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BY Jade

11/01 Direct Link
Yestereven's ceremony for the Beloved Dead was tough. The past year's losses are the worst yet.

Honoring and remembering those who are gone makes me want to gather up those I love who are still on this plane. What the hell are my siblings and I fighting about, anyway? If they've been horrid, does that mean I have to reciprocate, and stew about it, too?

Are we stuck with that?

What if I just love you, sister and brother mine? Whether or not you want it or not, "deserve" it, how about if I treat you, hold you, with love?

11/02 Direct Link
I watch you, but I don't watch over you. It's taken me this long to realize how screwed up that is.

I'm changing, now, so much and so fast I can feel it happening every day. Where are these changes taking me?

And I'm watching you change. Who and what will you become, before my eyes?

Today I see tragedy in the distance between us, the prickly mistrust we have unfortunately earned. I wish we could start over. I wish I had understood from the beginning that we are each other's hidden weapon and secret wealth.

Or - we could be.

11/03 Direct Link
The clouds in the east are pink on lavender. Grandma would have applauded the color scheme - though for one of her paintings, it would have to be punched up with some orange, and the pink heightened.

Everyone in this family, too bright, too loud, too needy, too lusty, too much. Pushing and ricocheting off of each other and the walls and furniture, all of us living too hard.

And at the same time, each and all know well the call of retreat. As if none of us possess the necessary protection from noise and light and beauty.

Hurts. It hurts.

11/04 Direct Link
I "took it all in" for years.
Words, colors, patterns,
(tongues, penises).
I took the world in, receptive,
passive,
pondered it, trying
to understand.

Then, for a span, I labored
to contribute, from myself. I
wanted to lay out what was in ME,
what I thought
and felt and
wanted. I broke
my sealed silence
and expressed. Writing, painting,
sketching and cutting and pasting. What I sought
was to be understood.
I wanted someone to take ME in.

And now?
I'm tired.
Everything coming in,
everything going out
sounds of crinkly static, and it
doesn't seem
at all understandable,
anymore.

11/05 Direct Link
Christmas shopping!

I know people get dyspeptic when Christmas is mentioned before Thanksgiving is past, and I know our culture's runaway consumerism is inescapable at this party.

And I am so glad there is a yearly reason for me to give gifts. It's great fun to theorize what this friend or that relative might enjoy. The long anticipation of wrapped gifts hanging around awaiting Christmas day is sweet.

I like Christmas. It's sparkly and shiny and happy, and I get to show people that I like them, and wish them fun and pleasure, too.

I am so fortunate. Thank you, Goddess.

11/06 Direct Link
I want to stop.

I'm not talking about suicide, not even thinking about suicide, which is a small, stunning miracle. I don't mean I want to stop breathing.
I'm just tired of the shit. Nightmares, panic, obfuscation, confusion, exhaustion, getting smacked around any time I'm fool enough to trust someone with the crucial stuff.

I'd like is to look up into the sky and soar. Joy, and laughter: that's what I want. I want to stop feeling guilty I won't fulfill the promise of prodigy, I want to stop yearning toward other people to help me be whole.

Jesus. Enough.

11/07 Direct Link
It doesn't matter how many times it happens, every betrayal is the sharpest and worst. The indrawn shock of it, the sudden upside-downing of the world. Red is green, freedom is slavery, friend is foe.

I want to not care. I want it to not matter that an ally - a trusted confidante - has just cut me off at the knees without a backward glance.

Ow. Dammit, ow!

Ironically, this same person once said to me that if I chose safety over everything else, that's all I would have: safety. It sounded ominous, put that way. It's damned attractive now.

11/08 Direct Link
I lived in a desert. Each season had its set of smells, breezes, cues of light. When the sun was at a long slant all day, golden, and the air smelled of rye grass and dried leaves, it was time again for school. When the dome of the sky was cobalt and the sun shone all day without heat, in a few weeks Winter would break.
Und so weite.
It was only luck that brought me to live in this green valley, and gave me new relationships with the air and the sky, and with time.
Send down the rain.
11/09 Direct Link
The cab rides "to" and "from" today were both so pleasant. Lord, though, I miss the days of owning my own car. But this was good: no music, and certainly no talk radio. When the drivers began speaking quietly in Russian, I knew they were speaking into their telephone headsets, and didn't get jumpy.

This lovely city is resplendent with autumn color. I've never seen such a beautiful November; usually by now the leaves have been stripped from the trees by the relentless rain. Today was the first day of rain. It made the trees and flowers shine like jewels.

