Wednesday, December 15, 2010

You Will Know Me


You Will Know Me

Creativity is the Creator's will for me
Throughout my world I see endless possibilities

A shining vessel perched atop the fire
To it, I will add my heart's desire
Aromatic spices and fine cuts of meat
You will know me when you sit down to eat

A coil-ringed notebook sits waiting for words
A voice for the reticent, meant to be heard
Onto the page spills my heart and my needs
You will know me when you sit down to read

Bolts of cloth gather, longing for shape
Colours and textures into which I escape
Garments and quilts with love they're adorned
You will know me when you feel the warmth

A dark thief lies in wait for my creative being
My eyes are a mirror, the seen keep on seeing
My limbs rendered useless, they hang in despair
You will know me when you taste my tears 

My pen as my sword, I will fight my dark lover
I will not succumb though the line I may hover
At the end of the day I plan to break free 
And then you will know me....creatively

Creativity is the Creator's will for me
Throughout my world I see endless possibilities

This week's prompt at Mama Kat's Writing Workshop:

Describe yourself in five words. Choose one, and write a poem.

Friday, December 3, 2010


She felt trapped in this grey November day and trapped in this life.  The black, heavy clouds pressed down upon her like the lead vest at the dentist's office rendering her limbs heavy and clumsy.  The dentist's office was a memory from another lifetime, one in which she could afford such things as dentists.  She wielded her tattered umbrella like a prescription for Prozac in an effort to protect herself against the persistent droplets of misery that dampened her threadbare coat and her failing spirits.  She plodded along, her head down, trying, unsuccessfully, to avoid the puddles.  The water seeped into her boots through holes that were put there by previous feet, feet that belonged to people whose toes were probably dry right now, having had the luxury to exchange the holey boots for a new pair.  She didn't usually succumb to feelings of self-pity such as those that were seeping into her thoughts today but the weather was getting to her, making an already impossible situation worse.  She just hoped for a little sunshine.  Things always looked better through the filter of sunlight.  She stepped off the curb and onto the street, her head still down.  The sound of a blaring car horn startled her and her head snapped up just in time to see the startled face of the man driving the grey car as it pummeled into her.  

She awoke in a state of confusion.  There were people moving above her, shouting words that she couldn't understand.  She listened to them from a distance.  She tried to open her eyes, just a crack, but closed them again right away because the bright light above her was shining directly into them.  Her last thought as she drifted back into a deep peaceful sleep, a little smile touching the corners of her mouth, was that she was warm and everything was okay now because the sun was shining again.

 We had two different options this week at Little Red Writing Hood: write flash fiction based on the prompt "Trapped" or "I truly enjoyed spending time with them. I just had to decide which of them I would kill." 

Check out The Red Dress Club here to see the other posts that were inspired by these prompts.

Smorgasbord for the Senses

Today's prompt is provided by Ali Edwards.  "Ali’s passion resides in that very special place where the stories and images of life intersect"

THE PROMPT: Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

This piece was published on my food blog, It's a Food Life, on October 26th, 2010.

This past October,  I had the pleasure of attending the Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival which was held at the Granville Island Market.  It was a veritable smorgasbord for the senses.  

The famous Market is a foodie's paradise and my eyes thirstily drank in the beautiful displays  - luscious blackberries piled in a blue-black pyramid; fresh, tender balls of  boccoccini;  jellied, rosemary chicken confit; and elaborate, exquisite desserts that were too lovely to eat.  

My ears tingled with pleasure as they listened to the many authors of various genres share their insightful advice and read from their own works, published and unpublished, but my ears were especially thankful to experience the men's choir, Chor Leoni, perform alongside the author, Jack Hodgins, as he read from his numerous and humorous tomes. It stirred my soul.  

The feel of the intermittent, cool, light breeze on my face, as we dined al fresco on the balcony of the Sandbar Restaurant overlooking False Creek, was so refreshing in the otherwise, balmy October air.  From this vantage point, we had a most perfect view of the city lights.  

