Saturday, February 2, 2013

Gnawing Around In My Noggin

I'm really trying. Like balls to the wall trying. And although I don't really know...I don't feel like I'm wasting time. I do however, feel that I do not have enough time. are the more process-y things that won't leave my thoughts.

  • Women and Social Media--the grace and generosity I've found from other women online has humbled me. We are helping one another minute by minute--without really thinking about the impact. By contrast, (and I know that this example isn't typical for everyone) in many corporate contexts, women must ignore or undermine one another to get another rung up on the ladder. To show too much support and be too "female" carries a risk for both women. We just started watching the new version of "House of Cards" with Keven Spacey. The original must be watched. But, the relationship between the lead political reporter and the young upstart was hard to watch. When women compete in a system that denies their equality, they savage one another in many instances. 
  • I'm one month into my NEW. My last day at work was the 31st of 2012--I was laid off and the campus I taught at is being closed (as soon as all current students finish). I have NO IDEA what I'm doing. I'm just going in all directions, following hunches--hoping that something takes root. It is thrilling and terrifying. The new blog is going very well. The most popular post--why a liberal would want to stay in the South. From studying stats, it seems that politics is my sweet spot. This shouldn't be a surprise to me...but as a dedicated dilettante, sometimes perspective alludes me. 
  • I'm getting training in the next two months in three critical (and new) areas: lobbying, campaigns and reporting. I have no one to speak for except myself. This is entirely liberating. 
  • My health is pretty good...although I in need of another epidural pain block in my spine. Just got health insurance (thanks TennCare) and will set it up as soon as...
  • You can also visit me at LinkedIn. ( LinkedIn Profile )This is the social media medium I feel least comfortable with...I know that I'm being "too open" about what I think--in other words, I have not created or maintained a "hiring" profile. I'm going on faith. And I'm an atheist. 
Balls to the wall people. Balls to the wall. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Day for Diving

It started last night.

Words like mist on petals. And I knew that it was time to listen.

Yank myself from the relentless data streams and prepare for my ears to pop.

In through the nose, out through the mouth.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn't swagger that propels you downward, it is need. Weakness allowing the dive.
Vulnerability the portal.
Allegiance absolute.

Smooth, even breaths.

     I'm ready to know what I'm afraid to admit.

     Willing to be a fool in a bright yellow scarf waving from across the way.

     What will you do with enlightenment once it humbles you?
     Does it hover over your shoulder or set up
     Does it scream or murmur or whisper?
     Flash, illuminate or blind?

A sigh answers the questions.


Last night it said,
A midwife, a lenses, a kaleidoscope condensed
Altered by pressure, resistance and light--
Splattered so far and wide, to places scarcely pondered...
Loosely precise in bytes.
{edible or not}
Rarely pinned, just urged right up to the edge--spinning.
In burst and in flow
Further down and further out.
There is only the falling.
Consciously relinquishing hold of your frame--
Keeping your eyes open, yes?



Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Poem And A Question

"His Elderly Father as a Young Man."

This happened before I met your mother:
I took Jennie Johanson to a summer dance,
and she sent me a letter, a love letter,
I guess, even if the word love wasn't in it.
She wrote that she had a good time
and didn't want the night to end.
At home, she lay down on her bed
but stayed awake, listening to the songs
of morning birds outside her window.
I read that letter a hundred times
and kept it in a cigar box
with useless things I had saved:
a pocket knife with an imitation pearl handle
and a broken blade,
a harmonica I never learned to play,
one cuff link, an empty rifle shell.

When your mother and I got married,
I threw the letter away -
if I had kept it, she might wonder.
But I wanted to keep it
and even thought about hiding places,
maybe in the barn or the tool shed,
but what if it were ever found?
I knew of no way to explain why
I would keep such a letter, much less
why I would take the trouble to hide it.

Leo Dangel

One of my friends posted this poem today on FB and it stirred up a longstanding question in my mind. I am curious about your it ever okay to save anything from an ex? My own answer is more muddled than my husbands and I have often thought it was because he is Irish and I am American. Americans (apparently) are more fluid in their relationships. Ex's become friends. Not so much on Emerald Isle.

What do you think? 

Apparently I Need To Vent

I know many artists, designers, musicians, writers and poets. All of them struggle with getting around the never ending mountain of doubt. For many years, I have referred to my own demon as The Drill Sargent. He (yes, it is male) tends to make loud directives and even louder criticisms. It is rare that He is any help to me, as He usually pushes me so far that my rebellion kicks in and I do the opposite just to spite Him.

I have a dear poet friend who has known me for many years. She watched me year after year, make these very stern lists of goals. Once, we were browsing through one of my old journals and I found a page that demonstrates the influence of the Drill Sargent. In huge letters, thick with threat--it said, "DRINK ONLY WATER." She thought this was hilarious as it is such a ridiculous sort of instruction.

