We encourage you to find more of Teisha’s writing at the blog http://betterthansleepingalone.typepad.com/my_weblog/Comment
It’s the holidays. This year seems particularly “holiday-ee” to me. I mean this in the best way possible which is saying a lot because this is a time of year that has the potential to go oh-so-poorly in a sad and sulky “holiday-ee” way. I see folks wanting to look on the bright side, if for no good reason than a change of pace. Times have been tough but Santa Claus is coming to town. The reason I can tell is that someone brought a particularly nice bottle of wine to a party filled with people he didn’t even know.
As in stupid
Tongue tied. Literal. Shameless. Delicate. Contriving. Jealous. Selfish. Mean. Vindictive. Ruthless. Old. Ugly. Egotistical. Bitter. Caner ridden. Dying. Ungrateful. Pig headed. Unfeeling. Angry. Dillusional. Addict. Vain. Faithless. Disloyal. Repugnant. Evil. Bad. Wrong. Insane. Sinful.
But satan has lived in stronger men. And jesus has lived in me. You cannot tell by my violent tone. When I walk I walk alone. A thousand steps into a crooked sky. A parlor for your house of pain. A desperate call in a pouring rain. You weren’t the one.
A noose. A neck. A shattered clock.
The jokes on you. There’s no way out. There’s no way in.
And let’s begin again. I didn’t come to tell the truth.
First a word of mental chatter. Inconsistant. Aged. Failure. Sad sack. Looser. Nutcase. Hopeful offender. Hopeless offender.
Belly laughs and chocolate cake
Pray the lord her soul to take
Singing to the radio
Songs of things she couldn’t know
And colored walls
And mommy calls
Belly laughs and chocolate dreams
For the love of everything
Singing to the radio
Songs of things she couldn’t know
And colored walls
And mommy calls
Haven’t finished Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth but have picked up The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak in preparation for book club with Jill and Liz and the crew. Zusak writes in short telling sentences. It reads as a concise tool in his writing trade. His phrases illustrate a deliberate choice of words. When reading a book where every few paragraphs is a word you may be familiar with but are not close to, it causes me to wonder – how did he learn all those vocabulary words? And if the desire of writing is to communicate ideas to anyone who wants to embrace them, would using well known words instead of the alternative host of beautiful and clever ones be ideal? Or, is the use of less used words the chance to teach the teeming groves of words in waiting to anyone who is paying any amount of attention. What constitutes “good” writing? The ideas being conveyed coupled with the way they are dressed in letters and symbols which represent ideas and pauses and tone of voice and level of sound of the voice constitute “good” writing as identified by those who know. Good writing may also be described as the honest attempt of a person to express an idea, a sentiment, an experience for its own sake. It may not be intended to be read or understood by anyone else. These two hundred and sixty nine words are good just because they exist on the page. They’ve been taken from a mind, passed through the fingers and landed on the page. The fourteen minutes it has taken to write these words has given the writer a chance to disengage from the voice of lists and should and could and will and haven’t and might and must. In this quiet space of keeping time while forming words that meld into meaning is as valuable to the writer whether or not the punctuation is exact, the spelling is flawless or the phrasing is lovely and well thought out.
Saturday morning, the day after the appointment with Dr. Meyer and the cast and crew of the BMT (bone marrow transplant clinic), Julie London’s voice is singing across the kitchen, the dogs are groomed and curled up asleep, I am on page 97 of a book called “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion. I can hear the furnace blowing warm air into the house and the fireplace is crackling with the firewood Uncle Karl brought to the house. I am polishing off the last of the banana smoothie Mom made for me this morning and working on drinking copious amounts of water.
Yesterday I got good grades on my complete blood counts. My chemistries showed the kidneys are a little bit troubled by all the stuff they are trying to process so they gave me extra fluid while my doctor wrote out notes for the plan for my treatment (and cure, damn it.)
She gave me next week off to continue to recover from the bout of pneumonia that rocked my world and also agreed that I could start the process of receiving chemotherapy on an outpatient basis so I won’t have to check into the OHSU Spa until the final steps of my second transplant, which will happen about six weeks from now, give or take. At that time, I will check into the 14th floor of the Kohler Pavilian for about thirty days. Then it will be home to recoup.
I have come to understand how something can be terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time. My fear and fearlessness live side by side, or so it seems. When the waves of worry threaten to drown my faith I feel the pain of the not knowing and then try to remember that this is the way of the world. Nobody knows.
There is the plan for my immediate future, there are potential risks and potential rewards and then, there is just today. Music in my ears, time to read and relate, a warm bath, a walk around the block and an evening spent watching my one of my god-kids perform in a school play.
Hurray for today is what I want to say.
In an informal vote, it was unanimously agreed that she stood among them as the least likely to marry, much less have kids. But she did. She was the first to have them and they were to grow up under a canopy of lemon and avocado trees. Their classes would be teaming with predominately brown-skinned kids helping them to remain completely unmolested by the interracial dalliance that was, in part, their parent’s relationship. One day her young son would exclaim the question “Wait, I’m black?” Doesn’t that say it all? He was not unhappy about it, just delightfully surprised. His skin color had not betrayed him. His skin was not the enemy. His comfort with himself and how the world looked upon him the likely result of all those movements, protests, Bennington commercials and Fat Albert; He did not feel any pressure to assimilate. No apology in the back of his throat. He walked curly headed and striking to school without a whiff of insecurity. Entitled and richly unaware. It was not 1969 anymore.