And of course, I could not give a sensory account of the weekend without mentioning the cornucopia of tastes and smells - sweet and sour lemon chicken; white-chocolate latte with chocolate whip (oh, em, gee!); warm, cinnamon crepes; deep, rich Shiraz; lemon-zested Dungeness crab cakes; tender, sweet, lightly-battered calamari; crispy bacon and fried eggs with baked beans; tender Chinese dumplings dipped in a light, sweet soy sauce; the salty, sweet air of the ocean breeze (happy place!); fresh, crusty bread dipped in Balsamic vinegar reduction and extra virgin olive oil; globes of creamy chocolate; sharp, herbed, pungent Cheddar cheese; Sockeye Salmon with Red Curry-Coconut Sauce alongside aromatic Basmati rice and delicately flavoured fresh, plump, raspberries in a salad of crisp tender greens and so much more.

Our hotel suite was equipped with a full on kitchen so we decided to stay in for dinner on Saturday night.  We enjoyed the view of Vancouver, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, through the floor to ceiling windows of our lofty suite.  The low, sexy strains of Leonard Cohen permeated the room as we supped on fresh Sockeye salmon and sipped on deep, dark aromatic red wine.  Very Canadiana don't you think.  Hard to take.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Step Away From the Computer

Today's writing prompt for Reverb 10 is brought to us by Leo Babauta.  He is the author of the book, focus : a simplicity manifesto in the age of distraction.

THE PROMPT: What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

Well, I go to work everyday and, unfortunately, I can't eliminate that.  Yet.  Seriously, though, in the time that I do have to write, there are so many things that I do that are non-productive and most of them involve the computer.  Facebook, twitter and blog-hopping seem to draw me like a magnet.  In order to write and not be distracted by such things, I find I need to remove myself from in front of the computer.  Usually, when I am ready to write without distraction, I will sit in my overstuffed, red, Ikea chair curled up with my notebook and my pen.  Not only is this chair very comfortable but it also provides sufficient space between me and the computer in order to be free from the temptation to tweet or to Facebook -  just one more time. 

Lately, it seems, I have been finding my way to my red chair less and less, for reasons such as procrastination, perfectionism, apathy, anxiety... I could go on and on with the excuses but I won't, instead I will read Leo Babauta's book and recite my mantra of the day: 

Step away from the computer, step away from the computer, step away from the computer, step away from the computer, step away from the computer, step away from the computer, step away from the computer.....

Peace in My World

To sum up a whole year with one word is a difficult thing.  There are many words that come to mind when I reflect upon the year 2010.  Words such as anxious, scattered, beginnings, endings, family, friends, joy, sadness, healing, passion and creativity are only a few that come to mind.  

If I have to choose just one word, though, I would say SEEKINGThis year, I have been trying to find my place in this world, trying to find the life that I am meant to be living, trying to find my niche, trying to find an outlet for my creativity and trying to find some healing.  Through this process, I have attempted many new things and to some, I imagine that I must appear very scattered and desperate.  It is difficult to find what you are looking for when you don't know what it is.  It is not all bad, though.  In my quest to find "it", I have found that I really love writing and the benefits of this discovery are two-fold.  Through words, I have found an avenue for my creative longings as well as a very effective conduit for healing.

At risk of sounding like a beauty pageant contestant, the word that I am hoping will be my theme for 2011, is PEACE.  Not world peace, although this would, truly, be a wonderful thing, but peace in my world.  Peace that comes from letting go, peace that comes from being truly comfortable with yourself, peace that comes from the clarity of knowing you are right where you should be, doing exactly what you should be doing and peace that comes from putting your heart down on paper and having people "get it".

It isn't enough to talk about peace, 
one must believe it.
And it isn't enough to believe in it, 
one must work for it. 
~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Grateful for Laughter and Twice-Stuffed Turkeys

Cooking has always been a passion for me.  Through my teen years I loved to cook and did a lot of it to help out my single, working mother.  Holiday dinners and cooking turkeys, though, were ultimately the responsibility of my mother even though I helped her with every step of the process.

I was around twenty when I was setting up my first household and decided that I should invite everyone over to my house for Thanksgiving dinner.  I was going to make the best Thanksgiving dinner any of us had ever had.  There would be turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy and pumpkin pie from scratch.  If they did not know that my middle name was Susie, as in Homemaker, they would surely find out soon.

I made the stuffing the way my mother always had:  tear the bread, chop the onions, add the seasonings and the melted butter, and then stuff the cavity of the bird.  While chopping the onions, I had a little accident that involved my finger and the knife and had to find a band-aid to quell the flow from my bleeding digit.  No big deal, it was just one more incident in a series of kitchen mishaps that involved cuts and burns.  Carry on.  I proceeded to stuff the bird using my hands to press the moist bread mixture as far into the cavity as I could.  Next I seasoned the bird with poultry seasoning and other spices, laid sliced onions over top and put it in the roasting pan.  I stood back to admire my work, proud of my accomplishment. 

