Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Starlight Navigation - A Poem

This poem is part of series of poems that have been inspired by morning meditation. This one was begun while I lived on the island of Kauai and was practicing the Kundalini Yoga Meditation known as Long Ek Ong Kars. It involved long periods of chanting. 

Starlight Navigation  

The albatross and I 
are more alike than different,
navigating long distances 
by starlight. 

Her tiny hypothalamus 
works like an autopilot—allows her to 
half-sleep while flying
from Alaska to the North Shore of Kauai
and over again.

At 4 a.m.
on the second floor lanai
looking up at the stars, I mistake myself 
for looking down
and believe I am falling into them.
Gemini, Orion, Cassiopeia.

They are not themselves, 
but a reflection of themselves on black water.

I open the wings of my voice.
In a half-dream toward dawn,
the outlines of palms rustle, 
and a rooster has been crowing for hours.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Embracing Vulnerability

I have spent most of the summer playing with words and characters and surfing. I have also been connecting to people where I live and making real live friends. For the last few years I kept leaving my promised land to go and visit and meet people I have taught on-line and help build communities in other places, but I for some reason I couldn't allow myself to have a community here.  But I have now committed to stay and put down roots and it has been very rewarding.  I have been through struggles with it. I have had my moments when I wanted to flee. But not doing so has opened a deeper creative space for me, and healed things I didn't know were wanting healing. The other night at a poetry reading and the lovely poet Lisa Coffman was reading a poem about soup and I cried. I didn't know why. I love poetry but I rarely cry over it. I don't know if I ever have.

So I got it from her and have read it twice more and I cried each time at the same spot, and I realized I was not crying over soup, but about this horizon that I see over my soup spoon. And how I finally feel home. And I belong. And I have a community here now.  Basically, I realized that I am a central coast-ish, somewhat rural, writer. I am no longer a Los Angeles writer. I have moved back to my birth place and it feels like it has finally won me over. And I had a cry about it.

For years I guess it didn't feel safe to call a place home. Perhaps because I was worried I might be booted out of it. Or that the dream might not last. Who knows. I have moved from that thinking though and into a beautiful space of accepting vulnerability and uncertainty.  By fully investing in my community and relationships here, even though they may not last or be perfect, I have found that I can go so much deeper into joy and creativity. I don't have to know how it will go! I can just be in the space with someone, or a character, or a poem or an audience and just tell my story with all my heart.

It has beautifully affected my parenting, and of course, my art.  I may have some to share soon.

Thursday, April 14, 2016


On January 16, 2016 at 2:22 a.m. I awoke with an urgency to write something down. I used my thumbs to type into my notes app on my phone and I fell back asleep.

In the morning, I barely remembered this happened, let alone what I had written that was so urgent. So I opened my notes to see what might be there, and I laughed. It was a name, and a kind of tag line.

Morty Anahat Arizona Daikon
Dragon and snake charmer

For a few days the words rolled around me. I finally decided he must be a fictional character, and that maybe I should write about him. I did a little freewriting and found that I knew a lot about him. He is a unique dude.

I still hadn't admitted I was writing anything at all, let alone a novel, but I was in The Farmer and The Cook, a cute local eatery, with my notebook. I was practicing innocent perception and writing what I saw--when Morty walked in. He had white hair and a short white beard and he was wearing a leather wide brimmed hat and was carrying a walking stick horizontally in his hand. I knew him the moment he walked in. I began to write what I saw. His stick, his clothes, the angle of his chin.  I had to look down at my notebook occasionally, and when I was looking away, he disappeared as mysteriously as he had appeared. He was nowhere in the restaurant or the market or the outdoor cafe. Perhaps he slipped out the back door behind the kitchen. I had never seen him before, and I live in a small town. I've seen most people before.

As Morty grew and took shape, the thought came to me that fictional characters are real. Just as real as I am. Because if God and I are one, then God created him. Just as God created me. And I create me too. And as Jesus taught, all of God's creations are equally dear.

