Sunday, February 26, 2006

For the Living

I am drawn in contemplation
by a just found thought -- titillation,
that gives a new perception
to our soul and heart and spirit.

If the latter is our potential;
a yearning for completion -- oneness with all,
or return to Goddess' embrace
of Earth and Sea and rebirth seed,
then it can be viewed as 'future'.

Our heart in twain with befuddled mind
can only be here and now -- a fine present,
and torn twixt contingencies of trust
and what weary eyes perceive,which we foolishly call reality.

The soul then is what's been before
in experience and grief -- perhaps wonder,
and crumpled small by self denial,
or blossomed huge by human touch,
and living selflessly.

Pretend the future can be told
through religion or control -- even magick,
but that can only slight expand
the capacity of the soul,
a womb perhaps new creation.

If the soul then expands at will,
a chrysalis of our knowing -- perchance wisdom,
then to live life is to be life,
regardless of outcome,
or form of imagined wings.

the most important part of being --
is what you are doing,
right now!

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Legacy of Shrieking Woman and Cell Phone Man

Daily Writing Exercise: Guided Imagery
All Images Collected From The Internet
Date Completed: 02-24-06

These are little images, little sounds and smells and emotions that have worked their way into my writing. There is nothing profound here, just people being themselves and images that I catch and collect as I live my life.

I try to save them all and choose which ones to ‘keep’.

The reality is sometimes they choose to ‘keep’ you.

A few years ago a woman tried to kill herself by jumping off a bridge. The Authorities shut down the freeway so they could try to talk her down. That tied the traffic up and the conversations I heard that followed a few days later destroyed my faith in humanity.

Not only did I hear some of my co-workers echo these exact words; radio DJ’s said the same thing. “ Why didn’t she stay home and shoot herself or something? I was late for work because of her.”

During my lunch break the woman sitting next to me said, “ she inconvenienced a lot of people, how self centered can you get? No wonder she tried to kill herself she’s one of those ME people”

Those are real quotes, spoken by real people I know.

(This is where I work...if you were to stand at the black railing and look down you'd see the train tracks and my loading dock. This was taken after the eathquake we had a few years ago and that's why you see all the busted windows and damaged to the buidling itself)

The Railway tracks that run outside my warehouse are the ultimate story starter. Sometimes I go out there and just stare at them…and I’m sure they stare back.

One Spring a homeless man was sleeping by my loading dock and he was coughing so loud you could hear him up on the street. That street was full of buses and cars and at the time heavy machinery because the Earthquake had happened about three days before and we were starting reconstruction.

All you could hear was that painful coughing.

Now, up on the street and one building over is a very hoity – toity place called “ The Lofts”.

Basically you pay almost an astronomical amount of money to live in a brick building with an unobstructed view of a tavern frequented by the less fortunate members of society who live in the alleys and under the bridges here in Seattle.

So those are the Lofts and on the day a homeless guy was coughing his lungs up just outside the gate that separates my building from The Lofts a woman was over at the Lofts in the parking area with her son who was about four and she was shrieking…I couldn’t emphasize that enough shrieking “ LOOK AT THE TRAINS HONEY, AREN’T THOSE TRAINS PRETTY? LOOK AT THE TRAINS!” Everytime the homeless man started to cough.

I’ve seen people urinating on the walls; I’ve walked through vomit and seen some awful things on the street up by the Lofts

That woman minimizing human suffering and worse yet teaching her child to do the same was the lowest, most vile thing I’ve ever seen out there.

That image haunts me to this day, and I’ve used it in at least two forms in short stories at the Café.

About 5 years ago I saw a circus train outside my warehouse door on those railroad tracks. It had open beds and tied to the beds were big top rigging. There were empty cages for the animals and most mysterious of all were the private cars. I could see curtains in the windows but I never saw a living soul. No kidding. It was like that Circus Train was driving itself.

It stopped for about 10 minutes and then started back up again and was gone.

No I didn’t go near it.

I was afraid it might bite.

Last month I saw a drunken man, I couldn’t tell how old he was because his body was wasted and used up from his addiction wandering around in the middle of the street. The street was not empty. It was full of cars and buses and trucks.

Then he passed out.

I went out there and was able to pull him across the road to the sidewalk. It was easy because he couldn’t fight me and I’m use to moving deadweight from my previous job.

No one helped me; no one called the police or an ambulance. Though one guy did pull over, he was driving a silver sports car and he was on a cell phone. He pulled up and said, “ That was a waste of time”

Then he drove off.

I had to walk back to work to call for help.

Things like this happen around me every single day and there are other things I’d rather think about and remember and experience. Only then I’d be just like those people I wrote about. The Shrieking Woman and Cell Phone Man.

I’d only be seeing what I want to see.

What kind of writer could I be then?

Hint of Spring


Songs of six-pence …
no pie, but 24 times 24
cacophonous - yet blending the same …
alerting, alarming, watching.
A squirrel director - eyes darting, prancing …
a sudden woodpecking and brighter dawn -
golden hues and lifting darkish hand.

Faint footsteps cross the meadow …
glistening dew telling or betraying -
perhaps asking or yearning -
from where to where no telling.

Pavilions small and separate - calling -
early tryst or late returning?

