Friday, June 26, 2015

Quotes from Henry Miller- Wherever You are..I Read Every Word With My Heart.

It is no secret to anyone that knows me that I have this ridiculous yet funny belief that even after only  discovering Anais Nin six months ago, I feel a kindred, old-connection with her words and life. I'm like a four year old that sees herself in Snow White, or Elsa. It's not pure delusion, nor am I schizophrenic, but there are some fun and fantastical synchronicity of our lives. We have a few huge differences but those I'll save for a later time.

All magical writers, all intuitive artists speak or write or paint or photograph a piece that blends into the strange grey area between the place she begins and you end, or vice versa. A boundary issue always presents itself with a great moving display of artistry or humanity in whatever form. I used to think I was over-identifying. That's what people told me. I got laughed at. "Silly, identify too much, you feel too much you're too sensitive and easily shifted by things like that."

Or...I'm not numb. Maybe I'm not over-identifying because I have some psychological delusion or need to close off my heart bit. What would that world look like? If everyone were emotionally removed, and disciplined about their feelings? If all of us stood in the same cloak of cynicism, and fear of being at a movie or reading a book or going somewhere that might offend the "prude and stale sensibilities?"

Henry Miller is quickly becoming a favored author of mine. His first book was published at age 41. (late bloomers rock.) He also had zero tolerance for bullshit. People who were bullshit, words that were bullshit, and most of all the inane self-righteous of the world that tried to extend or prescribe judgment when they were so very small or broken inside themselves. He called their bullshit out. God, I love him. I do. I can't help it because I continually find myself with a cringe and giggle and then feel acceptance and recognition spread across my face.

" Listen. Who writes the great books? It isn’t we who sign our names. What is an artist? He’s a man who has antennae, who knows how to hook up to the currents which are in the atmosphere, in the cosmos; he merely has the facility for hooking on, as it were. Who is original? Everything that we are doing, everything that we think, exists already, and we are only intermediaries, that’s all, who make use of what is in the air. Why do ideas, why do great scientific discoveries often occur in different parts of the world at the same time? The same is true of the elements that go to make up a poem or a great novel or any work of art. They are already in the air, they have not been given voice, that’s all." -Henry Miller (Paris Review,no28) 

“Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything godlike about God, it is that. He dared to imagine everything,"  Henry MillerLexus
 We create our fate every day . . . most of the ills we suffer from are directly traceable to our own behavior.” Henry Miller
“When you surrender, the problem ceases to exist. Try to solve it,or conquer it, and you only set up more resistance. I am very certain now that, as I said therein, if I truly become what I wish to be, the burden will fall away. The most difficult thing to admit, and to realize with one’s whole being, is that you alone control nothing.”
Henry Miller, A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953

 And so I read on. His words and my open heart create the most insane and intense prose. I love when a man sees the world in the bright light of feeling it. He inspires the presence of being and recording our lives without concern to the plot, end result or outcome. Just live.


"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."

"Pageant Material" -Kacey Musgraves' anthemic manifesto about love and acceptance: "Somebody to Love."

It's no secret I have a huge girl crush on Kacey Musgraves. Her voice is soft and pure. This allows for her snarky and cruelly honest words to float instead of force the point points. 

On her latest album " Pageant Material" she does it again by being herself and offering a thematic pride chant of self-awareness and understanding of how human we all are. "Biscuits" blew me away when I saw her in concert in Milwaukee, WI.  "Mind your own business and life will be gravy." When the album released I bought it and immediately played it on repeat. 

"Somebody to love" for face value would appear to be  a sad crooning song, but once it started the words inspire love instead of longing for it. She has this way of calling a spade and doing so without judgment or need to be "right." The song disarms you and poetically lays out the real, deeper issue we all have in our life-long quests to balance the gloating and glooming sides of our self-rhetoric. 

Hopefully young women listen to this song and realize earlier than I have that contrary to mass media, the true love to be found is in herself. Her lyrics speak of the juxtapositions and the soul truths of accepting life and love and all the messy strings that break and dangle in between. Speaking of strings, that's how it starts, melodic and clean, then comes her sweet voice and the whining guitar. 

