Monday, November 30, 2009

A New Blog for a Different Time

Dear Friends, this is my last post at Witnessing a World of People and Places. This blog has been a rich and amazing experience, and although I set it up initially to keep my family and friends informed of my travels, it has become something far richer. However, I'm not traveling much these days, in fact I'm lucky if I make it out of my house, so the title doesn't really fit anymore. Now, I've begun a new business as an artist, and I wanted to make my blog fit my life as it is now, so I've moved. Please come to my new house, I can't wait to see you and serve you up some eye candy for the soul! I will be updating all of your links onto my page in the next couple of days. Yes, I know Sarah's blog is on there now. She's been giving me the visual A-OK! Nothing like having a little help from your friends!

Please update your links to www.catvibe.net/blog.

Love to all,
Cat

Friday, November 6, 2009

Headless Buddha gets selected for show!


Dear Friends, I am very excited to announced that my Headless Buddha with Blue Moon and Orchid was selected by a juror to be in a very intimate and competitive art show at Grace Community Church in Mills River, NC. It's the first time my art has ever been in a show, and I'm so excited and honored to have my work selected. The opening is Saturday night from 7:30 to 9:30 and is open to the public.

I am taking a blogging haitus for the remainder of November. I'm writing a novel as a participant in the NaNoWriMo.org annual writer's contest. The only way to win is to get to 50,000 words by the end of the month. I'm a few days in and at 9300 words, so I'm plodding along.

In addition, I'm also taking a class and learning how to use Wordpress software to have an online store for my prints. I intend to have this up and running by the beginning of December. I am taking pre-orders for the above Headless Buddha prints. If you are interested in ordering one or more of these prints, which look beautiful when printed on textured fine art paper, please email me at cat@catvibe.com. I will also be offering others, but I haven't tested the printability of all of them yet. Do let me know if you have interest in any other images on my blog, and I will test and see how well they print. For instance, the Headless Buddha and New Moon doesn't print so well. Calibration is key! I'm working out the kinks.

In any case, I am so grateful for all of your ongoing support. You must know how much each and every one of you mean to me. I cyberhug you now. Did you feel it?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Three Graces hold an Autumn Ball



Three Graces hold an Autumn Ball
Oil on Canvas


Wear your finest gold
Winter is tomorrow's game
Today, we shall dance!



Friday, October 23, 2009

Three Graces Under a Zebra Sky


Three Graces Under a Zebra Sky
Watercolor


Yes friends, there is more to life than Headless Buddhas. A person can't stare at stillness forever! I have been a very busy bee lately. In addition to taking classes in InDesign and Wordpress and Dreamweaver, etc. I've also embarked on a process to learn the business of becoming a professional artist. I can't tell you how happy I am to sit down to paint with the knowledge that I am doing my job! So, I thank you again for your patience, my blogging friends are getting short shrifted as my schedule fills up, but I want you to know that you all have been SUCH an inspiration. Your support over this last year has been what has gotten me through a very difficult and introspective journey allowing me to come to this point. You people are just awesome and it is a blessing to know you.

The above painting is my view across the street. Those who have been following my blog for a while may remember The Three Graces, my beloved trees.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gaze of Fire Woman


Gaze of Fire Woman
From Headless Buddha Series
Digitally Altered Watercolor

She stares at the stillness as her dreams fall away into the clouds of desert sand and pools of darkness somehow connect the colors of its countries rendering death and forever into a complex tapestry that she lives purging all perceived self definitions into the fire of wholly sacrificing every scrap from past destinations and stepping off the cliffs of nothing into love invisible and omnipresent reality.

Note: Nod to ee cummings; 'the colors of its countries rendering death and forever' borrowed from Somewhere I have Never Traveled


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fall Away

Headless Buddha with Birthday Orchid
Digitally altered watercolor


If only I were a statue
I would sit all day and watch the clouds
Until my head fell away.
Then, still, I would sit
With my hand in my lap
Knowing it is not me
That makes the orchid grow.
The water flows so perfectly
While I am still.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Moonlight Sonnet


Moonlight on River
Oil on Canvas

If we could have a moment spent alone

Where I could whisper soft into your ear

Of forces that it seems we both have known

And yet can never speak of these, for fear

That speaking thus will cause the river’s edge

To overflow with secrets best submerged

The voicing of such thoughts would cause a wedge

A confluence of unity diverged

The loves we’ve wed would shatter with my voice

As if my whisper were to be a shout

And they would be the victims of our choice

The pain of this we can not bring about.

Oh waters, wash me clean of this despair

Let me not, of you, presume to care.



A note: This is not autobiographical, but is dedicated to a friend. Also, I apologize again for not being out there blogging so much. I'm really trying to focus on painting, and I can't paint and be on the computer at the same time. I have to admit that painting has kind of taken over my life, and I'm really grateful for the consumption!


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beauty from the Dust


We crumble, we can not help this
Our dreams, thoughts and loves will all fade in time,
As beauty grows from the dust.

Blue Moon with Buddha and Orchid
From Headless Buddha series
Digitally altered watercolor collage



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Reality



Reality
From Headless Buddha series
Watercolor on paper


Dear friends, I will turn 49 on Saturday. That's 7 squared, somehow that seems important for some esoteric reason of which I am clueless. For my birthday, please gift me with a short poem in the comment section that describes how this image relates to reality in your mind.

I am so very grateful for the many connections I've made over the last year via blogging and Facebook. It's a strange place, this internet, but it has truly been amazing. I look forward to another year!

(Added 9/26)Thank you for these poems my dear friends. They are wonderful, and you are all precious.