Trace of dew dreams filling in now -
hiding, protecting, cycling …

Mother Earth rejoicing!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Just a Thought

I was asked, as a person on another group, what I thought of death, or rather, how I handled it. There were people there who had their share of family members and friends gone. I had to stop and really put it in my head, because I really don't think on it much. I don't give any real substance to the process. I think it's just a transition point, and we dwell rather too long on the trappings, what with viewings and wakes and all.
For the decedent it really is just a pinpoint in time. You are in the here, and then, you are in the somewhere else. Now, there are those who say Heaven or Hell, but to my mind, I think to the Universe, or black matter, or stardust; and what is to prevent us from ending up in a totally different reality, a parallel universe.
As for the now and here, I am universally blessed to have such an imagination that I can sit in a hammock under a summer tree and close my eyes, put lavender to my nose and the whole of the French Mediterranean opens to me. I can smell fresh bread and find myself anywhere I choose to be where bread is the most delicious at that moment. I do suppose death will take me places I have never considered, and I don't mind the thought of dying, but rather see it as an adventure. wyllo

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

When She Was Bad....

Daily Writing Exercise: Bad Girl On The Block
Completed on 2-22-06

I’d like you to meet a few Bad Girls who have worked their evil ways into my life and made it a bit more fun to be a writer.

First there’s Borgia Sainbury.

Her family owns and operates a cemetery in a place called Duwamish Bay.

Duwamish Bay is rather infamous for it’s cemetery…the one called Leaning Birches. It’s the only cemetery on the west coast that has an extensive system of catacombs under the cemetery. The cemetery above ground is so vast that there is no way to tell how many graves there are and they find more almost every single year. They’ve even found bodies entombed in fallen trees and buried in creek beds.

The Sainbury Cemetery on Mourning Ridge is small and exclusive and isn’t as well known and belongs to the Sainbury Family.

The Sainbury Family practices a somewhat dark trade. They are executioners. They’ve always been executioners and Borgia tends their resting place.

When she was a young woman she had the nasty habit of poisoning people she didn’t like, animals who annoyed her, and she wasn’t above making her way into Leaning Birches to disturb the final resting place of individuals who really made her angry.

You couldn’t escape Borgia’ s wrath…even if you were dead and buried and sealed in a vault. She’d dig you up with her bare hands and finish you off again.

And she’d do it with a smile.

I could list some of her less then savory attributes: she’s driven, vindictive, she’s probably a cannibal and she’s not human. Oh, and she likes to kill things…dead things or living things. It doesn't matter which.

Now I’d like you to meet Suicide Bridge.

Suicide Bridge lives in a very ritzy neighborhood. Politicians and Diplomats and Judges and people who come from old money drive over her to get to their very big houses on the hill.

You don’t notice her because she’s not a very long bridge and there’s nothing remarkable about her except for the fact she makes it possible for you to drive over a very deep ravine.

I’ve been to visit Suicide Bridge and I can’t figure out why anyone would choose to spend their last minutes or hours with her but they do.

You have to drive up these narrow twisted little streets to get to her. If you walk you’ll be lucky if you don’t drop dead from the climb up. When you finally reach her you get a view of the shipyards and heavy machinery.

It’s all pretty bleak and impersonal and the air smells funny when the tide goes out.

For a while I saw Suicide Bridge as a Funeral Home right in the middle of a cemetery.

Those houses could easily pass for tombs and mausoleums because you will never see people out walking around in front of them or near them and when they do they do it with reverence.

How clever and cunning that Bridge is.

I wonder does Suicide Bridge enjoy what she does?

Of course she does.

She’s taken over 300 lives in less then 30 years and that makes her one of the most prolific serial killers that ever existed. And she’s done it without raising a hand.

Those are my Bad Girls and I really enjoyed talking about them.

When I do character profiles I have one main goal, I want to personalize my characters. It’s easy to write about people or places or things that I know about, that I’m familiar with. The more I understand Borgia or Suicide Bridge the easier it will be for me to discover their secrets.

In turn you’ll see Borgia in her Cemetery as clearly as I can and you’ll know for certain Suicide Bridge is just waiting for that one person to come along who’ll look over her railing into the shipyards and then…

I know these Girls and you’ll be able to take my word for it; they’re killers.

So go ahead and try listing anyway you like. Use words, phrases, and pictures or do what I do and pretend like your gossiping to a friend about this Bad Girl you once knew…

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

It Seemed So Real

Exercise: Daydreaming
complete February 21, 2006
all images collected from the internet

I’m reading a book by Barbara Sher called, ‘ Live the Life You Love’. It’s got some good advice and great writing exercises and one in particular has turned out to be a favorite of mine.

The exercise is called, “ Gather Your Allies “ and what you do is chose your very own support team. Your team can be made up of anyone living or dead. They can even be fictional characters or animals.

I chose Mae West, Vincent Price and Rod Serling.

When I get stuck in a story I ask Vincent to read back what I’ve written. We go over plots and ideas sometimes he even acts out parts. The thing is I have someone to help me visualize my story. It’s like watching a movie. All I have to do is listen and watch.

Then there’s Rod, I ask him for ideas. It’s begging really but hey, he can leave whenever he wants! Seriously, That’s my own Twilight Zone and I’m glad its there. This is where I go for my inspiration.

Now Mae…where does she fit? You might not know this but she use to write her own material and she was her own woman and she lived and played (very hard by the way) by her own rules. When I do well I can see her there saying, “ Kiddo, you got it.” When I do something gutsy like writing an weird story or when I went for the job in a funeral home or when I undertook anything else labeled “ non-traditional “ I saw that smile and I heard that voice and I knew to go for it because I knew I was on the right track.

