R.Skotarczyk

I am writing

Detroit Cycling

 

Music selection this week is Basenji “Don’t Let Go” because I reviewed it at Indie Shuffle recently and it’s still stuck in my head. Also, in reference to the song title, I’ve been thinking about how stubbornly we hold to things that are no good for us. Holding on can be a pretty romantic idea, or a masochistic one. There’s a duality to everything.

Doing things a little different for this post because I don’t feel like rambling. My head never stops rambling and lately it hasn’t gotten to the point. Instead, here is a simple anecdote that hopefully can say more in the spaces between than I can with my words. It’s called:

Detroit Cycling

be well. love often. enjoy.

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With my visor down, I am invincible. Cars can’t touch me, prying eyes can’t touch me. Not the wind nor the rain, neither the light or the darkness can touch me when the visor on my Basecamp cycling helmet is down. Don’t I look like I can’t be fucked with? That’s because I can’t.

Two beers deep. Always two. That’s the magic number. Two sits with me right. Two of coins. Two of cups. Two of swords. Two of wands. Just the two of us. I like twos. Life is easier in twos. Threes fuck everything up. With three, doubts arise. Confucius says, “When three people journey together, their number decreases by one. When on man journeys alone, he finds a companion.”

What Confucius doesn’t say is that sometimes that happens all backwards – one man journeys alone, finds a companion, and that companion adds a third into the equation – then there was three and life became fucked.

I’m only swearing because I have the visor down. It makes me mean, a good kind of mean. The kind that can go super fast even if the relative speed isn’t all that fast according to a stop watch. My burning thighs say I am fast. Also, the ticking of my heart.

Tick, tock. Tick, tock. It’s pumping strong and hard and I’m flying around curves. Adrenaline quiets the madness. His touch also quiets the madness. His touch is like words upon my pen, dripping from a tip that presses upon a page that receives their touch, wears their meaning, becomes the word – touch. Touch me.

His touch is therapy. His love is maddening and his touch is therapy.

There’s a kink in my back. No matter which way I squirm, it’s still there. I’m riding harder and faster because adrenaline will make that go away, too. All forms of pain washed away with stimulation. Speed is so addicting. Sometimes I wish I were the wind. My Mayan chart says once I hit 40 I’ll turn into wind, incarnate. People will know my words far and wide.

For now, the wind has stopped whistling past my ears tucked neatly under my helmet, which means I have stopped. With stopping, feeling returns.

There’s a duality to everything- stopping and going, staying or leaving – a two-fold choice to most things. Tonight I will choose between succumbing to my fears or rising above them, as is the choice every night.

I will choose between doing the writing or thinking of writing, as is also the choice every night.

Love is also a choice, a brave and complex choice that comes with its own string of dualities. Much like cycling, Detroit cycling, joy and pain come with the package. The choice lies in whether or not we keep going, keep pushing towards a positive goal. Progress isn’t always so obvious, you know?

Some days are triumphant, some days it’s enough to just show up, and some days you get rained on.

 

 

 

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#waswritinguntil…

We’ve all seen (and used if you’re a writer) #amwriting.

Feels good, doesn’t it? Feels forward moving and the perfect affirmation even if, at the moment, you’re staring at the screen waiting for said writing to burst forth with the same fervor as that little hashtag implies.

The night was set up so perfect. You had time, you had energy, you were feeling emotional – you did not have coffee, but the wine was near by and the music was… helping? … Ok, you got a little distracted with the music selecting. But no matter.

You began editing an old piece. There’s a new piece that you’re really proud of, but you sent it to a friend and they mentioned removing the semi colons that you’ve been judiciously dumping on your writing like they belong there. All of them. You knew it was a bad idea, but somewhere in the back of your mind you were like, “semi colons are so undervalued”.

  1. Since you have a soft spot for underdogs, you ran with it. Next time though, you’ll have learned your lesson.
  2. Now the piece needs to be edited – again. Which means, for good measure, maybe you’ll let it sit in a folder and ferment for another month.


So you’re editing the old piece, you sip the wine and sip it again. A few words fall out of your head, but something feels off. You’re not emotionally invested in the piece anymore so you put a new spin on it, a darker one. You’re good at being dark, but dark is easy and you told yourself to stop being so easy.

Not sure you’re on board with your own shift in direction, you stop #amwriting to thumb the phone for a little, take a selfie or two because you need to affirm that it’s not just your disembodied ego sitting here stewing, but the whole body, vanity and all.

You head to social media to embellish the truth around any real progress and productivity, or maybe the photo is now considered progress so that’s cool, and with the social aspect you hope it will incite actual #amwriting because now you’ve called yourself out, now you’ve a responsibility to method act your way back to the #amwriting you’re supposed to be doing.

Photo posted, you tap away at a few more words, delete a few more paragraphs because #icebergtheory – the less you say on the surface, the more meaning lies underneath. Or as Ernest put it,

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. –Ernest Hemingway

You bow your inner writer soul to the god that is Hemingway because now you’re giddy over how cutting out half of what you wrote makes for a more weighty piece of writing.

So, OK, but I don’t know, is it done? You re-read over and over again. Seems a bit short. You sip that wine over and over again. Does it say enough? Is it even any good? You check the status of your photo. Only two likes so far. You’ve not convinced anyone, even yourself, that you are indeed #amwriting. Should have been more truthful you think, should have posted #waswritinguntil…

You whip out the tarot deck. Close the computer. The night decays into divination and doubts. You tell yourself you’ll revisit the writing in the morning when you’re feeling less cataclysmic.

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Any of this sound familiar?

More often than not I wish I wasn’t a writer in the digital era where social media is paramount to career survival. That said, my output HAS somewhere to output because of the digital era, but that output has suffered since I was gifted a smart phone.

Blog posts seem doable. Short prose, poems, and stories seem doable. Photos – very doable. Still, it’s hard to focus on the horrible tedium that is, editing when it comes to that expansive book I #waswritinguntil…

Point being, there are ways to keep #amwriting even if you don’t feel that what you are doing can be considered such. Even if what you’re doing isn’t the thing you think you should have been doing. Like, do I really need another blog post when I have a book to edit? The answer is yes, yes I do. Because the point is #practice and #persistence and the only really bad thing a writer can do for themselves is to stop writing.

We’re hard on ourselves, us writers and creatives. I know I am. But I’m getting braver about my writer skin – more confident about what I can and cannot consider real work. You know what I’ve been learning?

  • IF YOU SHOWED UP #amwriting.
  • If you ATTEMPT to work on your craft for hours, even if a few or all of those hours were spent torturing yourself over not working efficiently or brilliantly or whatever #amwriting
  • If all you did was delete 5 sentences and reread the same first paragraph 500 times #amwriting
  • If all you managed to do was open your computer and write, “I can’t think of anything to write” – you know what? #amwriting

What I’m learning is that being a writer is a state of mind. If you never publish a damn word but consider yourself a writer, you’re a writer. So #amwriting your little heart out. Maybe #waswritinguntil… just to keep yourself in check, but above all #dontstopwriting even if the words only live in your mind. They’ll come pouring out eventually. They will because they have to because us writers, we didn’t choose the writing life, the writing life chose us.

Music selection is this gem I found – an artist out of Toronto named verzache. The above track is called “hiccup”, this one here is “juvenescence”. Was listening to his whole soundcloud last night and well… I was blown away.

Thanks for coming to my space and sharing this time with me. I’ll be posting the piece that I was working on last night… the old piece “And So We Did” on Scriggler so you can judge for yourself if it was enough of the iceberg or even any good.

As always, be well, love often, and enjoy.

Routine Maintenance

I’ve been doing this routine where I bike an hour to yoga, practice yoga for an hour, then bike back an hour from yoga. It’s a routine that takes me out of my head, forces me to pay attention as I’m dodging cars and pot holes; forces me to focus on something other than my immediate emotions as I’m stretching this way and that, challenging muscle groups to open and strengthen. Every drop of sweat padding on my rubber mat is a reward – a reminder of the solid foundation that is built upon routines.

I’ve been thinking a lot about routines.

I’ve other routines:

  • Make the bed every morning
  • Wash the sheets on Sunday
  • Clean and organize room before bed and/or before leaving the house
  • Clean dishes immediately after use
  • Get up at 6am every day and write an hour before work…..

Ok, I lied about that last one. However, in front of me is a list. Number 3 on that list is, “come up with a writing routine.” I suppose “up at 6am sharp” might be a good start.

Seems I need routines to normalize parts of my life as we all do, I’m sure. And normally those routines work to get gears turning, forcing us out of stupid habits like NOT performing those routines. We set those routines up for a reason. They need to be there because they work like oil to keep the machine turning.

But today was different. As I biked back from yoga I became frustrated that not once, not in the slightest had I exited my head during the whole 3 hours of the work out. This became most apparent mid yoga session. As my frustration grew to intolerable levels, I found myself holding my breath, resenting my instructor, doubting, cursing, just thinking negatively in all ways possible – totally contradictory to my usual heart-opening, clear-minded post yoga attitude.

