Omen #WEPFF

Dead birds
Circled the base of the oak tree
Like some morbid decorated rug

Frozen
Bodies, eyes as black as onyx
Like mini-devils in disguise

Dirtied
Snow lined the opalescent horizon
Like some smeared prismatic lense

Winter
My heart’s an icicle waiting to break
Like the diamond under a hammer

Like a message from some deep dungeon

I know what awaits me
-a box in shape of the reaper

*Author’s Note: This poem was written for the #WEPFF’s April Challenge (Click on image below).

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Mental Illness & Writing (My Story Part One)

“Being different and thinking differently make a person unforgettable.” –Suzy Kassem

My mental illness is definitely not something I generally like to talk about; however, it’s probably one of the main reasons why I write.

I saw this quote on the internet the other day, and it got me thinking about things.  Lots of things.

“No matter what we make, creativity always changes the creator.” -anonymous

Anyone who creates, whether you’re a photographer, musician, or writer (the list can go on and on), not only do you have the ability to change your own life through the act of creating, but other people’s lives as well.

How do creatives have such powerful impact?  One of the best answers I found was in this explanation:

“Art does not show people what to do, yet engaging with a good work of art can connect you to your senses, body, and mind. It can make the world felt. And this felt feeling may spur thinking, engagement, and even action.” -Olafur Eliasson, Why Art Has the Power To Change the World

To create is to connect. And in this day and age, we as the whole seemed to have lost the ability to truly connect with ourselves, to people, and to the world that surrounds us.

Is it a wonder to why we feel so lonely? So disconnected?

Yes, we have this thing called technology in abundance but it can NOT fully step into the role of the connector. While there is that feeling of being connected to someone on the other side of the digital barrier, it still feels artificial. Not real or alive.

On the other hand, creative arts have the ability to do just that.

Through music, paintings, sculptures, photographs, poetry, and on and on.  So, while art has the power to bring people together, it also has the power to heal especially for the creator (aka artist, songwriter, poet, etc…you get the idea).

How does art heal us?

Art and music affect every cell in the body instantly to create a healing physiology that changes the immune system and blood flow to all the organs. Art and Music also immediately change a person’s perceptions of their world. They change attitude, emotional state, and pain perception. They create hope and positivity and they help people cope with difficulties. They transform a person’s outlook and way of being in the world.” –How Art Heals-Mind/Body Physiology

Music has always been in my family especially on my mother’s side which yielded several musicians including an uncle who went on to play with an award-winning Native American-Folk band, December Wind.  As a girl, I can remember many occasions when family members gathered together at my Grandmother’s house for a “jam session” completed with guitars, banjo, fiddle, accordion, harmonica and even a set of spoons.  I was at an age where I was misunderstood (no one knew I was partially deaf until later) and music was something I understood. I’d sit on the floor, and “listened” to the beats and deep bass sounds for hours.

Although I loved music, I never learned to play an instrument (the desire was there though), I ended up singing in the school and church choirs for several years (I’d harmonized through the “beats” and reading music).

Since I couldn’t be a musician, I found myself drawn to words.  Words I also understood so I delved deep in the worlds created by words.  Here I connected with characters who became my friends since I had so few in the real world (byproduct of being “different”).  After accidentally discovering writing (the story behind this discovery can be found here), I’d took my favorite characters (Scooby Doo and Shaggy were among those) and created my own world with them in it.

Writing became a lifeline to the intense loneliness I’d felt.

When I was in college, I took to writing journals as a way of dealing with the stress and pressures that went with being a student living away from home.

In 1992, I stopped writing altogether.  This was the year I was diagnosed with Usher Syndrome (a form of Retinitis Pigmentosa-progressive blindness-which included hearing loss).

Depression really emerged at this point in my life though I was never diagnosed.  And when I married my first husband, Aaron, anger replaced everything else I was feeling and he bore, unfortunately, the brunt of it.  The depression and anger steadily grew worse over time, and then the worst happened.

He was killed in a car accident.

Grief and regrets overwhelmed me, and I nearly did the unthinkable.  I backed out just before it was too late as I realized that this would be the ultimate regret that I could never return from.  Worse of all, it would hurt my family as well as Aaron’s.

I just couldn’t do it.