The lyrics are below. Read them. It's like an anthemic manifesto for accepting.  Hear the words with your heart and in their simple yet ringing truth accept yourself and everyone else a little more today. We are all both sides of coin, yin and yang, light and dark until we see it all as part of being balanced already. Love is accepting and knowing and still choosing to love YOU. 

"Somebody to Love" - Kacey Musgraves
"We're all hoping, we're all hopeless
We're all thorns and we're all roses
We're all looking down our noses at ourselves
We're all flawed and we're all perfect
We're all lost and we're all hurting
And just searching for somebody to love

We're all liars, we're all legends
We're all tens, I'd want elevens
We're all trying to get to heaven, but not today
We're all happy, we're all hatin'
We're all patiently impatient
And just waiting for somebody to love

We're all good, but we ain't angels
We all sin, but we ain't devils
We're all pots and we're all kettles
But we can't see it in ourselves
We're all livin' 'til we're dying
We ain't cool, but man, we're trying
Just thinking we'll be fixed by someone else

We all wrangle with religion
We all talk, but we don't listen
We're all starving for attention then we'll run
We're all paper, we're all scissors
We're all fightin' with our mirrors
Scared we'll never find somebody to love

We're all good, but we ain't angels
We all sin, but we ain't devils
We're all pots and we're all kettles
But we can't see it in ourselves
We're all livin' 'til we're dying
We ain't cool, but man, we're trying
Thinking we'll be fixed by someone else

Just tryin' to hold it all together
We all wish our best was better
Just hopin' that forever's really real
We'll miss a dime to grab a nickel
Overcomplicate the sample
We're all little kids just looking for love
Yeah, don't we all just want somebody to love?

"We're all little kids just looking for love." is subtle and so smartly accurate about each and every single one of us. This girl is talent, and music, and gypsy and wise far beyond her years. 

Keep 'em Coming, Kacey. 


"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A Question You Must Ask Yourself Today.

Four words to send you out into the weekend: "What If I can?" 

After an energized brainstorming session with a possible professional partner, I had a small epiphany. Even the smartest, most intuitive and sage people I've known are human and can get clouded in that ugly space between your biggest dreams and all the reasons you don't believe their possible.

Imagine you are standing outside in a beautiful and lush beachfront forest in summer. There is a big enough riverbed flowing in front of your feet. You aren't sure if it's safe, but you aren't convinced it isn't.

You look down to see the water rippling at a speed that gains momentum as you hear whispers of all the doubts and what I call "limiting beliefs." You hear the voice that says: "What if you fall in?" "What happens if you get soaked and everyone sees?" or "You can't do that!"

Some of us are so good at listening to the whispers of doubt and disbelief that we subconsciously start listing the reasons the other side or that "destination," "that dream" isn't really necessary.We can convince ourselves that it "wasn't meant to be." or "Now isn't the right time." The rationalizations and excuses start to give us some solace, we think: 'Ya, (chuckle) what was I thinking?" or "This is the MUCH safer and responsible way to go. I'll stay here."

I'm going to say this: "Don't do that. Just Don't." 

I'm not saying back up, get a running start and run! I'm not saying don't consider all the risks vs. rewards. I'm not saying, "Be irresponsible! Don't have a plan!"

I'm asking you this: "What if you can?" 

What if you merely consider not filling your head and heart with all the reasons you might fail? What if you can and you will and you'll be proud when you do? What if you are scared, and it's risky but you trust in yourself and your journey and you take it one step at a time by putting your toes on a stone just out of your comfort zone? Maybe the water is breaking around it, so you don't really even get wet, but you have to go slowly and pay attention with focus and keep rebalancing.

Could it be possible that only when you take that step you do stay balanced, and it validates you? Then, maybe when you shift your weight forward in the full belief that you want to try and so far you are doing pretty well? Perhaps now that you're out there, exposed on the one stone, your perspective changes. The light and shadows change the look of the surface and you see a new solid stepping stone sitting right there where you didn't see it before.

