Harvest Blessing

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Harvest Blessing

Fields sway with the breath of life

Branches carry the burden of fruitfulness

From the sweat of our brows

And the will our hands

The soil brings forth the bounty of life

There upon us, in the midst of dark

The golden moon tinged in burnt

Blessing us in our till

So that we may gather our harvest

And give back with our hearts

That which God has delivered to us

Under the Harvest Moon

And There I Go…

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Research and Writing…The Scotland Adventure

My third Novel, Life of Her, is about a woman who feels invisible. Invisible to her kids, her husband, the world. After raising a family, and defining her life for everyone else, an experience with breast cancer makes her invisible to herself, pushing her on the precipice of life? What life and who’s life she doesn’t know. What she does know is that she can’t stay where she is. Stuck being no one and nothing, she runs away from everything and everyone that has defined her…landing in Scotland. It is there she will discover who she is, awakening her passion for loving, living, and longing for what the rest of her  life has to offer.

And there I go…

NO! I am not running away. My life is pretty damn good. Okay, I have teenagers, so maybe not so great all the time. But nothing a little wine or whiskey can’t help me forget. Ha!

Needless to say, I am off to Scotland. I had an opportunity to attend a creative writing retreat in the Highlands. Outside of the city of Inverness, the writing retreat takes place in a converted farmhouse tucked away from civilization. It is a time to learn from successful authors, share with fellow writers, and write.

Unknown Territory

Attending this retreat was the perfect opportunity to see the countryside of Scotland that I wrote about. See, I have never been to Scotland. Nor have I really known anyone from Scotland. And yet I conjured up people, a town, and experiences with Scotland in mind. Eeeeeek, that was stupid.

In my first two novels, I wrote about 19th Century England without ever having visited the United Kingdom. Ever! Yet, people who have have read my two novels and who have been to England said, and I quote, “You nailed it.” That is the power of the imagination, reading, and maybe a past life experience or two. So, I was not apprehensive about taking my protagonist in my new book to a city that she had never been, nor had I. I had always wanted to see Scotland, so why not take my character there. After all, look what it did for Claire! (Outlander fans will understand my desire to set my story in the charming countryside of Scotland – home to Jaime Fraser and the MacKenzie Clan.)

So, the opportunity presented itself…writing and Scotland. I get to work on my craft, and see the world in which I immersed my thoughts in for so many months writing my third novel. I only pray I got it right!

Who Does That?

As I take off, I am supported by many who are cheering me on, and to see and hear about my adventure. After all, it isn’t often a wife, a mom with two teenage kids, a needy dog, and Thanksgiving around the corner, just gets up and leaves for a couple of weeks. Did I say I was traveling without my family? They couldn’t believe it either.

“What about Thanksgiving?” they protested.

“It will come again next year…” I replied.

But here’s the thing…they don’t want to go with me! The thought of trouncing around ancient towns, in rain, ogling over architecture and amazed by empty ruins is not high  on their sightseeing list. When I showed the pictures of my quaint retreat to my husband, he proclaimed, “It’s in the middle of nowhere!” He insisted he would hate it. Yes, he probably would. It has no TV.

Can You Imagine? 

Well, I did imagine. And took it a step further. I planned a trip through Scotland, from Edinburgh, to Inverness, to Skye, to Fort William, and back to Edinburgh. I take a train up to the Highlands, a car around the Isle of Skye, and walk through ancient cities and towns roaming the multitude of abbeys, castles, estate homes, museums, and battlefields to my heart’s galore. I will explore, learn all I can, talk to strangers, eat what I want, and drink when I can. I will tour from morning to evening, and I will write until my eyes can’t keep themselves open. In other words, I am taking a trip my family would hate!

A Writer’s Life

And thus, I am off to Scotland. I am taking a trip that is all for me, on my time, with my interests. I am exploring new lands, researching for my latest novel and maybe novels yet to be, and studying my craft. I am doing what writers must do to produce work that is real and authentic. I am experiencing life!

I hope you stay with me on my adventure.