Instead, I poured all my attention and strength into finishing college (which I did over a year after Aaron’s death). By this time, I’d moved out in my own apartment, but also had regressed from all social activities becoming a hermit with very little contact to the outside world.

Then Jay came into my life (actually he returned to my life, but that is another story of its own).  He changed everything by not only marrying me, but by reintroducing writing back into my life through a gift of a leather-bound journal.

In this journal, I spew all my anger and pain like vomit.  When the pages were all full, I closed the book and packed it away (even to this day I have not gone back to read it).

Now being emptied, the healing can begin.

(This is just part one of my story.  I plan to continue in the near future)

Kari

This poem is about a girl I once knew.  We were the same age when she disappeared.

 

It was a warm summer evening
The moon, bright and full
Who knew that it would be your last?

Shadows moved among the houses
Benign, all but one
Who knew the night would be so deadly?

Vanishing without a trace
No witnesses but the trees
Where could you have gone?

Rumors and hope
Your family held on so tight
Searching, always searching

Like the serpent, he crept amongst us
Writhing, hiding
How does a heart gets so cold?

Seven years, he held back
The truth buried oh so deep
How do you pick up the pieces that once was your heart?

Time may have passed, but you’re
Still close to our hearts
Rest in peace, my friend

 

Read more about her story here.

Jay #Poetry #ADK

There is a town nestled
In the valley, hugged by
Those majestic peaks of old

Where the water’s still clear,
And fierce against sun-baked bedrocks
Rolling, rolling under the creaky covered bridge

Here lies my heart
Where the ancient spruce forest
Whispers my name, whispers my name still

Where the warm breeze carries the songs
Of the bygone, filled with sighs of
Past hopes and dreams

There I can still hear the laughter
Of the innocence, the sweet music
Of simpler times forever gone

Here lies my heart
Where the ancient spruce forest
Whispers my name, whispers my name still

There is a place where I yearn
To return, to rest my weary soul
From the chaos and noise

Where I can finally release my
Troubles, pain to rejoin
The melody of the peaks, and fly free

Here lies my heart
Where the ancient spruce forest
Whispers my name, whispers my name still

I Feel

My eyes lift to the sky
And watched as the nightly orbs
Melted into nothingness

Just like balloons
Dreams drift up, up
‘Till I can no longer hold on

I feel
The ground sucking me in
With nowhere to go
But down, down to the
Endless abyss

It still feels like
Yesterday when I sat next to you
Watching, waiting

For the blipping sound to go quiet
And with the silence
Came the depthless void

I feel
Your arms around me lessening
The warmth of your hands growing cold
I’m alone oh I’m alone

Though these eyes may not see
I know you’re there, shining down on me
For as the rain washes away my tears,
The clouds will fade, fade away

I feel
Your touches in the breeze
caressing , comforting
No, I’m not alone, never alone

Dark

I woke up in a sheet of sweat
And saw that you were gone
Even now, I forget
Our shattered bond

Dark is the water
I’m drowning
My heart torn by mortar

Pieces of me raining down
Down, down
To the black abyss

Dark, oh so dark

When I stare at the mirror
All I see is the face of a stranger
And can’t help but feel an error
That it was your life’s in danger

Dark is the night
Where stars hide their light

I’m falling, falling
I can’t stop this bawling

The image of you overflows
In my mind, I can’t get you
Out of my mind

My heart is
Dark, oh so dark

Without you

Dark, dark
Ooo, oh, oh, so dark

Caged #IWSG

“Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage.”
― Richard Lovelace

For those of us who are attempting or have attempted to write our story (I’m referring to the story of our lives whether it’s a memoir or through short stories or poems), something always seem to stop us from finishing it (or in my case, starting).  It’s like there this solid wall blocking my way, more specifically my pen, from getting the words out of my head.

The words are there and so are the images, but I feel like my head (or something else altogether) is like a cage keeping them within invisible bars.

It is so utterly frustrating.

I keep asking myself – what’s holding me back?

Fear.

Fear of what? 

Of hurting someone who I love? Or, hurting myself?

Maybe both.

Fear of the truth. Of finally allowing myself to be freed of all the pain I kept locked in

A writer who’s caged by past regrets and unwilling to let them go because she believes she deserves all the pain she feels.

How messed up is that?

