Poetry Month: Emily Dickinson

I felt a Funeral, in my Brain (280)

Emily Dickinson, 18301886
I felt a Funeral, in my Brain,
And Mourners to and fro
Kept treading – treading – till it seemed
That Sense was breaking through –  

And when they all were seated,
A Service, like a Drum –  
Kept beating – beating – till I thought
My Mind was going numb –  

And then I heard them lift a Box
And creak across my Soul
With those same Boots of Lead, again,
Then Space – began to toll,

As all the Heavens were a Bell,
And Being, but an Ear,
And I, and Silence, some strange Race
Wrecked, solitary, here – 

And then a Plank in Reason, broke,
And I dropped down, and down –  
And hit a World, at every plunge,
And Finished knowing – then –

Poetry Month: Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout has a way of exploring things beyond our grasp in a way that makes them easy to relate to on a personal level, almost universal. Here, we have “The Ether”, a piece that manages to make human the scale of time in the universe. If you’ve never read any of her other work, seek it out now.

The Ether
By Rae Armantrout
We’re out
past the end
game where things
get fuzzy,
less thingy,
though in past times
we practiced
precision
concrete as a slot machine.
But to be precise
you need to stop
a moment
which turns out to be
impracticable
and besides
speed is of the essence.
Don’t worry.
“Of” can take care
of itself
and it’s fine
to say “essence”
now that it’s understood
to mean ether,
a kind of filler
made either
of inattention
or absorption
somewhere near
the Planck length

Wonderful Wednesday – Rainy Days

It’s another day of ‘Wonderful Things’ here.

Morning
Morning

It’s been a rainy morning here. Waking up early to listen to the rain outside the window as I got ready for work and as I type reports and this is refreshing. I love spring for rain and bright shots of sunlight. I could easily listen to and watch rain for hours, even days, at a time. Living where droughts are terrifying was to destroy our state’s small but necessary, viable income…I count every rain as a blessing. It’s also soothing, it clears out my mind, honestly. We should probably move to the Pacific Northwest to 1. Become real life sparkle vampires. and 2. To have clear heads at all times.

I have been thinking a lot about kids lately. My daughter is well on her way to being a pre-teen. I deal with pre-teens and teens near daily with my work. It is discouraging to me that we either give them this overload of freedoms or every restriction on the planet, in an effort to not deal with their ‘nonsense’. What I deal with is kids who have the worst set of boundaries established. They lack true interaction, on a daily basis, from people willing to speak to them as genuine people. They do also lack strong sense of boundaries or the acknowledgement that, yeah, it’s ok to still be a kid. It’s not an adult job to be everyone’s best friend but we do have a responsibility to treat people as more than sub-human. Relate to people that we love, and yes, have expectations or guidelines.

I am not a fan of the idea of love being a cover for building people into what they are not – both people are set for failure. In my work with these kids and my own beautiful ones, everybody has this unique ‘thing’ that makes them smart, blessed, and a joy to get to know. We would be lying if we didn’t admit that we don’t all have something terrifically frustrating for others to deal with. I have yet to meet a totally perfect person.

There’s a mini rant – take it as you wish, I suppose.

This week in simple eating and sipping. I am part of a tea exchange. It is perfectly lovely, the idea of sharing a totally intimate daily routine. My Aunt Barb visited last summer and came over each morning for tea, bearing a few favorites. We traded cups of favorites and I have been craving that ever since. A few friends are avid caffeine lovers too, but fewer are tea lovers to the extreme that I am. The idea that I am now talking outside of my circle, about something as intricate as tea…it feels like I am revealing a previously unshared part of myself. I am so excited to share my boxes of teas with people across the country or world, merely to start a dialogue of sips. It feels so novel, just like when I started sharing it with my husband and my daughter. My mom is a tea drinker, she usually has around 30 containers of it around.

Also, I have some totally not fun tummy stuff, so it is a week of very simple eats for me. Kitchari from my dear friend, Frances’ recipe. Simple bowls of quinoa or lentil soup, plates of salads with out dressings, piles of fruit or simply prepared meats. Lots of hot lemon water and teas. Deep stretching, yoga, and walks. A lot of quiet and simple living as I work to restore my body. Plenty of hot baths and sleep. Apparently, I am still in some sort of hibernation. I think that this is ok. So often we force ourselves out of this too soon.

Today, after work, I will be finishing thank you notes for people who participated in the first month of the Jami M Fundraiser. We did well, everyone! I don’t want to reveal numbers just yet, but it was a great start.More important, it reminds me of my deep love of sending notes. Why don’t we do this. guys? Send people love notes, thank yous, invitations, cheer ups, hellos, happy birthdays, or just ‘I was just thinking about you’ things. I miss it. I want to do it again.

