This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Shana Rose Up

I have started a new blog! It's on wordpress and is called Shana Rose Up.  It is not totally fleshed out, but it will be some day.  The welcome mat is out!  Your friends probably want to know about this too.
Come back soon now, y'hear?!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lone Wolf Finds a Pack (Still, Always, Finally)

It has been a long, long while since I came to this blog.  Generally when I come, or have come, to write here I don't know what I am going to say at the outset.  What I do know is that I have feelings I wish to express.  In that way this blog has served as some kind of on-line journal for the past five years.  When I began the blog, and for several of the years that followed its beginning there was basically one important person in my world and, yeah, that would've been me.

wolf pack of 1
I believe, and this belief has not withstood any kind of rigorous questioning or testing, it is an observation, that some people are prone to building intimate relationships while others are loners.

In the past, and--as if by default--still now, I wanted to be approved of, I wanted to feel cool, I wanted adoration and so on.  It turns out that, what I vaguely understood all along when I was school-aged, was that wanting to be cool expressly made you not so.  I thought I could slyly bypass this unspoken rule of humanity by acting like I didn't want to be cool and spending stupid amounts of money on the trendy-logo-ed sweatshirts at the time.  I wound up falling prey to the high-school trap, which is to say I looked like a lot of other people and didn't speak my mind or express myself freely.  There were exceptions to that like in any humanities class discussions and in the remnants of my actual self that I snuck into my "move with the pack" style (i.e. purple shoes, the occasional disco shirt, Gap's "freshly cut grass" perfume).  In art classes I was sometimes seen for who I was.  In any class, actually, I felt safer with a teacher there to give me the recognition my obviously brilliant mind deserved, and also protect me from any one who might want to point out my fatness (scary!) or try to relate to me on a real level (unthinkable!).

Sometimes I'm baffled by how sensitive I was/am to other peoples thoughts.  As I've gotten older I'm learning that what I'm picking up with  my super-sensory antennae are not thoughts about me but more often thoughts or feelings the person has relating to him or herself.  Duh! We are all self centered!  I'm super glad I finally am understanding that.

So, what I was coming around to, are the nature of relationships.  I was not good at having real ones.  I was good at friends, I was good at acquaintances, I was good on the surface.  Getting to know any other person in a "real," deep capacity meant I would have to confront myself, my thoughts and the reality of my flaws (i.e. I have them!).  My family were the only deep relationships I had and I mostly took those relationships for granted or gave very little credit to the people with whom they were formed.  It went unquestioned that I was the only person with a busy and complex emotional life and all others were foils to my experience.

In fact, I'm going to take a break from that charming portrait of a self-centered (average) young person to relay an idea I just got from, don't judge, O Magazine.
There's an expression in neuroscience: Neurons that fire together wire together.  This means that new patterns of thought can actually change the physiology of our brains. So while we can't ignore bad news, we can train our brains to become more alert to good information. When you notice a positive detail in yourself or someone else, or in your environment, try savoring it for at least ten seconds. Most of these observations will be as simple as 'the sun is shining' or 'this coffee tastes good,' but do this a handful of times each day and you'll feel an emotional shift.  --Rick Hanson, PhD, neuropsychologist and coauthor of Buddha's Brain 
Continuing for a bit with the above quote: after I read this yesterday I did stop for a few moments and try it out.  First I tried, "my son is healthy," then "my son is eating organic broccoli," and finally "I am prospering."  All of these thoughts were things I felt good about and repeating these three statements to myself for several moments each did, and does again now, make me feel just dandy.  I even feel almost giddy now, recalling the feelings of well-being I had the first time.

But, relationships with me and my own thought patterns do not an intimate connection with others make.  And now, as I attempt to make forward progress and talk about how satisfying it turns out to be, to let myself be vulnerable and to deeply know others, my darling, healthy, prosperous son is waking up for the day.  I always craved deep connections with people.  I was troubled for a long time with this wanting.  It turns out, I guess, that I wasn't ready for it until I was much older.  That is just who I am and where my path has taken me.  I'm OK with who I was and who I am now.  I'm so glad for the others in my life that I deeply love and the new friends who I am organically, slowly getting to know.

