Tag Archives: love

Moving on


Just listening to Stan Carew on Weekend Mornings – he plays the best music and woke me this morning with a rousing fiddle tune by Natalie McMaster. I’m feeling my toes tap under the covers as I sluggishly awaken.
But the song spoke to me.
Lately I’ve heard from a quite a few people who are by choice or not in a position where they are living in a hellish situation. Family dynamics, unhappy marriages, awkward locations, bad jobs. It seems so many are trapped, struggling against ties, but unwilling to take the risk, unwilling to bear the swirls of awfulness that come from change. We’ve all been there at some time….
There’s a part of me that still feels badly about the dissolution of my marriage. I was brought up to believe that marriage was a lifetime promise. But sometimes the contract is in fact broken, and then sometimes it is the right thing to leave, rather than stay and let the poison of our anger or hurt eat away at everyone in the family. Or so I tell myself. I don’t know.
Life is short. Should we make ourselves unhappy for all of it? Or should we move on, so that we are capable and have the resources to be joyful, bring joy to others? I’m not saying to cast aside things casually, but if we tried our hardest and it doesn’t work, what good are we doing breaking ourselves against the rocks?
See, the thing is, where we are at may seem like absolute hell. But, like standing in a prairie rainstorm, two or three steps to one side or the other may bring us into the sun again. Change doesn’t have to be dramatic, in fact, we are such small bugs in that prairie rainstorm, a tiny change may well be enough. A willingness to speak up, to try something a different way, to reach out or push away…
But we also have to be willing to draw our line in the dirt and say ” this far and no further.” And if we are still miserable, we can turn, and move on.

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Valentine’s Schmalentine’s


Yep. Here we go again. Another of those dreaded Feb 14ths tomorrow. Outside my window the rain is lashing about like some sky god is having a heartbreak. A sky god who also has an anger management problem and an unfortunate case of wind, that is.

I’m sure everywhere all over the internet tomorrow people will be posting smarmy love notes to their various significant others, so I thought I’d get a lead on it all so I can stay off the net tomorrow. I don’t like smarm. I’m not a romantic kind, and no one is sending me overpriced flowers tomorrow and expecting a romantic evening in return.

(Good thing too as I still haven’t put together my story for the New York midnight short story contest and it’s due in Saturday at midnight.
If only I could stop watching the Olympic luge and focus. I mean, what is so compelling about people sliding down a tube? And yet, full days have passed….)

In any case, I do have a few people I’m fond of – not Valentines exactly, but people I think of when this day comes along, people I feel an irrational urge to buy a heart-shaped box of chocolates for, if only to have an excuse to share.

-My kids, of course. I loves them. I love, too, my younger sons’ partners, wonderful women both. I’m so glad my boys have them in their lives.
-My ex, somewhat surprisingly – we had 25 years together and though I know he’s remarried and happy and I’m glad of both, I still have a fond corner of my heart for the old lug. I hope his wife lets him have some chocolate for the big day – she’s much more careful of his health than I ever was.
-My women best chums, and you know who you are – you build me up and support me and make me feel significant even when I’ve done nothing all day but feed the cat.
-My guy friends, too. All of you, from my far away and long agos to the nearer bys and more recent. Whether or not things worked out with us, you’ve all taught me a lot. I treasure your friendships more than you’ll ever know.
-Another guy. Just sayin’

Love you all, in a variety of ways, most of them appropriate.

And then there’s Hallmark and Walmart, sources of cheap sentiment and better still cheap chocolates this weekend, none of which I can have this year, unfortunately, as I am trying to regain a vaguely sylphlike figure or at least less weary knees. Still, the cheap choccies will make others feel good and a bit sticky, and I am grateful for that.

And a big Valentine’s call out for this place where I live, where, despite weather from upset gods, I get to breathe sea air and chat with famous authors (who are friendly and nice and not snooty at all) and where people are generally glad to share an elevator with you. It’s a grand place, this Nova Scotia.

Even with the rain. To be followed by snow, and more rain, and over it all a howling wind that’ll rip your lips right off of you.

How will I know?


images-14Oh, sometimes I hate being a grownup.