Everyone affected by the loss of our beautiful Jami is still in this hushed and acute state of mourning. I find myself watching instead of interacting with the world, quite a bit more currently. Cleaning house, going through boxes for spring cleaning, and coming across a card she painted, a funny clipping that she sent me, or pictures of us laughing at something like a bear statue. Silly things, little ones, but important. She always kept you on her mind and remembered little things. I had originally wanted a nursery in all shades of purples for Eva but couldn’t make it work. She made Eva the most beautiful quilt, every shade of lavender and purple, delicate periwinkle flowers, with a lavender sachet. She also made Owen one with all of these hilarious owl fabrics and greens. She sent it to him from Alaska with a boogie owl.

(No worries, I will take pictures.)

Have you heard of the KonMari Method to organize your home? I learned about it and have been working slowly through this house of mine. One section of one room at a time. Only keep things that spark joy are kept, even if that joy is that they are there because of functionality. Some people think it’s really impractical, I guess I disagree. If a person needs to reorganize a house that has plenty of storage options already with very expensive ‘storage options’ be my guest. I am ok with my closets, shelves, and drawers. It’s a year of trying to keep money very close to pocket and also sticking to a household of simplicity.

I have been hungry to create and do more with my surroundings. I have picked up my knitting needles with a fury. I paint and write again. We are gardening for simplicity but abundance. Moving rooms around, cooking full meals, aiming to do more with less, anything that keeps my hands and heart steady and productive. I love it, this counterbalance of productivity and stillness that has been going on. Really, this hunger will spread to how we interact with the whole world. How my kids think with both hands and hearts means that they will always need to make sure that they do their very best to inspire change. I feel it.

I have been daydreaming of sushi. I won’t indulge just yet, I want it to be a special occasion – a girls night out, a date, or Mother’s Day. Jewel colored sushi, never-ending green tea or sake, red bean dessert. Going to the book store afterwards to buy a pretty set of stationery. Maybe a walk in a pretty park? The world is my oyster the day that I indulge in sushi! I also daydream incessantly about camping. We have a special triple birthday camping trip plotted in June. Nothing fancy, tents and cooking in cast iron over the fire, fishing, and giggles.

Occasionally, we also need a big batch of chocolate cupcakes as well.
Occasionally, we also need a big batch of chocolate cupcakes as well.

Oh! I finished two more book club offerings – The Hearing Trumpet and Night Circus. Both were great! Let’s hope this is an improvement. I had read Night Circus before, of course. It is delightful. The Hearing Trumpet was a surprise. It is by an author that I really hadn’t heard of before – Leonora Carrington. This is delightful because I had no expectations as I went into it. I will totally admit that I have had a nasty mood after hating the last few months of books. I am fairly excited for this month – Perfume ‘The Story Of A Murderer’ and Lila.

Be Grace
Be Grace

I am feeling…expansive this month. New writing projects, work ideas, art and craftiness, our garden, so many things. It’s been good to be in hibernation, I have so rarely allowed it of myself. I have just allowed myself to be as I work through things. Life is very stressful because it is adult, but the curtains are open now, so to speak. Also, I have allowed myself rest and daydreams. I feel more capable, despite how huge things can be. There is more enjoyment in small things and sweeter success in larger ones. I painted a rock at Easter, a smooth and oval river rock. It is light pink with shimmer grey writing – Be Grace. Important words to me, these days.

Make your day Wonderful!

Be Grace. Be Amazing.

