Friday, September 28, 2007

Alone

It's a cold wet night. I was going to go see a movie with a friend but have decided to get in my pyjamas and hang out on the couch instead. It's been a busy week workwise. I am super involved in advocating for a state law to be implemented at the local level and have done two presentations on the topic this week. I am on a mission. We joke that we could wake me up in the middle of the night and push a button on my chin and I could rattle on about why this law is important and what is standing in the way of it being implemented.

I am wondering if I give myself too hard of a time about spending so much time alone. I started thinking that my alone time is not necessarily a negative. I really like being alone. Yeah, sometimes I spend so much time alone that the pendulum swings the other way and I start thinking that I am socially inadequate. Its gotten to the point that my father asks for a social calendar update whenever I talk to him, "So what socializing have you done this week?"

But hell, my job requires me to be social and if I want to retreat in the evenings and weekends I CAN. Plus, I am taking two online classes that I have done very little work for. It's time to do some catching up. And, I am going on a long weekend hike on the coast with my friend G. next weekend and will have 24 hour company then. As you can see, I still feel that I have to justify spending time alone.

Some of this current concern comes out of my listmaking and discussion yesterday about what I am looking for in a partner. I can't rush any of this and I am doing things that I love. Why be impatient and stress about it? I will be open to what the universe offers me. So far, I have been partnerless and have instead been able to put my heart and soul into my work for a women's organization that I am proud to work for. I do good important work and know that I am sending positive ripples into the world. I also reenergize myself with my postcards, my time in nature, my Maya cuddling, my reading, and my blogging.

I am happy, but I often don't realize it. I am surrounded by trees and mountains. I have a small cozy little place with neighbours that share my values. I have a cat who comes running to meet me every afternoon when I pull into the driveway. I have a job that brings all of my skills together and in which I am making a difference. I have friends that I care for. Its just this little voice that tells me that I should have more, even though when I sit down to define this more I find it difficult.

This more is the way I feel when a friend or colleague gives me a quick one gesture shoulder touch that leaves its imprint on me for days. Its not sexual, its just touch. Something that I don't feel often.

This more is knowing that there is someone besides my parents who loves me no matter what. I have this with my long list of wonderful friends. But there is always a limit to this love, isn't there?

This more is someone smiling at you and giving you a big hug when they see you after a period of absence.

This more is the unknown that two people have the potential of creating, together.

Patience, patience. I should not even wait. I should simply live. And this can mean spending a quiet weekend at home, alone.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Creativity, Postcards, Love, and Thoughts



I had appetizers and a glass of wine with a coworker this evening. We explored what love and intimacy would be like for me. I have experienced them in the forms of friendship and familial love but the true deep intimacy of partnership, no.
Do I even know what that would like? Do I even really want to know?
I'm not sure.



Did you know that 80 percent of newly infected HIV cases are are heterosexual married and monagomous women? That's why the United States is supporting abstinence-only HIV programs.



Have I ever told you that it is because of you that I understand the words "Feminism" and "Social Justice?" By the age of 6, I already knew that I believed in both.





I cannot have how I want...
I can imagine what I've seen.
Then what I haven't. Although not easily, not quite without effort,...
Or only is so in my head where what has never can.
-Rebecca Brown



I went to see a play called "Birth" the other day. It was a bit like the Vagina Monologues except that it was about birth. A friend of mine was in it and I wanted to support her. The howling labor pains and the epistiotomy were hard for me to take. If I hadn't been in a middle seat, I wouldn't have been able to stay in my seat. I could much more easily listen to the fake orgasm sounds of the "Monologues."

Days earlier I had made a postcard with a picture of a Mayan woman giving birth. I had meant to write "nunca mas" but messed up and wrote "nada mas," "no more." "Nunca mas" means "never again" and was the name of Guatemala's Historical Memory project. As far as I am concerned, it also applies to childbirth. However in my case, it's just plain "nunca," "never."



And another "thank you" to Wendy...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Still making...


Process not outcome.


Rocks depart almost as fast as they come.


Tanks + Weapons = No Learning
Who is capable of making a beautiful heart on the first try? Definitely not I.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Another Bombing in Lebanon

Where was it?
Sin al-Fil.
Where is that?
On the other side of the river from Beirut,
On the Roumieh side.

Is it an Armenian community?
I don’t know. You may be thinking of Ain Roumaneh.

