patient turning his sick face toward the window, his breathing subtle like the leaves nodding sleepily at the summer morning sun--

then in the profound silence of full volume noise, an instantaneous slurping of every atom of air, simultaneously resisted by a force that turns teeth to ash, snatched their bodies, etched for an instant in the transparent monolith of time, just long enough for the entire earth to pause, a pop of light surrounded each human statue, radiating skeletons framed in black silhouettes--

and after that moment, a melting hole, their stunned souls rising on a smoldering halo of smoke.

This video has bounteous dramatic effect...but it's rather close to what I imagine. No way so many humans (140,000) on earth could have woken that day with a feeling that it might be their last.


"The bomb was delivered by a US B29 bomber, nicknamed Enola Gay, from the Pacific island of Tinian. Dropped by parachute it exploded about 580 m. (1,885 ft.) above the ground, and at the point of detonation the temperature probably reached several million degrees centigrade. Almost immediately a fireball was created from which were emitted radiation and heat rays, and severe shock waves were created by the blast. A one-ton (900 kg.) conventional bomb would have destroyed all wooden structures within a radius of 40 m. (130 ft.). Little Boy destroyed them all within a radius of 2 km. (1.2 mi.) of the hypocentre (the point above which it exploded). The terrain was flat and congested with administrative and commercial buildings, and the radius of destruction for the many reinforced concrete structures was about 500 m. (1,625 ft.), though only the top stories of earthquake-resistant buildings were damage or destroyed. Altogether an area of 13 sq. Ikm. (5 sq. mi.) was reduced to ashes and of the 76,000 buildings in the city 62.9% were destroyed and only 8% escaped damage" 
(from this photojournal website:
 http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/levine/bombing.htm).

Several MILLION degrees? Holy crap. [moments and moments of silence]

It's so hard to segue from horror to anything else...

But anyway, I picture this walking out from school. Not sure why. I mean, I could think happy thoughts, right? Like "oh, i bet that's a magical candy factory sending sweet fumes of confectionary sugar into the air" (*note, powdered sugar/sugar dust is also highly explosive) but no, I think of my Japanese brothers and sisters on those fateful days in August 1945.

Why do I think I can even pretend to visualize such a horror? Mostly because of media and movies, is my guess. Maybe I was watching from heaven. I would be the kind of spirit to request to watch such a thing. Somehow to develop compassion for others, if that's how pre-mortal heaven works. Or perhaps I was there, if the pre-mortal or pre-this-life precinct is governed by reincarnation. And that's why I am drawn to think of such things, because my soul was once propelled into its next life from that nuclear force. I don't know. I tend to ponder on the more macabre. That also prompts a "why?" which also receives another "I don't know." More often than not life ends in death, so it's an inescapably intriguing part of existence. In my opinion.

But I love the living part. Despite a somber regard for this historic event at this precise moment, I'm actually quite happy. Indeed, profoundly peacefully happy. I have high hopes for next semester, and small, productive goals to keep me busy until it comes, to keep my brain engaged. This semester really put me to work, and I don't want to lose that ethic or momentum. 

one goal is to read the Chicago Manual of Style. It's a rule book about grammar. Thrilling, huh? The way I see it, it's the Louvre of Language. I'm that kind of person. Who really will read the dictionary sometimes. I know. I think I could have been a dictionary in another life. Or some human equivalent. Maybe a medieval scribe. I love writing. Even after hundreds of double-spaced typed papers this semester, I still love writing. I love it even more I think, because this semester made me better at it. I am so grateful for the opportunities proffered me at school. The first person I thank for my success is God (if I fail anything, it's my own fault; if I win, it's all on God. He's too good to me, frankly). The next first.one (1.1) person I thank is Grandma Bonnie. She funds tuition and books. Without her, I wouldn't be going to school right now, frankly. And then Aunt Jadine is 1.2 because she's the woman. She makes school costs reimbursement happen. I am blessed. Beyond.

Did you know next semester they're making me Editor-In-Chief for Touchstones magazine, UVU's literary journal? Oh dude, I'm nervous. But so excited. I really want to do this editing/publishing thing with my life, so more than it looking good on any resume, I really want to learn everything it can teach me! I still can't believe I'll be the kind of top leader person for the semester. This past semester I was a Poetry Editor. That was a fair amount of work. Now I'll have more to do, but I'll have amazing people around me. Spread the word if you know any students enrolled at UVU who write poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or drama, or do photography, sculpture or art, and tell them to SUBMIT their stuff, or if they want to be part of the staff, to send in an APPLICATION because it's going to be so much fuuuuun!!

Things are looking mighty fine in this current life of mine. Just got to keep seeking first the kingdom, then I'll be citizen of a first-rate nation that supplies every needful thing. No matter what happens, I'm good with God.

So...farewell Fall 2011. 

Sunday, December 04, 2011

twenty-six letters, in no particular order

Just then, I opened a new post and completely expected to see something written already.

That's because all day I've been writing, just not in a readable way. Each experience I lived today somehow knew it was important and so it started doing this strange thing to me. Each experience pricked a tiny hole in wherever it is within me that gets that full feeling of satisfaction with life. And instead of being filled by the wonderful experiences of this day, I was emptied.

I was nestled in a seat at church, warming my heart by the heat of sweet declarations of faith by my peers and friends. Their personal testimonies witnessed of the masterpiece that is painted by every stroke of brilliant experience, designed by God, hung in the halls of our memories--indeed painted on the very walls immovably. My heart was open, yet unfilled.

An hour later I was in the Relief Society meeting, surrounded by angels with no two hairdos alike, no two outfits uniform; my heart opened wider, gladder to the spirit shared, but was not filled.

I stirred the coconut milk in with the squash and curry and chicken and onions, and my nose poured the soup's savory aroma into my lungs, yet my soul was not filled.

And when satisfied mouths partook I was happy; then a little prick, another leak began. I wondered. If the gospel would not fill my soul, if making and sharing food could not satisfy--indeed if these most favorite acts now sabotaged what usually they made whole--what could patch my draining soul?

When the boy (whose attention crushes my heart making my cheeks bruise rosy) talked to me and even complimented me and made me laugh and this did not reverse the emptying process I knew at last nothing would work and it must just be one of those days.

I don't mean to say that these good experiences didn't make me feel good, but I just didn't get why nothing was sticking. Plenty of feeling, just no filling.

The moments of my day had this plan: rid her of satisfaction and she will feel a need to be filled, she will write. Each letter will prick the tip of a finger, the leaking feelings bleeding through a corresponding shape, and when each letter has been typed tidily in place, she will discover that her soul is actually filled and overflowing, that words had just had no ability to define those excess feelings that can only be felt. She will write, and she will be filled. Then her filledness will be fully represented. in writing.

Well.

Writing thinks it does that. It thinks that since it holds all the letters, then it owns all the words. If it owns all the words, it can produce any and all meaning. All satisfaction will be filled if I write the feelings out, write 'em down. It thinks that since I can't think without words, I need writing to be ultimately fulfilled.

Well, more or less, the words are right. I need them to communicate feeling. A feeling comes, I sense a movement within me, I classify it best I can, I tag it to track its migratory patterns. That's what we do, we assume every feeling has a place, so we find or make a place for it.

Right now I'm writing because...

[minutes of wondering wandered through my brain just now]

I have no reason.

Right now I am content, but at a loss. A loss for what? Words? Never. There are always words, even if none of them describe the things I feel and think. A loss that feels like the overused "missing jigsaw piece" analogy. It's not a corner piece; my frame is complete. But there's one inside piece that I'm looking for, because this one section is almost complete, and I feel like I'll know it the second I see it.

