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If Time and Money were free…

17 Jan


Galaxy

If time and money were free, what would i be doing right now? writing. singing. loving. laughing. hugging my son. hugging my husband. running on the beach. swimming in the warm pacific waters. reading a book as I absorb the heat and enlightening rays of sunshine.  giving thanks for all that is.  reverence.  smiling. expanding. telling a story.  whispering words of love in all the ears of the world. healing. freeing my self. fulfilling my destiny.

a ripple of golden solitude rolls beneath my feet.  i stand in an ocean of gold.  i hold your tiny hand.  you use to hold mine when i was little.  but i am grown.  not only in size, but in spirit.  it is my turn to lead.  to guide you.  i listen for your words, dear angel.  what is your name?

you send me a sound  i can not make out.  there are many.  and in a wave, i return.  as you said, sweet child of mine.  gold is everywhere.  gold blankets our being.  the rainbow we saw is forever imprinted on our lives.  the rainbow we chased.  we found.  the rainbow gave us a gift.  the gift is a pot of gold.  it’s a metaphor for our souls.  a multitude of dimension.  i look up and out and i see your presence in the swiftly moving clouds, edges capturing the setting sun.  shadow defines the light. we must integrate. become one. dark and light.

i saw a swirl of golden mist.  how can i explain.  layers and wisps of swirling golden light.  a galaxy, a universe hangs in front of me.  i stand in the hallway and turn toward it.  it is only there for a moment.  but i see.  i see because i should.  i can.  i need to.  this is yet another step in my quest.  my journey for clarity.  revelation. freedom. love.

most of my powers reveal in dream.  but now they integrate and i am awakening.  i watch the newly budding orchid in the shower.  i await it’s bloom.  when it opens.  i will be there.  it will be constant.  true.  reality.  at times,  i am so anxious.  so impatient.  i don’t mean to be.  curiosity and hope.  i have been a loyal servant.  i have stared within.  i have circled my experiences.  anger and loss have lifted.  not just in concept but in heart.  now i am grateful for the love.  the love they gave.  the love i gave to myself.  the love i will continue to give to all.

i am a beacon. i share this message.

because, today, time and money are free.

In the Dark of Night

28 Sep

In the safety of the night, masked in darkness, I reveal my innermost secrets.  I use no words.  In the arms of the night, masked in anonymity,  I am honest with myself.  Breathing the musky scent of the night, I am intoxicated and forget the day.  I am open.  I remember.  I know everything.  In the hold of the night, I explore the fragments of a frighten, exploited, coerced and ashamed girl.  Splintered moments become a vivid story in the blackness.  My eyes adjust to his void, I am a child and a woman in control.  Yet, I relinquish the need to be something I may not be. I will not conform to the identity that is me.  The deepest, most guilt-ridden thoughts are free, in the night.  The night does not judge me.  The night accepts me, every layer, every version, as long as it is pure, as long as I am true, as long as it can lull me, watch me, unlock me.  I am. Vulnerable.  Awake.  Explorative.  Sensual.  Beautiful.  Now comes the Dawn.

Is this the Voice of Generations?

12 Sep

Okay. So the new season of The Voice, where singers audition for four famous singers and then battle until the end, just started this Monday.  It’s a three day event— yeehaw!  I am a fan.  And I’m not only a fan, I’m also a singer/songwriter that sent in a video audition submission.  I’ve got vested interest.  Now riddle me this, how is it that they can have a deadline of Sept. 17th when the show started to air on Sept. 10th?  I digress.

This year is still wonderful.  It’s better than the last…. or at least in most ways.  It’s fun to root on these folks with incredible stories of trials and tribulations in their lives that would all disappear if they get on the show, BUT I’m seeing a new trend.  Here’s the thing, I have only seen one contestant sing that was over 30 years old.  He’s a ridiculously, unique dude hailing from Scotland.  And he’s 35. The thing I really liked about the show was the fact that it wasn’t like American Idol or the others that have an age cut-off.  AI is twenty-eight.

