Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 30 - part 2 - Dear Mary

It's 11:07pm and I'm in my hotel room in D.C., Springfield really. The flight was easy and I slept through a lot of it. Even managed to get a lot of work done. The event at the church tonight was uplifting. So uplifting. Every time I work with them I am so inspired. Renewed. I work with an organization called WomanPreach as the artist in residence. Did I tell you that already? Anyway, tonight Catherine lead the ice break session and even from the beginning I had chill bumps. The women went around in a circle and talked about the social justice issues they were passionate about. These women, these amazing, powerful, passionate women. I should have written all of them down to tell about each one. I didn't though.

Well, Mary, I started these letters to you thirty days ago for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and today is officially the last day. I'm glad to say I completed it. I had more to say on some days then I did on others but I did finish. This was my first one. I look forward to doing it next year. I also look forward to April of next year for National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). I learned some things about you. The most fascinating I guess is that your birthday is today! What a coincidence! Not that I believe in coincidences. But you know. I will write you more. Perhaps not every day, but today will not be the last day. I do love you. Even though we never met (really). Even though I have never known the sound of your voice (really). Even though there are questions I may never have answers to. All of that is ok. I do love you and I'm glad we got to spend this time together. So glad. I hope you got to know me more too.

It's 11:23 now and I'm quite tired from the day, the flight, the early morning, just tired and I must be up early in the morning. I'm going to go to bed now. Thank you again. For everything.

Before I leave I want to share something interesting I am experiencing. Basically, I'm experiencing normal and easy. Before it was a feeling I used to scare away. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Like I couldn't possibly have a moment of my life when it wasn't stress and crazy. And by normal and easy I don't mean easy like I have no concerns. I do. I'm just getting better at recognizing and breathing through my triggers. My self talk is often and loud. Whatever I can do to keep me feeling even.

I'm sleepy. Very sleepy. I know it's the last day of NaNoWriMo but let's talk later, ok? Take care, Mary. Take care.

NaNoWriMo - Day 30 - Dear Mary

It's 6:25am and I am at the Los Angeles International Airport. I'm headed to Washington, D.C. to perform at a WomanPreach event. I am so thankful for poetry. I do enjoy traveling and I probably wouldn't be able to afford to travel as much as I do if I weren't traveling for shows. I am thankful that there are people who enjoy my work enough to fly me across the country to perform. God is good. I'll only be gone for the weekend which is good because I have some events I need to be back in L.A. for. I'm happy this morning. Not even because of circumstances, I just am. I am majorly in love with Love. All of our moments together are such blessings to me. Yesterday I read a blogpost by a woman I know online. She said everything I wanted to say and all that I feel. Her name is Carla and I can't quote her exactly right now but what I got from her was basically, in a marriage, the beauty is that you have someone present for you to witness your life. The good, the bad, the mundane. And you get to be that for someone else. What an honor for someone to say with his words and actions, "I will witness you." And to look at him and say and be the same. A witness. Thank you so much for that, Carla. Love wakes up dark time early in the morning to make his lunch and get ready for the day. Sometimes I get up with him to watch him. To look at him dress and pour sala chips in a bag, heat water for his tea, slice banana for his oatmeal, put juice in his bag, breathe, I watch him be. Sometimes we talk. Sometimes I break the silence with an episode of Law and Order. Sometimes we just...are. Yesterday I read him Carla's blogpost. He loved it too. He is my witness and I get to be his. O Mary, you know how I go on.

In other exciting news, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARY! This is the day you were born! This day 75 (or is it 76? I'll have to figure it out) years ago, you came out of Grandmommy's womb and met your family. What an exciting time. I still don't know what I'm going to do for your day. Something private and special in my hotel room I suppose. What will you do today? How do you celebrate yourself? I am your witness, Mary. Your witness that you were here and your witness that you are here now. You are. You are here because I feel you and talk to you and will keep your memory alive, sweet aunt.

I just looked out of the window and noticed that it is very foggy outside. Send me love on this trip. It is amazing how these planes fly in the sky in perfect weather, how they do it in rain and fog is even more incredible.

My plane is boarding now. I will connect with you later. Happy birthday again. Enjoy your day!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 29 - Dear Mary

2:37pm. At work. I had an interesting conversation today. The topic was "imaginary radio" from an article a friend read, or conversation he had with another friend. The topic was to prompt us to imagine what works great artists would be producing if they were here and even better, what works would we hear from them if we could hear what they are producing now. Assuming, of course, that they are still producing. I believe they are. What would we hear from Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye? What stories are Octavia Butler telling now? Do you hear them? Is there a space where you are where you listen to music and dance and sing along? Do you sit at poet's feet and listen to their words and stories? Do you sing and tell stories yourself? Who listens to you? What do you sing about, write about? What pictures do you paint? How do you move when you dance? Is it possible for me to hear art from where you are? Can it only happen in my dreams, my imagination?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 28 - Dear Mary

It's 9:23pm and I am home with Love. It's quiet now, after dinner and I am enjoying a movie. Some silly movie about men plotting to kill their bosses. It's dumb, but I'm watching still. I will be up for a while tonight working on a writing project I have not made much headway on so far. Words. Art. Creating. That's what my night will be about.

Today was an easy day. My posts have been pretty dull lately, I know. I haven't been working too hard writing. This will shift. It always does. I just have to write through this phase. I am not the victim of it. I am bigger than this weak writing I've been doing. It will take energy though. But enough about me. Your birthday is in two days! How do you feel about that? Does that even matter to you? I told you that I will celebrate your birthday this year and I will. In my own way, I will. I haven't settled on what I will do, but something.

I'm happy right now. Really happy. Just because. I am appreciating this comfortable. This easy. This period of my life. It seems like things are always moving so fast. Always something to stress over or complain about. That or I'm over excited about something. I'm in such a different space in this season. I'm thankful for it. They say that the measure of the pendulum swing to the left is the measure to the right. I welcome that. I have been stressed and tired for so long I welcome a season of...not that.