All this fancy talk is bothering me. It's because it'll have an audience of who knows who. I could have written in my journal, privately, but when I write that way it's so blasé, it's as if I write the same page over and over again. I chose to write for an audience other than myself so that I would try harder.

It worked...but it's boring. It's all pretty and floofy, which isn't even a word, and my pretty words weren't even true. So here's the truth.

Right now I'm writing for attention. Right now my mind feels like it's trickling down my spine and down, through to the center of the earth because I took sleep-aid pills to induce an imitation slumber sensation.

Right now, if you were looking through your screen to me you would see this:


Which you probably weren't expecting. I mean, how could you have? It's not pretty. But, truth be told, I'm too vain to post a picture I don't think resembles prettiness in some measure. Right now my face is stiff with mud that hides my skin as it pretends to cleanse it. My words mask my feelings as they pretend to portray them. That's happening in my "right now," even though you're reading this during your "right now."

Right now I'm thinking about Mary, the mother of Jesus. She didn't ask for it, she wasn't walkin around thinking "I sure hope I'm the Mary, chosen and bound to get a lot of attention." I never would have been a good choice to fill the role of Mary, or Eve, etc; I'm too vain. Not humble enough. I try to be, honest I do; but, not so that I'll be chosen for it, because that's instantly contrary to the laws of humility. I would really like to be honestly humble, by very nature. But it takes a lot of effort on my part to be humble. So I keep trying.

Right now I'm thinking about that boy. Yes, I have a crush, as they say, on this boy. But he has a crush on himself, so he doesn't need mine. But still it's just fun to have a little crush. The reason (well actually there are many deserving reasons a crush would form) I've been attracted to him is because the first time I ever talked to him, I told him that I love to write and he responded exactly how I expected he wouldn't: he jubilantly expressed slight envy that I pursue writing, that I study it in school, because he too loves to write (and he does it well), but he is studying more practically lucrative things. So ever since I met him that pleasant night beside a dim fire, I knew I liked him. He unknowingly inspires me to create, to write, because I am privileged to pursue what I love. But that is all he will do for me, because I do not seek his attention. When I get it, I am pleased. But he gets enough attention from enough girls to fill an entire stadium, wherein they would gladly assemble to cheer for only him. He would act embarrassed, but that would be his mask to cover his smug elation. I do not imply that he is at all unpleasant, I'm just saying I will not participate in throwing myself at him. If he asked me out, I would absolutely say yes. He's the white knight; he makes the first move.

Right now I have to pee. Right now my nose is itching from the mud mask. Right now all the letters aren't touching each other on the keyboard, but 'w' typed after 'o', and 'o' typed right after 'n', creates the present. Those letters chain up these words, and these words make up my feelings, and my feelings fill my happy soul despite its holes and ignorance. Right now I think I've written all I came to write.



oops, I almost forgot the letter z.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Red, Magenta, and Black shatter Friday

It was a Black and sunny Friday. Al, Moyra and I didn't go shopping. We got manicures and went to lunch at Zupas to spend some time (and a little money) making meaningful memories. Alex chose pink to go beneath a black shatter paint and topped it off with gold flowers and dots, Moyra chose a gold-shimmering red, and I got a magenta that perfectly matches the belt I'll wear this Sunday when I give my talk.


Last year Al and I did hair and makeup and went to a movie, sneaking ice cream in with us. I cherished the day, so we went out again! I'm glad Moyra came this time. It was her birthday four days ago, so in proper heed of the season, we celebrated a birth as we avoided celebrating consumerism.

My opening words in last year's post were "The world is probably my least favorite place the day after Thanksgiving." I think so even more this year. I don't mean to judge the people who participate, necessarily. Well, perhaps without people, Black Friday wouldn't exist as such, and so maybe I am judging the people, en masse.

It's simply a land of make believe, and I can't bring myself to pretend. A sale seems suddenly special. One perceives that money is being saved whereas money is actually flying out of plastic cards under pretense of currency, which only represent credit, debt. Knowing that their spenders are evolving--they can't even wait for Thanksgiving to fulfill its role before Santa stuffs the market--the Stores adapt: they open at midnight, a time that their wallet wielders would stay awake to anyway. The bell tolls, the money passes from one life to another, presents purchased are given to others in similitude of some reason foggy to the eyes which see twinkling red and green, ears that hear jingling bells, those who stuff their four-wheeled sleighs with packages and bags and boxes and pudding and roast beast...wait a minute, this sounds familiar. Ah yes, Dr Seuss wrote a book about a Grinch whose mind was stuck in a perception of Christmas consumerism, and whose aim was to steal things so he could ruin Christmas. Sure, the Grinch was more a vindictive guy who resented being excluded from all the festivities, but Black Friday reminds me of this part:



That look he gives at the end is the face I attribute to my mind when it thinks about the day after Thanksgiving. A day of gratitude for the plenty that the world shares with us, lasts not one second past midnight and then the noise begins. The rush n' crush, pleasure-treasure, deal stealing, reason for the season treason...take that, Dr S. (with this snippet of video i expect no monetary gain nor claim as belonging to anyone but the Doc...)

Don't get me wrong, presents are nice. We want people to remember us, know that we love them. The idea that presents reflect love has long been evolving, along with the shoppers.

Strictly speaking, if anyone should get presents for Christmas, it's Jesus. It's a celebration about Him. The wise men brought gifts for him and his mother. (Here is a link with thoughts on the meaning of the wise men's three gifts) But, since He doesn't have much need for earthly things anymore (what do you get a Guy that really does have it all?) we bring gift-giving down to our own level: presents are for the kids.

Why are there two different words, anyway? Present, gift. French helps me understand this. "Cadeau" (which is a word close to 'cadet' which means youngest sibling, and also to 'cadavre' which we all know means dead body) means present. "Don" means gift or talent. This makes me think that gifts are given as from God to his children (hence the birth of his Son), or as reward to hard work, or as from worshipper to king; whereas presents, we give to each other (which is in essence trading back and forth what God has gifted us).

I heard a radio commercial for a laser eye surgery establishment (weeks before Thanksgiving) that started out "We all know Christmas is about kids." And the commercial continued on about how if you bring a toy to make a kid's dreams come true, you'd get a discount on your eye's own dreams coming true. I've had this eye surgery. It sure is a dream, a miracle even. Hey, speaking of miracles, Jesus healed blind eyes! They should've used that approach in their advertising. "When Jesus was on Earth, He healed the eyes of the seeing impaired" (they'd want to be politically correct) "So since He's not here any more...bring in a toy for a kid and we'll discount the miracle of perfect vision as your present to yourself this holiday season"...

I return from tangent. Presents are for kids. I was just telling Al and Moyra today that it feels weird as an adult to ask for presents. When I was young I had interests, hobbies, really simple kinds that could be wrapped in boxes. Nowadays it's just not right to ask, "um, well I'd like a reliable car" or, "I could really use a box springs and frame under this mattress on the floor." I have a job and responsibility and so asking for presents comes with a taste of shame: I ask for things I need that I can't quite get for myself. Though my loved ones love to help me, I feel like I need to wait until I'm getting married (or have to give up on hope of marriage and find a 'place of my own') before I'll feel comfortable asking for the presents I need/want now.

Plus, I'm happy with what I have already. I have 99% of what I want and more than 100% of what I need. I am blessed, end of complaint.

Why did we learn and why do we teach kids that birthdays, holidays, celebrations are about presents and candy? Why do they get to roam around and collect free candy house to house? Why do they get an Easter basket filled with candy and presents? Actually, participation in these traditions don't bother me. Why so many children do not know what celebrations are truly for, that's what bothers me.