I get it.  They want young talent, etc.  But, having sung in a band in my mid twenties into my thirties, I can honestly say that I only get better and better.  I have confidence and an understanding of my voice that I just would never ever had pre-thirties.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I WILL watch every episode of this season (Season 3) of The Voice.  Happily.  I just wish that a few more folks made it past the twenty-something gate keepers.  I think it gives the show an angle that other similar ones just don’t have and, who am I kidding, I just find it much more fun to watch. So let’s say “no” to ageism, people.  Cause it’s not just folks twenty-two and younger watching.  Grab the whole demographic.  I definitely make way more money and spend it equally as well now that I’m older.  Advertising dollars.  I’m just sayin’.

To Doomsday or to Not Doomsday

4 May

I have been told the end of the world is coming…  And to that, I know what my grandmother would say, “They said the end of the world was coming my entire life and it never did.”  My grandmother has since passed away at eighty-seven years young.  And her words are what I have held on to for most of my adult life when “the shit’s about to hit the fan”.  A phrase that all doomsdayers seem to quote as the raison d’etre.

As a teen, the threat of nuclear war loomed.  My dreams were riddled with sirens and obliteration.  Then there was the Y2K bug which, I must admit, I stashed a fair amount of non-perishables and water, just in case.  I found myself later eating through cases of cans of Dinty Moore stew and Little Debbie sweets.  More recently, there’s been the Middle East “conflict”, 911, major floods, tornadoes, earthquakes.  The tsunami in Japan.  All “signs” of our imminent demise, right?  I’m not convinced.  Well, if you are also not convinced, then you must not be online, reading the paper or listening to the fear on the streets.  December 21st, 2012 is the end of the world as we know it.  The Mayans knew it.  And now we will have to live through it.

Now most of us know that the Mayan calendar merely starts all over again and is cyclical so the end of days is really just the transition to the beginning of the calendar again or as some like to call it, “the Galatic New Year”. Some like to believe that this “new age” signified by December 21st will bring harmony, community, and love to our much deficient present version of the world.  A return to the feminine.  A new era of hope.  But being a Librian, the lady with scales measuring each side with equal intent, I can say with a fair amount of certainty that December 20th I will be devising an escape route and meeting destination with my family.  Just in case.

busy monsters

29 Mar

“You’ve always dabbled in hyperbole, Charlie.”

Last January I decided to join in on the GoodReads.com 2011 book challenge, pledging to read 100 books over the course of the year. Not too difficult, or so I thought, before I realized just how leisurely I tend to read without other forces spurring me on (that means you, syllabus of every lit class ever). I did not make it in 2011, but this year I am up and running with a plan: nine books every month.

Easy enough to say when it gets dark at 4pm everyday and the weekends are shitty enough that staying in makes sense, but I think I’m gonna keep it up even when the sun (finally!) shines in. Because the best part of reading nine or more books a month is that at any given time I’m certain to be in the middle of at least two or three really good books (and the occasional not so great one since I can’t seem to walk away once I’ve started). To boil it down to the central draw, lemme put it this way: ideas, ideas, ideas. A book, after all, is like any other art piece – it’s a comment on the state of things and an invitation to conversation, if only with yourself. For a writer looking to get into better practice, every good book I read reminds me of why I feel compelled to write in the first place.

My reading list tends to fill out with the latest offerings by authors or presses that interest me (-slash- wish I knew or wish I were published by), books garnering enough ink/airtime in places like The Nervous Breakdown or NPR to convince me they would be worth my time and, under the heading of ‘because it’s good for you’, books from the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list – because why fall short of just one goal when you could fall short of two? I think I’m gonna start revisiting old favorites, too, since it’s been years since I’ve read books like Henderson the Rain King or House of Leaves.

I mention Henderson since the book I just finished, Busy Monsters by William Giraldi, reminded me so strongly of one of the best parts of Bellow’s work – the language. Giraldi’s hero, Charles Homar, is a lot like Eugene Henderson. He’s flawed and he knows it but he wants to do better, he’s unflappable yet emotional, and words in his mouth or his mind are a constant, surprising delight. Take this for example, as Charlie describes his lady-love Gillian’s jealous ex-boyfriend: “From Gillian’s pictures and videos I knew this vulgarian was a colossus of a gent whose voice and testicular presence could hush the human flotsam in any riled-up room.” Over the top? Yes. Completely infections and a joy to read? Indeed. And he keeps it up throughout the whole book without seeming strained or watered down.