Ever since, I can use this phrase as shorthand to what I experience when I am in the grip of internalized pressure to reach some sort of purity. It is funny now. I was in my 20's when I wrote it and now, in my 40's I can laugh it off as the folly of youth. But this hides the darker reality. The Drill Sargent is part of what has propelled me so far from where I started. He cannot be, and furthermore should not be eliminated. This all or nothing business is part of the disease.

The Drill Sargent has a seat in the boardroom of my mind. But when he gets too much power, his voice booms and becomes more insistent. His role is to challenge, to push, to use shame as fuel. His methods can be very unhelpful though...particularly to the creative process.

I'm working on two different articles. Both "should" have been done by now. The new blog "should" be perfectly designed and featuring both. I "should." Nevertheless, here I sit, besieged by guilt. Flabby and useless and undisciplined.

The question for me today is: how do I integrate what He brings without giving him too much airtime or without pretending he doesn't serve a purpose? Of course, I "should" have done many things, important things, things people expect me to do...and yet, I am stuck in process. I yearn for a new puzzle. Sometimes I wish people didn't expect so much of me. And then I hear another voice in my head (the Wise Woman around the table) and she says,
"You expect too much of yourself. They take their cue from you. You can do more than you think you can when you let go of expectancy. Each moment is a chance to begin again. But in order to tap the wealth inside, you must learn to accept all hardships as gifts. You must take small victories. Shame has no place in good thinking."
I know she is right. There is a reason she has a seat closer to the head of the table than the Sargent. She isn't as blustering, but her voice has become resonant the longer I turn my ear to her words.


Today, I tell the Drill Sargent: I will drink water and coffee and juice. Thank you for attempting to corral my restlessness into a clear direction, but I think I need more flexibility than you allow. And to my Wise Woman,   for now your voice is amplified. There is only now. What happened or did not happen before now is unhelpful timesuck. What should happen tomorrow is in many ways, an equally unpurposed exercise.

Write what you can. Even if you are only writing about why you aren't writing what you want to write. There is some discipline in recognizing that consistent "some" is always better than iffy "all" or damning "none."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Update: Somehow it is 2013

Hey friends! Just wanted to do a quick update because things are changing and I look forward to sharing it all with you.  I was laid off from my position as of Dec. 31. All managers at my level were also laid off, so it wasn't due to anything I did or didn't do. However, it was a shock and has prompted me to do a lot of soul searching.

Here is the thing: I don't want to do what I've always done...which is to run, run, run to the quickest, most tolerable salary. I just have this feeling that this is my time to try something else. This blog will remain a blog of personal process. How will my experiments pan out? When will I get frustrated? Where will I go to try myself anew? Why this and not that? What does it all mean?

My new blog, will be pointedly focused on politics, current events and news. Sometimes, I'll be Lois Lane and just give you the facts and sometimes, I'll be more pundit-y. I'm hoping to use Big Blue Dot Y'all to get into additional media. Of course, I am very active on FB, Twitter and Linked In--but I want to be on the radio, to do podcasts, to get published. I should have gone into broadcasting/communications about 20 years ago...but, it truly is never too late.

As to the rest of my beautiful life, the kids are smart, healthy, funny and talented. The hubs and I are doing very well...learning and laughing a lot. We are staying in Nashville for the foreseeable future.

Stay tuned folks...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Hide and Seek As A Way Of Life

Her hunger like a secret wanting oxygen, is hiding
  as she crouches,
  considering it wasteful to truly disappear, as others require her-
Curiosity nags her careful and considered breaths
  and she hasn't the ardor to say no to the children
  so she seeks concealment.

In the time it takes to count to one hundred,
  the probe can be postponed.

{What does this wish want and how can I soothe this relentless ache?}

She can conjure what ease would feel like--is it like sun in the late afternoon or mist in the morning?
She can envision herself able to stretch and liquefy to suit all comers.
She can pretend she has no needs
and truly be the woman who is neither despised nor idolized.

            When she was a child, there was a designated spot beside her house.
            Overgrown and scratchy, but fully occupied when flight was necessary.
            There was advantage in a quick escape and well constructed stories.

            As a young woman, she tried (as young women do)
               to eschew all camouflage and speak her desires to the sky.
            At her own hand and by a mob of well wishers and ambulance chasers,
               she derived one message:
            There is a price to pay for want.
                Being demanding results in punishments of all sorts
                and pleasures only visit, but do not get comfortable.

            Aging past the need for pleasing,
              there are moments when her worth is not tied to approval.
            Her thoughts charge like starved bulls
              and whatever she feels, just is--

           There is unforeseen validation in her expansion.
           Crowds and those dear encourage a loose tongue--
              although the lessons of voice and restraint
              get no easier, her resiliency grows with the years.

           Love arrives and is followed by domesticity,
             long dreaded and surprisingly lovely.

           No one hinders her now--
             but she must be vigilant about too much competence
             and making vulnerability an enemy.

