Ekphrastic — Midsummer’s Eve

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Firebombs and Fairies

I’ll just hide here in this lantern, thank you very much.

I don’t like crowds, especially crowds of drunken naked fairies looking to cause trouble. They make fun of me because I don’t like to join

Midsummer's Eve Robert Edward Hughes

Midsummer’s Eve
Robert Edward Hughes

in their mischief. I don’t care. I’m used to the taunts. “Baby! Baby! Hughie is a Baby!!!”

I don’t care.

Cain is trying to get me out of this lantern. It’s the only safe place. The lantern. I made a beeline for it when we got here. I bet a small flock of fairies were swinging from it and it came crashing down, the fairies tumbling and laughing all the while. I’m just glad that I found this lantern. I’m not coming out. It’s enough I’m here at all. God, Jewish guilt is the worst.

Earlier this evening, I was reading in bed, catching up on my New Yorker’s sipping a cup of Chai tea when Cain came into my room.

“Hey.” He said. “Aren’t you going to come to the solstice celebration?”

“No” I said. Last year’s solstice party turned ugly. A riot broke out when the keg ran dry and some crazy fairy almost ripped my wings off my back. Booze and firebombs just don’t mix.  “Remember last year?” I asked. “No way I’m subjecting myself to that again.” I turned my attention back to the magazine.

“Come on.” He walked over and sat next to me. He pulled the New Yorker out of my hand and tossed it on the floor.  “Hey, I was reading Ellen Bass’ new poem.” I said.

“What is it with you?” he asked. “Why are you such downer?”

“I’m not a downer.” I said. I know that I was disappointing as an older brother. I wanted to be better. I wanted to fit in, I wanted to be able to relax, be myself and have fun with the other fairies. I just couldn’t. I didn’t know how.

It was going to be a nice evening.  The solstice sun was setting. It was warm and the sky was a kaleidoscope of pink, orange, and violet.  A white mother of pearl guitar pick lay on the floor by my window. The changing colors of the sky seemed to bounce off the pick and bathe the walls of my room in a rainbow glow.  I had found the trinket on yesterday’s beach walk. I love picking up little treasures. I have glass bowls of rocks and shells and lucky pennies all over my bedroom. The pick was a great find. I guess Mr. Taco must have swatted the it onto the floor. Cats will play with anything except their cat toys. Ahhhh a cat’s life–the world is their scratching post. Oh to be a house cat.

Cain didn’t need me tonight. He’s stronger than he knows and quite able to go to the celebration without me.  He shouldn’t care if I come or not. “You don’t need me.” I said.

“I do,” he said. “I want to get into the Fairy Fraternity.” He said. “They want you to be there too. If you don’t it will reflect badly on our family.  You have to go or else I might not get accepted in the frat.” He stood up. “Come on.” He said. “Get up and come with me. Please.” He said.

I shook my head. I pulled the covers up and over my head.

“Please.” He said and yanked the covers down. “Please. Please! PLEEEEAAAASSSSEEEE!” He said.

“God.” I said. “You are such a whiner!”

“It’s really important to me.” He said. “You have to come. I just have to get into the Fraternity. I have to!!!”

I’m such a sucker. Once again here I am doing something for someone else and sacrificing myself in the process. I have to learn how to say no. This isn’t good for me. My cortisol levels are rising. I can feel it. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Maybe if I focus on this red light. Breathe. Focus on the light. Breathe. I need to calm down. Maybe if I concentrate hard enough I can just will myself gone.

Uh oh, is that Fairy Constantine over there with a fireball? It looks like he’s going to throw it my way.

I gotta get out of here.

Breathe, breathe, focus, and breathe. Relax. I’m a fairy aren’t I? There must be some powers I have, right? Can’t fairies just blink their eyes and disappear?

Shit, what’s the point of wings if you can’t even fly?

**Thank you to two AMAZING writers, Josh Grapes and Lisa Segal. Their unique workshop BEYOND THE FRAME brought this fun piece to me…and I see many more on the horizon… 

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LOVE

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love rock pink

I’ve been swimming in love’s Caribbean blue. Diving down to explore. I’ve found a huge living breathing love reef. I explore the complexity, what clings to my coral, grows on it, decorates it, burrows into it. Yes, that’s me teeming with love fauna. Every piece of my soft underbelly that might break off with time skitters and pulses with love, with life.

The deeper I dive into my truth, my love and my self, the easier it is to swim.  I don’t need to come up for air as much. I frolic. I’m like the Whales that have been playing and eating in the ocean off of Redondo.

I dove a little deeper on Friday.