We know Santa isn't a real dude that never grows up at the Never-Never-North Pole, shaking fairy dust on a sleigh and reindeer so he can heigh-ho-ho-ho his happy thoughts into the air and drop presents on the good boys and girls, and coal on the bad. Around the world in one night.

Why do these things lose charm for us as adults? Because we don't believe the lie anymore, even if we try to keep living it. We participate in the consumer tradition without stopping to realize we're not saving the money we're spending. It's hard to feel cheerful living something you don't believe or know how to believe.

A possible majority of adults aren't sure they believe in Jesus, and so the holiday begins to look more and more holey, hollow. Why do I even celebrate this day? To perpetuate the lie, so the children will grin when their dreams are ripped open on Christmas morning--er, I mean, when their presents are ripped open to reveal their hopeful dreams on Christmas morning.

I know of two believing children, two very darling girls. Sure they ask for presents and play along with American traditions, but they have a gift of humility that was given them when their mother was taken from them by cancer about seven years ago. (Talk about a ripping of dreams.) They are so modest in their asking, receiving, and showing gratitude for things. I'm not saying they're perfect kids, but they rank up there on the nice list. Their dad is doing a fine job.

I guess because it was a present, I'm as guilty as the next presenter--but they didn't ask for it. I took these two girls to get their nails painted because I love them. I don't think spending time (and a little money) could ever spoil two such gifted kids.

You know, I'm convinced as children we knew exactly what Christmas was about before presents stole the scene. It's about a Man who lives somewhere Northeast of wherever you are in the world, who smiles down and gifts every good thing to those who humbly ask. We should let the simple, childlike belief in Jesus Christ be the miracle gift to our blind eyes this Christmas season. (I love this video)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

i'm an almost really good writer

Post 1, Post 2, Post 3

I had some of my writing peers look over a slightly modified version of my first post this month and their feedback to me was that they didn't quite understand what I was trying to get at. Fair enough. If even one person gives me that sort of feedback, it is a fair assessment that I need to write better.

In my opinion, certain blog writing should be raw; in a way unfinished so that the reader can cook it up just right. I want my blog to be an open reflection of what I'm thinking, not what I think you should think about what I've written. Sure, I want it to make sense, but what if I make you fill in some blanks? You aren't duty-free as a reader. I won't make you reel until your brain is upside-down from hoping to find some semblance of sense in abstract and disconnected rambling, not intentionally. But I don't want to carry you; I want to move you.

You've got a brain, an imagination. It needs exercise. It is always my intention for my sentences to offer breath to your expanding mind as your eyes jog along, each word a stride toward an energized view of language, life, yourself.

In my creative non-fiction class it's been a pretty consistent feedback on my writing that I should look more closely, take advantage of utilizing meditation in my stories, so they have an ability to reach to a reader and make a connection. While I personally felt that I got out what I wanted to say in my first post, I can always order it better, or be more clear, or something. Writing raw, the way I do on my blog, without peer review before publishing, may not produce perfectly sensical material. I'm a consistently almost really good writer. I'll keep practicing.

So, just to be clear:

My point in not wearing a bra for the month of November is to be veritably aware of breasts, particularly my own. I intentionally left out the word cancer. Not wearing a bra will not somehow make me aware of cancer, any more than seeing pink will make me aware of breast cancer. I'm not wearing a bra to remind me to research about cancer, so that I become aware of it.
----so far this has been interesting. liberating in some ways, inconsequential in others. Mostly I've been keeping a jacket on because going braless is always colder and so in winter even more so. I'm unaware of what other people have perceived, if even they've looked at my chest; only my roommates or the guy I'm not exclusively dating have really had anything to say, and usually only if I bring it up. Anyway, because I usually keep the jacket on, I don't think many people are aware, and that's okay because that wasn't the point; I need to be aware. I'm doing this part for me. No bra as an action to improve my own awareness.

My point in choosing November is because breast cancer doesn't end after halloween; it's not "pretend" or "dress up for fun and then go back to normal life." Traditionally, November is gratitude awareness month. I am grateful for thus-far healthy breasts. And bras. I think it will feel peculiar when I again wear a bra, but bras sure are useful for rounding things up, for grading on a curve...

My point when I made the comparison between breast cancer awareness propaganda and TV commercials featuring starving children, was to question why two such serious issues receive such different attention. World hunger, does it have an awareness month? Nationally, yes: June. I didn't know that. June has always been about me, since it boasts no national reason to celebrate except that I was born its eighth day. (Someday when my writing makes me famous, and then I die, June will finally have a holiday.)
----we always use something humorous or infantile or cartoon to represent our holidays. Santa, turkeys, Easter bunny (seriously, what a joke), etc., so that we can make an easy connection, feel like we're celebrating awareness---even if we don't think for one second of Jesus' birth, a peaceful harvest feast between foreign settlers and Native inhabitants, or Jesus' resurrection, etc.

Some look beyond the plush toy turkeys and use November as a time to gather in canned food and donate it to shelters and food banks. A true spirit beams behind the propaganda of every holiday that is reached by awareness. Once you step into the rays of awareness, your attitude changes and you let yourself be moved by that spirit, and that is when a difference can be made, when you can feel that satisfactory joy of the season.

My point is, you don't become truly aware of anything unless you do something proactive. Having a perception of some thing or situation or fact is nice and all, and weakly qualifies as awareness; gaining knowledge of any thing or situation or fact takes initiative on your part. No one else can think for you; not even my words will succeed in making you truly aware unless you personally desire to do something about things, situations or facts in your own way.

I don't care if you don't want to learn about breast cancer. Maybe that doesn't affect you very closely. Well, then what does? My words are etching a template for action.

My point is, pink means nothing to you if you don't know what it's signifying. What it's signifying doesn't mean anything to you unless you learn about it. If you're not concerned with eventual cancer, then maybe it's heart failure, Alzheimer's, any other mutated component of "normal" that may lurk in your own future. Your participation must be your own: you must become aware by knowing the risks, the preventative measures you can take, and when the time comes, when ultimately those precautions may have had no power to change your course, then you need to be aware of how you will care for yourself. What will you decide if your options are limited? Which treatment, any treatment, are there treatments?

If you have a question, seek its answer. Ask, and it shall be given you. Unless science doesn't have an explanation quite yet.

And that's why they're handing out bumper stickers that say "save the TaTas" or "save second base", or "I love boobies", etc.: to supply money for research. I haven't put energy into researching where exactly the funds and donations go, but so many good and concerned people donate money, goods and time to furthering the search for cures, for treatments, for machines that provide early detection. So I support the efforts, I am glad everything turns pink and people buy in to it. The money furthers research and treatment, I hope, more than less.

I went to the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah on Friday. The building is absolutely beautiful. There are two sides to it: the patient and hospital side, and the research side. The hospital was so unrestricted, inviting---it didn't even feel like a hospital, actually. Every floor has an amazing view of Salt Lake valley. The sincere care and individual investment of doctors and nurses and volunteers and other workers was palpable, breathable: instead of a hospital smell, a hospitable feeling. That was the most impressive thing I take away from the hospital side. Cancer is taken seriously there, but the hopeful feeling is unmistakable. That's what I personally felt aware of.

The sixth floor is home to their research library. I want to go back and browse and ask questions before the month is through, but I'm not sure that I will get to it. But, so that you are aware, there are specialists there who offer answers, comfort, motivation and solutions if you or someone you know needs any info. It's a way to get tailored research tips from an actual, experienced human versus the impersonal Google database. Not saying Google isn't vast and helpful, but at the Institute these counselors can narrow down and point you in the precise direction you personally need to go.