See, when you’re a kid, you can spend hours gazing off into the distance and dreaming romantic dreams of life with your dreamboat, think about hours spent together, laughing as you walk along some mountain trail or canoeing down some whitewater river together. I remember spending hours and hours just envisioning a kiss. His hand would come around the back of my head, we’d gaze meaningfully into each other’s eyes, and we’d touch lips, gently, warmly together. No tongues. Thrilling!

When you get a little older, you can whisk up some dreams of families and homes with picket fences and Christmases together and warmth and cuddles. You think about joint trips to the hardware store, hanging lighting, renovating a house, camping, toasting marshmallows. Tongues might be involved. And other parts.

And then you get to an advanced age and realize the chances of whitewater rafting with your love approximate zero since neither of you wants to risk the injuries. Families are done, grandchildren dance offstage, waiting for entrance and attention. Cuddling is great provided it isn’t every night since, after all, a good sleep is sometimes better than sex and requires less energy. And legs kick and nasal passages snore and the elegance of sleeping together lacks something when one of you is hot flashing and the other is sucking in the walls a la Yosemite Sam. Hardware stores lose their appeal when you decide neither of you should get up a ladder. Camping? Ugh. Getting up to find a toilet in the dark and bugs and damp? Never. Love is in the simple things: the newspaper, the cup of coffee in bed, the back rub at the end of a long day.

And still, if you are dating, you find yourself reverting to the kid you once were. Does he like me? Does she think I’m handsome? Will he still like me tomorrow? Will we have anything in common? Should I call him? Should I write to her? Am I being too clingy/demanding/honest/deceptive? What about that errant nose hair? You’d think we’d have this down by now.

Is the effort all worth it?

Somehow, after years of being in loving relationships, I still don’t know how to judge them, if my feelings are real or false, if they are being straight with me or leading me on.

I don’t really care. Life’s too short for endless analysis. I want to feel while I can feel. Sing while I can sing. And dance the dance while my feet still know the steps. And if I end up alone at the end of the party, well, there are always the joys of solitude.

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Mourning for Christmas


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Ho oh ho! Celebrate! It’s the big day next week! Let’s laugh and play…
Not so easy for those who have lost someone this year, or recently, or who have someone like my dad, who passed away on Christmas Eve, this making every year an ache of longing for him and his cruel/funny approach to the holiday. My uncle the priest said at my dad’s funeral, “he was a fairly good Catholic”, which caused my mother, his sister, to fly into a rage.
Oh families are fun. I miss the strum und drang sometimes…

I just read a review in the New York Review of Booksof Julian Barnes new book, Levels of Life, which might be a helpful gift for those like me who deal with loss over the holidays. He writes about his grief at the loss of his wife, but never directly. In several stories, he lets us know the depth of his grief obliquely. The quote that struck me the most, and reminded me of the time my daughter turned away from me in anguish, never to speak to me again, was this one. He was asked how he felt after his wife died (stupid question, often asked). His reply, recalling a ballooning accident he’s mentioned in the book:

So how do you feel? As if you had dropped from a height of several hundred feet, conscious all the time, have landed feet first in a rose bed with an impact that has driven you in up to your knees, and whose shock has caused your internal organs to rupture and burst forth from your body.

I don’t think you can get a better description of overwhelming grief than that…

It’s one thing when a person dies. The grief, while acute, softens over time. I miss my father every day, but I miss him as he was when he was 60. He’d be 87 now, give or take. Would he be the same? I get to remember him as he was, a man interested in the world, passionate about his interests, talented, funny, always fascinating. But I’m selfishly glad I didn’t have to see him diminish over time, become not himself.

My daughter is another issue. I grieve her in my heart every day she doesn’t speak to me. She has transitioned to be my son and I’ve been excluded. I want to support him as he becomes himself, but I am not permitted to. It is untold cruelty to me. Initially I blamed myself, felt I must have done something wrong. I questioned every interaction I could remember with my firstborn. Overall, I know I wasn’t perfect, but I think in general I was average as a parent. Most parents don’t have to cope with this level of abandonment.
Now I’m merely heart-broken, and every holiday makes it worse. I still feel that knee deep in the ground, internal organ spilling feeling whenever he crosses my mind.

Someone once told me a very true thing – the only thing you can control in life is your reaction to the events that surround you. I’ve tried to react in helpful ways, spoken out and supported trans causes, dealt with those involved, cut myself off from those my son accuses. And yet…

I asked my ex for my son’s phone number. Just to leave a message, try to cross the breach. He has chosen to ignore this request. Probably on my son’s direction. It breaks my heart. And fills me with rage.