Emergent

Emergent be your heart and soul
The splendor of each moment's toll
The knowing grace of love now known
In joyous beauty ever shown
Your gift of life, a birth sublime
Celebrated now in your year 49.
--Rose Marie Raccioppi

Above It All

The effervescence of our life unfolds in loving attitudes
We witness blessings far and near
amid a world of war torn strife
Our love for nature carries us to places high above the sky
Peace carries us amid the clouds we're lifted up, away we fly.
--Kathryn A. Curry

broken in the hole I dug for you
yellow on black
yellow for roots
but I will not sprinkle the dirt
or stomp down mud
reeking between my toes
take the little piece of sun
a fish for maize
I know my place
in the shade
--Jason Evans

Timeless echos near and far..
reaching out to stir the quiet unrest, becoming light and leaning
before our eager minds.

Only a concept that is time
Count the lifetime.. 49
--Mark

IMAGES OF REALITY

Lightening breaks the define
between the blue black seas
and the sun opening sky.
Witnessing with
attached detachment
of all that sails
within the sight
unseen with mere eyes.

I am yet bound by sight
to know the color
that forms the shapes
the shapes the images
the images the idea
and the idea the reason.
--The Walking Man


Sweet age dissolves the mind,
awareness
flows forth from the cerebral cave of inexperience and youth,
connecting through the ethereal,
assembled with the whole, experiencing
the self beyond physical form.
Peace in that there can never be death as we are confident in our legacy,
admit our imperfections
and grow with our thoughts in others.
For this is life, where chronology, at first a foe,
becomes friend. May the journey
be longer, much longer,
and when time beckons us to rest, so it shall be.
--Minister of the Masochistic Truth


Diverted into dreams
of naked illusions
floating in fragile bubbles
of golden stardust
bathing in sugar-coated
cotton candy sweetness
until reality strikes back
with it's icy hand
demanding it's rightful presence
in our headless minds
--Margaret

I'm not sure how
the bones fit together
so seamlessly along my spine
that year, rising and falling
like the swells in the Pacific.

But age did not determine
the...experience my ligaments
entertained holding me together
--Jill Zimmerman

Head in the clouds
Mind blown
Call it what you will
I call it reality
--Claudia Larson

Anger does not stick
to purple ashes rained on
and silent, sepia bones
drained of all lightning

Reality is a static song
filled with seconds
that cannot sustain themselves
and structures that fall
like hearts once did

Despair it
Or not

It does not care
--Sarah Hina

The egg split, transient
as a golden bubble blown
by a downy--headed child
with a wand and tube
of birthday soap.

The egg split, and out
came the sky, birthed
new and gleaming,
dreaming
of a chaos of feathered
wings and the patter
of triumphant storm.

--Rachel Westfall

Reality

Sun lights window on the heart
Etches a gold leaf on the breast

Bruised butterfly wings splay open
A thumb pokes upward behind a painted foot

A lazy alligator smiles, gazing contentedly
As the shadow of a unicorn softly shifts shape

Among blue crystals that
Fracture and float free

Act of violence carves rivulets of pain, prompting
The soul’s flight across a sky of islands aloft with grace

--A very dear friend who wishes to remain anonymous

Reality comes, goes.
Is coloured, is colourless.

There is dark
there is light

there is you
there is me

there is Buddha
in all his glory...

it's all a gift
the pain and the beauty

and you are Beauty!

-- Calli

a piece of her here
a piece of her there
love oh love she does
both one and the other
blinded by grace
to hurt no one
how long will her heart
be torn thus
one way
and the other
when will she find joy
in greaving one
and loving the other

-- Jorc

I wish I had wished you,
If not before, then just in time.
I wish I had written for you
The sweetest of rhymes.

But reality can suck,
And I cant turn back time
Though if I could, I'd write a few lines
To thank you, praise you and bring you a smile

You have been a great inspiration
And such a sweet friend
Even close to the naughty fifty
You set the latest trends.

You've gifted us with many
Haiku, sonnets and proses
Also, your with the brush,
Beats anyday, a bunch of roses.

So forgive me, my friend
for I am late to thank
I cross my heart and swear
I've been totally frank

You most certainly are
You are a treasured one
Looking forward to your next 50
And hell loads of fun!

--Aniket

somehow this year
i forgot to think
about all the quiet
violets that crush
under my stinging tears
and forgot to see all
the shapeless birds
building nests of words
in trees of hope in
branches of faith
in a darkness that
bleeds to purple

-- K. Lawson Gilbert

Bounded by flesh
Yet not limited
Not even by the stars
Your soul soars

-- Vesper

This abstract of reality
Speaks volume from a space empty
in shades of yellow and blue
depict life's black and white hue
the lightening, awaken the truth
bringing wisdom with age to earth
know that you are blessed with age
as you see life's truth like a sage!

Swapnap

There are some more sweet sentiments in the comments, but they felt more personally directed so I left them in the comments. I thank you all for your lovely sentiments, and I am floored by all the wonderful interpretations on the painting. They mean more to me than you can know! Thank you so much for participating!


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Duality



She wore two faces
Her hair, spun in liquid gold
Tangled in dream threads



Duality
Digitally altered watercolor

Friday, September 18, 2009

Buddha in the Blue




Buddha and New Moon
Watercolor and Digital Collage


This image is a collage of two watercolor paintings that I altered and combined. The Buddha was inspired by the countless headless Buddhas that I saw while traveling in Thailand. Asian relics such as heads have been pillaged illegally throughout the last few hundred years in order to serve the desires of collectors and so on. I'm starting a painting series of headless Buddhas.

I greatly apologize not coming to your blog recently. I've been a little headless myself as of late. I'm feeling kind of overwhelmed by this health care fight, and am putting so much emotion into it that it is starting to make me crazy. What a vortex of insanity. Painting has been a wonderful way to escape news, computers, reality, whatever. Anyway, I will be around to your blogs very soon and I thank you for your continued visits to mine.

Oh, I can't seem to think of a poem to go with the image, so please feel free to create one yourself in the comments!




Tuesday, September 15, 2009

An Angel for Annie


On her wedding day
Annie sat with the angels,
Her toe dipped in tears.

In memory of Annie Le, a Yale Student who was to be married on Sunday September 13th. Instead of a wedding on that day, Annie's senseless murder was confirmed. With deepest condolences to her family, fiance and friends, your pool of tears is felt by the world.