It's 9:43 now and this movie staring at me is getting sillier and sillier by the minute and this writing project isn't going to happen magically. Before I go though I want to share how wonderful it was having dinner and watching a movie with Love tonight. I'm not usually home when he gets in but I was today. We sat and talked and found a good movie on television. Well, I liked it, he didn't. But we watched it together and talked and shared simple stories about our day. Just simple, regular, easy. I've waited so long for this. We've had our challenges this year but through all of it he has been there. Dependable, dedicated, friend. I have worked on letting go of negative stories and issues that have prevented me from moving forward in the way I wanted to. I have allowed myself to let pain surface and feel it. I didn't run. I stayed and talked through the feelings. I wrote and painted and took pictures. I did whatever I could. I was finally tired of carrying bags I was carrying. Tired of putting bandages over the bruises. I let them air out and breathe. Finally. I feel the difference in myself and in my relationship. I let my bags tell me lies and I believed them. I believed that I wasn't capable of being in a healthy romantic relationship. That I wasn't lovable. I know that's not true. I know I am lovable and very much worthy and deserving of a healthy romantic relationship. I know the journey isn't over. I am still healing. I'm in the process and I'm thankful for the lessons I've learned so far and know I have many more to go.

I love you, Mary, but I must get some other work done tonight before I get too sleepy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Because it’s too easy to talk about how good you are
Then you are in an elevator with a transgender man
And refuse to speak because you don’t approve of how she
Chooses to live her life
Or call him she

So what about your religion if
You can not give your time to mentor
A child or take care of your grandmother
And listen to her stories
The ones she tells over and over

Your money is nothing if it only feeds
Your self
Your poetry is a nuisance if each stanza
Serves to make you seem bigger than you are
All of your stories about you
You
You
So what so much about you

What about the old man down the street with no food and two jobs
The girl around the corner with cancer and no hair no friend
The dog with three legs
The apartment with broken windows

So what about your self
For at least a moment of the day

NaNoWriMo - Day 27 - Dear Mary

It's 3:00pm and I'm at work right now. I took my client for a walk today and thought about you. I wondered what it would be like to go for a walk with you and enjoy nature together. Wondered if you would have preferred warm sunny days or slight cool days with gray skies. Maybe it wouldn't matter to you at all and you would have just loved being outside no matter the weather.

My client loves to touch the trees and smell the flowers. Isn't that wonderful? I love walking with her and watching her reach out to embrace as much nature as she can. There is lesson and love and God in that. So much God.

Today is my kind of day. Cool, gray, Christmasy. Today as we were walking we came upon an elderly woman who was washing her car window and we stopped to talk with her. She was a gentle, short, Mexican woman who spoke to us in her best English. She told us that she came home from church last week to find her car stolen from right in front of her home. "My son bought me this one and it is ok. But I like my car. My old car. But this one is ok too." We will always have to adjust to change, Mary. We get to choose how to react to it. We get to appreciate what we had and adjust to what takes its place. That's life. It's not good or bad. It just is.

Imagine how your parents (my grandparents) felt feeling you move around inside Grandmommy's belly for nine months and finally giving birth to you, holding and kissing and loving on you for three days and then to have to adjust to you no longer being there. Imagine that. They are strong people, to have to live with that and keep going. I never want to know that kind of loss. Life is something, Mary. Something.

Monday, November 26, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 26 - Dear Mary

It's 8:35pm and I am at work. It's been a long but easy day and I have about four more hours to go before work is complete for the day. But then is work ever complete? Mary last night was splendid! It was the two year anniversary of my show, Red Stories. We had a wonderful time celebrating. Tamara Blue was the feature for the evening but I had a few other guests perform to open the show. I felt so much love last night. So much. Roshann, Reuben, Therman and John were there last night. I loved having family in the audience, although I also consider many of my friends family.

It's the Christmas season now. People have their homes decorated with lights and trees and other ornaments. Although I'm not one to decorate with holiday decorations, I enjoy seeing them as I drive along the street.

Today was therapy day. I was very tired this morning and didn't really want to get out of bed, but I did go. As usual, I'm glad I did. I shared about some shifts in my life that I will not be specific about here but I am riding the waves of the shift.

I don't have much I choose to say right now and I have a writing project to work on with a deadline coming up soon. There is always something to do. Always.

I plan to celebrate your birthday this year, Mary. Has anyone ever celebrated your birthday since you left? You ever hear or feel people sing or cheer for you? Counts your years or the years you've been gone? How would you like me to celebrate you this year. November 30. Perhaps I will light a candle for you or buy a cake. Maybe gather with family or write a letter to you. I haven't decided yet, but something. I hope you will feel it. I surely do.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 25 - Dear Mary

It's 7:14pm and I'm at Vibrations. It's the second anniversary of Red Stories tonight and I've been running all day and haven't stopped to write to you. I don't even have much time now. I am so thankful for all of the people here. The people, love, joy, words, all of it. We will talk later Mary. I will tell you all about it.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 24 - Dear Mary

6:19pm and I am at home. I saw two friends today. They are sisters. I've known them since middle school and haven't seen one of them since high school the other I recently saw at my birthday party but before then, it was high school. It was so great catching up and meeting their lovely children and the husband of one of them. Time goes by so quickly. Do you feel that? Does time ever go by with you? How do you mark time? How does each day pass where you are? What is like the sun, the moon? I will always have questions.

I asked about another friend from high school they were closer to than I. Today I found out that she passed away last year. I was shocked. She was only 40 or 41. She had high blood pressure and they think she died of a heart attack. At 41? She was in a coma for six months and then eventually died. I was saddened by this news. She had three children, two of them teenagers and one girl around 5 or 6. Apparently she was living with a lot of stress. Stress is a killer, Mary. It's pressure and negative energy that we store and store and it becomes a part of us. It gets into our blood, our pores, our minds. There are so many triggers around us. I feel it too. I've learned to breathe. To consciously inhale and exhale. To purposely push it out as best as I can. I am no master though. I just do what I can.

