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"100 Words is about capturing life on a daily basis...”
Aha! It's about time I do this. Because I want to do this. Because I love doing this. And maybe because I know this will help heal some of my issues of perfectionism. Right this moment, the tormentors are doing the old song and dance about how lame and insignificant and stupid and blah-blah-blah. Well, let's write about all that, too. No limits, no controls, except of course for the word count of 100 words. So here we go. As my writing buddy, Allison said, "fresh and new and squeaky clean."!
i close my eyes to listen. you whisper from the distance, then forcefully into the quivering corners of my mind. you cleanse and clear away the fog making this your path. indiscriminate and without rhythm, now gentle, now ruthless. i close my eyes to feel you, cold and harsh yet life-giving, awakening the dead from their eerie slumber. you howl. i am compelled to listen with everything i've got.
look at me. i come and go as i please. everything and everyone who come my way fear me, envy me, adore me.
your arrogance draws me into you even more.
hair dyed different shades of blond, nails polished shimmery copper, knee touching his under the table. she sips her tea. "i have a cramp." she moans. he looks at her, eyes all tender, moving blond whisps off her face. i adore him, she thinks, how he takes extra care to warm the car...cramp...orders my drinks just the way i want them...cramp....says the proper things to my folks...CRAMP. she squirms, concerned about this strange pain unlike any other she's felt before, knowing nothing of the tumultuous world that awaits her just outside this street corner cafe.
i look at the bramble, they're all over the snow. used to be i'd crumble at the sight of such shambles or mumble a complaint or two, because i would not know what to do. as i grow more nimble my patience no longer just a thimble-full the many foibles only prove to make me humble, not blue. i still bumble about, running around like a headless bee, frightened by the night and the monsters in me. i may stumble or cry, scramble for the door, fall flat to the floor. on good days i shine my very own light.
rocks keep falling on my head, no gentle raindrops here. there's a mountain of stones on top of me. what have i done? open some pandora's box? i can't move that sucker either. it sits by my dresser in a golden tray winking it's shiny evil eye, in icy tones asks "so this is what you wanted, yes? crack it all and drink up, missy! you deserve everything and more!" tied to my ankle, monster rock lingers. sometimes i forget it's there. but like an avalanche it comes without warning, i claw and bleed, crushed and broken in a million pieces.
what's next? now that light has been shed on the sacred truth?
i know your mind is going a million miles per hour. that's okay. in time it will all be revealed. take it slow. breathe it in. you are not alone. you are never alone. the truth will set you free and now
has set you free. trust and have faith in this. let Spirit guide you. you are on the right path. Spirit will continue to show you the next step on this sacred path. live in courage, child. it’s the only way.
you are LOVE.
anita was thirty seven, a little overweight and a hypochondriac. she was married, had one teenage son with her husband who really, if you thought about it, was her father. "papa, what should we have for dinner?" she'd ask him in that splenda-sweet baby voice. he shrugged. he always shrugs. he saw the ingredients for
already meticulously prepared on immaculately clean kitchen counters which she scrubs with five lysol wipes every night. she was a great cook. it was the only thing she knew how to do properly. indecisiveness made her a prisoner of her own life.
me: oona, drink your warm water, honey. it's getting cold. (she has a cough and i want her to wash down the cereal and milk from her mouth.)
oona: no, thanks, momiya.
oona: it's brownish.
me: brownish? (i check the water. it is perfectly fine.)
oona: ya. brownish. like hot cocoa.
she was imagining the hot cocoa, smelling it. this is our special mug for that. i love how imaginative, how originally creative kids are. they just say things that come to mind without censoring, belittling, criticizing themselves like we grown-ups so often do.
brownish. i love it.
i walk the length of the mall. i see a rainbow of beings. a cacophony of sounds, a wild mix of smells, a melting pot of lives. i have never been part of such diversity. it is the perfect example of a world village, human beings living together in harmony no matter what they eat, how they pray, where they sleep, how they make love. it isn’t perfect, of course. this isn't nirvana by a mile. but just the fact that we are doing it, black-white-red-yellow-pink-blue, all sitting, eating from the same kitchen: toronto resto. a wonderful pot at rainbow's end.
sitting is not easy. it’s the hardest thing i have to do. it's much easier to get up and leave. more convenient to scratch the itch. but i choose the escape hatch. beyond it i find my favorite destination: the cold box where nirvana hides my sweet, salty, crunchy, munchy, heavenly things. but it's all over too soon. my stomach sac too small for my giant craving. i reach for the buttons. clicking, typing, caressing keys, trying my best to create distraction, anything to numb the senses screaming for the vast expanse of the galaxy beyond my postage stamp world.
jack arrives with the gold fish. the kids have been anticipating their new pets for two days. the aquarium has been prepped - the sand, pump, ghost pirate ship installed, the water treated.
"mom, baba's here! baba's here." within seconds they realize the package is there, too.
