Archive for the ‘Self-Realization’ Category


Day two. Write me one sentence to tell me who you really are.

February 4, 2018

Am I so very simple
to be encapsulated thus,
To be summed up in one sentence
Without any kind of fuss
And what should be the topic
The tone, the bent, the play
The most accurate direction
To most convincingly portray
The me who is the most me
Beyond the flesh and bone
To the soul that’s carried round
In the skin it calls a home
A symphony of stardust
Atom based anatomy
From the furthest inside out
Vibrating at a frequency
That is congruent with the warp
And weft of poetry
As at home on the land as a dreamer in the sea
But something more than parts of some
Star parts that might have drifted
There is a well of consciousness
In this body I’ve been gifted
That likes to think of things astounding
Things that could amuse
That makes decisions based upon the hope
I don’t need to put on shoes
And brain is sometimes silly
Filled with wit and calculation
Knowing that a sentence end
Requires punctuation
And so if I continue thus
Then I should win the day
Using rhyming couplets
To be clever, never say
The thing I know you’re waiting for
Though I deflect with rhyme
Now and then, I’m this or that
But a writer all the time.


Day one. A letter to myself three years ago.

February 2, 2018
The TL;DR version? Chill the fuck out girl, it’s gonna get so good, even if it’s not for the reasons you think.
We were purposeless, devoid of trust and with a pretty tenuous hold on sanity. We had lost something that will never come back. That’s going to get easier to handle, as long as you have no illusions about that.
Life isn’t one of those tourist places where someone reminds you to take all your belongings with your upon exiting the ride. You don’t have to keep everything you came with, or even the things you picked up along the way (that includes relationships) but that doesn’t make it any more or less a ride.
I see now how you’d forgotten how to enjoy yourself a bit. I don’t blame you. 40 was looming and you’d still not done the thing. I’m sure by your reckoning I’ve still not done the thing, but honey, chill the fuck out. You’re still so locked into the very prevalent reality of when I have… then I will… Even when you think it’s not so? It’s so.
I’m not going to say anything to deter you from going to school though it will result in some trauma and you will not end up as a mechanic making large cash and surfing every year. It will result in a sense of accomplishment that comes from finishing something. I doesn’t sound huge, but it is. That eye on the prize mantra you’re going to inhale and exhale all day long to get through the bullshit is totally appropriate, but don’t get hung up on what you think the prize is.
And you know it already, but once you leave Powell River, you won’t be going back any time soon. A sanctuary at the end of the road is just a fancy way of describing a place to hide.
You’ve not learned to push yourself yet, and sometimes what feels like going backward is a actually forward movement. Ymir is the most home you’ve ever known and the girl going back there is not the one who left. You’ve proved you’re not an alcoholic and you’ll continue to discover how little your creativity is dependent on outside influences. It’s here. It’s always been. It doesn’t matter the geography, the view, the chair (though we need a better chair), the prompt, too much time, too little. Staying frustrated because of a perceived lack of ability is pointless.
I’m going to publish a book soon. I applied for a grant, which might seem arrogant since I’ve not written the book yet, but sometimes a kick in the pants and accountability is what’s needed. I know you’ll consider a published book to be the thing, the arrival point, but it’s just part of the ride.
I know how unpalatable it is for you to say it out loud, but I’m a writer. I take full responsibility for everything that goes with admitting that. You’re not ready to. That’s okay. I am.

So, this is me. But only somewhat.

May 9, 2017

An experiment in autobiography, rehashed and relayed. I don’t often post things that were written at an earlier date, I just don’t feel the same way as when I wrote it. And this isn’t necessarily something that needs saying, but I’ve been having a hard time with the words lately.

I was born a diamond, rough and ripped from a womb serrated by cancer, a miracle, a fighter, youngest fire in the zodiac, star gazer springtime april showered with affection. There are no pictures, but it did happen.

Precocious and thoughtful, buried in books, dreaming of being an ordinary girl who found her way into extraordinary adventures, knowing it wasn’t possible because ordinary girls don’t have eyes that shine like mine.

