Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!!!

Please everyone,
be safe,
have fun...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Saturday Scribbles: Baaba's Song

Night Vision

This was the poem that started what I now consider my "Writing Career." Although I had written some things before that, they were few and far between and never anything that I really did with purpose. But this poem, Baaba's Song, was written at a really painful, difficult time in my life 22 years ago. As I tearfully confessed my problems to a dear friend of mine and tried to express my anguish, he said, "Write. You know you're a writer. Write it out." It's the best advice anyone has ever given me.

I went home, not at all sure how or where to begin. I was staring at a ceramic Hungarian girl statue that I have, thinking how sad I'd be if she tumbled from the shelf and shattered. I don't know why I was thinking that... I just was. Sometimes I'm just weird that way.

Anyway, I related to the idea. I felt like I'd fallen off of a shelf, shattered, and there was no way to pick up all the pieces. I uttered the words, "Baaba fell from the shelf today..." And before I knew it the entire poem had tumbled out of me onto paper, exactly as it appears below. I've never made any edits, never felt it necessary.

By the way, Baaba was my "nanny" name, pronounced Ba (with an 'a' as in cat) - buh.

Baaba's Song

Smoke curls like a midnight train
out from her window frame.
She crushes the cigarette,
wipes at useless tears,
and hangs her head in shame.

Baaba fell
from the shelf today,
now just pieces on the floor.
She puts on her jacket,
takes a walk,
ends up knocking
on God's door.

On the street
where no one dares to sing
she goes looking for a tune,
and only finds
the death of innocence
beneath a hunter's silver moon.

She stops inside the cathedral,
screams in silence,
and hides her fists of rage.
Father Anthony looks at her,
shrugs his shoulders,
says it's just that way.

Baaba's come of age.

© Barbara Ann Black, 2010-2011

Friday, October 29, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Twenty One

Day Twenty One - (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Ohhhhh.... *sigh*... this is just the stupidest question in the series. Who wrote these? Someone in high school?!

I don't fight with my friends. Even if we disagree, we still agree that we're friends.

Friendship is bigger than any issue.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Twenty

Day Twenty - Your views on drugs and alcohol.

My views on this are as with anything... so long as you're not hurting anyone, including yourself, have a ball. Just because you may not remember events does not alleviate your personal responsibility.

That being said, I prefer sobriety. My mind is a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes and words and flotsam and jetsam. I don't need any kind of stimulation, nor do I feel the need to self-medicate. I prefer to feel everything. For me it's the only way to remain creative. It also gives me a certain sense of control, at least when the shit hits the fan I know who's responsible and just how responsible.

That being said, I won't turn down the (very) occasional opportunity to party. But the setting has to be right. I have to be with friends. I have to know that nobody is going to be driving anywhere. I have to know that the people I'm with are non-violent when they indulge. And, without a doubt, I know my limit and I stop there or well before it.

I know, it sounds like I'm too much of a control freak to lighten up, (or light up) and have fun, but these things are simply like doing a safety check on a roller coaster. Love the roller coaster, want to know I'm not going to be hurled (she said hurled... heh heh) to my death as I come sailing through a loop.

I have to say, I love the flavor of alcohol. It speaks to that thing in me that likes bold flavors, that "go big or get off my tongue" palate of mine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Nineteen

Day Nineteen - What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

In a word, both are useless. I am an apolitical atheist.

I like to joke that I'm a polyatheist. A polytheist is one who believes in several gods. I don't believe in any gods, ergo I've branded myself as a polyatheist.

To me it's not a big deal. It's a life decision much like any other, and the weight is mine to carry.

I find it ironic that while some people have shown me disdain for my "lack of belief," they never stop to ask me why I feel this way. They'd rather argue a pointless point.

I don't seek to destroy anyone's belief system. I don't care, or I should say, have any problem with what anyone else believes any more than I care about their food preferences. Whatever works to sustain you, do it. It doesn't matter to me if they want to eat tofu with grape jelly and ketchup every day so long as they don't expect me to swallow it too. Ingest what you will, but if it's gonna make you spew, do it in private. No one else needs to see or hear it.

Second point of irony... I know a lot about religions. I find them fascinating. I'm amused at the very invention of gods, that even to this day people feel the need to lean on something intangible to explain the unexplainable.

I know some of my readers are looking at this and praying for my shriveled dark soul (sorry, I find that I cannot skip sarcasm when it comes to this topic). And that's okay. Like I said, whatever works for you.

