Poetry + Writing

Each One of Us

He computes, analyzes.
So intelligent, but has no confidence.

She toils and serves.
So capable, but doesn’t believe she really makes any difference.

She is beautiful, talented.
So phenomenal, but doesn’t trust herself.

She is artistic, and a symphonic joy.
So welcoming, but she shuts the world out.

She is bold, and kind.
So forceful, but she loves everyone but herself.

They won’t find their part in the symphony
until they believe
each one of us
is glorious.

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My universe

The_life_of_Sun-like_stars

Thank you Wikipedia for this striking image. Find it here.

In all the vasts of nothingness
she cannot perceive a thing
though she strains her eyes.

It seems dark is sovereignty.
Blackness rules mighty.

Positive she’s a lone piece of refuse
discarded among the night,
She strains for strength
unaware of adorations from afar.

A drop of water fosters.
A breeze bolsters.
Anamnesis drives her forward.
Toward north.

A glow appears
trailing behind
creating a well-lit footprint
as she crawls, then walks.

Another clasps her hand.
Instinctually binary,
they learn to run and dance.

The two will bond a galaxy
of their very own.

And they will be a sun.

They’ll send stars
into the night.

Forever
she’ll christen them with tears.
And he’ll whisper in the wind.

Nows

caroline, blog

Forever – is composed of Nows – (690)

BY EMILY DICKINSON

Forever  is composed of Nows
‘Tis not a different time
Except for Infiniteness
And Latitude of Home
From this experienced Here
Remove the Dates to These
Let Months dissolve in further Months
And Years exhale in Years
Without Debate
or Pause
Or Celebrated Days
No different Our Years would be
From Anno Dominies

Today’s message came from here.

A Writer’s World

I had to write an emergence myth for my Wilderness Writing class. I’ve struggled with it all semester. My professor is all about the process of writing, so he doesn’t just take our assignments, grade them, and hand them back. He gives feedback, workshops, and hopes for his students to grow and evolve. As a black/white enthusiast this has been beyond difficult for me. The class is finished in two weeks and I have not even a hint at my earned grade. I’ve had to work on multiple projects at once. I’ve hit a lot of walls. I’ve vacillated between utter despair and overpowering revelation. This was the perfect class to initiate me back to school. I’m glad I stuck with it.

Here is my Emergence Myth, A Writer’s World. This emerged after five weeks of inner turmoil. I’m proud of it. It is the most personally powerful piece I have ever written. I hope it will be followed by many more that are nothing like it.

Her name was Nobody. All she wanted was to be a Somebody. Somebodies were better. Somebodies were happier. Somebodies were successful. So, she signed up for Somebody school. She left her stifling dreary brown Nobody world without looking back and happily entered the newest Somebody classroom with glass walls. Holding a pen and paper in her hand, surrounded by Somebodies and other people learning to be Somebodies, she felt happier. She thought only of Somebody ways. She tried to learn their words. She studied their beliefs. She liked the Somebodies. And they liked her. But when she went to sleep at night staring at the books in her lap, she felt like she was living a lie. She didn’t know how to write Somebody stories, even though that is all she ever wanted to do. So she read all of the great Somebody myths. She pondered Somebody tradition and she tried harder to copy the Somebodies. But everything felt like it was wrong.

Nobody was persistent and brave. She would not give up without a fight. She stopped talking as much and started to listen. She found better tools and used them to build new ideas. After a lot of hard work she surprised herself when she started questioning the ways of Somebodies. She couldn’t believe that along the journey she was somehow convinced that Somebodies weren’t always right. What happened to that Nobody girl that worshipped all the Somebodies? She had changed her own mind. Somebodies didn’t do it. She did it. She realized that Nobodies could be good and happy and successful too. In fact, the only difference between Nobodies and Somebodies was their names. She didn’t need to be a Somebody any more. She could be a Nobody. That was perfectly acceptable. She felt liberated.

She started to think about going back to Nobody world until she had a rude awakening. The only reason she believed Nobodies were good now was because Somebodies had taught her so. Now what? She was still a Nobody, but was also a Somebody. Where would she fit in? The answer wasn’t with the Somebodies. Desperate, she allowed herself to look through the glass walls back out to Nobody world. Mountains had emerged. The skies were every color of the rainbow with clouds of all shapes and sizes. The vegetation was magnificently varied. The animals seemed to holler at her to tell their story. Nobodies never saw those things. She was no longer a Nobody.

She decide she had to stay at Somebody school, even if she didn’t want to give up her Nobody parts. She didn’t know what she would become. Maybe she should just be a writer? Maybe she could tell Somebody stories and Nobody stories? Maybe the best stories would be about Somebody and Nobody together? She looked at her paper, her new world was in it. It was totally blank, but she was not scared. She started to fill it, one letter at a time. She made Nobody words. She made Somebody sentences. She changed them all around and rearranged voraciously. Over and over and over again. She deleted some and added some others. The paper took the form of a glass building surrounded by a bounteous earth. Sometimes there was a Somebody inside, sometimes a Nobody outside, but neither would ever be confined again. Her new world was in the paper and it would be whatever she imagined.

