Laura Caceras stood with her sister, her mother’s namesake, and spoke those words to a crowd in honour of her late mother, Berta, a human rights defender and environmental activist, 2015 winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize, who was assassinated in her home on March 3rd this year, for her work to stop the same kind of bulldozers the BC Premier is trying to send tothe Peace River Valley. The place is the Honduras where she and others from Copinh fought against Central America’s biggest hydropower projects–a group of four dams in the Gualcarque river basin, including the Agua Zarca dam. Between 2010 and 2014, one hundred members of the group, were murdered in cold blood. I find this young woman’s words eloquent, driven, and determined. I stand with her, as I do today with Kristin Henry, everyone at the Hunger Site, those protesting at Site C in the Peace River Valley, and every human rights and environmental activist around the world.
Happy Thursday. I hope you all are having a fine day. Mine is feeling positive right now, especially as I settle in to chat with you and to breathe new life into these pages.
I’ve been ill for over a year now and this account and my blog fell by the wayside. I don’t share much about it while in the throes of uncertainty. Long periods of time can go by before I feel the ability to reach out to continue my work on and off-line.
However, today I acknowledge that I have experienced my post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms to the highest degree. These include panic attacks, depression, insomnia, isolation, estrangement, an inability to concentrate, and introversion. These issues have been huge obstacles for me problems since I was about six or seven. I handle it but privately struggle with its impact every day of my life.
For years, I worried about sharing myself through writing. I don’t want to add negativity and despair to the world, and fight that with everything in me. I would be devastated to learn that a vulnerable person happened across something I wrote and felt worse because of it. That kind of responsibility is scary but all I want is to share with others, teach, and, if possible, to inspire.
I worry too much, don’t you think?
Sometimes I find it hard to comprehend that. I mean, it is like being rewarded with a squeaky clean new life. It is not like those little folks whose first glimpse of earth fell on the 2016 side of the line, our future not past, only to win prizes and money sometimes. However, it is a revered gift just the same. With that, I celebrate a renewed effort, bursting with promise and hope.
Happy Monday. Today I am going to motivate each one of you, no matter where you live in the world.
Of course, no one sleeping in the dead of night will hear it. People who are out for dinner will devour their meal—unless their companion’s choice is so tantalizing, it sets off in them an olfactory rave. If midway through their work day, I hate to say, workers are already too far gone and in a synaptic free fall.
Yes. I have issued a break to all those people. You, my friend, are not so lucky.
Oh, wait. I am. My circadian rhythms have been off for weeks now. I fit into every group. In effect, I live in every time zone.
Time for tea, reading, food, a bath, and writing in the #SeptWritingChallenge. Perhaps I’ll recite poetry under neon lights while fishing. Anything is possible.
Until then, if you need a goal, inspire others.
- Work on book reviews I couldn’t read while so sick and having trouble with my eyes.
- Do those incredible authors justice by giving their work the time it needs. This includes Lisette Brodey (Molly Hacker is Too Picky), Lorna Suzuki (the Imago Series) and J.P. McLean (The Gift Trilogy).
- Figure out who the gator was who served my breakfast à la carte this morn.
- Share more of the writing I’m working on.
- Find out how to become a beta reader and how to secure several.
- Plan some writing to share with my writing buddy as soon as she is ready.
- Continue reading the titles I am reading in my off-time, which often seems like almost never.
- I’m rereading many older classics (which I still love) and about fifteen new books. Some of these are, Fall of Giants and Lie Down With Lions (the first two of a Ken Follett trilogy); On Writing Well (Stephen King); The Prince (Niccolo Machiavelli), A Bridge to the Stars (Henning Mankell); A Field Guide to Getting Lost (Rebecca Solnit); Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy); A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens); The Brothers Karamazov (Fydor Dostoyevsky); The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver); The Language of Baklava (Diana Abu-Jaber); A Stolen Life (Jaycee Dugard), All Rivers Run To The Sea: Memoirs (Elie Wiesel); Ring Around The Rosary (Gretchen Grossman); Trust No One (Jayne Ann Krentz); The Rummy Club (Anoop Ahuja Judge); and Shades of Blue: Writers on Depression, Suicide, and Feeling Blue (Amy Ferris). Plus there are so many more I badly want to read.
- Keep writing. Even when it hurts and has me feeling so bad. Take control of my emotions; I know that is possible now. Without alcohol or drugs but with chocolate cake. (Love you Esko.)
- Post my word counts.
- Take sweet Meco to vet for a spay.
- Meditate more.
- Cherish every single second.