11/10 Direct Link
Damn it's frustrating, trying to keep the discipline of writing 100 words each day, coming here to do that, and there's always something wrong.
This month, when I come to write on Saturday, the tenth of November, I'm informed it isn't yet the tenth, and I can't "write ahead."
This last September, by the fifth the site still didn't believe a new month had come, and wouldn't let me post any entries at all.
How difficult can it really be to get this right? Is the server a paper clip? Or is this a twisted psychology experiment?
Daily frustration. Lovely.
11/11 Direct Link
When I get out of bed in the morning, I take a particular pill before I do anything else. This pill makes it possible for my muscles to work. It takes an hour to take full effect. So, for an hour after I get up, every day, I can't really DO anything. Showering, exercise, even getting dressed: activities fraught with peril, if the drug hasn't yet kicked in. I can't eat for fear of choking, even if I could lift a full bowl of cereal without suddenly dropping it to the floor.
It should make me more patient. It doesn't.
11/12 Direct Link
I put on a vest in case I decided to go outside, and went down to get my mail.

A slip in my mailbox said I had a parcel. The security guard had stepped away from his desk.

I went outside. It was dusk, the last of an orange sunset fading behind the trees in the west.

I couldn't breathe. Of course I was breathing. My heart raced. I glanced around. No one could tell.

I couldn't breathe. The guard returned; we fetched my parcel and I waited for the elevator.

I couldn't breathe.

Elevator.

Apartment.

And then, full-throttle panic.

11/13 Direct Link
I was inordinately pleased when I got to the coffee shop and it was all dressed up in silver and gold and shiny red and green. I took photos of some of the displays -- and the cake doughnut I wanted. I didn't have the scratch to buy it, but now I have its image forever.
And that is life.
I got good mail, today. Mail is magical. You never know what could drop into your world, via the post, any random day.
And it waited until I was home for the night, before it started to rain. Sweet.
One hundred.
11/14 Direct Link
I don't have the head for philosophy my friends have, or feel the strong pull some of them do for the Sacred. It's not obvious to me that one path is the best, wisest, or clearest way to walk with the divine.

I perceive a spiritual dimension to the universe. There is so much magic and miracle in every day and night, every sentient being, every scrap of beauty.

Really the only "path" that makes sense to me is trying to help a little, do what I can, where I can. Kindness. It's not religion, but it's what I have.

11/15 Direct Link
My mother thinks me arrogant. She thinks a great many things of me, but to her, arrogance is my defining characteristic. She thinks it blinds me to reality, makes me overly stubborn. All my life she's been saying what I really need is to be taken down a peg or two.

Well and all. I think my mother is unreliable (though predictable), willingly and willfully gullible, deaf and blind to any inconvenient facts that might require her to re-evaluate. Callous to the point of cruelty, and invariable in her self-satisfaction.

That's what we really think. Love? Yes. We also love.

11/16 Direct Link
It feels like there is a head cold just out of the range of my peripheral vision, waiting to pounce on me, given half a chance. I'm just a little achy, throat's a bit on the sore and scratchy side.
I don't have time to be sick right now. Leave me alone.
Time for the anti-cold rituals. Vitamin C in doses, I'm told, will mostly wash through my system without doing anything. Herbal tea with lemon and honey for that proto-sore throat. Boiling water with peppermint oil making the apartment fragrant.
Whatever works. Placebo effect, good intentions, faith: whatever works.
11/17 Direct Link
Don't mistake me for an artisan.
Words, these words,
I wield like a rock -
large and heavy and dense,
requiring both hands to control
and smash it down,
hard,
against more unyielding stones,
the foundations of the world.

I have no poetry,
no essential truth or revelation to give, nothing
so fine
gained from my aching hours.
I wish I did.
I wish I could give you poetry.
All I have, instead,
is the insistent crack
of stone on stone,
my inability to quit
until something breaks,
even me.

Even me;
even the wide world,
or one pebble of it.

11/18 Direct Link
How can you possibly not know who you are? And if you don't know who you are, how is anyone else supposed to figure it out?

Aren't you the expert? Aren't you the one most likely to willingly spend the time it takes to get to know you in any meaningful way?

I think you are, and I think you're too smart to believe other people hold the key to your identity. You feel it moving in you, don't you? There, then. That's it. You're you. Congratulations.

Now what?

There's your trouble. A gilt-edged you, in the same old world.

11/19 Direct Link
I thought it was a need to cling to something shiny and fun that had me working on Christmas gifts and cards two weeks earlier than I ever have, before. Now it seems I'm an unrecognized precognitive genius.

First Fed Ex "delivered" two packages, including my card blanks, to oblivion, and that all has to be untangled and re-done. I brainlessly ordered the ring for a loved one a full size too large and need to exchange it. And something supposedly in stock and ready to ship disappeared from a warehouse and will be *cough* delayed.

Yup. I'm SO psychic.

11/20 Direct Link
Another Thanksgiving alone. At least it doesn't pain me, anymore. And grandma's so sick now, even if I were back home, the day promises to be very subdued. No strawberry daquiris, no loud games of "Oh Hell" or bloody pinochle battles.

