Wednesday, January 20, 2016

it was a baby to me

I miscarried.

God, it's hard to write that out. I've been avoiding that sentence since I first had to utter it, last summer. We had just told our families the week before and felt the joy of fulfilled anticipation and then I had my first ultrasound and then, and then, the ultrasound was empty. My blood counts started dropping, and within a week of that ultrasound I was in surgery, because even though there was no baby my body wouldn't let the pregnancy go.

As it turns out, there was never any baby, not at any point. This is what they tell me. Like some excerpt from a terribly written science-fiction novel I learned that my body was pregnant, but it was pregnant with a nothing. Six weeks in the nothing stopped growing, but my body stayed pregnant. Seven weeks, eight weeks, nine weeks along. Only I wasn't along.

One of Nature's crueler jokes, as it turns out, is something called a blighted ovum (or anembryonic pregnancy). Everything goes according to plan except that whole part of the process where a baby is made. Common, I've learned. Heartbreaking, too. I am not mourning the loss of a baby, but the loss of an idea. So I got the positive tests and the spiked blood counts and the growing uterus with stuff inside it and the weight-gain and the INSATIABLE HUNGER and the bigger clothes and the announcements and the planning and appointments and no baby.

But nobody died.

Nobody died. I pierced myself on this double-edged sword for a long time, and I'm probably still on it. On the one hand, that there was no loss of life is a blessing. It's a good thing, isn't it? Nobody died. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child at any stage past conception is survivable, and had somebody died, well, that would have been much worse. My grief over the loss felt and feels like cheating, because there was, not really, a loss.

On the other hand, I lost something. As it was explained to me, the positive sign on that pregnancy test immediately changes the lens on your whole life. Now everywhere you look, you see life through the lens of having a child. When you miscarry, it's as if the lens is stolen away, and without warning or preparation, you just have to deal with the sudden change of vision. Every time you encounter a view you haven't yet looked at through this scope, you have to adjust yourself. It takes awhile. That while and that adjustment hurts.

We are well into what would have been my third trimester. And I'm still sad. By instinct and without thinking I can tell you how far along I am, or would have been. Maybe not by week, because it would be too sad to count the weeks. But, generally. Generally, and also somehow quite acutely, I know. It's there like gravity, it never leaves. I wake up and fall asleep with the knowledge that I'm not adjusting my posture and I don't have any trouble standing up and I haven't had to pee in rather a normal amount of time. I'm back into my pre-no-baby jeans and I'm working myself up to run a 10k in the spring. And I wish I wasn't.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


There's something so beautiful about a new year, the promises as-yet-unfilled but oh, so present. Promise means everything to me, right now. Imagination, too. The daydreams and their rally cries have filled my head and heart.

And yet, it's January fifth. Five days in to the new year and I've not written a thing, except those first few sentences. I've been day-jobbing to the nth, organizing cabinets and laundry at home, and enjoying our rare winter sunshine as a method of escape from the first two. The pressure I put on myself to write every day is exponential; which is, perhaps, in a backwards way, why I don't.

Life is full, and priorities get mixed up in a bag of emotion. Sure, I prioritize writing, until my daughter walks in and wants me to craft with her, or chat, or play. There's not a moment's thought between what I was doing, and what I'm doing now she's here. When my husband comes home from work and offers me his thoughts on the day I run to him - nay, sprint - as fast emotionally possible. Computer? Processing? Those sentences can wait. It's time for our mid-week, post-bedtime, impromptu couch date.

So maybe this year will be more about the reconnect to earth, that fine balance of PRODUCE vs EMBRACE. Pausing is necessary, but so is work. I'm still on my "Inspiration as starting place is bunk!" bandwagon, though admittedly, my natural state is to wait for it.

There's something so beautiful about a new year, and the promises we tell ourselves we'll keep. Common commentary mocks resolution, points a funny finger at it, and laughs. But I say, make resolutions, conjure dreams, decide. Then, at your will: falter, sleep, and change your mind. Priorities, after all, are merely emotional. Who knows what this year will bring? Be in the moment, whenever you find yourself in one. Bring your whole self with you; be where you are. Excuse yourself to the sanctuaries of your productivity, but when you are finished, bring your works and you back out into the bustle of every day life. You're needed, even if you feel you haven't done a thing.


Thursday, December 31, 2015


Extraordinary Observer  by Enkel Dika:
Extraordinary Observer by Enkel Dika
Inspiration is a nice idea, but make no mistake: inspiration is not the starting point for art and creativity. Inspiration is a byproduct of creativity. The more we make, the more we are drawn to the act of making. The more we write, the more we are moved to get words out. Each painting hones our skills, each drawing our hands, to continue doing that which we've already started. Inspiration doesn't wait for the right timing, or for perfect circumstances. Inspiration goes to those who do the work; she goes where the creators are. She doesn't wait for perfect health, empty desks or quiet children.

Nobody's going to wait for you to catch up. Galleries won't save space until you've got your art room ready. Literary fans won't wait for you to write your words before they read at all, they'll just read someone else. Crafts will delight, be held dear, fill shelves. Art will be made, it demands to be made! That Muse will find a spot to land, whether it be your restaurant napkin or your neighbor's.

This year, be resolute. Don't wait anymore. Do that work which holds your heartbeat at the ready.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015


please see links below for photo credit!

9. let it go
8. why Christians should practice yoga and play the drums
7. pushing clay
6. what I know
5. leaving eden
4. every time you erase the word
3. per annum (we are what we've got)
2. awake
1. landslide

The 2015 Best Nine. Is there such a thing? Already? The year, as it turns out, is over. I write because I have to, and yet, I'm learning, there are people who actually enjoy reading these things I put on my little internet corner. You read and I consider you a beautiful person. Each one of your visits means so much to me.