I intend…

29 Mar

I intend.  I intend.  I intend.  I believe in my intuitive abilities.  I alone create my reality.  I am creator.  My reason for living is to evolve creatively and spiritually, and to bring light and understanding to this world, my world, this layer of reality that I am presently existing within.  These are concepts I’ve been exploring in efforts to become effective and complete.  All of these ideas will come.  I understand that they must come effortlessly, fluidly, naturally.  I am opening, like petals of a flower, organic and true.

I am listening.  I am watching.  I am still.

My dreams whisper a story, my story.  Like a sweet child’s breath, my ear tingles and I know the words.  Where is this place?  What shall I do?  Please guide me. Thank you.

I recently read “The Bringers of the Dawn”, a book by Barbara Marciniak.  It was written in the early 1990s.  Many of the concepts are far out.  But I found the book to be a beacon.  A route to self-discovery.  A spark.  A support.  And a welcome tool full of encouragement to think freely.  To own your actions.  To take back power.  To break free of one’s accepted concepts and unchallenged, core fundamentals.  And to suspend thought long enough…  To fly.  To float.  To fall.  To awaken.  To rise.  To recreate.

There are many moments, images, memories or projections that I remember.  That I have carried with me on my journey.  Sometimes it’s a smell, a feel, a flicker of light or a sense.  Some have been with me since I was a child.  Others have accumulated with my experiences.  Until now, I have guessed at their meaning.  The sun beaming through me.  My feet in the cool wet sand.  I am young.  And I’m holding someone’s hand.  I’m enveloped and it’s gone.  Sometimes there’s no visual, just the sense of that moment.  A smell of the salt in the ocean air.  The warmth and protection.  The love.

I dream things that happen in my life before they happen.  I call that Deja Vu.  And when I get these feelings or Deja Vu, I have come to accept it as a sign that I’m taking the right path.  I’m going in the right direction.  This has been a comfort.  The only real way to check myself.  But then I read “Bringers” and at a crucial moment in the book, all of these seemingly random events collided and strung together like DNA connecting into a helix.  The gravity of a thought catapulted me through time, collapsing sheets of dimensions into one.  Could it be that this book was written for me?  Dawn?  Taking all of these multitudes of people, passing the book from person to person, until it finally reached me?  Until the moment in time when I might be receptive to the concept?  Using all of the words that I use, that speak directly to my sense of self?  Willing it.  Remembering that I am a renegade.  I am here to to break the system.  To bring the dawn.  To ground the message.  A tidal wave of light that will bring enlightenment, finally, and destruction of old ideologies.  We have all been working on this. I am not that ego-centric.  But my role is in the last chapter.  And now I am the main character.  And those memories and unplaceable experiences that have floated just out of reach of my comprehension have meaning.  Grave meaning.  Being born with all of the knowledge.  Only needing the understanding that I must trust myself.  My four year-old voice “No regrets.”  My six year-old voice, “Mom, the magic is gone.”  Born a healer.  A self-proclaimed old soul.  “This will be my last life, ” thinks the two year-old.  This is why Peter killed himself.  This is why Grandpa Jack died.  All soldiers.  Bringing.

My son was to be named Orion.  I was to be named Dawn.  This is our disguise.  Hurdles.  Thwarted.  Almost lost.  And one book.  Many voices channelled by one.  This is my journey.  This is why I am here.  I am a renegade.  I am Dawn.

—Real thoughts by Leigh Stimolo ©2012 and the beginning of my next creative work.  Novel or screenplay?  Still to be decided.

Sharing

9 Mar

Destruction in motion (deceptively cute mode)

At the risk of turning this blog into all cats, all the time, I have another cat-related episode to relate.

