Friday, December 20, 2013

Making the most of it, seeing the story between the jagged edges

We've had our first snow. Early in the morning when I woke and walked the short distance between the vardo steps and the Quonset door the first of the white and frosty snow had topped the iron table and dressed the Huckleberry branches. Spider webs dangled and blew in a gentle breeze, like filigreed  earrings fragile in appearance tougher than they look. The year is coming close to an end, Winter Solstice is close; the promise of more light and longer days. In the meantime the daylight ends around four o'clock. Snow is as foreign to our chickens as it was to me at twenty-five years. This is the chickens' first snow and they found it too foreign for their pronged feet, and took flight from their coop steps thinking their wings would take them to familiar ground. Not today, or at least not yet.

I'm in the middle of writing the third of what I'm called my medicine stories. Hatched from the need to make sense of life and the twists and switch backs that occur -- the ones that show me how attached to one sort of journey, and not the possibilities of lots others, I am finding great joy and the efficient magic of common things. A few choices and my consistent and insistent habit of writing have led me along the way of an artful life:

  • Learn from example. My mother was an artful being. She was fun and she was generous. She was also very good at making do with what she had. Safety Pins. Bake my own birthday cake. "Don't dwell on the past." "people come to visit me, not my things." The first medicine story "The Safety Pin Cafe" is my mythic memoir with my mother's memory at the core of things.
  • Notice the big and small things. I've always been observant, and secretive. For most of my early years I observed silently, being called shy. I continue to be observant, and not so much secretive as selective or discerning. The condition I live with makes it necessary to be alone a lot. In a very real way I suppose, my condition has come from my astrology: I have a Capricorn Moon. To nurture and nourish a Capricorn Moon time alone is essential.
  • Magic and tale telling is good. Before there was Disney, there were stories. Before there was television there was radio. Before radio there was talkstory, the everyday and common magic of stories told Island style, Hawaii kine. I was born to story tellers, and through my father's and mother's examples I listened to many tales. In the years since those story were first told, and the subsequent years of forgetting the details, I have not forgotten how I felt when I heard the story. Maya Angelo said “At the end of the day people won't remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” That's what I hope to leave people with when I write; and especially hope that is true when they read the medicine stories. I hope I leave people feeling the magic.
  • Practice, practice, practice.  When I retired from the corporate whirl and the community classrooms I thought my career could morph from those structured years of working for the man. I held to that belief far too long. Trying to replicate old habits, I simply created old habits. Life, Akua, and the Spirits of Life have taken me (sometimes kicking and screaming) to this new practice. Makua O'o and the blogging practice that has unfurled from the practice of training to be an elder is a funny life. All and everything before counts, and, it makes no never mind. Both and everything, all and nothing matters. Mostly, I just show up and write. Practice. Write. Mend. Practice. Write. Mend ...
This newest medicine story is about a magician and a juggler, brothers. And is tentatively being called "Mend, meddle, magic." These brothers are given a responsibility, with instructions from the characters Pale (the border witch) and the Silver-haired Raven the principle characters from The Safety Pin Cafe. The question is: how practiced are these brothers with instructions? I'll end this pre-solstice ramble by telling you that the two photos above, taken while I was on one of my Artist's Dates, was inspiration enough to put something down for the new story. I have to give many thanks to my on-line writers' group Prime the Pump for the space and the artistic mirrors (my writing friends) who encourage me to keep at it week after week. THANKS, you know who you are!!!

Here's a tiny bit to read from the medicine story in progress "Mend, meddle, magic." See how those two pieces of pencil inspired some magic.

"It might have been a spell or perhaps the gap that happens quickly, like the snap of a pencil broken in two. Jagged where the once whole instrument colored bright yellow allowed a thought to etch itself onto paper, the pencil shorter now. Yet one has a point, an original purpose. The other?
"Have we been that bright yellow pencil, snapped in two?" Alex wondered to himself, wishing there was an answer he might have over looked.

The Magician held the spinning egg only so long as his brother allowed it. It was always that way. Magic worked, really worked, when it was allowed. Once upon a time, a long, long, long time ago the two brothers were one pencil. They worked as one they may as well have been the same. Waiting for the egg to stop moving Alexander Santiago remembered the beginning. Time waited..."
Happy Solstice,

The second part of the journey and medicine story begun with "The Safety Pin Cafe", will be ready for readers on January 1st, 2014. Link here to find out about it, and buy it.

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