An Angel for Annie
Digitally Altered Watercolor

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Faeries, Facebook and Health Care


When the night descends
And faeries light their fires
Magic springs aglow

Glowing Stream
Digitally altered photo



Horse and Llama
Digitally altered photo

"What do you think that meant?"

"I don't know, probably something political."

"Oh yeah, most likely."

"Have you seen the woman lately?"

"No, not sure where she is these days."

"Probably on Facebook."

"Either that or painting."

"I heard she's pissing her blogger friends off because she hasn't been blogging much lately."

"Whatever. She came over here the other day when you were off at the barn and started talking to me about health care."

"Really? But you're a llama!"

"And you're a horse, what's your problem? Anyway, we llamas are often sought out by the humans. You know, for our legendary wisdom."

"That's kind of ridiculous."

"Thanks, thanks a lot. Anyway, she was telling me about this status update that went viral on Facebook the other day. She was kind of excited about it because everyone was posting it. She said it even spread to Twitter."

"What did it say?"

"No one should die because they cannot afford health care, and nobody should go broke because they get sick. If you agree, please post this as your status for the rest of the day."

"And it actually went viral?"

"Totally. First time that ever happened according to her. I'm surprised there isn't more news about it. But you know the media. If there's no yelling and screaming it likely won't get much press."

"Maybe humans really do care!"

"Well, being a llama, I told her to keep calling and writing her representatives in Washington to demand a public option. I mean, let's be real here!"




Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shards of Moon


Where shards of moon spill
Over night dreams gone astray,
Echoes sing your name.
____

Full Moon on Night Pond
Oil on canvas (3' x 5')

Dedicated to the memory of Senator Teddy Kennedy
"Health Care is a right, not a privilege"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Art and Organisms:Cat of Arc in the kitchen




Hello everyone, this is Cat of Arc. Yes, I'm still here and very much in possession of Cat's blog and her body. She really doesn't like to give up her blog for me, but I'm the one with the swords.

On the health care thing? Oh, yes, I am still very much working in this dimension to talk to people about what is going on out there, and the general consensus is that everyone is extremely confused and very pissed off. People on all sides of the coin have gone completely bonkers and the vision that is supposed to stand as the fulcrum is being tested with a force stronger than a Cat 5 storm. I can still see the vision however, and plead with you not to give up hope, and to keep talking to people from all sides. Listen to each other! Calling each other names is simply not going to leave room for open communication! And please folks, leave your guns at home, will ya? You may claim that your gun is your second amendment right and that's why you're carrying that semiautomatic weapon on your belt at the town hall meeting. However, you and I both know that you are just trying to intimidate and bully. A gun at a meeting about health care is, simply put, off topic.

Alright now, please take a deep breath and cool down for a bit while we look at some images:


Morning On the Dream Field
Digitally Altered Photo


The Llama's Refuge
Oil on Canvas

Ok, break over. Here's the thing, one of the big concerns I have over the health care system, is how completely inadequate it is to help people learn to actually keep themselves healthy. People don't do it, they just eat what they want to eat even if it will kill them. On NPR there was a radio program on Talk of the Nation a few days ago, on the subject of health care. There was a call in guy who claimed to be a Libertarian. He was strongly of the opinion that before people depend on a government system for their health care, they need to take care of themselves. People need to claim personal responsibility. Although I DO think we need a government health care option (that is a choice and not forced upon one) I actually agree with him about health. I think people should stay healthy, and frankly, I think we've forgotten how because we made the silly mistake of letting the 'free market' determine how we eat. The industry panders to the lazy in us. I also think people should eat local produce because it makes sense to eat food that is grown down the road. However, that makes eating vegetables a very difficult thing to do in the winter when food isn't to be found growing down the road that is covered in 4 feet of snow.

That is, unless you managed to save some of that summer bounty somehow.

Before I moved here to Asheville, I was visiting a friend and we went to see a traveling puppet show that was coming through town. The show had some anti-government messages, one of which I found to be truly delightful, "The Government won't set you free. Chores will set you free!" Now, about having the choice between government health care and private insurance, you bet I want that choice. And I'll sign right up for the public option, and then try hard as heck not to ever use it. To that end, I have taken on the chore of preserving my locally grown organic veggies, grown by my friends at a local CSA (Community Supported Ag), by lactic acid fermention. A process using salt and water, which not only preserves the qualities of the raw vegetables, but it turns out the organisms that congregate as a result of the process are gonna save your life! They eat all the bad stuff inside you and leave you only with good stuff. That way you won't have to be a burden on that government health care system that we are asking for, no, demanding. So in this way, you could say I am 'pro-life', or 'pro-microbe life' otherwise known as 'pro-biotics'. I'm sure you've heard the term? Preserving vegetables in this way, means you don't have to take pro-biotic supplements.

So I came up with the motto "No Vegetable Left Behind", (which I happen to think is terribly original), and now I have got several months worth of dinner breeding in my basement. It was hard work (only because of the sheer amount of veggies), but think how much is saved in money and time down the line! It's an investment in your very near term future! I'm not going to tell you how to do the brining process itself, but will recommend two books at the bottom of this post if you want to learn how to do this incredibly simple and safe and healthy way to preserve raw food, using practices that go way back to Genghis Kahn. Think Sauerkraut, think KimChi. Think easy, healthy, sustainable, and delicious.

And now it's time for some more images. The first one below is a picture of a fermenting jar, that I played with in Photoshop, keeping the vegetables as my inspiration. The second is the counter where the magic took place. Cat may get some time to play on her blog soon. I'm just wondering who is going to be the big cheese that will take it upon themselves to organize an 'All Organisms Deserve Health Care' march on Washington? (Said in jest, meant with all my heart.)