Listed above are the afterthoughts that were most-read this year, with the top post (landslide) being read nearly twice as much as any other. It seems hardship and its resulting honesty are universally understood. Thank you for this. Pausing to take note of your support and interest in my work has been a truly humbling experience. This year has been difficult to navigate; you make it easier to do so through words.

I have so much more on the go, at the ready. My #365project (as per this post) is kicking up a lot of soul-dust. This is a good thing. Thank you for sticking with me, for joining me as I figure out what it means to be an artist, all the time; and not only when words come easy. If the Lord allows, I will be a lot busier this year, with The Work; whatever that looks like.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

out with the new

The winds of need are changing. Normally I'd go looking for new; but, no.

I'm looking for roots, this time. Deep and holy, muddied with history, tangled with soul. This new leaf has got to be attached to a tree of old, or I am just not interested in pursuing it. Here's the thing: I already know what I'm good at. And I know, very well, what I'm bad at. Yet my working hours, by force or happenstance, are filled with the things that bring me no joy, show me no promise, land me in my areas of lack. I'm sitting at a desk I'd rather not be at, doing work I would rather not do, because I need the paycheck, because my boss hasn't gotten rid of me yet (though that lack would justify a dismissal). I haven't bothered to build another desk anywhere else. I don't want to leave, no, I just want to know what I'm good at, so my errors don't derail me.

This morning, in a moment of mistake-riddled distress, I Googled "365 days to change your life."  My thought process, since you asked, was as follows: my gift to myself next Christmas shall be an active role in creative work, and every day this year I will do one thing toward that goal. I can't deny this artist's heart any longer. I got brush pens and sketchbooks from my love yesterday, and I miss them already, want more already. That pottery class I took in the spring has been haunting my shadowed conscience, daily. I have doodles and rough ideas taking over my brain, and my hands are aching to make. There's oxygen in them thar hills, and I'm ready to go find it.

Where is writing on that list? It's still in there, between breaths. I talk a big talk about my love affair with pen-to-paper. But I have recognized that my desire to write has a lot to do with the act of creation itself: that moment of inspiration wherein there was blank space, now there is something beautiful. Who knows if I will be able to make anything beautiful, but the point is, I need to try. The ink is drying up. Even though, I hope, I'm not finished yet.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

every time you erase the word

Kids say the darnedest things. So, as it turns out, does their homework. I've heard child therapists will use methods like drawing and playtime to help the children express their truest feelings. I can see why. I've learned things from her barbies that would break your heart, surprise you, delight you; things you'd never know otherwise. Now, her school papers do the talking.

From my experience and understanding, children who live in a split situation are incredibly unique, and carry with them a skill-set not necessarily given to those in solitary households. In our case, my step-daughter can read a room, a face, a tone-of-voice, like no one I've met before. But, as I've learned, she has to. It's become her instinct. She has a high degree of interest in maintaining and practicing this ability, too. After all, this skill enables her survival.

So, when feedback comes in the form of homework, interpretation becomes difficult. Professions of love erased, or specifically avoided, are either true, or not true. Perhaps that sounds too obvious. Everything could be said to be true or not true, so why does it matter here? Because truth is the thing that makes her world so difficult to navigate; and thus, our understanding of her world. Murkiness is the other thing that helps her ease the pressure. She can not get in trouble for loving me, if she doesn't actually write it down. That picture of a woman who looks like me saying the thing I said last week is actually of "no one, really," and that kid in the picture saying a beautiful word which has been hastily erased, well, it means she's kept her heart safe for another cycle. At least, that's the hope.

This is all too much information, I'm sure. This year has brought much hardship and admittedly, I am afraid to write about it. Because if I write it down, it happened. So I stay quiet, avoid my blog and office, and go elsewhere. But I've been peeking ahead at the ever changing leaves and it
looks like they require something different. Like our darling, life gets a little easier if I don't write the truth down on paper. Murkiness is the thing that helps me deal with the things I'd rather not stand up against.

But, I've been learning, fear is no way to live. If I write down a word you've been longing to hear, Lord, I promise, I will not erase it.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

to the world and back

Isn't it possible: you were created for such a time as this?

We say this every generation; because
every generation needs someone, or thousands,
or all of us, to say:


War is an old story, after all, oft' retold.
Voices rally and change begs for completion.
Hope stirs quietly on our edges.

On edge, held breath, our voices leave our throats
and sound
like someone else's pain;
storied tragedies now our realities and we fight
to heal our world


And yet, in our midst, there are those
who would split themselves in two
if only it means the world and others in it
might break apart, too.

We are inherently evil, it seems;
because we'd kill the killer, if only to make him stop.
We'd end the Torturer's reign,
by whatever means would have her drop
six feet under
or onto another planet
made of eternal fire
wherein the innocent are never subject to torture.

But the only planet we have access to is the one we're on.
Yet we break her,
fill her rivers with blood,
build our lives at her expense and without thought.

How great is our pain?
Not greater than those
who step t'ward bodies
with memories that ache
for the times they knew
before we knew of their deaths;
the sound of a suicide bomb,
the feel of a shot to the chest;
before we knew how to count bodies.

We bury the dead and leave heart pieces with them,
pray them off to eternal rest
beg mercy from the heavens
hold funeral processions
and hope those, too, don't end us.

Lord, Have Mercy on us all.