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Thursday, January 26, 2012


I can feel it as soon as the sand is beneath my feet. Stepping from behind the cement curtain of "civilization," the sound of the ocean washes over me. Buildings left behind, the gritty stage of Mother Nature emerges and displays her drama.

Choking on every-day life, stifled by responsibility, expectations, society, I give myself into the sand to let her breathe for me -- just as I do some nights, unable to sleep, curling myself around my husband so our lungs move together. I am instantly lulled by the steady waves; the gasps of water that sigh back into the cradle of earth.

It is there that I hear them, the whispers in the briny air. The words of the dead swirl in the water, bubbling up in the foam. They dissipate, slipping away only to reform into silent screams. Millions of years' worth of emotions broil in the depths, fighting each other for a voice but can only fizz into nothing. They are desperate for someone to listen, biting through my flesh to speak. The sea has messages, but no bottles to harness them.

The wind slashes through me, buffing away all regrets. I close my eyes, and hear only what cannot be said. Tiny granules of sand rub my skin raw of guilt, of agony, of sadness. The deepest loneliness opens up into the chasm of earth filled with the tears of ghosts. Their cacophony splashes onto me and bits of my life sluice away down my flesh.

I bury my self-hatred in wet clumps of sand, piling it high over my legs. It is smashed away by the surf, and I am left open. Here is my flesh, broken for you; eat all you of it. God devours me, stripping me to the bone, gnawing off the cartilage to spit back into the cauldron of life. There is no blood left to shed, no more tears to spill.

The sun burns off the fog of depression, leaving me as the raw, white flesh under skin sliced open. Vulnerable, with salt in my wounds, I am kneeling upon the grains as penance for my sins. Forgiveness rushes through the chambered nautilus of my soul, etching its way into the rough edges.

The waves bathe me in death to breathe life, saving me. I raise up cleansed, chest rising and falling in time with the tide. Nature has baptized me, broken me free from the hell of my own prison. The maelstrom has been swept away, placing me on dry land. The whispers in the foam turn to sweet murmurs of prayer.

It is here, breathing at one with the earth, that I am reborn into someone I love.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Picture Tutorial: How to set up a perfect writer's retreat

My husband is out of town for a few days. This afforded the perfect opportunity to create my own little writer's retreat for the weekend -- yes, starting on Thursday night. As a service to you, the reader, I am giving you a tutorial -- complete with photos! -- on how to start your very own writer's retreat. It is imperative that each step is followed exactly as my instructions direct, or else you will write nothing but absolute crap. While it is also possible to follow my instructions exactly and still write nothing but absolute crap, I'm just not going to go there because I am busy writing nothing but absolute crap.

First, you need some wine. No self-imposed writer's retreat is worth a tinker's dam without wine. Go to the liquor store and buy yourself an assortment from which to choose over the next few days:

Here you see some merlot, sauv... BLAH BLAH, it's alcohol, whatev.

Before breaking open one of these bad boys, you need to get your pasta started. Carbs are an essential part of my diet as a writer because I hate to exercise. Carbs force me to get up off my carbolicious ass and onto the treadmill so that I can fit through my door. So, this is the one part of my tutorial that is flexible because you don't have my recipe for Kickass Tempeh Pasta Sauce. But I can tell you that I made some yesterday. So pretend you made some Kickass Tempeh Pasta Sauce and that you are reheating some leftovers.

Boil fresh pasta because leftover pasta always tastes like crap.

Go ahead and pour yourself a glass of wine, because water takes forever to boil when you are freaking hungry as hell.

Do not bother trying to explain why you have fruit on your microwave or a flashlight lounging on your countertop. You are a writer. You do not have time to care.

Now you need to dress in appropriate attire for a writing weekend. Personally, I find my best ideas come to me while I am wearing this:

Old Navy Comfy Pants and sweatshirt -- but it is so important that they are mismatched shades of hot pink. I cannot stress enough how much this matters. Your aim here is to be completely repulsive to any unfortunate human who might show up unannounced at your door so they will spare you the effort of explaining you are busy and just run off screaming instead. Mismatched shades of eye-throbbing hot pink. Got it? And throw on a shelf-bra tank underneath for maximum comfort. This will make your boobs sag enough under your sweatshirt that no one will care if you have any or not.


Stop by the mirror to see if you can do the cute wink you saw another blogger post once that you liked, but fail miserably:

Attempt other snarky looks, but don't be surprised when they turn out to be just plain weird because you are a dork.

Go to check on the pasta, but instead find your cats giving you accusatory looks that insinuate you will never feed them again because you are a cruel person who hates animals.

The more food in the cats' bowls, the longer they will let you write undisturbed.

Better take care of the dog, too.

Give a dog a bone! This old man came rolling home. (What does that even MEAN???)

Now remember how you were too lazy to take down all of the Christmas lights? And how you and your husband decided to just leave them up and call them "party lights?" Plug those in, because you are about to have the writing party of the ages.

Yes, that is a yoga mat inside the cupholder of my treadmill. The cats use it as a scratching post otherwise.

Say hi to facebook while you wait.


Growing bored waiting for the damned pasta to cook, take photos to send to your husband. Put on your best "come hither" look...

...and realize why you never got asked out much in your single days. Jesus Christ, woman! Try for more "sexy" and less "homocidal."

Try the wink again.


Experience technical difficulties as you attempt to take your own photo with a touch screen phone.

This is why my phone will never entirely replace my camera.


Got that sexy look mastered, yet?

Keep trying. You'll get there some day. (Hint: use make up. Powder, foundation, something!)

Show all two of your readers your writing environs:

Do not apologize for the cluttered desk, because you are a writer and do not care.

Was that the timer? Pasta is ready!

Take the pasta and wine to your desk to enjoy while posting your writer's retreat tutorial.

Kick the damned cat out of your chair before he eats your beloved carbs. Just because he snubbed the food you gave him gives him no right to eat your pasta.

Write a kickass blog.

Now you are ready to write for real.