The small amount of time we have on this planet is so precious and we don't know when it will end. Just something happens one day. Just our breathing gets short, hands get sweaty, chest starts tightening and then the time is over. Just over. Not over. But different. Forever. The older I get the more particular I am about my actions and words toward others. I know that my last words to someone are my last words to them, if and until I see them again. There are many areas in my life I need to grow and do much better. Every day though, I am doing what I can.

What were the last words you heard? At only three days did you even understand words? Did you understand love? Could you see love in Grandmommy's eyes? Who held you last that you remember? Did you have goodbye words of your own, in your own way?

This life is not for us to understand, I suppose. Just moments for us to experience and take in and do the best we can with. All of the life experiences I am so curious about, are they clear to you? Do you understand? Do you wish you could share your knowledge and wisdom with us and you can't? Are you waiting patiently for us to know too?

How is Lena, Mary? Is she where you are? My high school friend who passed on last year. She was so sweet and kind. I wish her peace now. I hope she is well and relaxed. That she is free and can see and feel and love her children.

It's all so much. Or maybe I make so much of it. Either way, here we are.

Friday, November 23, 2012

NaNoWroMo - Day 23 - Dear Mary

It's 11:24 and I'm home. Home sweet home. I spent the day with my wonderful son and family. One of the experiences I cherish the most is watching movies with my family. Your family, Mary. Do you get that these are your people too? These are your faces and voices and opinions too.

I wish I had something profound to share with you today. I don't. But I couldn't go to bed without writing to you. These days at home with the people I love the most have been blissful. I have so much to be thankful for. I know I do. I have things in my life I'm thankful for yes, but mostly it's the people who I call family and friends that have me glowing and mushy and cliche tonight.

Right now my mother, uncle, son, niece, nephew are sitting around watching a movie and laughing. I was there too but had to leave to shut my eyes for the night. These are the times I hope to always remember. These are the moments that feed me when I am starving for something to hold onto.

I wonder what would have made you laugh, dear aunt. What movie, joke, story would have made you cry, remember? If you were here, in the flesh, you would be seventy-five years old now. Seventy-five. Still young enough to tell stories about your yesterday. Old enough to see your children and grandchildren grown. I never thought about that before. I would have grown up with your grandchildren. What would they have been like? What about your children, my aunts and uncles? Do you think about these things? Are these human thoughts too beneath you now? Maybe you had children anyway. Perhaps there is a man who loves you and holds you now and children and grandchildren where you are. Perhaps. You are right, Mary. I don't have a clue.

Last night when Therman, my mother, Love and I were talking, Therman asked an interesting question. He asked if we thought your personality would have been more like Mildred's or Bobbie's. Either way would certainly have been a winner because both women are amazing. Both are creative and kind. Funny and gorgeous. Mildred is more the wife and mother. The nurturer with the quiet but rock strong spirit and the most sincere smile you have ever seen. Bobbie is an awesome woman too. She is bright colors and loud, free spirit. Fancy dresser and bold talker. Your sisters, Mary. Your sisters.

We talked about you. Played guessing games and what if and maybe maybe. I guess we will never know though. But you were there with us. There in our conversation. We love you. We do. In the best way we can. I hope you can feel it. There where you are.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 22 - part 2 - Dear Mary

O Mary, it's 11:08pm and Love and I are just getting in from having Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I have so much to tell you. I know that I won't go into the story as deeply as I would like because I want to chill before going to bed. That and there are conversations I still need to process.

Here are some of the things I want to tell you though:

1. Therman told me that your birthday is November 30, 1937!
2. I was in Rustin, Louisiana with my grandmother for a reunion and I remember her taking us to visit a graveyard. Therman was there too and he told me tonight that your grave was one of the graves we visited! O my! I do recall being there but not going to your grave.
3. My grandmother, your mother was twenty years old when she had you. I always thought she was much younger.

We talked about you tonight, Mary. We did. Were you there with us? Could you feel us, hear us? What part of today was your favorite? The children are all getting so big aren't they? I am thankful for you. Thankful for your life. Thankful that you are a part of me.

More tomorrow but I wanted to get that out as soon as I could.

O Mary, I love Love. Can you tell? What do you think?

NaNoWriMo - Day 22 - Dear Mary

It's 1:27am and I got in from work about twenty minutes ago. It's been a long day. I have one more week of the long days and then my schedule will go back to normal. These days have been easy though. I'm just breathing now, Mary. Breathing. Unwinding from the day and appreciating the moment.

Tomorrow, today rather, is Thanksgiving day and I'm looking forward to being with my family. Laughing, talking and sharing stories. And taking pictures, lots of pictures.

I had a good conversation with Therman this evening. Thinking about it now. About growth and releasing drama and old stories. That's what family does. They help you see life in a perspective that sets you straight and able to walk further on your journey. That's what I appreciate about family.

Later on today we will share things and people we are thankful for. As for me, right now, I am thankful for my friends and family. For Uraeus. For Love. Usually around this time I say how fast the year has flown by but this year it doesn't feel like that. This year feels like it took a whole long year to get to this point. I am thankful I made it. I am thankful that I am mentally well and at peace. My body and spirit are well and I am happy. I am writing, painting, performing and working. I have food, shelter, clothes, a car and entertainment. I'm able to laugh and cry, run and play, read and rest. I have a wonderful and full life with room for more. I am thankful. I am greatly loved and appreciated. I have so many people I love and cherish. I am well. I have challenges and triggers and lessons still to learn and I am even thankful for those. I'm thankful for this moment. This moment with you, typing these words. Having these thoughts. Sharing memories and blessings. Sigh...thank You, Mother/Father God. Thank You.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 21 - part 2 - Dear Mary

8:21pm. Still at work. I'll be here until about midnight. The day is going by nicely. I don't have much to say right now except I have some great news. I talked to Therman this evening and guess what? Therman has your birthday! He couldn't tell me tonight because he has it written down somewhere. I'll remember to bother him about it. It will be so great to have that. To know when you were born and to be able to celebrate your day on the day...yeah.