My tour guide Judy pointed out several donated furnishings as we moved through the building. Every piece of art was donated. One painting right outside the research library was even raised into the building by crane before its outer walls were even constructed because the mural is so big; it wouldn't fit up any staircase or elevator. The top floor was literally built around that painting.

I took only one picture during the tour (okay two, counting the description) of another masterpiece:





My phone camera couldn't capture the whole puzzle, but only just barely. 24,00 pieces, one by one! There was another puzzle like this one on a different floor. It is truly an aesthetically comforting building.

Judy then took me over to the research side of the Institute. Actually that's where things started to appear more like the typical hospital: a running track of florescent lights above, squeaky tile floors below, echoey halls and very little art the closer we came to the labs. 

Now, my friend Ryan (whose humor would produce medicine of the cure-cancer level, were laughter somehow transformed into something absorbable by blood) had prepped me for my tour. He works in a lab there at the Huntsman and he mentioned how every PI (Principal Investigator, essentially a specialized research doctor) has a lab and research workers or interns such as himself, and the room of individual labs just went on and on.

When Judy opened the door to the labs, at first we entered a small entry room with enclosed, refrigerated shelves, like the kinds in movies that hold vials of world-ending viruses. Then we passed through an open doorway and I beheld something I've been trying for two days to find words to describe. I should have taken a picture, but even its thousand words wouldn't adequately represent the feeling of what my eyes were gulping down. I couldn't see if the room ended, but certainly it must, since the building has outer walls.

Little machines whirred and swayed and spun and yet a controlled silence prevailed. The unending sight of lab cubicles offered to stretch my brain more than I could allow in one day, so I focused on the lab immediately before me. Clean, orderly, but how do they keep track! So impressive. I think most of all I sensed a profound respect for the efforts being made to find better treatments, to discover more about the body and its mysteries. The measly word I vocally managed to employ was "wow."

What would be most valuable to you, if it interests you, is go tour the Institute yourself. It was totally simple to call and set an appointment (To schedule a tour, contact Roni [said like Ronnie] Whittle at 801-587-9315), the tour is free and less than an hour, and Judy was super nice, and everyone else I saw had an appearance of niceness, and it's good to see things you don't live very far from---to become aware of what's right under your nose.

If you don't want to tour the Huntsman center (or don't live in Utah at all, say), go tour something that interests or puzzles you: 24,000 bits of question can be pieced together, no joke. You just need to do a little research to cure curiosity. Arrange a visit to a bank, a library, a historical site, a government building. I imagine pretty much every place is open to sincere inquisitors. If people have taken the time and made the effort to build a whole building around one painting, one idea, one cause, they obviously want people to know about it. Seriously, arrange a visit. You'll be thrilled with what you dig up in your own back yard.

In the very least, go take a can of tuna to your nearest food bank. Happy Thanksgiving.

Next up, the story of my mock mammogram experience. This post is long enough.

Monday, November 14, 2011

a post not exactly about breasts


My tire went almost-flat and I switched it out with my donut. I wore a pink and white striped knee-length skirt (and of course no bra) while I did this. Then I went inside and made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies that are fantastic. I mostly followed this recipe but instead of eggs and seasonings I used up the rest of the pumpkin pie filling (that already had eggs and seasonings in it) that I'd made a few weeks back...luckily it was still good because I wanted these cookies. I ate four, he left with 8 or 9. There are at least 35 left. Yeah, lots of cookies.

He and I, to use familiar vernacular, "updated our relationship status." We'll date, but not exclusively. That's fine. I feel quite fine about it. I'm updated, up to date, down to date him and whomever. That's la vie.

I told him he needed to date so he could be sure he'll find whom he needs. He asked me 'what do you need?' I spoke for a moment about how I need a man who loves God and honors the Priesthood power He accords him, but who can still relate with the world. Not partake of it, say, but just know how to maneuver through it without letting it get him haughty or naughty. heh. I just made that up. And then I mentioned how I hope I will marry a man who is patient and kind. Not because I'm necessarily obnoxious and mean, for to need a balance, but just that, like some humans, I can have moments where I'm self-absorbed and not exactly aware of others' needs. I try, but I do notice that I can just totally miss opportunities to praise and recognize what wonderful things they do and how wonderful they are. In general I try to recognize this; however, I am not perfect.

I told him I used to be more thoughtful and considerate. Then there were certain boys who came along and sort of broke me down, and now I don't care as much. It was a good thing at first. I cared more than those boys wanted me to, so, to rid myself of the ridiculous stress of imbalanced romantical reciprocation, I learned myself how to turn off caring. I had to turn off the caring because I unwisely decided that it was somehow preferable to remain in contact with a soul-sucking person who didn't care and match myself with their level of not-caring than to move on and find someone who deserved my caring. Instead of ridding myself of the boy, I rid myself of the caring.

Let this single-line paragraph emphasize to you that this practice is lame: lame because it cripples.

My eyes drew distant memories on the wall and I stared blankly at them as I spoke to answer his question. Then my eyes decided they were done drawing and wanted to play cowboy. Wrangling alongside some galloping emotions, my eyes lassoed in a few tears.

He stated that I was crying and wiped away a tear. This was funny to me. Guys are rarely comfortable with the release of woman tears. I bet they wish there was some way of capturing these mysterious microorganisms and dissecting them, to understand what they're made of, how they really form. He informed me that I was crying, not because I didn't know that I was crying, but because he didn't know what to say, but that probably something should be said. He asked if he made me cry. I assured him no. He asked me why, then. My right shoulder shrugged toward my chin and I said, 'sometimes my emotions come out my eyes.'

Guys, there come times when a woman cries. It is safe to assume it could be because of you, because that can make you tender, make you stop and think and ask and comfort; but, you know, sometimes the emotions truly do just get pent up a bit too long and they flutter free from those glassy windows that open to her soul. Sometimes the words that are trying so hard to escape through the lips can't find a way, so their only route to expression is to dissolve out through the eyes.

Other times she thinks of a sad story and makes herself a character in it. Sometimes that sad story is her own past and the pale humor of irony mixes with tears, watercolors of reality to fill in the permanent outline of that past, for her to paint a new understanding of it.

That's basically what I was doing. We all have a sad story, at least one. Momentarily I remembered the character I played in that story and I wept for her. Just a few tears.

He told me I'm beautiful. I wasn't seeking any compliment; my tears just came. But it was nice to hear anyway. So what if the tears are what brought the words from him. It's nice to hear.

I still care. But after all that pageantry I made myself go through in the past, icing on the fake smile so that my heart might believe that I didn't truly care, eventually she believed that she didn't truly care. Now it's hard to turn on again.

Sometimes I think of the opening line in that groovy song Black Horse and a Cherry Tree by KT Tunstall. "Well my heart knows me better than I know myself, so I'm gonna let it do all the talking."

If instead I had let my heart speak, and then listened to her, I would have dropped the boys that she knew were no good for her. Instead my emotions absorbed my attention and I "stopped [her] dead for a beat or two" so I could do things my own way, and she hasn't forgiven me yet. I thought she didn't know what she wanted, I wasn't sure how to trust her. Now I recognize that she has had a very keen intuition all along, and, now she doesn't trust me with it. I kept thinking I need a change of heart, that she needs to be healed because she's broken, or has been broken. But I think maybe she's fine.

I need a change of impression.

And that reminds me. I'm going to experience the pressure of a mammogram this week, in the spirit of breast awareness. Hot dog, is that ever going to make me aware of my breasts. Just because I haven't reliably posted about my experiment this week doesn't mean I haven't been being aware; it's just that you're not aware that I'm aware. But I am. Stay tuned.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

No-bra-vember...

