writing/photos

week 25: slow art

I'm very lucky to have parents that were both willing and able to make art museums part of my education as a little kid. My first visits were probably to the Art Institute in Chicago

week 23: fight

I grew up as neither a lover nor a fighter. I was a hider. I mostly wanted to be left alone and if not alone, then moving peacefully, peacefully, peacefully through the dynamics of friends and family.

week 22: orcas

For many months, Elaine and I talked about going on a little vacation. Other than overnight trips to the coast here and there over the last couple of decades,

week 17: consumption

One of the first people I met in college was my beloved friend, Elaine. She arrived on campus as an animal rights activist. She was the first activist of any sort that I had met

week 16: shelter

We are having a very wintery winter here in Portland. As I write this, a sheet of ice covers everything while the wind rattles the frozen branches and the gas heat rattles the grates of my house.

week 14: altar

Sometimes taking a deep breath and jumping in is the best way. The shock is part of the fun: the way the body grabs itself from the inside as the cold hits.

week 13: pot shopping

Funny how I've become a much bigger proponent of state's rights than I ever was before. Not that the country's bigger, broader and increasingly frightening problems don't need to be addressed

week 9: trying

It seemed, at first, too small to matter and too small to write about. What new thing had I done this week besides make a few phone calls to the White House

week 8: welcome

Ever since I was little kid, I've struggled with feeling like I don't belong (that's me on the far right with the dumbfounded expression hiding behind her bangs).

week 7: hospice

I stand in the corner, squeezed in next to the recliner where the patient spends most of his days. I stare at the top of his purple fleece cap

lump

I choose Before the Rain. When I start to describe the movie as Macedonian and Albanian, my partner holds up a hand, "That's all you need to say." He is history-minded and his heritage is Albanian, so he knows what this means. But it isn't that conflict I remember from the film. It's the love stories in... Continue Reading →

month twelve: giving up

It's 2016, March already and for some reason I was compelled back here today after many months away. Part of it is my own completion complex, that thing in me that makes me clean my plate and read a book to the end that I don't really like. It's not a very useful impulse, but... Continue Reading →

month eleven: thankyouthankyou

As a kid, my prayers all started with this: "Dear God, thankyouthankyouthankyou for..." I was pretty sure that the more times I said thank you, the more sincere my prayer was. On nights I was tired, I only eked out a couple thanks. Other times, I dug in and let it roll wanting to make... Continue Reading →

month ten: practice

Art month was fun, even though I didn't actually make as much art as I thought I would.I made this really silly gif from pics of my bedhead every morning. I had a ton of fun at collage night at the IPRC (collage is zen!). I also wrote a whole bunch. I read a whole bunch. I went... Continue Reading →

month nine: artsy and/or fartsy

My August challenge of completing one of Lynda Barry's daily diary exercises was probably my mildest challenge yet. It was short and fast and easy: A list of Things I Did, Things I Saw, One Thing I Heard and a 30 second drawing every day. I filled in the exercise in a composition notebook every night... Continue Reading →

month eight: Lynda Barry’s daily diary

I admit it, turning the TV off for the month of July was not entirely successful. I cheated a bunch. I'd come home from work exhausted and sit and watch Anthony Bourdain eat delicious-looking food in beautiful-looking countries. I did fairly well, however, at avoiding the useless local news. My partner was less committed to... Continue Reading →

month seven: turn off the idiot box

 First, let me say that June's sweet-free challenge was, for the most part, a little easier than I anticipated. I got cravings now and then and occasionally drooled longingly at a friend's chocolate bar, but it wasn't too bad. I didn't feel physically different having removed sweets from my diet. To me, this signals that even... Continue Reading →

month six: sweats and sweets

My month of mindfulness, in perfectly ironic fashion, lost most of its deliberateness about three-quarters of the way through. I stopped looking at my list of exercises because so many of them seemed to be guiding me in the same direction. Let go, they told me. So, I did. I let go of the formal framework... Continue Reading →

daily tabor 2012

 In 2012 I gave myself the goal of daily walks to Mt. Tabor, a big, beautiful park near my house in Portland, OR. I actually started daily walks there in the summer of 2011, but on January 1st of the new year, I added an extra component of taking a photograph of the park and posting... Continue Reading →

proof

This essay originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review vol. 9.1 in the summer of 2012. It was selected as a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2013.   Proof   “Touch is food. Vital food.” – Deane Juhan, Job’s Body   Ginger-scented oil slicks my fingers. A new massage client lies beneath them, his... Continue Reading →

an unknown shape

This essay was first published on this blog in April 2014. An Unknown Shape I wanted. Again and then again. I wanted my body to make the shape their bodies made: Adho Mukha Vrksasana. Downward Facing Tree. Handstand. I watched from the back of the yoga studio as they flung themselves upside down against the... Continue Reading →

jumpers

This essay originally appeared in The Clackamas Literary Review 2012 vol. XVII Jumpers I’ve been obsessed with the jumpers for months. Every day, I sit in front of my computer and watch them leap. Nineteen miles above solid ground, John Kittinger prepares. Wearing the best partial pressure suit 1960 has to offer, he stands on... Continue Reading →

month five: update – now, now

This month's challenge of doing a different mindfulness exercise every day has, in many ways, been the easiest one I've done so far. It's not that I'm so good at being in the now. I'm often thoroughly distracted, mind racing off in dozens of directions, but there is gentleness in this practice, a necessary attitude... Continue Reading →

month five: mind empty/ mind full

For some time now, I've been aware, mindful you might say, of how I drift. Instead of feeling the skin/muscle/bone beneath my hands while giving a massage, I am building imaginary conversations or going on imaginary road trips. In the middle of listening to the music, the poet, the friend, I realize I've stopped hearing... Continue Reading →

month four: summary

Procrastination elimination month has been a success. Not an overwhelming success. The trellis in the backyard is still broken and I may or may not get around to prepping my garden beds in the next couple of days and I didn't submit that story anywhere, and, and, and... The ridiculous list posted below (far more... Continue Reading →

month three: summary

It's good to be happy with small accomplishments. That's the size they come in where my writing is concerned. With just a few days to go, I'm confident I can reach my goal of writing every day this month. More often than not, twenty minutes flew by and I kept on, making it half an hour or... Continue Reading →

month three: aim low and write

I've been writing and avoiding writing since I was a teenager. I used to read a lot about the writing life and all the myriad ways writers kept themselves on their creative paths, hoping I'd find the perfect clue on how to make all this work. Now, barely a day goes by that I don't... Continue Reading →

month two: summary

I'm whipping this post out before I head over to the yoga studio for class. I love the woman teaching this morning. It's amazing how someone just giving a simple but different cue for how to do a pose changes everything. One class, a couple weeks ago, she told us that it should feel weird, maybe... Continue Reading →

month two: update

I'm sixteen days in to my month of daily yoga and have run the gamut of emotions from elation to teeth-grinding frustration over what my body can and cannot do. Going to my mat every day gives me the chance to try and move through these extremes of emotion and settle into something a bit more balanced.... Continue Reading →

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