March to the Fermenting Pot
Digitally Altered Photo

Fermentation Station
Digitally Altered Photo

Books on fermentation:
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz

Making Sauerkraut by Klaus Kaufmann.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Vision of Cat of Arc


Announcement: The person who normally writes on this blog has had her body possessed by an entity known as Cat of Arc. Usually this entity resides in some other dimension, but occasionally is activated when lies and distortions in the world become so outrageous that something must be said. Cat of Arc is a crusader who has visions and very very lofty ideals. Cat the poet/photographer/artist et al, tried unsuccessfully to keep her off this blog, preferring not to make her blog political, but the entity has usurped it in order to communicate her vision in the broadest way possible.

Without any further ado, meet Cat of Arc, the digitial crusader:

Hello to you all. I thank you for allowing this momentary intrusion unto the sanctity of this sacred space. I promise to state my case, and then to return Cat and her blog to their rightful place in the world of the arts.

At the moment, in this country of the USA, there is a war brewing on the subject of Health Care. You may remember a few posts back, Cat the poet had a dream and posted it in the form of a poem. I gave her that dream, and I am here to translate that dream for you now.


The Bridge

By Catherine Vibert

Translation

By Cat of Arc


I stood at the sea,

Looking skyward at bridges,

Unfinished, empty


Translation: The bridges are the attempts made for the last century to initiate universal health care in this country.


No permit issued

To put supports in the sand,

They rusted away


Translation: All attempts made in the past failed.


Sand backfilled the holes,

Somehow this is a good thing,

A new day, fresh start


Translation: Sand is unstable, the fact that it has filled in the places where support once was is good because it shows the world that support is needed. The un-stability of the free market is not fulfilling the needs of the masses. Is there a critical mass to prove the need for support? It may be so…


Strung above me now

An engineering wonder

Has started anew


Translation: A new attempt which includes our capitalist system AND a public option, something that has never been tried. An attempt is being made to include everybody and offer the people choices.


How far must I dig

Beneath the unstable sands

To find bedrock?


Translation: The will to get this done is the bedrock. The lies and distortions are the unstable sands. At the current moment of writing this, I am seeing stronger currents of un-stability, and the bedrock feels farther down than I can sense.


How strong are the strands?

Cars might fall into the sea!

Paralyzing fears


Translation: These are the fears of the masses. They are fears that are being preyed upon by the same capitalist powers that have stopped all the attempts in the past. There is no goodness in what these powers are doing. They are distorting truth and saying outright lies to activate and manipulate the masses that would be fooled into fighting for their cause of greed. It is the purest form of evil and many people are being pulled into this vortex of falsehood.


Before I build it

I kneel down and pray to You,

Help me find the rock!


Translation: YOU, that’s right, YOU, the one whose eyes are passing by these words. I pray to you in the name of all that is good to take this month to become an active thorn in the side of your congress representatives and senators. One crazy visionary can’t do it alone. She needs an army of righteousness by her side.


I see the city

Shining there across the sea,

And now I must build.


Translation: Health Care Reform with a strong public option. Call your representative and your senators and go to your local town hall meeting to declare your support. We can get this done!

Go forth my fellow crusaders, and fight for what is right and good.

See these websites to arm yourselves with the actual facts:

www.whitehouse.gov/realitycheck/

and a purportedly unbiased site:

www.factcheck.org

I appreciate you allowing me this forum to communicate my vision. I will now return this blog to its rightful owner.

----

(Logo design and artwork by Arthur Vibert)

(Cat the poet/photographer, etc etc, will return soon to resume her normal programming.)

Friday, July 31, 2009

You Never Returned

It's been a long time since I posted in this blog...however, I'll be returning to the place that inspired this prose-poem next week, the land of the Cherokee, the rivers of the Tuckaseegee and Natahala. It made me think of this prose poem I wrote a couple of years ago and so I thought I'd bring it up to the top.

It was there in the misty mountains where my life began and ended. You left me at dawn, promising return by nightfall. I waited for years in the meadow of songs where we had built our love on pledges of golden sun and milky starlight.

You never returned.

Only the music of the storm was my solace. Shattered by the force of time and weather, I became blind. On my knees and with fingers numb from cold, I tried to find the path before me and stumbled into the dark echoes of the woods to seek shelter. Finding comfort on a bed of hemlock, I slept next to the gray wolf who consoled me as I wailed, holding me in his paws and licking my brow.

You never returned.

Only the laughing crows and battle cries of raptors could be heard in the forest. Songbirds fled to sing their cheerful melodies in less mournful places. My tears became the creek that flowed from the great mountains into the Tuckaseegee. Beyond an eternity of hope, shards of my crystalline heart can still be found.

You never returned.

__


Dedicated to those left behind on the Trail of Tears.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Hummingbird Moth on a Phloxy Day

The Hummingbird Moth considers its plan of action.

Sticking its long tongue into a phlox flower, it discovers a pleasant nectar and slurps it up.


"This is tasty," said the moth. "I like it, I want some more."


The moth flies over the flowers and with eagle eye vision, looks for the mother lode.



Ah...sweet satisfaction is found in the smallest of things.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dinner


Trying to grow legs?
Perhaps you thought you could leave...
Silly Relleno

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things Upon My Altar



Trinkets from my former days
Collected through the years
Remind me of the friends I’ve known
The laughter and the tears

Elephants for wisdom
My wise grandma gave to me
Silver relics from Tibet
Remind of tyranny

Kwan Yin for compassion
Yin and Yang are hard to be
Somehow balance comes askew
When life’s in front of me

Orchids then for Beauty’s grace
Around me every day
In every single thing I see
Her magic light will play

The cloth once wrapped the head of she
Who made the thing by hand
Dyed and blocked in fruits she grew
In India’s native land

The whole thing sits upon a frame
An instrument to play
The harpsichord my father built
In distant younger days

I’ve many altars through the house
I pass throughout the day
My heart and soul, my family
For whom I love and pray

And I, romantic soul I am
With reminiscent mind
Am wrapped in love from all of them
Who treated me so kind

***

Hi folks, I'm still on a break because my kids are visiting and I'm still deeply steeped in Jason's contest. I hope you enjoy this sentimental tribute to my family and friends. It's not quite the dark and mysterious poetry I usually write, and I'm not apologizing by any means! But I'm just feeling the love and wanted to share. I hope you are all enjoying summer.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Joan's Debut at The Met

I am taking a break from blogging for most of July, except to participate in Jason Evan's flash fiction contest over at Clarity of Night: In Vino Veritas, (Truth in Wine). For your enjoyment, here is my entry:

Joan's Debut at The Met


“Sing it again,” the master instructed. “Control your vibrato.”