Politicians exist to make sure religions and religious factions don't get out of control. Conversely, any religious leader is also a politician. Oh, what a lovely snakeball. You want me to believe what?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Eighteen

Day Eighteen - Your views on gay marriage.

I'm a hypocrite. I don't believe in marriage. At all. (Read all about it here.) Yet I just celebrated, with great joy, one of my very best friend's marriage. Really, I couldn't be more thrilled for them. The pictures made me cry.


I don't believe a union needs to be sanctified by any church.

I don't believe a union needs to be acknowledged by a government.

Gone are the days when such a union meant protecting and/or receiving property. Gone are the days when a partner was considered chattel (thank all the gods).

A couple of weeks ago a friend of Steve's was over. They were working on a project until the wee hours of the morning. As midnight approached and I wandered through the living room, the friend looked at me and said, "I'm sorry for taking your husband away from you for the evening... I mean... your.. uh... your boyfriend... uh... your man... Shit. I'm sorry." I had to laugh. Steve and I chuckled over the moment and his buddy's discomfort the next day. I said, to me it doesn't matter what the titles are - if two people are together, then they're together.

Still, I search for an adequate way to define him as "my man." I don't like the use of partner (for straight or gay purposes) because it sounds too cold, like a business relationship. I don't like boyfriend, girlfriend because that makes it sound like I should have some yarn wrapped around his class ring so it fits on my finger. I tend to use mate, but only because it's the closest I can come to something that works for me, something that catches the primeval thing within each of us that binds us together. We're mated. For life. Still, "mate" makes it sound as though we're swinging from the chandeliers having wild jungle sex. Not that I'm opposed or disinclined. Also, "mate" in certain cultures simply refers to someone as a friend, and he's far more than my friend. Lover? Sounds as though we're sneaking off to motels during the day... again, not opposed or disinclined. But... *sigh*

What was the question?

Sure, let 'em get married if that's what they want. Why the hell not? Are they going to be any more or less together either way? No. And if they've found love and they want an official binding of that love, groovy. I'll dance at the wedding and eat the cake, hypocrite that I am. Because the whole time I'll be thinking they could have skipped all the bourgeois crapola, gone to Cabo instead, held hands and kissed on the beach, and kept it at, "I love you. You love me. Let's be us. Always." Done deal.

Monday, October 25, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Seventeen

Day Seventeen - A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

Nuh uh. No way. Here's where I'm breaking the rules. I refuse to name just one book. I just can't do it. I won't. You can't make me.

I mean, c'mon... I'm a writer. Any writer worth a flake of sea salt reads. A lot.

I will limit myself to the four greatest literary influences in my life (and, trust me, there are several others), although two of them will be listed as authors, since it is the quality of their work that speaks to me rather than a single volume of theirs (although I do have my favorites). And you can just deal with that you... you... you wretched 30 Unforgiving and Relentless Days of Painful Truth Gods!

Okay then. We've established that I'm a word freak. Recently a friend was chiding me giving me shit about my larger than average vocabulary (I never think of it that way, it's just me talkin', y'know?). I said, "I just like words. I collect them the way you collect boogers under your desk."

It was Lewis Carroll who taught me that words don't just have meaning, they have flavor. He proved that a word doesn't even have to be "real" in order to be understood, and felt, and well, savored, damn it! He proved that with is well known work Jabberwocky (here). From the beginning, "'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves did gimble and gyre in the wabe..." It's completely open to interpretation, to whatever the reader wants to feel. That, my friends, is great writing. In my opinion, it's the greatest... if you can take gibberish and make someone feel something? Whew. You've arrived.

Next comes a book called Fair and Tender Ladies by Lee Smith. I've written about this particular book before (here). I won't go into huge detail about the book because you can follow that link and read more about it - when you're done reading this. Of course. I re-read this book about once a year. I find that I get in a certain mood, usually in the Spring, and the only thing that will touch it is reconnecting with Ivy Rowe. Lee Smith taught me, teaches me, with this book. She's taught me that a good story doesn't have to be absolutely grammatically correct, that all the big words in the universe don't mean shit if you haven't got something to say. She taught me to write my own story as if it was a series of letters to people, and that makes writing so much easier for me, because that is my inherent style. I write the way I talk (only I write much better and have the benefit of editing and deleting). She showed me my literary voice. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I revisit this book so often... it's the echo.

Stephen King, most importantly, taught me that we are the greatest monsters. He also taught me that if you can build a character in such a way that the reader feels like he or she has shook hands with that character, you've done a damned good job - even if that character is someone you come to loathe. I don't often remember the names of characters in books like I do with his, and it's because I feel like I've met them. He taught me to be interested in people, in their reactions to things, in the psychology behind their reactions. He taught me to be mindful of the everyday monsters and quit worrying about the bumps in the night. In terms of my own writing, he taught me that a good story is really a series of little stories.