What if you get nearly half way across, and looking back, you notice other people lining up on the other side, and you smile. They are hesitant but curiously dipping their toes too. Maybe that inspires you?  Which is ironic, because you inspired them, so you feel a bit more confident and push forward. you notice how every step or hop presents a new route, a new stone, even new obstacles, but you are IN it, and quitting isn't an option.  In fact, now that you have a little trust in this adventure, going back is no longer an option.

I'll save you the suspense: Life will still continue to throw you obstacles wherever you are. You cleared the riverbed. You get that dream. People are balancing on one foot, arms-outstretched behind you, and they make it too!

That's the moment you should stop, look around at the view and fill yourself with gratitude. From that place, you see the silliness of how you used to always obsess or offer yourself all the reasons something can't work.  You can't believe that the old you would berate yourself for thinking it could work out when you have so much.  If you saw your child, or any child attempting to take a risk of believing in their own abilities to walk, eat, try math.... Would you fill their head with all the reasons they can't?

Just as you stand back up, and move forward feeling blessed you got notice there's a new obstacle. No, you call it a "new challenge." Low and behold, there's a huge rock in your way. Guess what?

You now know to say: "What if I can?" and so you do because life will always offer you chances to evolve, grow, fail and learn or bloom into yourself. The only thing stopping any of us is how we think and what we tell ourselves.

Maybe I'm wrong. That's my problem, not yours, right? So why not try it? See what happens.

Stones, steps and little leaps of faith in yourself might just teach you how to unlearn all the ways you've sabotaged yourself, not even knowing it. I'm still learning, shit, I've failed and made mistakes, and took wrong turns, fell in water, and fire, you name it... I did it.

I'm nobody to you, but you are everything to you.Just toss up the idea that you have everything you need right now to start. Instead of fearing failure, see it as a chance to get what you want or learn better how-to when you try again.

Instead of all the reasons you think you know you can't.... go forward. Trust and live that life, realize that dream, change, begin again, go for the gold, and just think:

What if you can?

"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

I smell like a photograph- A memory of coastal Maine with Maggie.

Happy Summer Solstice! I was going through my "notes" for my writing in an iPhone App I have. I was delighted to see that I had forgotten about a poem I wrote while in Maine last week.

I remember exactly where we were when I said to my "tour-guide"- Maggie: "I wish I could record smell like a photograph, it's my favorite sense." Everything is as I smell it. It's like a super power, until it's not and I can smell to the exact dressing that a friend or family member had eaten.

She said that hot skin was the smell of her mother. I typed the poem on the clear blue tailored day. The windows were down. I was filled with a deep contentedness of freedom. I had not been without responsibility, itinerary, or any children, significant other...since I was nineteen! So below is poem from the coastal drive up.


I wish I could record smell like a photograph. 
The sea salt and sulfur
Heat has a scent, hot skin on your mother, 

or a lover, or your baby boy's back.
Fresh peace lilies overtake molecular air, 

they swim in your senses like a hint
then remind you they were present 
when they linger after you leave.

Lobsters and shelled fish

exude a confidence of pungency. 
No apologies from them or the sea. 
They have passed on and they continue to be.
There's a moldy musk of maturity 

in the wood shingles and the walls. 
They hold decades or a century of all the secrets untold.
A scent of prestige or respect to behold.
Stones and seashells smell too; of life in water in motion.

A rhododendron climbs to the sky in a bush of green,
showing survival from winters passed,
a sensory of sight, but more the scent that lasts. 
Even stores selling fudge or a sea glass gallery
can conjure tones of new crisp carpet and creamy chocolate.
The waft of glass cleaner and clarity shines to my nose
as popcorn poses competition with a fresh batch of waffle cones.

I wish I could take a picture of a smell. 

Hold it for reflection to inhale
To remember the simple smell
of Maine with Maggie 
on a magic day of serendipity and sisterhood. 