Joan put her hand on the Steinway and tightened the muscles in her back.

“Ah ah ah ah aaaah,” her voice rang up the scale. Sustaining the high note, the tone vibrated her head.

A crack chimed. Her goblet shattered. Wine spilled into the silver tray beneath.

“You are ready for the stage, Diva,” the master grinned.

Joan glowed.

*

Walking toward the subway, Joan dreamed an aria as she passed the Lincoln Center.

“Brava!” the Chagalls applauded from behind the glass, luminous in the empty night.

Joan curtsied to the murals. Raising her head, she found herself staring down the barrel of a gun.

“Your money and your jewelry,” the thief demanded.

Her heart pounded. She tried to scream but no sound came.

The thief rammed the gun into Joan’s ribs. Her back muscles tightened. She opened her mouth, emitting a high note. The thief stepped back in surprise. The note grew stronger, Joan’s body vibrating with the pitch. The thief dropped his gun and fell to his knees, clawing his head. Her voice rose to a crescendo. Windows shattered throughout the center, shards dropping to the courtyard below. She gasped abruptly. Alarms sounded. The thief lay unconscious. Blood dripped from his ears.

Joan’s muscles were taut piano strings. Hearing footsteps approach, she whirled toward the sound. A policeman. Her shoulders dropped in relief.

“Are you alright ma’am?” the officer inquired.

“I could use a glass of wine,” she whispered.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Messenger



Often I find myself wondering, damn, why can't we talk to them, why can't we make them listen! There is something wrong with the way things are; the way the rain falls all at once, the urgent feel of the wind, the pounding heat from the sun.

Something about that woman across the road is different. I think maybe she can hear me. I'm just going to sit here staring at her day after day, for weeks, even months, until she gets the message. I have to make her understand that only because she has speech and is not confined to the field, she has the power to change things.

What I wouldn't give for power like that...

Monday, June 29, 2009

Liturgy


In the wind they heard
The three graces chanting soft
A summer None song

Friday, June 26, 2009

Times 4


Vesper tagged me and so I'll cooperate, but in order not to perpetuate this any further than it already has to be, I'm not tagging you! But feel free to just do it if you want to. No strings attached.

Four Movies You Can See Over and Over

Zefferelli's Romeo and Juliet
The Wizard of Oz
Jesus Christ Superstar (please stop laughing, it was imprinted on me when I was 12, I can't help it!)
Passion in the Desert (it's about a man and a leopard and their cross species love)

Four Places You Have Lived

San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Greater San Diego, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
Asheville, NC


Four TV Shows You Love(d) to Watch

American Idol
Ugly Betty
Gray's Anatomy
Six Feet Under


Four Places You Have Been on a Vacation

Europe
Thailand
India
Nepal

Four of your favorite foods

Berries off the vine
Peas in the pod, off the vine
Grilled salmon
Maple syrup

Four Websites You Visit Daily

Facebook
Google
Amazon
As many blogs as I can

Four Places You Would Rather Be
(Sorry Vesper, for ripping you off here, but these top three are also true for me)

The seaside
Manhattan
At home, writing
Swimming in a fresh clear lake

Four Things You Hope to Do Before You Die

Successfully write and publish a novel
Live abroad
Have a wonderful love affair that works well and nourishes us both
See the USA successfully adopt a compassionate system of National Health Care


Four Novels You Wish You Were Reading for the First Time

My own yet to be written novel
My blogging friends' soon to be released novels
Anything not read yet, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht (due out in 2010, the short story in The New Yorker a few weeks ago was awesome, yes, once again it relates to cats).

Monday, June 22, 2009

A Bridge



I stood at the sea,
Looking skyward at bridges,
Unfinished, empty

No permit issued
To put supports in the sand,
They rusted away

Sand backfilled the holes,
Somehow this is a good thing,
A new day, fresh start

Strung above me now
An engineering wonder
Has started anew

How far must I dig
Beneath the unstable sands
To find bedrock?

How strong are the strands?
Cars might fall into the sea!
Paralyzing fears

Before I build it
I kneel down and pray to You,
Help me find the rock!

I see the city
Shining there across the sea,
And now I must build.


This Senryu cycle was inspired by a dream I had last night.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day


One day I argued
Culture isn't dead at home!
Then you showed me this.

Happy Father's day Pappy du bois

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Paper Candy


Spring rolls into summer
On thunderheads that wear your face

You appear,
Wrapped in paper candy,
A ray of opiate dreams in distant lands

I long,
To touch your skin

I cry,
Torrents, as the rain cries,
Washing a promise of you
Into yesterday

Friday, June 12, 2009

A War of Thoughts


On the battlefield
Neutron explosions
Of planted mines
In neuron tunnels
Leave gaping holes
Where roses and lilies
Once grew, and thrived.
Alas, even icy waters
Of a glacier stream
Will not cool the fire.

Monday, June 8, 2009

A Song from the Sea























On the shore,
I stared, facing west
As you erased the sand
Away from under my heals
And I lost my balance
Falling backwards
To the ground

I jumped rope
With seaweed grass
You spat out to dry upon
The shore, and yelled, yee hah!
Whipping and whirling the strand
Snapping in the air, it wrapped
My ankle, black and blue
Bruised, I fell, laughing,
Your mouth cooled

For an eternity
You came and went
Raging against the rocks
Sending your frothing spittle
High into the air, mist covering
My face, I smiled as the sun
Burned colors in clouds
Pink, orange, golden
Sunk away now

I’d take you
Willingly watch your
Rages, comings and goings
If you’d soften my hard edges
Make me forget the ground
Winds caressing once
Rocks now sand
I’d take you

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer Dreams


Lazy Summer dreams,
Pillow tufted heads of pink
Ice cream licked slowly

Crystal candy tongue
You stand and salute me
Liquid languid lilt

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Goodbye Grasshopper



Grasshopper is dead.