"mom!!! the fishies!" jumping, laughing, screaming out loud. "baba's got the fishies!!!"
it is such a delight to be in the presence of such joy.
me: so what are we gonna name them?
oona,4: Rainbow Girl!
joshim,2: (pause...thinks...face lights up.) Goo!
like i said, original. pure creativity!
grease the pan. olive oil is good but may smell funny. vegetable oil is nice but too fatty. chop garlic and onions. throw in the fire. add the shitake mushrooms chopped special by oona. find greens in the fridge. baby spinach. bokchoy, too hard. carrots, yes! chop quicky and add to the mix. season with soy, teriyaki sauce and a few drops of sesame oil. hoisin up a bit. butter? why not. mmm. smells good. dash of red pepper to punch up a few notches. yes, the kids can take it. plus, it's good for them. or so baba says.
i miss this, the quiet, the solitary feeling, the ability to think for a change and not scramble, fight and elbow the rest of the chirpy, chatty brood for the next thought. my days are filled with peeps and squeaks and an unceasing flow of questions punctuated by the buzz from the oven with the 127th batch of chicken nuggets, tv blaring backyardigans, and the beeping microwave reheating the water for my green tea for the fourth time. “where's my snack?” “mommy, i'm done!” “he hit me first!” “one more cartoon, just one more pleeease....” and my all-time favorite, not,
the blob caught up with me, pinning me down on the bed. it got me body and soul and had me in bed for days. i was sick in heart, mind and spirit. i was literally forced to lie down in the stickiness of my situation. it kept me in its crazy-glue grip as if to say: no matter how long you scrape and scrub, i will keep my stronghold on you. unless you do one thing: accept the stickiness of your situation and stop cleaning all the time because it’s the quickest way to hell. clean, sparkling, lysol-scented hell!
i embark on a journey to finding alignment and end up on the floor. no, i did not fall. not this time. it is a conscious nightly choice. i have decided to make our bedroom floor my place of rest. i lay out layers of assorted blankets and sleep on the smooth, hard, steady warmth of my new bed then roll them up every morning, one big burrito awaiting its unravelling at day’s end. this earth-boundness brings the bonus of saying goodbye to the knotty sensations in my back, the perfect metaphor that seems to completes my seven-year grounding experience.
3:07 a.m. the whole house sleeps. everything is quiet except for the humming of the over-head ducts blowing warmth into the apartment. jack is snoring gently on the bed which i have abandoned for the floor. i am warm sitting on my floorbed, my achy legs and calloused feet underneath the joseph the dreamer fleece blanket on sale from homesense two years ago, one of my three shopping days that year. joshim was only a baby then. i begin to feel the fingers of sleep, lullabying me in the silence. i choose to stay up just a little longer.
yes, my prickly little baby, you are. but you are also pretty and succulent and perfectly beautiful, if i may bravely say so myself. underneath the chunky exterior is a core stretching up and out in moist, juicy, sinewy goodness and a resilience that can only be experienced by someone who is willing to go past the barbed, brambly, scratchy hurtful imperfections. you can go on so little. sunshine and a little water sustain you. you can go on and on and on on so little yet you remain supple and pretty and perfectly beautiful and yes, prickly. always prickly.
finding my writer is like finding a dear old friend, one who understands me completely. this is how i found my soulpal, vivi. she represents the writer i want to be, not in terms of her writing stylings but in the way of truthfulness and bravery of her words . author po bryson wrote about his school counsellor who gave him valuable advise, a young man wanting to find his path. the good adviser said "take note of that which you naturally would pay close attention to. that would lead you to what you should be doing in your life."
"let the pen go wild." my husband’s grandfather uttered these words just for me from another world. a precious gift from a wise old teacher. who knew where these few words would bring me? i certainly didn't. i cry tears of gratitude because this is where i was meant to be all along. he knew. i write this shitty first draft fully conscious and allow its shittiness without condemnation of my words, my self. i will re-read and appreciate the grains of truth that i will pluck out from the mud of creation. it feel so good to be home.
after taking 10,000 steps around the apartment, eating three meals in four hours, watching oprah, timothy and oprah again, listening to word by word, emailing a couple of friends, figuring out how to give an online gift using my gift card, and breathing okay-here-we-go breaths a hundred one times, i am finally writing.
why is it so painful to begin, so much so that one has to resort to all kinds of distractions? what is it about writing that is so horrific that one needs all the above-mentioned procrastination procedures before one is actually able to sit and write?
"help me!" she screamed. salty water got in her mouth as she struggled to stay afloat. she could hardly tread water. her sea legs failed her because her ankle was badly hurt from the fall.
"get me...*gurgle*...out of here...*spit*...you big twerp!" she demanded.
he was enjoying all this. as big brother and resident tormentor to matilda, this was top entertainment. he stretched out on the banca and took in the sun’s warm rays.
"where are your powers now, huh?" he snorted. "i thought you and your silly bestfriend were mermaids?"