Mae hasn’t failed me yet.

So when I see Vincent looking through the library at Riversleigh with a wicked grin on his face or when I can hear Rod say something like ‘ have you really thought about that shed behind the manor…I mean really thought about what could be out there? “ Or when I sit down and I can see Mae standing next to me watching me write with approval and pride well, you could say I’m talking to myself or that I’m daydreaming.

I think it’s more then that.

This style of ‘guided imagery’ or ‘daydreaming’ has become a part of my creative process and it works, it inspires me and somehow it’s made me feel more confident about myself.

It’s funny because now when I just let my imagination run wild and I go off and hunt monsters and sail pirate ships and explore abandoned insane asylums with my cat Wolfgang there’s been a huge change in the person going on those journeys.

Since I gathered my allies I see myself having those adventures now: not a new and improved Anita or the Anita I wished I could be.

I see the Anita that looks at me in my mirror every morning when I brush my teeth.

I’m not sure when it happened but my allies and my daydreams have taught me to like myself a lot more then I use to.

Unreal…isn’t it?

As we speak

We are aware, even passively,
of senseless acts of kindness,
else what is an artist or poet for --
yet I know I do not embrace
all that I observe and touch
with deserved attention,
or appreciation.

This morning …
near a bus stop bustle,
maneuvers a frail man of years,
suffering a bicycle slalomly
through impatient indifference.
He forages cans, as best he can
with scant fingers,
perhaps frozen off …
until the vehicle disappears
(squeak, rattle, squeak)
beneath burgeoning plastic bags --
a scant living, but work just the same.

I have occasionally contributed
a backseat tossed container,
not as charity -- but payment for service,
(Rattle, bang, squeak)
receiving a bowing, toothless grin
and chatter in a tongue unknown.

This day is different --
(aren’t they all - squeak)
as an 'upscale' lady approaches,
removes from her purse
a tiny spouted can,
and oils the wheels and chain
of his livelihood.

The crowd applauds in laughter,
appreciative not of the gift --
but of the silence.

Not I -- but I catch her eye,
and she smiles inwardly;
for I saw her real kindness --

as she stooped,
she placed her hand over his,
giving thanks
that he is alive.


My hearts Betrayal

My heart is torn out bloody,
My chest still bleeding fresh,
My heart still beating on the floor,
resemblence to my crest.

And as I looked down upon my heart,
I realized my mistake,
When he had run off,
I allowed him my heart to take.

It is a most queer feeling,
To be without ones heart,
Surely I would die soon,
But I could not feel my soul part.

Blindly I reached for my heart,
To put it back in its place,
But it betrayed me and took off,
and so began our race.

I was frantic to find it,
For I knew where it would go,
To the one who had left me,
To him my love it would show.

I chased my heart,
in a maze it seemed,
before I found it at last,
Whispering and planning; how it had schemed.

And so I came face to face,
With he who had ran away,
A part of me buried deep,
Words escaped me; I had nothing to say.

So my heart spoke for me,
And told him of my hurt,
How I wanted him apart of me again,
My inner most desires out it blurt.

All the while I pondered,
whether he would join with me again,
I would not be complete with out him,
Simply a headless hen.

At last he agreed to come back;
be a part of me once more,
My heart jumped back into my chest,
My Hope my savior.

And so I am whole again,
my heart and hope now found,
I could only wish other parts of me,
would not take to ground.

Quick entry today...
Anybody understand the pun on this?

Dark Fool
Note: I did end up changing this when I went into a competition,
but this is the original version.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Simple Kindness

From a poem, "Lantern Five" in a pending book

Why not bedeck your hopes and offered view
with shades of virtue and charity
that all can see who you really are?
Let perceptions be colored by open faith
that every shadow hides a dream most wonderful
that we can enflame with simple open kindness.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Want of Kindness

This is just a very short piece that came to me while reading some of the fabulous posts here this afternoon. I have been busy and had to make the time. Awhile ago, a friend of mine was going through a difficult period, and we were discussing the state of the world, immovable people, and knowing we couldn't change anything single-handedly, even if we had the answers. I said, "What is it you want the most?" and she said, "In these times, just basic kindness." Neither of us thought it existed anymore in the world. It was amazing because I realised this is what the Abbey and surrounds are like. It's got goodwill locked into the foundations...

copyright Monika Roleff 2006.

Settling In

Sitting down on the bed, I sighed a weary but happy sigh. My journey had been long, but the end was the beginning and I was happy to have taken such a task. I wondered at the other inhabitants of this Abbey, but still was quite afraid for what they would think of me. I chuckled quietly at my own nervousness.
Putting my things away, I plopped down on the bed and took a breather; I could not have rememebered packing so many things! Looking around my room, I found it to be cosy, with greens and blacks, and a shaggy green rug in front of the fireplace that was across from my bed.
I knew at once I would be comfortable here, and couldn't wait to start exploring the Abbey. It seemed to me that my room was not enough, this Abbey was like a whole new world, just waiting for old and new things to be found.
I heard my belly grumble slightly and again chuckled. I wondered where the kitchen was? But as soon as I thought this a box of chocolates was sitting on the bedside table. I was not sure if they were there before, or whether it was just that I had not noticed them. Shrugging I picked the box of the table and lifted the lid. At once the smell of chocolate washed over me, begging my senses to induldge. And so I did. But I only took one, for though I was hungry, the hunger was not that great and I ingnored the tempation to take more than one. If I did I knew I would not be able to stop myself.
Laying back, the chocolates covered and back on the table, I was content. I looked at what I had; a change of scene, possible new friends, a new place to explore and a place for me to sort out myself. What more could I want? I was away from the Overgrown Kingdom I had been placed in, and thankful for it to.