It’s funny, the people I’ve been in love with in my life. For those of you who read my response to Jason’s post of last Sunday, you know that I can get a little, um, obsessive. It started a long long time ago actually. As a Myers Briggs INFP, apparently it’s normal for me to do this. And I’m glad to say that I don’t buy into the fantasies anymore; there is a little wisdom that comes with age. (Although it really hasn’t been THAT long.) In the past, I have whipped up dream lovers who are perfect in every way. No one can compete, really, with my perfect fantasy lovers. (No one, that is, except Marlow, my cat. He is truly a perfect companion.)

This made me into a groupie at one time, this tendency to obsess. My first true love was Paul McCartney. I had our wedding all planned out, I was devasted when he left me and married Linda. I think I was 10 at the time, and I had already been in love with Paul for many years. So, I left him for Donny Osmond. He was too teeny bop to keep my interest however, so I had to ditch him for Elton John. I had a lot of company in my adoration of Elton when I was a freshman in high school. Me, Janice B., and Diane M. formed the core Elton John fan base in freshman glee club, and I’m sure we drove poor Mr. Faulk up the wall with our glasses and constant singing. Elton even taught me how to sing! In fact, Ted H. could play Elton like nobody’s business, and so I’d come into the choir room at lunch time when Ted was banging away on the piano and I'd wail away at the top of my lungs (Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me, Burn Down the Mission, Love Lies Bleeding, etc, were all among our lunchtime repertoire.) In 10th grade, I dated an Elton look alike, but he was clearly not the real thing, so I dumped him too. (My first REAL boyfriend Mark, reminded me about that the other day, and the sparring that went on between them over me. Mark won that little battle. ;-)

That’s when I met and fell in love with Kwai Chang Caine, the gentle Shaolin warrior who fought evil racist bastards in the 19th century American west. As an Idealist, he was the perfect idol for my young forming self. Not only was he beautiful in a kind of Asian way (which he wasn’t BTW, he was totally Caucasian), he had wisdom, and strength. I never had TV before those years, because my mother didn’t believe in it, but right around 1975, when I was 15, my mother allowed my aunt to give me her old black and white TV and I got to have it in my room. By this time, Kung Fu was already old news, but for me, it was new and I soaked it up like water. I watched every episode several times in reruns. I craved each new ‘teaching’, and was thrilled by the flashback scenes when Caine would be receiving a lesson from the wise Shaolin priest (who happened to be blind, and yet could see better than most).

Grasshopper, as he was called by the priest, became a name that I used time and again when imparting wisdom to my children, although they probably were clueless as to the origin of the name, or why I was using it as I gave advice with my pseudo Chinese accent. (Which was clearly pseudo to them, being half Chinese and having many real Chinese accents around them constantly.) But to me, although in jest when I used it, there was something about the wisdom in those TV teachings that always stayed with me, and perhaps helped to mold me into who I am today. Perhaps it influenced my interest in Asian cultures, and maybe even in Asian men, since I married one. Not sure about any of that, and I don’t really want to speculate too much. (Although my ex did become a double blackbelted Kung Fu master, and, by the way, just successfully summited Mt. Everest, and though we’ve had our differences, some of them disastrous, he is still my friend and the father of my kids and I’m very proud of him and glad he is home safe.)

I never did outgrow Kwai Chang Caine, and perhaps it is for that reason that I shed a tear today when I found out that David Carradine purportedly hung himself in a Bangkok hotel room closet. Maybe we will never know why, or even if David Carradine killed himself, but I, for one, am sorry to see him go. Goodbye Grasshopper. I hope you find peace.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sambhali!

This documentary is about the Sambhali Trust project empowering Dalit 'untouchable' women in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India and in the nearby village of Setrawa, India. The movie highlights the benefits of the project in the life of the women, and also shows the progress made in the new school project. My friend Govind Rathore started this project, and I became involved when I went to stay at his guesthouse in Jodhpur. Some of you may remember the Rajasthani Jagrata audio slideshow I posted a few months back? That was about Govind's family and our trip to Setrawa for his young son's haircutting ceremony. I went back to India a second time with a video camera and this documentary is borne from that. The documentary also includes footage shot later by volunteers after Govind asked us to make a short film. He will be presenting this film at an upcoming conference in Austria. I want to thank my brother Arthur for all of his labor, all the volunteers who helped provide additional stills and video, Corinne, and Govind for running around to gather things up and shipping it all up to The States so we could work on it, to Griselda for the Setrawa tour, Amanda and Sophie for their excellent teaching and for allowing me to interview them. And to anyone else I didn't mention, thanks for everything done to make this possible.

Note: Be patient please, it seems to want to take a minute to load before starting. Thanks. :-)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Sound of Tears


All is quiet now
Nothing but the sound of tears
Falling on the grass


Shanti stared at the sky from the bed near the window. The rain pelted the window pane. A small rivulet of water trailed from a crack in the glass down to a pool on the sill. Shanti put her finger on the water and changed its course. She could feel Ann watching her. She could feel her concern. She let out a deep breath and turned over, locking eyes with Ann.

“I wish I could see Adam again,” Shanti said.

Ann’s face started to contort, a deep furrow worked its way into her brow. “Why didn’t we do something?”

Ann started to sob and Shanti could not hold back her own tears. The two of them embraced each other and sobbed together as the rain turned to hail, beating against the window. The sound was deafening on the roof of the old clapboard dormitory hall. The silvery crack in the glass grew.

The hail subsided a few minutes later. Shanti got up and looked out the window at the grass field between the buildings. A mound of flowers, balloons, pictures and notes rose among the fallen leaves and hailstones. A small group of students were gathered around the flowers, holding umbrellas.