The Input

inputAs you all know, I started back to college last month. It’s an exciting time for me personally because I am finally pursuing a life-long dream of becoming a better writer and a teacher.

Problematic to the ideal, however, is the fact that I am almost forty-two years old and smack-dab in the middle of my life as well as my motherhood. My life was already not for sissies before I started school. I have five kids and although I don’t have a “career”, my brain is already on the verge of explosion a good majority of the time.

“Mom, where is my bathing suit?”
“Mom, can I go to Wyoming with my boyfriend in July to pick up fireworks?”
“Mom, I need toilet paper.”
“Mom, stop lecturing me.”
“waaaa.”

That is what it sounds like around here at all times.

Then add in the hubby…well, we won’t even go there. On Tuesday, he came home with horrific tooth pain and was laying on the couch in extreme discomfort. I was the one to call the endodontist to insist that the man not wait another three days to be seen. It’s just what I do. Like LG’s paycheck, everyone expects what I get done around here.

Starting school was a really scary venture for me in my delicate psychiatric capacity. From the get-go I was having an extremely hard time processing all of the new information at school. Yes, I have a boatload going on at home, but the mom stuff is an old hat. The problem is the old hat doesn’t just jump down to make way for the new one. I feel like the Berenstein Bear in Old Hat, New Hat. I wanted to just run back home to my old comfortable hat and forget about the limitless possibilities they constantly explore at the university level. Lucky for me, if motherhood teaches anyone anything it is that YOU JUST CAN’T  QUIT.  So, I’ve stuck in there. I’m not a star pupil, but I’m a pupil.

My biggest problem with school is that it is making me feel like an awful writer. It has scared me so bad that I don’t even want to write anymore. It isn’t fun when it’s all just technicality-centered. My professor is a good guy and a really smart talented dude, but his emphasis is on work-shopping, which has just left me feeling like I can’t do anything right. Trust me when I say this, everything anyone writes can always be better. And everything of mine really seems to need to work. I know it does, that is why I wanted to go back to school, to learn, but still it is hard to keep trying when it feels like I’ll never be a “great”.

So, today, I come to the blog to vent…to get back to the place in writing that I love, baring my soul. Sometimes I just have to write without thinking about the noun to verb ratio and whether or not my syntax is going to be subjectively admired. Sometimes I just need to write…to write…and for no other reason than to organize my brain with way too much input. Honestly, I am trying really hard to believe my professor that all good writing is not random. I personally believe it is only defined as “good” by the readers and that one thing can be total crap to one person and the same thing can be a masterpiece to another.

I feel better already. This is why I love to write. It organizes the craziness in my mind. Constantly, I have too much going on in there, and if I can leave it on paper, I can move on…and only then.

Writing is my output. What is yours? Maybe I can convert…because this might not work out for me. Ha.

You are my High Uintah View

I finally got out on the backpacking adventure I’ve always wanted. No children were allowed. It was just me and a bunch of other writers out on a wilderness writing retreat. Heaven, right? It was pretty awesome. It was also very enlightening. I learned something I never thought I would. I wrote a poem about it. Enjoy.

lgag2
Quaking aspens, beaver damned streams, limitless ridges to crest.
I explore for miles striding toward emancipation.
Hiking boots and pack on my back
Far from there, I thought my treasured prize awaited
but I’m now without my heart to feel it.
I left you behind, beating alone at home.

Starting from the northern farms
we explored through lakes, slopes, goblins, dunes, and redrock
All in the furrows of our skin.
Toiling year after year,
we seldom traveled from home,
but we forged our wonders of the world:
a waterfall for brides, endless flats of salt, a delicate arch of fame, an overflowing natural spring, and Timpanogos strong.
It’s been our rightful pleasure.
All my best adventures have been with you.

The lamp illuminates my filthy fingers
As I cry over your absence, I ponder on yours clean.
I nestle into the polyester grey
With nowhere to rest my bending knee.
Your ribs must be lonely too.
I’m a nightly stampede away from our final departure
Scared and astounded
Freedom is not here like I thought it’d be
It’s in the safety of your arms

You are my high Uintah view, sailing of the salt sea, maiden pioneer trek, and every scenic slope.
Wild stallions, overflowing mountain falls, orchards aplenty, and ample trout
Are all hiding in the comfort of our bed.
You’re everything I need.
Before I laid here, thinking only of you,
Searching unsuccessfully for your smile,
She said I know what matters as we spoke around the fire.
I now know it is not here.
I cannot be free anywhere you’re not.