Amy Tan taught me that my own story, including the stories passed to me by my ancestors, was worth telling. She taught me how to paint word scenery, to give texture and scent to phrases. Any time I read an Amy Tan story (if you're not familiar... Joy Luck Club, Bonesetter's Daughter, Saving Fish From Drowning), I end up wishing I was Chinese. And there's not a drop of Chinese in me, except for maybe some truly ancient, pre-Hun nomadic Mongol microscopic bit of fuzz left over somewhere. However, I think I would feel the same way if she was Brazilian and wrote about her Brazilian heritage. It's just the way she writes, as if she's telling family about the other members of the family - where she went and who she visited last week. It's as if she lets the story do all the talking and just adds an embellishment or two along the way. Although I know it's not true, her books read as though they were effortless to write. It's like finding a cozy seat in a stranger's house.

All of these changed my view on words, on how they're composed, on how they feel and taste, on how a single word wisely chosen can mean more than an entire sentence.

And then there was Sandburg....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday Scribbles: In Early June

Some Lies

In Early June

In the stoned murmur
of something
rushing through the
blood-dark sea,
there is the lost
hush of a wave
in your sigh
and a needful tide
in your command.
You fuck
the way I think--
rampant invasion
and wild aggression,
chaotic meter,
and measure gone
in an attempt to release
random longing.
You said,
“you are fucking unreal”
--as if I’d
as you came,
my existence
fueled only
by your thrust.
All curled toes
and screaming greed,
I taloned your back
to let you know
I was not gone,
nor would be going
or at all.

© Barbara Ann Black, 2010-2011

Friday, October 22, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Sixteen

Day Sixteen - Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Hell... here's 16 of 'em. Have a day.

  • I could live without friends battling and dying of cancer.
  • I could live without news reports of horrible things that happen in the world.
  • I could live without television.
  • I could live without fast food places.
  • I could live without all the hatred and anger and fear in the world.
  • I could live without young women thinking their bodies are horrible because they don't look like some airbrushed phony in a magazine.
  • I could live without anyone mistreating a child in any way.
  • I could live without people who constantly feel sorry for themselves rather than getting off their self-pitying asses and doing something for someone else.
  • I could live without politicians and political agendas.
  • I could live without backbiting, backstabbing, manipulative, duplicitous, self-centered, egotistical assholes.
  • I could live without Doomsday predictions. We're all dying every day. Get over it.
  • I could live without prejudice and intolerance.
  • I could live without okra and passion fruit. Why would anyone eat stuff that feels like snot or smells like cat piss?
  • I could live without pessimism, apathy, and indifference.
  • I could live without people equating a formal education with intelligence.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Fifteen

Day Fifteen - Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

Easy. So easy you could probably read my mind and save me all this vainglorious typing.

What am I all about? C'mon... you can do it.

Food, air, water? Oh, puh-leeze.
Shelter? You're not even looking, are you?
Money? You're just trying to make me laugh.

Quit wasting time.

Coffee? I'd feel sorry for the rest of the world, but no.
Books? Nah... sad thought, but I'd hang.
Chocolate? Happens more often than you'd think.

Dig a little.

Art? No.
Music? Nuh uh.
Writing? Nope.

Dig deeper.

Friends? Mm mmm.
Family? Nah.
Steve? Oh, you think you're being so clever. Beware the obvious. Though it would be indescribably painful, the answer is still no.

Dig deeper still... here's a hint... think intangible.

Dreams? Ahhhh... now you're getting warmer.
Creativity? Close, so much closer.

C'mon. What's the word... I can see it right there on the tip of your tongue. Just say it.



Passion. That's it. That's the thing I can't live without. Sure, I can exist without it, but I can't live without it.

Passion: a powerful and compelling emotion or feeling (love or anger); a strong enthusiasm or desire for anything or anyone.

Don't leave home, or stay home, without it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Fourteen

Day Fourteen - A hero that has let you down. (letter)

Dear Fear,

What a piece of work you turned out to be. All those years I put everything into our relationship. I sweated for you, I worked hard for you. I would have died for you. You kept telling me to stick with you, to believe in you, believe in what we had together.

Yeah? You're a piece of shit. You never gave me anything in return. With you it was nothing but heartache and unfulfilled dreams. Sure I felt safe with you, but that's only because we never went anywhere.