Furrowed brow, I road home recklessly, wondering why today the routine had not worked.

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photography by @rustyvaughanyoung follow him on instagram

The head is a complicated place.

Maybe, I thought, to expect to scale the mountain of tumultuous ideas the mind creates with one method, even two or three – is madness.

The thought occurred to me that there is never one way, one solution, one answer to any problem. That a life filled with yoga, tai chi, tap dance, or tarot; boxing, boating, hockey, or horse riding; no amount of praying, painting, volunteering, nor activism can really solve a thing. They are tricks, methods like a magician’s handbook. Their work is an illusion.

The real work it seems, begins and ends in the mind, the heart, the human.

 

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Fitting. I drew the High Priestess and the Queen of Pentacles. Going to do a real simple summation here. The Queen, the one who has it all, the solid earth sign (represented by the pentacle) – sure and content, yet paired with the High Priestess – it’s like she’s wondering why the hell she feels like the usual just isn’t working as usual, why things seem so unsure at the moment. It’s like she’s consulting the High Priestess, like going to confessional, like provoking the deepest parts of herself. It’s like she’s sitting in her castle with all her wealth and being like, yeah but, I’m unhappy. Maybe something needs to budge, something needs to change, but what? Is it me? Is it this castle? Is it my heart? Is there something I’m not admitting to myself? Is there something I’m holding to so tightly that’s keeping me from seeing the truth, or from becoming my true self?

Maybe that’s the conversation we’re all having right now.

But don’t stop, let the frustration be fuel. Mine provoked me to do this post, and I feel great about it. Hadn’t done one in quite some time.

I’m not killing the idea of routines. Routines do help the mind cope, the gears turn, the foundation settle, and the body rest. They do, they most certainly do. But don’t be afraid to change those routines because if they’re no longer working, than the work there is done.

Do a routine maintenance check of your current routines. Change perspectives, alter angles and outlooks. Keep pushing. Fill your bag with tricks.

Choice is what guides us to becoming the best or worst versions of ourselves. We always have the power to choose.

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I don’t have any answers, not at the moment. But I do have thoughts and I hope you appreciated me sharing them.

 

Musical selection is a from a producer I’ve been obsessed with lately – Mark Barrott and his album Sketches From An Island. Love the whole album, but “Go Berri Be Happy” is currently playing while I’m closing this out so – there you have it.

Be well, love often, and enjoy!

The Cup, The Key: The Quiet Act of Knowing

Been a minute since I asked these cards about writing. What I asked is if I posses the skills of a writer, not so much because I believe I don’t, but  I figured if I got some disheartening cards back I may have to re-think what I want this chapter in my life to look like.

What I got was an affirmation of the time – exactly what tarot is, mind you – a window into the tools one has in front of them, the option of energies either to use, or not. For this I turned to my very first tarot deck , The Da Vinci Tarot. Seemed fitting that while revisiting old doubts I summon an old deck, the deck that was with me 2 years ago when on the road writing From The Other Seat, the deck that birthed the idea of incorporating tarot into my blog as a way to lighten the pressure, and to offer fodder as I continued to explore the act of writing.

I still love the dark romanticism these cards evoke. Even on the positively inclined cards the images appear wistful – perfect for the writer’s mind. There’s a seriousness to the tone of this deck, it begs that you consider the balance of light and dark when interpreting the message.

So here’s what turned up. They all popped out on their own in this order: Ten of Chalices, Four of Swords, and the Knave of Chalices.

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As a quick intuitive interpretation, Ten’s are a completion and an end to a cycle. Ten of Chalices says both, yes, you have everything you need, all the passion is there, either you’re nurturing your talents or the energy exists for you to do so. But ten’s are also the end of a cycle, not to say it’s all going to go to shit afterwards, but with every ending, there is a new beginning, and there will be a change, a shift. How have you shaped your perception? How will you have used that nurturing love of, say, a mother and her baby? How will your baby grow?

That question follows into the Four of Swords perfectly because this card signifies a sabbatical, a much needed time out. Swords signify thoughts and assessing what those thoughts mean. The Four of Swords is recharging the batteries and making sure that these thoughts are yours and yours alone. I love how the figure in this image looks entirely confident and totally at peace, as if he’s Siddhartha, having come back from a long walk in the valley you see behind him. He knows the answer, or at least has a sense, he’s got the key there in front of him, but he’s taking his time. There’s no hurry, the journey will continue when the time is right.

Timing is key, for the right thing at the wrong time would no longer be the right thing.

And this is why taking a step aside to make time for inner contemplation is so important. One must cultivate the patience to wait for the right time.

The description in the Da Vinci Tarot reference book calls it “peaceful receptivity”. One must have a clear state of mind before making any decisions on the future, and this card signals a time to calm the mind, to find a quiet place all your own, trust in the process, and be open and objective about the path ahead. The figure in the Four of Swords is receptive enough to adapt to anything that might challenge this sense of peace – he’s found equilibrium or is currently seeking it. He’s not taking advice from others, he’s looking within and collecting his own personal strength. The Four of Swords is one of my favorite cards because it tends to come up when a sabbatical is needed. I love sabbaticals, I just took one actually, so I feel like the card that answers my question, whether I posses the skills of a writer, is the third in this spread.

In the third card, the Knave of Chalices is renewed passion. Knaves, or knights, refer to young energies, sometimes young people. It could be that a young person will inspire you, or that a new burst of inspiration is just in its beginning phase, but the fact is – it’s there. It’s naked, and vulnerable, innocent, wanting; emotions pure and simple, raw and abundant, observing the world in a new way, with new words to color what it sees and feels. It’s love, new love, for a person, for a task, for life… for whatever. Life is presenting this now, or it’s coming very soon.

Mid writing this, I got a call about a job, an editing position. I think the initial phone interview went well. They said they’d follow up next week. Promising.

Almost immediately after, my roommate beckoned me to the kitchen where an owl sat on the window ledge. It flew away and was replaced by a pair of cardinals singing to each other, male and female. Owl omens are usual seen as the harbinger of death, could be a metaphysical one, but with death is renewal. Cardinals are a see as a message that you’ve been visited by Spirit. Knaves, cardnials, cups, and keys – the air is ripe with new love, opportunity, and the support is there from a divine quarter, telling one to keep going.

Anyway, I’ve lost focus, gone off the metaphysical deep end, so I’ll leave this here. Musical selection is The Tallest Man on Earth – The Gardener. His lyrics are wrought with symbols and they really speak to me. Hope this post was interesting in some way. Mostly, if anyone is reading, thank you. Happy to share this space with you.

Be well, love often, and enjoy!

Werewolf You Under Light of the Full Moon?

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That sun is hot enough to bake you black, or in my case a deep brown, brown enough like the camel colored hide of my closed-toed heels. Legs bleeding into the tan of my shoes, arms bleeding into the tan of my tank top, I feel like a gecko in Arizona dust, visibly invisible in my clever camouflage.

This is not Arizona, but Detroit, Michigan where I, with my latest W.P. Kinsella (R.I.P) book, sit marooned in the middle of my feelings and a slumbering homeless man on the patio of a bagel shop. He’s got a large book open to some page chosen by a light breeze that’s been on steady decline since 9:30 am.

I wonder how dark the man’s dark skin can get under the sun. I wonder if he’ll have a stiff neck having stuck in that position for so long, or if he’s slept here all night; if he’s actually reading that large book in front of him or if it’s more of a pillow. I wonder if we have more in common than this shared space – like how spiritual and material lack vibrates at the same frequency. He wakes briefly, as if my thoughts are that loud, and greets me, but I know he can’t see my eyes behind my even blacker shades, so I stay silent. I’m too tan and naked to be humoring his kindness. I neglected to wear a bra. His eyes are smiling in the direction of my tits.

The air stills, sticks to my skin like this tiny spider biting the top of my foot. I brush it off, surprised by the lingering pain of a bug no bigger than a granule of pepper.

“Isn’t it amazing what such a small amount can do?” A friend said that, a friend who facilitated my recent escapades in acid. Having taken it for the first time, I started small – half a square, then the next day, half of a half – learning where the drug wanted to take me and then settling in – my mind finding a place as pleasant, focused, and wild as the weight of a full moon. Just like that. Feels just like that, like, something so cerebrally stimulating – the conscious mind lunges, fights to be released from its tether; the body, so physically grounded, present, oh so present, yet mindlessly moving – chaos operating the base level mechanics of existence for this brief walk between worlds. It’s a distance, a vibrancy, a feeling like there’s no earthly way to contain nor release all the energy accumulating in ones spirit – the body radiating with spirit; creative, nurturing, moody, watery; The High Priestess; sorcery beyond the comprehensible; silver, iridescent, omnipresent – if there were a word or phrase to encapsulate all these things…

“I feel like I’m tripping,” I said, reverent under the silent effects of a full moon in Sagittarius, defining the feeling came as a revelation. Last night the rest of the world was prepping for parties, car accidents they didn’t know they’d have, emotional run ins, fall outs, over consumption, overflow – I opted to avoid it all, the people, the parties. Instead, I put to use the tools acid had given me, identifying, learning, and settling into the power of the lunar event about us.