They gather

I went back to college. I can hardly believe it. I have been waiting for “my turn” for a very long time. I am so grateful for an insistent therapist and a supportive husband who are helping me overcome my fear of failure. For me, I believe attending college is vital to my writing success. I need to learn so many things and I will triumph because of the confidence I hope to gain.

My first class…wait for it….writing in the wilderness. I honestly can’t think of a better synthesis for me, unless of course we add in motherhood. I am IN LOVE with learning. I don’t know if I can even put my adoration and satisfaction into words. For two Friday nights in a row I have sat at the feet of a very capable, intellectual professor with my laptop. I’ve typed away frantically trying to document every morsel while ogling out the windows of our classroom framing both the majestic peaks of Mt.Timpanogos and Cascade. For three hours each week cloud-gazing has been my privilege and philosophy has been my affair. I try to contain my awe with it all. My whole life has been waiting for this climax, I have to refrain from shouting hallelujahs at all times. Living the dream is overwhelming to my emotions. I’m grateful to have waited for so long because in the waiting I have honed wisdom and gratitude.

God knows what He is doing with my life.

So, my professor, Scott Hatch, is a poet. I swear I wouldn’t be happier if he was Emily Dickinson or Ralph Waldo Emerson. If you think about it, I actually am sitting at their feet, too. He has a lot to teach me. One of his teaching techniques in beautiful language and master transcendentalism is to have his students craft a writer’s journal. Every day, we are to write one paragraph and then when we are all through with our initial writing we are to extrapolate our favorite phrases. He said this is the beginning of poetry.

{this is me screaming in delight} I cannot believe I GET to do this!!!

I thought I would share today’s. I know I’ve been neglecting the blog.

17 May 2015

They gather around the kitchen bar on this Sunday morning. It’s not especially early; we’ve never been good at mornings. I am in my house-dress nibbling on a cupcake left on the counter and they are all already in their Sunday best exposing my guilt in the family’s sluggish morning habits. My hair probably looks like the inside of an anthill, but it bothers nobody, including me. This place is home and approval abounds. I tell of my horrible sleep and start to describe a dream that exposes my stressful night. I had left my five-year-old at school without realizing I missed her school pickup. My fifteen-year-old daughter pours fry sauce generously over her reheated fried rice in a white ceramic bowl, she’s unconventional in her breakfast choices She relays her dream about kissing some boy other than her boyfriend revealing her inner ethos that wants to be loyal. The eleven-year-old gathers and speaks about her dream of finding toys on the side of the road for her baby brother Max, her oldest sister refused to let her take them, disclosing the playful family theory that she is the meanest in the family. Dream interpretation at its finest. Who needs Freud?

image

They gather
good at mornings
Sunday best
hair like an anthill – it bothers nobody
This place is home
approval abounds
I tell
She relays
speak about her dream
interpretation at its finest
who needs Freud

Ordinary is Extraordinary

Who else struggles with perfectionism, comparison, feeling insignificant? It’s bad when I feel it for myself, but it’s downright criminal when I project that onto my kids. And I do project. All of the time. I want the best for them, therefore I want the best of them. I get totally competitive. All of the time. Oh, how unfortunate of a mother I have been. My oldest, Abigail, has born the biggest brunt of it. In fact, the other day after a low-achieving track meet, I was concerned when Abigail wouldn’t tell her slower-than-usual-finish-times to her friends. When they asked, she  just acted like she hadn’t checked her time at all. I knew she had checked it. It’s just that my perfectionism has become a part of her, and she couldn’t let herself admit the obvious…she was having a bad running day. I tried to comfort her on the way home, “Abigail, sometimes we just have off days. It’s o.k.” This morning I read this poem (Make the Ordinary Come Alive by William Martin) on the facebook page of a family member. Even though the wisdom of it stems from Taoism, which I don’t really practice, I believe it is universal. (And, I also believe I am going to study up some more on the way of the Tao – is that how you say that?) The simplicity of the wisdom blew my mind. I’ve been pondering on it all day. It struck me to the core. I couldn’t wait to share it with you. IMG_5065Do you see all those boys back there watching my girl? Yeah, she’s actually extraordinarily beautiful…even though ordinary is beautiful enough. Or they could be looking directly at me…the crazy lady with the camera cheering louder than all the rest of the crowd. ha.
 
Do you, like me, see how the words of this poem, will change “Abigail sometimes we just have off days” to “Abigail it is so beautiful that you can run!?”  How blessed we are. How blessed we are indeed with this ordinary life. So, as my kids age and prepare to fly the coop, I have a few new guideline questions for myself:

  1. Am I teaching them that the ordinary is extraordinary?
  2. Will I be not just o.k. but proud to tell my friends who raised the next president of the United States that my child is a mailman and loves it?
  3. Am I spending my time really celebrating the little things like apples?
  4. Am I giving them all the experiences that I can? (Those poor kids whose parents won’t allow them to have a pet!)
  5. Am I preaching a sermon of following your heart by following my own?
  6. Do I believe that we are not all just equally important but equally blessed to just be on the journey?