Read Post 1 'Something You Don't Know'
Read Post 2 'Breast under(a)wear(ness)'

This weekend I've been enthusiastically :-[ aware of the pink of peptobismol. . .and it got me thinking about side effects of cancer treatments. I went to breastcancer.org and found the Treatment Side Effects page. There are over a hundred treatment side effects listed in alphabetical order. Death is not listed.


Today, during the social hours of church meetings and activities, I became annoyed by the persistent shifting of my selected outfit and realized how capably a bra holds everything in place: boobs, clothes, attention. . .? As I tugged discretely, trying to shift back into comfort, I inwardly huffed a little, longing for that old familiar cradle.

I quickly reminded myself that some women don't even get to wear their own breasts under their outfits any more, and humbly quieted my heedless qualm.

There has been history of breast cancer and other cancers in my family, actually. I had a young cousin die of cancer; I think he was almost seven. I remember my younger sister and I were on the trampoline when we got the news of his passing. We both plopped down and started crying. Whenever I picture him I see a glowing, bluish light behind a halo of wispy almost-gone hair, a smile powered by courage, and eyes that saw beyond: windows to the assurance and hope of the loving embrace of God. His youngest brother, when still a toddler, fought and beat cancer. He's now in high school and about as strong and as tall as a horse.

My grandmother survived a breast cancer battle. I don't remember anything about her being down n' out. If ever she was, as I imagine she must have been, she seamlessly resumed grandmotherhood and shows so few signs of the interruption. Maybe I'll build up the nerve to ask her about it; maybe she'll tell me what it was like. Not exactly a hoppin' topic.

So anyway, unhappily aware am I that my chances of becoming a pink and hairless heir of cancer might be pretty good.

I haven't read up on many stories of suffering yet. A lot of survivor stories are so packed with positivity, the suffering doesn't get much mention. Who likes to dwell on the pain? I'm in awe at their triumph over extreme difficulty, the likes of which I'm sure I can't even imagine.

This lady's story was remarkably good-humored. I recommend it.
http://community.breastcancer.org/blog/cancer-baby-children-and-the-body-after-cancer/

It takes ponderous effort to be grateful for something I've always had. Well, I guess I've really only had breasts since what, twelve, thirteen? Maybe it was even later before I actually had anything that remotely filled a bra. Late bloomer. But they've just been there, more or less, for a good fifteen years and I haven't given them a whole lot of thought. Well, okay, sure I have, but what I mean is, I haven't worried about losing them or waking up and them not being in place. . . .

I'm grateful for thus-far healthy breasts. Ladies, may you ever so remain---to entertain a happy husband (can I type that? J) and nourish several babes.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Breast under(a)wear(ness)

Read Post 1 'Something You Don't Know'
I'm hoping to come up with some clever title for the overall product of my experiment this month. Clearly the title of this individual post proves that I'm still hoping.

So the first six days of my experiment have somewhat proven my point better than I expected. Even three days in to not wearing a bra, I was already mostly forgetting that my ladies were loose. I quickly became used to it, not seeming as aware of it as I'd thought I would, as on the first day. So even the lack of this useful piece of underwear didn't long keep me aware of anything. How quickly we adapt and forget, sometimes.

A whole month of not wearing a bra will be about as effective in making me aware of cancer as a whole month of wearing and seeing pink will. I need to do more.

I have been doing research. I'm surprised with some of the things I learn, but then again, not very surprised. My nation has been struggling with its overall health for some time. The other day I wrote up these couple paragraphs:



The organizations researching cancer cures are fighting a losing battle. Even though their efforts have produced many treatments, they will forever have to research new ones if human behavior doesn’t change. Cancer is sometimes in our genes (hereditary), and some cancer cases are brought on by outside influences, but most by behavioral unassertiveness (both considered 'environmental' factors). The 2010 Cancer Facts and Figures states:

Environmental (as opposed to hereditary) factors account for an estimated 75%-80% of cancer cases and deaths in the US. Exposure to carcinogenic agents in occupational, community, and other settings is thought to account for a relatively small percentage of cancer deaths, about 4% from occupational exposures and 2% from environmental pollutants (man-made and naturally occurring). …The estimated percentage of cancers related to occupational and environmental carcinogens is small compared to the cancer burden from tobacco smoking (30%) and the combination of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity (35%). (Facts 50)

            These percentages are based on figures that would make even the 'small', combined percentage of 6% (for occupational and environmental pollutants) calculate to representing 34,000 yearly deaths from cancer. This would correlate that the cancer cases caused by ‘the combination of [improper] nutrition, physical [in]activity, and obesity’ approximate 198,000 preventable deaths.




This surprised me. I thought the majority of cancer cases were hereditary. I'm not sure why I thought that. But MOST CANCER IS PREVENTABLE.


powerful image 'no smoking'
http://www.flickr.com/photos/myfotopage/2424624202/


This is why I feel it seems like a losing battle they're fighting. They can't very well find a cure for laziness and addiction. Indeed, those already have cures: hard work, exercise, preparedness, asking for help, will power. Pills and invasive treatments aren't usually needed there. (There are many interferences in life that make it hard to be happy and healthy. I will address this in another post soon. I'm just saying there's a lot to be said about taking as much control as you can about your health.)

The Facts and Figures also says:

The goals of the American Cancer Society’s research program are to determine the causes of cancer and to support efforts to prevent, detect, and cure the disease (56).

This is logical. From their studies they discover, for one, that nutrition, physical activity and obesity are contributive factors to the chances of getting cancer and they can recommend that we do something about it. In my opinion it seems largely preferable to avoid cancer treatment by not getting cancer, as much as I can help myself.

'Facts' goes on to say that only the federal government receives and spends more money as an organization in the US. At least, that's what I think I understand when I read: "The [American Cancer] Society is the largest source of private, nonprofit cancer research funds in the US, second only to the federal government in total dollars spent" (56). Or maybe they're saying that the government spends just a bit more than they do in researching cancer? Actually, that makes more sense. It's hard to believe that the American Cancer Society is spending trillions...

Anyway, the ACS is working hard, researching hard. I'm curious to know more about what, exactly. This is where I'm hoping to do more to heighten my awareness.

I have two friends that have connections with a cancer research facility here in Utah. One friend has given me the contact information that I need to set up a tour of the facility. I didn't even know I could do that; I have no idea what I'm in for, but I'm excited to find out. My strategy is to first speak to my friend who is an intern doing cancer research, ask him questions and see what questions our conversation makes me formulate for my tour of the research facility.

If you had this opportunity, what questions would you ask? I'm only one person and my mind is narrow in its wondering. I ask for your participation, please! Do you have anything on your mind about cancer? What would you like to be more aware about? Anything at all, let me hear your questions. If you do not want your questions to show publicly, send me a message through facebook (and if you're not my 'friend' find this--  http://www.facebook.com/mlefairchild  --and message me that way). Thank you in advance for your contributions to my quest!

*picture of blue (not pink) bra found from http://myzerowaste.com/2011/09/its-recycle-your-bra-month/ another small way of making a difference in the world!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Something You Don't Know


It's the first of November. Usually my joke is: "I haven't showered all month." My family expects it by now. And while that statement is currently truthful -- I am yet unshowered -- today I won't  say it. Today I'm doing something else. Well, I suppose I'm not doing something; in the same way that not showering is, in effect, me doing something, I'm not doing in order to do something new.

Confused yet?

