Satchel Dump

• A satchel dump, a purse dump, a backpack or a duffel dump are all names for dumping it all out on the table. No filter. No sorting. Just a jumble of randomness that represents bits and pieces of who I am.

• I have a tendency to start things and not finish them, to have grand ideas and big dreams, but to not follow through. This year, I am changing that. I’m setting goals and meeting them. Okay, okay… if I’m honest, I’ve only just almost met my first big goal, but at least I’m trying and making progress, and I’m not giving up.

• My friend’s birthday is on the 11th, and I wanted to do something special for him, so I decided to give him the best thing I could think up: his very own homemade art journal. I bought one of the black Dylusion journals at the store and began painting and sketching and collaging in it. I’ve been working on it for three months now, and I think I will finish the last page in the journal later today. I am so, so proud of myself. I feel buoyant, like I finally have the strength and determination to the tackle the things in life that are most important to me. I know he will read the words and look at the collaging and feel so much love crash over him, because that art journal is nothing if not full of love. ❤️

The Road to Writing Flash Fiction

I’m going to start writing flash fiction. I keep bouncing the idea around in my brain. It’s like this pinball of thought that keeps making its way back to me.

It all started when I checked out a book from the library by Naomi Shihab Nye. In the past, I’ve really enjoyed her poetry, so when I saw her name on a book of very short stories, I snatched it up. A classmate of mine recommended flash fiction to me years ago, but it seemed so far out there. I’d never heard of it before, never read any of it and thought it was too different to be something that I could do that would be taken seriously. That’s pretty silly of me, I know. I mean, what’s so great about being taken seriously anyway? Wouldn’t it be okay for me to write whatever I wanted to write as long as I enjoyed the process of writing it?

Loop to the top. Long story short, I’m going to start writing flash fiction. I’m excited about it. I’ve been really enjoying this book by NSN, really feeling the possibilities of that type of writing open up for me.

Today, I cooked. I cleaned. I did laundry and dishes. I took care of the kids and went to Parent Day at their school and helped with their homework and shopped for new clothes for them. I did all these little things that needed doing, and before I knew it, the day was over and I still hadn’t written. Tomorrow I am going to try writing something while listening to music and drinking my morning coffee. Did I mention that I’m excited!?

Hesitantly Vegan

I want to become vegan. I’m hesitant to announce this to anyone because I’m finding it takes a lot of planning and change. I can’t just reach for what I used to reach for when I was hungry. I have to come up with a new way of eating, of making old favorites or of making new favorites. I checked out a stack of vegan cookbooks from the library, and I’ve been trying a couple of new recipes a week. I bought a vegan veggie burger cookbook too. It just got here today, and I’m super excited about trying some of the recipes in it as well.

So far, my favorite new recipe is this Thai coconut soup that I made last week. It was really scrumptious, and I’m planning on making it again this week. I also made hummus yesterday for the first time. It turned out pretty good too. I’ve been using this cookbook called Vegan Planet. I really like it. It has 400 and some vegan recipes in it. I haven’t even begun to dip into them yet. I think I’ve made 4 recipes so far.

If I’m honest, the real reason that I’m interested in becoming vegan isn’t to lose weight or to be healthier, although both of those things are nice. The real reason is because I want to be kind to animals, and I’ve felt slightly guilty eating meat for years. I just wish I didn’t like it so much. Especially turkey. What does a vegan eat on Thanksgiving is what I want to know. I suppose I can eat stuffing and cranberry sauce. That’s a start.

I’ve gotta stop looking at the things that I wouldn’t be able to eat and start looking more at the things that I would be able eat, and I definitely need to stop going to McDonald’s. I get into nothing but trouble there.

While we’re on the subject of being vegan, something I’ve been thinking about for weeks now… Happy World Vegan Day! Apparently World Vegan Day is today, November 1st.

Another Chance At Life

I’ve been silent, focusing on the physical me instead of the spiritual. I’ve been eating edamame, oatmeal, raw pumpkin seeds, chopped dates, yogurt and all sorts of other things to help make my body more healthy. I have neglected the part of me that sighs when the leaves fall from the trees in autumn, neglected the part of me that craves connection and meaning. There must be a way for me to find balance. It’s a struggle for me. For years, I’ve tended to do well in one area while failing in the other areas. What will it take before I can balance the things that matter to me? How is it that I’ve grown so lopsided?