I dove and drove way out of my comfort zone to UCLA. (Have you been down Wilshire Blvd. in Westwood lately? Yikes!) I took a deep breath and swam through the sculpture garden and came up for air in Public Policy.

I was invited to guest lecture. I spoke to 70 + students who majored in Business or Econ.

The class was engaged and asked a lot of questions.

The professor invited me back.

Someone from the humanities department took me to lunch.

She asked if I’d come speak to Humanities, English; if I’d participate in a panel.

YES

YES

YES

Ahhhhhhhh

As I left North Campus, making that familiar right turn onto Hilgard, I felt a wave of emotion move through me.

I had stepped into a greater appreciation for myself. I realize that for fear of bragging, I’ve diminished some of my accomplishments. I didn’t want to sound like so many people I meet. “And then I did this and then I did that and me me me me me!”

I know that harsh tinny blinding glare–the sharp, pointed light of someone trying to prove something. I read it in newsletters every day. They’re trying to sell me something. They’re me-ing me.

I used to have this friend. She would analyze me. She’d come to my house, step into my office wearing a tool belt complete with hammer, nails, a yellow highlighter and a Freudian textbook. She was ready to analyze, diagnose and repair. Once she told me that I was holding onto extra weight because I was insecure, that I was afraid of intimacy. She was incorrect. I was holding onto extra weight because I had just had a miscarriage.

Here’s the irony, that’s her issue, not mine. Projection.

Interesting. I see her posts on Facebook. We are still “friends” there. I’ve read some of her newsletters. I watch as she bobs on the  surface of herself.

My wish for her would be to dive deep. I know that diving deep isn’t all colorful fish and blue waters. Sometimes it’s dark and scary. I’ve gone down and I’ve wondered if there was any life force down there at all. Our strange creatures, anglerfish, and giant squid live deep, their tentacles reaching. Evolution has shaded their eyes

Dive down, come back, open your eyes, see and feel.

I own it. My mistakes. My faults. My history. I take responsibility. If you’ve read my poetry, you know some of it ain’t so pretty.

I think if that old friend were to analyze me today, I’d have a different response. Or I might not respond at all, because sometimes people can’t listen to what might be true. It’s too hard and so they reflect and deflect and project. It doesn’t matter what she’d say or do now or then, that’s the beauty.

All that matters is love. Love of self so you can Love others.

Ego=fear

Light=Shine=LOVE.

Valentine’s Day Wish

May you turn on your light,

May you dive into your glow

May you shine

May you shine

Baby SHINE!

From the inside out…

From you heart, not from your head.

 

Love yourself

Love love love

Wrap your arms around yourself and LOVE!

Wishing you a LOVEly Valentine’s Day,

Happy LOVE LOVE LOVE!

 

Write on,

 

carolyn first only sig

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May It Be Filled With…

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Happy New Year

Love
Happiness
Joy
Passion

May you be
inspired
creative
free

May you be fearless

May you be
inspired
creative
free

May you be fearless

May you reach beyond
your wildest dreams

May it be easy
delightful
delicious

May you receive
all that you’ve wished for
and even more
…as if by magic

May you be silly
goofy
and laugh a lot

May you love
and be loved
a lot

May you feel into yourself
listen to your heart–
know

May you have fun
lots and lots
and lots
of fun

May you be surrounded
by those that inspire
that respect you
love you
that support you –
lift you up

May you burst at the seams
with joy
because you’ve received all that you desire
and more
because you know
because you see
because you are grateful

May you have a Happy New Year
Celebrate well
and
Love.

Write On,

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Happy Holidays

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happy new year 1It’s a crazy wonderful whirlwind a winter wonderland of love glitter and sugar, bubble highs, family gatherings around the sound of the Grinch Julie Andrews Ebenezer Jimmy Stewart Charlie Brown – it’s a Christmas Story in front of fires in living rooms across the country while friends clink-a-tink glasses and over look there red velvet bows with whiskers on kittens and bells that jingle and candles lit with magic as we go dashing through the snow rain and sleet and store after store planning parties, writing lists and checking them off twice or even thrice, chocolate trees, silver bells, big gold balls, blue satin sashes, green, silver, red bows and tinsel and lights that flash on and off and on and off and twinkle candy cane’s, popcorn strung trees, reindeer and the modes Christmas penguin, caroling elves, snowflakes and rain drops and I forgot my umbrella, secret Santa’s ring-a-ding-dong on every corner, miracles burn bright for eight crazy nights   as we wrap and tie and decorate and figure and choose which little black dress, red sequin gown, three piece tux black tie affair to attend. You better watch out, you better not blink or that guy will cut you off in traffic and you’ll miss the light and the sale and someone will buy Oprah’s favorite things right out from under you.

