Recommendations…


DSC_0558I’ve been otherwise occupied, obvious from the date of my last post. I’m sorry. Not much in the way of blogging, or even new poetry writing. But a rich time of learning the history of epic poetic genius, and growing into new word pursuits presenting to me in my community. Awe-struck by it all.

Here are a few things I recommend to you in my latent absence, or in the intent of a poetic line/seed poem that is rooting itself in my brain, in the commendation of sparrows and lesser things;

1. John Donne ~ Holy Sonnets, specifically Death Be Not Proud.

2. Wit ~ Play by Margaret Edson, screen adaptation, starring Emma Thompson.

3. BBC Documentary on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

4. Take a course, push outside the comforting constraints of current circles, learn.

5. Self-knowledge. Dig in. Unearth. Make adjustments.

6. Forgive. Often.

7. Dive into Life. Abandon yourself. That most often requires slowing down.

That’s all my friends.

With love,

Lesley-Anne

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Tuesday Poem 004B


Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro (Photo credit: stevelyon)

Those of you who are writers or poets or musicians or artists know what I mean when I say we work on our work, and we often wonder if it is EVER done. When I’m in the middle of working on a poem it bounces around in my head while I’m doing everything else unrelated to writing and suddenly I’ll have this word pop up and I have to go write it down because it’s EXACTLY the word I was looking for in the first place but couldn’t find it. Sometimes this type of brain pop happens when I can’t write down the word or the phrase and I’ll pray, “Please, please don’t let me forget this before I get to pen and paper.” And sometimes my prayers will be answered, sometimes I just plain old forget whatever I thought of.

In any case, a couple of weeks ago I posted the poem “The Precise Colour of Orange”. It was a draft poem, still I felt I could share it with you here. And since them, today specifically, there have been new words and phrases and ways of writing lines that have changed my original draft somewhat. I haven’t turned the poem on it’s head (which I find incredibly hard to do and I’m waiting for some guidance from an hard core poet friend of mine on this type of editing being good for me rather than feeling like death). So, here’s the new draft. I like it more than the first. Is it finished… nope. Will it ever be ‘finished’. I doubt it.

I hope you enjoy this work in progress.

The Precise Colour of Orange

We sit in the driveway, he slaps the steering wheel
of his Dad’s Camaro Z-28, punctuation marking
my small indiscretion, my attempt at last words.
In this way he teaches fear. Visceral, unexpected grip
where I don’t know what hit me, ‘til he’s long gone.

I make a point, slam the car door, run down the
road half blind and furious, hindsight like Lot’s wife
with similar salty consequences. By the time I’m back
I know I’ve settled. Lines I draw for hard hands make
way to soft. I don’t know what else to say. I could say

time, like dry ice white-hugging a concert stage, obscures bodies
and connections. I could say gravity holds its breath while
I hold tight against the chill. All I know is I am anchored
arms wrapping knees on cool sand, sun smoothing brow
of round topped Monashee, while Lesser Scaups gather Grebes

float out to meet the dark. I could say a florescent orange
mooring float is a garish substitute for unsung hues
of a sky set on fire.

A year in review


It’s interesting when I reflect on things, how I feel that I stray far from my original intentions, yet in reality, I orbit around a thought or a thread of one, and come back to it time and time again. Such, I think, is the case with ‘Buddy Breathing,’ the blog and the concept.

When I think of what inspired ‘Buddy Breathing,’ it was for a large part, my friend Art Suke. Art is in the DNA of this place, and never far from thought when I hear of others who have battled ALS and lost valiantly, as he did. There was another battle lost last week. Another man cut down in his prime. Another celebration of a life. It still sucks as much now as it did then.

Still, there were specific ideas percolating in my mind last January when I posted my very first inspirations here, and some of them have flitted away into the recesses of my mind, while others are coming front and centre again. I consider how I have cast my nets in many different directions, and how God has brought me many good things.