"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I'm old, but literallllllly, still hip(ster) material: The Silver Lake Chorus and FatherJohn Misty and Donald Cumming working it out.

It's a rainy hump day. Two things make it precious to me...1. It's my last day in my house without my three adorable and silly kids because they were at the Grandmothers. This translates into "Free" writing. No sitters necessary. 2. It's summer, but soggy out. That removes all the guilt I'd otherwise feel, about sitting in my office for multiple hours at a time.

My musical tastes, like my past boyfriends, have absolutely NOTHING in common, nor can they be traced to a pattern, genre or a cheesiness benchmark. I will sway and hug myself shamelessly to nearly any Fleetwood Mac or America song. "I don't see nothin' wrong.." with rapping nineties jams or R&B ballads.

Yet, melancholic troubadours like Joni Mitchell or Nick Drake to Ray LaMontagne or Ryan Adams make my heart sing. I will also gladly partake in "silly" mainstream songs made and over-produced by teenagers. I can sing such poppy junk with my children now. I adore Pale Blue, a true illbient group,  or TKST and Japanese House for late night writing spells or even meditation at times. Word. I know. I'm not an iconoclast. I guess, I'm just...being honest?

My friend made me do this hipster immi (My new word for Imitation.) ((...It's also..a palindrome.))

****NOTE***** I actually have absolutely NO issue with most humans. We were tired, it was late, and we decided to make fun of how I used to try to be "uber cool." Nothing but love, hipster, or otherwise. 

#MomChickWhosLikeOldAndStuff does like, a fry Immy of a hipster. Ya.
from Lulu Salavegsen on Vimeo.

In the past I would have grimaced along with (now) hipsters and disdainfully listed off more obscure and self-important knowledge of the mutt-mix of genres like "Typewriter Folk House."  Then, I'd have disagreed with myself, and pulled my mustache dismissively just because I could and I was a douche bag.

So here we are. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the music I bought today. The most un-saintly but satirical Father, an edgy chorus group (yes, I said chorus.) and a Virgin from the Virgins.

If you feel the urge to "X" out now...DON'T. (or, like, whatever.)  At least listen to this satirical, but melodically beautiful: "Bored in the USA" I was hooked because one must be rather smart to be so spot-on and clever.  Lyrics like: "They gave me a useless education. Sub prime loans, Craftsman homes, keep my prescriptions filled, but I can't get oooo-fffff, but I can kind of deal....with being bored in the USA." make me laugh and cry a little. So good.

The Silver Lake Chorus
Right. I thought so too, but no! It's not glee or your grandmother's choral songs! Several amazing artists/vocalists are changing the harmonic landscape with a coolness that has a unabashed love for musicality and layered arrangements. (Words words words, I know nothing...)

Try to listen to "Nervous Soul" or "Salted Wound" and NOT get chills or be emotionally moved. If you are unaffected, you have no soul. It's true. Soulless, you are.  I also love the lyrics of "Same Song." - "All your diplomas looking down on my neglected songs." (Preach!)
Buy it here. I did!

Below is a clip of Ben Gibbard (Death Cab for Cutie) doing rehearsals with TSLC on "Nervous Soul."

Then there's this guy who serenaded me all rainy, long day.
Donald Cumming (Virgins, no...the band. Never mind.) I'd say he sounds like Tom Petty, but his voice has its own vibrational quality of a sexy Elvis Costello from New York with a new age soul but smokey trail of earnest emoting circa thirty years ago, but now. (Right onnnnnnn.)

Yup. It feels like true false-intimacy. DonCum croons to my personal wounds in my dim-lit office and I write my probably-never-to-get-published novel. You're welcome. On both points. I jest. I'm not snarky. I do, however love "Working it out" and "Shadow tears."

His Album: Out Calls Only  available for download. Go work it out. I'm going back to my midnight music makers.

Love you. Be cool. Just like I'm not. Who's Van Morrisonnnnnnnn?

"It's all happening."