 
It’s crazy
It’s wonderful
It’s the season

we circle around and around and around and our feet just might not even touch the ground.
 
It’s okay. It’s all good.

If I get harried and nutscelebration crop
I drop into my body
I take a moment
take a breath
take another
I want to stay whole during these holy days
stay centered
stay with myself
because
It is a magical time
lights twinkle on dark nights
we see friends and family we haven’t seen for a while
we celebrate love and family and life and miracles 

I dive into my journal

It’s not the only way to get centered, but it sure does work for me. I like to spin.
I like to take a walk at the beach.
I like to visit my yoga mat, a little downward facing dog and cat-cow, peaceful warrior one, two and three.
I’ll turn on a carol in the car and I’ll sing-sing-a-ling.
I like to unwind with Bill, cook a meal, sit down and eat it with cloth napkins and conversation. (And then there’s always a bit of bubbly, a little love’n and chocolate! )

 
It’s the time to dive into it all–the hustle and flow and the magic and miracles and all the wishes and desires.

Just as long as I don’t forget to dive into myself!
 
I’m taking this moment to make a wish.
Here’s to a wonderful and wild and colorful and bright bushy-tailed winter wonderland
here’s to magic and miracles
to peace on Earth
to true good will toward human kind.

Here’s to loving kindness
Here’s to loving each other
Here’s to love

Here’s to giving presents
and staying present as we give!

Here’s to you!

Cheers!
 
Write on,
Happy Holidays.

Write on,

carolyn first only sig

 

 

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Watched Pot

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la rain

a rainy LA day

 

Last night after we made love Bill went outside to wait for the rain.

He stood on the flagstone patio,
hands in the pockets of his white terry robe,
watching the oncoming storm hover in the distance.

She was moving in her own time.

I opened the back door and leaned outside,
“A watched pot never boils.” I said.
But I knew, if watched long enough, it would boil.
Bill stood patient, planted, like a tree
whose roots are thirsty for wet.
“I felt a drop,” he said.

This morning the house is quiet,
except for the sounds of sleep and wind and rain.
Until I turn on the news–
pictures of splintered trees,
pictures of floating cars, flooded and stuck in muck,
pictures of sand bags and empty beaches and businesses shut down,
a flash of yellow earthmover slogging through mud
and inevitably dramatic coverage of a swift water rescue
from the quick rising LA River.

Later, I’ll dress for weather.
New winter boots
water resistant, lined with fur.
Ultramarine raincoat
that matches nothing.
I’ll walk, head down, to the car,
open the trunk and dig for the umbrella.

 

 

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It seemed like a good day to share this poem I wrote last year.
This was published in The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles in the June 2014 edition.

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Unedited Sunday Morning Musings

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today

when i was walking

sand slipping between my toes

heels sinking

and lifting

legs moving me forward

people lined up in pews

eyes closed

hands clasped

throats thick with hymn

and they prayed

 

while they sat

surfers AND dolphins

sunday morning redondo beach

in the white and blue

steepled building

down the street from my house

i watched

neoprene clad surfers

wait on waves

i watched

dolphins flip

through the gleam

of sun

a flicker-dance

on the water

i watched pelicans

and gulls dive

for their breakfast

 

i know it might be corny

to make such a simple

comparison

my church

to theirs

 

sometimes truth

is just that simple

 

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Journal Entry: August 31, 2014

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Journal Entry:  August 31, 2014

 

I had a good childhood.

me and dad Maui, maybe 79 or 80

Me and Dad Maui Circa 79 or 80

I grew up on movie sets. My Dad was a Production Manager back when you broke down a script using colored cardboard strips. Wemoved from New York to Beverly Hills. “Stepford Wives” was in the can but I still got to brush Katherine Ross’ strawberry blonde hair and help her bake cookies in her Malibu kitchen. I loved how her bathing suit bottoms never matched her tops.  When my Dad was working on “Murder by Death” he arranged for me to meet Angie Dickenson and Earl Holliman. “Police Woman” was my favorite show and it was a way bigger deal than meeting David Niven, Truman Capote or Maggie Smith. Although it was pretty neat to watch Colombo rehearse the same line over and over and over again.

It wasn’t just me. My Dad brought lots of people up in the movie business. He got them jobs, got them training, got them in the union.

Then the script took a dark turn. An unexpected diagnosis. A first surgical procedure doesn’t go as planned. Lake Arrowhead-chemo-recovery-weekends and my Dad’s healthy vital glow mask the executioner. A Second surgery and still Cancer drills deep and takes root.

All scenes led to that final diagnosis.
Seven days left to say goodbye.