This feeling of pride was short lived because it was then that I realized that my band-aid was missing.  I did not want to consider the possibilities of where it might be and, frantically, I searched everywhere – the counter, the floor, the garbage can– but it was nowhere to be found.  I had no choice but to “unstuff” the bird.  How many of you have “unstuffed” a bird before it was cooked?  I emptied the contents of the bird’s cavern into a bowl and then moved it, piece by piece, to another bowl in an attempt to find the missing band-aid.  Did I find it?  No, but I felt fairly satisfied that it was not in the stuffing so I re-stuffed the turkey and placed it in the oven.

Before dinner, I did end up finding the elusive band-aid hiding in a corner on the floor where the baseboard and the wall met.  I can’t tell you how relieved I was because even though I went through every single piece of stuffing and was fairly satisfied that the band-aid was not there, I still had visions of someone taking a bite and getting that odd look on their face.  You know the look.  The one that says, “I am not exactly sure what I just put in my mouth combined with how am I going to get it out of here as fast as I can without anyone noticing.”

The rest of the dinner went well.  The mashed potatoes were buttery and creamy and the turkey moist and delicious.  And then there was the stuffing.  Well, the stuffing was superb, if I do say so myself, and only the beginning of what was to become known as my signature holiday dish.  Everyone loves my stuffing.  It is probably the one thing that my ex-husband misses about me so I often save some for him to send via my daughter. 

It was only after dinner when we were all sated and languishing, in that comatose state that is only brought on by eating a turkey dinner, that I decided to share the story of my twice-stuffed turkey with my guests.  We had a good laugh.  Occasionally, over the years, this story has been retold and then we laugh again.  I am grateful for this laughter.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Piece of My Heart

Someone once said to me that having a child is like having a piece of your heart walking around outside of your body.  I have always thought that this was a very fitting way to describe the vulnerability that comes with being a parent.  And when one of those pieces of your heart continually makes choices that hurt themselves, and therefore you, this is especially difficult.  

Piece of My Heart

A piece of my heart
Gone from my grasp
Pulling so violently
Breaking the hasp

Without a direction
It’s walking around
No heed to the source
The hurt is profound

Piece of my heart
Will of its own
Walking in chaos
The end yet unknown

Training wheels gone
You watch it fall
Try not to help it
Build up the wall

A wall for an enemy
Your heart is your foe?
What is the answer?
I really don’t know

I dare not to hope
For a rhythm of change
But hope is a must
To bear this pain

My deepest sadness
My greatest joy
An angry stranger
My little boy

Friday, November 19, 2010

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

This week's writing prompt at The Red Dress Club was to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, that was inspired by a song.  When I saw this I knew that I had to try it because I love music and I know so many songs that I thought, surely,  I could find one that would inspire me.  

Perhaps, something from my favourite chanteuse, Natalie Merchant, whose lyrics are brilliant.  

But no, when I sat down to write, all that came to my mind was, "Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..."  

I thought a little harder, how about Amanda Marshall, "Everybody's got a story that could break your heart."  But no.  

It was "Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens.  Brown paper packages tied up with string.  These are a few of my favourite things."  

It insisted and persisted, so I decided to give in and give it a voice.  I realize that this is probably not exactly the "piece" they were looking for but the following poem, based on the rhythm and structure of the Julie Andrews song from the Sound of Music, is what evolved from the prompt.

Just in case you are not familiar with the song, I found this haunting, ethereal version of My Favourite Things on You Tube.  This version is so far removed from the original version.  The video is dark and thought provoking; I love it!

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

My first sip of coffee; a breeze off the ocean
A thought in my head that sets me to motion
A song on the radio I just have to sing
These are a few of my favourite things

Little white ramekins all in a row
Seeds that I’ve planted, they're starting to grow
The warm welcome feeling a red door will bring
These are a few of my favourite things

Finding the words to show what I’m feeling
Writing them down; they’re part of the healing
The smile of my grandson and my wedding ring
These are a few of my favourite things

When the day’s dark
When the rain falls
When life makes me teary
I simply remember my favourite things
And then I don’t feel so weary