One more thing, quickly: a feeling that propelled me to this blog today was one of resumed tranquility in my day to day life.  I feel I've begun living again.  I felt as if I were not living, but surviving, for a while there.  I suppose what I was surviving was a really steep learning curve.  Like, at least based on past experiences, I was climbing the Mt. Kilimanjaro of learning curves.  I've assimilated a lot of new information in a really short amount of time, and the information was all experiential which is vastly more taxing than ideas in books.  And we, Hadj and I, have been climbing this same mountain together.  We've saved each other from falling into sink holes, have pulled one another out of sink holes and some times we've sat, panicky in the dark, in a sink hole together (or whatever other, real life mountain climbing dangers there are).  But, we've also had sustenance too.  There has been sunshine, there have been alpine meadows (or whatever grows on the actual side of this mountainous metaphor), there has been laughter and respite and healing foot rubs at the end of arduous days.  I'm in love: again, still, finally--it's all there.  And it's cool because I'm not acting. I'm not trying to be something I think will be received well and provide me with adoration or whatever.  I'm learning to trust that I am enough as I am: flaws, charms, snark-ass-back-talking, strengths and all.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Brook It

At what point in my life did I stop listening to people?  I must have been really young.  A good estimate would be in my toddler years, when I was being most heavily socialized.  The thing is, for me though, that I was beginning to be socialized, as they say; trained is another way of saying the same thing, as early as three months of age.

Monday, December 12, 2011

All is Calm, All is Quiet

There's a song, by Jens Lekman, called "The Opposite of Hallelujah."  I'm terrible with song lyrics, but sometimes the story of a song catches my curiosity and I will listen to it methodically, learning verse by verse, usually at the top of my lungs.  Here are the first and second verse, the ones that caught my attention years ago:
I took my sister down to the ocean
But the ocean made me feel stupid.
Those words of wisdom I had prepared
All seemed to vanish into thin air
Into the waves I stared. 

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Who Knew Taming Could Be So Fun?

I've been settled this year in the way the once "wild" West was settled.  The tracts of untamed prairie and forest within me have had roads cut through and little building put up.  A few acres have been cleared and where there used to be clumps of conifer, deciduous, fern, vine, and shrub there are now orderly rows of nourishing plants.  In this metaphor fantasy the settlers are not violent.  They have basic needs and do not seek to outgrow their abilities in time and space.  They do not shoot whole herds of animals or feel threatened by the wild calls in the night.

In 2006 or 7 I took on a side job as a brochure designer for a woman who was beginning a life coaching practice.  She had been doing higher education tutoring for some time and wanted to transition to working for herself.  I must have given her some amazing bullshit spin about my experience or abilities because I had no idea how to use the Adobe programs she wanted me to use.  No, I only had a girl friend who did and I begged for her advice and tutelage.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Bass, The Bass, The Bass

I feel sheepish about my lack of content, in general lately.   Maybe it's that fall vata shaking me up and making my head whip this way and that.  I received this notice in my in-box recently.
Dear Publisher,
We noticed your blog (listed below) has not updated for more than 60 days.
Blog Title | Subterranean Fire
On investigating the feed URL, we received the following error message:
Feed Error: Feed URL not working. Details : Feed URL registered with Kindle Publishing:
Kindle customers expect to receive frequent updates for blogs and news feeds to which they subscribe. Because blogs should update at least once per month, we are canceling blogs that have not updated in more than 60 days. Accordingly, if you do not fix this issue and publish new updates within 7 days, we will remove your publication from the Kindle Store.
If you have any questions or concerns, please write to us at
C'mon amazon! It hasn't been that long!  I have been doing.  I have to give myself credit, if only to stand up for myself against the eviscerating critic who's been riding my ass day and night for the last couple of weeks.  (I'm referring to myself.)  I have been! I've been making way, even it the steps are small they are being made and at least 51% of them are in the right direction! Even if it doesn't always feel that way, I must trust myself more than the angry inner critic wants to allow.  

