Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Acceptance

Most of us forget that our lives are intangible. It's easy to forget when we're in our physical bodies and see things we can touch all around us. October is a month of anniversaries and illusions. The anniversary and illusion of my birth and the anniversary and illusion of my second father's death. It's also the illusion of nature's death. It appears to be dying, shedding its skin, but really it's just another stage. Another cycle before it begins a new life again.

A lot of things whisper to us, if we're willing to listen. Some we can't explain. Some we think we see. Some we only feel. The dance between truth and illusion is thin. I think both of them last, especially when you can see both. And sometimes it takes someone else's voice to remind us of what we already know.

When I'm not here, I'll still be with you. You won't see me, but you'll hear my voice and you'll feel my light. It won't be hard. Just wish, or don't wish. It doesn't matter because I can't leave. You might see me at night, the way you knew me. You and I might sit down and chat like old friends. We might walk together under these branches, sipping the nectar of orange-red tulips and watching the petals drop to the ground in random ribbons. Sometimes it's a garden, full of lushness and mountains we've already climbed in the distance. Sometimes it's arid and bare, overgrown with prickly weeds and nothing's pretty or manicured. But see the dandelions? Still yellow and bright? Showing their beauty in darkness? That's you and me.

Dandelions? Really? I can hear your words speak to me in breaths hidden in pockets of air. It isn't like you to question what I say. Where is the voice who admired everything and wrestled with sadness and tears when she thought I left. Your heart was heavy when you knew I was gone. But what you didn't know was that I never left. I was always inside you, waiting for you to wake up; waiting for you to see who you really were. You finding me - you thought it was an illusion. A vivid dream of chance that took you away from your pain. I was never the illusion. The illusion was what you wanted to see.

Now you see both. Truth and illusion. Truth is you stopped seeing me. You believed in what you could touch and what seemed real. But the illusion only seems real because what's underneath is truth. You could always see that about me. What was beneath my dream and why I dreamt what I dreamt. There are no excuses here, and if I hurt you, I hurt myself. Courage was my battle. I think yours was acceptance. Not of what you saw, but what you could have and who you could be. Potential isn't something we strive for, it isn't something "out there" we can't touch. It's here, always. We just have to learn how to see.

Courage. I talk about it a lot. I judge people for not having it. For not picking up everything and following your dreams, or your heart, or whatever it is that you want. But the thing is, you always had more courage than me. You never fell in love with shiny, pretend things. Or kept lying when the truth was so obviously unhidden.

She said once. I said once. We all have to have our dreams. But it’s nice to be here in reality. Reality can be the dream, too.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Checking Out

I arrive at the airport early. Mostly because I have nothing else to do, no hotel room to go back to, and I don't want to risk the chance of getting caught in an afternoon traffic jam coming back from the beach. It's only a few hours to waste and I can write or I can sleep or I can find a character among the people I'll be watching.

I decide to eat lunch, but can't find anything I want so I settle for what I already know. Mocha frappuchinos and overpriced deli sandwiches. In front of me are college-aged kids and behind me is the typical Beverly Hills yuppie couple, complete with their Paris Hiltonesque dog. They don't bother me - they look almost normal. I help them pick up the coffee sleeves they spill out of the container on accident and we all laugh.

Someone else steps in front of the line, gazing intently at the menu. He is serious and determined. Not unapproachable, but you can tell he does not want to talk. At first I stare a little, because I recognize him and yet I'm not sure. It is his eyes that confirm my suspicion, not anything else. I look away and go on with my day. I don't approach him. I don't say anything. He is just a person, like me. Trying to get a bite to eat. Trying to catch a flight. Someone asks for his autograph and I see him give it somewhat begrudgingly. She smiles gregariously after she gets what she wants. Thankfully she is the only one I see approach him. Everyone else pretends to ignore him or they don't recognize him or they don't care.

I don't flinch or feel anything when he stands by my chair, looking for a place to sit. He sits down, eats, reads his Rolling Stone, waits for his flight and then leaves. I am somewhat desensitized to seeing people from television and the movies in real life. I am used to having to treat them like a "normal" person. I have seen them "backstage." Some moody, some acting like the characters they play, some acting like they are above everyone else, some viewing their place in life as no more "special" than the rest of the universe.

I am used to walking among people who have Wikipedia entries and archives of interviews on famous talk shows, Internet sites and magazines. No one is the same in person as when they are performing their chosen persona(s). No one is the image you see in their pictures. People forget that the hype and the illusion are just that - hype and illusion. These are just people who have chosen a certain job. A job that puts them in the public eye. But when they step out of the eye's glare, all some of them want is peace. To be "normal," if there is such a thing. An invisible life, stripped of everything that's not real.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father

All the time, I see you in dreams
Before me, behind me, beside me
Can you see them too?
Do you know how they hurt me?
Eating inside
Forever
Go away, I can say
How I wish it were true
I don't know who you are
Just because we share blood
Kin is still an empty word
Love is absent, and love exists
Maybe you didn't know
Nothing would be left of you and me
Of all things you became my mystery
Part of something I can never touch
Quiet and whispering echoes
Reeling scene by scene
So lost, so buried and forgotten
This isn't my choice, it's yours
Undeniable and unreal
Victory isn't possible here
Why I don't know
Xeroxes of who I thought you were
Yellowed and black
Zipping like a kite on air

Four and Counting

So here we are. Two years later. Here I am at another residency for my MFA. I still don't know what I'm doing here and I still find I don't have much to say. Maybe it's because I spent so much of my life learning other things that have nothing to do with this world at all. Maybe it's because I don't spend as much time analyzing as I do exploring and enjoying. I absorb and let it rise. I don't want to know how, why, or should. But I'm finding that some things are the same. No one really wants to take risks here. And the people that do --those who let themselves feel & explore & move beyond the conventions - they question and interrogate like the paparazzi and the media do to those with famous faces. No one wants to own up to making something their own. They say one thing and then pick apart the people who do what they say they are looking for.

I don't fit in here. I never have. The work that gets praised is the boring stuff. The stuff that colors within the lines, but has nothing to hold it up. No one wants to work. No one wants to think. No one wants to feel. They want it handed to them and they want it easy. They don't realize that no one ever handed me anything. I had to learn to find my way in the darkness, and out of the darkness, and back into it, and then out again. For me self-navigation and feeling without knowing is the only way I know. I'm not going to write according to a plan, an outline, a structure, a convention, an easy-does-it recipe. That's not my voice. And that's not who I am. As a person or as a writer.

If you want something plain and simple, go live with the Republicans you say you can't stand. You are not so different from whom you hate. You are the same.

There are two reasons why people question who you are and what you do. They don't understand because they don't want to. Or they don't understand because they think you're beyond their reach.

If they only realized it's not about tearing down what you think you can see. It's about finding and discovering all the goodness in what you can't see.