Poetry Month: Gregory Corso

Corso, one of the core figures of the Beat movement, has largely faded into obscurity, though some hardworking people are trying hard to change that. Nolan hadn’t read anything by him until I got him a copy of Gasoline for his birthday a few years ago. This poem was one of his picks for this month.
“Transformation and Escape”
by Gregory Corso
1
I reached heaven and it was syrupy.
It was oppressively sweet.
Croaking substances stuck to my knees.
Of all substances St. Michael was stickiest.
I grabbed him and pasted him on my head.
I found God a gigantic fly paper.
I stayed out of his way.
I walked where everything smelled of burnt chocolate.
Meanwhile St. Michael was busy with his sword
hacking away at my hair.
I found Dante standing naked in a blob of honey.
Bears were licking his thighs.
I snatched St. Michael’s sword
and quartered myself in a great circular adhesive.
My torso fell upon an elastic equilibrium.
As though shot from a sling
my torso whizzed at God fly paper.
My legs sank into some unimaginable sog.
My head, though weighed with the weight of St. Michael,
did not fall.
Fine strands of multi-colored gum
suspended it there.
My spirit stopped by my snared torso.
I pulled! I yanked! Rolled it left to right!
It bruised! It softened! It could not free!
The struggle of an Eternity!
An Eternity of pulls! of yanks!
Went back to my head,
St. Michael had sucked dry my brainpan!
Skull!
My skull!
Only skull in heaven!
Went to my legs.
St. Peter was polishing his sandals with my knees!
I pounced upon him!
Pummeled his face in sugar in honey in marmalade!
Under each arm I fled with my legs!
The police of heaven were in hot pursuit!
I hid within the sop of St. Francis.
Gasping in the confectionery of his gentility
I wept, caressing my intimidated legs.
2
They caught me.
They took my legs away.
They sentenced me in the firmament of an ass.
The prison of an Eternity!
An Eternity of labor! of hee-haws!
Burdened with the soiled raiment of saints
I schemed escape.
Lugging ampullae its daily fill
I schemed escape.
I schemed climbing impossible mountains.
I schemed under the Virgin’s whip.
I schemed to the sound of celestial joy.
I schemed to the sound of earth,
the wail of infants,
the groans of men,
the thud of coffins.
I schemed escape.
God was busy switching the spheres from hand to hand.
The time had come.
I cracked my jaws.
Broke my legs.
Sagged belly-flat on plow
on pitchfork
on scythe.
My spirit leaked from the wounds.
A whole spirit pooled.
I rose from the carcass of my torment.
I stood in the brink of heaven.
And I swear that Great Territory did quake
when I fell, free.

Poetry Month – Mary Oliver

Sleeping In The Forest

I thought the earth remembered me,
she took me back so tenderly,
arranging her dark skirts, her pockets
full of lichens and seeds.
I slept as never before, a stone on the river bed,
nothing between me and the white fire of the stars
but my thoughts, and they floated light as moths
among the branches of the perfect trees.
All night I heard the small kingdoms
breathing around me, the insects,
and the birds who do their work in the darkness.
All night I rose and fell, as if in water,
grappling with a luminous doom. By morning
I had vanished at least a dozen times
into something better.

Mornings here.
Mornings here.
It's been almost a month since my dearest, Jami, passed away. 
I have read this poem near daily and thought of her.
It isn't the fact that she died, in some ways, we all know that disease would have stopped at nothing.
The fact that her presence is gone from here. That is the acute loss.
When I wake up in the morning, I wander outside with my coffee and watch our sleepy Black Hills.
I watch the sun and things shift into place and I do wish she was there to see it too.

Be love. Be amazing.

Sara Rose

Wonderful Wednesdays – Take 1

I think I want to try something new. It’s Wednesday, and people have this thing. It’s always either Wednesday or Monday, these two are the loud, obnoxious brothers who show your embarrassing middle school pictures to the rest of the week. I suppose we need to just embrace those gawky pictures and be awesome, right? That’s the only way to get through all the madness. So, let’s put some good out there today.

Today is wonderful. Really, it is.

WonderfulWednesdays

-The weather is grey, cloudy, and perfect for cuddling and reading. I have this amazing tea called Cocoa Tango by Good Earth. I feel fairly yucky because I have the head cold that won’t die, but I can’t complain. I have the next few days off with my family and am hoping that it stays low key. Besides, guys! Cocoa tea, books, and fresh sheets are amazing.

-Owen has been having a rough winter. It seems like spring might just turn it around for him. We have been working slowly and steadily to help him make some more speech progress. It’s been frustrating, but who is the most patient with this process is Eva. I have to commend the girl, she will put up with a lot of his nonsense just to help him say new things and be happy. I do mean nonsense lightly, because some days it’s just not that thrilling to have Iron Man figures thrown at you 85 times in 5 minutes.

-A new season of soccer. I am so very proud here. Nolan and I are both still helping teams. He and a friend are coaching Eva’s team. It’s such a great way thing to see – how she has maintained such a fierce drive for the sport and his determination to help the kids achieve the best and also have a great time. Our yard is so many things, but what it always remains is a soccer field for this family.

-I love having sunny spring days. Even if the air is nippy, you have no idea how badly I handle the snow. I sit in front of my sunlight lamp, take so much vitamin D, eat spinach near daily. Never enough. Though I adore spinach and kale excessively, the fact that I feel positively trapped for over half of the year gets tiresome. Time for change is creeping up, I feel it in my bones.

Please give us coffee?
Please give us coffee?

-The funny thing is that change doesn’t bother me. Erratic, flustering, overwhelming days, total lack of sleep, not being able to do my daily yoga or reading, and especially not having my coffee. Which reminds me of something I have NEVER done before…now that I get up SO SO SO early for work, most days I wake up when the sun rises. It may mean an early bedtime but I am coming to enjoy this. Having time to wake properly, saying hello to my furbabies, making coffee and starting a load of laundry, having time before I bathe for 20 minutes of a walk or yoga…I treasure this. I do go watch my lovely family sleep sometimes. I am blessed by the simple beauty of it all.

