Fair Warning

Relationships should come with
warning signs,
but what’s the fun in that?

Knowing how it would be
lacks discovery of self and
each other; things you might pass
up if you knew.

Putting our best foot forward
then taking two steps back,
a dance, fluid in motion.

Mistake,learn,and hopefully
forgiveness and redemption;
running away and holding tight

seemingly opposite ends
of the spectrum. Fair warning!

You’ll always be
searching for the right way
to save each other.

Advertisements

#HippoCamp2016

Last August, I had the privilege of being one of the attendees at the very first HippoCamp: A Conference for Creative Nonfiction Writers. I walked away from that conference with inspiration, motivation, ideas and most importantly to me, confidence to tackle things I’d never tried before with my writing. Before HippoCamp I’d never attempted to submit my writing for publication; heck, I didn’t even know where to start with something like that, but I learned how as a result of the conference. The conference also opened my eyes to the literary community in Lancaster; it was alive and thriving and now I am a part of it.

This August, I’m headed back for year two and I can’t wait! I’ve been looking forward to the next HippoCamp all year. If you’re into creative nonfiction, I’d highly recommend this conference.

Please include attribution to http://hippocamp2016.hippocampusmagazine.com with this graphic.

hippocamp16

 

Ships

these small candles
float in a sea of black ink
miles from shore

specks of light
in a night dark world
bobbing with the current

provoking acknowledgment,
our diminutive nature
in contrast to raw power,
the forces of nature

yet humans’ belief
fallible skill and wisdom
attempt to tame and harness
these forces, bend them
as to their will

whether fools or daring
adventurers be,
we embark boldly upon
these small candles
afloat in the sea of night

Subjects of Paintings

trees and dew drops
things that capture my mind
stillness, quiet, and solitude
of night

the lake with its reeds and its willows,
islands, and naked ladies on cliffs…
the bay with shorebirds, cord grass marshes,
fiddler crabs and
barnacle encrusted terrapins
to my delight

but images of my heavy heart I reserve
solely to be painted with words
it’s what the world cannot see
and only I can describe

 

Adventures in Entrepreneurship​

Dabble & Pluck

So I’ve been sitting on this egg for some time now. In fact, I registered for my business license back in March, and I’m just now opening my Etsy shop. My hesitancy to officially open shop was part self-doubt, part procrastination, and part time/circumstances. Plus, when it comes to business savvy, I am not. I’ve learned how to create and register a business with the Department of Revenue to get my tax id number, and I’ve learned how to file and remit my first quarter’s sales and use tax. The idea of keeping receipts all year for my supplies boggles my mind and will definitely be a challenge for someone like me, but I’m hoping it will be worth it. It has been a steep learning curve, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t even reached the top of the curve yet.

As I’ve mentioned previously in my writing, I consider myself a creative as opposed to a writer, artist, crafter, etc… I prefer the term creative; a descriptor that allows me much more freedom. I chose the shop name, “Dabble & Pluck,” for the same reason. It’s a little bit of everything I do. I’m hoping to get some writing projects up in some form, but for now, my ideas are still percolating.

For now, I’m excited just to have done this THING that I’ve wanted to do. My studio has been getting quite full and cluttered at the moment. I’d love to sell some of my projects. At the same time, there are some that will be incredibly difficult to let go. I’ve fallen in love with them. They’re pieces of me. So if you happen to be someone who ends up with one of my pieces, please accept this small piece of me and know that it was created with love.

My goal is to be able to keep my studio stocked with supplies so I can keep on creating and make a little money on the side. If I can do that, I’ll be content. I’m finally getting an opportunity to send my creations out into the world, and it feels good!

 

 

Sketch from the Park

I sat down thinking to myself that I would sit on the park bench for a short time until my parking meter ran out. No sense in wasting the money when I could enjoy some quiet reading time. Then, from behind me, I heard what I assumed at the moment was the voice of a lawyer talking into some Bluetooth device rather loudly. I attempted to tune it out just like the rest of the city noises. It was all just background.

I soon found that I couldn’t do much to tune the voice out as it continued to approach and grew louder with proximity. I glanced from the corner of my eye to see a worn leather suitcase plopped unceremoniously on the sidewalk near my bench as it’s owner paced back and forth arguing with someone on the phone. I turned my head to see a somewhat bedraggled gentleman with graying hair. He looked nothing like a lawyer.

