I’ve planted roses in my bones,
and left the ashes of those years,
in an urn mixed with tears,
lit on fire with my fears,
disintegrated, gone away,
I couldn’t live with them any longer,
I don’t know if it made me stronger,
holding on and out for hope,
I’ve planted roses in a kaleidoscope.
Revealed a thing I didn’t want to see,
I couldn’t escape it and now I’m free,
it’s what they say the truth will do,
not the kind they thought they knew,
a rainbow through the looking-glass,
in every color, shade, and hue,
I’ve planted roses for me, and you.
I’ve let my hip bones turn to wings,
I’ve let my heart remember things,
I thought would break my soul in two,
I’ve planted roses and now I’m through,
With the thorns she gave to me,
I’ve closed the window. Shut the door.
I can’t hear her anymore.
I found a love that lets me be,
I’ve planted roses in my bones,
in among the sticks and stones,
in the tall grass, among the weeds,
I’ve planted roses, I’ve planted seeds.
Teri Skultety, 7/1/18
I’m going to take a moment to enjoy the summer, reset my brain, take a look at what all I have in the hopper, consider and contemplate and dream…
Have wonderful days.
I’m editing. I’m editing this webpage. I’m editing possessions. I’m editing a book.
I removed the previous post about “The Wizard of OZ” because it didn’t set the proper tone for what I’m relating it to, and that is the novel I’m editing, “The Edges of the Rain.” I am very much a Yellow Brick road gal, still, only my understanding of it isn’t quite the same now. Many of the themes present in “The Wizard of Oz”, are heavily embedded in this novel of mine. It’s some seven years since writing the first draft. It is a serious book dealing with a descent into madness. As I began to edit, I realized, fully, how far I’ve come since then. I tend to think that we are here, in this world, to learn, if we can. (And to love all we can.) I’ve made a lot of mistakes during the course of this lifetime. There are these strange things, circumstances, events, moments, that get us sometimes. An example I’ve cited is that, more than a decade ago now, I once used a mid-meltdown photo of Britney Spears as a profile picture, thinking, at the time, I was just being cheeky ( edit, clarification: being cheeky about the amount of stress I felt like I was under, not about her having any issues) and who was I anyway? I was just the average person in the burbs, and, had been a fan of some of Britney Spears’ music. But, who are any of us? Some time after that I had my own breakdown. What I realized was that even though I was no one to Ms. Spears and the likelihood of my trying to be funny seemingly had no direct effect on her ever, as in, not like someone told her I did that and she was set to tears over it, I realized that what it does is lower the overall tone of how we treat other people. I’ve tried to make that point in various other ways since then, sometimes using sarcasm, and realized, no one seemed to get that what I was saying was that it isn’t cool. So, now, I’ve stated my opinion of it plainly. I’d be lying if I said that I’d never been critical of anyone or anything. I’d be foolish if I told you what it is that has sometimes caused me to be that way with or about anyone as it is generally my nature to let people be so long as they aren’t hurting themselves or anyone else. Even then sometimes I recognize it as none of my business. Prior to my breakdown, let’s just say in my previous existence, one of the things I used to do to keep myself in check was, if I saw someone who was obviously out of sorts in some way, was to ask myself what would have to happen to a person to be where that person is at, going through what they’re going through? Because I’ve been down, I have been through some things. Somewhere around the time of being cheeky about Ms. Spears, I was losing that perspective, and I know why, what caused that, and it’s enough that I know it. People used to constantly be telling me to “lighten up.” I deeply regret having ever betrayed some of the things I believe in. It’s all learning.
Editing this novel has proved to be galvanizing as much of it is based on actual experience though it is most certainly fiction. It’s making me thankful for my life, for my sanity. Sometimes I’ve thought that I didn’t go insane, so much as I went completely sane in an insane world. I’m glad of getting to look at it all with a new perspective, hopefully mature. In so many ways it has brought me back to myself. In so many ways, this book, for me, has been about finding my way, my guts, as a writer, and perhaps nothing else. Though, that is unlikely. To learn is to grow, to be about the evolution of the existence of your being, and, I believe, everything is part of that process. Others may think or believe otherwise and they are free to do so. We are not all on the same road.