A box of chocolates
Memory Door

As I stepped through the door of memory,
I was at once shocked by what I see,
It was me as a little girl,
still waiting for the world to unfurl,
Springing up from the bed in delight,
Racing to the Christmas tree to see the sight,
I chuckled and watched as young me turned,
And stood shocked as if she were burned.

I quietly said "hello," and marveled at young me,
There was only innocence, no pain and hurt could I see,
and as I squeaked a small "hi" in return,
I saw how much from young me I could learn,
And as I sat down upon the ground,
she sat next to me without a sound,
I feared at once she was afraid of me,
I said as much but she did not agree.

"I do not fear you," she said, looking in my eyes,
"Now I know why our mother cries."
And as I sat stunned she wrapped her arms around my waist,
And kissed my cheek, in much haste,
I told her then of the future she holds,
I wept for us and held her like I used to hold my dolls,
She could not understand, I fear,
What she would become to all those dear.

I said goodbye and left, closing the door,
And as I did, I felt a tear drop on the floor,
I knew that I could not face,
Another trip into memory would leave me in disgrace,
For the innocence and painlessness I just left behind,
Would forever exsist only in my mind.

Any comments, anyone?

Dark Fool

You did WHAT?

For my activity today I decided to start an On-Line Writer's Journal. This is where I got my inspiration from:

So far I've posted my activities from the Abbey over there and I'm hoping as I go along that will be a record of my 'studies' here at the Abbey and Cafe. As I said in my post I wanted to have a place where I could just focus on words and ideas.

Plus sometimes I just need to talk about what its like to work every single day at my craft and most of that ties back to the Cafe so I thought...there's your February 19, 2005 activity Anita!

It's my very own Soul Food Journal and I'd like to share it with the people who either suffer or enjoy what I do.

Right now my Journal is bare bones but in about a week it should be an interesting thing to peek at so here's the address in case you ever want to visit me there
and see how I'm doing:

all images in this post collected from the internet

Thoughts on travel and finding oneself

I have been thinking again about travels and pilgrimages and changes. And how things don’t really change even when you hope they would.

Recently I found a journal from a long trip I took in around 1978-1979, living in Japan and Taiwan for a year and a half or so. I was much younger then yet when I read it I recognize themes that I still have all these years later. Things which pass through my thoughts, some to stay and dwell, others to be fleeting thoughts gone in the blink of an eye. Even then I wrote about living elsewhere (here I was in what some might have thought an enviable position of flitting from Asian country to country living as I could by teaching English, and yet I was thinking about how much I wanted to revisit and live in Europe, Paris specifically). I was feeling bored and lazy and not particularly happy some days and yet other days wrote about wondrous adventures that now nearly 30 years later I can barely remember. I was unhappy about people, family, love, my life, who I was, where I was going… and yet living out “my dream”, always wanting more. Now, where am I that is so different? True older and wiser in some ways but mainly just older.

I think about this as I start to plan for a summer in Italy – a month long program in Florence. I am fortunate in that I can go to things like this and return with salary-step credits and a tax-write-off trip but still, why am I really going? What is it about travel that I both hate and love and keep needing to do?

I write this to myself not expecting any great revelations but to remind myself that all these years later I take steps to find myself in foreign lands (my own personal pilgrimage in a sense) and then what do I find? Do I like who I find? Do I really need to go somewhere to find what it is I seek?

“It is good to have an end to journey towards; but it is the journey that matters in the end.”
--Ursula K. LeGuin


It is Sunday ,a quiet afternoon
Music on the radio is good
I sit for a while to listen
My gaze goes to the top of the kitchen dresser
I see a large spider web..a family no doubt..
Daddy Long Legs they are called,quite harmless

I could throw a tea towel to bring them to ground
No I thought ,they are so happy tucked away in the corner
I move the kitchen chair to where they are
They don't move six in all make up the family

On the top of the dresser I keep an assortment
of milk jugs of all colours, shapes and sizes
Only 6 spiders but 48 jugs,now these are more trouble
than any spiders web
Oh well I am up here I 'll give them a wash
So I take them all down and into the sink of hot soapy water

Among them was atall green jug containing a golden star
It was hand made for me some 10 years ago by a friend.
I picked it out of the green jug and looked at it fondly
Memories of that year of 1996 came back

I thought of what it had meant to me and the little card
attatched to it that was still readable
It said.............

"Take this star in your hand
it will aid,nurture,love, and support you
through life's journey
There will be battles ,some to win ,some to to be lost along the way.
This star is so bright ,it is a reflection to cherish
to nurture and protect you
It will help you blossom and grow
and on the journey you will gather
many friends to love and support you
as you will do for them
In this we will all have gained much.

All my love to you my Bright Star (June.S.) 1996

Lois (Muse of the Sea) 19.2.06

On portals and Memories

I was thinking on portals and gateways
several years ago when I created this,
or remembered it, one ...

Tear Circle

The wait had been interminable but the Shaman was finally spotted in the distance. The troubled father glanced again at his son, trembling, sweating, moaning. A malady unknown, but everyone knew it would be fatal unless the old man could help. The ancient form swayed and stroked with feather and smelled the labored breath. The he took the father aside.