I don't miss enduring the tauntings of removed cousins over my choice not to eat animals. I don't miss feeling at sea amongst all that extended family. I don't miss being a kid, that's for damned sure.

In fact, I'll start my list of thankfulness with those absences.

I miss my grandma, though. I miss my grandma a lot.

11/21 Direct Link
I do not have an interesting thought in my head. It's cold today. The heater goes off, the heater goes back on. I couldn't get my fingers warm, even when I was in my tiny kitchen with the oven heating. Even washing dishes, even in the shower: it's like the little bones in my hands have turned to ice.
It was a two-nap day. I'm tired all the time, again: the increase in thyroid only helped for a few days. Maybe it's the evenings starting before the afternoons end, the dawns coming so haltingly. Winter has me.
[One hundred.]
11/22 Direct Link
I always wonder if Dr Seuss was, himself, the Grinch. If he was the one who needed the message that Christmas "means a little bit more."

Mother was the Grinch. Cranky and snarly from trying to make everything good for her family with so little cash, competing with her mother, who went all out for her only grandchildren at Christmas - and snubbed every specially-chosen gift from mom - all her life.

Poor mom. Poor Grandma. And poor kids, caught up in all that backstory without a clue.

But now - now maybe all our hearts don't feel "quite so tight." Here's hoping.

11/23 Direct Link
Somewhere
in this mind of mine
is the shade of my great-grandmother.

Somewhere
in here
we are standing in a summer day,
we are singing the birthday song
(I can't remember your birthday anymore, grandma)
and I turn to her,
my favorite,
and say
I love birthdays (and a beat)
especially mine.

It was long ago.
She teased me about that for years,
and she was dead when I was sixteen.

I'm sorry, grandma,
I avoided the nursing home.
I was selfish,
and the strokes and your leave-taking frightened me,
and I'm sorry.

Where are you now,
Grandma?

11/24 Direct Link
I read that stupid book from the eighties, "The Broken Brain" (by Nancy C. Andreasen, vegetable soup). It heralds the "biological revolution in psychiatry" with such glee and optimism it makes me want to scream.

But then, I have the dead and maimed friends, and my own experiences with the Great Revolution, to put the lie to the whole business, and I'm twenty years in Dr Andreasen's future (as it were).

Still. A scream-worthy read. And so much gloom about the sad futures of the psychiatrically interesting. Horrifying and insidious. A secret voice whispers, will *I* get worse and worse?

11/25 Direct Link
I'm having a hard time giving a damn about 100 Words, right now. Then I remind myself, it's a discipline. The point is that I said I was going to do this for another month, so I'm going to do it for another month. Hell, the month's almost over. It would just be silly to quit now. Especially since all my entries would just "disappear." Though, it's a healing thing, sometimes, to write and then just release it to the Universe, and not require that it look back and wave.
So. How about them, uh... is it basketball season yet?
11/26 Direct Link
She asked me, all puffy and angry, how I can sing Christmas carols when I'm not a Christian?
She might even have been looking for information. It just sounded a lot like how dare you?
Listen, sister, I was raised a Christian, just like two-thirds of everyone in this country. I sang in the choir. I pondered the practicalities of an infant who was also, more literally than the rest of us, God.
I have paid any necessary dues to sing "O Holy Night."
And it is lovely. Not my fault Christianity dominated music in the West in those centuries.
11/27 Direct Link
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
I resent the necessity of dealing with this right now.
11/28 Direct Link
Well, what an unpleasant surprise to find that my mother now has difficulty comprehending the meaning of four lines of poetry. My mother? Surely you jest.
[Not very amusingly.]
It's not so weird to watch myself age - I have always been older than I am, and younger than I am, so the actual number of years hasn't mattered much since magic 18.
But my parents... Dad losing his memory, mom losing her hearing, both of them becoming vague and blurry around the edges. This is hard to see.
The option of refusing to see what's real is fucking seductive, sometimes.
11/29 Direct Link
Cold, colder. Coldest. This is the harshest winter I remember in this place, of the eight (only eight?) since I came here.
My fingers don't get warm, ever, except when submerged in hot water, or hidden under the blankets at night. My toes are cold in my tennies and the thin socks I wouldn't have bothered with at all, back in the place that was home. I'm soft, now.
There's a draft coming in under the heater, and the windows bleed in cold. I'm cold.
And what of my brothers and sisters, outdoors with nowhere to shelter? Mercy. Have mercy.
11/30 Direct Link
Thank you, that the man who almost hit me today looked over at me at the last instant, and stopped his car.

Thank you, that the harried clerks and floor managers at the store today knew where things were and were willing to help me out when my last nerve was shot.

Thank you for the snow, and thank you for the snow not sticking, and stopping before the traffic got crazy.

Thank you for colored lights, for shiny ornaments, for tinsel. Thank you for this oasis of light in the dark of the year.

Thank you for this life.