“Did you get the shot?” He asked. From his bedside at Cedars, I could see the Hollywood sign, white against the Indian summer hillside.  I held his hand. It felt heavy.

“We did.” I replied.

Cut. Print. That’s a wrap.

That was 1988.

Man of Destiny

Roger M. Rothstein

It took a bit of time, but now I can feel into the gift that is my father. Not just my gift–I still get emails, letters and Facebook posts: I miss him every day; I found a picture of him; There was no one quite like Roger.

I can look in the mirror and see him in the round of my face, the beauty mark on my cheek and my dark hair and eyes. His energy courses through my veins as I negotiate with a tough client.

If my father weren’t where he is, somewhere out there, I wouldn’t be where I am now.  Who knows, maybe he is here, hovering over my right shoulder as I type.

This is my life.

Happy Birthday Dad.

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Hello Moon**

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Journal Entry:  August 11, 2014

 

full moon morning

Full Moon Morning

I stepped out onto the back porch this morning and looked up to see the moon, still full, setting in the sky. I don’t recall a full moon ever on an August 11th, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t ever happened.

Today is my birthday.

“What a nice surprise.” I tell the moon.

“Sure thing!” He says.  “Happy Birthday!”

“Thank you.” I say

That moon-man smiling down on me, greeting me on my special day, makes me think about how long I have been here. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve looked up and smiled at him in my five decades and one year.

I had my coffee, my vanilla protein shake with an organic peach and I wrote in my journal.  I left the house happy.  I drove through emptier-than-normal-for-a-Monday streets and parked in the almost vacant lot by my spinning studio.  I was greeted upstairs with smiles and birthday wishes.

During class, our instructor Mandy said, “Grab your water and grab your breath.” I don’t know if she meant to say grab, but that’s what I heard.

I looked over the parking lot, to the palm trees and couldn’t help but think about the word.  Grab.

What have I grabbed for in my life? What else will I reach for and grab? I grab a ripe Meyer lemon from our tree in the back yard — twist and pull.  I pluck opportunities as they ripen on their vines. What will I reach for next?

At 51, I am still like a child that picks and chooses what to discover and explore next.  Although, I haven’t had to grab for that much; the important, life-changing things come to me.

I get clear.
I ask.
I let go.
I receive.

It seems easy and in a way it is, but there is the work of getting clear and letting go, sometimes it can be a challenge. Although, at this place it isn’t as much work as it was when I was in another place.

That’s what happened with Bill.  It’s not that we didn’t reach for each other.  We did.  It’s how we came to be within each other’s reach, in that particular instant, that I find interesting.

I’ve written about it many times, it was as simple as that.

Why does the moon smile down on me?
Why did Bill and I get swaddled together in that moment?
Why am I blessed with this life?

I don’t know that I have answers for these questions.  I may never.  I’m good with that.  I’ll unwrap full moon birthday wishes, and magic instead of answers.

Happy Birthday to Me!

 

** Excerpt from the book that I am currently writing.

 

 

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I’m Keeping on Keeping on…

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I’ve been feeling a bit stuck lately, in my writing, in my work, in general—stuck.  I hold my breath and hold myself back. There is something I’m not seeing, something I’m missing, some door that isn’t opening.  On the outside, I appear cool and confident and on the inside I’m a bundle of nerves.

It’s funny, people will tell me I’m courageous and that I’m a risk taker and I’ll be quaking in my boots or wondering if I’m making the ‘right’ life choices.

When I was waiting tables at Old Venice in Manhattan Beach back in the 90’s a gal that I knew from high school came in and I had to wait on her.  I wasn’t exactly embarrassed, even though it was Halloween weekend and I was in cat makeup. I was more uncomfortable, worried about what she would think.

After I brought them their drinks, while taking their order, we caught up a bit.  She went to college, law school and got married. “What about you?” She asked.

My cat ears were twitching. I’d rather chase a rat than tell the story of my life up to that point to someone that together.

“After UCLA I worked on some features, then, after my Dad died, I worked for Camden Artists, then Triad.” I said.  She was leaning toward me, looking up; she seemed interested in what I had to say. “Then I went to Europe for 6 months and I found a job at a patisserie…” I said.

It went on from there.  How could I tell her every detail? I didn’t. I didn’t tell her about my move back home, the garage sale where I sold all just about all my stuff—including that fabulous orange flowered print skirt and matching shoes and ribbed mid-drift pullover I bought in some crazy expensive store in Santa Monica.