Full moon nights are like this for me. The eb and flow of feels consumes me and I become something like a werewolf who’s only duty of the evening is to avoid mutating. Personal preservation and safety become my top priorities. I secluded myself and wait for the sediments of my former self to settle; wait for the creative outburst. Waiting through it is key. Still very wolf-like inside my skin, I center in my feels, breath deep, sleep soundly, and hope to process all what occurred in the subconscious sometime, later.

A dream I had recently went against this urge to stay inside. In it, I thought I could handle social events under a full moon; went out with a few friends and end up ripping them all to shreds – blood glinting on large white teeth and claws, dripping from my matted fur, congealing under the indifference of city street lights. As a werewolf, I felt guilt, horror, and regret in strict conjunction to the lust of blood and murder. Hence, trusting ones intuition on a full moon night – also key. Mine said to go on a lone bike ride at dusk.

A light rain cooled the air, made the concrete smell fresh, damp; the skies were calm and welcoming. I pedaled down the river-walk and wove my way through people I trusted because they too were out on an evening like this, cleansing their souls under the same rain, the same billowy clouds lined in orange, pinks, and vibrant lavender. Never have I seen a more photo-esque sky, yet I’d chose to leave the camera at home. True experience can never be felt looking through the other end of a lens.

Stopping on the river walk somewhere near a view of the Renaissance Center and the sea green steeple of some distant church, I couldn’t remember the last time I starred at the sky or listened to the world around me free of digital devices or connections that never really connect. That sky was love, I felt safe under it. That full moon made the world new again and I felt blessed to be alone and noticing.

But I’m losing it now, the effects fading. It’s past noon and I can feel myself coming back, the me I carry daily, this heavy body, this over-thinking brain. The words are slowing. I’ll share this with you now, re-read it and wonder from what secret deep it came. I’ll miss the me I was only moments ago. I’ll miss the moon.

When there’s something to write, I never think about it, I just do. What I think about is when I’m not doing it, but it’s like I’m always waiting on the moon, my muse. Isn’t that life though? Like, I’m always waiting for something – this coffee to cool, my heart to stop hurting. It’s never going to change, is it? And yet, we all keep moving because cycles are ritual. Yes, I do see the value in ritual. I live mine by the phases of the moon.

Before I go, I’d like to share this with you, too.

The other day while snipping parsley for a salad, I snipped a lady bug in two. I had to sift through the salad to find its severed body. I’m still not sure why that made me feel so odd. Currently, I’m slicing the meat of a mango. Large pieces wiggle in my fingers and when I place them in my mouth they slide down my throat like an oyster. Thinking of mangos and oysters as one in the same makes me feel funny.

What do you make of these funny feelings? Sometimes I feel like I may wait forever to gaze at another and trust in love enough to describe how thinking of mangos and oysters as one in the same makes me feel more connected and severed than ever before. Sometimes I feel like I will never love or trust in another as much as I love and trust in the moon, or that another could never love me as much as that sky last night. I tell you I heard it whispering my name, kissing my forehead, telling me the universe will forever have my back.

I wonder who out there felt that, too.

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“And all of this stuff will break me, don’t break me…” Musical selection is my latest addiction: Litany – Flaws

Human

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The first impulses of the heart, sun looks so golden

Holding you here with me

In mind

Your body had to fly

Your body had to fly

A Deep Indigo

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Asked what card to pair with this post and got the Six of Wands. Usually a victory card so, despite my gloom, things must be on the up and up. (For a more thorough description of the Six of Wands, click on the image.)

Grey. Have you seen it outside? This cookie is too salty. The coffee is too weak. There’s a vent blowing cool air from ground up into my eye that seems to like to water continuously for any and every reason.

Last night was fun, yeah, it was, until that bump. What an awkward moment in the stall snorting up chemical powder. Ex-boyfriends and old habits. That’s what yesterday was. That’s been this whole month of April, come to think of it. I tell myself it’s karmic, there’s something I haven’t learned yet.

There’s a group of European jazz musicians staying in the Airbnb on the opposite side of the duplex I live. They were practicing scales all morning, smoking cigarettes on the porch. My roommate said they were gorgeous and that we should try to hang with them later. I’m avoiding this issue by being anti-social, by going out to a public place and writing. Public places are more acceptable places to practice anti-social tendencies.

It wasn’t the cocaine. It wasn’t the fact that that one dude who hits me up on occasion showed up later in the evening, locked eyes with me but never said, hi. It wasn’t the fact that the only one who seemed to appreciate how well put together I was, how intently I danced, was the most drunk dude in the club. I kept him steady though, you know? He watched my movements and I kept his gaze up. I was useful, I had use. It wasn’t all those things, but then… it was. It was the expectations I told myself not to have that maybe that night things would change, something would change, someone new would walk into my life, grab me like they’d been searching for their yin forever and ever and here I was, ready to fit with their soul, merge, sink in, never coming up for air. I told myself this wouldn’t happen, but my soul still wished it. Dumb ass hope. Hope keeps us unsatisfied, keeps us ignoring what’s happening in the moment. Hope is only a sign that you think your life sucks as is. That is not a good way to be.

I told myself over and over “the path is the goal”- chanted it while I danced because no one cared what I mumbled to myself, no one knew how with every movement of this muscle, this arm, this foot, I performed as strongly as I could, I danced with purpose, to ward off some sort of feeling that was trying to eat me, steal my pleasure.

I’m supposed to be learning how to live without a bottom, bottomless; no one to lean on, no one to tell me it’s all going to be OK. I’m supposed to be learning how to live in discomfort. Why is this a thing I need to learn to do?

No one sees me. No one is looking for me. I am not looking for them either, OK, I was. But I give up. Last night I gave up. Before I snuck out the door I did tell one person I was leaving. “I feel like I need to leave,” I said. “Why?” he asked. “I don’t know,” I said. “You have anxiety or something?” he asked. “Yes, always,” I told him. “You do what you feel you need to,” he said. It wasn’t an interaction that needed to happen. I could have just ghosted, but I suppose I wanted at least one person to see me. See? Here I am. Here are my thoughts, respond to them. Pretend to care, please, even if you don’t.

I set my little sack down one more time before I left as if hoping the one I was waiting for would waltz in right then, one last chance. But nah… no one came. Why didn’t that dude just say, hi? Would that have saved the night? Whatever. Fuck Geminis anyway.

Can I get back to how grey this day is? How I’m happy I’m writing and out in public, but I still feel like crying. Some random acquaintance messaged me last night to ask about another ex-boyfriend. Said a good friend of his was thinking of dating this person and might I have any thoughts on the guy. “Wouldn’t recommend him to anyone,” I said, listing a few reasons. They felt like true reasons and I believe I might have saved a girl’s heart. The acquaintance thanked me. Said that he was so glad he reached out. I believe his gut already knew my ex was going to be trouble for his friend. Satisfied with that small act of vengeance, I lay on my bed, having just biked home in the rain. The cocaine made my brain hurt, my head pounded. I just lay there like dead weight while my other roommate and his girl brushed their teeth in the mirror and hummed softly with love. Two rooms away, I am death. Here I am. See, we live with dualism everywhere.

Is it the gut rot, the cocaine blues, the coffee, the cool air still blowing, the sad music coming through my headphones, the feeling of being and not being at all?  – invisible. I think that’s what it’s called. I feel invisible, but I’m not. My roommate sees me. She’s always pulling me out of myself, but I’m tired. Today I either want to die or move to the country, which is the same thing to some. What’s that? You want to tell me I need therapy, too? Heard it all before and nah, I don’t want to die. That’s silly. But I thought it- envisioned the ways it could be done. I do this often, too often, but it’s a harmless practice, really. After sifting through all the ways, inevitably I decide that they all would suck and that usually motivates me to get up. So. Here I am, up. What happens now? I feel like I’ve exhausted my options for the day.

Yeah, my roommate is good at pulling me out, but I don’t want to go out tonight. I’m not in the mood for guys, for flirting. No. I’m tired of dressing up with expectations. Maybe I should install a mood meter on the outside of my door. Today’s reading would be, a deep indigo.

Hitting Your Stride

Last week I found some much needed writing time at a local cafe. I find I do my best writing work in cafes. Because I hadn’t worked on my novel for so long, I basically had to start from the beginning, which meant more editing, fine-tuning… I feel like that’s what I’ve been doing since I wrote the thing. I can’t seem to get past the first 3 chapters. Maybe it’s fear.

One thing I did that I’m not sure I should have done is have an editor read it in it’s first draft. This was last year. At the time, I thought, I needed those eyes to critique my storyline. Maybe this editors reply back killed my ego in all the right places, maybe the things he mentioned did need to be changed. But what I did was focus on those negative things. He said a lot of positive things, but I ran with the negative and since then I feel like I’ve been in endless “revise & rewrite” mode. Then there was that little tiny window where Harper Legend was looking for the next Siddhartha (note to self: need to read this one again) and I thought to myself, “Hell yes I can turn this book from a memoir to a spiritually awaking/philosophical surrealist masterpiece!” I mean, ideally, this was the book I was going for anyway. Those types of books are by far my favorite.