The tearful man was named Sobda, but everyone affectionately called him the 'Hawk', partially because of his hooked nose and dark brows that spoke of some Turkic heritage, but also for his hunting skill. Now his only son lay near death and everyone mourned.

"This will be difficult, my son," the Shaman said, "But it is the only way. You must go to the Tear of Abdu!" The Hawk was able to disguise his fear. He prepared.

With two horses ridden in the Mongol way he rode for a day and a half. Then in a meadow he hobbled the horses near a stream and threw his horse blanket over a bush. He crawled beneath and slept in a curled ball. Later he hunted and gathered -- nuts, berries, a rabbit. He waited half a day in prayer and casual rest. Then they charged forth again. Five days from the start he arrived, more than 400 miles from home. He recognized the spot from a distance, up a slight slope beneath a ridge of rock. The color of the foliage was different and the trees grew at strange twisted angles from the ground. He stopped at a goodly space and crawled forward as he had been instructed.

Some claimed that there were energy lines around Mother Earth, and where they intersected nature was disturbed. Perhaps. But local myth told of a time that the Tengry were saddened by how man was defiling the land and wept, causing a time of great storms. One giant tear fell through to the ground and the spot was born. The name was ancient and no one knew that Abdu meant sorrow. As Sobda crawled carefully forth his mind reeled with confused thoughts of despair and joy, or birth and death, of doubt and trust. He had to continue on.
He wrapped his face in a silk cloth filled with fragrant fern and inched up to the spot. Hidden in its ring of dreadful trees the Tear was a carpet of pale green, perhaps five paces across. Perfectly round and smooth as a pond. He dare not tread upon it as the tiny dark leaves, five in number and overlapped would waft up a perfume from which he would not escape; so poisonous that there were no insects or birds above. The pale blush came from tiny clusters of white blossoms in the center -- no larger than the snowflakes children catch on their tongues. For these he had come.

He lay with his protective mask pressed into the dark earth and reached forth to pluck the flowers and place them in a silver tray. It took six hours to gather enough, inching around the circle and reaching out as far as he dared. Then he crept back and poured the stream of blossoms into a leather pouch that had been cured with honey. At a distance he washed repeatedly in a waterfall, plunging his fingers into the sand. The horses were close when he collapsed beneath a towering fir and slept. Later he gave prayerful thanks for his safety and began the terrible drive home.

The Shaman prepared an infusion of the flowers, mixed with other herbs to remove the bitterness. Then Sobda forced tiny sips into his son's quivering lips. Twelve hours later the fever broke and the child slept in peace. The Shaman gathered up his things and prepared to leave and placed a hand on the Hawk's shoulder with pride. "Your life will be changed forever," he said. The beaming father handed the old man the leather pouch as gift which still contained a measure of the seeds of life. The old man bowed and strode off into the dawn.

He had said that since time began the flower had been named in a language long forgotten. 'Shuletang'. It was a gift of Tears found in one spot on alone earth.

You can know that the name means 'Dust of Angels'.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Lost and Found

Images collected from the internet

Daily Writing Excercise from: The Dig Tree Activity

Unfortuantely Burke was not so meticulous and the desire for glory clouded his decision making. The race to get to the Gulf first skewed his judgment and the final decision to head towards Mt Hopeless proved fatal. Most bizarre of all was the fact that Burke and Wills never left new markings or signs at the Dig Tree and so, when Brahe came back to check if they had returned, he thought the camp had been undisturbed. Was this a cruel twist of fate or plain stupidity?
Even The Camels Perished
Dig Tree Activity

Here in the United States there is the true story about a Colony of 112 men, women and children who disappeared from Roanoke Island in 1587. Legend has it they did leave a message carved on a tree, it simply said

“ Croatan”

I first heard about this Colony when I was about 10. Shortly after I started to have nightmares about a woman carving the word “ Croatan” into a tree with her bare hands. Then she turns around and motions for me to follow her.

That’s when I would wake up and run around the house and start turning every single light on. I don’t do that anymore.

Now I make my husband do it for me.

When I read about the Burke and Wills expedition in this project I thought they did leave a message; they knew they weren’t going to be coming back from the place they were walking towards.

I imagine that for them, putting this into words would have been like carving their own tombstones.

I can’t imagine it. How do you sit down and write, “ Meeting Death"
when really all you want to do is live. Its in our nature, the human body wants to survive even when the spirit and the mind know it’s not possible anymore.

They didn't write their message down but they left one all the same and in the end they told us what it was.

It would have read "went to Oblivion via Mt Hopeless."

I wrote about a character named Livia Cotard in a short story here at the Café called
“ Gone to Croatan “ In the end Livia does go to Croatan and in my heart I know I can never bring her back from there.

I’ve tried different endings and none of them work because that’s the rules of Croatan.

Just ask the Lost Colonists of Roanoke, or Burke and Wills.

Camels, like artists, have exceptional inner reserves. In her book 'Passion for the Possible' Jean Houston observes that creative geniuses have one thing in common. "They were each familiar with their interior world and believed that the ideas and images could spark their projects. Each has become an archaeologist of the mind, a spelunker in the cave of inner inspiration."
Even The Camels Perished
Digtree Activity

When I started taking writing classes as a child one of the exercises I loved went like this: the teacher would tape to the blackboard a picture or a news article or a word written in big block letters and you were suppose to write a story about it.