How do I react to silence?

Connected believing


I just came from the gym and am sitting here sweating, writing this down. You see, I listen to loud music when exercising, and the song that came on today was Amanda Marshall’s “I Believe in You”.

The song never fails to make me cry. Usually I am a total weeping wreck when I hear it. I don’t know whether it’s because it makes me think of my kids, and how I want to say this to them, over and over, all of them, because I know they are fantastic and wonderful and I DO believe in them. Even when they are doing things I don’t understand. Even when one of them still refuses to speak to me.

Or maybe it’s because I haven’t heard that said to me very often. Or said it to myself, for that matter.

I’ve reached the point in my life where it is no longer appropriate to blame my parents for everything, but praise was scarce in our house. My marriage continued the pattern – praise rare, competitiveness heavy. Work – same. We moved a lot, so friends, true friends of the sort who actually really really support you, were rare. Sometimes it seemed like no one would believe in me, least of all myself.

I’ve had a few folks in the past few years say this to me, and it is as wonderful as balm on a burn. Someone told me I could write. Another told me I could do something else. My now good friends seem to believe in me, whether I do something or not. 

But we don’t say it often enough. It’s too easy to offer reasons why things can’t be done, to discuss limitations, to indicate in a myriad little ways that no, we don’t believe in someone.

Let’s all stop that, shall we?

Instead, let’s turn it around, go for the belief thing first, support people, facilitate their growth.

As for me, I like the reminder of Marshall’s song. It makes me think of how I can express support to those around me, how I can let them know how much confidence I have in them.

And it’s a great motivational song with just the right beats per minute for the elliptical…

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Now Accepting Submissions for our 2013-2014 Theme Issue: Love and Sex


Now Accepting Submissions for our 2013-2014 Theme Issue: Love and SexPosted on July 2, 2013 by PRISM internationalDear writers,We are now accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, drama, and translation for our Love and Sex theme issue. By love we mean romantic love, unromantic love, familial love, unrequited love, lost love, love of a friend, love of a friend with benefits, love of a geographic place, love of an imagined place, love of a pet, love of a possession, love of an idea, love of a memory, love of just about anything you can dream up. There are also many different kinds of sex. We’ll let you innumerate those in your own mind, but suffice to say, we welcome a variety of interpretations.We are NOT looking for pornography, which, for our purposes, is defined as graphic depictions of sexuality devoid of literary merit. Keep it hot and spicy, but keep it close to the human condition: vivid characterization, conflict resolution, provocative narration, etc.Theme issue submissions will be accepted from July 2 to November 10. If you are submitting for the theme issue, please make of a note of it in your cover letter. Theme issue submissions may also be considered for publication in future, non-theme issues.Next week Prose Editor Jane Campbell and Poetry Editor Zach Matteson will give the inside scoop on what they’re looking for in theme issue submissions. Stay tuned!Share this:

via Now Accepting Submissions for our 2013-2014 Theme Issue: Love and Sex.

“Sex is a word count” Lilly Cain


Often, in a gathering of writers (what IS the proper collective noun? A scrawl of writers? A clattering of writers? A thesaurus of writers?), wisdoms shared expand to more global proportions.

Yesterday I was thrilled to attend the Romantic Writers of Atlantic Canada’s event on publishing your first novel. As with the mystery writers I hang out with more regularly, the crowd and panel were so wonderfully friendly and open and willing to help each other out. Even if I never ever publish a book, I like hanging out with these guys/gals – they are people worth knowing.

NRLLilly Cain writes erotic fiction, and was discussing how she is now writing a series of sweet romances and having trouble bringing down the steam rating. The quote above was from that discussion – she is used to having a certain number of words dedicated to hot scenes and now has to fill the space in with other words, actions, adventures.

Something about her statement resonated more deeply with me.

Sex as a word count…a space holder…a part of life, not so important, but needed in its own way. Without it, you must fill in the empty spaces with other activity, other stories. With it…well, life may be more full and rounded but you might miss out on some of the other generative activities you may use to fill up your own personal word count.

It becomes a balance, the sex, no sex, too much sex, not enough sex thing.