At any rate, this new aim sent me on another bout of “rewrite” and once I started surrealizing details in the memoir  – well then it was no longer a memoir. Then, did I really need all that back story about me and my who-gives-a-fuck life? These are questions that I’m still asking.

BUT re-reading those pages from the backstory in the cafe, I grew partial to the flow. I feel, even if it wasn’t about me, there’s a good character set up there and maybe I still can use that. Maybe I CAN write a memoir fantastical. Could you really tell me it’s not still a memoir? Could you prove to me that my fantastical imagination does not exist? I think not. 9e6a5f3bf042cfbff3210aa816cf6b20

Really super duper fitting that I drew the Three Pentacles when thinking about this blog entry. This card means that your hitting your stride. Making all the right moves. Your talents are being put to work, people see you as capable, and that if there was any doubt before, this is confirmation to display your abilities. It says, you know what to do now and how to do it, even if you don’t know you know – YOU KNOW. You can achieve these goals. This card is drenched in positive affirmations about work and career.

Here his pentacles are represented by the three symbols over top of him. The far left being Mercury (communication and career), and to the far right is the Alchemic symbol for Sulfur. Mercury can be mix with sulfur, it’s its opposite. I’m not sure why that’s significant. I’m also not sure what the middle symbol, the square, is supposed to represent unless it’s THIS. 090306-holmyard22

I know I said in the last post I wasn’t going to talk about tarot so much and now here I am diving into alchemy and man, I need to get to WORK.

Musical selection this week is this track by Flamingosis and Ehiorobo called “Truck”. Why? Because it’s been stuck in my head, and because, as the lyrics say, “You should hold on. I ain’t too sure where were goin’ with this. You know that I’m into funk. You feel like I’m riding a truck. Lots of bumps and stank faces.” In other words, we’ll figure this out. We’re just hitting out stride.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

And We Carry On: Writing/Life Updates

So, I’ve been super M.I.A from this blog, I realize. Don’t know how many people I had checking in here anyway, but it’s not really about that, is it? Or wait, of course it is. At any rate, I have been adding things here and there at Scriggler. There is a link up in the menu but it’s not so obvious and maybe I should change that.

There were a few reasons I halted all progress on the blog/writing. A couple projects came up that swept me off under my feet and I had to… well, inevitably I chose to abandon the writing for a minute to start those projects off. While I was “gone” I met a surprising number of people that think Tarot and Astrology couldn’t be bigger wastes of mind space, nor have any validity or value in life in general. Not that I care about these opinions, but it made me wonder how many people I was putting off from reading my posts if they’re based on Tarot. I’m just a metaphysical being living in a human body and find all things mysterious and occult just, pretty damn fascinating. This is my space, I can do what I want, but maybe I need to tone down the spiritual connections to me and my writing and just talk about writing.88e7bd2d7df310ef92a6383876bc3e30

That said, if you’re curious. I did draw a card. I got the Five of Cups and fittingly here I am focusing on the few cups that spilled and not on the two very full ones I still have in front of me, so…

Sure I’m frustrated with being sidetracked, sure I’ve been questioning if I’m a writer at all, sure I’ve been wondering if my priorities are in the right place or if I’m just doing a really good job at wasting my time in areas I’m not supposed to be spending any time in at all. I have doubts, many. With that, I’ve started another semester of school and Science, a subject I would have been happy to nerd out to 5 months ago, has now become the biggest burden/brain robber ever. I cared about the environment once, now I’m all, ‘SOCIAL LIKES’ ‘CONTENT’ ‘NUMBERS’ ‘NETWORK’. Gah.

Where am I going with all this?

There is a balance I’m trying to reach and maybe I just needed to do a few things before swinging back and focusing on what I was doing, aka writing, before the madness began, aka music marketing. My book. I suppose the madness started after I sent one query out to an agent, got a “no thank you”, and decided I was a failure. Ridiculous logic, I know.

I’m going to head over to Scriggler right now and upload another poem. Maybe I should post them here too. Poetry… not sure why I’ve been writing so much poetry lately, but I suppose I just need that therapy. I find that I can speak more accurately through it, rather than with story.

Music selection is “Carry On” by an underground producer in Paris, France by the name of Thomas Fontana. I’ve chosen it because it’s a rad track, but also because carry on is what we/I need to do. This one’s free for download, so snag it.

Be well, love often, and enjoy!

Up and Out

Musical selection this week is Sinead Hartnett and her brand new video “Rather Be With You” because I think the message is right in line with what we’re supposed to be learning this month, what I get into below. Don’t let your ego go on thinking you can do this alone or that you’re better than everyone. Karma will come crashing down to show you, you were better off in that place of humility, that space of love and unity. That’s when the real work gets done.

“I was halfway up on a the wings of a fantasy. Looking out for love, didn’t know what was good for me…”

 

While you’re listening, keep reading! Here is the spread for this week. 

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Whatever that looks like to you, I’ll tell you what it means to me. We’ll call it an “up and out” energy. That’s what I’m feeling. It’s this constant loop of breakdowns and rebuilds. Shit blows up, we come out. Shit breaks down, we stand back up and step on out.

The Tower is a shocking change, usually unpleasant. It’s a karmic debt number, 16. Taken from the numerological stand point,

The 16 is different from other karmic debt numbers, as it is not easily overcome. It involves a continuous cycle of rebirth. After collapse, you will learn the way of humility. You must recognize that power is meant to be shared and you are superior only to your former self. – gaia.com

Wherever 16 shows up in a numerology chart, in the cards, it means “destruction of the old and birth of the new.” It’s life challenging your grand plans, it’s a lost battle, a strike to the ego. But wherever this exists, so does the humility that follows. It is the key to later success, bringing us closer to union, spiritual or otherwise.

Being that we’re heading into a Mercury retrograde this is just what it is- that shit we’re supposed to fix and if we haven’t learned how or learned what it’s stemming from it’s just going to keep throwing us in those same cycles and we’ll have to keep learning those same painful lessons. So stop it. Stop the cycle. Get to the root of why the problem keeps occurring. It’s in you, not outside of you. No one can change you but you. It’s no one else’s fault if things aren’t working. Know this and let the shock of that revelation propel you forward, a new and better you. Do this and you will have achieved a sort of victory, as represented by the Six of Wands. 

The Six of Wands is the lower echo of The Chariot and The Tower. Both of these cards signal change, The Chariot being a card of dominating victory and The Tower being a card illustrating the intrusion of unexpected chaos. When the Six of Wands appears with one of these cards, a life-changing accomplishment occurs. This is the difference between being interviewed about an event for the evening news and others being interviewed about you for the evening news. –keen.com

That place of recognition in the six is then followed by The Chariot. Represented by the sign of Cancer (which happens to be where the moon is right now) The Chariot is the spiritual transformation of man, the strength of will. It promotes immediate action, change, problems overcome, learning lessons from previous mistakes, a rushing forward in balance, success assured.

So yeah, that’s the spread I drew when I asked what I should focus on for this blog post. Big energies going on here and big energies have been surrounding all of us. I know it. I know you’ve felt these cards in your own life.

I’d be ignorant to say I knew what was on the other end of this change, where it’s all heading, but what I do know is that division has been a quite theme over the past 5 months- these powerful coming togethers followed by earth-shattering divisions; division in our hearts in regards to so many issues. It’s been perpetual and it needs to stop. If I’m so bold as to think I’ve come into some clarity about this, I’d say this is what I’ve learned:

9b464d5ce729086252cb7a5b0ee1c782This splitting with old cycles is not a full out abandonment, not this time. I believe what we have in your lives right now is worth working with. The things that are there are worth keeping. It’s about committing. That’s been the challenge. Committing. Not tricking ourselves into thinking there’s something better or that shit’s gonna get better if we keep abandoning what’s been super hard and shitty, throwing away all that progress and starting over. Starting over is cool, but it’s duration and endurance that builds lasting character, strong bonds- things that build security.

What we do need is to split with these ideas that shit isn’t working because of this, that, them, they, him, her – NO. Stop looking outside and pointing fingers. It’s not working because something isn’t working in you, your perspective, your actions. Stop doing the same shit and wondering why you get the same results. Stop that. Stop the unhealthy cycles, in any area of your life. That’s the challenge. This is a time for healing, repairing what’s broke- repairing you, reassessing what isn’t working and moving on from there. Through that we can heal the whole collective. You’ll enter it a stronger person, knowing what you want, knowing what’s good for you, what you will and won’t tolerate. Recognize that the strongest version of you is the one that works for the good of the whole, with love, and with others working in the same direction- a shared vision, achieved because you’ve found your independence. You’ve found, you – all that you can offer, all that you can do, beautiful you.