The majority of the stories had all the elements of the picture or of the news article or the word featured prominently somehow in their pieces.

All except for one student

She would look at the picture of the dog and write about a man she once knew that liked dogs. Only the story would be about the man and that he was really a Spy or a Vampire. There was never one single word about the dog.

I was that student and each time I did that I thought for sure I was going to score a low grade and find a note from the teacher in angry red ink saying “ didn’t you see what was up on the board?”

The thing is, I saw plenty on that board every single day. I’d close my eyes and see that picture of the dog and the stories would write themselves.

Visit the Dig Tree and then ask yourself, “Okay, let me look at this…” and then do what I did…what I still do…

Close your eyes and tell us what you see.

I Took Back a Black Hat

I met an Amish girl in my dreams, to be precise she used to be Amish now she was wearing English clothes and going off with her new husband. I was kind of sad that they would no longer be Amish knowing that something cherished would be lost. But a part of it would always be inside of them, I knew She turned around from the door that they were exiting through and she came across the hardwood floor straight towards me. Then she kissed me on the cheek. And before she turned to walk away, she said to me, “ You are to write the Amish women’s story, write it with the soul, the spirit, the God and the Love, left in.”

My friend Elizabeth has left, along with a good portion of the flock of Amish whom she introduced us to. They have all flown off to Missouri, strange that they choose Mo., that is a land that I have known and loved. It is a transition getting used to her and their absence. The other day I had a chance to walk, the old path once again. The path that lead me to Elizabeth one day last autumn, that day seems so long ago.

The little bridge that I had walked over to sit at the stream beneath, this bridge has changed with Elizabeth’s departure. For you see when I used to walk over the bridge it was made of wooden planks and as I crossed it, my boots would make the boards go, clank, clank, clank as I passed over. I came to consider the clapping of the boards beneath my feet to be, metaphysically, the passageway, the transport, the crossing over from one way of life to another.

For as I walked across I was going from a world full of the whirls and the rush of modern living, into to the clip- clop, slower, simpler way of life, of the Amish.
Clank, Clank, Clank, I would cross my way over and then savor the leaf scattered path all the way down the dead end dirt lane, to Elizabeth’s house.

On the very day that she left Ohio, the bridge changed. The county men came and tore out and replaced the old wood planks with steal ones which they covered with concrete. There is no longer a flapping of wooden boards when I go over the stream, only the silence of concrete beneath my feet. And the portal that I had gone through is no longer there.

As I walked this lane last week I walked slow past the big house that the large family of Amish, who had been Elizabeth’s relatives, had left behind. Sitting now for a month with the new owners nowhere in sight. The old owners had told me that I could help myself to anything that was left from the auction.

So I strolled through the field looking at the odd assortment of machinery, cabinets, stock wateriers that were in a row where they were placed on Auction day. I guess no one had bid on them and so they were left behind. I saw lots of things but nothing that I wanted. Feeling an urge from nature I decided to visit the potty that I knew sat beside the house. It is a pretty ‘Heisley’ of yellow and has a iron pathway on the ground to its door made of some old decorative grate.

Once done there I could not resist ambling about the strangely quiet, abandoned Amish farm. It felt like a ghost town, all the familiar sounds silent, no voices, no clucking chickens, no horses snorting in the barns, no cowbell chiming from the hill. I stood on the porch to the summer kitchen and could see where they had washed their clothes in wringer washers and tubs. I peered into the pantry and I imagined how if the house were still occupied the shelves would be lined with preserves.

They left behind a rooster, I spied him near the springhouse and I wondered about his circumstances. Was he a mean rooster and hard to catch, is that why he got left behind? Was he finding enough to eat? I thought he must be so scared at night. He was little with beautiful feathers in fluorescent colors, like peacocks on his cheerful tail. He wondered for a moment if I had food and when I didn’t lift my arms he looked at me with fright and clucked nervously and fled away to hide in the brush. I said a prayer for him that he would be freed from his strife, that the new owners would come along soon.

I turned the knob on the back door of the dwelling and was surprised to find it unlocked. As if invited I entered and as soon as I did I heard, the now familiar sound, of a spring feeding the Amish house. There is something so substantial in the Amish homes being continually fed by a flowing stream. I have found that when the Amish homes are still enough, (for example during the quiet prayers before and after each meal,) it can be heard, this running water, a steady flow of water in the background amidst the everyday noise. When I first discovered it for myself it reminded me of how Jesus is eternally flowing in the center of our hearts. Though often we are too noisy to hear him.

I entered the great wide kitchen taking delight in the click of my boot heals on the hardwood floors. It was fun going about the rooms of the house, imagining myself Amish. Here I would stand at the cook stove and I would be able to see out this window to see if my man was coming down the road home. This is where we would sit and eat at a long wooden table. Sometimes in my life I had found myself craving to be Amish, although many others consider them to be stifled, I see it more as they are free, free to simply be. The more I got to know them the more I marveled at how they managed, through out time, to be in the world without being of the world.

So imagining myself as an Amish women, I wondered, would I get tired of wearing black and blue? Would I crave for some pretty gingham with flowers to sew my dresses and children’s clothing up on? Would I miss placing a bouquet of flowers in the middle of the table? The Amish think that the flowers are to be enjoyed where they grow. There is really no way to ever know if I could have been a good one, being an Amish women was not my way to go, but still I love getting to know their ways.