Lola is great, by the way. She knows how to fetch, she’s constantly talking (which is equal parts charming and obnoxious). She doesn’t snuggle and is definitely not a lap cat, but she’s always nearby and always entertaining. She knows her name, the phrases “Don’t scratch!”, “Get out of the bathtub!”, “Get out of the sink!”, “Quit wrecking that bench!” and actually obeys every once in a while. I no longer need an alarm clock since she is set to go off sometime between 4:30-7AM every morning. Noah has christened her a “dat”. My little dog-cat.

I even recycled the cardboard carton the shelter gave me to carry her home – finally – after using it as my own Ralph Kramdon-style threat, “one of these days, kitty…” (although the significance of this was largely lost on her).

So when Lo started scratching herself obsessively, sometimes using her teeth on certain points of her legs and tail, I’d gotten to know her well enough to realize this was a Very Bad Thing. Then I started to find a few bumps on my arms and it became An Even Worse Thing. To borrow another Noah-phrase, we were now living in a third-world condo, flea-bitten and infested (hyperbole being my first response).

I got Lo a vet appointment for today, Friday, but this was a Monday night. If this was a bug of some kind, I had to act (life at the grad pad taught me that). I tore apart the bedroom, cleaning and vacuuming every surface. I laundered everything that would fit in the machine. I pinned poor Lo down most nights and went over her coat with a fine-tooth comb.

What kept me sane in the midst of this mania was this fantasy: me, my belongings crammed in the back of a classic convertible, Lola in her cat carrier on the passenger seat, driving the fuck out of Boston. I could always do it, and could still, no matter how ill-advised or rash. I could always just get away. (Buyer’s remorse is a really tenacious emotion, I’m finding. Bad things that happen in my life all point back to the condo. The rational facts – that it’s cheaper than a comparable rental in Boston, that I get to live alone, that I get to do whatever I want with the space – don’t matter. The condo is out to get me.)

I got good news this morning – otherwise I would be packing up the rental right now – but it is a little ridiculous. After all this, the verdict is that Lo and I are probably allergic to something in the house (new detergent? new household cleaner? pollen and god knows what else has been unleashed due to the lack of winter this year?) and now we are gonna be sharing a box of antihistamines. Thanks, CVS. And thank you, Lola, for nudging me even further into the crazy cat lady column – which is completely unfair considering you don’t even act like a cat yourself.

Settling In

12 Jan

A smug-looking little Lo and her bunny feet

This is what I’ve learned: while it’s fine for me to live on a trash heap, all it takes is a little company to send me for the pledge and break out the doilies, so to speak. My new roommate is a short, furry two-year old named Lola and since she came on the scene a little over a week ago, I’ve finally settled into the new place.

A cat was on my list of things to get for the new place, but far from the top of the list. In fact, going to look at the cats at the Animal Rescue League of Boston seemed like a favor I was doing for my friend Brian, providing him the perfect excuse to get his own furry friend fix. I was totally up for seeing the kitties, but taking one home to feed it and clean up after it and try not to kill it when it scratches my furniture? Not something I was seriously entertaining.

We walked along the row of cages, their occupants either sleeping or actively lobbying for our attention. Even if you don’t like cats it would be hard not to find at least one or two potential love-matches among those guys. The one I was looking at was white and grey, shorthair, and less than a year old. His nose was scraped up like he had just been in a fight, which he could have been since he was listed as being a stray. He was skinny but spunky, doing his best to keep my attention.

Brian immediately zeroed in on a lounging tortoise shell shorthair who was just taking it all in. She was a beautiful cat and, from the information listed, her people had given her up due to recently developed allergies. (Whether this was true or they just didn’t want her now that she was no longer a kitten, who knows?)

If it had just been me, I don’t know that I would have given her – or any of the cats there – a second look. I was worn out. I had just finished a month-long battle with the banks for the condo I finally owned but seriously regretted whenever I let myself think about the money. The buyers remorse only deepened when I thought of all the things that I’d need to do to update the place. I was living out of boxes still, a month in at that point, with the same horrible pastel painted walls with copious nail holes, the carcass of an ugly shelving system halfway taken down (because I didn’t have the tools to completely yank it out), the stupid, terrible layout and slap-dash bathroom – enough potential to choke on. And I was choking on it. I didn’t need a cat, I needed a time machine to go back and stop myself before making this horrible, seemingly irrevocable mistake. If there was any consolation it was in the fact that I could go home alone, without anyone to answer to, to live my egregious little life in peace.