Surrounded by nature, it rarely occurred to me to wear shoes, to barricade myself from the way it felt to feel. I can call forth at any moment the sound, the scrape, the sensation of bark under barefeet, limbs tangled as I climbed, me and tree pushing up into blue sky. I remember well the slow curling papery peel of arbutus layers, dark red trunk and shiny green leaves hiding the pale flesh of a tree that taught me what merit there is in flexibility. I found freedom between carpet covered wood suspended by thick rope of a swing fashioned by my father’s knowledge of how much I loved to fly and our neighbours’ knowledge of how to build stuff well.

I’m still barefoot whenever I can be. I’m still a young fire, with flash in the pan rage that tempers quickly and dissipates, leaving me with a sense that anyone who holds on to anger is doing it wrong.

I’m learning to be compassionate, but I struggle with empathy. I struggle with the need to know how it feels to be you. The reason for this is because from a lofty position of arrogant wordsmith, I’m pretty sure I can imagine a you that doesn’t require you to be there, maybe even rewrite your faults as flattering foibles.
From the humbler position of self-aware human, I’m convinced there is nothing I can do or say that will come close to fairly representing who you are, and so why don’t I save everyone the trouble and not try?
Ergo, forgo the fallacy of empathy, and just learn to be compassionate enough to respect your choices as your own, your life as your own, your faults as the cracks in an unsteady firmament that will one day shake loose those habits ingrained and long since useless, ideally leaving you stronger, able and free.
I should show myself the same compassion. Some days I do.

I am the music that winds down but not out. The quiet hum that might be an fridge or an bug or a song that is so familiar if your ears could just get a better grip on it, maybe you’d figure out what the next line is…

I am straight shot eyebrow horizon line with a slight curve to the right.
I am slow sipped whiskey fire dark melody lullaby caught like a bottom lip in a smoke stained smile.
I find calm in the slow sweat down the back of the neck tickle breezeless sky sunshine and in the softest breath of wind that encourages the dance of skirt swish on bare flesh.

The sound of water is what makes me move most, what calls me home. Inland lakes and rivers speak a language I well understand, we’re all just trying to go back.
The whales were smart, they turned around eons ago, taking their cue from the stars.

It is difficult to shine the light inward and be honest, living with this mirror refracted, self perspective abstracted point of view. How I see me is not how I am seen, is it accurate to suggest that both are me?
When I look in the mirror I’m surprised. I think I’m more beautiful when I don’t see myself. But I think that I see myself clearly.

Clearly, I am a conundrum, a walking contradiction, dictating a narrative that suits my purpose and constantly striving for a self aware story that turns out to be true. That’s the happiest ending I can imagine.


Stepping stones

September 15, 2016

Since I was little, I wanted to be a writer. I would pretend that I had written the books I was reading, dreaming of a day when my books would be in print. I stumbled onto the style I liked best quite early, when my mum inadvertently bought me an anthology of Roald Dahl’s stories when I was 10. I don’t know if she realized that his adult stories were quite a bit overtly darker than his kids stories. I say overtly, because anyone who has read his kids’ stories understands that there is quite a bit of darkness to them. But there was always a separation. The protagonist was easy to love, to sympathize with. The antagonists were comically and absurdly horrid, easy to revile.
His adult stories sometimes lacked this distinction.

*Spoiler alert!*
The woman who kills her husband with a leg of lamb and then serves it to his friends on the police force who are investigating his murder. The woman who knowingly leaves her annoying husband in a horrifying situation before going on vacation. The sweet landlady with a penchant for taxidermy. The adventurous uncle who travels the world, with an appetite for money making schemes surpassed only by his prowess with the ladies.