-What do you think about the phrase ‘You Do You’? People are talking about the narcissistic behavior that it imbues. I get it, but I also think it is very freeing. To finally have a way to say, in a fun tone, ‘Go do your thing! It’s ok that we want to do different stuff! Rock on!’ Our culture relies too heavily on the notion that we always have to have other people’s approval and/or accompaniment for any path we might strike out on that is new. I find that foolish and not at all enlightening. Some of the most important discoveries that we make are when we give ourselves permission to just ‘be’.

-It’s Autism Awareness month. Which is wonderful, but where I live there are too many tiresome stigmas attached to anything to do with an autistic child.I adore that things can be very uncomplicated here in the rural forest but honestly…the idea that we are so far behind so many other places in the states gets sad. We do suffer a lack of intelligent dialogue about autism. Organizations such as Autism Speaks are so harmful. When you wear blue or puzzle pieces, I just ask that you do to honor the people you know and love. :)

-Sadly, out of the last 8 book club books I have read, I have only liked… 3. Isn’t that terrible? I belong to two book groups, and I love our discussions, ideas, and the ideas we are to gain. But sometimes, it has involved truly dreadful reading. It is about growth. I read anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours on an average day (even if I stay up all night) and while most of it is for pleasure, it is good to have structure, balance, and push out of my comfort zones.

-Eva has been adventuring out into the world, taking walks to the little park and river bed not far from our house. It is wonderful to see her curiosity, her world ablaze as she steps away from our gate so surely. My little mommy heart is proud and I also want her to be little again. I am lucky to have a girl who is small but fierce. She found some photos for you all to check out and they are amazing – go here!

-We have been eating very humbly lately. We have been baking this amazing gluten free baked pancake a lot lately. I love it with dark berries and bananas. The kids love apples or bananas and cinnamon. The husband eats his very traditionally – blueberries, lemon curd, and sour cream. I finally decided to make a regular thing out of Bulletproof Coffee, so a lot of my mornings are spent reading, writing, sipping pure caffeine goodness, and enjoying this delicacy.

-It’s good to remember to eat humbly. You never realize how much food is taken for granted until you have dried lentils you have cooked all day, vegetables chopped small and rough, a bread you made from scratch…and it is all made with food stuffs that you keep around instead of fancy flash ingredients all the rage in Saveur right now. We cut our food budget to stop including so many ‘indulgences’ that gave us no pleasures. Tucking into a bowl of sou that cost 89 cents to make but would cost 10.99 is rich indeed.

brightbeatles

-It is #AMOKApril, guys! A month of kindness. Here’s the deal, sometimes we all humble brag it up. That’s normal because it really does feel awesome to help others. I guess I don’t think I have tons of humble-braggers in my circle. I don’t think I would completely mind this because it does remind me of perspective when I give. I have been in some rotten places and others are in some I would never wish on anyone. It doesn’t take much to be kind. So let this month keep you kind all year and every year!

-Make sure you look at some pretty flowers, eat a chocolate egg, and hug people you love. It’s Easter and whatever your religious connotations, it’s an extra incentive to have a wonderful and kind experience. Be love, everywhere. Take life for what it’s worth, which to me means that everyone needs time to wake and time to sleep.

Right now, it’s cloudy, windy, and late. It’s time to curl up, cuddle, and read. Make this week amazing, y’all!

Be love. Be Amazing.

Sara Rose

Shades of Merlot

jamigreen‘When I first saw you, last year? I hated that you could wear blue eyeliner and merlot colored lipstick. I can’t.’

I had sat down in my new spot in concert choir, very nervous. Jami was the most beautiful girl in the room, wearing a white sundress, with dramatic cat eyeliner, sparkling green eyes, and strawberry waves.  She was also one of the best singers in our section. I was seriously in yoga pants, flip flops, and a neon pink hoodie. Don’t get me started on the hair.

A few days later, I saw her in the library before lit and then in class. I felt rather ridiculous that this lioness managed to be everywhere I was, far more reserved but so elegant, glamorous, and present. The thing about her was that when you saw her? You didn’t stop looking. She was so kind, smart, and beautiful…you just wanted to be around her forever.

Friday she yawned after choir and rolled her eyes over to me, saying ‘Coming to my house after this right? It’s spring and I have white merlot. I cannot imagine that your biochem class is more exciting than us repotting geraniums .’She was always right and at least today, I was wearing decent clothes. We made shrimp scampi and asparagus, Pia brought 3 issues of Vogue and several more bottles of wine. My friend Josh stopped after work with lemon cake, we all sat on quilts, talked about music and food and stars. We stayed there for three days.

