The archives of life are just so beautiful.  We are a series of problems, solutions and resolutions, I think —
influenced by the characters and settings we are willing to let in.

The pages we write for ourselves rest on shelves; the change in our fonts eager to be noticed.

2wice yesterday, I was reminded that

time never lasts that long, nor long enough

it only twists and tides

carrying us into the next chapter…

The museum of my life
holds all of my journals, glass-cased.
Nothing to rewrite,
only moments to re-love.

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I’ve experienced every single one of them….

turns, arounds, upsides and downs.

I have had to forgive the dizziness of them all,

because every one of them has meant something.

They are copy machines and forgets,

goodbyes and re-dos.

 

SERENDIPITY: *a resignation to an unpredicted & spectacular life, a dichotomy of intentional happenstance (otherwise known as ‘breathe-takes’)

 

It shows up in a friend’s swagger, rooftops, parking lots and chords.

Honoring one of my favorite life concepts means that sometimes…

I commit to committing to nothing,
and resolve power through silence.

I reconcile the unsaid,
and forgive in anger.

I lift out-of-strength, 
and unrest to wake up.  

 

The thing about serendipity is that you first have to release its potential through your authenticity, compassion and grace.  That is the only thing that can bridge it towards its second truth (of which)…
can only be discovered when you are brave enough to step into your journey, unprotected.

Serendipity rarely vacations in the bookends of joy and challenge.  It searches for you in the space between, offering you a re- of light and reminding you that there is always a next beginning.  In these moments…

sunlight will finally catch your syllables,
and the fractions of your being will turn over from crazy to brilliant  

The walk is how I know I am approaching the space of a final draft and publishing.  The rhythm of my work before that moment goes a bit like this…

Countless hours are spent in my writer’s notebook.  I fill it with quotes, images, observations and thoughts.  Most of it, if not all of it, is complete crap—my guilt and self-doubt are constantly embarrassed and apologetic of my forced hand…

I am so sorry, my dear pages, that you have to hold all my horrid and half-formed thoughts.  

I literally have to beg my journal to stick it out with me, promising that something will surface that is worth our time and existence.

When I am wise enough to sit my ass down and do the work, something always emerges that intrigues me or annoys me enough – something that simply won’t “F-off” and forces me to wake up and come alive.  I lift the idea, place it on a new page in my notebook and brace myself for the hurl.

The next handful of my writing is complete and utter suffering.  It is straight-up puke on paper and it is as awful as watching a child projectile vomit and knowing you will be the one wiping it up and gagging.  There’s just no better way to put it – this stage of my process is gross and messy and requires a ton of clean up.  The horrid and half-formed thought that started as just a “jot” in my notebook gets bigger and badder and takes forever to get better.  I grow snippy and impatient (and the hubby spends more time in the basement) while I wait for the piece to resemble some sort of recognizable and healthy form.  Once I detect a linguistic shape, I lean in and listen very closely because I know my loyal friend (my notebook) is getting ready to talk back to me.  Her whisper is the moment of my writing process that I am most terrified of missing—it is a beautifully disguised act of love.  It is the moment when she tells me to leave.

I listen, because I have learned to, and completely abandon my writer’s notebook.  I never, ever go back to the stained pages of my original idea.  I never, ever pick my pen back up from this draft forward.  I honor what my notebook is telling me…

You have cleared the path. You don’t need me anymore and, quite frankly,  I need a damn rest.  

I take several deep breaths, put my shoes on and go for a walk.

A few hours usually does the trick — sometimes more, sometimes less.  The next draft could give a damn about the total number of minutes I will spend putting one foot in front of the other.  I have taught myself to let go, lose track of time and trust that I will know when to come back home.

With every footstep, my next draft gets written right in front of my eyes and every.single.time I believe I am witnessing a miracle.  I, also and always, wonder whether I am brilliant or crazy as I watch my words being written on the world itself.  My writing shows up in the sunlight, on the trees, above the clouds, within the rocks, under my feet…sincere words, original sentences, authentic paragraphs and honest story all leave the abstractness of my heart and show up in the physical world for me to hold.

I cry, I laugh, I skip, I dance, I sing out loud.  And those actions are not metaphorical, believe me– an outsider watching me in this stage of my process would most certainly deem me crazy over brilliant, and I don’t care, because emotion and movement and song and dance are the only ways I know to express my gratitude for the gift I have been given.

There is only one lingering step left in my process…type up my walk, enter the joy of discerned revision and find the means to publish.

 

Something has been missing for quite some time.

Our life gets completely off the rails, upside down and inside out.

Most days, we are nothing short of a hot mess with absolutely no time to repair all that has been lost.  If the dog isn’t peeing all over the house, then we have certainly left our son at the bus stop or forgotten that we still have no food in the house.

Luckily, we have years logged up & steady on the track.  We avoid to-do-better lists and late-night nexts.  We know those things will never cut it for a love like ours.