I thought of stories of people who are woken up in the middle of the night by an ancestor who wants them to do their work or people who hear the voice of an unborn child tell them they are ready to come. How was this so different? I have had both of those experiences, but I had never woken in the middle of the night with so much urgency as I did the night Morty was conceived.

One of my friends said that it made sense to her and that she had prayed for Harry Potter when she was in the throws of an all night reading binge. Yes! I realized that I had also said silent prayers for characters.

In discussing with a friend, she mentioned that based on my realization, it didn't matter whether sacred texts were historical or simply "literature." I hadn't considered it this way, but yes. I realized it doesn't matter whether someone invented Moses or Krishna or Nephi. They are God's creations and are as real as you and I. And if you believe in them, they can appear at the end of your bed and teach you. Woah! Even if you don't believe in them--if enough people do, they become part of the collective story, and they can have the power to appear at the foot of your bed despite your disbelief.

So I am thinking about this and about creation. I haven't been pregnant in 10 years. But I have published two books, and both felt like a pregnancy and a birth. There was just no escaping the metaphor.

I was going to end this post before it got too metaphysical... but I can't. There is more.

I had another dream. This time it was about a girl named Eleanor Moon. I knew she was another character. I saw her as a little girl. Then into the dream came another presence--an ancestor who said her name was Janet or something similar to that. All of this fantasy and reality was blending together as if to second witness my ponderings.

But I wasn't for sure if Janet really was an ancestor or what. Dreams are fuzzy. And didn't know what exactly she wanted besides to tell me her name. So I called a friend who has a gift for angel communication. She said as soon as I asked about her, someone named Janet came through. She had lived. But not long. As we communicated with her together I realized what she wanted. She died young. She wanted a chance to live. At first I thought this was some request to give birth to her through my body. But no. I realized that I could reincarnate her through my story. She wanted a life and a story. She was the little girl I saw in my dream with red hair and pale skin, shivering in her bathing suit. She was being reborn as Eleanor Moon, and will be just as alive as if I gave birth to her through my body.

Woah! My friend and I were both blown away.

Creativity is no small thing after all, when you are a God. Don't believe it? Jesus responded to the scoffing Pharisees with their own scriptures: "know ye not that ye are Gods?"

My inner critic is basically a Pharisee and had been trying to tell me for, well years, that novels don't have value or that they aren't as important as other kinds of texts. In my previous blogging life, I might have been described as a "spiritual luminary." The inner critic wanted me to believe I was taking a step down by leaving that blog behind. Where does fiction fit in with being a spiritual luminary? My Pharisee mind pestered me.

And then I remembered C.S. Lewis. One of the brightest Christian scholars of last century--also an author of children's fiction. Books which turned out to be not just for children but for everyone. The Chronicles of Narnia is probably the greatest series ever written, and is probably more influential and more widely read than any of Lewis's scholarly work.

So there. I'm not saying my novel will be as cool as The Chronicles of Narnia. I'm just saying that me and God are One (it's not good grammar but it's a good mantra) and it's been really fun writing with God and realizing that everything is spiritual and I can be taught no matter what I do. Even if I become a biologist or a dentist. I would be having mind explosions there too, so long as I remember that We are One.

And these new characters... they are real now, so I am not actually making up their story. They are. This is how God works. God created us, the characters, and then gave us free choice. God can help, but we ultimately decide our story.

Right now I am getting to know these people and waiting to see what they do.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Maiden Voyage

Because I am an artist, I will not be defined by one medium. Or by days of the week. I am mostly a writer, but I will post whatever I want here. Mostly to inspire myself and sometimes because I want to share it with someone else. I have been a blogger for 7 years, but every 3.5 or so I reinvent myself, just to see if I can start over from scratch with a whole new identity. It's freeing. Beautiful. Like watching a hawk soar. I hope you feel some same freedom in your life.