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88 Marianne Paul

The Woman in the Moon

The moon is brimming this evening. It is a Van Gogh moon, framed by my writing room window, and hanging in the uppermost corner of my personal “Starry Night”. Granted, it is a star-less night outside my window; but the spirit of Van Gogh swirls in it, in the darkness, the haziness around the edges of the moon, the black lines of the trees, the fingertips of the branches. 

There will be a moment when the moon can hold no more, its arms full. I love that image, the moon’s arms full.

Instead of a man in the moon, I imagine a Woman in the Moon. She is full of breast, and large of hip and thigh and belly, like those tiny clay goddesses that archaeologists unearth in remote places. 

In my night-sky, the Woman in the Moon holds her arms out from her body in a perfect arc. The circle of her arms forms a womb, and within this fullness, within this curvature, is held the night secrets – the promises and whispers, the waxing and waning, how time began and how time ends.  Around her, the celestial currents and eddies swirl, the pull of the tides. It is all there, in Van Gogh’s Starry Night, and in this evening, too.

If you look closely at my Woman in the Moon, you’ll see that her skin is smooth as alabaster, and she is as calm as deep sleep, deep space. Her eyes are closed, and you think she dreams. As I grow older, I’m shifting my perspective as a creator, as a wordsmith, working to emulate the quiet calmness of the Woman in the Moon, learning from her wisdom. I no longer focus on my artistic shortcomings, trying to rectify them by creating resolutions, or setting lofty goals, or writing longer or harder, or being a tougher critic of my work and myself.

Instead I’m contemplating what makes me happy, fulfilled, full-filled, what makes me feel “moonish,”  a woman-in-the-moon. I plan to fill my creative life with these things until my arms are full. The list is simple. Story-dreaming, story-crafting. Poetry. The minute details of nature. Rivers, water. Family, friends.

And a special little boy-in-the-moon. The child in my life who holds the universe in his eyes. If I can reflect in my creative work even a glimmer of the wonder held in his eyes, then I will have accomplished more in my writing than I could have ever imagined, than I could have ever expected. And that, to me, in the end, is what art is all about – evoking a sense of wonder.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

87 Keith Dugger

Where does she go?
It’s not as though she left me holding a backpack chock full of a single change of clothing, a sundry kit to stay fresh, and a goodbye note from myself. To myself. It’s not as though I stood on those decaying train tracks that would lead me from my many yesterdays already spent and my predetermined and dwindling cache of remaining days left to invest wisely or waste wantonly. Yet it felt like she pushed me onto that platform all alone and walked away for what had to be more than a fair share of eternity.
She is my shadow.

Where does she go?
It’s not as though the goodbye note was written in a language that I’d come to understand with years of practice only to forget in a scant second left to dry up in a lazy sun. It’s not as though the backpack meant to prepare me for tomorrow was just a paper bag full of blank paper, wadded and crushed into fist-sized paper grenades surely meant to destroy the tomorrow I felt so guaranteed to enjoy. Yet there I was holding a paper bag full of promise, the empty papers screaming to be filled, begging to be anything but blank.
She is my shadow.

Where does she go?
It is as though she followed me quietly. She hid within my shadow whispering patiently for me to turn around and see the world abounding around me on a platform waiting on a train from yesterday to catch me up with a destination from tomorrow. Creativity is not a fickle thing; she is always there waiting. Watching. Whispering. Creativity is all around each of us and it’s up to us to use it or ignore it or wait until that perfect time to pounce. Don’t forget to pause and listen and make 2014 another great creative year.
She is my shadow and her name is creativity.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

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Campfire Songs of the Lost and the Angry by Jeremiah Walton

And so we love

We love the campfire,
the stars,
each other

O how freely that we love each other!

We love as a reaction
We are angry. We are furious.
This home-made compass
is always pointing in the direction we’re going
and we’re going.

We love
because we are scared.

We love
like hummingbirds
seeking flowers among dead.

We bouquet together
& plant in NH’s mountains
in tents and without-tents.

The absurdity of it All!

The absurdity of that man’s beehive beard!

But long beards of filth do not sway us!
No, they burn our finger tips
and light veins in our eyes.

We lovers are hummingbirds.

My lovers are hummingbirds.

They approach me
seeking flower juice
but realize I am not a flower
and flee.

What friend is not worth crossing a country?

What lover would you not drink deeply of?

Who signed the post cards slid between your journal’s pages?

My hummingbird will die
coiled in human fingers
still thinking we may be flowers.

I found a priest’s resignation letter to God in the smokey remnants of my hummingbird’s corpse.