(Okay – as you can see, if I let myself think about it, it gets melodramatic real quick. Which is not to say I don’t feel melodramatically about the whole thing – I really am of two minds about it. Barring the occasional and anomalous burst satisfaction, I’m either okay (not great, but I can live with it) about it, or am completely, ridiculously regretting that I ever saw this place. I am hoping in the coming months to move the range up so that I am either mildly contented or simply rueful.)

But the cat. Brian kept pushing me to take another look at her. The ARL has the cat cages stacked two high on the outer walls of the adoption room while in the middle of the room there are maybe six or eight enclosures, about three by three feet, cinder block halfway up, chain link the rest of the way, where people can “visit” cats that they might want to adopt. I “visited” with the sleepy tortoise shell cat. I sat on a chair as the volunteer set the cat down on the ground and shut us both in the cage. The cat stretched her long legs and torso and set to exploring the corners of the enclosure, my coat, pant legs and shoes. She would butt her head into my palm if I didn’t pet her fast enough and once the feather toy was introduced the sleepy little one had fully woken up and I was in love.

It was kind of dramatic getting her home. With no car, we walked her from the shelter to CVS to buy litter and food and the pet store next door for the litter pan and food dishes, all with the little tortoise shell trooper in the dark in a cardboard carton on one of the coldest nights of the winter so far.

When we finally got home about twenty minutes later she settled in. She was comfortable wandering around the apartment and even with three of us there – me, Brian and Luis – she seemed fairly relaxed. By the end of the night I’d started to call her Brian’s feline good-will ambassador (Brian was brutalized by an alley cat as a child so needless to say he is more of a dog person).

I didn’t name her for a few nights, wanting to get to know her before calling her something that might not fit. She’s Lola now. Well, Dolores Haze. Me being the book nerd that I am, I couldn’t resist giving her a name from one of my favorite books.

Since she’s moved in I’ve gotten most of the boxes put away, if only to keep her out of them. If it is dark and a small space, she will stick her face in it (in fact, she almost bagged herself the other day – perhaps a sign that my tote is bigger than it needs to be). I’ve also cleared the odds and ends off the floor to keep it open for games of shoelace, in which I throw a shoelace across the room, she tears after it, picks it up and brings it back, dropping it at my feet with a “Raow!” for me to throw it again. I’ve also cleaned up all the sinks and counter tops because, before she got the hang of drinking out of her waterdish, she would use the 1) bathtub faucet or 2) the toilet or 3) the bathroom sink or 4) the kitchen sink (she finally got over that after about four days of me cutting her off from these sources while worrying she would dehydrate before she gave in).

Well, after these minimal improvements she’s feeling more and more at home, and so am I. There is still so much (so much!) to be done but until I can pony up for the first round of renovations, it is feeling – for the first time – liveable. So, pets really do relieve stress.

It's Lola - Miss Haze if you're nasty.

Transformation. He’s a She.

9 Jan

Recently, I had a deadline to write two short films and direct/produce one of them.  So I wanted to pick something, short and transformative.  I started writing a voice over (VO) of my own personal experience from when I was a kid, part of my story.   After recording the VO a few times, playing with some vocal effects and subsequently shooting myself as the main character, I grappled with a few different ideas to give it some life.  I created both a deep man’s voice filter and a high-pitched voice box filter.  One version of the piece was to make it about a  woman who’s in a wheelchair and lost her voice box.  Her small nephew comes to visit her and she gives him some words of wisdom through a story of her childhood fantasy of being Jesus Christ.  Great idea.  So many things I could juxtapose poetically revealing other layers of the character.  But I had less than a week to shoot, no time, no actors (especially no child actors, specifically six-year old girls), no one to shoot it, edit it or score it… except for myself.  Oh yeah, and no wheelchair.  I could fake one of those mechanical larynx things with part of a microphone I own… but argh!