Everything I had, and had to give, was yours. And you took it all too... so selfishly. Yeah, you took it all and twisted it around and made it ugly. Bastard.

Well, guess what... I can be just as sneaky and conniving as you. All that time we were together? I held back just a little. Just enough. I hung on to some of those dreams - kept them tucked away in a secret place. I hid them so well that even I almost forgot they were there.

Oh, and I was seeing others behind your back. I never did give up on my friendship with Hope, even though you tried to keep us from talking. I kept in touch with Love, Desire and Passion.

Your downfall was when you tried to break my spirit. You thought you could simply knock me off of a shelf and have done with it. I'd be completely yours. You were so wrong. What an idiot.

My spirit was far more resilient than you'd anticipated, wasn't it? My dreams were safe from you. Face it, you played your cards, dealt your biggest hand, and you lost. Asshole.

Now get lost. I don't need you in my life any more. We're done. Get that? Don't come around.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Thirteen

Day Thirteen - A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter)

This is a tough one.

There are so many people I could (and should) write letters too. Of course, Clapton is at the top of the list. Then there are all the basement and garage musicians, the unsung heroes if you will. And how far back in history do I go? I mean, do I thank Chopin for writing the stuff, or do I thank Van Cliburn for playing it so well? Or shall I give Pavarotti a verbal hug that just as well belongs to Mozart?

Perhaps I should thank the lady who wrote the Happy Birthday song, or the bloke that penned For He's a Jolly Good Fellow.

I could send verbal hugs to Irving Berlin, or Aaron Copeland, or Scott Joplin, or John Phillips Sousa, or Billy Eckstein.

Maybe I should thank Toscanini, or Stokowski, or Mancini, or Fiedler.

I should thank Rodgers & Hammerstein, or Rodgers & Hart, or Monsieurs Laurents, Bernstein, Sondheim, Schönberg, Boublil, and Webber.

If I did write a letter to Clapton, is it just to him? Or to Derek and the Dominos? Or to Cream? Or to all the blues greats who influenced his style? And the greats who influenced them?

See, the thing is, music is the blood that runs through my veins. To thank any one musician would be like claiming one single dish gave me the entire sustenance of my life.

I can't do that.

I won't do that.

"Nobody can tell ya there's only one song worth singin'..."

Monday, October 18, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Twelve

Day Twelve - Something you never get compliments on.

Hah! Um. Sorry, but the topic is just making me laugh. So, okay. I'm ready for a good laugh... especially after 11 days of soul spelunking in this friggin' emotional 30 Day Roller Coaster Ride. Christ in a sidecar... enough already!

This reminds me of an incident a couple of decades ago. While my Mom was visiting me in Maryland she went out for a walk. Upon her return, she looked a little shook up. Concerned, I asked, "How was your walk, Mom?" "Oh... well... it was okay." "Really? You look a little upset..." "Well, as I was walking, a woman approached me from the opposite direction. I smiled at her like I do with everyone when I'm out. She got within a couple of feet of me and gave me a nasty look. Then she said, 'You've got skinny arms, lady! Skinny, ugly arms!' I just... I'm... I didn't think my arms were so bad..."

Oh! And another time. Someone once told me that I reminded him "of his cousin who died. In a good way." I've never bothered to parse that one out.

Something I never get compliments on. Too easy. I thought this was supposed to be a challenge. How about twelve somethings? One for each day of Day Twelve. Why not?! The Twelve Days of Somethings. Woo. That'll be quite enough caffeine for you, Barbara Ann!

Twelve Somethings I Never Get Compliments On
How To Be As Sarcastic As Barb In 12 Easy Lessons:

1) My ass. I mean. C'mon. Like Rudolph's red nose, it's going to take an extreme circumstance. Songs will be written, movies will be made.

2) My moments of indecision. Can't someone just once say, "I love it when you can't make up your fuckin' mind! Do it again!"

3) I never hear, "Damn, woman! That is one righteous chin hair!" No. Instead you've got to absentmindedly do this niggly wiggly thing at your own chin while staring at mine. Okay. So I'm not a consistent plucker. Truth is, those little pluckees are sneaky.

4) "I know you don't get these mood swings often, but when you do, it is awesome to see! Watching you go from happy to pissed in 5 seconds flat is just cool!"

5) "You're an atheist? How absolutely admirable! You go, Girl!!!"

6) "Thank you for making me feel guilty. I'm so pleased you did that."

7) "Sweetheart, I love that you're such a somnambulantly amped monkey. I adore you all the time, but particularly when you manage to toss all the covers off of me during your middle of the night frenzies. Really, My Love, there is nothing that endears you to me more than when I wake up freezing my ass off."