I have been thinking about anger lately.  I did not know, in fact I'm kind of shocked, to find out what a hot head I truly am.  Damn! I'm an angry snot on the inside way more often than I ever wanted to admit.   I guess it's no surprise, though it is stereotypical (as usual), and funny, that it took becoming a wife and mother to learn that about myself.  That's the great thing about family, eh?  They love you no matter what, and it's a good thing too... Not that I've been walking around being a total jerk to my men, I think I'm a pretty good lady to be around most of the time and they are wonderfully forgiving for the times when I just lose my cool and turn into my alter ego.  I've taken to calling her Pippi Snot-Stockings and she sure does revel in pitching a tantrum streak.

It occurred to me recently that 90% of my protective layers of bull-shit have been stripped off in almost two years since I moved out here.  I used to spend so much time shellacking the protections on myself!  The clothing to convey a certain class and social status, the facial expressions to convey a certain wit and charm, the written come-ons and flirtatious exchanges to convey my most interesting and enticing qualities.  Being real, I guess, has never been a certain strong suit of mine.  I was ever insecure and so revealed little to most of the kids, teens, college chums, dates I met along my life path.  Veils came off little by little as I grew and learned to love myself more and more and I even thought I had moments of total sincerity, but now... I wonder, how could I have been truly sincere if I wasn't truly able to listen?

Oh, well.  There's that critic inside me again, and she's putting her psychoanalytical hat on to try sounding oh-so informed and deeply correct.  I bet she wouldn't enjoy me telling y'all that it just took three tries to spell psychoanalytical correctly.

I am good.  It's such a damn simple concept and such a damn difficult one to incorporate with consistent belief.

Two quotes have been floating around in my brain a lot.  The first came from an interview with a comedian on NPR's news quiz show.  He said:
I think a lot of comedians when they're really young, what they start off doing is pointing out how dumb everything else is so that you can seem smart and cool.  But what you realize as you get older is that the enemy of comedy is cool.  Cool makes you not funny.  And if you really want to connect with an audience, you've got to be very present and just going okay, guys, let me tell you about this thing I did, and just kind of admit everything that you're doing. 
I identify with this!  And you, you other writers out there reading, do you?  It totally hits home for me that I've been trying to get more and more specific about what's going on in my life, learning, and growing and that the closer I can get to writing the true reality, the better the writing and the clearer the message.  It's not that I've been dishonest before, it's that I wasn't writing the smallest nuances.  There are three thoughts for one step so often and those three thoughts lead a person to a feeling and that feeling leads to an action and it all plays out.  So what three thoughts happened in one step?  Why did I suddenly feel smaller or weepy or bursting with devotion?  Those subtle human workings are the most interesting and I want to capture them on the page.

The other quote I bumped into three times in two days.  I don't recall where I saw this, the grocery story mysteriously comes to mind, but I saw the quote written somewhere,
The miracle is not that I finished; the miracle is that I began.
Then, the following day (that is, today) this quote showed up twice in an article in a crappy promotional newspaper I was perusing.  When I say crappy I'm referring to the specific use this newspaper had for me, not its content, per se.  Did you catch the poop joke there?

It is so hard for me to begin things!  I feel silly when I'm hemming and hawing and what really needs to be done is anything; hence the weight of this statement in my mind.

Hadj's ipod is playing on shuffle right now.  We have remarked several times on how weird it is that from the thousands of songs the machine could "randomly" choose, it seems to repeatedly choose Sonic Youth, Neko Case, terrible dub step, and Skinny Puppy.  It ignores the entire discographies of Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Talking Heads and on and on.  There are two loaves of meat in the oven.  I'm about to do some simmering, caramelizing magic on two pears I picked earlier this morning and bring them to an Autumn themed pot luck on top of a chocolate red wine cake this afternoon.   Salamander is smiling and chuckling across the kitchen table from me.  He seems to have just been dressed in a onesie with the reverent Cookie Monster on it.  I'm overdue for a jog.  And so I will begin, late as usual, but damn, hell, at least I'm going.