One of the things I’ve learned is that the people I’ve loved the most are those whom are so confidently at ease with themselves that they instantly put others at ease. If there’s a guy railing against bacon, how bacon is evil and no one should ever eat bacon because he hates it, and no one should ever listen to music from the 1950’s because that all sucks and why don’t you join the modern age, and hey, you shouldn’t read those books because they’re all garbage, here, read these books that are real literature, because it’s all bad in his, or her, exalted opinion of his opinions, that’s a person I’d just as soon not have much to do with. If there’s a guy that’s calm, confident, relaxed with himself, who thinks it’s cool that you have a room dedicated to your favorite film memorabilia, are addicted to root beer floats, and can’t watch enough Kung Fu, even though he doesn’t like that show, give me that person. The confident person is generally going to be kinder, because they’re not threatened by your differences, less likely to try to make themselves feel better by making you, or anyone else, feel bad. Some people are never happy, because deep down they’re unhappy with themselves. Sometimes people become so hurt, they become terrified of joy, terrified of the uncertainty, the seemingly fleeting nature of happiness, and so they cling to their hurt, to their anger, misery, and pain, and trudge like monsters through the delights of others wreaking havoc as if to prove and validate their own hurt and misery, their own experience. And I know how hard it can be to let go of those things. Such people are constantly looking for someone to feed off of, for someone to reassure them that their opinions about bacon are correct. They don’t want you to be yourself, they want you to be a reflection of their ideas and opinions of all that is bad or good or correct. What I’ve learned from such people, ultimately, if I didn’t shrink completely away, was that I wasn’t going to learn anything from them. (And that’s been disappointing sometimes, because I haven’t necessarily disliked all such individuals, only realized they weren’t people I was meant to know anymore than I did at whatever time it was.) There’s never been any room for me to grow in the presence of such. It’s a lesson it’s taken me a lifetime to learn at some emotional expense. Give me the people who are truly at ease with themselves, they make the best teachers, they make the best lovers, they make the best friends. They let people be and become themselves, so they can find their own confidence. (I think confident people help create other confident people, inspire others to be confident.) They help you when you fall, more importantly, they don’t push you down in the first place.
Even at that though, like I said, we’re all on different roads, learning from one another. Maybe what I learned is, give me the confident people at ease with themselves, the ones who aren’t telling me how to be, because that’s who I want to be like, the people who make you feel like it’s okay to be who you are, and to still be learning.
I’ve spent these days in dreams of you
these Knights in search of what is true
let all the world forgive me this
I’ve spent lifetimes searching
for your kiss.
I’ve had a very strange afternoon, in the most welcome way. Someone, something, unexpected “woke” me up, reminded me… of me, of an idea and an ideal. Then I saw this quote on tumblr, attributed to anonymous, “The right love will strengthen you, scare you, and give you the courage to share what your heart has survived.” And I thought, conversely, the wrong love will scare you, weaken you, and make you want to shrink and hide. And that’s very true. There are a lot of incredibly lousy people in the world who really only live to try to control others in some way. The people who don’t want you to be yourself, or for you to even find out for yourself who you are, well, they, those people, don’t want you. Those who only want you to be what they want you to be, to be who they think you should be or remember you as, they don’t want you either. Those who seek to control you, because they don’t trust you or your love for them, or because they’re afraid or insecure about what you might become if you were allowed to grow into yourself, well that isn’t love either. Those who mock you, who seek to turn everything you do, or everything you are, into a joke or something to make light of, well, guess what, that isn’t love, or even friendship, either.( That also says something about who they are as people, about how they feel about themselves. But don’t pity them too much, they think that’s funny too, because they’re so cool. Which isn’t to say I don’t have a sense of humor, I’m not talking about people whom I actually consider to be friends joking around, though there aren’t many of those.) On that note I’ll say that real love, and real friendship, for that matter, I think, have to be built on a foundation of respect for one another, and treating each other accordingly. (Make no mistake, there are those who will take until there is nothing left for you, or of you.) Every now and then, we get this great blessing of a person who, somehow, is able to restore us to ourselves, to bring us back to square. Sometimes without even trying to, sometimes just by being themselves or doing what they’re doing regardless of us, sometimes such individuals know us better than we know ourselves. However it works is beside the point, such people are rare. The ones who seem to know exactly the right thing to say at exactly the right time, in the right way, when everyone else is getting everything wrong…all it takes is that one person to save the day sometimes, to get it right. So someone/something kind of did that for me today, whether that was the intention or not, and I’ll take it. I’m thankful and grateful for it.
In some moment, when you least expect it, you will cease to be the expectations, the perceptions, or idea, of any other soul on earth. In some quiet hour you will know yourself for the first time completely as you’ve always existed, you will know what and who you are and be only that forever after.