I saw nothing terribly nefarious about these characters. He made them people I could sympathize with. Perhaps that’s just as much to do with how my brain works, as his storytelling capability. At any rate, I wanted to write stories with lovely twists and turns that resulted in “ooooooh, that’s dark!” or better yet, “Oh my god! I did not see that coming!!!! How very clever!” Neil Gaiman has this same ability, he goes places so familiar and strange it’s like coming home to a place I hadn’t been yet, but always hoped someone might take me to, if that makes any sense. I could do a whole post about him, but this is about beginnings. And Roald Dahl was where I started.

I love his children’s stories. Danny the champion of the world might be my favourite, (young child living simply in a caravan with a mechanic dad??? Foreshadowing of my actual existence, anyone?) though the BFG is definitely up there. I wanted to be Sophie, I wanted to see the dream country. I’ve long desired to have a whole pantry filled with colourful jars that contain every flavour of thing, including dreams, ideally golden phizzwizards.  All of his kids books will forever have a place in my heart.

But the dark twisty delight of his short stories? He took me to places I didn’t think the human psyche could go and still be relatively content they are on the side of the ‘good’. He gave me permission to giggle at the darkness contained in the human mind. That there could be a happy ending of sorts for the ‘bad guy’ who I felt enough of a connection to cheer on. That’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to write stories like that.

I had a box, a red box made of cardboard with little drawers and a lid that lifted up. It contained blank lined paper and pens. The three drawers had three categories of stories. Ones I hadn’t written but copied down because they were short and filled with ideas I wanted to be reminded of, ones I had written that I didn’t think were very good, and stories I’d written that I liked. That I hoped to develop into much better stories for the anthology I would make someday.

Of these, there were stories about a sculptor husband who drove his wife insane with a horrid troll that she insisted was moving though he pretended it wasn’t, a man who had his wife turned into a statue when she told him she was leaving him for another man, a woman who was attacked when the townspeople thought she had come back from the dead, though she’d just been away visiting her sister. For the most part they were pretty badly written. I was in practice mode.
But then I wrote one that I was really proud of. I was convinced it was the best thing I’d ever done. Honestly? I can’t remember for the life of me what it was about. But I knew it was good. Good enough to publish.

I mailed it to Roald Dahl. This was back before the internet, so I had a devil of a time tracking down his address in Buckinghamshire. But I did, and sent it, filled with joy. That was November of 1990. I told my parents while we were driving downtown, I was excited, figuring it wouldn’t be very long before he wrote back, telling me what a charming and clever girl I must be to come up with such a story. I remember how quiet they got. My mum looked at my dad, who was driving, and he looked back. We were on the highway, just about to cross Tillicum road.

“Oh Trish. Roald Dahl died a couple of days ago.”

I don’t remember if I cried. I was 14 and angry about everything, stoic as hell (though according to my dad, I was even stoic as a little kid. He said it used to freak him out how I wouldn’t cry sometimes) and I can well imagine my instinct to withdraw even further into my teen angst bullshit and never let anyone see me hurt.

1990 was a tough year, we’d already lost Jim Henson back in May, my world of creative inspiration gods was getting smaller. Plus I was 14 and everything sucked.

The worst part? I stopped writing stories. I kept writing, I wrote incessantly! Diary entries filled with musings over how futile and lame everything was, how bleak the future and how apathy or rage were the only options. Pretty typically terrible stuff. After I left home, I had my backpack stolen at one point. The loss of clothes was whatever, but all of my diaries from age 12-present day were in there, except for the one I was writing in at the time. I was kind of relieved. I still am. I don’t have the nostalgia for the things I wrote back then, it was fucking terrible. Trust me, I remember.

But it was a damn long time before I came back to anything resembling fiction. Some tiny fragment of my brain wondered at the timing of my grand story and his death. Had he read it? Would it be rude to write to his wife and ask for it back? Did I kill him? (Yes, I know how insane that sounds, have you met people? We’re kinda crazy sometimes)
I also stopped reading fiction regularly for a while. I was pretty busy, what with living on the streets, being a wandering mendicant, journaling epic poetry, gaining perspective and learning who I was without the constraints of societal expectations. I was lucky. For the most part, it was a good experience for me. Sure there were harsh and shite moments, some lessons harder and more painful than others, but I survived mostly intact and have no regrets.

