Posted in Challenges and Contests, Life Writing, My Poetry, OctPoWriMo Challenge

Husband Humanity – OctPoWriMo, Oct. 8

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Husband Humanity

It can be easy, in the living of hours days weeks

months years

To think of him only as he relates to me.

My husband.

My children’s father.

My best friend.

The man who scratches my back

Brings me coffee and dinner

Who provides and fixes and sometimes grumbles

About the noise we make and the money we spend.

The man whose smile touches me to the core

And whose voice still makes my heart thump

The way it did in those long-ago first days.

And who wants me always, and no one else

And touches me as though I am the rarest treasure.

Then, with the sickening jolt of reality

I am forced to see him as other, separate, himself –

Sitting in the NICU, holding our comatose newborn

Me watching the heart monitor, but him

Taking in every detail of our baby boy’s face

As he died in his Daddy’s big strong arms.

How he kept on holding that small body

He had not been able to keep safe

For more than an hour, not wanting to let go of a child

He would never be able to hold again

As our baby grew cold, and pale, and then waxen

Like a figure borrowed from a museum

I had to stop looking, focus elsewhere

But he did not.

He communed, father to son

His attention and love total and sacred

And he told me later that he had longed

To cradle Elijah up on his shoulder

The way he did Jeremiah

And a year later Annalise

But did not because

He was afraid he would never be able

To do that with another baby,

If he did.

Or the day we argued with hurled pointed rage

And, he, once again

Fled the scene of the crime of passion

By going off early to work, leaving me

A seething fury bereft of hug and kiss.

And when the phone rang, and I knew

It was him, I didn’t answer, teeth clenched

That he would dare to call,

Pretending there was no fight, no reason why

I would still be angry.

Too, too much time went by before

The sheriff knocked on the door,

And told me, over the dog’s alarmed barking

Your husband hit a deer on his motorcycle,

He’s OK, but being airlifted to

Albany Medical Center.”

And I hugged and clung a moment to

The two living children we made together

Bitterness drowned in anguish and clutching fear

Before I gathered us up to go to the Emergency Room

Still not knowing if he would live or die.

Through the dark, through two waiting rooms, and then

The young surgeon who spoke calmly of things

Like eight broken ribs, a collapsed lung, and a lacerated spleen

And ended with “minimal risk of mortality”

As my world heaved up and lurched into the paradox

Of terror and relief.

Finally to the tiny room filled with strangely huge machines

And a large man lying flat and unmoving

As fractured moans broke from his depths –

A man I did not even recognize at first

As the man who, exactly fifteen years before

I had first met, on his thirty-third birthday.

I have known him always as he is vertically, and well

His power apparent in size and frame and bearing I thought

Were permanent and unchanging facts of our lives.

Yet, here he lay, felled by a chance and ill-timed leap,

And a winter warm enough to ride to work and home again.

His body, so strong, no match at all for the pavement

One hundred feet further down that country road.

The pain made him unable to move or really talk, and later

He did not know if he had dreamed us, or if we were really there.

He had called me, he said, much later,

To say goodbye

Because it was late at night and he feared everyone had gone to bed

And so he had somehow found his phone, and gotten it up under his helmet

To call 911, and then me.

He told me too that before we arrived

The doctors had placed a chest tube, and done an MRI

Stretching his arms up over his head despite the broken ribs

Sealing him in the tube

While he screamed.

These moments, the illusion shatters

And I know that he lives

Not only though me or for me

But fully, alive and experiencing every

Breath of his own life.

Here, beside me on the couch watching Castle

Because I asked him to, and he loves me

Is the little boy who got lost in divorce and remarriage

And a female-filled house where the only other male

Had to see in him the reflection

Of his father’s face.

For whom school was a torment because his mind

Shifted constantly from one idea to another,

And  he too sharp and alive to bear being bored and shaped

Into something ‘acceptable’.

Whose soul could not be imprisoned within

Classroom walls, and, instead

Wandered out to the mossy, wet freedom

Of the Oregon rain forest.

I’m learning, at long last and just in time

To see him always this way, as a person

With life, integrity, thoughts and dreams of his own,

With a reality that doesn’t always include me.

To look into his eyes and look past the color

And my own reflection and perception

To the being within.

Jim, at a cemetery in Kingston, MA. Memorial Day 2010.

It’s a blog hop!

Posted in A Round of Words in 80 Days -2012, ROWnd #4

Delving Deep and Breaking Through – ROW80 Update 10/7/12

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It’s been an eventful few days for me, filled with many exciting developments. Are you feeling the excitement, or still anticipating?

Honoring Myself  (Original goals post)

My one goal for this round is to honor myself – my rhythms, energy, and needs. My truth. My dreams and desires and emotions.

A fundamental part of that is to identify my energy type each day, and list what I do. It’s my hope that, throughout the round, patterns will emerge which will lead me to a more joyful and organic writing flow – one that truly honors me, while at the same time allowing me to get the most out of my writing time, which is seldom predictable.

That list has gotten pretty long, so, if you’re interested in how I spent my days, writing-and-otherwise, you can find it here.

Last fall, on the cow train at Liberty RidgeFarm

I’ve had a few memorable moments, though, that I want to share with you all, in this space. Not huge and reality-shifting moments, mostly. These are my notes of grace and personal revelation, moments of value to me.

  • Jeremiah, age 11, and I watched the Presidential debate on Wednesday night. I really enjoyed the conversation we had, and was, once again, pleasantly surprised at how mature his thought processes and ability to assess what he hears critically have become. He remarked, at one point, that one candidate kept reversing his position, negating what he had said earlier.

