Archive for May, 2008

Daybreak

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

starfishes
Mood: Crabtastic
Drinking: Water

A lovely poem today from Galway Kinnell:

Daybreak
On the tidal mud, just before sunset,
dozens of starfishes
were creeping. It was
as though the mud were a sky
and enormous, imperfect stars
moved across it as slowly
as the actual stars across heaven.
All at once they stopped,
and, as if they had simply
increased their receptivity
to gravity, they sank down
into the mud, faded down
into it and lay still, and by the time
pink of sunset broke across them
they were as invisible
as the true stars at daybreak.

-Lo, fading down.

Slipping Away

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

slippingaway
Mood: Bleah
Drinking: Blah

I’m having trouble reconciling myself to the fact that this year is nearly halfway gone.

I’m beginning to think time will never slow itself to a pleasant crawl again, but will continue to rush its way past me, faster and faster with each passing day.

And I’m not ok with that.

“Time flies when you’re having fun” is the old adage, but time also flies when you’re busy, when you’re taking a nap, when you’re trying to figure out what to have for dinner, and even when you’re sitting in a dull grey waiting room staring down the clock.

Time just flies. It can’t help it. That’s how it works.

The difference is probably me. When I was a kid, the days would stretch out forever. I thought my birthday would never arrive, or Christmas, or summer. Time had me well fooled into thinking that I owned it. That I had all the time, as they say, in the world.

Maybe it was at 29 when my biological clock kicked in and started clanging, or maybe I figured it out before then, but I’ve known for awhile now that time is not on my side.

Even this year, in which I promised myself and all around me to mellow out, even this year has picked up speed. I thought 2007 went by so fast because I was so busy with all my ambitious publishing projects.

But 2008 is straining neck-and-neck for speed, and it just might break the record.

So I guess that means I have nothing left to do but enjoy it. Every speeding, precious minute. Even the ones spent on unpleasant tasks, like re-editing copy for unimaginative marketing managers (which is what I’m supposed to be doing right now).

It’s a good idea in theory. In practice, my enjoyment comes in small bursts.

But I have a lot to look forward to, even just this week: dinner with friends, a new poetry reading to check out, a visit with family, and walking the pooch at the beach. And it will all be over before I know it.

C’est la vie…

-Lo, counting down the days.

In the Valley of the Shadow

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

zander_fam
Mood: Pensive
Drinking: Diet Coke

The people in this picture have been very close to my heart and mind lately.

Many of you who read this blog know the Zander family. For those of you who do not, a short backstory…

I met Dieter and Val in Chicago nearly 12 years ago. They swiftly became people I looked up to, not only as mentors, but as friends. Over the years we’ve shared many meals, memories, milestones, and even a marriage… Dieter performed the wedding ceremony for Boy and I.

We all ended up in California and have maintained a steady friendship even as our lives diverged down different paths.

Dieter, who is a minister and musician, has chosen to live his life within the church, as has Val, while Boy and I have moved further and further away from the church.

But never have I felt any sense of judgment or pressure from Dieter and Val. Nothing but the utmost love. We’ve shared many long and intense conversations over cups of tea about God, about spirituality, about the pros and cons of the American church, about the hopes and dreams that Boy and I have for ourselves, for our future.

We’ve watched the Zander’s three sons grow from tousled children to tall young men, and we’ve been so proud, as if we had something to do with the miracle of maturity.

So it’s no small thing to say that the Zanders, all five of them, mean a great deal to us.

When we heard the news that Dieter had suffered a catastrophic stroke on February 4th of this year, we felt as if some bedrock in our lives had suddenly shifted violently out of place.

After weeks in a medically-induced coma, Dieter woke up to a new kind of life, one in which his speech has been radically altered, in that he cannot find the right words to communicate, so his thoughts are virtually locked inside his brain, and his right arm is partially paralyzed, as well.

Boy and I have been lucky enough to get to spend time with the Zanders since Dieter’s stroke, a privilege that many of our friends back in Illinois who also love the Zanders would love to have.

We’ve seen Dieter take on this new challenge with amazing courage and faith. We’ve watched the Zander boys step up into manhood and take on heavy new responsibilities. And we’ve seen Val bear her unexpected new burden with such astonishing grace.

I visited the Zander’s church this past Sunday to hear Val speak to the congregation about what her family has been dealing with these past few months.