Okay I'll just tell you. Today I'm not wearing a bra. I didn't just forget to put one on in a rush to get to school. No, I had plenty of time as I ponderously decided that today would be the first day of a strange experiment, one I'm rather afraid of committing myself to. Not afraid like I'm afraid of getting a disease, say, but unsure how I will handle the daily results and consequences to come -- as if there were anything I could do to prepare for the unexpected anyway.

October is a month attributed with an awareness of breast cancer. Everything becomes pink and boobs receive varied and often humorous attention. There's something about humor that encourages widespread participation. If everything were serious serious serious, people might feel uncomfortable, kind of like the way we feel sad and helpless when pictures of malnourished children appear on the television screen: how can I help them? Moreover, how can I trust that my contributions will actually go toward efforts to nourish those skeletons held together by paper-thin skin? I don't think making light of their starvation would necessarily encourage my participation in the cause of eliminating global hunger. So why does making light of breast cancer produce T-shirts and stickers and slogans, etc., things which clearly don't make much of a difference, yet offer people a noncommittal way to participate or contribute to something they truly don't know how to involve themselves in.

Does awareness come from a color? A bag of chips printed in pink for one month? Are you involved when you buy a clever t-shirt or facebook post? Does awareness come when you find out that someone you know has silently battled and survived breast cancer? Does it come when you feel that lump in your own breast? When treatments erase everything inside you so that your hair has nothing to hold on to? Were you unaware that October became the poster month for breasts because in fact you're daily aware of the toll of breast cancer as each day turns into another without your loved one there to share it with you?

Most likely, my odd decision (odd to me) to not wear a bra for the month of November won't have far-reaching effects. It will most likely frequently present me with uncomfortable situations, considering the ensuing chilly weather. It will likely continue bringing me the feeling I've had all day at school: smug awareness. When I see someone, I look at them, not with different eyes than I've had for twenty-seven years, but with a smirk of secret knowledge: 'I know something you don't know. I'm not wearing a bra.' Everyone -- the guy behind the information desk at the library, my English professor, dudes and dames at the gym, young and old passers by alike -- has been an unknown recipient of this silent comment from my mind. It's a simple change, missing a traditionally familiar piece of underwear. And yet it's positively thrilling, this heightened awareness that I know something everyone else doesn't know.

Certainly we all know things that no one else discerns by glancing at us. And we all keep secrets from those who think they know us. We know what we know personally, through personal experience, and these are things no one else will know in precisely the same way. We all have a profoundly different view of the exact same world. That's life. But the awareness of it! We do not always sense it; we rarely purchase awareness with the currency of thoughtful contemplation on the uniqueness of everyday life. It's a shame. You and I should be aware that, even though the experts and the geniuses know a thing or two that we don't know yet, still they don't know what I know, what you know. They can't. I have perceived the world from my eyes. No one else has.

Then, sometimes we share things with others that they regularly would rather not know. For example, perhaps, you reading this blog post. Now that you are aware of what I know, perhaps it un-comforts you. It never was my intent to have offered you comfort by the end of this post, neither was it to make you aware of my breasts in particular. But maybe I have intrigued you. Maybe inspired you to try an experiment yourself, to put yourself in a position to see the world in a way you haven't yet.

It starts with a decision to do something. Or not do something. Do it. Be aware of what happens.

This eleventh month I will be aware of breasts, particularly my own unsupported pair, but also of breast cancer and the foundations and causes surrounding it. It's no longer October, but awareness is no less important. From time to time I will include what I become aware of, so that we can all have a real measure of awareness together. This should be a very stimulating experiment indeed.

Something you may not have known
The 2010 cancer.org Cancer Facts and Figures report estimated that about 569,490 Americans were expected to die of cancer that year -- more than 1,500 people a day.

That's a lot of pink bags of chips.

photo: alaskan state flower, forget me not

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grade Me

Name
Professor
Assignment
Date
Title: Very Much Alluding to the Essence

Whenever I read a thing I think things about it. Then I write things. Some things are thoughtful and other things are filling space. Lots of space is filled. A thesis takes control and is the clever backbone that allows the rest of the piece to move.

I transition. So and so says, and I quote, "something" (page) that is really quite pertinent and I expound. I must expound or else what so and so said will not be pertinent. Fortunately it is quite pertinent. And not only does so and so prove that my thesis is indeed a clever way of tying thing one to thing two, I impress you with a nuanced shadow of meaning in my way of relating things.

Segue. The whole body of the paper extends from the backbone, coming alive: spurting nerve endings, flexing extremities, wiggling its eyebrows for how distinguished the words are making it appear. Another so and so argues that his own words disagree, "for how else would the paper be interesting if it did not stir up a conversation?" (page) and I take a stance. I will side with my thesis because the author of the original thing says "that to think . . . and respond [to a text] will always be a conversation within a conversation and there is no end, or origin, to the conversing" (page).

In other words, what I am saying is hardly original even if it is the first time I personally have ever thought it, but I must regurgitate the language of my breed. All that has been spoken before me is attached to my use of the words by imperceptible webs of meaning receding toward the genesis of time. And here I take five pages to wrap a buzzing idea, caught in this web, with words all my own. And methodically suck the life out of it.

Carefully I avoid the exact phrasing of any so-and-so-whosaidit who has ever written so that I don't flunk for plagiarism. I regift you words, sounds that will ever echo a thing you can never possess, but that reflect recursive images in your mind. You think something entirely unique to your mind, likely those things which are more, less or something other than (Derrida 157) what I have actually typed.

And then I conclude, having triggered a temporary trap of your attention, fusing thing one to thing two, which both reach back and grip the backbone tightly at its center. What would be lost if I did not perform on this occasion to speak? You neither leave richer with any thing, nor have I had to part with any thing to purchase this argument. Here it lies.

I cite their works

And So, So. The Something of Things. Of This World: Published, 1989 pages and pages. written.
So, So and. Who Disagrees. Of The Past: Published, 1686. pages and pages. written.


Derrida, Jacques. '"The Exorbitant. Question of Method." On Grammatology. 1967. Trans. Gayatri Spivak. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 1976. 157-164.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Landward



Where your treasure is my heart
is also; you have the map
and wind in your sails.
Ignore the sun and stars
whose lights last half a day
and trust the tug that tightens
time: the only whole distance uncharted.

Search the horizon future,
imagine the harbor love,
anchored ashore a life time,
oh sailor, at ease
at home. . .


we'll sway cradled in a bed of rope
salvaged from those years at sea
our arms and fingers tethered together
moored tightly to eternity.
Face west and I'll scratch your back,
due east and I'll kiss your bronzed brow.
Hear the whistling inlet whisper
as I lie behind you resting
my cheek on a soft blade of shoulder.
Our breathing will softly ebb and flow,
the waves of our heart sculpting land.
Wrap me in your weathered wings.
Bury me alive in your heart.
Early morning you will wake to watch
the makeup sunrise on my face;
always already ready
you will wait beside me,
ocean eyes navigating
the north and south
of my frame. . .


my love is whole, wide
world curls its star, so,
sailor still sailing
don't worry or wander
wonder or weary;

our courses will cross
on land.

(picture: sun rising on the mediterranean)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sing, sing a song


Okay, finally uploading a video of the song I wrote. . . I could never get the quality to be much better than this, sorry about that. But, maybe not. Because then it's harder to hear how bad I sound. :) I like the words. Go prepositions! It was fun to write an original. I hope you enjoy it at least a little.

Take Me
Floating, flying
high as a bird in the breeze in the clouds in the sky.
Slowly, take me
carefully, carefully, carefully, carefully.