I didn’t tell her the details of how I found my first apartment and my first job and all the other jobs when I moved to Santa Barbara where I worked as a waitress – at The Jolly Tiger coffee shop, at the San Yisidro Ranch, at a bowling alley, at Pascual’s Mexican restaurant, then there was the Turkish company, Telanav, they were doing something shady and they wouldn’t let us leave for lunch, then there was Market Place Media—that’s where I learned how to use PageMaker.

I didn’t tell her that after Santa Barbara there was Venice and Value Health Sciences, Inc.(VHS) and that the reason I left Venice and moved to Redondo Beach was because my roommate was a psychopath who delivered a bag of garbage to my office with a note that said: ATTN: CAROLYN, because he was mad I was moving.

I didn’t tell her that only way for me to get promoted at VHS was to leave and move to Phoenix.  I didn’t tell her that I worked in the marketing department at  Eye Care Plan of America—they turned the storage closet into my office—ahhhh my first office.

I told her that I hated Phoenix because I tell everyone that mentions Phoenix that I hate Phoenix—when you’re wearing jeans and cowboy boots on a 90-degree day, side-stepping cockroaches the size of my dying Mustang convertible,  it’s time to head back to the beach.

“So, I moved back to Redondo Beach and I also work at Gold’s Gym in Redondo.” I said, summarizing best I could. “I want to be a personal trainer.”

“Wow.” Her smile seemed to go from ear to ear.  Her husband was smiling too.  “I envy you.” She said.

“Why?” I asked. She was the grown-up here.  She had a career, she had a husband, she had a house.  She was a real person.

“You’re so courageous,” She said. “You didn’t just do what you were supposed to do like I did.”

There have been quite a few more lefts and rights and even some U-turns since that conversation 20 years ago.

curvy path

twist and turns ahead

I am still zigzagging along on my path.

It seems these days that I’m not the only one, there are others. The world has changed and the straight and narrow isn’t as straight and narrow as it used to be–we are explorers all of us.

Still, at times, I find myself gasping for air.

I sometimes have to remind myself to breathe.  I have to remind myself that I have courage, that I am brave, that I am in the right place at the right time, and that if history does indeed repeat itself, well, I’ll be just fine…actually, I’ll be much better than fine.

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Are We There Yet? ***

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Journal Entry: June 29, 2014

It was early. I was watering the lawn. The sun was still hiding behind marine layer and our street was quiet. It had been hot the last few days.  Finally a bit of June gloom. The breeze cooled my sun-browned skin—you’re as brown as a berry, my Dad would say to me as August approached. I watched the grass drink.  Here’s what I realized in that moment: I was in a rush to be done.  In this gorgeous, perfect, feel-good moment in time, I was in a rush.

I rush. I rush a lot.  I rush  from one thing to the next. I’m not fickle. It’s not that. I’m loyal, sometimes to a fault. I’m loyal to my clients and I’m a loyal client. I’m loyal to my friends, my family and my husband.  When I rush from one moment to the next, I’m not loyal to myself.

Sometimes, the journey is a good thing.

I like cleaning. I like making something go from dull to polish. I love bleach and I love being clean and having cleaned.  Feet up on the coffee table, arms crossed, I survey the sparkle and shine of my clean wood floors, white whites and sparkling surfaces.  (Geez, I sound like a friggin’ commercial.)

I love writing and I really love having written!

I enjoy editing too, but I love the finished product even more.

At the end of a good book I’m sad that I won’t be visiting that world anymore. I miss the immersion into another person’s language.  I once had this friend  who could speed-read.  She made the biggest deal about it, she was proud that she could rush through a good book. Okay, if I could speed-read when I was at UCLA I would have maybe been ahead of the curve and caught up just once. Other than that I just don’t get it. I don’t want to speed read The Great Gatsby, The Poisonwood Bible, Memoirs of a Geisha or a poem by Richard Jones or Ellen Bass.

Sailing, now that’s all about the journey.  Sailing is something you do to get nowhere. We’ll take the boat out for a few hours and go back and forth, towards Marina Del Rey, back towards Palos Verdes, tacking and jibing in and out of the wind.  Still, after three, four, or six hours on the rough Pacific, (should have been named the Belligerent Ocean) I really want to get there already.

catalina thanksgiving 3rd annual 2004 009

Enjoy The Journey

The ride to the orgasm is amazing.  So is the orgasm.  I’d like the ride and the orgasm to last as long as possible.

I want time to slow down and I want to slow down with time. I want to lick it, feel it’s texture on my tongue, taste the sweet thick syrup slide down the back of my throat.  I want to savor each moment.  Ahhhh the irony of the human experience—being in such a rush to grow up and get there that when we finally do, we want to go back.

*** This is an excerpt of something I’m working on for my next book.

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