I’m talking to myself here as much as you, you and you. This is just what I’ve learned, like I said. Maintaining the love in your own heart, despite the destructive changes, that’s the key. That’s what I’ve been learning. It’s not easy. It’s something I have to work at – loving me, loving them, trusting love, love, love, love. But you know what? I do recognize that good things ONLY happen when I’m in this space of love and when other people are in it with me and when we’re working together. That’s the only time. So I want to stay there, no matter what. Pain ain’t got nothing on me. Hardships? We’ll call them character builders, thank them, and move on. Stay in love. Stay here with me. Love often and you’ll be well. Enjoy!

Sometimes you just have to stop and eat the roses (aka thoughts from a cubicle)

because

because

I feel like I’m eating the world’s feelings today. My stomach hurts and I wish everyone would stop fighting.

I’m thinking about staying in airbnbs and crashing at other people’s places, interchangeably, every few months, eternally. I think that model works well with my life.

I only do good work in cafés. What I mean is, the only time I actually do work is when I’m in a café.

Hair. Like so many things in life, I do not understand it and I wish it would stop plaguing me with its bullshit.

Everyday I am a new person. Some days I don’t recognize the person I am, but I do seem to have a clear sense of what I’m becoming – until I get there, that is.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep your thoughts to yourself. At the very least, don’t go blogging about them. Just write a book and then maybe one day you will win the hateful, bitter audience you were looking for, at which point, you will either have grown up or died. Either way, the rest of the world will be better off. Wait… was that a mean thing to say? Ah shit.

Every generation will have their new noise that will become a strong voice. Wisdom finds value in change, foolishness finds bitter words.

Trying to condense thoughts into twitter posts makes thoughts sound more profound.

There are 7 days left in November which means, I will not be winning NaNo this year.

What is failure if not the shadow of bravery?

If you don’t think it makes sense, post it on Facebook and let the world be your guide. Sarcasm? Even I’m not so sure.

Last night I had a dream about a room with many beds. Other people had taken all the other beds. I was worried about the position of the last bed because if I placed it against the wrong wall, an evil spirit would posses my body by entering the top of my head.

I’m probably not the girl you think I am, but like you, I wish I could be.

 

I think sign language should be the universal language. I believe this would make us less judgmental as humans, also we could make some pretty cool dance moves as seen in this super fun video by Wishes called “Settle”.

Thanks for hanging out with me and my thoughts.
Be well, love often, and enjoy.

 

 

 

 

NaNo Update/ Life Update

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I’m going to try and make this brief because I know I’m not the only one feeling a little unhinged today and I really just want to go outside and do something physical to make me feel more grounded.

These energies that popped up today, The Star card (which I spoke on in a previous post) and the King of Swords are helping me describe the feeling in the air, but it’s still hard, it’s like, the highly metaphysical and the highly logical are walking side by side, afraid to look at each other, afraid to understand each other. THEE dream, your ultimate dream is in sight, but it’s like, you’re still in this position where you KNOW you have to be highly logical about your next steps- a bit cold and calculating, a bit mean and offish but it’s because you’re just trying to HOLD IT ALL TOGETHER MAN.

Like, that’s YOUR DREAM right there, The Star, you manifested it, this is YOUR WISH, but you’re a little miffed at it, like it showed up early to the party. But the Star is not early, it’s RIGHT ON TIME, and that notion makes you feel excited and scared and you don’t WANT to feel excited and scared right now, dammit, there’s work to do.

Know that it’s the nature of the unknown which makes us feel vulnerable and that it’s totally OK to feel vulnerable. It’s a necessary step.  It means you’re ready for the change.

I mean, The Star is over there just free and naked and like, super calm about it and you’re all like, I can’t get there with you yet and you’re making me nervous with your beautiful magical presence.

You know this is a delicate period, that to complete the process, to fulfill the wish, one needs to be careful, make smart moves, stay on task and that there’s still so much work to do if that dream is to become a reality. IT’S RIGHT THERE, but you’re trying real hard to be that King of Swords, to stay on track, stay focused, to not humor the fanciful feelings just yet.

To bring this back to the writing process, I seriously almost bailed on the NaNo project this week. There were two or three days there that I didn’t write anything at all and I thought I’d have to write a post about my failure, which would have been fine. Failure is fine. But then I had a few awesome conversations with some friends and it got me thinking- what do I REALLY want, what was the dream? And, is that dream going to happen if I don’t push myself to the limit? No. It won’t.

I wanted to go back to working on From the Other Seat. I’m itching to keep chipping away at that edit, but I also know I need a new project, a strong project with a strong foundation to be there waiting for me when I hit a wall with the memoir, and the wall WILL happen so I want to be prepared. Also, I have grand visions of taking a trip to Poland this spring and to work on this new book while I’m there and this is totally contingent on the fact that I have something really tangible started. I want to just be filling in plot holes when I get there and editing and… god, I’m rambling.

My biggest problem with the new project is while I made a loose outline and a character sketch, getting from point A to Z has been a real challenge. I’m a very literal person and taking on a fiction and setting it in a place I’ve never been…. well, I’m struggling with it. So I’m putting aside all environmental descriptions right now and just focusing on the emotional meat of the story because… emotions are my thing. I know how to write about those.

Anyway, this is getting long. On top of all this book writing, I’m also trying to carve a path for myself in my freelance writing in music and what not… and so… it’s been a trying time to fit all this in and know which projects to focus on more at any giving time; where to put the brunt of my energies. So… yeah, I got to be this King of Swords even though my dream, The Star, it’s right where I want it. There’s still so much… so so much to do.

Stay focused everyone. I’m going to go cut the grass. It’s beautiful out.

Musical selection this week is by Jay Daniel a young Detroiter who embodies these logical-dreamy energies. He’s releasing his debut album at the end of the month. The album is called Broken Knowz and it drops via Technicolour Recordings. Be well, love often, and enjoy!!

 

 

 

Tattoo these words on your hearts…

… and by the end of this, feel the serenity. Let the love in, let the fears go. Trust.

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I trust my abundant creativity.

I trust the strength that opens and blooms in me when I have to face something.

I believe in myself as a man/woman who handles what comes his/her way today.

I have it in me to rise to a challenge.

I am more and more aware of how I hold fear in my body.

I stop storing fear in my body.

Now I relax those holding places.

I open my body to joy and serenity.

I release my body from the clench of fear.

I relax the part of me that holds fear the most (jaw, shoulders, neck, etc.).

I let go of the stress and tension that come from fear.

I let go of fear-based thoughts.

I let go of basing my decisions on fear.

I stop listening to those who want to import their fears into me.

I let go of finding something to fear in everything.

I let go of fear and fearing and of believing that everything is fearsome.

I am more and more aware of my instant reflex fear reactions.

I am aware that I have habituated myself to a certain level of adrenaline.

I forego this stressful excitement and choose sane and serene liveliness.

I let go of my obsessive thoughts about how the worst may happen.

I trust myself always to find an alternative.

I see the humor in my fears.

I see the humor in my exaggerated reactions to unreal dangers.

I find a humorous dimension in every fear.

I find a humorous response for every fear.

I play with the pain of fear.

I smile at my scared ego with tough love.

I am confident in my ability to deal with situations or people that scare me.

I have self-healing powers -and- I seek and find support outside myself.

I have an enormous capacity for re-building, restoring, transcending.

I am more and more sure of my abilities.

I am less and less scared by what happens, by what has happened, by what will happen.

I trust an uncanny timing that I keep noticing within myself: I love how I
awake or change or resolve or complete at just the right moment.

Nothing forces me; nothing stops me.

I let go of any fear I have of nature.

I let go of my fears of natural disasters.

I let go of my fears of sickness, accident, old age, and death.

I cease being afraid of knowing, having or showing my feelings.

I let go of my fear of failure or of success.

I let go of the fear behind my guilt and shame.

I let go of my fear of aloneness or of time on my hands.

I let go of my fear of abandonment.

I let go of my fear of engulfment.

I let go of my fear of closeness.

I let go of my fear of commitment.

I let go of my fear of being betrayed.

I let go of my fear of being cheated or robbed.

I let go of my fear of any person.

I let go of my fear of loving.

I let go of my fear of being loved.

I let go of the fear that I will lose, lose money, lose face, lose freedom,
lose friends, lose family members, lose respect, lose status, lose my job, lose out.

I let go of my fear of having to grieve.

I keep letting go and I keep going on.

I let go of my paranoia.

I give up my phobic rituals.

I let go of my performance fears.

I let go of my sexual fears.

I let go of fears about my adequacy as a parent or child, as a worker, as a partner, or friend.

I let go of the need to be in control.

I acknowledge control as a mask for my fear.

I let go of my need to be right, to be first, to be perfect.

I let go of my belief that I am entitled to be taken care of.

I let go of my fear of the conditions of existence:

I accept that I may sometimes lose;

I accept that things change and end;

I accept that pain is part of human growth;

I accept that things are not always fair;

I accept that people may lie to me, betray me, or not be loyal to me.

I am flexible enough to accept life as it is, forgiving enough to accept it

as it has been.

I drop the need for or belief in a personal exemption from the conditions

of my existence.

I acknowledge my present predicament as a path.