NaNoWriMo - Day 21 - Dear Mary

Good morning. It's 10:24 and I'm at home getting ready to head out. Today is my mother's birthday. My mother, your sister. The sisters in the family, in the order of birth, are you, Mildred, Barbara, Patricia and Janice. Patricia is my mother. As I've said a million times already, I so hope you know them. Hope you were able to meet them in your way. In their dreams, visions, thoughts.

I knew I wouldn't be able to say much this morning as I am rushing out of the door now. I will connect later though.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Dear Love, why I love you:

1. My life is bigger with you in it.
2. After all this time it feels like the beginning.
3. I trust you like I have never trusted anyone.
4. You listen.
5. You care.
6. You share.
7. You are worth it.
8. I have never felt this safe.
9. I know you love me.
10. We are growing together.
11. My feelings are important to you.
12. Your feelings are important to me.
13. You are patient.
14. You are kind.
15. You are gentle.
16. You are handsome.
17. You feel good.
18. You know God.
19. I can open up to you.
20. I can unpack my stuff in front of you.
21. You are reliable.
22. Your body is gorgeous.
23. You make me happy.
24. You give me space.
25. You hold me well.
26. I miss you when you are away.
27. You are intelligent. So intelligent.
28. You are good for me.
29. You are who I want.
30. You knew me when...
31. And so many more reasons...

Memories

When I took my last long bus trip to Philly, Love took me to the Grayhound station and waited with me. Waited there with me til he couldn't wait inside any longer. Then he stood outside the building and waited there until he couldn't see me anymore. That's why I call him Love.
I'm challenging myself to go the rest of the year without using the word beautiful.

NaNoWriMo - Day 20 - part 2 - Dear Mary

6:44 and I am home. They ran tests in the hospital and my blood looked "good" and so did the x-rays of my chest. Thank God! Mostly I needed to make sure I wasn't having a stroke or heart attack or something like that. My chest still feels stiff and a little achy but I can deal with that. The doctor said that I may be coming down with something and my inside whatevers are just inflamed and that I can take some Motrin to calm the inflammation. Whatever. How many times have I told you, Mary about the maintenance these human bodies require? It's no joke. And I'm only 43. Truthfully though, I have it really easy compared to a lot of folks. Aside from the occasional cramps and other small stomach issues, a headache here and there, I don't really get sick sick that often. More than I like though.

I was being released from the hospital at the same time Love was getting off work so we met at Denny's to eat. I needed soup. Again. His company and concern felt good. Good to sit across from someone who loves me. Someone I love. Someone who cares about my health, my day, my thoughts, me. We shared stories of our day. We ate and came home. Beautiful real life.

It's good to be home. I'm tired. It's not even 7:00 and already I wanna grab a blanket and curl up on the couch. I have a few things to do though before I do that.

I found out that today is national transgender day. I'm going to assume you understand what that means. I send love today to my transgender brothers and sisters around the world. It takes courage to live your heart in the face of hatred, confusion and bigotry of others. As a black woman I experience a lot of prejudice. Still, as a black, heterosexual woman I often forget the privileges I do have in this society. My heart as a woman is to dress and move about as most women do, for the most part. But what if that was not natural for me? What if what was more natural for me was to live as the opposite gender to what I was born? I don't know that I would have the courage to follow my heart. It is dangerous to live amongst people's hatred. So many transgender people are killed and abused just because of the choices they make regarding their own bodies. All abuse hurts, Mary. All of it.

Many people don't agree with me, and that's ok. It does not hurt that people do not share my beliefs. It hurts that many people abuse others because they choose to live their lives differently.

I remember about maybe fourteen years ago I met a woman. Well, she was born a man but identifies as woman. Because this letter is public I will call her Jeri. We met at a club I used to work in. Then I would frequently see her at a poetry spot I often attended. Jeri and I had fascinating conversations. We always greeted each other with a smile. She listened to my stories and shared hers. She was/is a human being just like I am. Who am I? Who is anyone to deny her human rights? Human space to catch the bus, walk to a store, have coffee with a friend without being tortured? We all deserve this. I think about Jeri from time to time. I just stopped seeing her around. Do you know her, Mary? I treat you like you are God. I guess you can't know everything, everyone. I was just wondering though. Wondering if she was safe, happy, had a community of people she could trust, felt safe with. Things we all need.

No one should kill themselves or even have that consideration because of how they choose to express themselves. Sadly though, my brothers and sisters are dying every day. At their own hands and at the hands of others. There is so little time, it seems. So little time to complete everything we want to do on this planet while we are here. You know something about that. More than most I would say. Why do we spend, waste any of the precious few moments on causing harm to others? Especially others who only want to live out their moments as comfortably and as freely as they can? It doesn't make sense to me.

NaNoWriMo - Day 20 - Dear Mary

It's 1:27pm and I am at Memorial Hospital. I started having chest pains last night. I was in bed asleep then woke up from a weird dream. In the dream, Love and I were in bed and there was a young girl lying between us. I told Love that my chest was hurting (in the dream) and he said, "Ok, I'm going to pray for you.) Then he rolled over and started praying for me. I couldn't understand what he was saying, but he was praying. After that I woke up. I don't know what woke me up. I woke up and calmly said, "My chest is hurting." I told Love about the dream and he got up and got me an aspirin and water. I went back to sleep and I think I slept well.

This morning when Love left I felt fine. An hour later though I felt this heavy pressure on my chest. I waited hours, went back to sleep, woke up and the pressure was still there. That and I felt incredibly dizzy. Better safe than sorry so I drove myself to the hospital. They said my EKG looked good. Good. Hopefully it's nothing. Mostly I wanted to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack. Right now the pressure is still there but not as heavy as this morning. Thankfully I didn't have to work today but I do tomorrow and I wouldn't want this to be something serious while I'm alone with my client.

Another day in the hospital. This isn't how I planned to spend the day, but this is where I am.