8) This is not going to happen. Ever. "I love how artfully you've arranged all the dust in your house! It so finely coats everything. Just beautiful."

9) "Clearly menopause has done wonderful things for you, Barb. Bravo!"

10) "I love, love, LOVE your snoring! It completely drowns out the incessant, obnoxious noise of the leaves rustling on the breeze. And jets."

11) "Hey, I've got an idea! Let's watch a musical together! There's nothing so heartwarming and lovely as you singing along to... every... single... song."

12) "That's not part of a Hobbit costume for Halloween? Those really are your feet?! How cool is that?! Damn. I'm jealous."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Scribbles: Two Separate Thoughts

Two Separate Thoughts

You've bowed your head,
bent your knee,
folded your hands,
and asked for a miracle.
Your own prayer is the miracle.
Bow your head, bend your knee,
clasp your hands -
be conscious enough
to hope for something better.
What else, in God's name,
what else could you possibly want?


You own the sadness.
It's all yours.
It is the worn out
pair of sneakers
you just can't
bring yourself to give up.
You go with what's comfortable,
what you're used to.
Sorrow has it's charms
in the cracked leather
and worn canvas
that lets you know
you've been somewhere;
lets you know
you're still alive.

© Barbara Ann Black, 2010-2011

Friday, October 15, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Eleven

Day Eleven - Something people seem to compliment you the most on.

Physically... eyes. Of course. We've been there. Thank you, I was born with them, no they're not contacts, got 'em from a guy named Harold... blah blah blah, yadda yadda.

Compliments. I've never received so many compliments as I have since I started this blog. I get compliments all the time on my wordsmithing abilities. I also occasionally get derided for my "over use" of "big" words. So, I have a vocabulary. Big whoopee do. If you have steak and lobster in the fridge to you eat cereal for dinner? If you have access to freshly brewed, French pressed fine Colombian (beans, that is... Black's gold... Magic Mud), do you ask for a cup of Sanka?! Words are a type of food for me, and I likes the meaty, juicy ones. Still, thank you either way. Whether you adore or abhor my polysyllabic rumblings, at least you've paid attention. (Yay, Me! Yay, External Validation!)

What has astounded me, in terms of receiving compliments, isn't so much that I get them for my literary prowess (insert polite cough here). What truly astounds me is that I get complimented for my openness and honesty, for my (seeming) ability to stand naked in the town square and let anyone and everyone take a good long look. Thank you for that too.


And I'm not sayin' you should stop the compliments comin'... I love 'em.


In so many ways, complimenting me on my openness is like complimenting me on my eyes, because I don't know any other way to do this. In all selfishness, I do this for me more than anyone else. I do this because I need to get it out and figure it out.


Thank you.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Ten

Day Ten - Someone you need to let go of, or wish you didn’t know.

There are people I don't like. Those people don't last long in my life, so I've already let go. But do I wish I didn't know them? No. Everyone has an impact along this wondrous path I travel. Without thorns the blackberries wouldn't seem as sweet, I'm sure.

Even so, I have no patience for bullshit. People who exhibit bullshitter tendencies (this includes manipulators, duplicitous bastards, whiners, prima donnas, phonies and poseurs) are not part of my circle. Either I call them out or they leave of their own embarrassment.

However, concerning those who have ever been part of my circle... can we really let go of anyone? I mean, simply let go? Lives intertwine. It's easier to untie the Gordian Knot.

As long as my head is attached to my shoulders, I'll likely be prone to the reruns that flicker on my mental movie screen.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Nine

First of all, a Happy Birthday shout out to Becky (Thinking Too Hard) who got me into this fine 30-day mess!

Day Nine - Someone you didn’t want to let go of, but just drifted.

The answer is... me. I let Barb Black drift for a very long time. I let her get lost in the shuffle, let her meander away nearly to oblivion. She didn't even complain. She didn't say a word. Didn't raise a fuss at all.

I buried her in layers of fat and apathy. I pushed her under with a finely honed, self-deprecating sense of humor. I made everything else and everyone else in my life more important than she was. So she went into hiding.

I didn't even realize what I was doing.

But I missed her when she was gone.

She was so far gone that I didn't even realize who or what I was missing.


Until she finally fought back. Until she came charging out of the deep dark woods, gypsy soul still firmly intact. Until she slapped me hard across the face and said, "What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Until she said, "You were always important to me."