So I decided maybe there is a God
and if he is true
let him damn me
because a life well led
cannot be defined by any external force.

I will bring heaven with me on my way to hell.

We love
because we are angry with the world.

We cannot bring ourselves to hate our brothers and sisters
no matter their lack-lust or lust-for
We sacrifice to love.
We love to community.

We cannot falter for flowers,
we must falter for hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds drinking the blood of hummingbirds
the most beautiful vampire.

 
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Posted by on December 31, 2013 in Guest Poems

 

No Love Poems by Jeremiah Walton

The bruises along her legs are not memories
but empty spaces.

There is no fossilized evidence

love ever existed.

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2013 in Guest Poems

 

Warm Storm by Jeremiah Walton

I pour a cold glass of lemonade
& raid my friends fridge for a nectarine
this is comfort
this is post high school summer.

Step outside to backyard.

Stoned kids discuss poverty and Man’s future
ignorantly, but putting forth the effort.

There’s something dying in the woods.
We can hear it. Coyotes ripping up some corpse
or birds slaughtering each other
The sound of school doors opening
mass production of shotgun shell wanna-bes
feeding into an economy
nestling broken images of Self
concepts of freedom are errands
labeled madness, the box’s we wear have different patterned eye holes.

The apricot is warm
like the storm
quietly approaching.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Guest Poems

 

86 Jennifer Melzer

Inspiration: At the End of All Things

I always knew what I wanted to be. From the time I was old enough to spit out words, I was telling stories.

But for three years, I couldn’t find my own voice. It was buried under an endless heap of despair, brought on by problems that weren’t even my own. My mother was dying, and though I didn’t want to believe it, I think I knew right up until the moment she took her last breath while sleeping that Death was lurking around the corner, waiting for the right moment to hold out his arms and welcome her home.

Depressing.

Don’t I know it?

It’s only been ten months since she died, and those ten months have been harder than the endless months leading up to it; but there has been so much inspiration during these last ten months, it’s been almost impossible to turn it off at times. Sometimes I don’t even know where to put it so it doesn’t get lost.

Seven years ago, when my mother was still relatively healthy, I wrote 3/4s of a novel during NaNoWriMo about a young woman whose mother died unexpectedly. The event brought her back to her small hometown, and helped her come to terms with some preconceived notions she’d cooked up about the town, the people who lived there and life itself.

I don’t know why I never finished it seven years ago. I have my hunches, of course. I had a lot going on at the time, including finals before graduation from university, and by mid-December the nearly completed novel got shoved onto the back burner and I more or less forgot about it until a few months ago.

I found it on my portable hard drive after my husband and I came back from vacation, started reading through it, and I realized with an emotional gasp that I could actually relate to the main character in ways I hadn’t been able to before. Sure, people in my family had died, and over the years I’ve even lost a few friends, but I hadn’t lost my mother.

And despite our vast collection of issues over the years (and we had so many of them I could probably write about a hundred books about troubled mother/daughter relationships), my mother was a huge part of my world. I don’t think I fully understood how painful it would be for a young woman to lose her mother until my own mother was gone.

Suddenly, that novel needed to be finished, and so it was. I wrote feverishly for almost two weeks, bringing the story to a close with a sigh of relief. Maybe it was strange, but I felt upon completion that I could let go of my sorrow and set my mother free.

Sometimes it feels like I wrote the bulk of that story to prepare me for the things I couldn’t see coming because as I read back through it, it comforted me. My own words helped me come to terms with the way I’d been feeling, and for the first time since my mother’s death, I realized that I have to write.

Not just for her, but for myself, because watching her slip away those last three years made me understand something I still have trouble accepting sometimes.

Inspiration begs to be discovered in every moment we endure, most especially at the end of all things.

Writing is life and my own words will carry me from this life into the next. Those words will linger long after I’m gone; and those I’ve loved will never be forgotten.

Jenny Melzer Heart and Home

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Creativity Guest Posts

 

Rewarding good deeds with free books

So earlier today, Vince Wilson re-tweeted this from Kris Lindbeck into my twitter stream:

2013-10-06 16.36.01

So follow Kris and do this if you would like to take her up on her generous offer. And, as is tradition in art, when you see a quality idea, take it and make it unique to you. or, as the saying goes, “Good writers borrow. Great writers steal.”. You may also send your information about how you give of your time (or proof of your donation that is at least $5) to me at dyed bright here (all run together) (at) gmail (dot) com and I will also l send you an ebook version of my upcoming book, Deep Breaths & Chocolate.

 
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Posted by on October 6, 2013 in My Essays, My Writing