That year, we stayed at each other’s apartments nearly every weekend. In the summer, we would hike and picnic with lavish cheese, bread, and fruit. We learned how to make fudge cakes, lasagnas, lobster biscayne, & huevos rancheros. We ate out, we barbecued, we sliced up cheese and called it good, we at Arby’s. There was always wine.

We grew into women. We talked books, shoes, sex, adventure, love. We stayed closed, we strayed far, we shared all our stories, or we fought. We had periods where we fought because each of us became more lion like near each other.

‘I have a wanderers spirit. I can never catch up to me.’

Neither of us felt at home anywhere. If we were anywhere too long, skin began itching, eyes wandering, minds dreaming. I would take trips, and Jami would pick up her things to leave. I visited Jami several times. Sometimes, I had a silly boy in tow, sometimes I needed a weekend where we laid in bed to read and drink coffee, and other times, we would then keep traveling. We would repeat the things we loved, painting, eating, sipping, looking, reading. Jami was refined and graceful, but also roamed unbound and free.

jamiirisShe came with her own air current…it smelled like honey, almonds, sandalwood, the seasons, and laughter.

She never questioned the woman that I grew into. She questioned when I masked that woman, bridled it, suppressed it, changed it, and made myself unhappy.She lived for the quiet, messier layers of life. The ‘wherever you go, there you are’ level that meant her red nails got dirt under them when she planted the flowers, and that she was just fine to go to dinner that way.

She traveled one summer and took the fall semester off. She worked at the best cafe, sang and played music, painted her room a drenching purple. We would meet in libraries, apartments, cafes, grocery stores, parks, and we would do things both mundane and wild. The thing with my beautiful friend is that she could make you feel like your life finally jumped off of the paper.  She would give gifts that were unexpected and perfect. She knew when to be silent and when to laugh with every nerve in her body. Her smile and eyes were beautiful n the elusive, Roman candle-esque way that Marilyn Monroe captivated us all. She sparkled brightly by being both wise and sweet, open and elusive, a rive and the ocean all at once.

We went to breakfast, one rainy morning. A small coffee shop, tucked away, on our way there, we chatted about our shared dream to become flight attendants. She spied a homeless man a ways down the street, so we jogged up to him and smiled. She gave him a $20 and I promised to come back to pick him up. I was headed the way he was going, after all. Then, she shook her head and offered for him to just come with us, which was the exact tender generous soul she had. He did and it was the funniest, most delightful day I had that spring.

Late that summer, we parted ways. I traveled across the state, she to another and we started new schools. Soon after, she became a flight attendant and I became a mother.  Occasionally, she had layovers near me. Life needed to stand still so that we could wander together for a few hours. One time, we sat in the cafe of a book store, as my future husband was walking our daughter through the children’s area. She watched him quietly, then said, ‘Do not let go. He’s ready for you.’ I smiled and shook my head, murmuring about not wanting marriage, and she laughed. She said, ‘Well, it wants you. You are the most lovely family. Give me something to smile on?’ I made sure to send her the first picture from our elopement, later on.

‘Alaska is amazing. Lonely, brutal, and it has captured every part of my heart. Do you still wear blue eyeliner?’

My beautiful golondrina of a friend had ridden the wind again to Alaska to teach. She had amazing adventures and sent me photos each week, her climbing the ice, her wonderful pup, food she had made, wine she drank, hikes, flowers, crafts with her kids. We talked about things children need, what it is to be a wife and mother. She sent me care packages to remind me that I must pamper myself – our shared favorite scent of body wash – Brown Sugar and Fig, boxes of pomegranates or grape fruit, so many books and bottles of nail polish. I sent her the 4 inch heels that a new mother never wears, the blue eyeliner with a tutorial for girls with green eyes, and buffalo jerky.

jamibradstew

‘I wish you could meet him. There isn’t a thing I can think of that I want to do without him.’

Jami met the love of her life in Alaska. We had both been lonely for so many long years. I had my daughter and got married so much sooner than she. I dearly wished that she was not only there on my special day, but there with the one. Not long after I read the email describing her soon to be husband, I saw pictures, read letters about all the things that they planned with their life, and best of all…talked on the phone shortly after they were engaged. She was content and fulfilled. She sounded more vibrant than ever. Her wedding pictures were sparkling and humble with love.

They have a daughter. A beautiful daughter who looks so much like her mother. Jami is the most radiant mother and we talk about how our life work has shifted. We have these amazing visions, to change our little corners of the world, as we are both in the Midwest. We talk about the little farms we plant in our yards, honey bees, making yogurt and kombucha, raising chickens for our children, we miss one another. The constant denominator is that we have always known we will see each other.