In writing, steaminess level (like bloodiness level) determines where your book is placed, whether a given publisher will buy it, who will be turned on or turned away. Many people write erotica under a pen name so that they can have a safe “real” identity. I know my tell all book about my post-marriage life won’t be arriving under my real name. Oh no.

In life, there are costs to pay for taking a relationship to that new, sexual, level – friendship becomes more difficult, things seem more fraught, you feel either intensely attracted or repelled, you feel shame or love or regret or joy. I used to believe it was something that people made too much fuss over, but I could have been wrong there.

In both, sex takes up time and thought and memory and room. How much and how it tilts your story is up to you.

For more thoughts, check out Lit Drift…or Tayari Jones (click on the cartoon to link to her blog), or Steve Almond’s article from the UTNE Reader: (I’m having trouble getting wordpress to accept another hyperlink…) http://www.utne.com/Literature/How-To-Write-A-Sex-Scene.aspx

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Poetry published on OHForgery…


Learning againimages-8

Sonnet 

When I was just a tiny girl

I used to want to find my boy

But now that my whole life’s awhirl

I find that men, they do annoy.

They want a gal to fill their tum

And keep them warm and often touched

Unless I cheer them, they are glum

And lay about and scratch and such.

But as I age I feel the ache

Of living lone and sans a mate

It seems I must a big step take

And find a chum before too late

To learn to care again is tough

I only hope to love enough.

 

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Darling super,

Seems my boyfriend

lost some mail

and is so sad

Seems they don’t like

making delivery

if his name

won’t ring the bell.

Darling super

could I ask you

oh most sweetly

to assist him

Could you put

his name

in the list

with my phone number?

Darling super,

could you put him

on a line

all alone, though

He’s got a wife

who truly hates him

perhaps she won’t

get to know me.

Put togethermed_combination_stool_dryer

 

She assembles herself as

she pulls herself out of the dryer.

Shirt, bra, underwear

One sock. Much later, the other.

She finds it nestled in the bed sheets

Tumbled together in the thread eroding cycles

One covered with gym sweat,

the other with night sweat.

A malodorous bundle, now cleansed.

Assembled, she looks around her

Knowing it is just a breath

to disassembly

 

OPEN HEART FORGERY

www.ohForgery.com

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Dangerously irresistible


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Where are the heroes? Where are those wonderful people in the world? And on a more petty note, where is my individual hero, the fellah who will rescue me from myself, carry me off, love me? But I digress…

Apparently there are quite a few heroes in Boston. I saw the videos. 1. Explosion and screaming 2. Immediate images of people running towards the explosion to help. TOWARDS the explosion. Amazing. Heartening.

Especially in a week when we’ve heard so much about rape and bullying and terrorizing and ridiculous political leaders waffling all over the place and general despair here and nastiness worldwide.

It’s all pretty discouraging. It’s especially discouraging on Facebook, where people of small minds use every tiny comment to throw abuse at someone, particularly a certain president, or some hapless high school,student, while offering nothing but bleats of sheep rather than ideas for alternatives.

I met another hero this week, in a small way. He rear-ended my car. And instead of shouting or being rude or whatever, he reacted like a human being. He was pleasant, even though his car was crumpled.

I’ve got nothing to offer about the world situation, except maybe some profound wishes and prayers that it resolve. And hope that people stop killing each other, whether by gun or bomb or starvation. And my VOTE, of course.

But I can’t help but think the go-to response of the Boston rescuers, the ability of my crash partner to see past himself and be kind and polite, the little niceties of life – well, that sort of thing seems like a good way to face the world. It might even spread and make the whole world better.

Positive, cheerful, kind. Now I find that combo “dangerously irresistible”.

If an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind, then maybe a smile for a smile would make the whole world kind. Yah, it’s Pollyanna-ish, but I’m clinging to straws here. How about you?

C’mon! Show me that dangerously irresistible smile.

Losing my religion for equality…by Jimmy Carter


Losing my religion for equality…by Jimmy Carter.

I’ve shared this all over, but I wanted to put it in my blog so I could keep it to remember.

This man.

The amount of good he has done in his life is astonishing. And his perspective here is wonderful.

I wish I could meet him, just to say thanks. Instead, I think I’ll write him a letter…by hand. By heart.