This is October, my favorite month, the time of the year that makes me feel like change is coming, change for the better, a chance at a newer and brighter life. October feels like a time when the slate’s wiped clean and I get another chance at life. With each gust of wind, more leaves fall from the trees, and I feel like the changes are going to make a difference this time, this time I will turn the page and start a new chapter in my life. This time, it won’t just be more of the same.

 

It’s Almost September

It’s almost September, and I’m looking forward to the weather changing. I like cool, crisp fall mornings. I love sweaters and scarves and walking through crunchy leaves on sidewalks. I love when the leaves change colors and there are patches of yellows and swathes of oranges. I love pumpkins and hot cider, love hayrides and trick or treating.

I suppose it’s a little odd to be writing about fall when it’s supposed to be 83 degrees here today. It is still August, after all. I guess I just need something to look forward to, and all of those little things are things that make me smile.

My Small Life

One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail. I’ve written about it before, but I’ll say it again. I’m obsessed with writing letters, with connecting with someone through the written word. I wrote a friend of mine the other day, and I quoted that movie. These lines in particular seem to describe me too:

“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life – well, valuable, but small – and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?”

This is me too. I’m cloistered, withdrawn. I have difficulty connecting with people in person. I suppose that writing letters is a way for me to communicate that is not quite so scary as communicating in person, and there is always time to allow an idea to percolate before having to share it. Sometimes I wish I lived a grander life, an exciting life, but I don’t.

I shop at little farm stands. The librarians know me by name. I know the one lane bridges on tiny country roads. I walk alongside the corn fields and pick wildflowers. I like baking pies. I know all these things about myself, but sometimes I still wonder who I am. I feel like the me that’s deep inside is the me that matters, and I can’t quite get her to come out of hiding.

Things I Like About Myself

*  I have great taste in music. 
*  I make awesome instrumental playlists. 
*  I'm a good cook. 
*  I'm a great mommy. 
*  I'm loyal. 

*  I'm trustworthy. 
*  I'm kind. 
*  I have a big heart. 
*  I'm creative. 
*  I make nice jewelry. 

*  I love my poetry. 
*  I love how passionate I am. 
*  I also love how deeply I feel. 
*  I remember little kindnesses. 
*  I have pretty hair. 

*  I love fiercely. 
*  I'm compassionate. 
*  I have good taste in plants. 
*  My eyes are a nice shade of blue. 
*  I have freckles on my shoulders.

a person of letters

Today is a slouchy sort of day, the type of day when the heat slumps over on you like a drunk person who falls asleep next to you on a train. Not that I’ve ever had a drunk person fall asleep on my shoulder. But somewhere, years ago, someone did fall asleep on me, and I imagine the heat to feel something like that weight and also the caution with which I sat still so as not to wake him.

I’m reading more lately, learning words like outsize and tumid, words that are large and swollen, words you can use to describe a sex scene if you want to put a literary spin on it. I read as a sort of shield, a way of lying to myself that I’m actually working on my writing by seeing what other people have written. I tell myself that I’m contributing to society by reading books, by slowly eating my way through them the way I’d want someone to devour something, anything, that I wrote.

I write here because I don’t have anyone to write letters to. If I could have any little thing right now, I think I would choose to have someone with whom to exchange letters, someone with whom I could exchange book reviews and scraps of poetry, postcards and drafts of short stories. I fantasize that I will miraculously turn into a person of letters (whatever that means) simply by writing this nonexistent writer friend of mine over and over again for decades on end. In my mind, this person is someone whose brilliance is underestimated, someone whose work I would read with delight, exclaiming over all the sections in which I could see myself.

It’s silly, isn’t it? To wish for someone to write letters to when no one writes letters anymore. We blog. We text. We email every now and then when we can’t get away with sending a series of texts. But we hardly ever, practically never, get out a piece of paper and a pen and sit down and write someone a letter. It used to be that I could recognize my friends’ handwriting. Now I rarely know what any of their handwriting looks like. If I close my eyes, I can still recall Amy’s bubbly letters, Christina’s blocky text, Ethan’s messy script. I’m not in touch with any of them anymore, but I still remember the way their writing looked on a page.

When I hold a pen now, my hand cramps up. I have been unused to writing by hand, everything being letters on a screen. But on this humid day, I want nothing more than to go down to the end of the driveway and look into my box and find a letter from a friend. I want to curl up in front of the air conditioner with a glass of sweet tea and savour each paragraph that my friend wrote. Alas, no friends of mine write letters. The box, when I checked it, was full of junk mail and magazines, and I remain very much not a lady of letters.