Just heard about the explosion. Was it in Sin al-Fil?
Yep, it was in Sin al-Fil,
10 minutes by car from my house.
I actually heard it.
Fuck them. They won’t leave us in peace.

What is the word in Lebanon as to who is responsible?
Syria or supporters of Syria?
Everybody says it's the Hezbollah and co.

I am feeling wordless.
I am distant and a part of all of this at the same time.
Divisions,
Blame.
How can we get beyond it all?
I do not want to give up hope for peace.

The Four Agreements:
· Don’t take things personally.
· Always do your best.
· Don’t make assumptions.
· Be impeccable with your word.

If we followed these, would peace prevail?
YES.

I must believe, YES.

I am thousands, if not millions of miles away.
And yet I care.
I will not let go.
It is a purely selfish reason.
I do not want to live my life knowing that the country that formed me
has not arrived at long lasting peace.

Lebanon will know sustainable peace before I die.
Lebanon will experience sustainable peace before I die.

Men in positions of comfortable privilege and power,
BEWARE.

LEBANON WILL KNOW AND EXPERIENCE SUSTAINABLE PEACE IN MY LIFETIME.

This is more important to me than a relationship,
by the way.

Monday, September 17, 2007

A package from Wendy


I came home to a package today from my blog friend Wendy. It contained the book Aimee and Jaguar. I am a little nervous about reading it because it takes place during the Second World War and I tend to get worked up over stories that end with someone being shipped off and dying in a concentration camp.
Plus, it's the story of love between two women. Seeing that I have been moping and feeling sorry for myself because I am not one of two main characters in a real life love story, I am worried that it will make my mood even worse. Today at work I totally turned grumpy at the suggestion that we have a "prom" fundraiser all because I was certain I would end up going by myself and having to dance by myself while everyone coupled up.
However, reading the sweet note from Wendy inside has changed my mood and perspective:
Dear M,
Real life stories of love always give me hope for the world.
Much love,
W
Well, what gives me hope is that there are people like Wendy in the world whom I would never have met if it wasn't for these strange new media that didn't exist when I was growing up called the internet and the blogosphere. People like her that I share a connection with and who sends me a book even though I have never met her face to face!
What a great alternative to Dorothy Allison's Skin which was beginning to depress me. It has way too much sex in it for a single person to take.
Thank you, thank you, dear Wendy!
I will begin reading it tonight.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

On Writing

I am enrolled in a self-paced online creative writing class. The first lesson is on poetry and I have been stuck on it for months. This weekend, I am determined to finish all of my assignments and move onto the second lesson. Dorothy Allison helped me. I read a few more of her essays in Skin before working on my own writing. Here are some of the words that inspired me to move from page turning book reading to Microsoft word:

Maybe not for anyone else, but for me, the kind of person that I am, writing meant an attempt to sneak up on truth, to figure it out slowly through the characters on page. If writing was dangerous, lying was deadly, and only through writing things out would I discover where my real fears were, my layered network of careful lies and secrets (p. 90.)

Writing is still revolutionary, writing is still about changing the world. Each of my students who tells the truth about their life becomes part of the process, and every piece they share with me that challenges my own self-exploration pushes me to deeper work. Sex and lies, I believe, are the core of it. You may not be happy as writers, I tell them, echoing Bertha Harris, but you will know who you are and you will change the world.
Exactly (p. 91.)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Black Beans and Making





I am planning a social event in my nest, Black Beans and Making. Some people have already told me they cannot come, others are not female. This first time I am only inviting women because we go through enough as women to feel comfortable. Sorry male friends, but if you are my friend and are male, I know you are O.K. with this.
I will probably have a rain date for my local friends who cannot come.
Anything goes at my first creativity party as long as you acknowledge your creativity in whatever form it takes. My faraway and blogger friends are welcome to share their creative expression with us through the telephone, mail, e-mail and the blogosphere.
Much genuine love.
Margaret
Please note that the images that I altered are from a Syracuse Cultural Workers calendar from a previous year.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

"They"

After responding to Myrthe's comment in the post below, I decided that I wanted to share one quote from Dorothy Allison's essay "A Question of Class."