I cried that day. I cried over the years we'd lost together. I cried over the years she had lost with everyone else. I mourned the could-have-beens.

You see, letting her drift, letting her go... it was all my fault, my greatest sin.


We've found each other again. We've married and no one and nothing shall put that asunder. Not even me.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Eight

Day Eight - Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

*heavy sigh*

It was such a small, but such a defining moment, in a very brief affair. However, this was the one moment in my life when I had instant recognition of "that's wrong, so wrong," when I was completely taken aback with that Are-you-fuckin'-kiddin'-me?! feeling. I've never been so disappointed in anyone in my entire life, and it was over such a seemingly insignificant little thing. I mean, if my life was a movie, this scene is so boring that it would probably end up on the cutting room floor.

But. It was significant to me.

So, to set up this clip...

I was still grieving, heavily, over John's death. However, I needed to be touched. I needed sex, okay? Okay. (Let's just get that out of the way.) We were two consenting adults. He was available in a way that didn't require commitment, which was great since that was the last thing I wanted at the time. We were friends. He understood, (I thought) to some measure at least, the impact of what I was going through.

One afternoon after a somewhat mechanical sexual episode, I fell apart. I wept and wept hard. He held me as if I was a small breakable child. I couldn't believe how kind he was - my lover comforting me while I cried over the loss of a man I loved. Then, suddenly, he was on his knees in front of my face, naked, indicating that I service him orally, with a slight clearing of his throat and the line, "A little assistance, please."

I declined. Forever. That ended the affair.

We argued back and forth for a month or so after that (he kept insisting that I owed him an apology), but I never slept with him again. That moment made him completely ugly to me. Dead, rotted, maggoty ugly. Like that.

But it proved one thing to me. Even in grief, I know what I am. And what I am not.

Monday, October 11, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Seven

Day Seven - Someone who has made your life worth living for.

I loved Thinking Too Hard's response to this one (here): I am all I have. Always been that way, and always will be. I loved it because that was my initial reaction!

And it's true. I could give you a whole list of heroes in my life, of people who've been there for me, who've made a difference, who've nurtured and mentored me, who've saved my butt when the wolves came gnawing.

But when the sandpaper hits my skin, I stand alone. Usually by choice. I deal with things better when I don't have to worry about how my emotion is going to impact others.

My dear friend Timothy likes to say (and some of you have seen it before on this blog), "No one can make you feel anything." It's one of the Great Truths that I adhere to.

My life is worth living because I choose to live it, because I embrace everything - good and bad - that comes my way. I'm the one who, rather than seeking shelter, stubbornly rides out the storm, clinging to a tree for dear life when the hurricane hits.

I made my life worth living because I accepted that I am worthy of life. Ostentatious, a bit... maybe. But I'm convinced that until we learn to love ourselves we're lost.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday Scribbles: Holding On To The Intangible

Holding On To The Intangible

all day you've been
knocking at my door
c'mon in then
Baby, pour me
another morning
of fire-drenched leaves
and coffee perfume
rata-tat rain on the roof
and steamed windows
murmurs that rumble thunder
and flash lightning
like juice from a pear
and silk to the touch
thumb strumming
the length of my jaw
and yanking my tether
laughing as I flew

all day
I've been swimming in reality
but dancing with you and
holding on to the intangible
Sweet Jesus, Baby,
pour me another like that

© Barbara Ann Black, 2010-2011

Friday, October 8, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Six

Day Six - Something you hope you never have to do.

This is a tough one. Most of the things I hoped I'd never have to do I've already had to do. I won't give you that particular laundry list. If you know me at all, you know I've been through some shit.

I could take the cheesy way out and say that I hope I never have to say goodbye to Steve. Of course that's what I hope I never have to do! But that logical bitch that takes up so much of my brain says, "It is inexorably, inevitably and immovably coming your way." C'est la friggin' vie. *heavy sigh*

When I woke up today, and I mean, when I very first woke up today, I swiped the sleep goo from my eyes. Still snugged under blankets and squished into pillows, I stared through the slats of the blinds at the hint of dawn in the sky. My immediate thought (and I should be given coffee before I wake up if I'm going to wake up with thoughts as big as this) was, "Please don't let there come a day when I can't open my eyes and see."

I hope I never have to experience life without my eyesight. I hope I never have to find out what it feels like to not see the sun turn the mountains pink as it makes its way over the horizon. I hope I never have to miss out on the wonder of watching a single brilliantly gold leaf float on the current of the wind.

I hope I never have to merely imagine the look of love in Steve's eyes. Because that look? Oh boy. It spins my world. It's full of magic and wonder and love so deep that I just want to drown in it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Five

Day Five - Something you hope to do in your life.