Except one. That I let fear of writing feel louder than the stories that wanted to be told.

I stopped delving into the dark of my own imagination and decided I needed to know how it looked for real, in order to be able to honestly write about it. A lot of Dahl’s experiences in the war changed him. I didn’t want to go to war, but I got caught up in this need to suffer to understand how to be a better artist. It wasn’t necessary and I’m very fortunate it never went altogether sideways on me.
It feels right that I’d come back around to paying homage to my first favourite short story writer on the anniversary of his 100th birthday by submitting a story for publication. Which, coincidentally, has references to Charlie and the Chocolate factory in it. I had no idea it was his birthday when I was writing the story, I only discovered that fact after I’d finished it.

The first story of many I hope to write, to share, and hopefully someday? To make someone feel the way he made me feel.

As though there is magic everywhere, because there is.

Thanks Roald Dahl. For all of it.


September 12

September 12, 2016

There was frost this morning. The sun shines, but I feel like it’s scared too. To reassure everyone, I decided to make oatmeal for breakfast, but it’s been so long that I did it wrong and I don’t know if the autumnal gods will be appeased by my attempt. One can only hope because I feel like the gods of autumn aren’t as cheerful as the gods of spring. But I might be wrong in that. I know that there is a part of me that delights in the fall. In the way everything changes so damn quickly. The hedonist in me digs it, from an instant gratification perspective.
I dreamed last night that it snowed. I was somewhere between here and there, speculating with someone as to the difficulty of continuing my journey. I commiserated with them, agreeing, “yes, you’re almost certainly right, I likely am trapped for the time being. It would do me well to make the best of it.” But in my head was already scheming as to when things would open up and I’d begin to move forward again.

On some level, that’s part of me, panicking that I’m buying wood instead of travel insurance and heading down the coast to California!!! But she’ll always do that. We all have aspects that come into their strengths at different times, in different places. I just happen to have one that shows up whenever I make a moderately major decision to tell me I’m wrong. Queen wrong of the bastard fucking wrong people.
But the reality is, her reaction does not suggest I’ve made the wrong decision. Only that I’ve made one. If I was writing this using the wifi of a krispy kreme somewhere south of Redmond (I hear there is one in Issaquah….), I’m sure she’d be hooting and hollering about the importance of putting down roots and not being afraid to stay in one place long enough to grow some food or spend the winter being creative and still, while paying down some of the debt we’ve incurred over the last while. Because road trips aren’t really conducive to that.

It does feel a bit like sanity, what’s going on right now. For some reason, I’m not sure what changed, I woke up feeling really optimistic this morning. Sure there is frost on the ground, but that just means that the world is still turning. If one is going to stay still for a time, while spinning through space at an insanely quick pace, I feel fortunate that I’ve found a really good place to do that.
So I’ll do that.


September 10

September 10, 2016

Switching perspective from ‘the fear is what stops me’ to ‘the fear is what drives me’ seems difficult at first glance. But it’s just a matter of wording.

‘I’m afraid I can’t so I won’t try’, becomes ‘I’m afraid I won’t be able to, so I’d better’.

I’ve never really been driven, content to go along for the ride, see where I ended up. Most of the time, I’ve been really fortunate. But a passive role in my own existence doesn’t satisfy the way it used to. I don’t know that it matters when it happens, but today seems reasonable.


September 6

September 6, 2016

Delighted suddenly, with the surprise that I’m not worried about what’s coming up for me. I’ve been telling myself I should be concerned, that the trajectory of my life is heading in an unanticipated direction but I feel like I’ve got no reason to be scared. When did being afraid change from a thrill, a shriek, a giggle infused reminder of the way blood feels when it pounds, to a status quo and a way to stop myself from living fully. Like most traditions, I don’t know when this one started but I’m feeling like it’s time to let go.

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