“I always thought he was a little edgy, but aren’t we all?”

“Yeah, but he seemed like he was happy most of the time. He was always joking around!”

“Except when he drank. Did you ever see him do that? Flip out and start crying?” Shanti said, then paused. “Wait. Was that a clue? Should we have worried then?”

Ann shrugged, “Did you ever notice him complaining?”

“Not really. He always seemed upbeat."

“You don't believe it?”

“Sometimes I got the sense he was ... haunted.”

Shanti put her forehead to the window and watched the crowd gathering. Adam’s girlfriend had just arrived with a wreath. She fell to her knees sobbing as she added the wreath to the mound. Other students helped her stand up. They formed a circle, locked arms, and started to sing "In The Arms Of An Angel.”

As the music drifted up to Shanti’s ears, the rain stopped and the clouds broke. A single ray of sun fell over the crowd. Drops of rain on the flowers glistened like diamonds. The crowd grew silent.

“Come on,” Shanti said quietly, “Let’s go down there.” She clutched Ann’s hand and they made their way out to the circle. They joined arms with their friends.

The rain began to fall again, mixing gently with their many rivers of tears.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

About Yesterday, notes from a former drama queen

Here’s the thing, until the Yesterday series, I have never before ever written anything so completely fiction that the made up characters became alive and real and started dictating their story to me. I’ve written ‘fiction’ based on autobiographical information, but not the completely unreal kind. And I have to tell you, it gave me a writing buzz not yet experienced by moi, and I liked it. I mean, I really liked it. I want more.

When I was younger, it seemed as if there was always some kind of major drama happening in my life. Those of you who have followed my blog for a while know some of the things of which I speak, but I think I’ve often written from the point of view of being a victim of circumstance, and not so much a creator of drama.

It’s not that I ever wanted to be a drama queen, believe me. It is not the kind of attention one really is seeking! And yet, it seems there are certain personality types that can whoop up drama in their lives like nobody’s business. Have you ever noticed that? I’m that kind. I AM the dreamweaver. That’s what makes drama. You weave fantasies in your head, and then try to force people to play your characters. Sometimes it works and the thrill is amazing! A drug. An addiction. Sadly, like any drug, most of the time it doesn’t work and you find yourself whooping up even more drama to get the satisfaction you are seeking.

I’m happy to say that it’s been nearly a decade since I left the queen in hysterics along with the bipolar boyfriend she had. And I have gotten quite used to the calm around here. I actually avoid whooped up drama like the plague now, in myself and in others. I have developed a revulsion towards it. At the same time, I really understand it.

It is my contention that it is the same stuff that feeds good fiction writing. I have theorized that before, but now that I’ve actually written something completely fictional (albeit using other people's words), I am more than ever convinced that it is a gift, not a curse, to dream, but only if you use the dreamweaving as a gift. Because like any gift, it must be used wisely.

Now whether I can write GOOD fiction or not remains to be seen. Baby steps… There is so much skill and inspiration to gain from reading all of your stories. I would love to know any secrets you can tell me about your process; at what point do the characters become alive in your mind, and do you find catharsis in creating them, animating them, and perhaps even killing them? Why do you write fiction?

Just kinda curious.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Yesterday, Pt 4, The End

This is the final episode in a four part series using song lyrics from the 60's and 70's to explore a rekindled friendship from the past. To go back to part 1, scroll back, they are posted in order. Or, click on 'Yesterday' in the labels section of this post and they will all come up. (Hint: Don't read the last part first or you'll ruin the surprise ending!)



Tuesday afternoon-
Baker Street, Boston.


“It’s been such a long time, maybe I’m amazed! You are so beautiful. I can’t get enough of your love!”

“I wish.”

“What’s going on? Who are you?”

“I’m a psycho killer, que’ce que c’est? A killer queen. Tonight’s the night.”

“Oye como va, peligro!”

“Right, you’re bloody well right.”

“How long to the point of no return?”

“25 or 6 to 4:00.”

“Who, who, who, who?”

“Aqualung, my friend. A horse with no name.”

“Rebel rebel!”

“I think I should be going. Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir?”

“Hey, hey, my my…”

“I’ve got to fly like an eagle. Life in the fast lane! You ain’t seen nothing yet.”

(slam)

Macarthur’s Park is melting in the dark. Sitting on a park bench…

“Aqualung, don’t you see it’s only me? Walk this way.”

“Back stabber!”

“Are you reeling in the years, le freak, you’re just another brick in the wall.”

“I don’t want to die!”

“Now it’s all over Danny Bailey, the harvest is in. You don’t have to live like a refugee.”
(bang bang, shoot shoot)

Way down the street there’s a light in his place, you open the door, he asks you where you’ve been, you tell him who you’ve seen and…

“God save the queen! Tell me something good!”

“Smiling faces tell lies. Help me! I think I’m falling.”

“What a fool believes!”

“One way or another…”

“Why do we never get an answer when we’re walking out the door?”

“Because the truth is hard to swallow. This is the end my only friend, the end.”
(bang bang, shoot shoot)

"One is the loneliest number, I can't live if living is without you...happiness is a warm gun."
(bang bang, shoot shoot)

(the sound of silence)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yesterday, Pt. 3

This is the third episode in a four part series using song lyrics from the 60's and 70's to explore a rekindled friendship from the past.


From: layla@70s.song
Subject: Ruby Tuesday
Date: May 22, 2009 8:02:00 AM EDT
To: BBLeroy@70s.song
Reply-To: layla@70s.song

Leroy Brown, Let me go crazy on you, you’re a magic man. I’m leaving on a jet plane, ruby Tuesday.

I hope today will be a lighter highway,
L.

____________


From: BBLeroy@70s.song
Subject: Re: Ruby Tuesday
Date: May 22, 2009 8:03:00 AM EDT
To: Layla@70s.song
Reply-To: BBLeroy@70s.song

Layla, Ruby Tuesday, out on runway number 9…wild horses couldn’t drag me away.