So, we sent each other more poetry and paintings. Christopher Moore, Tom Robbins, Gregory Corso. Wine colored nail polishes, knit things, gourmet chocolates.We commiserate about sleep, headaches, diapers, food that we want to eat with our husbands, and the full end of heels. We decide on different birthday and holiday traditions. She is shocked when I go through cancer, she cheers when I am in remission.I pull out the blanket she made my girl nearly nine years prior and smile as I send Jami a picture of it. We are more accustomed to not hearing from each other for long periods.

‘I have these instances where I lose vision in my eye and get headaches.’

After my own terrible run with cancer, and the fact that I pulled through…scraped up but better and wiser, I was honestly devastated when she told me that she was facing it down herself. I wandered into a church to light candles and say rosaries for her. I looked at my beautiful pictures of her, her wedding day, happy smiling couple snaps, adventures, a beautiful daughter, all off the contentment that she worked so very hard to earn.  It was just frustrating to me. Cancer had been the most terrible experience for me. It ripped my family up, changed so many things for me, and landed us in a very real financial situation that led to bankruptcy.

I was left embittered by not only cancer, but also where we live. So many things had gone so very wrong for me. But even in her own terrible situation, she reached out to gently remind me that we have to keep evolving and moving. We are not where we are or what we go through. I have always been humbled by her generosity, her kindness, and grace. It was such a spiraling situation, but I honestly thought it was going to be fine. Cancer is so weird, you really never know so you have to be totally optimistic.

When we wrote, I heard something new in her words. She was actually afraid and it devastated me. Her words began to take measure and a different shape. It was angular and careful, instead of something that spread into you, warming your soul up, and giving you new ideas. She spent time apologizing. I asked her not to, there was never a thing I wanted her to apologize for. In truth, I could not measure up to her – the beauty, the snapping sparkle of those green eyes, her melodic voice and laughter, the way she held a room, the very way that she existed. Jami…a most magical woman that I got to be friends with.

‘Forgive me, if I don’t make sense. It’s because I don’t see.’

We emailed and messaged a few more times this winter. She sounded far away to me. I called and sang to her for a Christmas present, because she would always sing to the stars. I  hoped that cancer had not caused her to forget that. Everything got harder for her and a terrible feeling settled over me. She had another surgery and illness set in…we were being so optimistic. We would visit Oregon in the summer. Help plant Jami’s garden with her husband and daughter. Cook and bake, then leave so she could nap. Take them to eat, breathe the beautiful air, see more stars, laugh with wine, and then I saw that Jami was not better at all. She had gone home with a prognosis of being terminal.

The worst thing happened, people. I could not lift my hands to my computer to write. I could not call. I sat on this bed and stared at the little swallows that we made in a pottery class over a decade ago, laughing and joking, batting eyes at cute, artist boys, as we painted our birds. At the end of the week that we made them, we went on this picnic, down to the river. She waded in and sang up to me, ‘You should keep my bird for me! I still have to fly for a while.’

I did. I do. I still have our birds. Jami taught me about the depth of beauty and refined, easy grace. She was fiery, artistic grace, mixed with the most genuine soul. Refreshing, honest, deeply funny, and terrifyingly smart. Everything about her is amazing. She is the credit to femininity and womanhood that e all should look to. The truth is Jami taught me to be more, to change this corner of the world, to always sparkle.

golondrinasJami died today. I am consumed by the grief and nothing has color. I have eaten rich foods and drank a beautiful Merlot to celebrate her but truthfully, I taste nothing. I can think of nothing but doing everything in my power to honor and celebrate her memory, despite my terrible grief. Nothing but finding as many ways as I can to help her husband and child as the walk this terrible road. Cancer wields a more terrible grip than death. It destroys your life, and the lives of all who surround you.

I have a decade and a half of letters, emails, books, art, jewelry, memories, and the acute knowledge that it was so very fleeting and not nearly enough. I am so blessed that I have had Jami Lynn and I am so lost with this fact that she is gone. She was that person who is a true Roman candle – regal, sparking, sparkling, funny, charming, kind, and powerful.

So many of us are raising the banner to help Jami’s family. I can think of people no more deserving after this terrible grief has settled on us all. So much struggle and loss does not deserve the price tag that insurance companies levy. I will be hosting as many fundraisers as I possibly can to help them. Many people are working on the start of a medical and memorial fund. If there is a way that you would like to help, please do.

My fundraiser is on my scentsy website – sararose.scentsy.us and Jami M Family Fundraiser, also Facebook, and you can always email me. All sales and all of my commission will go to this family.

There is also a Medical and Memorial Fund – Jami’s Memorial Fund. These donations can be written off for your taxes.

My friends, light a candle so she walks in light. Lend someone a helping hand and smile even more at those you love. Be the love that this world so needs.