Softly, sing me
the words of the song of the heart in the tune of goodbye

I won't cry, I won't
I'll watch you go with clear eyes
I'll wait for the sunset to turn into sunrise
and bring you home
to me

Picture the moment
Soon as the sound of my voice in your ears fills your eyes.
Slowly, take me
All the way, all the way, all the way, all the way
Home

Sin-for-a-min Rolls

Once upon a time my beautiful friend Jena made a rather delicious puffy pastry with brie cheese, nuts, craisins and puff.




then one day yours truly made a pizza version



and not only was it glorious to behold, but the taste thereof was the greatest ever. then tonight, inspired and accompanied by my friend Nate, the cinnamon (sin-for-a-min) roll version was born: delicious babes made of dough, butter, brown sugar, brie, mozzarella, pecans and craisins




you know how they say something about buying shoes in every color if you love them? well I say

"if the recipe rocks, make it in every pan"

or something. but it's not polite to talk with my mouth full. . . nom nom . . sinfully goooood (except sin isn't good, so don't sin. but if you do, repent, and eat these, and your world will be perfect. the end)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

riddance

if i had to get rid of everything in my life that reminded me of him i would
have to
discard about half of my wardrobe
move away from Provo
delete some pictures and throw away a bunch of trinkets
stop listening to certain songs and music
avoid restaurants and certain foods...lots of foods
become blind to tall muscular men
and never smell sunscreen again.

 or maybe i could get a specialized lobotomy.

i would rid my life of these things,
but the things is
they are things now
piled and rusting

one thing i will not have to do is remove my heart.
she doesn't remind me of him any more
she doesn't remind me about him
she doesn't bring him up.
she beat him out
not up
and now, even though my mind resembles
a junkyard without a fence,
my heart is across the street
that beautiful home up for rent/sale.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sense of Sound

Walking up and down the stairs
I knew it was Dad
or if it was Mom
entering the front door
I could tell

Tires rolling in to park
driver door opening closing
the periwinkle van
was home

A cleared throat or a sneeze
is distinctly individual
as is each voice
one curt beat on the drum

But I can hear the difference
between his and hers
his feet and hers
his sniff and hers neeze

So wondrous is a sound
its clime in memory
heard once and remembered
before and for eternity

Sunday, August 14, 2011

magical thoughts


What if yawns were actually little invisible fluttering beasts? once you inhale one, it would use your lungs to reproduce in an instant. upon exhalation, half a dozen or more yawnerflies skitter about, contagiously seeking new lungs to infest. even using your own again if you remain lethargic in your place. the deeper you breathe and stretch, the more they reproduce. pretty soon you're surrounded by hungry swarms of yawns and they smother you to sleep.

what if you could write on toilet paper and send fax messages as it swirled away, down, down the plumbing maze? the coordinates you gave the message would print out on a corresponding roll of toilet paper -- in your friend's house, at your place of work. like a mix between fax and pay phones. except on toilet paper.

what if you had a magic garbage can and kitchen cupboards? all you'd have to do is dump your dishes in the can and, presto changeo, your dishes would pile up in their appropriate spots around the kitchen. sparkly clean.

what if you flash froze AND shrunk every food you'd ever need and placed it in your magical pantry-freezer? then instead of selecting 'crushed ice' or 'cubed' you would choose 'spaghetti and meat balls with garlic bread and steamed broccoli' and all the necessary ingredients would line up front and center. you would still need to cook because you don't have a magic microwave oven or a robot who does all the cooking for you. plus, cooking is delightful, and magic pantry-freezers save you time so that you can cook.

what if every time you blew out a birthday candle's flame the rising smoke rose and rose to the stars? and the stars filled up with more and more wishful smoke until they sneezed and sparks go flying through the sky, granting every goodly wish for those pensive beings who pause to say 'bless you' to the heavens.

what if using your imagination daily made you younger? healthier, happier, calmer? live more in a day: imagine. it's like magic

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fine

i'm awake. this is only undesirable because i should be asleep... there's no reason i can't sleep. no worry, nothing exciting tomorrow, no impending doom, no trouble on my mind, no boy causing this damsel any distress, no pain or discomfort. so what the heck, you know? it's not even the fact that i can hear my roommate snoring though my ears are plugged with mysterious green expanding foam sound deadening devices. i'm just not tired. i will not fall asleep.

i've been pretty freakin hilarious lately. i don't know what it is. i'm just really funny. i think the most random things and i just kill myself every day with how clever i am. there truly are moments in life worthy to be recorded in sitcom or movie. but mostly life is a blend of common flavors with occasional bites of pure pepper biting brilliance. i like those moments.

i'm writing...i haven't written more than a witty facebook status update for the whole summer. i don't give myself time to be inspired. i miss poetry.

ooh i watched the last harry potter film. i cracked up to see the '19 years later' part. can it really be over? i mean, has it really been like seven or eight years since those books and movies started, ya know? dang. life goes by quick, huh. leave it to a fictional life passing by to remind you how fast your own goes right along with. just so you know, i'm not a freak fan of harry potter. but seriously, that whole story, start to finish, plot and world building: genius. absolutely just brilliant. i appreciate it. i have a little bit of story envy, yeah. but i appreciate its coolness. and j.k. rowling is a fab lady. i watched a video of her giving a speech at like harvard or something, and it was way cool. it was about how hardship will help us succeed. it was awesome. she really went to the bottom before making her way to the top. that's a good story that produced a good story. goooood!

ok so my roommate got up. went to the bathroom cuz that's really the only place to go. you know. my typing prolly woke her. now i have to leave and fake sleep. no doubt she'll be snoring in no time. lucky...

bye.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

compassion


june 23 2011. today a mother and father lost their son. did you feel it?

bodies lose souls, souls depart bodies every day. i guess we won't know until we die ourselves what that can feel like, but i'm convinced we can still feel the loss, the departure...we have a sense. part of us was designed to bond. we connect to each other. we lose each other.

or perhaps more appropriately we misplace each other. living separated by tinted glass. only with the right lighting will we see beyond.

because the shift of life from one place to another is happening constantly, maybe we don't always recognize each loss each moment. until it happens closer. until our connection is directly tied.

i believe my favorite human capacity is compassion. when one human’s heart can ache in sync with another’s, when one can provide skeletal support for another whose skin is the only thing keeping their insides in. insides dissolving in grief, pressing into tears, quaking from a shattered core, echoed in hollow sobs.

the man i saw who held his collapsing wife was father. his courage…to be strong enough for mother to mourn; one strong so two wouldn’t crumble. the woman who held her face in trembling hands was mother. Her sobs…her soul was torn and life bled from her heart. her youngest son. his body still; hers curling around her wounds, seeking safety, as an embryo.

her youngest son.

had time off from work and went out on the river with some buddies. they went out after and had a few drinks. when they got home he laid down, slept. friends went to work. came home, tried waking him up. he was gone. there, but gone. he was twenty-eight years. son, brother, uncle.

i have no sons but i have a 30 year old brother and a 30 year old uncle. i have a close connection to the situation through my love for these two men who could represent an equivalent loss in my life. i love my mother and father and would feel pain to see them mourn as this couple for their son. same if it were my grandparents mourning for my uncle. compassion struck me through imagining their reality as my own. my heart dropped to the bottom of my lungs and for a moment both forgot what they were any good for.