I trust a design in spite of the display.

I let go of more than any fate can take.

I appreciate all the ways that things work out for me.

I appreciate the graces that everywhere surround and enrich my life.

I find the alternatives that always exist behind the apparent dead-end of fear.

I open myself to the flow of life and people and events.

I am grateful for the love that awaits me everywhere.

I feel deeply loved by many people near and far, living and dead.

I feel loved and watched over by a higher power (God, Universe, etc.).

I believe that I have an important destiny, that I am living in accord with it, and that I will survive to fulfill it.

I let myself have the full measure of: the joy I was meant to feel, the joy of living without fear.

I let fear go and let joy in.

I let fear go and let love in.

I let go of fears and enlarge my sympathies.

I am more and more aware of others’ fears, more and more sensitive to
them, more and more compassionate toward them.

I am more and more acceptant of all kinds of people.

I enlarge my circle of love to include every living being: I show my love.

I am more and more courageous as I live my program for dealing with fear:

I let go of control;

I let the chips fall where they may;

I admit my fear;

I feel my fear by letting it pass through me;

I act as if I were free of fear;

I enjoy the humor in my fears;

I expand my compassion toward myself and everyone.

I have pluck and wit.

I let go of being on the defensive.

I protect myself.

I am non-violent.

I am intrepid under fire.

I am a hero: I live through pain and am transformed by it.

I am undaunted by people or circumstances that may threaten me.

I let people’s attempts to menace me fall flat.

I give up running from threats.

I give up shrinking from a fight.

I show grace under pressure.

I stop running; I stop hiding.

More and more of my fear is becoming healthy excitement.

I meet danger face to face.

I stand up to a fight.

I take the bull by the horns.

I run the gauntlet.

I put my head in the lion’s mouth.

I stick to my guns and hold my fire.

An automatic courage arises in me when I face a threat.

I dare to show myself as I am: afraid and courageous.

I hereby release the courage that has lain hidden within me.

I am thankful for the gift of fortitude.

I let go of hesitation and self-doubt.

I am hardy in the face of fear.

I have grit, stamina, and toughness.

I take risks and always act with responsibility and grace.

I let go of the fear of being different.

I let go of the need to meet others’ expectations.

I cease being intimidated by others’ anger.

I let go of my fear of what may happen if people do not like me.

I let go of my fear of false accusations.

I let go of having to do it his/her/their way.

I acknowledge that behind my exaggerated sense of obligation
is a fear of my own freedom.

I let go of my terror about disapproval, ridicule, or rejection.

I dare to stop auditioning for people’s approval.

I dare to give up my act.

I give up all my poses, pretenses, and posturings.

I dare to be myself.

I acknowledge that behind my fear of self-disclosure is a fear of freedom.

I dare to show my hand, to show my inclinations, to show my enthusiasms.

I let my every word, feeling, and deed reveal me as I truly am.

I love being found out, i.e., caught in the act of being my authentic self.

I explore the farthest reaches of my identity.

I dare to live the life that truly reflects my deepest needs and wishes.

I give up the need to correct people’s impressions of me.

I give up being afraid of my own power.

I am irrepressible.

I draw upon ever-renewing sources of lively energy within me.

I am great-hearted and bold-spirited.

I dare to give of myself unconditionally -and-

I dare to be unconditionally committed to maintaining my own boundaries.

I am open to the grace that shows me the difference.

I fling open the gates of my soul.

I set free my love, till now imprisoned by fear.

I set free my joy, till now imprisoned by fear.

I honor and evoke my animal powers, my human powers, my divine

powers.

I let true love cast out my fear.

As I let go of my fear, I free the world from fear.

May I and all beings be free of fear and full of love.

~ ~ ~

For all that has been: Thanks!
For all that will be: Yes!
–Dag Hammarskjold

~ ~ ~

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“Lady in Red” Wieslaw Walkuski

This week, focus has been difficult to keep. In the middle of NaNoWriMo this event which was the presidential election has diverted attention  nationwide – worldwide, in a great many cases.

Yesterday, I found myself in a few dialogues speaking very abstractly about the election. The outcome of which I view much like I view anything in life – I look for the pattern; the  bigger picture. I analyze the root of the occurrence and find reason in its purpose; try to organize what that means in terms of where we’re at as a society. I take all that and put it on a blue print, hold it up to the lightboard that is our sky and say, “OK, this is what it is. This is where we go from here.”

I try to speak in broad strokes, I avoid pointing fingers and above all, I try very hard not to let the strong opinions of others, sometimes abrasive and tactless opinions, change the way I feel about them, me, or the human heart and its (at times) impulsive need to express raw emotion.

As a writer, words are my strong point, but sometimes I don’t even know how to use them. They come out all misdirected and wrong. Sometimes I regret them. Words, after all, can hurt. They can help, but they can hurt. Remember that.

Everyone seems to think they have the right answer or that the problem is as obvious as a color, creed, or social standing. The world isn’t any more black and white than the meaning behind a piece of music, a painting or poem. Things aren’t always what they seem. We judge, and we too will be judged.

Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde

More than ever, the importance of art needs to be acknowledged. Outrage and upset has rendered creatives and artists I know into activists. It’s pushed everyday readers, listeners, and lookers to be politicians. I have read a great many opinions that express the necessity of artists to share a voice in all this, to offer their take, to ignite the conversation when, I believe, it’s this continuous rhetoric that keeps focus down one path – a path that needs a more constructive direction.

Remember that art can speak volumes. Music and art, literature and poetry. Remember as artists this is our gift, to take what we want to say, what needs to be said, and use it in this way, abstractly.  Bring back this movement, and do it strongly. The world needs its artists to do what they do best. Create.

Be well, love often, and enjoy.

 

 

On Writing: Raising the Dead

tarot, on writing

Last night I pulled the Death card. I’ve been pulling this card a lot these past few weeks, regardless of the question. What this tells me is that there is something divinely connected to this particular time that signifies both a death and a rebirth.

Personally, I love when I draw Death. I can’t help but always focus on the positive aspects of this card. To me, Death is the ultimate creation card. It tells me that there’s something in the womb bubbling with life that couldn’t have been without the death of something else.

While I’m not using a traditional tarot card this week, I think this artwork depicts Death’s meaning really well.

A definite end and a definite beginning, a change that one feels, that can’t be avoided, is here. Embrace it; death to an aspect of you, a phase, a relationship, a project, a period of stagnation has just happened- roll with it. Recognize that what’s  on the other side is the birth of some other seed you’d planted, maybe some intention you set months or years ago that’s coming to fruition, exposing its leafy tips, its plump petals.

In regards to writing, NaNoWriMo started yesterday and for those of us contributing, we’re all in the Death/Rebirth mode, the start of a new phase. Death is here to usher in the new, not to be a guide but rather, a time marker. Note: this is when the death occurred, this is when you made a change, this is when you started that thing that changed the way your future unfolded. This is when you felt death was lurking, this is when you knew life went on. This is your opportunity to start over.

Been listening to “Dust Clears” by Clean Bandit a lot lately. Always have loved the track, but it’s ringing in strong this month for it speaks to death and rebirth. As the lyrics say,

“As the dust clears and it all starts to disappear, it may get harder because you just restarted. And wherever you are, land on another star. It may get harder because you just restarted….”

Death isn’t about to make this transition easy, it’s just cleaning up the shit you knew needed to go anyway. It’s doing you a favor. Life is all about balance. Death is exciting. Death is life, life is death. Change your perspective and you change your future.

Good luck if you’re venturing into NaNoWrimo and as always, be well, love often and enjoy!

Onward! to NaNoWriMo 2016

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Most writers already know, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I’ve had a few conversations about this with a friends already. General consensus: we’re all going to attempt it this year, regardless of that other pressing project in the works.

Last year, I completed From the Other Seat for Nano. It was challenging and rewarding and I’m thankful to have done it. This year, I’m still working on From the Other Seat. While I did send it off to an editor I found over at Reedsy and while I’ve been sharing plenty of sample chapters over at Scriggler, with this book in particular, I think the content was, and possibly still is, too close to me to be editing at this juncture. Even though I’ve been editing for a year (jeeze, that sounds bad), in truth I should have followed the advice of Stephen King and stuck it in a drawer for 6 months to 2 years. I didn’t because I didn’t have another project to focus on (which is healthy practice and prevents oneself from getting exhausted by the first book.)

I’m opting to set aside From the Other Seat to participate in Nano this year and I think this will be precisely what the doctor ordered.

Which brings me to this spread. I asked the tarot where I’m at in my writing process. I did a three card spread because I drew The Eight of Swords first. This is where I’m at in the process, for sure, but that’s certainly no solution, so I drew the two others, The Two of Pentacles and The Page of Swords, as clarifiers- and how clear that message became!

It’s helpful to know that swords represent any process of the mind, thoughts and feelings that we internalize, but they also represent communication- writing in particular. They’re usually somewhat negative cards just because, you know, knives are sharp and dangerous. Cutting words, devious and harmful thoughts, cold maneuvers, logical love- these are things swords can represent. (They have good qualities too, depending on the card; bravery or decisiveness, for instance.)