When she is found,
and she always is-
the abatement almost looks genuine.
She sighs and releases the questions like a child lets go of a balloon--
  relunctantly and with a tinge of sorrow.

When she requires the use of herself,
she rises to her full height
and begins again.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Update: No, I'm not dead

So here's the thing...I had back surgery in November 2010 and 2011 has been extremely difficult.  On a fairly regular basis, I cannot lift my legs without excruciating pain.  I cannot work when this happens.  I cannot drive or walk unassisted.  And the worse part is...they don't know what is wrong.  I did learn (by Oct I demanded a CT scan) that my bones did not fuse to the hardware.  So, I've been wearing this crazy looking belt that is supposed to stimulate bone growth.  I've been wearing it for months...four hours a day.  So all this is to say--I've had a really, really, really tough year and my writing and creative pursuits have taken a backseat to survival.

Big Hairy and sometimes scary, but always informative lessons learned in 2011:

  • Do not be passive with Doctors.  Make yourself an informed and pushy advocate.
  • No matter what--change happens and the best you can do sometimes is hold on and wait until it is safe to stick out your head--so that you can learn how to adapt. Maybe you don't want to adapt once you have a clear picture of how things have changed...
  • My worth is not equal to my net worth. I am more than my job, my bank balance or what is in my IRA.
  • If you want something you are not getting, it is your responsibility to ask for it. Then, if you are turned down--you can decide whether or not you are willing or able to live with less.
  • You never finish learning how to be the best you. No matter how much work you do to understand yourself and the world--you will often be wrong and when that happens...humility and honesty will help you not get stuck in your growth. Discovering you were wrong is a gift...a chance to reflect and begin new patterns.
  • Miss Piggy still rocks.
  • Netflix = Prime example of being wrong
  • Green Lantern wasn't as good a film as Captain America. And Thor beat them both.
  • Twitter is my new addiction. If you are thinking..."I don't get it, why would you want to be restricted to 140 characters to express yourself."  Here is the thing: it is kinda like a game to get it all in. Plus, you know news before the Washington Post tweets about it.
  • I did do all my FB reunions and it was lovely. In 2012, I plan to keep it up.
  • Occupy Wall Street is a natural expression to what happened in 2008 and the thirty years of inequality before it. You can only screw the little guys & gals for so long before something breaks to the surface.
  • The Arab Spring is more complicated than many of us hoped.
  • The Republican party is determined to exterminate itself by embracing radical ideas that most Americans do not share.  Changing demographics will render them obsolete unless they make a major change in how they respond to people of color, the unemployed, the poor, the hungry and those yearning to be free...
  • San Fransisco is my favorite city in the US. I've been to a lot of great cities in my wonderful country...but I have never fallen in love so completely.
  • Battlestar Galactica and The Wire are both excellent resources to use when teaching Ethics and Political Science.
  • My entire family--cousins, grandparents, nieces & nephews, uncles, aunts, brother & mother--they are every one a blessing to me.
  • People go crazy when a plump person loses a lot of weight...causing said plumb person to wonder what they were thinking before and didn't say.
  • My oldest son is obsessed with origami. It is so precise it would give me a migraine. He also loves Pink Floyd and Queen. My daughter is a little pleaser and started Kindergarten. She is hyper-focused on achieving the highest "color" in the behavioral system they have in the classroom. She wants to be the "bestest girl." Where did that come from?  My youngest is too handsome for his own good and seeks mischief. He can also hurt you (just turned 4). He is a bit of a bruiser.
  • I am the luckiest woman in the world because I am married to a man that loves me, accepts me & can be creative with me. We will launch a project in early 2012 that is just too cool for words. It has been incredible to step away from our regular roles and just be two creative people wanting to do something that matters. We also slayed a lot of dragons this year and came out more in love than ever.
  • He and I must find a regular the kiddos are older now and we are seriously deprived of fun.  We haven't spent a night together and away from them EVER.  This isn't healthy and by crook or claw...I'm gonna find a way for us to be adults sometimes.
  • I am and will always be a Superman person. Yes, the Dark Knight is intoxicating. But, Clark will always hold my heart. People who are idealists are shunned and mocked in our society, but Clark never lets go of the belief that humanity is worth saving. I want my Superheroes to not require therapy.
  • The strides that have been made for the LGBT community are stunning and I could not be more pleased about it. I have long been an advocate for equal treatment and the right to marry and not be kicked out of the service. So--not so sad to see you go DADT.
  • My biggest comforts (outside of my family) come from books and I've read too many good ones to list. Also have been overwhelmed with the fantastic Americana music that seems to be garnering a bit more attention and praise. 
I hope you are well dear readers...full of love and a vibrant thirst for life.  If not, why not? What is standing in your way and what can you do to get over it, under it or through it? How can you live a more authentic life? I'm always trying to figure it out. I stumble, screw up, stutter and shut down. As I tell my students, the screw up isn't where your focus should be...everyone screws up. All that matters is what you do next. Chin up people--there is lots to do.