Truth is, reality is, even when a child escapes the womb and grows for 28 years, the mother keeps an embryonic connection to the precious human, in her heart, a love always developing and moving inside her. It is a love she hopes to die with, never to survive its early disconnection…of course the love remains and is not lessened, but its earthly connection, manifestation, mind and body pair, physical interaction cease. it's loss of life. a mother's life is her children. she loses life when a child is lost. two lives lost though only one heart stops...

a healthy heart experiences new births daily, new persons arrive to be loved, new ideas to cradle, new feelings and thoughts to nurture, new sights and sounds to be gathered and held dear. a normal heart experiences frequent deaths. the familiar flow of life, of things, is interrupted. we bleed.

all the bumps and scratches and bruises and cuts get bandaged and kissed better. eventually. we have to allow the compassion of others to carry us when we cannot continue.

blood carries life. mother carries child. life carries problems. love carries solutions. love carries life.

when your love is bleeding, accept transfusions of compassion. love is a universal donor. the heart is a universal recipient. open it. sure, blood and life are designed to replenish themselves, but it can take a while after major loss.

carry love in your heart always. be a love donor.

love does not end in death. no, death isn't even really an end because of love.

what i felt in one moment, a frame of vision, proves to me there is enough love in this universe to fill every person.

compassion. compass. passion.

the possible range of all emotion: suffering, mourning, grief; of love, kindness, mercy, joy; the north and south of mortality, this was encompassed in the passion of Jesus Christ. His life, his blood, given in sacrifice for the healing of all mortal frailties, provides transfusion for compassion. for life when it is lost. no life is lost because of Him. because He carries life. because of love.

compassion is nobility in humanity.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Life in a Day

Enough amusing things happened in my day today that a chord within me has been strummed to a blog-inspiring tune. the morning started out really chill. I got to sleep in (until the morning sun started burning me through my window. i need to move my bed) and take a nice long shower (hey, my water bill is like 'everyone pays for everyone'...it's equalized somehow for the whole building or apt complex. it's the screwiest thing i've ever heard. but i may as well use my share of water if i'm going to pay for it. shoot.) but then i took too much sweet time and had to hurry flurry pack up and run downstairs for my ride to work. God bless everyone who gives rides to people. hey that includes me. sweet.

it was a warm morning. i rolled my back seat window down. stopped at a red light, my ride was right next to a bus stop. one fellow had the stage, telling his two seated friends a story.

"So i had four hundred dollars and my ex was all yelling at me cuz she thought i would blow it all in one day. here it is four days later and i still have eighty-two cents!"

"Hey, so you're doin pretty good"

green light go.

at work i got a hug from my favorite driver whom i call sweetheart. then i got another ride from there to the airport. okay all this is boring. skip to the part where there's a YogurtLand in the airport. yay! so i got coconut, devil's food cake, a lil mango and a lil strawberry flavors, topped it with almonds, strawberries and choc chips and savored it before going through security. a father and his two girls sat across from Ed and me as we spooned frozen goodness into ourselves. i couldn't help but overhear

"Dad, i think i have a stupid question, but why when a balloon has a string does it float, but when it doesn't have a string it doesn't float?"

"it's not the string, it's what's in the balloon. A floating balloon is filled with helium and one that doesn't float is filled with air."

"ahhh. but, why doesn't it float with air?"

"the balloon is heavier than the air."

younger girl: "unless you make a balloon out of air."
older one: "oh, and how would you do that"
younger: "you just gather up some air and quick squeeze some more air into it and wrap the air around it..."
older: "that wouldn't work"
younger: "it's called make believe"...

the passenger they were waiting for arrived and they left. i love me a good teaching/learning moment. pretty valid observation about the balloon string if ya ask me.

getting through security was the normal un/repack un/redress game, i passed, blah blah, we board, we sit. there we are, four coworkers and myself, all in aisle seats in five different rows. the plane was full, the air not circulating more than from every individual's lung power, getting stuffy and hot very quickly. the tour director, Jack, whom i will have for my tour starting here in fairbanks tomorrow, sat next to a minor flying solo. what a kick in the pants...he was probably seven or eight and freely chatting up Jack like he fully trusted anyone who was fortunate enough to sit next to him. he, Austin i think it was, explained to Jack all the super powers of Mario. finally the air started and electronic devices had to be put away for the safety demonstration by our flight attendants.



we were on a disney plane! and i like the clouds and the luggage caterpillar truck tutting along like its own disney ride. luggage handling, wheee.

as we taxied out from the gate, we stopped. our captain informed us we'd be going back to the gate to get a blacked out monitor fixed. this did two things. it took about 15 minutes of my life, and apparently it reset the flight attendants. they did their safety demonstration again -- wait, they didn't even get to how to use a seat belt before there was a long pause in the mindless speech (can we get a ukulele up in here!?) and then the speaking attendant's voice came back on, literally smiling, her voice was smiling, informing us that we would need to wait ten more minutes to put fuel in the aircraft.

this is when i leaned across the aisle to Ed, stuck my thumb out, down at the emergency light strips on the floor directing me to the nearest exit (possibly behind me) in case of emergency, and said, "airplane pre-trip fail".

Austin kept saying something like "i see the look on yo face" for most of this time. none of us knew why.

the Man put a quarter in the safety demonstration machine again and it started up from the beginning again. i mean, did we change planes when we changed that screen? and then again when we refueled? we all ignored the speech for the third time. though i often get a kick out of mainly the clothing of persons depicted in the pictures, still I disobeyed and didn't touch the safety card in the pocket in the upright seat back under the tray table in the locked position in front of me...

you know how sometimes the pilot says 'attendants secure for take off' or at least anything before take off? well, after the third safety speech we were suddenly surging down the runway, no warning. in the air.

i always find it interesting that I can see 'up' the plane during the ascent. we're all obviously still in the same straight line of seats, but the people in row 7 are higher than the people like me in row 22. we're level...but we're not. i like mildly trippy things like that.

and i love mount McKinley aka Denali



at some point the man in front of me (who, while boarding, had given me a 'look' that belongs in a bar i would never patronize even if i did drink) raised his right arm to stretch. as if the air circulation wasn't already stagnant, precisely then it was sapped entirely from existence. i gagged and somehow breathed out more than i breathed in while i snuck my camera behind his back...



our magical flight caught some awesome yogurt-blending stomach-bending turbulence while we arced toward fairbanks. our safety performers hardly had a chance to deliver water, snack and napkin before we were ready to land again. in fbanks it was warm and windy so when our lurching Disney ride came in for a landing I was a wincy bit anxious for it to come to a complete stop. As it did, the brakes made a spectacular groaning sound, the one you don't want to hear when you have limited air strip before you and five hundred miles an hour behind you...

anyway, i'm alive and unscathed. later i took a taxi to a restaurant with two other drivers, Ed and Kevin. i was craving some chips n salsa so we went mexican. i ordered the regular burrito. kevin went for the challenge.

mine



mine compared to the challenger. i didn't even finish mine. shoot. what a wimp. oh, well i did have my chips n salsa to start.



then we walked to Fred Meyer grocer. as Kevin shopped Ed and i made our way toward the restrooms. as i approached the women's restroom a man exited. a young man in a reflective neon vest. my narrowed eyes followed him through an employees only door. got it. walking into the restroom a loaded cleaning cart blocked the way. there was another guy in there. i asked if i should wait a minute. he said no go ahead. he stood behind his cart near the door. i chuckled as i realized he wouldn't be exiting the restroom. not gonna lie my bladder was shy at first. his buddy had rejoined him moments after my entry so i got to listen over the sound of my own pee how they mumbled in their nervous adolescent mutters just two stalls and a wall away. yeesh. i could see them behind me, reflected in the mirror as i washed my hands. wow. as i exited i remarked, 'this is your favorite job, huh.' the one made a noise as he awkwardly shifted, the other said, 'it puts gas in the tank.' yah. later boys.

well that's about it. silly insignificant moments to make a muser's day amusingly memorable.
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