I had to mangle quite a few kleenexes just to get through her story, and I felt such deep respect and awe at her honesty in the face of great pain, and her unwavering commitment to her family. I am so grateful to have this woman in my life, and I continue to learn so much from her example.

All of that to say this… the Zanders are the kind of people who make this damaged world a better place, just by living in it. They are now enduring the greatest trial of their lives. And I want to help.

Their church has recently started “The Zander Initiative”, a fundraising campaign that will run through the month of May to help support the family as Dieter works so hard to regain the abilities his stroke has taken from him.

Whether you know the Zanders or not, you can help to, if you feel so moved. Please visit this website for more information about what you can do.

And even if you don’t give, please hold these dear ones in your prayers. And if you don’t pray, hold them in your hearts.

-Lo, with all the love in the world.

The Mystery of It All

Saturday, May 10th, 2008

smm_talk
Mood: Busy
Drinking: Tea

I’ve been asked to post some information here that might be of interest for a few people who stop by this space.

Wow. That was vague.

Trying again: Not all of my faithful readers (oh you few, you happy few!) are poetry fans. Some of you are church people. Don’t deny it. I know you’re out there.

I have this whole other history of being a former church person, and for reasons which remain mysterious to me, I have a few fans in the pews even still.

If you’re new to the scene, you can catch up by reading this post back in February of 2007. It will give you the history of me and a little video called “This Is Who I Am” that’s been circulating the church scene for oh, about 10 years now. Yes. It’s true.

It will also tell you the story of how I traveled to Alabama last year to speak to a conference of Reverends and a church full of nice Southern people about why I don’t go to church anymore. Intriguing, no? (That’s a picture of me standing behind their nifty plexiglass pulpit right there.)

ANYhoo, for multiple reasons not exciting enough to get into here, I am now the proud copyright owner for not just one but two DVDs of things church-related.

And since a lot of people out there in church-land still want these DVDs, I now am the proud proprietor of another website, SundayMorningMisfit.com.

So if any of this made sense to you (or even if it didn’t), you can check out some clips and see what it’s all about over at www.sundaymorningmisfit.com. And if you’re still interested after that, you can buy yourself a shiny DVD.

That’s it for now…

-Lo, who thinks she looks like a wee little babe in that first video.

Stupid Girls

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

cancan_bathroomMood: Soapboxy
Drinking: Water

I swear, the dumbest things make the rounds on the internet. This is news to no one, I know.

But today I saw this awful list posted on facebook, and it’s not the first time I’ve seen it.

Apparently a gaggle of single women (girls?) out there think it’s undeniably profound, the ultimate guide to how a guy should treat his girlfriend. And so they keep it alive, posting it on the profiles of the boys they’re crushing on, thereby ensuring said boy is scared off forever.

But you can’t share my angst if you don’t know what I’m talking about, so I’m going to post the offending list here. I apologize in advance.

Here we go…

When she walks away from you mad [Follow her]
When she stares at your mouth
[Kiss her]
When she pushes you or hits you
[Grab her and don’t let go]
When she starts cussing at you [Kiss her and tell her you love her]
When she’s quiet [Ask her what’s wrong]
When she ignores you [Give her your attention]
When she pulls away [Pull her back]
When you see her at her worst [Tell her she’s beautiful]
When you see her start crying [Just hold her and don’t say a word]
When you see her walking [Sneak up and hug her waist from behind]
When she’s scared [Protect her]
When she lays her head on your shoulder [Tilt her head up and kiss her]
When she steals your favorite hat [Let her keep it and sleep with it for a night]
When she teases you [Tease her back and make her laugh]
When she doesn’t answer for a long time [Reassure her that everything is okay]
When she looks at you with doubt [Back yourself up]
When she says that she likes you [She really does, more than you could understand]
When she grabs at your hands [Hold hers and play with her fingers]
When she bumps into you [Bump into her back and make her laugh]
When she tells you a secret [Keep it safe and untold]
When she looks at you in your eyes [Don’t look away until she does]
When she misses you [She’s hurting inside]
When you break her heart [The pain never really goes away]
When she says it’s over [She still wants you to be hers]
When she reposts this bulletin [She wants you to read it]
– Stay on the phone with her even if she’s not saying anything.
– When she’s mad hug her tight and don’t let go.
– When she says she’s ok don’t believe it, talk with her.
– Because 10 yrs later she’ll remember you.
– Call her at 12:00am on her birthday to tell her you love her.
– Call her before you sleep and after you wake up.
– Treat her like she’s all that matters to you.
– Tease her and let her tease you back.
– Stay up all night with her when she’s sick.
– Watch her favorite movie with her or her favorite show even if you think it’s stupid.
– Give her the world.
– Let her wear your clothes.
– When she’s bored and sad, hang out with her.
– Let her know she’s important.
– Kiss her in the pouring rain.
– When she runs up to you crying, the first thing you say is, “Whose ass am I kicking, babe?”