Monday, November 19, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 19 - Dear Mary

It's 4:49pm and I'm at work. The day is going by easily. My mouth is still a little sore and I'm not eating much more than soup, but that's ok. I needed to get a lot out of my diet anyway. I also said I was going to stop drinking wine and I'm not able to drink with this medication so I guess that's good too.

As I typed how easily my day is going I am watching reports of war and an Israeli man who lost his son today in the violence. This touches my heart. The loss of lives and human beings living in such fear. A man being interviewed just now said "Every day is worse than the day before." I can not imagine that life. I can't fathom an every day of missiles being launched and hearing bombs land and destroy homes and businesses and lives.

It hurts to know that people are dying and living in such great violence and then read about people's concerns be focused on trivial matters like reality shows or what to wear, black dress or blue. Dear Mary, we live our lives like we are not connected to each other. Like we are not concerned about each other. Do you see what's going on? Does it hurt you to watch? I could stay on this topic and get lost in sadness. More and more lost by the sentence. How awful it is for me to protect myself from sadness. To turn away from someone's pain because it might make me sad. If people can live without shelter and food and heat, dodge flying rubble, be trapped under buildings and watch their loved ones die right before them, then I can at least be informed about their world and so what about my sadness. I'm very guilty of not appreciating the abundance in my life. I have so much. Some things I am not even present enough to be thankful for. Things I act like I am entitled to.

I didn't expect to say any of this. I'm watching the news right now, that's how it all came up. It's inspiring watching President Obama in Asia speak to an audience about "America's belief in human dignity." Those are beautiful words. Would that our belief were much deeper.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 18 - Dear Mary

It's 11:13pm and I am at a Denny's restaurant somewhere about two hours north of Los Angeles. I just dropped off Uraeus with his dad. As always it was my pleasure being with my boy. My young man now. We had a beautiful, intimate family birthday party for him at my mother's house last night. I'm so proud of him. How he's growing. It was wonderful being with my family. Thinking about the gathering last night has me wonder about what you would look like and be like. Mildred was there. She is your sister born after you. We know her as the oldest. I wonder how you would have been like as the eldest sibling. In case you don't know already, Mildred was/is wonderful. As a sister to your siblings and as an aunt to my generation. She and my mother look very much alike. Although Jimmy and Therman said they couldn't see the resemblance, to me, they are very much alike.

I'm rambling as usual, Mary. Just writing to get the words and thoughts out. I pulled over to have a bowl of soup and tea before I go farther on the drive back. Also it gives me some time to write to you since I haven't yet today. My always handy iPad and free wifi at Denny's rock. I told you that before.

I'm listening to a book on tape as I drive home. It's a very popular book but to me the writing is just ok. The story holds me enough to be entertained on a drive but it has me geared up to write a novel of my own. I've been saying it for years. I have a few ideas too. I've got to stop just saying it, I know.

I will write more perhaps when I get home. My soup is here now.

Love you.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 17 - Dear Mary

5:46am. I'm at home right now preparing to go and get Uraeus. Looking forward to the drive. Update on my mouth, still sore. But a much better sore. Yesterday I had my second wisdom tooth pulled. It hurt but I'm ok. Just healing now. I'll get my prescription filled today and start taking the medication. Enough about that though.

Emotionally I feel great. Not excited great but peaceful. I love early mornings with Love. Before work. Watching him eat breakfast. Sitting with him early in the morning sharing the quiet. This morning was like that. Reminding me of the beauty in my life.

What is beautiful to you? What do you hold as precious, dear aunt? Do your moods swing? What are your good days like? Your bad?

I'm going to do a bit more in preparation for my day but we will connect later.

Friday, November 16, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 16 - part 2 - Dear Mary

11:52 and I am at Jiffy Lube. Again. This time I'm getting my power steering flushed. I don't know why that's important for a car, but it is. Apparently if you don't get it done then your car will make a really bad noise and then something bad will happen to the something pump and you will be mad that you didn't spend the $70.00. I don't know much about cars, Mary so I just keep up on the required maintenance. I'm behind on the power steering thing because my car is making that grrrrrrr grrrrrr noise. I'm going to pick up Uraeus tonight and I don't want to be on the road and something happen.

You know I was supposed to be in the dentist's chair right now but my appointment got moved again from noon to 1:30. Yes, I'm still in pain but I'm hanging in there. It's not as bad as it was last night and early this morning though. Thank You, God. Seriously. I'm also thankful that there is a Jiffy Lube just two doors from my dentist. This isn't my regular Jiffy Lube, but they will do. It's best to hook up with companies that have free wifi in the waiting area. That's major. As usual, this is another exercise in patience. And I told you before when you know you will have to practice patience then it is best to have your iPad with you.

12:05. The dentist's office just called me and told me that I didn't have to wait until 1:30 but that she would be there at 12:30 instead. That rocks. Hopefully my car will be ready by then. If not, the dentist will have to practice patience. I hope she has an iPad.

NaNoWriMo - Day 16 - Dear Mary

Good morning. It's 6:02 and I'm home. I didnt sleep much at all last night. The pain in my tooth was a pain on the whole right side of my head. My right ear, throat, everything. My appointment is at noon and I'm so happy about that. Mary, I shouldn't start off right away complaining. I have so much to be thankful for. I even have this toothache to be thankful for. This reminder that I am alive and able to feel...anything. What I am also thankful for is how much love I get to experience in the face of this pain. Love is wonderful. Feeling the weight of his arm across my body. Knowing he was awake with me. Feeling his concern. What a blessing. What a blessing I wouldn't have known without the pain. You know me by now, Mary. Always trying to find the blessing, the lesson.