This evening has been a revelation. I think that paragraph will find its way into the book.
The new covers are completed. It will be a few days before all of these titles are once again available. I am still editing some of the stories in “GRAIN.” “The Slick Furies” is at the beginnings of an overhaul, and I’ve no idea when those edits will be completed. I’ve come down with a cold, am tired, and finishing the last two covers, for “Thelxiepeia” and “Red Line Wine,” brought me to tears. The original covers never met my expectations. I resolved myself to the thinking that it is the words that matter, and it is, but of course, honestly, I wanted the covers to look better. They were as good as the tools available to me, that I knew of, and what I had time for. I shall compare it to the early writers of hieroglyphics, to those crafting early cave drawings, discovering (creating) a paintbrush. The cover of “Thelxiepeia” took about four hours of meticulously layering elements, messing with filters, spacing, and colors. I have a copy of beautiful edition of “The Rubaiyat” by Omar Khayyam that I love the overall look of that served as the inspiration for the cover design of “Thelxiepeia.” I love beautiful, antique, books. I wanted the cover of “Thelxiepeia” to have a vintage feel. The cover of “Red Line Wine” is an old drawing I did when I finished writing that book in 1996. Obviously I’m not an artist, and yet the drawing, filled with so much symbolism from my youth, is a perfect cover for that book as it contains my beginnings as a writer. Really, I didn’t think it would work but sometimes things are just “right” and you know it. To be able to finally put “Red Line Wine” together this way, well, I’m still fighting the tears. It’s been a lot of years from those beginnings to now. I’m equally happy with the new back covers. My take away from this is don’t quit. I’ve done the best I could. I’ll keep doing the best I can at any given moment. I hope to keep learning, and to keep getting better at all this. I’m also inspired to get to work on the next book(s) and editing updates now knowing that I have these other creative tools available to me. Right now though, I think it’s time for some steaks, some movie watching, some tending to my aches. I can honestly say that I like these book covers that I’ve created, and couple of them, I love.
I’ve been exceptionally busy lately with no end to that in sight. I haven’t done any writing or editing in at least a week. So it goes sometimes. I was taking something of an unintentional “moment” as it were anyway, to catch my metaphorical breath.
I follow Architectural Digest on the twitter. This evening they offered up this link to a story about Loulou de la Falaise, the “muse” of Yves Saint Laurent. Keeping in mind that she did not think of herself as a muse so much as a collaborator, as she was a designer in her own right and very hard-working, etc. I thought, “Those rooms look incredibly busy/cluttered. None of that stuff matches, but I see how it goes together.” (She mixed patterns like a boss, as they say.) Which makes it sound like I don’t grasp the concept of eclectic/bohemian/etc., when I’ve been looking at decorating and fashion magazines for as long as I could get my hands on them, but I digress. What I thought was, “But why does it work? What makes all of that seemingly mismatched stuff work?” I think it’s the idea, succinctly, that if you love it, it will go together. Still, not the point.
The point is that mixing all those things together isn’t necessarily going to be everyone’s cup of tea. (If you do an image search of Loulou de la Falaise homes, rooms, décor, you will find a plethora of seemingly mismatched bohemian bliss.) It isn’t what everyone would go in for, but if you look at photographs of the woman herself, she is emitting a vibe of fabulousness. The point is, it takes great courage to be happy.
It takes great courage to go your own way, do your own thing, and keep doing it. It takes great courage to own your happiness, to say, “Yes, I do like wearing flowers and plaids together.” or whatever it is, and own it. Embrace it. It seems a simple thing, to like what you like and love what you love, the living of it, however, takes practice.
It might also seem or sound frivolous, except that I promise you there’s nothing the least bit frivolous about happiness, about finding whatever it is in life that makes you smile or brings you joy.
“it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” e.e. cummings
I thought I’d share that thought.
I need to believe in the world, in every good, great, beautiful, peaceful, loving, amazing, part of the world. In kindness, in dignity, honor, self-respect, respect for others, in what is decent, in manners, in grace, in hope, in trust. I need to believe in summer days, the sun shining, the breeze moving through tall grass and the wind, kicking off the top layer of dust from dirt roads and farm rows. I need to believe in flower gardens, thunderstorms, and quiet rains. I need to believe in moon glow, starlight, holding hands, and the quiet still of the night, of a world sleeping well, dreaming, beautiful dreams. In humanity. In love. In prayer. In doing. I need to believe in it for myself, for us all, in the wonder of this wonderful world.