"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."

Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Good Morning, Bunks!" - A Series: My Love Affair with Kennebunkport, Maine.

I have fallen so deeply in love. I am not even officially divorced. My life is in that numinous sweet spot of healing and new beginnings. Like I quoted in the video that's making waves,  "Honor the space between No longer and Not yet." -Nancy Levin

It was the last thing I wanted when I planned a last minute trip to get to some solitude,  to write, and bunker in somewhere beautiful with the option of the beach.

 "I want a fudge shop, cobblestone, east coast beach town" is what I told my friend

She suggested: "Kennebunkport, Maine." I didn't even look it up but booked it all. I trust her. Always have. 

The whimsical, voyage up the coast from Boston to Maine was one of those magical surreal days. The entire day was one full throttle sweet (and a bit scary) synchronicity. It left us a bit buggy eyed and laughing. I'm starting to worry that my company, as it's shown back home in Chicago, is a bit of a precarious risk one takes. 

Between brunching ten feet away from the Bush Family to a random wave-in from Hwy-1 to receive a  personal tour of the "Wedding Cake House" by  its eighty-eight year old owner, James H. Barter. That would be plenty, but peppered in were some jaw-dropping psychic readings, bizarre manifestations that plopped in front of us like a cartoon movie. 

We'd say: "I need a...(blank)" and a quaint and perfectly-placed vendor of such would appear. As would whatever exact trinket, perfume, flour-less chocolate chip peanut butter cookie we needed inside. There were small revelations at "Nubble Lighthouse" and large existential talks over sushi. More on all that later. 

Today I woke to the dream state that I was alone. The air smelled of salt and faint cotton candy and birds were nearly wing-elbowing each other to sing my morning to break. A dream it was not. I indeed am in one of the most organically rustic, yet commercialized places, just enough for my sometimes snobby comforts. 

An early riser I was up at five am. I meditated in my gorgeous room at The Grand Hotel. My third floor room was adorable yet chic and I felt like even the shower water sparkled. I'm telling you  coastal Maine is magical.

I meandered in that quiet dawn hour. Only joggers and managers spraying down their store-fronts like a European vintage silent movie witnessed my affair stretch her legs out. I squatted at small signs, and put a hand to my chest at the site of the full bloomed rhododendrons that rose as if to salute the history and the present of harmonious nature and community. 

Not even a two minute walk from the hotel, I happened upon a small bakery/coffee house called: "Mornings in Paris". The Anais Nin and wistful Montparnasse-poet born in the wrong era said to herself: "Mais, bien sur!" 

 I promptly walked in (after taking pictures.) The woman with a thick french accent had so much perky radiance and genuine jovial spirit, I was sad I couldn't order a cup of her.  I asked for anything "chocolaty" to which she suggested "Salt and Silk."- A dark mocha with sea salt caramel. 

"Err.....C'était le coup de foudre." 

Since I am a romantic, and some strange energetic pixie dust is swooping around me like the antithesis to the Peanuts character "Pig-Pen",  I shall venture back out to see where the day decides to take me. Kennebunkport is like a summer spell I don't want to snap out of. 

More to come soon as I must get into the sun-soaked fresh air and experience the beach, shops and gregarious energy buzzing in harmony with nature's beauty that this town seems to vibrate on. 

Stay tuned. I love Kennebunkport, Maine. I'm daydreaming of walking into a real estate agent office...
"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."

Thursday, June 11, 2015

My Reckoning of Recognition and Praise. Me, Madness, Fire and Bukowski.

I have been in this whirlwind of praise, and progress, and fighting my inner-dialogue that is often focusing on those cast stones. I could get lost playing out the cringes, laughs and feigned gag gestures. Instead, I'm going to get lost in the absolute wonder of the unexpected. I knew I'd survive. I knew I'd put those I love first, and that my children would be informed, respected and showered with support love and presence in this transition. 