In this case (and I’m strictly consulting my own intuition here) I see The Eight of Swords as me, surrounded by my pages. I’m bound up and I got that blindfold on because, like I said, at this point those pages are too close to me, I can’t see my way through them, I can’t editing my way out of them blind. They’re making me feel stormy and trapped which isn’t helpful to me or the book. So a choice emerges, The Two of Pentacles. I’ve an opportunity to balance the situation, and I’ve got to. Notice the grey sky has turned blue, and that blue is then mirrored in the the tunic of the The Page of Swords who comes rushing in with an exciting new idea, a bold and decisive direction – a youthful one – but fresh, nonetheless.

So there you have it. I will most definitely stick From the Other Seat in a theoretical drawer and rush forward with a new book for National November Writing Month!

What will I be writing about this year? I want to give myself a little more freedom, magic up my environments. I think it will be a love story, it could turn out to be a tragedy, but it will most likely be realistic with an element of magic to blur the lines a bit. Nothing original in that simple description, no. I can think of handful of writers that regularly do this type of writing, but it is my perspective and my writing style that needs to set me apart. I’m thinking of mermaids, longing, new lands, love and loss. I’m thinking, dry indie films and exotic records. I’m thinking of an interview I recently read in Playboy Magazine between James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhall and this bit that I found highly intriguing (quote below):

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Gyllenhaal: An actress said to me two days ago, “I’ve been getting so scared when it comes time for my close-up. I’m paralyzed with fear.” From my objective position, I was like, “You’re playing someone who is acting like they’re comfortable with the wildest sexual encounters. It is so much more interesting if that person sometimes is paralyzed with fear.” I don’t believe in the fantasy person who is totally comfortable with that kind of stuff. Maybe there are a couple of people like that in the world, but I’m not really interested in them. I’m much more interested in the person who acts like they’re comfortable with all those things and then sometimes is paralyzed with fear.

And I’ll leave you with MaJLo “Another Day” mostly because I love this song like it was my own heart beating, but also because he offers another glimpse into the setting of my upcoming NaNoWriMo adventure. MaJLo is based near Gdansk, Poland. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

Bogged Down by Backstory

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The Fool lays back to gaze up at the stars. “They’re so beautiful,” he said, “but so distant.”

“Like possible futures,” agrees the girl. “Cool and distant. Yet if you keep one in sight, it can guide you to your destination no matter how far away it is.” – www.aeclectic.net

 

A few days ago I woke up with an epiphany, the clearest direction I’ve felt with my book since I started writing it during NaNoWriMo last year. I know where I want it to go. I know what I want it to be. Problem is, I still don’t know how to take it there.

See, this project started as a memoir. Like my songwriting, I never had a knack for making stuff up. Every lyric I wrote, every word I committed to page had to be true, as in, I had to of lived it. So I wrote what I knew, I wrote what I lived. Within that, I began to see another story- the same story, but like, the essence of it- the folk tale version. “If I tweak this here, rearrange that, there,” I thought, “I’d really have a novel on my hands.”

While I’m not afraid to sensationalize details, I’m morally conflicted about fictionalizing large portions of my manuscript. But the story I want to write, calls for it. If I’m to tell a tale with any lasting affect on the soul, it needs to be “surrealized” a bit.

The Star - Da Vinci Tarot

The Star – Da Vinci Tarot

And with this in mind, I shuffled my tarot deck and The Star popped out. I’m not at home, so again, I’m using an image from a deck that’s not my own, but I love the story of The Star.

Ruled by Aquarius, which always has the future in mind, The Star whispers the hope of possibility. It’s not a guaranteed fate, but a damn strong sign that good things are on the horizon so long as you keep your eye on whatever goal you’ve set up for yourself; the aim, the idea, the beacon.

When I started writing From the Other Seat, I’d written in little to no personal backstory. Rather, it was simply meant to be a book about a struggling musician who has a type of spiritual awakening through an unlikely source, the game of baseball. Could have been any musician. Then, I sent it to a few people to read and similar comments came back. They wanted to know more about me, where I had come from, my music story. Reluctantly, I began the tedious task of writing personal backstory.

I do see how this aids my character, puts me in context, gives other chapters more weight, but now I feel chained to it. Not only do I feel the backstory needs to stay, but I also feel it’s the one thing preventing me from pushing my manuscript to its full potential. In other words, shit got too real and I don’t know how to make it fake.

Making it fake should be easy, and it is when I fictionalize aspects of other characters, but my backstory feels impenetrable, stubborn as kryptonite.

Could it be a pride issue? An incredible need for people to know what really happened? As if I’ll start to disappear like Marty McFly if I don’t tell the whole tale exactly how it was.Will I disappear? It’s that back story, the real story, that built this tale. Fictionalized, sensationalized, without that backstory, there wouldn’t be a story. Yet I have this star in mind, this distant goal I’m trying to reach with my story and my gut tells me, that’s the story I need to tell.

“The Star offers no guarantees, of course, that the traveler won’t tire and give up or be lured in another direction. And there is no telling what obstacles they’ll encounter along the way. All the Star promises is that a particular future can exist.” – www.aeclectic.net

 

With that, I’ll leave you with Isaac Tichauer’s “Doing What I Got” because I feel like it’s my soundtrack this week. “I’m just trying to be G, doing what I got to do. People think that I’m just sitting on top of the world.” Props to Brandy on the original.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

On writing: Using sadness to your benefit

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I’ve been away in mind, waiting for the shift in the season, the shift in the cosmos to give me back a little energy; revive me or destroy me, but floating here feels like swords to the soul.

Truth be told, I avoided a post last week thinking I might be in a better state of mind this week, a better place with my book, a better mood for sharing. Whether or not I am isn’t an excuse to remain at a stalemate. If the outward aspects of my life aren’t planning on moving forward anytime soon at least I can attempt to push my mind past this place of numbness.

Over the weekend, I was able to dedicate one whole day to the writing/editing process. In that day, I worked on one chapter. One chapter, and it’s not like I even changed that much. I read it, edited and edited again and again. One word here, cut and paste there. Delete, delete, edit undo. Two new words. Two steps forward, three steps back. That is how it went.

It was a process that rolled on for hours, about 6, until the sun went down and I realized I hadn’t eaten. And while the work on that chapter felt like torture, in the end, it was better than it had been.

It’s with this state of being that I share this card, drawn digitally because I’m not at home by my own deck.

The Three of Swords is a card that tends to strike sadness in the heart of those who receive it. Three knives piercing a heart. It’s a painful present, but with sword energy at least we can rest assured it won’t last. Maybe a painful situation is coming, maybe it’s already here, all the same, there’s lessons to learn in the Three of Swords and as horrible as it may feel, as frustrated and as stuck, it’s still energy that can be utilized.

Writing in this state of mind rather than using it as an excuse not to write can be a moving experience.

The Three of Swords is where I’m at in my heart, it’s where I’m at in my life, it’s where I’m at in my memoir. Heartbreaking moments abound, but I’m using this instead of succumbing to it. And so far, it’s working out well. Hasn’t been fun, but it’s working out.

The image I used is from a deck called The Fountain Tarot. What I love about it is that it’s one of the more hopeful renditions of the Three of Swords that I’ve seen. Notice the rainbow reflected in the heart? There’s a silver lining to everything, a positive way to flip even the darkest emotions. A reminder that hope is right around the corner. Everything is transitory. These painful emotions need to happen just like the feel-good ones. That’s just life.

So, there you have it- a short blog, but it’s about all the heart space I can spare right now.

This may seem like random advice, but I feel compelled to share it: don’t be afraid to cut away what is no longer serving you, whether you want to apply that to your book or your personal life, start making some clean cuts. In light of the Three of Swords, cut away three things that are confusing your plot. Cut away three paragraphs, three sub-characters, three words. And if you feel you are cutting too much, do not fear. In life we need to completely separate from the old to make way for the new. Cut away all those things that have been holding you back. Burn them, trash them, block them and never look back.

That said, once you do and you’re feeling a little like you miss it, them, those– capture that feeling and fucking use it. 

Cry over your words, pour your soul out on that paper, over those keys; get deep, allow your heart to break fully and completely. At the end of that, there you will find the rainbow.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

 

 

 

Put your best long-term plan, forward

Queen of Pentacles/Queen of Wands

Queen of Pentacles/Queen of Wands

This week The Queen of Pentacles (coins, that is) and the Queen of Wands pop out to say, “Stop dreaming. It’s time for action; slow and methodical, tactical, long term, but with gusto!” Practicality with style and flair, that’s what this queen combination is. Grounded AND on fire, that’s what I am… er.. they are… er… their message, here to remind- these are the energies we should be harnessing right now.

They are a perfect representation of my swift decision to buy an Ergonomic Split Keyboard. I mean, it wasn’t a big ticket item, but the point is, I didn’t even have to think about the cost- it was of no significance compared to the wear and tear on my hands- my hands which are currently my only vehicle to the outside world; my hands campaigning my purpose, my livelihood.

