Back To The Pit

When I return

Back to the pit

Where fertile soil birthed the beginning, the word

And where endings are witnessed beyond the horizon

Where rocks have whispered and blossoms are nodding

“Yes, you’ve seen us before”

I remember the word

One word

In a place where nothing is neat

And to this place I will return

Like the burning of sage

The scent returns to the nose

The ash, back to She

The smoke, weaving through space to meet the spirit of maker

My descent

Shall be a one word affair

And heard only by the weary

As they’ve surrendered to the flight

Just as reeds in the wind

Offer no resistance

Nor shall I

When I return, back to the pit

To rise again

Stranger

Im not sure if I wasn’t looking hard enough or that she hadn’t been there until now.

I’ve stared out of this bedroom window more times than I can count but I’ve never seen a woman sat under the eucalyptus tree before. If I had, maybe I missed her because she was wearing a brownish bark like dress that blended with the tree, however the more I think about that, the more I begin to doubt it.

She’s a little wild looking, not that I can say I know exactly what wild should look like. People say I’m wild because I was the last in my class to shave my legs. It’s not my fault my mum never owned a razor, she told me that women were born with hair for a reason and she wasn’t going to argue with the order of creation.

She’s wearing a pink dress, although I can see a few psychedelic colours gatecrashing the pastel party. It looks a little like she’s wearing an oversized version of the tie-dye hanky I made in crafts. Her hair is as messy as you’d imagine messy hair to look like – I reckon a bird could mistake her for a beech hedge. The tone of her curls are a deep copper colour. She’s quite beautiful actually.

She’s sat with her legs crossed and her eyes are focused on something. Should I call the police? I don’t think its ok for just anyone to come and sit under the tree in a garden, even if it is communal and I’ve certainly never seen her before. I’d remember if I had.

She looks nice enough I guess, I could go and talk to her but what would I say?

“Hello there, may I ask you why are you sat here under this tree?”

Wait… I have to think about this. Firstly, I don’t know where such an incredibly formal question came from, I don’t think I’ve ever talked so proper to anyone. Secondly, asking her why she’s here could lead to a long and open ended answer, she could be one of those hippy types who never answers a question with a definite conclusion. I know this because my mum was a hippy. Not an outwardly self proclaimed hippy but everyone knew her as the ‘wacky’ one. She knew it and she was absolutely fine with that. I didn’t inherit her confidence.

Also, to ask someone why they’re doing something could lead to an answer I don’t want to hear. Maybe she’s waiting for the right time to kill someone. She could be a super sweet looking serial killer. I don’t think there are particular rules as to what a serial killer should look like, although I don’t think they’d wear a pink, tie-dye dress but then I’ve never met a serial killer before.

What if she’s waiting there to die?

Oh my god, she could have taken a million pills and is waiting for them to slowly decompose her from the inside out.

Ok, so her being there could be nothing related to death. I do have a tendency to let thoughts of death run riot inside my head since my mum died. It’s normal. Not normal to think about death all the time but I’m assuming its normal for me, a girl who’s lost her mum who was also her best friend who was also her guru, who was also her everything, to think like this. Besides, I have no idea how else to think.

My aunt Gene wears black everyday, I asked her why. I wished I hadn’t. To cut a long story short, she doesn’t want to be the focus of anyones attention and black is the most accepted colour in society, according to her.

Gene’s hair is grey but she wears a black woollen hat. I remember her wearing one during May when she came to visit us last year, before I was sent to live with her. I’ve not lived with her during the summer months, not yet anyway but I’m hoping she doesn’t wear wool in the heat. She smells funny as it is.

There is a chance this woman who’s sat under the tree could just be sun bathing, but why in a garden that isn’t hers?

I’ve only known this garden for the last 9 months. I think I only visited Gene two times before the crash, mum and her weren’t the closest of sisters. When she came to visit us last year it was because my dad had run off with a French woman. He’d met her when he’d gone out to buy some chick peas that mum wanted for her vegan casserole. Dad came back three hours later and said he’d met this woman who was selling her river boat and he was interested (yea, now I know exactly what he meant by that!). He called her, they met up and the rest they say, is history. Mum was devastated.

Mum wore every colour of the rainbow and loved warm days so she could stare at the sky and watch the clouds. Gene wears sunglasses, everyday. Come rain or shine, Gene is there with her prescription sunnies. People are funny.

Rainbows are a sign that death has happened, those were Gene’s exact words when I saw a rainbow the day after mums funeral. I bet Gene kills bed bugs just by sleeping in the bed they live in. Poor bed bugs!