- Work out hard enough to work up a good sweat.
- After that, treat myself to a hot bath by candlelight.
- Remember the deadline for all of this is lunchtime.
Yes, I’ve been silent most of this year but it was not due to a lack of care or concern for my goals and those of my friends (reading and book reviews). That will never change.
I will spare you that, except to say that there was a death in my family early in the year. This reignited my depression, which compounded problems with my health. However, I will not let that define or claim me. What matters is that I rededicated myself to the work which consumes my heart and soul. Writing!
I joined two Facebook groups–#500words and the #JulyWritingChallenge. In addition, I’m trying to get posting more often on some of my favorite blogs again like Roadmap, Women on the Verge, She Writes and others I found through these sites.
In October, I’ll be attending Laura’s retreat ‘Writing as a Pathway through Grief, Loss, Uncertainty and Change’. These six days will be instructive and encouraging, not to mention at Commonweal in beautiful Bolinas, California.
Did I mention that Nancy London and David Colin-Carr would be co-facilitating with Laura? I know it will be exactly what I need!
Happy weekend to everyone. Enjoy. Relax.
May your writing process be blissful.
If not, I hope you are ornery enough to clinch your teeth and stick to that page or keyboard.
Ah yes! Meet Meco, our twelve week old kitten. She is waiting for me to dare approach my laptop.
Non-threatening, I know. That’s her strategy.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” Brene Brown.
She pointed to the door. I knew better than not to hurry so I jumped through it as fast as I could. I squatted in the hall closet, trying not to touch daddy’s baseball bats with my toes. I didn’t want him mad at me. I could still see mommy and heard daddy at the front door.
I didn’t tell mommy I wanted to see daddy. I loved when he was home! He cuddles me. Tickles me and blows on my tummy. That makes me laugh. My big brothers call me pet, but I don’t care.
“Now don’t come out until I get you.” I nodded. Mommy looked like she was gonna cry, so I did. Then daddy yelled. I heard a really big bang. I was so scared, I peed my pants. I grabbed daddy’s glove and hugged it on my lap, hiding the wet spot.
“I’m sorry mommy!” I sobbed. I didn’t like it when mommy or daddy were mad at me.
“Open this door,” daddy yelled in a booming voice.
Mommy started shutting the door and I fell back against daddy’s coats. I thought she was gonna slap my face.
“Shh!” mommy said, closing me off from the light.
I have fallen in love more times than one,
thank the Lord. Sometimes it was lasting
whether active or inactive. Sometimes
it was all but ephemeral, maybe only
an afternoon, but not less real for that.
They stay in my mind, these beautiful people
or anyway beautiful people to me, of which
there are so many. You, and you and you,
whom I had the fortune to meet, or maybe
missed. Love, love, love, it was the
core of my life, from which, of course, comes
the word for the heart. And, oh, have I mentioned
that some of them were men and some were women
and some — now carry my revelation with you —
were trees. Or places. Or music flying above
the names of their makers. Or clouds, or the sun
which was the first, and the best, the most
loyal for certain, who looked so faithfully into
my eyes, every morning. So I imagine such
love of the world — its fervency, its shining, its
innocence and hunger to give of itself — I
imagine this is how it began.”
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, Vol. 1
When I focus on how I changed history, altering someone’s life, I cannot help but think that drawing attention to such a thing is just an exercise in ego massage. Naturally, with the religious guilt I still cart around, I hung my head.
Twenty seconds later, another feeling burst to flower.
“What to heck is wrong with that?”
I like it. However, to deal with a lingering thread of confusion, I can participate only by sharing the spotlight.
Is it wrong to admit that I have helped a friend through two decades of L’Oreal? Talk about change. Oh my gawd! When it worked, it was the best of times. When it didn’t, it was the very worst. (Yes. I dared add that useless adverb so you, dear reader, would dwell on it a few seconds longer, conjuring up images of depth and despair.)
When we’re drowning in the latter, the solution usually needed another trip to the store and two extra colourings–all of which culminated in a fried scalp and a friend I couldn’t recognize in a crowd for weeks.
I don’t know. That sounds dubious to me.
How about that my friend has held my hand through one bad hair year that shot for a trifecta, to fixations on a purple-pink checkerboard, raven black brush cut–a phase when only a bonafide barber would do–all the way to a beehive coronation by an over excited hairdresser.
No matter, we birthed, molded, shaped, and scraped, burnt, teased, and sometimes eased, hair care for each other. Cried and lied (about how much we love it). Shared and laired (holed up while things got better). First, cursed and always coerced, till combs do part us forever.