Art is gone, and he won’t be back this side of heaven. He remains part of us. Like the other day when Bob and I were talking about a certain situation and I remembered Art saying, “Take the high road,” even though he’d never tell anyone he was taking that particular route. He just chose it. Spoke well of people. Thought well of people. Kept his expectations of people within limits. He taught me things. He questioned my thinking. He is still here, impacting, in so many ways.

I’ve been asked to speak at an upcoming Okanagan Express, about how my writing, poetry specifically, aids in the process of healing and wholeness in my life. So, immediately I began reflecting on how I walked through the final year of Art’s illness by doing just that… writing. Many poems were birthed on the way to or from Hospice, and even though writing was part of my life long before the complex experience of losing Art, it blossomed into something bigger, deeper, and more meaningful during the time of his illness and death. Publishing a collection of stories for Art was the seed for the first ‘Buddy Breathing’, another experience in giving and receiving words of hope. Landmarks, such as my poem, ‘Scotch Mints’ being published in UBCO Lake Journal, were because the depth of my journey somehow magnified my words into something more. Something that resonated with others.

And without getting into the details of what I’ll be presenting on March 17th at the Bohemian Bagel, I’ll be trying to summarize all that has happened in my life since I first discovered the power of creative expression. I’ll be trying to put into words the way that God has allowed, blessed, opened up, amplified, unearthed, worked out, this gift of poetry that continues to shape who I am. He continues to heal me and give me hope through this gift. And in thousands of other ways, God continues to give me exactly what I need. Hope for the moment. Hope enough. Breath by breath.

Thinking… (that’s nothing new!)

Peace,

Lesley-Anne

Midweek random ramble008


Bowl of Mott's Cinnamon Flavored Apple Sauce

Image via Wikipedia

1. Reflecting on a simulcast conference I attended yesterday. Are you like me… find yourself all fired up when you listen to inspiring ones who hold out a better way, and you find yourself longing for it? Well, yesterday was just like that for me. Beth Moore is an amazing speaker and teacher. She’s funny, open and honest, and smart. She knows her Bible, and has a way of explaining it that leaves me wanting more and more of what she is offering up of God.

I spent a couple of hours today reading over my ‘Living Proof Live conference notes, looking up references in my Bible, chatting to God, and thinking about the potential for change in me….

Beth taught on verse 26 from Proverbs chapter 31… which is;

She opens her mouth with wisdom,
And on her tongue is the law of kindness.

I want to be that woman. I want my words to be full of wise counsel and loving kindness and life to those I speak to.

So, I’m inviting God to help me to do that. Be that. Specifically. Daily. Moment by moment.

2. Just picked some Mac apples from the orchard behind us. There’s something about apples… simple and wholesome. Fruit of the earth. Going to make some apple sauce. Going to enjoy the aromas that will soon permeate our home. Going to sink in and cocoon on this rainy Sunday afternoon at home. It’s lovely to just have a home day in the midst of what will be two very busy weeks. Hmmm… Sabbath rest… I can feel that today.

3.  Our life really is going to the birds! This morning we had Rock Doves, Chickadees, White Crowned Sparrows, Quail, and regular garden variety Sparrows outside our dining room window, dining at the various feeders that were just filled up by my son Graeme last week. What a delight to sit on the floor with the dog beside me and look out the dog smeared window at all the bird activity. Do you like birds? I remember my Grandfather was mesmerized by them. Just like he was mesmerized by flowers and plants and all living things. He would say, “Would you look at that!” incredulous, voice filled with wonder.

4. I’m deathly afraid of the dental chair. Saturday morning I bit down on a multi-grain bagel and a very tiny seed wedged it’s way into one of my molars and as I bit down a lurch my stomach type pain jammed it’s way down into my jaw. Ever since I’ve been worried about what that means. Because my dentist said we’d leave well enough alone with this tooth. It has a history and a hairline crack that we’ve been watching. Considering the need for a crown. My first crown. And thanks to that bagel my dental nightmare seems to be coming true.