I’ll be there, you got me on my knees,
Leroy

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yesterday, Pt. 2

This is the second episode in a four part series using song lyrics from the 60's and 70's to explore a rekindled friendship from the past.



Black Magic Woman,

The first time ever I saw your face, blue eyes, golden hair, what a tale my thoughts could tell. Fire!! We learned to find love in the back of my van, nights in white satin, beyond Silverlake. I could drink a case of you, I’m a lucky man, still, you turn me on! I think I’m going to love you for a long, long time. (Breathe deep, the gathering gloom…)

Four and twenty years ago, on the 25th day of September, me and Bobby McGee hitchhiked all the way to New Orleans. I took a walk on the wild side, bad company, smoking in the boys room, cocaine running all around my brain, rock and roll all day and party every night. Everybody must get stoned! Then I found myself on my knees, when the lights go down in the city, say a prayer for the pretender.

Day by day…truckin' like the doodah man...

At last I've found you, don’t you know you’ve got a friend? Take a look at my life, I’m a lot like you are; you can't hide your lyin' eyes.

Oh dreamweaver, dream on. Imagine, into this world we’re thrown, we’ll do the roundabout. Have you never been mellow? Mellow yellow, a lighter shade of pale, I honestly love you. It’s alright if you love me, it’s alright if you don’t, try not to get worried, everything’s alright, yes everything’s fine. Don’t fear the reaper, we have got to get ourselves back to the garden, become comfortably numb. We are family, I’m so tired of being alone.

Miss you, please come to Boston,
Piano Man

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yesterday Pt. 1

This is the first episode in a four part series using song lyrics from the 60's and 70's to explore a rekindled friendship from the past.

Hello its me,

Welcome to the machine, it’s been a long time running, it appears to be a long time gone. I’m tasting the smell of toast as the butter runs, here, there and everywhere. I’d love to change the world, climb a stairway to heaven, find myself knockin on heaven’s door, but I don’t know what to do. I learned the truth at 17, that I was born to run, born to be wild; that’s the way I always heard it should be! But now I’ve gone and blown it all away, running with the devil, don’t take a slice of my pie the landslide will bring it down.

(It’s a little bit funny…yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away now I feel like makin’ love. I’m a gypsy acid queen, feel me, touch me, I’m hot blooded, touch it and see!)

You’ve got me hanging on the telephone…we are the champions, looks like muskrat love! Don’t go breaking my heart, we’ve only just begun to live. Baby, I’ve been learnin’, you need schoolin’ you got me in a spotlight, dancing in the moonlight. Darlin’ can’t you hear me SOS? My aim is true. I’m so lonely, sometimes I feel like I’m dyin’, but I’m as free as a bird now, I am woman hear me roar.

I feel love, I need a hero, I want you to show me the way. Won’t you take me to funky town? Burn down the mission if you want to stay alive. We’re just two lost souls swimming in a fish bowl.

Wish you were here,
Your song

Friday, May 15, 2009

A Jewel in the Rubble

This marks my 100th post.

Yesterday my friend Daniel Martini posted his latest round of photos on his blog DMartini's Photoblog. Daniel shoots in black and white film, an art that is almost lost to this world. Since I first started visiting his blogs last October, I have been touched deeply by his ability to capture the light and soul of his subjects. He is currently living and working near Mumbai, India. I highly recommend a thorough viewing of the photoblog, and also of his other blog, Faces, Lives, where he writes in depth stories about his amazing experiences and the people he has had the fortune to connect with. The following photo really affected me, and Daniel has graciously allowed me to repost it here, along with this poem:


Run, child, run
Run into your life,
Your playground
Is the stuff of yesterday’s dreams
Now crumbled and turned to dust
In the heat of a melting earth.
You will dance to the music
Banged on tin cans left
In rotting heaps,
You will find the jewels
On the mounds of forgotten hope,
In the smile of a mother’s love
You will dance into tomorrow.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I and I and Me and Me

In the interest of transparency, and because of Aniket's extreme interest in my 15 year old photo in the last post, and because it was time to get the hell off the last post, I decided to show you all a little more of me in pictures. Here's a little retrospective:

When I was two, my dad worked for the San Francisco Chronicle. It was during the time when the sugar cubes that contained the polio vaccine were being doled out. I guess he must have known the photographer because I got to have all my fame out of the way before I even knew what was happening.

A bad photo, overexposed, but I like the context. At 16, I was in the graveyard of my Scottish ancestors in Struan, Scotland. I have roots in the Robertson clan. The pants are Dittos (Mark, remember Dittos?) I can't believe how corny they look.


This was during the summer that my dad took me to Europe for two months while my brother was living in London. This is my brother and me in Paris. You'll notice I had on the same clothes as in the earlier picture. That's because I only brought two shirts and one pair of pants. I was trying to travel light. I did buy an amazing dress when I was in Italy. Wouldn't you?


At 19, I had a friend who was a photographer hobbiest. He wanted to practice and asked me to model for him one day. This is at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.


By the age of 29, I had two kids. Here I am with James at his music recital, and you can see Chris behind me sitting on his dad's lap.


By the age of 34, I was divorced and going to college at Sonoma State. Here I am with my kids at the beach on the Sonoma County coast in sunny California.

At 36 I finally graduated from college with a degree in music (ahem, Summa cum Laude and 'with distinction'). Moi with a brain? Who knew?

Here I am singing with some really quite awesome musicians in my friend Gatmo's basement studio. Two of the men are playing Waterphones. The man to the left of me (in the picture its left, but actually its my right), Richard Waters, invented that instrument. I miss playing with them, :-( . Have not yet found a waterphone consortium since moving to North Carolina.



With Marlow and Oli a couple of years ago in front of my old house in California. I had just returned from my cantor gig at the local Catholic church.

I was going to post a picture with me and my kids in North Carolina in front of the Biltmore house, but gosh darned if that picture was taken with James' camera, not mine, so I don't have it.

So Aniket, how was that?