There is a slight possibility this woman is hoping to see a rainbow too, her stare does look pretty intense.

Right, thats it, I’m going outside to talk to her, how bad can she be? After all, I do live with a devil fearing woman who kills bed bugs with her breath.

Find Me

Some people may find me annoying

They don’t like the way that I dress

Some people may think I’m too bossy

Others may moan ‘she’s an absolute mess!’

Some may say that they like me

The joy that I bring, they’re a fan

They think that I’m funny and laugh at my jokes

Hoping I’ll stay as I am

But hey, you can’t please ‘um all

I’ve tried but it really don’t work

And maybe the pleasing ain’t pleasing

Cos I’ll think good intentions yet sound like a jerk

So some people like me and others may not

The question is why do I care?

As I can’t change the way that they see me

But myself, I can change how I cope with their stare

#21 Grateful for 25,000 words

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Firstly, I want to own up to myself that when I began this gratitude diary, my intentions were to update every day for the next year. Ops, didn’t happen. I wanted to be all philosophical about it, I wanted each entry to ‘mean’ something. In the drawn out process of intellectualising everything, I haven’t kept to this commitment. It was an excuse, not a genuine reason. Day to day gratitudes do not need to be epic, life-changing revelations, they don’t need to actively shift my daily activities (but when they do it’s welcomed). Gratitude is the shift, to find reasons to be thankful and to notice beauty is the reward. Note to me: that’s all I have to say on the matter but remember to enjoy, not analyse and destroy.

This leads me onto my 25,000 into my novel… go me! I have to say, this is the most committed relationship I have ever been in. Seriously, this commitment to myself, to complete something that happens to take up more hours than I ever thought my concentration could handle, this is deep water for me.

I have shown very little commitment to myself in the past… forever. Ok, maybe not forever as I don’t know what forever feels like, lets say for a very long time, since I was a young adult at least. This commitment thing is not so easy to admit, as in the process I have shown little commitment to others. I have wanted freedom from myself, from my ways, my thoughts, my previous actions/reactions/circumstances. In my desperate attempts to detach from who I am as I wildly dream about the woman I think I should be, low and behold I have forgotten how to respect and commit to the woman who needs me this most, me. Also, the bitch of life is that all we say we don’t want, mysteriously (or not so mysteriously) appears, to piss us off even more. Yet it’s not really a bitch as what we think about, we invite into our lives. The words I don’t want is irrelevant, for thinking of what we lack, whatever it is we don’t want means we get… well basically we get more of the less. It’s simple yet why does this knowing slip so easily away when old habits creep back to snuggle into warm and familiar ‘crap me’ blankets.

‘This is who I am!’

Is it?

If something feels uncomfortable, if it’s a belief that doesn’t sit right, do we have to just accept it for who we are? Maybe we heard this pattern of thinking, or were told ‘this is just how it is’. We may have seen this played out in someone else’s life, believing it to be our truth too. Who knows, there are a million ways words and attitudes sneak into our psyche but we know when something doesn’t feel right. Blaming is pointless as no matter where it came from, the words/actions/attitudes are now within us and so it’s our responsibility to do something about it.

I didn’t even think about my attitude to commitment. It’s only as I sat this morning wondering why I feel a little isolated. Truth is, I have isolated myself. I have distanced myself from people, places, my dreams even as I didn’t have the will to commit. It was no good to think ‘I’ll make more of an effort with others’ as this soon subsides. The work is within and to grow is to nourish our own roots. There are many reasons why we self-sabotage and I know no-one who doesn’t hurt themselves by their own doing at times but to blame and get frustrated at our behaviours only gets us so far (no-where).

So I am committing to getting curious. I am committing to asking more questions but releasing the need for answers as mostly it is outside of our comprehension that we find understanding. Once the question is planted, the answer will grow.

This novel is so much more than the book itself, the process is like a magnet, drawing buried weights to the surface. Burying again doesn’t seem to be an option (damn it), like the soil is now full of new seeds, there’s no room for the old. I am committing myself to this book, for no other reason than to thrive within the relationship I am building with me, the words and all the medicine that soars in-between.

p.s. Yes, I have just written another ‘revelation’ gratitude entry but I am extending this commitment to my daily practice of giving thanks so tomorrow it could be an entry about warm socks or apple juice, who knows!

p.p.s. I am eternally grateful for warm socks and apple juice 🙂

All things Beautiful

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And she sang stories in the morning