Last time I was tipped back in the dental chair I became overwhelmed by anxiety, shallow breathing and tears. Over getting one of my wisdom teeth extracted. I may be a bit of a pansy because in all of my years I’ve only had one filling. Lack of experience results in my freaking out when I can’t close my mouth or swallow my saliva or sit up straight or be in control of my own head. Did I mention the fear?

So, after a tearful conversation with my husband regarding the pending crown vs. extracting said tooth (He thought pulling the tooth sounded a bit barbaric, while I thought grinding down for a crown sounded worse) I realized that my fear is just that… fear. And, without getting into the details of some other situations that I have trusted God with, let’s just say that God was with me in the sea and in a cave and he’ll be with me in the dental chair.

Just made an appointment!

5. Reinstating ‘Date Night’ with my husband. We want to do it, talk about it, plan to do it, forget to do it. So, we’re adding it to some things that are ingrained in our weekly calendar which will mean we will no longer forget. Looking forward to some face time with my main man!!!

6. Enjoyed a rousing rendition of ‘Jupiter’, and then ‘Rockin Around the Christmas Tree’ thanks to Malcolm the DJ this morning. Bizarre mixing on my iMac… perhaps some tweaking of the playlists might help :)

Here’s ‘The Planets Op. 32 Jupiter’, by Gustav Holst, for your listening enjoyment.

Sol Deo Gloria,

Lesley-Anne

Mid-week random ramble 003


1. Most days I listen to CBC Radio 2 as I drive. My son Malcolm calls it ‘Smart Radio’… in a slightly derogatory tone. I like the commercial free sounds of a wide variety of music. As I was listening to J.S. Bach’s Oboe Concerto in D minor, I was moved to tears. Why does music have the ability to wrench us, bring us to our knees? Have a listen yourself…

2. Backyard movies on a hot summer night with friends, popcorn, chocolate covered almonds and cozy blankets are fun, even if the movie choices are less than what you thought you had chosen. Has anyone noticed how hard it is to find a creatively well done family friendly movie? Sexual innuendo does not go over the heads of teenagers…

3. Writing is a mysterious thing. Poetry can be elusive… especially when it comes to working with it to make it better. I couldn’t walk this road of developing as a poet without others reaching out their hands to me. I am thankful to many, including my neighbour and poet who has had me in to read to one another a couple of times. I could sit at her feet and listen to her read for hours. Wonderful words read with a soothing voice.

4. The dog hears my every move in the house, no matter how early I wake up or how quietly I sneak around, Emmy sniffs at the bottom of Malcolm’s door, crying to be released. This morning I ignored her… craving some alone time… without the dog… even for a few minutes.

5. Spent some time at a book signing. My friends Donna Lowe and Kimberley Parker have been PUBLISHED! Every writer’s dream… well, mine anyway. Their vision, hard work, determination and huge faith has resulted in their beautiful book being picked up by a publisher! Wow! You go girls! I purchased two copies and had them signed. Proof that I knew them ‘when’… You can check out their book Radical Love on their website, and order your copy online at Revival Nation, Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com.

6. Malcolm let me use his camera last evening when we spent a couple of hours on the lake for a sunset cruise. He recently bought a digital SLR. A Nikon. Saved up for it. The sound of the shutter is a beautiful thing. The pictures Malcolm takes with the camera are really good, and I’ve posted some here today. I’m excited that he is discovering and exercising his creativity.

7. Did you know that Tim Hortons is now doing ice cream? Went last night and indulged in the Cold Stone Dairy ‘love it’ size selection of chocolate and key-lime with coconut… yummy. I found my treat to be a perfect blend of chewiness and melt on your tongue consistency. Good flavour, generous portions, and the price, well, not much different than a medium DQ Blizzard, and there’s no comparison to either taste or quality. And according to the Wall Street Journal, Timmy’s addition of ice cream may also be good for business.

8. A fun game of ‘Apples to Apples’ with our good friends tonight. A little wine for the stomach’s sake, and cheese because cheese is yummy. Couldn’t tell you who won, but we were all laughing as we slapped at the mosquitoes in the dusk of the warm summer evening. What, mosquitoes in Kelowna… yeppers… this year there are!!!