  • I completed the last of the paperwork that needed to be submitted to the school district. Now, I should be clear until the first quarter reports are due on December 1.

  • I have reconnected with my passion for poetry, and find myself going deeply into my present and my past. It’s healing, purging – and draining. I am loving this challenge, sharing my reality, and reading others’ work. My soul is singing and thrumming to have so much poetry in it!

  • I have had several ideas for submissions, and plan to add one or two to my next days’ projects. Some are poems written for OctPoWriMo, others have been in my WIP files for some time. Still others are ideas swirling in my mind. All are exciting!

  • I have had a breakthrough with my nascen NaNowriMo novel, King of Infinite Space, and that has fed a breakthough in my as-yet incomplete August Camp NaNonovel, To Be Or Not To Be. It’s the beginning of the loosening, and much remains as yet unknown, but there is enough movement that I have freewritten a bit about both stories, and how they tie in together. More ideas are coming, so long as I remain open to them.

  • I have remained calm and non-reactive in some personally challenging circumstances have failed to do so in others. Even then, though, I calmed myself quickly, and made apologized to those I had inadvertently wronged.

Brave – singing to an audience, NEUC, 2011

So, now, my energy levels and poems for the last few days….

Now, for my thoughts on the specific projects I listed in my goals post:

  • I am serving as a sponsor for this round.

  • I completed my sponsor visits on Thursday.

  • I wrote a rough draft of my sponsor post.

  • I am continuing to find this a very pleasurable experience.

  • I will soon be beginning a list of resources and ideas born from my visits, to experiment with during Ebb Tide times.

  • I am participating in the OctPo WriMo Challenge throughout October.

  • I have continued to write a poem each day, as noted above.

  • Although the poems are rather rough, as a result of the narrow timeframe for their creation, I am really liking what has been brought forth thus far.

  • I am getting a good deal of positive feedback on these pieces.

  • I have an idea forming that involves doing something with my 31 poems, once they are all complete.

  • I haven’t gotten around to visit as many other poets as I would have hoped. Between my sponsor visits, the homeschooling paperwork, my sponsor post, and a series of increasingly intimate and powerful poems, I seemed to always have something to attend to. I intend to shift more focus to this, now that other projects have been completed, or are winding down.

    Yeah, I can do it again!

  • I will be participating in NaNoWriMo throughout November, writing at least 50,000 words of another novel in my Trueborn series, King of Infinite SpaceI might plan or sketch out parts ahead of time, or I might just leap in blind, with only the vaguest sense of where I am headed, which tends to work out for me.

  • As noted above, I have had a breakthrough in this project.

  • I am continuing to gain a sense of the basic plot shape, and details are beginning to appear.

  • In the coming days, I will be asking my characters a few questions which, if they choose to answer, might allow me to gain a clearer sense of them and their stories.

  • I will continue to do some freewriting to explore, and perhaps also to write a flash fiction piece or two, if I have enough material, time,and inspiration.

Annalise was all about the intestines! Journey Through The Body, April 2011
  • I will be answering a rather embarrassing backlog of blog comments that have, in some cases, waited for months…it’s time – actually, far past time – to attend to these, acknowledge those who took the time to comment, and, in the process, enrich myself.

  • I have answered quite a few comments, both current and considerably older, as I move through the lists on shanjeniah.

  • It feels great to read and respond to comments I didn’t even know were there.

  • Once I get shanjeniah up to date, comment-wise, I will be earmarking some time each week for attending to comments there, and will be moving on to answer comments on the guest post I wrote for Tiny Buddha waaaaay back last winter.

  • Every other day seems to work well for me to answer comments. Any more frequent gets tedious, and any less frequently makes little progress and a greater chance of forgetting altogether.

Snugabug siblings…

In addition to the projects above, I added:

  • Moving firewood, as weather permits.

  • I condensed the stack, moving it closer to the garage door – where rain that came earlier than predicted soaked it!

  • I plan to move the wood into the garage Sunday evening or during the day on Monday.

  • Editing and adding photos to my Picasa albums, and sharing these more widely.

  • I edited several groups from the photo backlog, and created three albums.

  • I  have used a few of these in my OctPoWriMo posts.

  • During the coming days, I intend to post these and share more widely.

  • Assembling the IHIPs and other paperwork for the school district (due October 12)

  • I completed this project, ahead of schedule. HOORAY!!!!!

  • Moving ahead with the reporting pages project on The Unfettered Life.

  • I have completed this project, with adaptations.

  • There was not a great enough page allowance at the main blog, so I created reporting blogs for bothAnnalise and Jeremiah.

  • All the pages are formatted and posted, and, during the coming days, I plan to begin adding the details I want to include in the quarterly reports.

  • My long-range goal, for the rest of this month, is to have enough material for each topic to construct the main body of the report, so that completing the reports in a timely manner does not conflict with my NaNo participation.

Tumbled gourds….

What’s coming up, during the next days..?

A few additional projects I’d like to move forward….

  • Complete and submit my ROW80 sponsor post.

  • Continue brainstorming Ebb Tide and High Tide projects.

  • Review and revise guest post for a friend’s blog, promised far too long ago.

  • Revise and prepare WIP items for submission to the Pittsburgh Flash Fiction Gazette.

  • Review guest post policy at Words In Sync for possible guest posting opportunities.

Jeremiah, age 7…he still loves Dickens.

And lastly, my reading list…:

ROW80 :

OctPoWriMo :

Other posts and articles:

A Sunday long gone….Chef Annalise, age 5

ROW80 Blog Hop!!!!