The first time I heard, "They're different than us, don't value human life the way we do," I was in high school in Central Florida. The man speaking was an army recruiter talking to a bunch of boys, telling them what the army was really like, what they could really expect overseas. A cold angry feeling swept over me. I had heard the word they pronounced in that same callous tone before. They, those people over there, those people who are not us, they die so easily, kill each other casually. They are different. We, I thought. Me.
-Dorothy Allison

Dorothy Allison is talking about her own experience growing up poor in the U.S. South, but the same language is used to justify oppression and conquest all over the world. This is the language that the U.S. is currently using to justify the War on Terror.

Would it be such an unrealistic dream to change all "theys" to "wes?" Would we finally understand and have compassion for one another as equals if this happened?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Today is...

I haven't been in a writing mood. But today is September 11 and I really like my post from last year and so I am providing readers with a link to it:
http://margaretswanderings.blogspot.com/2006/09/ok-so-heres-my-story.html

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A Private Pity Festival

I was having a private pity festival yesterday. Every time someone at work used the word "partner," "boyfriend," girlfriend," "wife," "husband," or talked about how so and so got engaged and this other couple were eloping I was secretly grumbling. Hopefully, it wasn't obvious. I was working hard on sounding excited. Probably too hard. Plus, I was always ready to change the subject.

When I got home, I decided that I needed to do something about this noisy party. Making things, being visual and using my hands always seems to help and so I played Angelique Kidjo over and over again and made postcards.

This is the first time I worked on a theme. I was going to deal with the party and the annoying heavy feeling in my chest. I was carrying rocks.




I made more that are not finished yet, neither are these, but I really like looking at them together. I love the color combo- so vibrant. And I like them together. I may not even mail them (they are quite heavy for mail anyway because of the rocks.) I am thinking they would make a nice hanging triptych. Using wire or ribbon- probably wire, copper, it's much more raw. I like raw.

How much of you did I make up from the start?
How much did I not see you at all?
How much of what I “remember” was only made up in my head?
-Rebecca Brown
I am really liking Rebecca Brown's writing, by the way. She makes so much sense to me. Very real and definitely morbid at times. And she uses run on metaphors that morph as they continue, crushed together like cars in a multi car wreck.
I imagine I will have more to say about her later.
I want to throw one more quote into the blog pot that I found at Yearning for God. It is a perfect conclusion.
"An act of love that fails is just as much a part of the divine life as an act of love that succeeds, for love is measured by its own fullness, not by its reception."
-Harold Loukes

Monday, September 03, 2007

The Mundane


I spent my labor day doing something that has left me feeling very satisfying.
I cleaned out my closet.
I still have an old computer and television in there, but most of the dust is gone and I have over two brown paper grocery bags full of clothing to give away. One of my landladies/friends is going to see if the young women she works with want to take a look. They just might. I still think of myself as having funky taste and there are some professional pants and jackets that are perfect for job interviews among the lot.



In the mean time, the bags are in my car and I get to treat myself to a tidy and somewhat empty closet. What joy. I give myself a daily lecture about how I have too many clothing compared to many. I still have much more than many but I feel that I am living simpler.
Plus, everything matches!
Blue
Magenta
Red
Black
Brown
Orange
I love looking at my closet and seeing how just about everything matches. It's like the children's clothing Garanimals. I can jump out of bed and throw something on that looks somewhat professional and chances are it will match.


I also love the fact that I have more storage space than items. OK, I'm a nerd or have alot of alone time. I am happy with both descriptions.



Sunday, September 02, 2007

Along a Lake

I went for a bikeride with two of my friends along a beautiful lake today. The first two photos were taken while moving. I was having way too much fun to stop. They're my favorite ones too.










This last one made me happy :)





Saturday, September 01, 2007

Spunky Woman Award










Before I get overly preoccupied with ridding the house of black cat hair and making baba ganuj for my bike ride and potluck tomorrow, I wanted to praise one spunky woman. Her name is Mahima and she has recently been my inspiration with all of my postcard creations.
She has now outdone herself because she has actually performed one of the experiments that Natalie Goldberg writes of in Writing Down the Bones. Remember the piece where she talks about setting up a writing booth? Mahima didn't just read about it, she did it!
For this, I award her the first ever Spunky Woman Award.
Sorry, there are no buttons or statues to give out and I am too burned out on postcardmaking tonight to make one. This post will have to do.
If you haven't yet checked out Love is Handmade, please do. There is definitely a reason why I read it daily!
Mahima, thank you for sending your creative energy out into the world. You are directly making a difference in my life and there is definitely a ripple effect with this. You have helped renew my energy in my difficult profession called social work. Thank you.