Sunday, 26 April 2015

Like a Willow

Yesterday Holly came to me while I was brushing my hair. She said, "Mama, my chest hurts like when Oinkers died."

Oh honey. I know. I do know. Still, I asked her, "What is making your chest hurt, love?"

"You and Daddy breaking up."

Yes. I know.

This is what has silenced me for the last month. In the midst of attending the PV2 conference, AWP, attending an art retreat in NW Iowa, getting published in Literary Mama, and being accepted to a residency in Prague this summer....

Chad and I came to the mutual decision to divorce. We've been together nearly twenty years. We have three children. We've built this farm together. Yet, neither of us are happy. Our lives looked near perfect to everyone else. I'm not going to bog down these blog posts with whys and reasons. There are so many little ones, a few big ones, and none of them make any difference in the outcome. I'm not interested in people taking "sides" because we share a community and we both really need that community right now, for support and friendship and not pity or resentment.

Yes, we are both heartbroken. Yes, we are both grieving for a future that is no longer possible.

It is time for me to stop referring to the "we" and being an "I" is scary as hell.

For now we are still living in the same house while we figure out the legal aspects, plan for the care of our children, and generally untangle twenty years of co-dependance. We have a shared history, our entire adult lives. I have never been a grown woman not married to Chad.

This is where we are. If you see me and I look distant? This is why.  I know my friends and family are worried as hell about me. Just know? Know I am resilient. Know that while I leave the farm behind (because it belongs to Chad's parents) it simply means that for a time I will be a landless farmer and I will find a way back to that life. It will just look different than it does now.

Making this public? This is part of the process too.

This is the right thing to do. It is moving faster than I'd like. Still. It is moving.

I do feel like I am being grafted, removed from the root stock of hardy timber. I feel like I am dormant while I find where to graft to, or maybe grow new roots. I am like a willow, I bend and grow. Versatile and resilient. Weeping too.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Love and Punk

Of course, when I get time to sit down and work on PV2 notes....they are outside in the cruiser. What to do?

Chad played a show. A punk show. At a gay bar. For pride week. It was pretty darn good too.  These are raw photos. I am working on a flickr album of the whole set. I have quite a few really good pictures. But for now? Here are these.

This week was a hard week for our local GLTB community. One of the local bars received a threat letter with hazardous materials in it. FBI called in and all. Lost a day of business to a grammatically horrible hate letter. This reminds us how far is left to go, to love, and accept.

So Chad and the Dalektables rocked downtown with old school punk covers. Our friends came out to see the set and support all the folks at the variety show. It was a house full of love. That's something, right?

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Do The Task In Front of You

This is my mantra, Do the task in front of you, do it well, do it all the way.
I have a Spring full of busy, so much that chaos is building up around me. 5 online classes, a conference presentation on Monday, a week long training session in May. Lambing. Planting. Children ready for outside play, cleaning the mud from them when they come back inside after a good day in the dirt and sunshine.

This is my life. There are ebbs and flows, there are moments when the intersection of poetry and art cross with the tall grass and muddy boots. I was telling a friend last night how last Spring, I climbed into the farm truck after a truly brutal day of lambing, the worst one yet, and a poem appeared. I wrote it on the back of a co-op grain order receipt with a pen that died half way through the scribbles and a broken crayon for the rest. I was determined not to lose those words.

But sometimes the words are lost to me anyways.

Right now, writing is last on the list of priorities even though it is the salve that gets me through these times. I am not sure how to shift things around so it fits back in without toppling everything.

Lambs in my kitchen still. The seasons switching back an forth, not making up her mind, clothes from two needs are piling up. I must find time to attend to it or I'll end up buried in sweaters, muddy play clothes, and jeans. Goodness, and dress up many princess and pirate dresses.

This much on the to do list means I have to organise the chaos inside my own head too. This means inevitably that I pull away from friends and family emotionally, because I have no time for the effort that goes into nurturing those relationships. I get snappy and curt. I hate myself when I hear the words spilling out and the fallen faces of the victims. My children, my dearest friends. Destruction and devastation. Then I have to clean up the mess. More time. Time I don't have.

This year, I am trying to divide my time and corral my words so that I can nurture and grow my life instead. I am making time. Making time for friends, for my kids, for art. My art. These things come first, get my attention fully. Then second comes the job that feeds us. If laundry piles up? Well, too bad. (Though it is making me twitch just thinking about it.....) The term will be over soon enough and summer load is much lighter.

I can do this. I can write, sing, dance. I will cook in the kitchen with Bessie Smith on the radio, dancing as I stir Rooster Gumbo, taking up hands of children who join me and spin them around in a waltz. I will feed my family and friends with joy and my attention. I will learn to play Ukulele and sing with all my off tune heart. And summer will come, warm the air, and I'll make sweet tea and laugh at silly jokes, draw chalk dragons and pirates and poems on my sidewalk with the children. I will swim with them, like a mermaid, the algae will catch in my hair too. This. This is the dream.

And yes, I will, soon finish my PV2 review and tell you all about California adventures. I will. Soon.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

A break to show some beautiful things....

 I am still working through notes and it is keeping me from actually writing. Bah.

Here are some beautiful things I can write about.

After the conference I took a train from San Diego to Los Angeles.

About an hour of the train ride was this view. The ocean. I stared in wonder and terror until....I fell asleep. Or passed out. Let's just say it was sleep, ok?  Ha.

I am still unsure how to work through this terror of mine. I guess I am lucky I live land locked in Iowa. Maybe. We'll get to that.

So beautiful view. Train ride. I highly recommend it. There was a cafe on the train. It was comfortable. Everyone was really nice.

Then? Hello LA. Nice to meet you.

I was so excited to see my friend Bridie. She's a pastor now and a community organiser for human rights. In many ways, nothing has changed and everything has. It is amazing how much we are the same and grown at the same time.

I have so many Bridie stories and they all end with her rescuing my stupid teenage angsty self from real trouble. She extended me so much grace, much more than I deserved for sure. She stood for me at my wedding too. Lifted me with her friendship from the dark ages of self destruction and saw me into this life, which sometimes feels like a parallel universe. And now she does the same for others as her life work. Seriously. Amazing. Lady.

And this is who showed me her LA. Her California. This is how I like to travel to cities. Have people dear to me show me what they love about where they live, you know?

I even ate raw oyster. And then later? Squid. I ate squid. And soft shell crab. And Korean candy. Because travel is the chance to experience a place through someone else's life and I did not want to miss even a taste of it. Plus, seafood is so much better closer to the source.

Soon, I will post photos from all the adventures and places we went. Just a Monday through Thursday morning, then back home to Iowa. I'd post them now but I can't find the sd card. Ah. Photographer problems.