Ok, so here we go. Right. My mess of a station. OMG. So many things my fingers have to push.

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

Notice the size difference between the two keyboards? Holy Hell. That’s what I said when I took it out of the box. This thing needs a duffel bag to carry it. It’s far too big for a backpack.

Wishing I spent a little more time researching and maybe any time at all with checking measurements, but whatever. Here it is. I’m typing on it now. It’s weird and I keep making massive amounts of typos, but what you don’t see is how it raises in the back and has an ever-so-soft pad to support my wrists. THAT feature is currently saving my life, i.e. my hands.

Not sure if I’ll keep this beast. If any of you readers have a suggestion for a better keyboard, please leave it in the comments. I was hoping for something I could travel with. Something that was natural to type on. This thing feels like learning all over again. It’s not very intuitive and I just… I’m not sold.

Anyway, this post is getting away from me.

Harness the power of these two queens this coming week, you’ll need them. These two are my favorite queens and together they are quite potent. I identify with these two most, or maybe I idolize them- whatever, No matter. They are Her; confident in thy economic standing. And Her; sure of thy place in the world.

Risks no longer apply to these queens. The are not struggling. They are simply saying, “You have the means- no question. No worry. Step out into the world and own it.”

On a very serious note, if you’ve been lost in illusion, connections coming and going; you feel more tired, something is aching, you feel lost and confused- that’s just your body adjusting to the changing times. We’re all going to come out of this OK.

October will feel more clear. We will all know where we’re going and who we’re taking with us.

Go get a massage. Pamper yourself. Don’t worry about the cost. It’s of no consequence. You need this.

For the musical selection this week, a track that took off like a rocket and gained a whole lot of traction on the way. Join your fellow recluse and dance like no one’s watching to Oliver Nelson ft. Kaleem Taylor – Ain’t A Thing.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

Scriggler: the “Soundcloud” of writing platforms

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Robin Wood Tarot: Ace of Cups

Thy cup runneth over!

In the context of this blog, when I pull a card I’m thinking about some aspect of the writing process. What I’ve been stuck on lately is time. Seems like I haven’t enough of it, like I’m scrambling, yet I’m paired with this feeling of floating in some stagnant abyss, bored and barely moving.

Ace of cups is a card of fulfillment, conception, socializing, love, having all your emotional needs met. This card is the harbinger of joy. This card says, good times are coming. It says, things are getting done, even when we don’t feel like they are; all those efforts are adding up, filling your cup, and they’ll pay off.

That’s why I’ve been sharing sample chapters lately. When I’m feeling stuck, it’s helpful to change gears and ready something for public viewing, to put my foot down on over-editing and say, “Hey, this is done enough for feedback. Submit, walk away and move on.”

Things don’t have to be so official, they just need to be alive, living, as in- you’ve got to share it, get it out of your mind, off your own computer, out of those disorganized chapter files and let it breath in fresh air, under fresh eyes that are not your own. The hope is, by watching how people respond to this or that chapter, you’ll know better what to keep, what to expand on, what to throw away.

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Sharing could change the direction of your story, give you new ideas where to take your characters, and inevitably, your readers.

Sharing takes bravery. It means that you’re opening yourself up to a world of strangers; a wealth of others’ thoughts and emotions. And what a wonderful world-wide-web that sharing has been made so easy, that there are various platforms out there to aid us.

For me, that platform is Scriggler.

If you aren’t privy to the site yet and you’re a writer who’s in love with words and simplicity; maybe you want to share but your blog doesn’t get much traction and all those other sites just confuse the process, distract you further- Scriggler may be for you.

Having tried to integrate myself with Medium in the past, I knew what I did and didn’t want in a writing platform. What I didn’t want, was super shiny and official. I didn’t want it to look like a news feed. I didn’t want to be drawn into others’ stories (even though that’s an important part of it) but right now I’m just thinking of the writing process, my process, and I need to strip away all the distractions. I downloaded Scrivener (helpful software for organizing a manuscript) about the same time I signed up at Scriggler for much the same reason- I wanted something that aided the writer, spoke to the writer, fed the writer, encouraged the writer. Writing is about writing, aesthetics be damned; functionality, yes, but save me the distracting package.

So what is Scriggler?

Scriggler is a cultural, political and intellectual melting pot – a place for exchanging not only stories and poetry, but also ideas, perspectives.

It came about nearly 3 years ago today as an experiment, a concept fueled by founder Dmitry Selemir’s own need for a writing platform that simply didn’t exist yet. His inspiration? Soundcloud.

This was surprising information for me, a musician and a music blogger. Soundcloud is a platform I use daily and currently, can’t think what I would do without it. Their model has changed the way digital music is shared; redefined the industry for a whole crop of aspiring artists, listeners, bloggers, and the like. Knowing this now, I’m not surprised why I was so drawn to Scriggler’s platform.

Translate the Soundcloud model into something suitable for writers sharing their work, and that might be a way to view Scriggler.

Scriggler‘s interface charmed me immediately- a white page with random scribbles on it. Posts are simple squares that arrange themselves in the center of the home feed. When others post a piece of literature (story, opinion, poem, essay, whatever) only the pertinent details are visible: the title, the author, the tags, the views. There are no images to pull you in, initially. You won’t even find the traditional “following for following” set up. Scriggler is organized to “foster interactions around the content,” says Dmitry, who went an atypical route with Scriggler’s launch; bypassed media coverage, publicity, and simply, shared. And while they’ve gone through many changes in the past two years, it was this initial act in vulnerability that has gotten them where they are.

 

dmitry

Scriggler founder, Dmitry Selemir

“In part this was perhaps due to lack of experience,” admits Dmitry, “in part – we wanted to get something out there, test it with the real users and hone in on the formula that would really work.”

And things are still changing. Dmitry has modest expectations about what the platform is and where it may go, but he also has a grand dream, that it solidifies itself as a launching pad for writers finding their way in the digital world; that it remains a place writers stay for years, life even. In this way, Scriggler hopes to build a solid community, shape the future of a global collective of writers.

What’s the big difference between Scriggler and everyone else?

It’s all run by the audience. There’s no editorial staff making any attempts to flavour what gets promoted. “Everything is less driven by the topic or genre or locality and more by what material you interacted with positively,” says Dmitry.

And it has to be mentioned that Scriggler operates on a fraction of a fraction of the small change left after Medium’s budget. “It makes it more difficult to build new things,” Dmitry says, “but at the same time we are accountable to our members alone and not to our investors (since we don’t have any).”

They have just added a donate button, letting those who use and appreciate Scriggler be the ones who make it a better place to be.

For readers heading to Scriggler to discover new writings, the experience is a little like records hunting. It takes work, but finding that gem is totally worth it.

But here’s the real clincher that sets Scriggler apart:

For writers, they do something that no other platform ever has – they promote every work you upload, personally, on twitter – sometimes twice.

For an introvert like me, self promotion has always been my biggest challenge. For my blog that maybe reaches a handful of people, posting my work does little for number of views. So going from 4 views to over 300 is HUGE. Not just huge for gaining an audience, but MASSIVE for confidence levels- those necessary doses of encouragement every writer thrives on.

But it can’t be all on Scriggler. Think of them like that Ace of Cups, a helping hand, filling you with the tools to progress even further on your path to, what Dmitry likes to call, “authorpreneur”.

To maximize your experience on Scriggler?

Content strategy.

“Think through your content strategy and make sure that while your posts are not pure promotion – it’s still easy for people to follow up, go to your website or blog, see your other publications and books, sign up to your newsletter etc.”

The other big thing is engaging, which can be a struggle for many of us already pressed for time, but one cannot receive without giving. Engaging leads us to knew avenues, new connections.

A key piece of advice is in comments, meaning, your comments on others’ work. Comments are highly publicized on Scriggler. “Each comment is a projection of your overall image,” stresses Dmitry, “make sure the comment is interesting. Something trivial is likely going to play against you.”

And if you wish, Scriggler also allows you to create clubs or join clubs started by other users. This can help you find your audience.

As far as imagery, like I said earlier, there’s none to distract you on the home feed, but within your own submission one can get creative, embedding videos, widgets (for example Soundcloud tracks) and images, which can be helpful in promotion via social media.

For myself, Scriggler has been a game changer. I have found my audience widening with every post, I have found myself through these interactions becoming more brave, more engaging, upping my own content of which I spread fairly evenly along my own channels. Most importantly, Scriggler has shown me what is possible. With their help, I’ve been able to up my own standards of where I can take my writing career.

Sometimes all we need is a little push – in this case, a digital one, from Scriggler.

So in light of this very full Ace of Cups, I raise it to Scriggler and dedicate this post as a token of my appreciation.

But don’t just take my word for it. Head there and see for yourself what Scriggler can do for you. Get on board, you might find you can’t do without it.

Oh, and while you’re there why not Scriggle me? :)

This weeks’ musical selection to pair with all this abundance of joy- an artist called, JOY.

Be well, love often and en-JOY!

 

 
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