It's early. I'm going to try to get some rest before I have to get up. Let's talk later.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 15 - part 2 - Dear Mary

8:57pm. Home. Been home all day. O Mary, I am in so much pain and have been every waking moment of this day. My tooth is hurting so badly. I was supposed to see the dentist today but her office called me to tell me that something came up and she had to reschedule my appointment to tomorrow! This is awful. Toothaches are horrific. I feel like there is a nail stuck in my tooth and it's pinching a nerve connected to my ear that's connected to something in my head and any moment something is going to snap. Seriously, that's how it feels. I can't sleep. Eating is a joke. I have to keep my top and bottom teeth from touching each other because that touch feels like an electrical fire in my mouth. If I take one more pill I may just overdose.

There is a lesson in this. I don't know what it is but I'm guessing that just being in the moment is the lesson. Every moment I feel like is all I can take and then hours go by, proving me wrong. We are stronger than we think we are when we just stay in the moment. Which really, is all we can do anyway. Be right there where we are. The drama and pain and suffering comes, I guess, in imagining that all of the moments will be as painful as the one we are in, when really, we don't know the next moment. That's my lesson. Being right here. In this second. Experiencing the pain and ease of this second. I'm breathing through it. Breathing.

NaNoWriMo - Day 15 - Dear Mary

It's 2:23am and I just got home from work about an hour ago. I quickly ate and now I'm in the bed. It's been a long and pleasant day. My son's birthday has come and gone. Fifteen. Fifteen. Fifteen years old. It's going to take some getting used to.

I'm about to doze off to sleep now, Mary. Let's chat and this time, let me remember it when I wake up later. I am waking up later, right? You don't know anything I don't, do you? I'm weird. Bare with me.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 14 - part 2 - Dear Mary

5:12. At work. Still. I'm cool. Just got off the phone with a good friend of mine who is living in Georgia. Who do you call friend, Mary? Anyone? Who loves you and is looking forward to seeing you, hearing from you, knowing your stories? Who remembers when you cried and who reliably makes you laugh? I suppose I will always have questions.

There is something about catching up with friends. Something delicious about someone way across the country stopping to share words and thoughts and memories. I am getting older, Mary. Maybe you know what that means. Maybe not. It takes energy wrapping my head around what getting older means. What it means to me. How my body, my mind, my energy is changing. Truthfully, most days are better than others. That's what my friend Mika and I were talking about. This getting older thing.

There is a new way I have to learn to love myself. A new way I have to look in the mirror and love this woman I don't always recognize staring back at me. Every day she is changing. That woman in the mirror with my names and face. That woman is beautiful too. Lovely with her crooked smile and dark eyes. Her graying temples and thicker flesh. She is fleshy and lose and her breasts hang where they didn't before. I know I am the she in the mirror. I know. Sometimes I don't though. There are moments I have no clue who she is. Now I know I am that woman.

O Mary, me and my free thinking, free writing. Free writing is never free. Never. It always costs me something. It costs me remembering and letting go. Costs me feeling and accepting. Bare with me please. Be patient with how I go on.

NaNoWriMo - Day 14 - Dear Mary

12:59am. Just got in from work. Long day today. Will be another long day tomorrow. I should be going to bed and I will. Wanted to eat and write a bit before I did though. My mouth is still horribly sore. I go to back to the dentist on Thursday and let me tell you, the time can't come fast enough. This toothache is giving me a headache but I'm trying not to take anything today because I've been taking some kind of pill every day for a week now. My liver, my liver. Plus, whatever I took last night was so strong it scared me. I was talking crazy and my head was spinning. For real. My mouth is awful though. I can't bite down, can barely chew, ugh.

In better news, today is my son's birthday, Mary. He is fifteen years old right now. I am so thankful for him. So thankful. I miss my baby. He's no baby anymore. He's growing into a wonderful young man I'm very proud to know. Do you know him? Do you walk and talk with him in his dreams too?

It's 1:07 now and I better get into bed. I'm sleepy and my head is getting worse. And I haven't seen Love all day. Good morning, Mary. Talk to you later.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 13 - part 2 - Dear Mary

6:09. Still at work. I'm well. So, I read an article today that a church, I forgot where, somewhere in the United States though, has accepted a man as pastor who is a convicted sex offender and because he cannot be within a certain distance of children under eighteen years old, then the children are not allowed at the church on Sundays. Mary, I think this is a tragedy. It's horrible that already our children are not safe in way too many churches but this, to me, just adds insult to an already scandalous injury. Why would they do this?

I have grown. Grown to a place where I do not demonize the predator. He or she is not the monster boogieman. That would be too easy. I have grown to see them as people. I didn't before. But because they are people does not, in my opinion, give them right to head a church and ban certain members based on their age and based on social limitations by the court. What do I know?

NaNaWriMo - Day 13 - Dear Mary

Good afternoon. It's 2:48 and I am at work. I have a long day ahead of me here so this probably won't be my only letter to you today. I should have written to you very early this morning because I had a fascinating dream last night, only I can't remember it. I remember dreaming though. Remember walking and scenes pasing like in a movie. I remember talking and laughing. You know I always think I'm with you in my dreams. I so wish that I could recall the dream.

I don't have much on my mind to communicate with you right now, maybe later though. My jaw is still sore. I go back to the dentist on Thursday and hopefully something can be resolved. I don't know what though. It seems like this is something that only time will truly heal. I took something last night that still has me a bit groggy.

I'm sleepy, Mary. Told you this wouldn't be much. Let's connect later.

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 12 - part 3 - Dear Mary

4:41. At work still. Just came back from a walk with my client. I am writing because I thought about this woman I saw as I was going into a store today. I was sitting in my car gathering my things and she approached me. Her energy was hurried and frantic. She appeared to be on some type of drug. She was shaking and moving rapidly from side to side as she quickly told me a story about how she had to get her medication and she needed $2.00 and the place was gonna close in ten minutes and could I please... I reached into my wallet and handed her $1.00. I didn't believe it was for any legal medication or that "the place" was gonna close in ten minutes. I gave it to her anyway.

The story wasn't for me. The story was for her. Did she really think I was gonna believe she was just $2.00 short on meds or that a pharmacy was about to close at 10:00am? Of course not. But she needed to tell the story. That's how human beings are, Mary. Attached to a story. Attached to some drama.