I can't say it any better than Tim McGraw said it...

"And he said
Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dyin'."
~Live Like You Were Dyin', Tim McGraw

I try to face each day as though it's my last. I don't always accomplish that, but at the end of any day I can say that I'm pretty much satisfied. Through some harsh lessons, I've learned how fragile life is. I'm not afraid of that, but I'm not lookin' forward to it either. I've determined the best I can do is happiness - mine and those I love.

"Have you found joy in your life?"
"Has your life brought joy to others?"
~The Bucket List

Oh, I have. And oh, I do hope so.

Because anything else I want out of life? Anything else is just a plan.

Living is about finding joy in each breath.

~Live Like You Were Dyin', Tim McGraw
(with clips from The Bucket List)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Four

Day Four - Something you have to forgive someone for.

I really had to think hard about this one. I'm a very forgiving soul. I've done enough soul-spelunking and personal growth crapola to have forgiven pretty much anyone that I feel has ever done me any wrong. Most of the time it wasn't so much that they had done wrong, but that I had expected too much out of them.


He shall be nameless for the purposes of this post. Those who know me will know of whom I speak.

I could forgive him for not treating me with respect. That I have forgiven. I could forgive him for not taking care of what was valuable to me after he promised to do so. That I have forgiven. I could forgive him for causing harm to my animals (that one was hard though). That I have forgiven. I could forgive him for taking money that was supposed to go toward paying rent and instead putting it toward his party purposes, thereby leaving me facing homelessness. That I have forgiven. I could even forgive him for fucking another woman in my bed. That I have forgiven. I have forgiven his gluttony, his slothfulness, his addictive behavior(s), and his rapacious ways.

What I haven't been able to forgive... is his indifference and apathy and lack of personal responsibility and accountability. What I haven't been able to forgive is that he doesn't believe in apology of any kind. He doesn't feel the need to ask for any forgiveness. He doesn't see any wrong. He doesn't recognize any harm resulting from his actions. He flat out doesn't give a shit.

So, it's been over a year and a half and I still need to forgive him for being a phlegmatically disregarding, callously indifferent Piece of Shit.

Fortunately I forgave myself (long ago) for accepting it and putting up with his sorry ass as long as I did.

But to forgive him his indifference. Oy. I concentrate on the karma in which I so firmly believe. It will, all of it, come back to bite him. In light of that, I already feel sorry for him. No, I pity him. He's got a sizable shit storm headed his way once the Universe turns the fan in his direction.

In light of that. I am letting it go. I am stepping out of the way and allowing good ol' universal karma to do its best.

I forgive him. Completely.

But I still don't like him. Not one bit.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Three

Day Three - Something you have to forgive yourself for.

Ouch. Do I have to do this?

I've forgiven myself for so much already.


Okay. Okay. Okay.

I forgive myself for expecting myself to be perfect even though I know there's not a snowball's chance in Hell of that ever happening. I didn't realize how often I put myself through that particular ringer until the other day when I read Dan Pearce's post on Single Dad Laughing: The Disease Called "Perfection".

I forgive myself for not being perfect, but more for expecting myself to be perfect. My understanding of forgiveness is that once it is given, the matter is left behind, buried and done.

I am not perfect and that's okay. I forgive myself for that. In light of part of Dan's post, here is my "wake-up call" list:

I am not the only one who eats too much, who doesn't always take care of herself.
I am not the only one who gets tempermental and snaps instead of taking a deep breath first.
I am not the only one who has ever done anything wrong.
I am not the only one who has allowed myself to be victimized.
I am not the only one who has ever resented someone for dying because it left me with such a huge pocket of grief.
I am not the only one who finds it impossible to believe in God.
I am not the only one to ever feel completely worthless.
I am not the only one to ever break somebody's heart.
I am not the only one who gets down, gets emotional, and feels the need to hide it from everybody.

Most importantly. I'm not the only one who just wants to be loved.

I forgive myself for wanting to be loved.

That's it. I've just figured it out right here in front of all of you.

At the crux of everything else, everything I've ever done, all the imperfect perfection and relentlessness...

I simply want to be loved.

I forgive myself that.

Because I am loved.

(27 more days of this, huh? Oy vey.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day Two

Day Two - Something you love about yourself.

This one is not so difficult.

I could say that I love my eyes. They're always good for some external validation. I always get compliments. Some people can't believe they're really that blue and, in fact, I've been asked if I wear colored contacts. But, I was born with my eyes. I really can't take credit for them.