Then there was the idea of making an on-camera transformation.  Where the VO was just this girl getting ready in the morning and putting on makeup.  By the end, she’s transgender.  I knew I wanted to be able to direct that character.  I definitely didn’t want to shoot it and be the lead.  So I went to my office mate and writing buddy, Haley.  And she willingly obliged.  I bought props at Target.  Loaded my extremely heavy equipment and headed to Bay Village.  When I got there, I was a bit unsure of how this would play out.  If you asked Haley, I’m sure she’d attest to me being frazzled.  I didn’t bring enough quarters for the meter.  The meter ran out anyway at 5pm.  Yada yada.  But, with some diet coke and a few smokes later for Haley.  I found my rhythm.  I just cleared my head of doubt and trusted myself.  Some ideas I had, flashback cutaways from childhood and adding one of those glue-on hair mustaches at the end, weren’t coming together.   The mustache wasn’t right.  It wasn’t believable enough. But, as the day flew by those ideas quickly resolved and I was editing already on set.  Haley took awesome direction and really jumped in 100%.  I couldn’t have asked for more.  So I wanted to share some pictures because Haley, who played Josephine (Joe) in Transformation, really looks cool.  Check her out.

Joe gets ready in the morning.

Josephine makes a beard.

So what have I learned?  Sometimes, you’ve gotta just push through.  And that I’m thankful for having adventurous and supportive friends.

holiday break

22 Dec

It’s done, finally done! I got the keys to my new place and after the nail-biting thrill of the move in – will the sofa fit down the stairs or will it not? Answer: it will if reduced to sticks – I am a newly minted resident of Bay Village. Two weeks and counting…

And now, during the holidays, is a great time to be living here – the gas street lamps are bedecked with wreaths, strands of Christmas lights twinkle from most windows, there is even a live Christmas tree lot only blocks away. If I ever get my act together to do a Christmas card, I think the photo would have to be taken in front of their warming trailer. So much holiday cheer.

Season's Greeting...from your friendly local Christmas tree lot

While this time of year usually sees me enduring planes, trains, and automobiles on my way home to the Midwest, Christmas 2011 is going to be spent planning and hopefully executing – with a sledgehammer! – home improvements. The new place is totally liveable as is, but it is in desperate need of an update. And we’re not just talking some paint here and a new shelf there – although it will need that too – we’re talking some fairly serious changes to make use of every one of the 480 square feet.

By Boston standards, 480 square feet is small-to-average size for a condo like mine. The real issue is how that space is being utilized. In my place, it is not.

The worst offender is the bathroom. As you walk in you are confronted with the wraparound wall surrounding the shower which juts out from the right and is directly opposite the sink which is jutting out from the left. It creates a narrow chute that you have to manuever through as if you were lining up a move in Tertris. The toilet is installed too close to the wall so that you have to turn about fifteen degrees to the left when, ahem, seated and there is virtually no storage in the room itself. The only bright spot here, other than the fact that it is clean and in working order, is that the bathtub is slightly oversize so that, once you can get to it, you are in for a great soak.

There are many bathrooms smaller than mine that don’t feel half as difficult and the difference is – if you will excuse the repurposing of the term – intelligent design. My good friend Luis, currently studying interior design, has agreed to have a go at it and I cannot wait to see what he comes up with. Stay tuned for that.

Otherwise, the holiday break is going to be a godsend in getting back on track with my writing projects. I have a short story ready to be submitted to a few year-end fiction contests. It’s an old one and I am hoping I can find it a home in this round of submissions. Drafting continues on the novel/fiction project, which has gotten a little derailed as of late – if I let myself think about it too much, I am ready to throw away everything and just start over. Again. A week away from work is just the thing to allow me to plow forward  before my critical mind can catch up with me.

I am also hoping to start posting about Punch, the short film adaptation of Suckerpunch that Leigh and I want to shoot in the very near future. She’s been to this rodeo before, but I’m still a newbie in the realm of film production and am excited to get into it.