To herself

As she sat naked on the bed

Rubbing oil into her body

To soften

Soften coarse skin hardened yesterday

And to still prying memories

As they sail the marrow of her shoulders

Her smile, from her mother’s side

Greeted warmly by strangers in winter

And her eyes, of Russian decent

From her father

Untamed and frightened

Wondering why the windows to her soul

Were reminiscent of her father

As two souls could be no further apart

But her voice was hers alone

Wholeness weaving between tones

And she sang stories in the morning

To herself

As she sat naked on the bed

To honour the human made of all things beautiful

And rejoice the unique woman she is

Lonely

I had not known the way to go

To where the lonely feed

For all along the slanted paths

I’d felt no calling need

But now I ache in fallen pits

As lonely do I feel

The nights too long to praise the sun

So moonlight I now steal

And in reflections I can see

A woman breaking time

For walls I’ve built too high to meet

A soul to walk with mine

And in such thoughts I’d pray to move

The cycle that needs be

As what’s to come I know not of

So wait must I to see.

Devil

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The devil

Leans on faultless side

Blaming aches on broken toes

Gritting teeth to catch my will

Cramming roots with raucous woes

The devil

Bears upon my win

Her loosing forces tongue to rip

Knowing not how far she’ll swipe

I bow to miss her chorus grip

The devil

Dates my wondrous flight

She clips my wings as failing soars

Her nails carve out sharpened nibs

To empty raw and heart filled pores

The devil

Wears my crown at night

Shielding light from sleeping eyes

Her fingers bash upon my brow

And stamps my fortune red with lies

The devil

Dances wildly right

While steady rains on all went wrong

Her thread I knot around my neck

And pray she stays for lengths too long

#18 Grateful For 10,000 Words

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I’m reading a book about Buddhist meditation at the moment. I’m not far into the book but so far, what’s resonated with me is that we meditate not to change who we are but to become friends with who we are – Being human is to be chaotic and feelings of discomfort will come but they don’t need to dictate our actions. This is a huge teaching for me.

Last night I read a zen reflection called The Four Horses.

‘The buddha told his followers there are four kinds of horses. The first sees merely the form of the whip and runs. The second reacts when the whip taps its hair. The third is aroused when the whip contracts its flesh. The fourth is animated when the whip touches it’s bone.’

The point explained was the first horse is so well bred he sees the whip and knows exactly what to do, whereas the fourth horse has to feel beaten, to be so close to death before he grasps reality. As humans we want to be the first horse but, well let’s face it, we’re more the forth. However, as much as I know it can be hard as hell, it’s through suffering that we learn. We make life-changing choices mainly when we feel beaten to the bone.

Meditation allows us to see all aspects of ourselves. Often the harder we fall and more painful the whack… well voila, the more we learn. The more we learn the more we can begin to understand how complex and chaotic we are and instead of running, we can make friends with ALL aspects of ourselves. This takes time of course, I am a mere beginner. However I can absolutely relate these teachings to writing my book.

When I started out i wanted to be like the first horse. I wanted to be the writer getting it right straight away, to write an exact amount of words everyday and create a masterpiece that will be fit for publication in only a few months. Yeah right! Truth is, all that planning went to shit. I am the fourth horse. I am the writer who has to feel confusion and disillusionment. I am the writer who has no clue which direction I’m going in, the story just seems to be writing itself at the moment which inevitable means, I have no clue what I’m doing. I’m just writing.

However, I am learning so much! This alone is keeping my spirits high. Some days I’ll write 1,000 words, some days not but the point is, the process is a continuous lesson. High expectations before the process begins is a waste of time, well for me anyway. I have so much to learn and I feel incredibly humble on this journey.

I have now hit 10,000 words and the last few thousand have been a labour of love rather than ‘how many words have I written today??’ I write because I love it and the thought of committing to writing a novel has scared the hell out of me for the past four years (which is why I am only committing now). I needed targets in the beginning, not that I’m saying I still don’t, oh boy I still do, but now I don’t feel the need to be so perfect and that has taken a whole heap of pressure off and I can enjoy, rather than beat myself up about word counts. Pressure is so debilitating and when we load so heavily upon ourselves, the result is never healthy, but then maybe I needed to bash the hell outta myself to get to this point. Like the reflection expresses, pain moves us.

I’m am grateful for being in the place I’m at right now, achieving no more or no less. I am looking to turn the tables from pressure to personal understanding, this seems to motivate me so much more and if times of turmoil lay ahead, I’ll keep the faith that empowering movements arise from suppression, even if my suppression is inflicted by me.