On my way out the back door I noticed a sunflower was sprouting in a pot by a window and I wondered if it would survive the cold spell that was coming our way. What a nice surprise it would be for the girl who entered this house, to make it a home, to find it growing there! I thought about giving it a drop of water from the pump that I knew would sit at the kitchen sink. The poor little sprout looked dry and had no way of getting water on its own. But then I thought better of it, best to go through a cold spell dry then to be cold and wet.

On the way back to the lane I paused by the boxes left on the curb for the garbage man to pick up. I noticed an Amish mans hat sticking out of one side. I reached down and pulled it out of the cardboard box. I could not resist trying it on, it felt like a perfect fit. My daughter has been gifted with dresses and bonnets from the Amish girls that had befriended her. One day she did me up, pulled back my hair and tucked it all inside of a black bonnet. I couldn’t stand it! Used to having hair around my face it felt so confining. But the black Amish man hat, plucked down on my hanging hair, it felt just right.

When I went home I was compelled to clean the hat and put a band of leather cord around the brim. I dangled my special feathers and charms that Spirit Feather gave me from the back of it. Now it looks like my Indian hat. Everyone who has seen it so far, says, where did you get that cool hat.

I don’t’ suppose any of the Amish women could decide that she was going to cover her head with a black hat instead of a black bonnet. The Amish traditions seem to me to stem from trying to keep wrong things from happening. By having things be more black and white it is sometimes easier for us humans to stay the course. It takes some of the guess work out of things.

The Amish way has been very successful, keeping traditions alive for hundreds of years. It seems to me that there is so much to learn from this. I like appreciating that in my life I have more choices to make then I would if I was a women of the Amish. But it will do me no good, if I only make the wrong decisions and do not learn to distinguish the difference between what is ego and what is love. As I walked down the lane back into my modern world with my black Amish mans hat feeling comforting in my hand, I knew that it, for some reason, was the souvenir that I choose to take home from their world into mine.

My New Hat, is in the picture of the Outhouse, hanging off the door.

Door Simple

I was in an art gallery many years ago,
with an 'impossible' door.

The back wall was all of mirrors,
so constructed that a person
approaching them would seem
to disappear to anyone across the room.
Upon investigation one would find a
door set at right angles to the wall,
and not visible from the front.
Yet this door would not open.
This was a ruse --
for if you simply walked straight back
'into' the gleaming central mirrors
you would be in a hallway.

So, everywhere you looked
you only saw where you had been,
but could proceed on faith alone.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Personality of A Front Door
Soul Food Cafe Excercise
( all images collected from the internet )

This Doorway, it's there hiding just through the dark entrance way against the building, is Red and it's history is dark.

To me it represents true terror, true horror and it reminds me to respect the genre I choose to work in.

Characters in my stories like Livia Cotard from Gone To Croatan, Mr Night Fall and
Miss Praecox from the Faraway Project, and the Riders in The Amazing Benandanti as well as the Wardens Of Sawajinn from the Silent Knight featured on our recent Advent Calander have all come from behind this door.

"Come on in Anita," says this gate..."we know you well here. Come on in and listen to us for awhile. The stories we could tell you, the things we've seen."

And of course I oblige.

Rod Serling is everything I admire in a storyteller and when I see this picture I think of him and remember just one little step, chosing to go through that one door can take you to a whole new reality.

Doorways are wonderful and terrifying at the same time.

That's what makes them so great and so exciting to me.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

February, Knows a Strange, Strange Dance

February is tumbling out, full speed and abundant with delights that only February holds.

We come from the chicken house, proclaiming,“ Eggs!” to one another, as the chickens once again begin to lay their oval treasures.

If there were no pages to turn upon the calendar nailed to the wall, I would still know that it was February. It would be boldly evident by the number of skunks, white and black, that lay along the roadways, where they get caught on mating journeys.

And now and again I catch the sight of one wobbling back and forth, hither and yonder in an ambling stroll, (is he drunk on love?), across the stubble of last summers cornfield. One never thinks of skunks until February, when suddenly they come out of hiding.

February is very moody. She will charm us with days that seem like April and then she will clam up and turn a cold shoulder, sending shivers up our spines.

Sometimes I go outside on mornings, after cold turns, to witness flowers that had dared to bloom as February smiled the day before. These brave blossoms get caught in one of the ‘fickle month’s’ crying jags, and they become encased. Enclosed within a cloak of solid ice. It is the strangest thing.

But the whole while the Robin sings and it is his determination, I believe, that turns it all, finally, one day into spring.

I turned my car to the south and drove an hour today, went to see a friend. How I love to travel this way, farther from the big cites and deeper into the hills. Those hills I love as I pass through, cherishing every rise and fall, caressing with my eyes and encompassing with my heart, the little natural streams that spill from the ever-deepening valleys.

These hills, in patchworks, are taking on the subtle, not noticeable to anyone who would not see, hue of budding maples. Dark maroon upon a deep blue sky, this combination will always say February to me.

And while I was there, an hour south, I got a preview. Spring always comes there first, and I spied a plot of pansies blooming purple in the sun.

Before this sun sat, I turned my car around, pretending that it was my pony, rode it back home through the hills again. Up and down and over and through and blessing them all the while, I felt as though that is why I am here, to bless the hills with love. And if that is all that I am here for, it will be enough.