I can’t wait to embrace the ordinary with my favorite people. I hope this new philosophy will give them the space to do the same. I know it will bring me much greater happiness and satisfaction that will replace a life-long dissatisfaction because of wrong feelings of inferiority stemming from my ordinary. My ordinary is extraordinary! And so is yours. What a perfect message on a night that we are having breakfast for dinner. Bacon deserves a party.

A Pause in Parenting {A Poem}

My four beautiful  girls were all huddled around the computer desk a few days ago and were pointing, giggling, and talking as I cooked dinner. They were all so happy that I broke away from food preparation to investigate. (I’m always looking for new ways to make them happy – especially for when they spend time together) Upon inspection of the screen of my laptop, I was surprised to see them looking through my old blog. As they looked through all the old posts with stories and photos, they shared memories and debated names of former stuffed animals.

I was sucked in as easily as they had been. I knew in  my heart Abigail was just making a really good attempt at procrastinating her homework, but I let it slide. We all ooo’ed and awe’d at how cute everyone’s younger and littler selves were and shared our opinions on silly things. “Sophia, you always look better with shorter hair.” “That was so fun when we dressed as Rapunzel.” “I wish Caroline could have kept her curls.”

Bella remembered out loud, “That time Caroline threw up in my mouth was so gross.” Abigail found the photo of her first crush in 5th grade and we discussed her continued respect for  boys with brains. Sophia questioned me as to why I let her hair grow so long and scraggly. There were so many happy memories. Even the bad experiences have become happy over time.

It was a beautiful moment that I won’t forget. I felt so close with  my girls. I felt so lucky to be their mom. I was so grateful for so many wonderful memories. I was so astounded that they have grown up so quickly. I wanted time to freeze.

I was so glad that I blogged. My mom pride swelled as I realized that my little hobby had preserved so much for us to share. The girls lamented, “Mom, you used to have the best blog, and now you are so boring. You just blog about your problems.” Out of the mouths of babes. I chuckled as I reminded them that they used to often be mad at me for blogging about them and sharing all their secrets, but was privately happy that they were not just giving me permission to blog about them, but were practically begging for it.

I look forward to sharing more kid stories although I think it is more difficult to find such entertaining material as they age. It will be a fun challenge.

This morning however as I searched my heart and photo folder on my hard-drive for a more recent story or two, I just couldn’t help but feel heavy-hearted with the fact that my little girls are so grown-up.

A Pause in Parenting

They will grow so fast, they would say:
Try to enjoy every day.
I skeptically disagreed.
The dirty diapers will never stop
and neither will the million scraped knees.

I dragged along trying my best
not to totally screw up their joy.
I felt like a failure most of the time
and lamented my previous care-free me.

Ran around like a chicken I did.
Please don’t cut off my head.
Dragged them to and from every magical place
While I often wished for just a moment of peace.

It was in the car and school and church
and yard and kitchen and parks
that each little memory was made.
I didn’t believe I would ever miss it:
the toil and sweat was pain.

I stole a smile here and a smirk from them there
and a billion laughs and songs and sighs,
I often just cursed all the work it required
and didn’t stop to see the end
that would come quicker than a wink of an eye.

Now, I can’t make them stop.
They grow every day.
A millimeter at a time.
I would debate their inevitable progress still
if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

I can’t stop time.
I can’t keep them for mine.
Someday they will fly this coop.
I didn’t enjoy every minute like I was told
but I tried as hard as I could.

They, however, enjoyed a lot more
then I ever had time to see
and I guess that is the way
that God always intended parenting to be.

Almost Monochromatic

It’s been snowing for
what seems like months.
Today is the second blue sky in
about four weeks.
True story.
Every other day has just been
white everywhere you look.
How my soul loves
the beauty
of a the blue sky
among the
black and white earth.

Winter white.
Everywhere
the eye can see.
The earth
seems
black
under
blanket
after blanket
of
snow.
Dead.
Yet
piercingly
beautiful.
The white
touches the white
part of my soul.
And the black
touches the black.
The complexity
of my emotions
seems to find
a balance
among the
monochromatic
landscape.
The only
colors
that surround
are
black,white, and brown.
And then the clouds lift
and
blue shines through.
Like a breath
of fresh air.
Or water
to the thirsty
Sahara traveler
who reached
her oasis.
There is blue
in my soul too.
And red,
and yellow.
The colors release
to find the sky
and remind me
of my beauty
amidst
the wintery white.