The man strode further on down the sidewalk, seeming to have some destination in mind, and I realized then that the suitcase was still sitting approximately ten feet from me.  I momentarily wondered if the man had forgotten it and whether I should call out to him, but before I could make up my mind to any action, he came walking back much quieter this time. He picked up his suitcase and resumed his progress down the walk only to stop once again another twenty feet away, drop the suitcase and pick up the conversation with the person on the other end of the phone.

“Don’t talk to me like that; yeah, now a lady is looking at me,” he said, and I guiltily wondered if I was the “lady” he was referring to. I quickly averted my eyes back to my book trying to appear innocent of having eavesdropped on his conversation. “She’s just trying to read a book, and you’re interrupting her,” he continued much more subdued than the previous topic of conversation but still obviously irritated with his caller’s demeanor. I peeked over the top of my book shifting slightly on the bench to see if there were others nearby, but no; I was the one and only potential culprit. He was referring to me, and I found myself relieved when he picked up his suitcase yet again and continue his stroll towards the entrance to the parking garage – or so I thought.

Again peering over the top of my book, now fascinated by this odd gentleman and his suitcase, I became even more confused by his behavior when he again flung down the suitcase behind a dumpster loudly proclaiming, “you’ve got people looking at me! Why can’t you just leave me alone?” He proceeded to sink exasperatedly down on top of his suitcase and soon all I could see were his feet sticking out from behind the dumpster.

Figuring my entertainment had subsided, I went back to my reading. I managed another two paragraphs before I could hear his voice again echoing from the archway to the parking garage. He seemed to be telling the other person that they were in no way married. Puzzled and slightly amused by this new development, I continued staring at my book while tuning my ears in on his conversation yet again hoping, this time, he wouldn’t notice.

“We’re not married. You and I were never married. Wendy and I were never married,” he retorted. I could only imagine the other half of this conversation being just as emotionally charged as his half based on his tone of voice as he raged on again stepping from behind the dumpster, “Who the hell do you think you are? You’re not entitled to anything! Wendy and I were never married. Common Law marriage hasn’t existed since 2004, and we weren’t even together for seven years before 2004.” He began pacing again then headed in my direction yet. I shifted my eyes from my book again just in time to see him stoop over a cigarette disposal bin and start rummaging through it. Oh, I thought.

Up until this point I’d given the man’s appearance and odd suitcase the benefit of the doubt and made no assumptions, but it was at this moment that something clicked in my brain, and I realized that this man was likely homeless. At the same time, I became aware that he was not, in fact, talking to anyone via a Bluetooth device, but rather to a voice only he could hear. I buried my nose deep into my book yet again and as he continued past me leaving his suitcase tucked behind the dumpster. He strode on towards a garbage can further down the walkway behind me still yelling about Wendy and then back again towards the dumpster. Lifting the lid to the dumpster, he proclaimed to the voice only he could hear, “if I find something you’re not getting any of it do you hear me?”

An immense feeling of sadness washed over me. My mind ping-ponged about contemplating whether I should buy the man some food at a nearby cafe, or if money would be more helpful? Was it safe to approach him? What if he became angry with me? Here I was stereotyping this poor man; surely I should be offering help of some sort …

And as I wrestled with my failings as a human being, the man pick up his suitcase from behind the dumpster and walk off, checking each of the garbage receptacles as he went.

The Wooden Frog

I’m on vacation at the beach this week staying at one of my favorite places right on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk, Star of the Sea. We have stayed here may times over the past five years or so and I always look forward to returning.

For those of you who don’t know, I (like the God character in Dogma) am a skeeball junkie. I love old fashion arcades and Rehoboth beach happens to be the home of one of my all time favorite arcades.

Now for the real story….

Every year we’ve come to Star of the Sea, there’s been a wooden frog in the lobby leading out to the boardwalk. The first time we stayed, we discovered through mere curiosity that the wooden frog was hollow and you could remove his top to reveal a shallow bowl. It was empty and it gave me an idea; I decided we’d leave something in the frog as a gift for the next curious explorer, most likely a child.