*Sigh*

Ok. Now do you feel my pain?

It’s just the most juvenile perspective of love, as if the author watched every Nora Ephron rom com, read every bodice ripper, and bought into every fairytale version of love she’s ever heard.

Girls who believe this are just setting themselves up for some deep-seated disappointment. I don’t care how stellar your partner is, he (or she) will NEVER be able to live up to this list. Nor should they.

Because if you take this list to heart, then a girl can treat her partner like absolute shit and still get treated like some kind of Disney princess. Kick your lover in the teeth, call him a motherfucker, cry and whine and bitch and wail and stop brushing your teeth altogether, and he will happily turn the other cheek while telling you how beautiful and wonderful and magical you are.

Really?

Nowhere in this ridonk-ulous piece of fantasy does it mention what the girl should do for her partner. Nowhere does it talk about mutual respect, or having consideration for the other party’s feelings.

Perhaps in the earliest throes of infatuation, before you’ve let Wonderboy into your pants, you can spit in his eye and he’ll still find you sexy. But let me assure you that 10 years down the road if you’re still spitting, he’ll be spitting right back. Assuming he’s still around.

So here’s what I really want to say to the girls who are circulating this bit of idiocy: Grow up! And pick up a bit of self-respect while you’re at it. No lover is ever going to give you everything that you need, want, and think you deserve. It’s impossible.

So quit waiting for Prince Charming to read your mind and pick up your glass slipper. Pick up your own damn shoe.

Stop loading up your lover with unrealistic expectations and feeling sorry for yourself when they can’t perform, when they don’t make you feel the way you want them to.

And ask yourself this: If your current crush gave you this list, do you imagine for one second that you could live up to it? Because it goes both ways.

If you want respect, give it. If you want to be heard, listen. If you want to be treated like you are the only girl in the world, then treat your partner like a treasure, too.

The world could use a lot fewer stupid girls and spoiled princesses and a lot more women who understand that true love requires sacrifice, selflessness, and commitment.

Rant over.

-Lo, packing up her own princess tendencies.

Cinco de Mayonnaise

Monday, May 5th, 2008

buffysing2
Mood: Revving Up
Drinking: Nada

After 30 days of daily poem posts, I feel all rusty and creaky returning to the status quo of weekly(ish) posts.

But real life cannot sustain daily poems, at least not the kind of life I’m in the habit of living.

It was a brilliant idea, though, wasn’t it? Even though I thought myself insane in the beginning, I found it fairly easy to get into the regular rhythm of writing a poem a day, especially when I gave myself permission to post poems that unapologetically sucked or (this was even harder) poems that had the potential to be so amazing, but needed a few more days or weeks of percolating and editing.

Some of these un-percolated poems (Je t’aime, for instance, which now has a new name) are being re-thought and re-written as I type. Ok, not as I type, but in the general background of the return to real life, they are being revised.

Someday I’ll post them again in their better, shinier, actually finished form.

The best thing about all of this was that I wrote so many things that never would have been explored had I not given myself the daily deadline. Honey, for example, was an amazing accident, and I don’t think I would have thought to explore my personal history with bee stings had I not been wracking my brain for any scrap of story that could be whipped up into a poem.

The second best thing that happened was that I started tearing through several of the poetry collections I purchased back in January at the Associated Writing Programs conference in New York. I don’t make it a regular habit to read lots of poetry books, and it’s completely my loss. I found so much inspiration in the words of other poets, and I’m now simultaneously reading the work of Galway Kinnell, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, and Elizabeth Bradfield. What a feast!

So farewell, National Poetry Month celebration. Perhaps we’ll meet again next year.

A few bits of newsy things:
1. Michelle and I are editing a new cinepoem called “Yellow”
2. There is a ladonnawitmerdotcom refresh in the works that will include a real RSS blog feed (yay)
3. The Secrets of Falling is reviewed in the May issue of The Other Herald

All good things, all keeping me busy, busy, busy. Seems to be the way I like it… and off I go.

-Lo, with a “Grrrr” and an “Arrrgh”.