 

#17 Grateful for BLAH days

Yep, as a writer, my words have been boring me, I am boring me.

I’m writing stuff that when I read back I think ‘Borrinnnggggg… I don’t want to read this, so I can bet my socks that others won’t want to read it either.’ I am feeling in-between. In-between what? I do not know, I guess that’s the lingering mystery of life, we’re always in-between something but where we’re headed, who knows.

Some days I don’t feel in-between, I feel very accomplished or satisfied or even when I have days of pure hell, it’s feeling something. In-between is like a walk in the mist, not sure which direction you want to take but you don’t want to stay put, who knows what may be lurking behind the bush!

So I went for a walk and boy, does nature sure know how to soothe. No matter the problem, nature goes… ‘stop, watch me instead’.

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And watch I did. I watched and smiled and realised that who cares if I find myself boring, I might find myself the most boring person in the world but someone out there will find me less boring than I find myself. ‘Blah’ days happen.

Take the forest for instance, there are days I go for a walk and things look the same as the day before. Sure, it’s beautiful no matter the weather but when I go say three days in row, I notice less than if I go once a week. Today was my first walk in the forest for over a month! The change was immeasurable.

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The sun was low, the grass was delicately frosted, trees were almost bare and birds were perched on icy waters. There was nothing ‘blah’ about it. The animals may have felt a little ‘blah’ because they gotta survive the winter, everyday they live amongst the violent beauty of this ever-changing landscape. So to them, it’s ‘blah’ because they’re in it, they’r breathing it, they’re habitually living inside the means of what is familiar to them.

So I skimmed my ‘blah’ across the frozen waters, leaving behind ideas that have stagnated from stamping over and over in the same spot. Ok, so I still feel a little boring in my writing endeavours but I know that will pass, I know that for a fact because if a blade of frosty grass can capture my attention than I’ve no doubt I’ll find something about me inspiring soon. We are, after all, beauty in the making, all of us. Nature is who we are and if we can find beauty and brilliance within our surroundings then we can absolutely find it within ourselves.

YES to BLAH days, they make me appreciate the inspiration when it comes.

#16 Grateful for Not Achieving 1,600 Words per day

So yea, as the title explains, I am wayyyy off my 1,600 words per day to write my novel in the month of November.

I have two options, I beat myself up about it, cursing the fact that I haven’t done what I set out to do when I signed up for National Novel Writing Month, or I can accept that I although I am not on course to write a novel in a short space of time, I have at least started the novel and also written some poems that I think are pretty good (self-expression is self-expression and I’m happy that at least I’m doing it). I’m going with option No.2 because nobody likes a bruised body from internal battering so hold fire personal attack and welcome to the creative process of writing.

Creating is a strange process. You plan, you plan to stick to the plan (or so you hope) but the planned form of expression turns into something completely different and you end up with something that is most probably more true to you than the original plan. This has been my whole creative life. I began as a dancer, then went to drama school then ended up at university specialising in Playwriting and now I am here, still writing but not plays. The twists and turns in life are what make it so… well a combo of so fucked up and so glorious all rolled into one.

The controller in me wants everything to go according to how I’ve rolled my time-line out in my head. I’ve done this ever since I was small, pretending I know what the outcome is most likely going to be, saying ‘oh I know, I have this feeling’ and although I consider myself an intuitive person, we can never know what is going to happen on every path we venture down. LET GO OF THE WHEEL. I write that in capitols for me, not to preach. I am the giver of advice and the worst receiver. My own advice comes from a place within that I know I need to listen too. I’m pretty much advising myself with the advice that I give when I’m asked to give it (as listening is most often the best help we can give) because I only ever know my perspectives, my own interpretations of my reality.

I am grateful that I am not on track with NaNoWriMo because it’s making me look at myself, hard… Through those truth lenses that I like to keep in my pocket and pretend I’ve lost them when pretending seems like the most fun game in life when truth is hard to accept. I’ve also realised that maybe this book isn’t a long winded intricate novel. I’m writing a teenage fiction book, it’s the diary of a girl who has been made to live with her difficult aunt after loosing her parents and coming to terms with this, if she ever does. It’s character driven and now, the more I write, it seems to be crossing into fantasy too. So I’ll keep going and see what happens but I’m relieving the pressure of 1,600 words a day as this was stressful rather than encouraging. We all work differently and part of the process is finding your own way.

Writing is so enjoyable yet so challenging all at once. I guess like life, the perfect combination of contradictions. As you ride the wave you get wet, so you get out of the water, dry off, then get back in the water again.