At best, I thought I’d get back on my feet. I'll make some new friends and put one foot in front of the other. It's what I do. What I was never ready for, and still can't quite comprehend, let alone that anyone, even one person (Not a friend trying to encourage me!) would be touched or inspired. If I were contrived, or creating pretty words, and stories I can deal with that. I can accept the praise for that and feel secure in knowing I made something by creating it. 

This is entirely different. To soul-bare, to throw all of it at the screen or paper or ether because I'm fearless now is an act of self-sustaining. It's almost a rebellion against all notions of "what should be" vs "what I am." To have that, this, my true feelings resonate and compel people to send beautiful letters, and stories and love, that I am, and maybe I never will be, ready for. I didn't make this. I just am. 

I didn't act in bravery. In fact, I was selfish,lost, bargaining with grief, self-esteem and loss, but I myself, to everyone, but then I stopped. I also stood in it, maybe I even took more than I should have, but at this level of effacement, what are degrees of shame or blame? I am. These words, are not my best work, they are not even "work. " They fall out like my hair in such stress. 

They just are. And I am reeling in the beauty and fear of knowing that all criticisms and judgments usually come from the owner and I, the catalyst, brought it out to surface. So to be fair, Shouldn’t this be my belief with praise? I'm more touched to see so many people find permission and acceptance to let their own strength, truth and self-love bubble up. It is not mine that touches them; it is their own souls feeling heard in my story. It's overwhelming, and I am beyond gratitude, I am compelled to find a better more revered word to encapsulate how blessed I feel. 

I'm still nobody to most. I'm not changing the world, I just made a movie  and posted some blogs. Trust me, I know how fleeting all things are, so I pause to push myself to just be in it. It will most likely be gone tomorrow. But today I am inspired. Charles Bukowski was raw, off-putting, lowbrow and in your face. I used to loathe his work. Now, I see his genius is in owning himself. Owning all of it. I hope to stay that honest. To not get beat down by the discomfort of others and to never stop trying. Truth makes me want to be better, kinder, and more flexible. If I never hear another positive word of encouragement, this past week has filled me up. It's pure and it is petrifying, but I'm going to return it's power back out to universe, or die trying. 

Oh, and lastly take this grammar gods. Some times, not often, but sometimes content outshines the rules. 


"An Almost Made Up Poem."
by Charles Bukowski

I see you drink­ing at a foun­tain with tiny
blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny
they are small, and the foun­tain is in France
where you wrote me that last let­ter and
I an­swered and nev­er heard from you again.
you used to write in­sane po­ems about
AN­GELS AND GOD, all in up­per case, and you
knew fa­mous artists and most of them
were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’ all right,
go ahead, en­ter their lives, I’ not jealous
be­cause we’ nev­er met. we got close once in
New Or­leans, one half block, but nev­er met, nev­er
touched. so you went with the famous and wrote
about the fa­mous, and, of course, what you found out
is that the fa­mous are wor­ried about
their fame –– not the beau­ti­ful young girl in bed
with them, who gives them that, and then awak­ens
in the morn­ing to write up­per case po­ems about
AN­GELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, they’ told
us, but lis­ten­ing to you I wasn’ sure. maybe
it was the up­per case. you were one of the
best fe­male po­ets and I told the pub­lish­ers,
ed­i­tors, “ her, print her, she’ mad but she’
mag­ic. there’ no lie in her fire.” I loved you
like a man loves a wom­an he nev­er touch­es, on­ly
writes to, keeps lit­tle pho­to­graphs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cig­a­rette and lis­tened to you piss in the bath­room,
but that didn’ hap­pen. your let­ters got sad­der.
your lovers be­trayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers be­tray. it didn’ help. you said
you had a cry­ing bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a riv­er and you sat on the cry­ing
bench ev­ery night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and for­got­ten you. I wrote back but nev­er
heard again. a friend wrote me of your sui­cide
3 or 4 months af­ter it hap­pened. if I had met you
I would prob­a­bly have been un­fair to you or you
to me. it was best like this.

"Shimmer with a smile. Life is hard, bloom anyway."