Sparkles and Glitter,

Sara Rose

Birthday Boy Goes To The Red Room

 

So, today is Nolan’s birthday and yes… The lil tadpole is now over 30!!! He’s feeling altogether cautious and grumpy, so what better than to force him to read Fifty Shades of Grey and write a review for you all??? He is probably the most tame reviewer of it, actually. I wasn’t really expecting him to be so chill over it, this is a man who gets upset if ketchup isn’t correctly ‘applied’ to his burger. Whatever that means.

See, I tried to read the books. I couldn’t, it just made me gag over the poor writing. Then I tried reading the sex scenes, because I ave written erotica before and  was curious what ‘Twilight Spin Off Sex’ was going to be. That was a fail too. Then I tried skipping pages and reading random passages. Sadly, I think I understood what all the books were about by reading a sentence every 20 pages. Sigh.

Obviously, the husband is growing into a man, if I can demand that he write about these books for his birthday. He did it without complaint. I will say that the Mister is really coming into his own. He has never been as funny, clever, smart, or caring as he has been now that he is over that 30 year old hurdle. I have this theory that most men have to get past 30 to function sanely. I propose that the government should give me money to study this.

Everybody, take a big deep breath, scream ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY NOLAN!!!‘ Next, settle down and read his review. Finally, watch the BuzzFeed Try Guys video that we linked up in a following post. As always, you are welcome for the over share!!!

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose

Nolan. Not A Serial Killer.
Nolan. Not A Serial Killer.

Grab the popcorn. I’m about to tackle 50 Shades of Grey. Yes. Before I begin, note that this is about the complete trilogy of books, which I slogged this winter, in an attempt to better understand the hype and the hate.

Now, here are some things I expect people to think about the book:

“I couldn’t finish it!”

“I don’t so much as hate it, as hate the sheer amount of marketing done for it. I am sick of hearing about it.”

“At least The Story of O was better written.”

“I think Christian was an abusive asshole!”

“I wanted to punch Anna’s inner goddess in the face.”

“I just read the steamy bits.”

“I’m outraged! DON’T READ THIS BOOK! SO MUCH ABUSE! HOW DOES NOBODY UNDERSTAND THE ABUSE!”

“I’m disgusted by the blatant disregard for reality!”

“WTF is up with all the whips and chains?”

“I can’t believe this terribly written fan-fiction could be so successful!”

And on and on and on.

Now that that’s out of the way, here’s how I see it, and you can take it or leave it.

I hated that it’s fan fiction – but I would never have read it otherwise. Knowing it was going to be overhyped braintrash set a pretty low bar. But the sheer amount of marketing, and the continuation of that marketing and the free marketing by people continuing to flame each other about different elements of the books really grinds my gears.

I loved Christian’s emotional and psychological issues and the arc that surrounds them. So many people who criticize the books focus on how much depth its lacking. While this is generally true, Christian Grey is a truly three-dimensional character. He has conflicts, both internal and external. He continually has to grow to overcome emotional and real-world challenges. And at the end of the series, there’s a recognizable change from the Mr. Grey we meet with Ana early in Book One. Are both Christian’s flawed? Oh, man, yes. He’s a stalking, manipulative, calculating narcissist when we meet him, and there are elements of those things remaining in his personality at the end, but there’s also the clear desire and effort to become something better, and that aspiration to overcome terrible instincts and patterns of behavior is something worth considering.

I hated Ana’s strange personality and how she sometimes seemed mature and other times she acted 12. The books use the same stupid technique that Twilight and, to a lesser extent, even Divergent and the Hunger Games employ. It creates a blank slate character for females to insert themselves into and fantasize. There is little to no intrinsic artistic value. Writing is, in the end, about detaching yourself from reality, a pleasant little distraction from life – but this is just word porn. There are no ‘strong’ female characters here. These are all Mary Sues who have everything thrown at them: You’re special! Hot hunks of man meat adore you! The world depends on you! You have no parents to boss you around!

I loved the more deep, emotional scenes in the story, such as the lipstick-vest scene and Ana cutting Christian’s hair. While these aren’t boo-hoo, sob your eyes out, eat your feelings moments, these are the scenes where Christian’s growth shines through and where we can actually connect with him as a human being. While much of the writing might be terrible, these types of scenes, and they were relatively common throughout the series, were the payoff.

Regardless of whether you love it or hate it, 50 Shades of Grey has brought a new, critical eye to stereotypical romances, and erotica in particular, opening the door for more complex story concepts that aren’t idyllic in nature. Seriously.  The problem here is that new erotica authors have saturated the market with dark, paranormal, pseudo-horror erotica, when there is potential for so much more. People, especially in uptight America, could use a reminder that erotica has been extremely popular on a global scale throughout history, even during the strict, tighten-your-petticoats Victorian age.