What if we released it all? The stories, the drama. What if we let it all go and just told the truth about what we wanted?

NaNoWriMo - Day 12 - part 2 - Dear Mary

It's 2:42pm and I'm at work. Therapy was a blessing as usual. I left the coffee shop this morning to go to my car. On the way there I saw a woman, I am tempted to call her homeless but what do I know about where she lives? I saw a woman pushing a cart with no shoes on. It was a chilly morning and I remembered that I had a pair of shoes in my car. I was excited about giving her my shoes. Happy that she wouldn't have to walk the street with her skin touching the cold concrete. I held out the shoes to her and asked her if she would like them. To my surprise, "No, thank you" was her response. I didn't know what to make of that. Still don't. She seemed very clear. Looked me in the eyes and understood what I was offering her and still, nope. Uraeus says I turn everything into a life lesson. He's right. I've been thinking about the lady since I left. Not everybody wants what we have to offer. We think they need our things and our selves but not everybody wants them, or us. What a lesson, Mary.

NaNoWriMo - Day 12 - Dear Mary

Good morning. It's 7:21 and I am at Starbucks in Los Angeles. It's therapy day and I like to arrive early so that I can park, Starbuck, write, think, stuff. I didn't want to get out of bed this morning. It felt so good. Today is Veteren's Day so Love is home and I would have loved a few more hours of snuggle. But no. I love therapy day though. For me it's a place where I can go to leave another load of my stuff. I like dropping off stuff in appropriate places.

In other news, my teeth hurt. All of them. Seriously. I have another dental appointment on Thursday. I feel like I will be in the dentist's chair every week for next year with the amount of work to be done. Growing up I was a teeth grinder and sometimes still am. Everything makes my whole mouth hurt. I'm giving up on food, wine and hot tea and cold tea. Giving up on fruit and yogurt and juice and cold water and... I think I'm going to find some pill that has all the nutrients I need and take it every day. I told you, Mary, these bodies require a lot of maintenance. A lot. I am in pain right now. Another tooth. I forgot I was giving up on all things chewable and hot and ordered a peppermint tea and cheese Danish this morning. The moment I swallowed the last bit of the Danish and took two sips of tea the pain started again. This is actually horrible. It's 7:36 now, my appointment is at 8:00. I'm going to go to my car and get some pills I have in my trunk.

Talk to you later. I hope.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 11 - part 2 - Dear Mary

Good Sunday morning. It's 10:29 and I am at home. I'm awake but in bed. Reading and writing and eating. Awful. It's nice and chilly outside of these covers just like I like it. Today will be another thick leggings, sweater and boots day. My favorite.

I had a weird long long dream last night, Mary. Were you there? I was walking and talking with someone. Was that you? That's what my dreams have been lately. Me talking to some person I never see. It's easier and more fun when I think it's you. But last night, even in my dream I thought it was you. I remember telling myself to remember everything to write it down in my letters to you when I got up. I remember that. Who says that to themselves in their dreams? I do I suppose.

The dream was in black and white, I remember that clearly. Grainy black and white like old sit ins photos. I was walking along with invisible person (let's call her, you) and we kept seeing scenes from today as if they were back in the 60's. You kept telling me how black people were going to be slaves again and how hard it was going to be. I saw all of these black sad faces working in regular jobs but in black and white film. They looked as if they were working in fields. I remember newspapers. I don't know what was written on them but it was bad news. I could feel it. As we were walking we went into a theatre and it was black and white in there too. We stood along the isle and watched the performers. They were poets. You told me that the poet's writing was going to get better because there was so much to write about. The only things they were talking about was heaviness and grief. It was a scary, sad dream. I was afraid in the dream. Afraid for my son. For our children. For black people. For the world. What was this dream? I went straight to bed. I didn't even watch Law and Order or Criminal Minds like I usually do before I went to bed. And then that dream?

Last night felt like I was in my own version of...of...what's that show when the three ghosts appear to the guy and show him his past, present and future? What's the name of that story that's right on the tip of my tongue? Sheesh! Well, I felt like I was in that story. You know the one.

Breathe.

Pause.

I need to get out of this bed now and get to work on this painting. It's pretty large and I think I'm hesitating because it's cold and I need to work on it in the cold garage. Ouch. But, praise the Lord.

I have another birthday party to attend today and then I'm performing tonight in Riverside. If I could only move Riverside much closer to my home, that would be great. But no. I can't. It's 10:51 and I seriously need to jump out of this bed into the chilly air and get going.

Also on my mind, Mary, I was invited to submit some of my work to an anthology. It's going to be words from women to women on living and safety. I'll tell you more later. I love it though. Give me ideas if you have any. I'm sure you do.

Seriously, later.

NaNoWriMo - Day 11 - Dear Mary

12:22am. Just got in about a half hour ago with Love. We went out to celebrate a good friend's birthday. We ate. We danced. We posed for pictures and we had an opportunity to remember to love each other. Love is so important. Love and friendship and connection. It is vital to truly living. What keeps you living, Mary? What love, what connection, what feeling or being keeps you living? What is living for you?

I am in bed right now. This is early for me but it's what I'm feeling now. I didn't get everything done today that I had on my mental list but I did make a huge dent. That counts. Taking one step at a time and remembering to drink, rest, eat and love is what counts.

I'm sleepy, Mary. Or maybe I'm just avoiding you. Refusing to get any closer. Denying you any more of me. Cutting off connection. I am dramatic like that. Don't mind me. I don't think I'm doing any of those things. I'm just sleepy now and I just haven't had much to say lately nor have I had the desire to create much to write about, that's all. Is anything ever all?

Before I get too silly and ramble on forever, good night. Good morning really but, good night.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 10 - Dear Mary

Good morning, it's 9:53 and I'm at home for now. How are you? Where are you? Were your ears burning last night? I was talking about you with a group of friends late last night at a birthday party. We had a great time.