My heart knows I must write my story, but convincing whatever part of me that’s holding the words back has been a battle I’ve fought for years.

A battle I fear I will ultimately lose.

What about you? Are you struggling to free your words?

April

 

As I sit here at my desk, looking out of the nearby window, all I see are trees and snow.  No, hold on a minute…I spy a Chickadee  on the huge pile of bird seeds that my guys dumped over a month ago.  Oh wait, here comes another one.  This time it’s a large Blue Jay.

Seeing them means that Spring is finally coming (even though the calendar says it’s already officially spring).  Living this far north, the weather’s bound to do anything it pleases.  Who knows, maybe next week we’ll have a huge snow storm. Or then again maybe a thunderstorm.  Mother nature tends to be somewhat unpredictable this time of year; but, being that it is spring, there is hope.  The snow will eventually go away, and the earth will green up and sprout wild flowers.

I can’t wait to be able to open a window or two and air out my house.  I miss the smell of the fresh, sweet air.

In the meantime, so that I don’t drive myself too crazy with being cooped up for months on end, I plan to keep myself busy throughout the month of April.

With poetry mainly and a healthy dose of flash stories as well as other tidbits (pretty much whatever the muse decides to throw at me).

I’d originally wanted to do Camp NaNoWriMo to work on two current WIPs, but my soul has been urging me to write poems.

That it needs poetry.

Why?

For the pain.

No, not physical pain, but for the emotional anguish that seems to be building within; and poetry has always been the only way to relieve this.

I am going to attempt to do not one, but two separate challenges:

National Poetry Writing Month
and
A to Z Blog Challenge

And I will do these between three of my blogs. In order to limit the confusion, I created a landing page so you can follow what I write on a daily basis if you so choose.  Here is the link for that page.

I have no definite theme but what I plan to write will revolve around poetry for most of the time.

Will you be participating in any challenges in April? If so, I’d love to follow your journey!

 

Avi Kaplan: The Evolution (in Videos)

There are only a handful of musicians who move and excite me otherwise they are mostly meh. I hadn’t really been able to truly dig music since the ’80s (with few exceptions).

Until nearly five years ago (2014) when I stumbled across Pentatonix’s Christmas video, The Little Drummer Boy, on You Tube.  Two vocalists in particular stood out to me: Kirstin Maldonado and Avi Kaplan.  I especially loved Avi’s booming bass voice. I was very sad when he announced in early 2017 that he was leaving Pentatonix to pursue his own music as well as to spend more time with his family.

It’s been a joy watching him grow and mature as a musician striving to find his own path.  And boy, with his latest song, I believe he has finally arrived.  But, in order to truly appreciate his latest music, you really need to revisit his past music, and then as you listen to the Change On the Rise, you will truly understand why his fans are so excited and wowed and stunned!

Avi was born and grew up in Visalia, California, a city in the San Joaquin Valley.  Being Jewish, he was subjected to ridicules and bullying as a kid. Having grown up near the Sequoia National Park, nature greatly influenced his music.

In the video below, you will hear the story of how Pentatonix and Avi came together to compete on a television show (Sing Off) that would change their lives forever.

September 2011

The video below was where I first discovered Avi (in 2014).

December 2012

The song below won Pentatonix their first Grammy.

2013

Below was Avi’s final performance with Pentatonix.

September 2017

Avi loved Folk music so naturally the music in his debut album fell in that genre. The song below is my favorite.

First solo album (Sage & Stone) released in June 2017-Avi & the Sequoias

I believe sometime in 2017, he moved to Tennessee to live in a cabin deep in the forest outside of Nashville. Here he would spend his quiet days writing and playing songs. Every once in a while a video surfaced of him. Otherwise, he basically took a sabbatical in order to delve into his own music away from the chaotic world.

September 2018

And then this! This music video premiered on You Tube on the said date below. For those who closely followed Avi and his music, well, this was a real treat.  We’ve listened to the kind of music he sang in the past, and this…this was NOT what we expected.  Far, far from it!  We were speechless and so incredibly moved to tears.  Yes, Avi is finally coming into his own. And I expect him to continue to surprise and shock us with his talent in songwriting and singing.  Oh, did I mention that voice?  Simply put…there is no other like it.

March 22, 2019

Avi’s official website 

His You Tube channel