What I really love about myself is that I'm a passionate person. I always have been whether it came out in writing, piano playing, sewing, cooking, art, making love, anything. I love taking the intangible and turning it into something tangible. I love that I can do that - that I can take my passion and make it a reality for others in my life.

What astounds me is that I spent so many years repressing that very passion - I spent so many years being afraid to nurture it, much less share it. Yes, astounded, because I'll tell you what... now that I've unleashed it, it has been such a great joy to watch it grow and blossom. It flat out feels good.

That passion allows me and affords me the freedom to search myself, to be me, and to share me. I love that.

That passion allows me to be undaunted and stubborn, albeit at times a little obliviously so, when it comes to doing the things I love.

When I was younger, I was raised with the too-much-passion-is-not-a-good-thing ideal. There was this implied fear of losing your mind in the process of losing yourself to passion. "Feeling too much" was discouraged along with sharing those feelings in any form. Quiet acceptance and a smile were the cornerstones upon which my life was built.

What changed that? People dying too young. People dying without fully living or at least, living the way they wanted to, living their dreams. After John died, in doing some soul spelunking as to what my promise to him meant that I would "live my life well," I realized that the only way I could do that was to let my passion fly. After all, how could I live well if I was denying one of the biggest parts of me, and (I now believe) one of my greatest assets?

This blog helped a lot. I could be as passionate as I wanted. I could say, "Hey People. This is who I am. Like it or go pound sand." Just writing it made me more bold in "real life." I realized that if I could write about it, I could embody it, I could be it. Part of that was somewhat shame-based. I thought, "Here I am scribbling out my so-called true feelings and being this feisty gypsy entity. What if someone meets me out there in the world and realizes that I'm all writing and bullshit? Where's the honesty in that and how is that possibly living well?!" So I became the passionate person that was hiding inside me. And I love it.

I love that I'm a passionate person.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Saturday Scribbles: To Taste

You didn't really think I was going to give up Scribbles Saturdays just to do the 30 Days of Truth gig, did you?!

To Taste

it might be
kids growing weed-like to manhood
or wanting to be with you
time trickles elusively
I try to hold on
it drips
honey from my hands
yawning to the ground
washed away in the rain
oh, to lick
each precious bit
from my fingers
suck its sweetness
until I am sick with it
sticky with it
wanting all of you at once
not satisfied
with delicious spoonfuls
shining gems
the jar tips again
my days
pour unremarked
I reach
to catch a taste
of lazy afternoon in your arms

© Barbara Ann Black, 2010-2011

Friday, October 1, 2010

30 Days of Truth: Day One

Day One - Something you hate about yourself.

Easy. Easy to pick that one thing, difficult to change it.

I hate that I'm fat. I've always been fat, or chubby, or overweight, or whatever term you want to use. Me? I call it like it is. I'm fat.

I have, at various times in my life, worked on changing that. I've even been moderately successful a couple of times. But here I am. Fat.

I'm not whining about that. So hear me out before you get indignant and self-righteous and holler, "Well, get off the damn computer, start moving, and quit eating so fucking much!" Hear me out. Please. I also don't need advice. Trust me. After nearly 49 years of being fat, I've practically got a degree in nutrition. It's not that I don't know better, it's a matter of implementing.

I'm self-confident. I don't hate being fat because I worry what others will think. I'm smart enough and adult enough to understand that we all have an addiction, we all have a downfall. For us fatties, our addiction and issues are merely more visible than those of others. I'm not lazy or sloppy or smelly. I'm just fat.

Part of the problem for me is that I can't just give up eating. I can give up anything. I have that kind of will power. If I could just walk away from food forever, there wouldn't be any issue.

I'm not an emotional eater. Although there was a time when, I believe, I used fat as a way to hide from the world. "If I'm hideous no one will love me, thereby proving my stance that I am unlovable, thereby making success at hiding from the world that much easier." These days I eat simply because I love to eat. I love flavors and textures. I know. I know. I could just as easily get that flavor and texture pleasure from a salad as a bowl of nut-filled ice cream. But, oh... that ice cream. You see how it is. My hedonistic Scorpio self takes over and goes for the ultimate pleasure.

I hate this fatness because I know it is destructive. It's absolutely unhealthy. I hate it because I know it is counter-intuitive to everything I want from my life and everything I feel about life. I hate it because I know it's wrong and I allow myself to stay stuck anyway.

Well. No more. It changes today. Beginning the first of every month, my posts will be about weight loss and goals and where I hang (or plop) in the balance. Enough said.