Oh! Before I do go; do any of you readers use the RSS?  If so, are you having problems with it?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Reaching Toward Equal Sunrise, Equal Sunset

My rituals are begun.  I'm about to write my three pages, clearing the way, centering myself, sinking into a comfortable writing seat.  Soon I will ignore the rise and fall of the winged creatures outside my creation room window.  I will stop imagining what they are and are not, stop marking the patterns their flights seem to make.  Though they do fascinate me with their dances.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"I Ain't Afraid of..."

Another good story from last week begins last Wednesday.  I went to a meeting with some spiritual seekers and it was held at this woman's amazing historic home.  It was a modest castle with arched doorways and lead glass windows. I listened to stories of tragedy, stories of ghosts, angels, and prayers.  I didn't have many requests to voice at the time, but I did have a question.  

I was twenty or twenty one years old and it was the start of a new school year.  Over the summer I had made dozens of new friends and had been spending a lot of time at one social butterfly's house in particular.  She lived with two roommates in the upper portion of a duplex.  Below them was the party junction of four or five boys.  One of the boys was an artist with big, wild hair.  If I could sum up a certain weakness for men, that's the sentence I'd use.  An artist with big, wild hair.  I nursed this crush, secreted from him, for quite a few weeks.  

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"Have a Story Worthy Week"

Last Labor Day weekend saw us with neighbors and friends barbecuing hot dogs and hamburgers as Real Americans do.  I brought a winning broccoli slaw and ended the night with a massive strudel-like apple pie from Costco.  I mean, really?  Can you get any more cliché?  It was lovely.  The hosts were our surrogate grandparents up the road, they throw a fine party.  As we picked at the last crumbs from the massive strudel pie, our surrogate grandmother's daughter asked me how my writing was going.  She relayed to me a conversation she had with another neighbor of ours.  Apparently they were talking and he wondered aloud about what I was writing.  Then, she told me, he blurted out, almost giggling, "For all we know she could be writing an erotica novel!"  I was agape as she mimicked him: older, dorky, and unassuming.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

We Made Our Own Computer Out of Macaroni Pieces And It Did Our Thinking While We Lived Our Lives

I was all set on skipping my three pages today.  I begin every bi-weekly writing session with a three page journal entry and today I reasoned with myself.  It takes the steam out.  I conjectured -- It prevents the actual work.  Then some auspicious input came along, and it turned into something I wanted to post here.  That of course changed the way I approached the writing slightly.  I think of the physics law, in which the act of observation changes the behavior of atoms, often.
I'm thinking of posting these three (or more) pages every time I write them.  The upside of doing so is posting more often and sharing more of myself in writing.  The downside would be less time working on stories of a non-blog, non-journal nature.  I'm undecided.  (This warm up to the meat of the entry comes after a bit more noodling.  If you want to skip the noodling click here.)

I'm working from home today.  As expected the start time was shoddy -- I've only just begun after a half hour of snacking, emailing, and various piddling google searches.  The urge to go smoke a cigarette is (perhaps) even stronger.  However -- maybe the detour I took to get to work was secretly wise.  I am beginning to feel more juicy.  And - well - here I am! writing these pages even when I thought I wasn't going to.  Again though, I'm distracted.  What can be done about this terrible overhead light?  (Pause for serious inquiry, turn off light, move desk lamp, light "guava-coconut" scented votive.)  There now.  Not only is that an improvement for this environment, it's an improvement over the previous environments I've recently chosen to write from.
The reasons I'm writing these pages number at least two:
1. I felt I aught to, deep down
2. My horoscope confirmed me

I am listening to ambient music tones called "Soma" by Tom Kenyon.  I got as much of his music as I could find after a vision board workshop while I was pregnant.
Juicy yes, but unfocused too.  Mental whirlpool.  It's quite possible that that's OK.  I had planned to write more in the [unnamed, unpublished document] tonight.  Then mood struck this afternoon.  I was thinking about the malleability of my external personality i.e. the things I focus on and how they shift and why.