Posts Tagged ‘Sun Magazine’

Right now, I am trying to be in a place of calm, a place where I can chill out and then handle the chaos of life better. You don’t just get it overnight; you have to work at it. It’s a daily struggle. (Jackée Harry)

I have a bookcase, better described as cheap than inexpensive. It is a strictly functional piece. The back is as thin as a pizza box and leaves some shelves open, vulnerable. Perhaps, a dark wall showing through would make a nice decorative touch. However, my office also serves as a toy room. (Stuffed cow, twin watering cans, and children’s books get the sturdier case.) The room’s ambience has a more turned-over toy box look than showroom feel.

Items from my shelf frequently fall out against the wall. However, an old phone book has dropped from the top and set off an avalanche. Books, papers, and notebooks followed like sheep to slaughter.

Okay, I guess it’s time to organize. Not reorganize. Most of my life is filed under miscellaneous.

First, I empty the bookcase and place it against the desk instead of the wall. If my system doesn’t work, escaped items can be retrieved under the desk. As backup I have a stack of magazines in the way—to protect computer wires. Yes, someday I’ll get a nicer bookshelf. For now, I’ll deal with what I have. I’m satisfied with functional.

Each stack of items becomes less defined in the small area. How did all this fit in one bookcase to begin with? Ooh!  Sun Magazine. Did I finish reading this July article? I am hesitant to throw away my favorite periodicals. Focus, Terry, focus.

Somewhere in the chaos I find the manuscript for an unpublished story I wrote fourteen years ago, not bad, but it needs editing and development. Time to keep on trucking—continue to steps two and three. In the present, possibilities to follow.

I think about real life, how much I’d like to tackle the whole of a world situation, settle it. Now. I can only send out a pebble onto the water and let the ripples flow. Toward justice, peace, recognition of all people.  I pick up one item in my mess and face my limits as well as my strengths. The existence of a flaw does not deny a talent. For anyone.

The three photos of my mundane work space below combine to show art coming from chaos. In this picture, a MiFrame program did most of the work. In the everyday, it isn’t as easy.

I see you; you see me. As we are. We grow from there.


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I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity. I want this adventure that is the context of my life to go on without end. (Simone de Beauvoir)

As autumn puts on the last of its show I remember the mini-vacation Jay and I took at Hocking Hills. I walked the trails and paid no attention to that silver band around my wrist with the tiny clock on it—I could have been wearing my watch upside down. It wouldn’t have mattered.

Perhaps that freedom gave me the illusion that utopia existed, at least somewhere; I felt healthy, young, my chi as vitalized as it had been when I said I-do in July of 1971, when I felt as if I would be age 25 forever, continuously renewed. In Hocking Hills nature and I seemed unified. Beauty appeared in every direction.

The real world has returned. Another YMCA friend faces chemo and then radiation. A fellow writer friend fights for her life in an out-of-state hospital. I discover that several people aren’t doing as well as I had hoped. My sister-in-law has been to hell and back again. Her attitude, however, glows. She encourages others. She lives the life-explanation Francis Weller explores in the October issue of Sun Magazine, The Geography of Sorrow. Pain and loss, joy and peace co-exist in order to create a complete existence.

In our American society we expect to begin and end with perfect emotional control. Weller analyzes our bias against public grief. I read the article so slowly it took me several days to absorb each word.

I think about this again as my two older grandchildren, my husband, and I watch Where Hope Grows. The girls have already seen the movie. Rebe and Kate are only eight and eleven years old. Yet, they get it. They suggested the movie. Not every reviewer agrees. The creators made the mistake of using the word, God. However, I recognize more showing than telling, more action than preaching.

Calvin Campbell has sought the answer to life through drink. His choices inevitably fail him and he goes to Produce, a young man with Down syndrome, for the secret to his happiness. An unexpected story unfolds.

My granddaughters know how tragedy looks and feels. Kate’s friend fell through a patch of ice when she was three-years-old; the friend is permanently disabled. I wrote about it in a poem I titled Chrysalis. It was originally published by Saad Ghosn in the annual anthology, “For a Better World 2012.” It will be reprinted in Piker Press on November 23. 

The girls also know how to love. When their young cousin Ella sees them she is ecstatic. She talks about them often. Ella, of course, like Produce in Where Hope Grows, knows the secret of happiness. She is satisfied to be herself. She accepts the moment, and lives it fully.

Perhaps full joy isn’t found in happily-ever-after dreams. It lives in the mundane, the muck, the malformed, and the miracles revealed through inside-out transformation. Into the whole.

strong people don't have easy pasts

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