9. This week I’m going to the Caravan Theatre with Claire… her birthday treat to me! Can’t wait. Have never been in the summer, but their winter productions are awesome.

10. On Sunday afternoon I began to read my newest book purchase, ‘The Practice of the Presence of God”… it’s been on my reading list for a very long time, and now I have it! I’m excited to know how a 17th Century Carmelite called Brother Lawrence grew to know God in an earthy, humble, every detail of his life kind of way… stay tuned.

11. I’m eyelash challenged, while Bob, Graeme, Malcolm and Claire are blessed with long, dark, curly wonders on their eyes. Drew Barrymore recently promised me “the biggest, boldest lashes of my life”. So, I bought her promise and bought some ‘Covergirl Lashblast’… I don’t see any difference, do you see any difference. Hey, are those lashes real?… really???

It’s 9:36 am and Bob and Emmy just came downstairs. Malcolm soon followed. Claire is stirring upstairs. Quiet time’s done for now and with it the random ramble.

Gonna go drink some hot sweet java. Talk soon,

LAE

A screen fast for Lent?


As I begin to write this, I’m completely aware of the corrective words of Jesus to his disciples regarding praying in public places in loud voices, rather than praying in private. And his words about fasting with long faces so that everyone can see and know what they are about. It seems that the Pharisees (religious leaders) of the day were making a scene to draw attention to themselves, rather than keeping what they were doing between them and God. And Jesus did not approve one bit, and warned his disciples to not follow suit.

So, I have to preface this post by giving notice that when and if I do a ‘screen fast’ or any other kind of fast, I will proceed privately between God and I. I will not blog about the process. There will be signs that I’m not online, but that is all. The details will remain private.

Presenting the idea now is simply to allow you to consider it for yourself.

Lent is a rather new concept for me, as I didn’t grow up with it, and I haven’t focused on it in my adult life either. But, at this time of the year, Lent is practiced by many devout followers of Jesus, who for the 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday, choose to turn away from the distractions of the world and worldly pleasures, and draw closer to Christ. Lent 2010 begins next week on Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2010.

Not only is Lent about abstaining from certain activities, foods, or whatever you personally choose to remove from your life, Lent is also about what you choose to do with the time that has been opened up with the removal of these things. In Isaiah 58:1-12, Christ teaches that ‘fasting’ without works of charity does us no good. Fasting is also about devoting time to prayer and solitude with God, learning more about him, spending time with him. For example, if fasting my lunchtime meal is what I choose to do, then each lunchtime I would feel the physical trigger of hunger pangs, which would remind me to turn my thoughts toward God in prayer.

When I look at my own life and the values I profess to have, and compare that to how I spend my time and what takes up a large portion of my day, I can’t help but acknowledge that the ‘screen’ is where I’m drawn to most often. Not to my bible, not to my knees, but to my screen. Whether that’s to connect with friends, family, teachers by email, or blogging, or checking my blog stats, or my facebook, or doing important research, or writing new poems or stories, that’s where I go, A LOT. Whenever I have a spare minute, with very little structure or parameters, I walk around the corner to my computer desk and click, click, click. And, without being completely aware of it, I’m there for long periods of time.

So, it makes sense to me that to fast something in my life that might even hold some power over me, it would have to be my computer.

For you it could be texting, eating certain foods, television, shopping, talking on the phone, or whatever you feel could or should go.

40 days is a long time. I took time out from my computer once before, over a year ago, for a month. And that was difficult. People didn’t understand. I felt cut off. I felt disappointed that phone calls didn’t take the place of emails. I didn’t do it then for the primary purpose of seeking God, but for the purposes of breaking the hold the computer had over me. And, here I am recognizing that the mesmerizing white glow of the screen might just have me in it’s grasp one more time. And if I say I value Jesus over all, then my life had better show that singleness of heart and action.

A blog I read occasionally has some great steps to prepare for a ‘screen fast’. I will print them out today and give serious consideration. And then, I will choose.

Logging off for now,

Lesley-Anne