Monday, May 9, 2011

All Together Now

I should have known better. The other day I went trolling for blog topics. My friend Angela said, "You need to do a review, like a re-cap Blog post. I just joined your blog and I don’t want to go back and read all your past stuff so do a “for you who are just joining us” post."

That's like describing the history of the world: Time began, some shit happened, to be continued...

I mean... how the hell do I do that?! Today marks my 800th post. Huzzah!

Oy. Okay. For those of you who are just joining me...

I started this blog three and a half years ago under duress. Basically, I caved to peer pressure. The day I chose to start it, I was under the influence of hives and benadryl and desperate to do anything that would take my mind off of the maddening itch. Even so, I had this underlying hunch that it might be a good outlet for dealing with feelings I had after losing my late mate, John, to cancer. After all, it was only going to be read by a few close friends and family, and it was a good way of keeping them up to speed with my progress as a "widow."

It soon became apparent to me that I was writing my way out of a quagmire of emotion, that every time I wrote I was reaching toward something. And that stretch was helping me grow, was helping me become unstuck from what could just as easily overwhelm me. I wasn't an artist then, not really, not mentally. I thought I might just grow up to be a writer. I remembered something I'd read about writers and writing, it may have been something Stephen King said. It was something to the affect of how even the most far-fetched writing should be honest, should have elements of honesty in it.

I made it my goal to write with complete honesty. Besides, if I was going to use writing to get through my soul gunk, then it had to be honest. Right? Of course right. So I wrote about everything that hit me in any way. I realized that it wasn't just John's death that I needed to deal with, but all of me, everything I felt inside. If I was going to rebirth myself, if I was going to find the path, then I needed to hack away all of the briers. Added to that, my inner (feisty) gypsy had had quite enough of everyone's bullshit, including my own.

Somehow, somewhere along the way, people started following my blog. People I didn't know. I hope I never stop being amazed by that. I hope I never lose the feeling of, "Why? It's just me writing..." But all that writing opened me up, and for some reason people identified (identify) with it. I think the lack of sugar-coating and pussy-footing was a refreshing change.

But, the synopsis. I started by writing about itching. Along the way I wrote about anger, death, grief, sex, cheese, stew, Hungary and Hungarians, books, music, pie, humor, external validation, childhood, words, biscuits, passion, Maori, inspiration, fear, Santa Claus, languages, the journey, friends, strength, walking, dreams, laughter, art, family, travel, self-doubt, relationships, moving, love, animals, movies, nature, and being locked out on the deck. Not in that order.

How do I summate all that?! Five words: Bienvenido a mi vida loca.

It would be easy to storyboard my days, I lost a mate. I worked a going nowhere career. I got involved in a relationship that I knew would never work - and that was okay with me because the occasional sex was worth it. When the sex wasn't worth it, I ditched the asswipe. I met Steve, I fell head-over-heals truly, madly, deeply in love with him, as I still am. I now work as an artist.

But that storyboard doesn't capture the nuance.

Somewhere along the way, somehow in all that openness of writing it all out, an artist emerged. That artist wasn't born in a shuddering heap that took forever to get legs under it, it was a newborn colt, ready to leap and run at the first rush of fresh air. I was only waiting for my own permission to hold a paintbrush. It was part of the No Bullshit Policy in some way - that need to express everything I felt, through any means necessary, no holds barred.

You could say that although my life began in 1961, I didn't begin actively living my life until 2007.

So, for those of you who are just joining me... Some shit happened, time stopped, then time began again, then some other shit happened, and I wrote about it...

to be continued...


  1. Barb you are the light that lights the light that lights the light.

    And that is one mother of a light you lit for us your readers to get to know you better.

    All my love, Angela

  2. Barb, when one reads your words, the words disappear and one finds themselves sitting with you across a table, a table of clear glass shiny in places with reflected light and smudged in places with the rings of old coffee cups long removed and tossed in bins waiting to be washed, a table chipped with jagged edges dangerous to touch but touched all the same, the experience of pain somehow healing, a table taking light and folding it into itself and thrusting it back out again in prisims of brilliant color.... sitting across your table, Barb, is electric. (Melina Clara McCombs, Facebook)

  3. Hmmmmm.....soul sista. Just another piece of weird coincidence. You are my age. I didn't know that. Wondering how two crazy bitches such as ourselves are gonna celebrate THAT milestone?

  4. All of the above and more. What a great post ! I felt I was reading my own life story in some ways...different names...different ailments...different continents yet so much the same. Love your work Barb - keep on keeping on

  5. Barb- I thank you so much for this re-cap. I have been drawn to your writing ever since I stumbled on your site a week or so ago. I do not folllow blogs. I read them once or twice, and never go back. Yours is the exception. I feel like you have paved a way for me. You have been where I may (or hope) to go. You give me a sense of hope and possibility that has not had a chance to sprout inside me.

    I, too, have tried to be honest in my writing and at times, I feel like I am doing major therapy. It is hard to put yourself out there, but it is so healing.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I have a term that I use and it is called, "Living In Realness." You are a shining example of that. Your writing and your story makes me want to keep being real, which allows not only others to look inside, but it allows me to finally take a look inside.


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