Cadence is our search…

We listen for a kick-drum and silence the rest.  Rhythm brings us home.

I remember the avoided call – the one he knew not to answer.  My syllables would challenge his plan.

He knew I would tell him how much I loved him, how much I missed him and how I couldn’t wait to come visit California-coast-style the following week.  His plan wouldn’t know what to do with my unwavering friendship and excitement for riding shotgun in his red convertible with sun on my face, wind in my hair, Gwen Stefani in my dance moves…

I remember the accepted call – the one I knew to answer.  His plan would challenge my syllables.

I knew he would have told me how much he loved me, how much he missed me and how he couldn’t wait for me to come visit California-coast-style the following week.  My plan wouldn’t know what to do with his unstoppable guilt and fear for not riding driver-side in his red convertible with sun on my face, wind in my hair, Gwen Stefani in my dance moves…

His mom’s voice would meet me on the other side of the line, instead.

I cancelled my flight, unpacked my bags and began missing you. 

I have missed you every single day since June 5, 2005.

Your life will always be worth every moment of my own.  You give me all the reasons to double down on love — with sun on my face, wind in my hair and Gwen Stefani in my dance moves.

Fiction is NOT my jam, but what the heck.

Prologue  –  Providence

“Espresso for Joe.”

This is when the floods came.

Whenever Reem found herself swirled in coffee order shout-outs, she shivered memories of americanos and espressos by the thousands.  She found herself tilting her head, partly to drop out details of the past, and partly to mourn the loss of her sleek mid-twenties body and porcelain skin that could attract attention without even trying.

Decades beyond her, he was in the sweet spot of aging when they met.  With salt and peppered hair cut tight around the ears and a frame chiseled with zero percent body fat, his 6 foot vertical confidently accepted head turns of all kinds.  A novel personality and impeccable charm was the cherry on top.  Reem had heard stories of sleeping in savannahs and west coast meanderings.  She had read his poetry.  The stories of Africa had intrigued her from the get-go.  Technically, she too, had traveled there.  Her parents had spent two months in the Serengeti awaiting her arrival and her name would reflect their adventures.

Mid-sip, she recalled his competitive genius.  Playing the role of renaissance man was always the win.   It came easy for him, after all — schizophrenic tendencies had gifted him the ability to play a fake compassionate.  Reem would later discover it also gifted him a self-proclaimed pass to do the unimaginable.

Regardless, she took notice and it would be many long-hauled years before she would learn to track the confusion.

Four letters and a continent would be the pulled thread. 

Cue the fire, the flood and Chapter 1…

 

There is nothing I can’t do because of him.  He was the one who hugged me last night when I couldn’t take anymore and the one who high-fived me this morning to get me on my way.

Many days I wonder who is the parent and who is the child.  That, in itself, is heroic.

He was the one who smashed everyone’s doubt & worry & confusion and why I believe (hell, know) I can be Wonder Woman.  Complete with a lasso, bracelet & tiara.

I will always find my badass list for him and for all the people I love.

And for me.


 

It took becoming unloved to be loved.  

In last evening’s post, I paid honor to my thirteen years of marriage and the simple acts of love that float within that space.  What I didn’t mention was how its existence was shaped through first being unfelled, unkissed, untouched, unraveled… (a love tap to my March 1 post).

Even now it gives me chills…we were never in love with each other, yet we shared in the greatest act of love that I will ever experience.  We had nothing (no money, no stuff, no family living close, no kids thank goodness) and that made it even scarier, I think — we were making life work in our unsteady late-twenties because we were together.

To imagine going it alone was an idea we could have easily resisted in our expectation to travel the typical, world-imposed narrative. We could have let the anticipated hurt of our parents and friends be an excuse for our fear.  We could have chosen to compromise our best selves while our piles of photos thickened along with our disappointment.  We could have held tight and bowed to a set of rules that didn’t apply to the suffocation we were dying to unbreathe.  And I will tell you, we would have had an okay life — one so stunningly mediocre it would have blinded us with its rays of sunshine.

But we didn’t.  We said undo.

This past January, we would have been married 16 years (let that decade + 6 sink in).  Instead of celebrating an anniversary, I was able to lift a cheers to the greatest memory of love I own…

We stood in the courthouse and passed the pen.  Paragraphed law and numbered sections captured our shaky signatures and teardrops.  We knew that everything after those smeared strokes was unknown and it took every ounce of courage and humility to follow through with what we knew was right (right being so drastically different than easy). We jumped into a can’t-have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too-free-fall that day.  Screaming on the inside, silent on the outside…we unraveled.  We took our rings off, shared a final embrace and walked away from spurious duality and into undeniable individuality.

I know love because of un-

Our final gift to one another was a hand-off of unstolen time….
13 years, 4745 days, 113880 hours.  Love.