Not much to say right now. I have a busy day ahead. I have to work on this art project I was commissioned to paint. Wanna get that completed by this weekend. Send off another project and attend two birthday parties tonight. Though that's a bit ambitious of me. Something's not gonna get done. Especially since I'm still crazy cramping on and off. Before any of that, laundry. Much much today. Plus I gotta go and get my car whatevered today at Jiffy Lube. Work.

I'm feeling well. I think I'm gonna give up wine, again. It's just not good for my body and I know it's not good for my mood. My moods. So, we shall see.

Let's talk later, Mary. Later.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thank you, Shirley Rodgers for calling me this morning and reading my words back to me. Words I wrote so long ago. Thank you for remembering. Thank you for reminding.

NaNoWriMo - Day 9 - Dear Mary

Good morning there. It's 8:05 and I'm at home right now feeling a bit blah. Blah but thankful for this beautiful day. One of the things about being human and a woman is that once a month you have your period and awful cramps. Some women have awful cramps. I'm one of the some. I was so happy when my period stopped a while back, then it came back, Mary. Why? I didn't ask for it. I wasn't missing it. I was fine. But I don't want to talk about that. Right now.

I have a full day at work today and should be there until the night. A very good friend is having a birthday celebration tonight. If I'm off in time I'll go by there and celebrate with everyone.

I don't have much to say right now. Perhaps later when the meds kick in. Not now though. Blah remember.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

NaNoWriMo - Day 8 - Dear Mary

It's 5:28 on this rainy good morning. Just now I accidentally typed hood morning instead of good. I should have left hood. In addition to good. This is my weather. This rain and chill. This tap on my window, my roof, my head. I love it.

I feel amazing this morning, Mary. I had these dreams last night. All night. In my heart it was you. In my head I am silly and seeing what I want to see. In my dream I was talking to a woman. Was it you? Was I talking to you? Except I couldn't talk and neither could you. I had these thoughts and typed words appeared. I tried to speak but only the typed black, bold, something different font, letters and punctuation marks and spaces. I don't remember all of the content but my heart remembers it was my best writing ever. I remember thinking that even in the dream. Even there I was excited to wake up so that I could write it all down because it was so good. We talked and I shared in ways I never have. We. We. Who was she, Mary? She was a she I could feel. I never saw anyone. Just this feeling. I was sitting on my bed. Or a bed anyway. I was sitting on white sheets in a white room. Even the sheets and walls had the typed words. What did all the words say? Were they my words? Yours? Why am I so happy right now? Even with this sore jaw, why am I this happy? Is something wrong? Love could feel it too. He was walking out the door this morning and turned back and smiled at me. I asked him what he was laughing at, because I can't leave well enough alone. What's wrong with me? He smiled again and said, "I just looked at you and I smiled." That is the sweetest. I have never been loved like this. That's such a cliche. But it's true. It's so true. I am so thankful for him. So glad I stayed. Came back. Stayed. So glad I'm here. So glad for the moment.

While I'm clear this morning and not sleepy, this free write will not be any better. Perhaps I am a mess either way.

I have so much energy right now. More than I may want at 5:46. I am thankful though. For it all. Thankful for Love and my son. My friends and family. My life and peace. My health and the moment. God is good, Mary. That's a cliche too. But a good true one.

I have enough energy to write for the next few hours but I must go to work today and I know I need to get some more rest. I'm running out of pills for my tooth. I would rather be running out of this soreness in my mouth. Will my smile straighten? O, Mary. Good morning. Just, good morning.

NaNoWriMo - Day 7 - part 2 - Dear Mary

11:29pm. Got in from the Topanga library about twenty minutes ago. The evening was just what I wanted and needed. I read with Ann, Jean and Paul. Well, I shouldn't say just what I wanted because I would have loved for there to have been another black face in the building, but it's cool. I had a great time. I was on a panel with other poets and we shared our work and works of others. The audience was eager to participate. Their energy fed us greatly.

My mouth is still so sore. I didn't take any medicine just before I left because I knew the drive one way was going to be a couple of hours with the traffic. The show another few hours and then the hour drive back. I couldn't be sleepy. I wasn't sleepy but I was way sore. I think the dentist did something wrong. I still can't open my mouth all the way and my smile is all crooked. This is a lot.

Mary, again, I am rambling. You know what I do. It's late and I've taken my medicine and am trying to get the words out before I get too sleepy, which I hope is very soon.

I feel it already, this free write will be a mess. I'm sure. Whatever.

The theme tonight was on relationships. Just what I needed. Just the area where I am trying to really grow. Relationships. Romantic relationships specifically. We talked about this earlier today, you and I. I did the talking. When will you talk to me? But don't spook me. Remember we have an agreement.

We talked tonight about relating to each other. Humans relating to each other and to everything around us. Isn't that great? I talked about you. About how we can create relationship through words and thought and prayer. I shared my story of relationships and my new relationship to relationship. In my past thinking, a relationship was something with a year and a half to two years time stamp on it. I never created romance without an expiration date. The question was never if, always when. Finally, I am creating endless. I don't know if it will end, but if it does it will without my pre stamp on it. I'm working on the long run. The thought of that does scare me a bit because it takes some re wiring on my part. But I am working on it. Day by day. We both are.

I love the way he totally shows up as partner. The way he is even to my up and down and that he listens and shares. We have areas where we can grow toward each other and that's the beauty of this thing we have. We are creating friendship. Daily. This creating is not always easy or fun but it is worth it. This is worth it.

I see him as mirror, showing me where and who I am right now. When I see myself honestly I see the walls I have built around myself. I see where I am not sharing myself. I see how I am still walking with one foot ready to run. I see myself as still afraid to unpack literally and figuratively. I am too catious about heavying my load so that my bags are always easily carryable. Any of that make sense? It's work. Looking at the big picture is more than what I am easily able to do, but this moment at a time feels right. And truthfully, that's all we have anyway. The moment. And then the next. Our whole lives are collections of these moments.

Help me, Mary, not to make a mess of this.