"we are!" she said. “you just wait!”
woke up for the third time this morning. the first was when the little one asked to be moved from his crib to our bed. the second at 6:45 alarm. not too early yet not too late. or so i thought. the third was at 7:05 which is way past the magic time but still okay considering all that had to be done: the morning pages, the lunch boxes and homework that needed to get stuffed into folders and bags, the breakfast for myself and what shall we have, healthy fruit and oatmeal or baked processed meats and eggs?
violet twirled to the music. her mother and father watched with pride and a tinge of melancholy. her mother with her overdose of soaps, dramatized in her mind a whole scene wherein her one and only four year old princess would soon be off to college that she started sobbing softly. her father just shook his head laughing.
violet stopped in mid-twirl, arms still up in the air and turned towards her parents,
"mom?" concern showing on her tiny face, "what does ‘awful wedded wife' mean? i don't ever want to be an 'awful wedded wife' when i grow up, okay?"
"ah...ahh...ahhh...." impatient gagging sounds from the little one. what is it this time, i thought annoyed as i answered emails. i open my palm to receive tiny chewed up pieces of purple flintstones vitamins. without missing a beat, i pop the ground-up glop into my mouth. they are warm and soft and moist. what just happened here?! there was a time i swore never to eat my own kids' left-overs. no, no, not me. i'm too queasy for that, i said self-assured and all proper. well, look at me now. i am a living, breathing mommy recycling bin!
Sunday's To Do List 1. drink tea 2. take bath 3. dress for the mess 4. tackle kids' room - pack old toys 5. do 1st load of laundry 6. fold 1 batch of clothes. put away 7. tackle master bedroom 8. do 2nd load of laundry 9. fold 2nd batch of clothes. put away 10. clean kitchen. lunch break 11. tidy-up living room 12. tidy-up dining room. sort table. throw old papers and crayons 13. sweep. vacuum. mop. 14. do 3rd load of laundry 15. fold 3rd batch of clothes. put away. 16. 700 words for the day. so help me GOD!
in less than one week my 100 words for march 2007 will be finished. completed. done. it feels good. it feels very good. it's nice to break the habit of unfinished things. off the top of my head: the visa application, driver’s license exam, nine bags of laundry, pile of books in three different places. i think i'd like to continue with this writing practice. twenty one days to establish a habit, that is if you do it consistently, daily. 100 words for me is like journaling with a deadline, a purpose. i think my writing just found a home.
anne lamott. brenda ueland. susan ariel rainbow kennedy. clarissa pinkola estes. sarah ban breathnach. sidney poitier. maya angelou. cheryl richardson. paolo coelho. keri smith. allison tyler zipoli. andrea scher. jen gray. sarah ward harrison. julia cameron. frank mccourt. carolyn myss. oprah winfrey. mitch albom. judy blume. j.k. rowling. sandra boynton. may sarton. shel silverstein. maurice sendak. and more. i love authors. i've loved them since my early days browsing dusty shelves in the stella maris academy of davao library picking out nancy drew mysteries. published or not, i salute them, one and all, for their talent, their generosity, and most of all, their guts.
Miguel de Cervantes said, "He who loses wealth loses much; he who loses a friend loses more; but he that loses his courage loses all." Money, I've lost. Friends, too. Times I'd thought I lost my courage, my will to live. These were the worst moments. It was like existing in a dark, swirling drain with me gripping the slimy sides of a gaping hole or else fall in where the rats and roaches wait. I say this was the worst because I was not living in truth. Courage is never lost. Covered, disguised, smeared black, perhaps, but never, ever lost.
he was not more than five feet tall, stocky, salt and pepper hair thinning at the crown. he sat as if waiting for someone, his arms folded over his black overcoat. although it was spring, the wind still blew and probably brought the cold to his seventy something year old bones. “bona sera.” i said, mustering enough courage to try two of my five italian words on him. his eyes lit up and with a crinkly smile said it back. properly. franco is the retired owner of bitondo pizzeria. his card said “remember bitondo’s when thinking of delicious italian food."
the lights are dim here at moxie's. technomusic pulsating from the piped-in sound system. the servers pretty perfumed ladies wearing black plunging tops and very short leather skirts. i am a full hour early for our girl’s night out. my gingered papaya and pear margarita arrives. i thank laura and take a sip. it tastes like sour milk. laura isn't as sweet as carmen who served us last time. she had big boobs. i miss
big boobs. breastfeeding three kids sucked the life out of them. the breast-fed kids gave me back my life. life is fair.
my artist’s date at vinni zuchinni's that almost never was. plate 1: garlic rappini, sweet corn, vegatable medley, pizza pepperoni. good, good, good! plate 2: poached salmon in creamy dill sauce - made the roof of my mouth itchy, angus roast beef - divinely tender and muy delicioso! the mashed potatoes - tasted like the cardboard box it came from - baked polenta, which i learned today was made from corn mill, hearty and filling. plate 3, each a scoop of strawberry and hazelnut gelato, rich chocolate mousse, luscious canelloni, which i should have taken a second serving of, darn! and kiwi fruit tart.
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