 

Something Better

(Portrait of Two Women, Diego Rivera, 1914)


Something Better 

Betrayal…

Your burden to not carry

Oblivious to the harm it caused

Or worse, knowing

Ignoring the deception

Rationalize the action and it all seem frivolous…

To you

But the strike across the face still stings no matter the intention

Weakening us, harming the bonds that have been our foundation

All for the shining object that usually leads to nowhere

No gain, no glory, not worth the price to be paid

I am not going to lament this, nor try to explain

But know there was collateral damage

To me

Old Man

 

(Old Man On Death Bed, Gustav Klimt, 1899)

Old Man

Son, take a look
Weary is the end
No virility lingers in the cave that now stands
Huddled kindred no longer seeking protection
Laughed at for a fool, judged by my failures
Loved for things I cannot remember
What use is that?
To lay with eyes wide open and nothing left to see
Nothing left to do

She is gone
She had to go
The devil cursed her travels; took what was mine
Made me watch as he seduced her to oblivion
Fragility is hard to watch
It broke me, making me lame and useless
Cavernous of the man I once was, the bone of my bones sucked dry
I am tethered to the dark horse who knows no boundary for loss
Take me! 

I heave, and heave again
My breath fighting
I wish it would stop, doing what I do not will it
I don’t want anymore, I don’t fear anymore
I don’t cry anymore
But I heave, and I heave
Hard to breathe, hard to bleed
Hard to give up and hard to stay
Is this purgatory?

But I’m still here, until I won’t be
And no one will ever know the man that lived inside
The dreamer of hearts, father of men, the lover of her
Withered away to obscurity
Where you watch
Thinking you are more than the sum of my parts
But here I am; so too will you be
Watch, worry, and beware
For there is nothing left to remember

 

Interloper

(Jealousy, Petrus Renier Hubertus Knarren, 1861)

 

Interloper

I was too late in coming, too late in finding you

The same stars, the same chart, the same soul’s journey, except

She came first

First to kiss you

First to make love to you

First to marry you

First to give you what you needed, what you wanted

Purpose, meaning, love

You gave her your dreams

She made them hers

Two, intertwined into one, forever bound

I was too late in coming

But I am here

Now what?

Dreaming

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(Coniferous Forest, Ivan Shishkin, 1893)

Dreaming

Trees have a calmness in their silence

They whisper, talking among themselves in another realm–

the place where fairies live, I am told

It is only when we are silent do we hear them,

with our soul’s ears; our mind’s eye

The voices of the feathered echoing in the chambers of their majesty

a symphony of the skies if one listens closely

I listen

I jolt by the awakening,

back into my body, my eyes flutter, or is it my brain?

Either way, I am back

Gone far from the stillness that I found refuge

The cool air that was breezed against my skin,

the pillars of protection that surrounded me as I stood suspended in my escape

The mossy path below my feet softening my journey to nowhere;

to anywhere but where I am

Oh, how I want to go back where peace lives, where my stillness isn’t taken from me

Where I know I am not battered

My spirit not lost among the daylight

Joy suppressed, pushed down,

covered up by anger thrown at me, pummeling and constant

Drowning out the music…the whisper of the trees

Why must I endure this chastisement of who I am; who I want to be?

It is foggy as I begin to see

the white ghostly haze floating in and out of the trees, slowly lifting away

It must be a metaphor, the blurring of my reality

The lines never clearly defined; life never fully written

 

 

Will I Am

 

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(The Composer Mihaly Mosonyi and his Wife, Henrik Webber, c. 1845)

Will I Am

It was your eyes; the turn of your lips

Your arm wrapped around her in ownership

Pride? Acceptance?

Love?

You have come into yourself

I have been waiting for that, knew it would always come

It is handsome on you!

 

I never doubted

Never once did I see the limitations

I am maternal

My heart knows no limits, sees no resignation of despair

Only pathways, corridors to the unknown

No one can predict what is on the other side,

Fear restricting the possibilities

 

But I always saw

As I see now

A man unto himself, exuding that which you buried

The despair that had tormented; the unbearable pain for which you submerged into obscurity

Only to reappear a shell of your humanness

Did I remind you too much of what lay entombed?

Did you not see I was your savior?

 

No, I shan’t discuss the betrayal

The damage of my heart left to drag on the tethered strings of the severed connection

Ribbons that tied up our beautiful friendship

You never looked back at the remnants of those threads

As I mourned the death of you; of us

As I walked onto another path, another corridor

Not knowing where it would lead me without you

 

I  glimpsed at your future, and it was lovely!

You caught it, didn’t you?

The thing you could never grasp, breaking you–changing you

It is a beautiful thing…happiness, joy, love

My heart overflows for you, as it always had, and always will

For only in life are our bonds severed; our souls are threaded in the heavens forever