20160706_123544

My first thought was a treasure map leading to a small buried/hidden treasure, but later decided that really wasn’t a practical thing as the bearer of the map might not be the first to discover the stash. I opted instead to leave arcade tickets.

This in itself was completely within my character as my arcade winnings are rarely, if ever, redeemed for prizes. It is my tradition to give away the tickets before leaving the arcade to a child. It’s actually my favorite part of going to the arcade; getting to see a child’s face light up when they realize that I want to give them my tickets.

Ever since that first year, upon our arrival at Star of the Sea, we’ve checked the frog to see what loot others may have stashed there. I’m fairly certain that almost every time we’ve found something in the frog. Always some sort of anonymous gift.

This year, we discovered several pieces of what appear to be play money and various other items.

20160706_123549

This year, we discovered a little note card sitting next to the frog simply saying, “Take one, Leave one.” Perhaps management or the cleaning service have clued in on the game their patrons like to play.

Our trip to the arcade this morning has now supplied our newest contribution to the anonymous wooden frog. A ticket slip from the arcade will be found by the next set of curious little fingers to explore the frog in the lobby.

20160706_123600

I have no idea if we were the first to begin what has become this tradition of paying it forward, but to those who continue to participate, I thank you. It’s nice to see that there are still small treasures in this world to be found if you are curious enough to go looking.

Pyrotechnic Life

gunpowder and a chemical mixture
flaring bright across the sky
a dance of sparks
lighting up the night

we sit upon a hilltop blanket
entranced by the display
only speaking again when
the acrid smoke dissipates
and the ringing in our ears ceases

I’ve seen this from above
as well as below
it’s much quieter at 30,000 feet
perhaps eerily so

the explosive sounds which
correspond fall silent from up above
and perhaps this also mutes
the emotional impact

and I wonder at the definitions
explosive display of brilliance,
anger, or energy…
versus gunpowder and combustible chemicals

aren’t we, afterall, combustible?
we burn bright and fizzle out in the end
all our anger, passion, and energy
at once spent, wafting through the air
as the sulfuric smell lingers on the wind
the pyrotechnics of life

 

 

Nancy…

(a.k.a. my anxiety)

And that’s what anxiety does
seeping in slowly,
imperceptibly at first.
Maybe it tickles your insecurities…

Then suddenly spirals downward into panic
lighting fire to everything in your path
because if you don’t, then it’ll just be
destroyed anyway, so what’s the point?

It sits on your chest and burns it’s way through
like acid eating away
and you can’t break free. You wrestle with it
and it pins you to the ground, all the while
crying, “mercy!”

Even when you can’t take it anymore
it persists in gnawling at your bones.
And when you think it’s finally through with you…
it comes back for round two.

The scortching burn firing through
your veins, searing each and every
nerve along the way,
shock collar of the damned.

And when it ceases, it merely
spits you out into a vast ocean of lost
and alone,
no matter how not alone you are.
It clouds your vision and continues
to churn within your stomach.

And this, is what anxiety does.

The Gate

13528364_10157131604865010_2037268822001856089_o (2)

The gate is open; won’t you come in?
It beckons as you pass, enticing in its mystery.
Whispering your name, you wonder how it knows.

Curiosity tugs at the hem of your skirt
a small child, wanting for attention
leading you by the hand to show you.

Crossing the threshold bears a sense of significance
though you know not why; like stepping beyond the walls of a city
you once thought you knew so well into a new hidden recess.
Your heart skips a beat, excited by adventure, it knows no fear.

A chill rushing down your spine
tiny fragments of movement
skirt the periphery of your vision

With rapt focus and attention
tiny webs made visible by grace
of moonlight shining
sing sweetly to your memory,
a forgotten lullaby perhaps?

These webs, no ordinary orb weavers dream;
made of crystalline shimmers
mesmerizing and ghostly
as they dance with the breeze.

As the gate creaks closed behind,
much as you knew it would,
you wonder if you’ll ever leave.
Somewhere in the darkness, a voice
answers the thought with an echo,”if you so wish.”

Stepping forward, gazing steadily
ahead, the newly cleared path
lined with trees branches out
in the leaf-strewn distance.

Knowing only that you are meant
to follow this trail,
you reach behind you
to lock the gate.