As for his sister, she was brave. Brown-eyed and deeply curious about the world of emotions and the influence of sharp interpersonal skills on the lives of her family members. She was born with her eyes wide open. Blinking when confronted with the attention of an adult and shy with strangers. She would, throughout most of her live, be mistaken for just another pretty girl and, in doing so, kept the bulk of her intelligence invisible and close to her chest. She stood up straight, the silky haired girl with the blinding smile. A supreme intellectual at 8 years old, a tomboy at recess, an eavesdropper of her parent’s tug-o-war.Comment
When all was said and done, the very best day of her life fell on a Sunday. This would remain a heavily favored day for her, for as long as she might remember. Sundays would be harder to fall apart then would any given Tuesday or Thursday. Sundays were special, by design and consistently over time. She was cradled in the arms of the last day of the week and would not be dissuaded that it loved any person more than her.
There wasn’t as much natural light because the house faces north. It wasn’t that they missed this observation it was just that, at the time, in the heat of the real estate moment, it had not seemed critical. Now her work was cut out for her. She would undertake one enormous kitchen and bath renovation to try to ease the housing pains. It did not.
Come rain, come shine and without batting an eye, she pours herself a cocktail at 5pm, no later than 7pm. daily. She would never have described herself as an alcoholic, not in five million years. Not even a little. She did love drinking though. Savoring the thought and then the taste of it the way some of us consume our next meal in our minds many times before actually eating anything. It calms her. It celebrates the end of another day. It sooths the faint but chronic sense she feels, that her life is not what she wanted and the slow but reliable tingling of distilled spirits, quiets the deeply resentful voices in her severely unchallenged head that have no patience for explanations, rationalizations or romance.
She did not miss the symphony; she did not miss the land. She felt brilliantly lucky and liked her life slow. Her two girls both with bright eyes and low voices filled in the space where her previous life had been. Effortlessly, they exacted the price for their unconditional love. It is not cheap and in a desperate move to forgive and forget, she starts to take piano lessons. Although it will be a spendy proposition, she is immediately taken with a love her teacher; a woman who’d been through some things. A woman who had survived and managed her stress level with a little machine that sat to the right and on top of the piano.
Her speech is involuntarily hurried and, some would say, condescending. At times she seems to be so wrapped around the flashing problems and solutions in her head that she appears unable to comprehend what it is you are telling her about.
Teisha worked at writing 500 words a day. 2008Comment
Happy New Year!!
I’m looking ahead and I’m looking back to see where it is I am. I want to share with you my experience of changing my life and one of the lessons in life I remembered at just the right time
More that a year ago I left my job as a successful Realtor to become a Musician.
I left my office, my computer, my fax machine, my desk. I left weekly meetings and important phone calls. I left my clients, many of whom I had worked with for many years. I left my identity as a successful professional. I left my title of Platinum Member of the Million Dollar Club and the six figure income that came with it. I left a career that had taken me eight years to create. I had started with no clients, no real knowledge of real estate, no business experience and no real idea how I was going to get by. I had started with no salary, no benefits and no clue. I ended on a high note. I packed up my unused business cards, calendars, paper clips and address book. I told everyone I was just taking a year off and that maybe I’d be back even when I knew all along I would not because it was hard for people to understand such a decision. I was afraid.
I started my career in music from that decision to walk away. Turning to music could only happen after leaving real estate, I’m not sure why but for me, this was the case. I started no real experience in the music industry. No experience writing songs. No experience writing songs. No record contract. No Manager. No booking agent. I didn’t know how to play guitar and I didn’t know what to wear on stage. I wasn’t sure if anyone would listen.
I wasn’t sure and then again I was. And this is what I call faith…
The basis of my faith is this. I accept that there is a natural order of things. All things. That things are as they should be. Things are confusing. Life is complicated. Bad things happen to very nice people. Good things happen to bad people. Bad food happens to everyone. Good food makes you fat…it is not a perfect place but perfection is not the point. There is a rhythm an order and place for everything. I believe this.
So this is faith. I am where I am supposed to be, all the time. I work on my life and on myself and on my goals. I strive to be a better person, to eat less and exercise more. I try to read the newspaper and to have good character. I try to send birthday cards and recycle. I try to walk my dog. I floss. I pray. I clean. I think. I floss some more. I try to make the best of a dismal situation like being on a crowded plane when I’m sick as a dog and smell like one having flown for 24 hours – I do my best. And when my best is done, I relax into it all, and this is faith.
Faith is diving into a swimming pool
Faith is closing your eyes
Faith is a deep breath
Faith is the best kind of laughter
Faith is freedom
Faith feels like a secret sometimes.
Faith is private.
I am in that time of my new career where I have done much of the work. I’ve learned to play guitar. I write songs. I wear what I want on stage and I don’t worry about it. I made a record and I’m making another one now. I sing my songs and do the work and then I relax into it all and this for me, is faith.
Photo Sumner 2003Comment
Amelia. You’ve seen her around, on the bus maybe, just a glimpse, then turning the corner. She’s the one that kept looking at you, at you, even as the man she was with carried her away from the bodega. The middle school temptress you couldn’t quite ask to dance. The second wife, the one you miss, that asked you to dance, and you shook your head… yes. When you think of that moment, there’s music. There must be.
Crushed-velvet tones that linger and soar above malleable, distinct fretwork, whispering the most hummable flourishes of pop towards Latin rhythms and rawhide textures. Bittersweet serenades familiar and transcendent. Everything you’ve ever heard before, everything sweet and scabbed and soulful remembered through a dreamscape of battered bar-room melancholia, sun swept vistas and the next season’s flamenco.
Her exquisite sense of rhythm, plus a joyful presence, at turns thrilling and plaintive, but always gorgeous and dramatic in the best fashion, she is a distantly familiar beauty.
She might wink at you while you kick through leaves in the park, brush by you while you sip drinks under the restaurant parasol. With a little luck you may meet Amelia one day.
Written October 2002Comment