So, even if you can’t get lost in what is clearly a fantasy, you can at least appreciate this silver lining: it has people discussing important issues such as stalking, abuse, and sexual diversity. These are good things people, and even if good things have to come from trash, they’re still good things. So, read ‘em or don’t read ‘em, just don’t blindly jump on the “love” or “hate” bandwagons without giving the source a closer look.

 

 

9 or 10? Thoughts on Love.

Before we start this, I must inform you that I am terrible with dates…because math.

Apparently my husband and I have been together, or married, or complaining at each other for a lot of years now. Like, 9 or 10? I never remember this, ever, but I remember when we met each other because it was the day after his birthday and our wedding anniversary because it’s the day after Independence Day. Built in festivity for all!!! I can name all the things that I abhor or complain about in my marriage, or my man (you do NOT need five pairs of socks a day, and nobody answers the door wearing shoes at night). I’m gonna try being nice. Yeah, let’s talk about the good stuff and the sweet. Let’s chat it all up a bit! Who’s with me?

9years

Nolan and I met serendipitously, I suppose. Via our dear friend, Jenn, and so many other factors that came smashing in around us. I would like to point out that as a new mama, I was entirely ill prepared for all of it. As in a verbatim of ‘Unless you plan to marry me, go away.’ Mistress of romance, that I am. The thing is, I had never truly ‘planned’ on marriage. Long term, yes. But really, until he came along? Nope.

It was odd but steadying for him to walk in and instantly be ok with the banal part of life. 11 pm grocery runs, a day spent doing laundry and watching reruns,writing a paper while burping the baby. Very quickly, the whole conversation about marriage came around, and it didn’t feel awkward. Nor did it have that tremor of over excitement that most quick start infatuations have. It was all very real and steady.

There were setbacks. Yeah, in the form of him having really strange parents, us realizing we had financial set backs, and other very real issues to face. Eva was sick often, I had a surgery, the list was a bit endless. In the end, we grew discouraged by the idea that a wedding was so much more about showmanship than love. We had a very clear vision, a few people by Spearfish Creek while we said our vows. A dinner at my mom’s restaurant, a wedding night in a cabin. Perfect to us. However…….

We eloped.

It was a few people outside the old, sandstone court house. We were under a huge oak tree and there was a breeze that swirled leaves around us. Afterward, we drank champagne with guests back at our house, then went to a wonderful dinner with a small group. We spent that night in a beautiful suite, ate a lot of gummi bears, and wondered why on earth they had carnival fun mirrors by the jacuzzi.

As it is with marriage, every single year is a zen tangle of things. Good, bad, wonderful, awful, everyone in a decent marriage has their fair share of things that have them ready to squeal and gouge their eyes out or cry with happiness. What I appreciate is that I married a man who is constant and steady. He is devoted and will always put others before himself. He is intelligent and funny. He is also a pretty great dad. He isn’t perfect, but if I nag him long enough, he tries.He seems to have a very innate understanding of how I work, which is a breath of fresh air.

Too many people have spent too much time buying into the idea that you have to be perfect. No, you just have to try your hardest. I am not a perfect wife. I am probably totally awful sometimes, you know? I can be temperamental, sullen, introverted, or outrageously excited, silly…and I usually expect far too much. I almost never back down from a fight or argument, despite knowing all too well to pick and choose battles. In the heat of the moment, I just want to be right.

I didn’t have very many examples of a steady marriage, and as I mentioned, I had never planned to get married. I thought about it occasionally. But usually settled on the idea that I would get irritated and want to move on. I don’t know that it was motherhood or Nolan that changed that. But after the two of them came into my life in rapid progress, I began to think differently. I have always been used to a certain level of loneliness and the color of that changed drastically.

VdayMyMan

On this Valentine’s Day, I am grateful for the steadiness and consistency that we have started to build, bit by bit over the years. I am relieved to have someone to laugh with, who gets my crazy humor, and doesn’t really mind my penchant for nail polish or glitter. I love that we both know when the other person needs space, or just needs to get over it. I also happen to thing that he is particularly good looking and the most polite man I have ever met.

The picture of us on our wedding day, so many years ago, it has so much effervescent resolve. So very much of that ‘It’s us against the world!!!’  Nowadays, we still have the resolve but it is far more focused. At the beginning of our relationship, we loved spending money stupidly and we were very impetuous, rash, but sweet and silly. Nowadays, we love cooking dinner together, taking the kids for long walks, talking about books, and laughing. It’s about simple rituals and finding moments, you know?

I am grateful that I took this path. I love you, Nolan. I love the kiddos, Eva and Owen. Be love, every day, every one!

Give someone a hug after you read this.

Glitter and Sparkles,

Sara Rose