It reached nigh 60 degrees today. My friend and I kept rejoicing the beautiful weather and everyone would say, (they had listened to the weather,) “Just wait, it will be 10 degrees, with strong winds this weekend,”
Ah! February, doing her thing, decorating buds in ice, again.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Dragon of Soul

My delving into Chocolates always has a deleterious effect on me. You see, I'm allergic to them... I know I didn't say anything before, but well, maybe I'm still in denial. In any case, I wanted to partake of these Special Chocolates since I'm facing my fears now. Maybe by some fantastic miracle, these lovelies would not have the usual effect... and my little hoping/wishing thoughts were right! They didn't! So here I am, having nibbled and digested to my heart's delight - on the whole box, mind you. I know, I rarely do anything half-way.

Inspiration filled me and I started writing. My biggest fear is that I can't write fiction. Non-fiction is easy for me. So for two days, I let a little idea form itself around the box. I don't want to think inside the box, as that has always caused me immeasurable anxiety in the past. No, this time, I'm thinking outside of the box. And here is my first Fiction offering, as response to several chocolate binges from the Lemurian Abbey's Special Box.

Breaking open a prison block

The Dragon of Soul

First there was the Dragon, sleeping near the boulder. Then, as I approached, I noticed something else near the rock face that drew my attention. There were paintings on the rock itself.

All over the base of the mountain, someone had gone from left to right with white and red chalk, placing the etchings of dancing people, tree shapes and geometrical forms, lifting and balancing their forms all over the surface! It was very beautiful to behold, but I still had the dragon to contend with.

Peacefully she slept, the sunlight reflecting daintily on her iridescent scales, sending glittery shards upwards as her large reptilian body rose and fell in the simple act of breathing. I was reluctant to disturb her, lest she misconstrue my arrival as a threat. And why should she not? I was the stranger here.

I had arrived from my village via the Shaman’s portal, whilst performing a Soul Retrieval Ceremony. Together, we had spent many days getting ready for this, my client, her support partner and myself. We had cleared away many obstacles that impeded her state of mind, reaching deep into her psyche for the adversarial beliefs and stagnant thoughts that held her back from a fulfilling life. We went through several healing ceremonies before this one, all of them merely the necessary preparations for the main event. But nothing in what we had discussed, clarified and shared, could prepare me for this. A sleeping dragon! Does she know I am here? Maybe she does not even care. A question, then: do Dragons dream?

Gingerly, cautiously, I tiptoe around her and, all my senses keenly aware of her sleeping form, I stand in front of the rock wall to get a closer look at the painted figures. Though this Dragon is an important element here in Soul World, my gut feelings are telling me that the “writing on the wall” is even more so. For the healing of my client, I have come here and I must investigate any and all clues, signs and symbols that I find here.

Nature representations abound amid dancing figures of almost-stick-like people. Flowers woven into wreaths, staffs carved from tree roots and branches sprouting shoots, sky clouds, sun and moon, and trees… Everywhere there are trees. The stick people seem to be celebrating something relating to Nature… the seasons, perhaps? They stand with wands outstretched to the sky; they form circles under the full moon… Back and forth my gaze follows the compositions on the wall, as my mind tries to make some sense of it. This must relate to the young woman waiting for me back in our world, but how?

Deep down, I know this is not a matter for a logical study. Rather, I need to let the creative and intuitive brain cells do their fancy connecting work. For that, instinctively, I step back to try to see the big picture and then… oops! To my dismay, I realise I’ve stepped on the Dragon!

To be continued...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

From The Chocolate Box

From The Chocolate Box:
Write about your greatest fears and try facing some of them on the

You're not a well Woman some of my friends will tell me after reading what I write
(And note that's what my friends say) and other people just want to know where I get my ideas from. Then they tell me there's probably medication out there for what ails me and maybe I should ask my Doctor about them.

Seriously, I write about my Fears and my stories are how I deal with them.

The great Rod Serling once said he got ideas from lines in books, titles of movies and lines he heard or read in stories and movies. I guess the idea is you have to be open to what's around you.

The hard part of course is letting go and the real problem of course is not being afraid of what will come in.

But I'm learning to get passed that, I love to write my weird little stories and here's some of the places in my real life where I've found inspiration:

Diablo Lake is here in Washington State.

When I was a kid I thought the Devil lived in that lake and the hills were cut like that because the Devil would try to climb out and kept sliding back down again. I thought for sure he lived there and I refused to go anywhere near it.

I'm not kidding, when I was bad my Parents knew the way to get me in line was to threaten me with a trip to Diablo Lake.

I was about 7 at the time and I haven't been there in over 25 years.

I won't go near it.

Better safe then sorry.

Here's Devil's Elbow Bridge, I actually tore this picture out of a book when I was about 12 and had it taped to the inside of my notebook. When I look at this picture now and when I looked at it over 30 years ago for the first time I thought..."I'll bet no one human ever uses this bridge."

I still think that

Seattle's Underground

I work in a basement that's considered " underground Seattle" and it almost looks exactly like this and if you want to know where I get my ideas from...well...

I found this picture on line a year or so ago, it's a lighting storm and I believe this was taken in Seattle. It's funny because along with being done in by head- hunters (hey, sounds dumb but at least I'm not afraid to admit it) my number two fear is being hit by lighting.

I really haven't written about either one. I tried to write about headhunters once and I got so freaked out I actually padded it into the middle of another story.

So that’s how I’ve faced my fears and made them work for me and why I write what I write. From Weird little kid to the Weird Tales person from Deadwood Hall it’s been a great trip.

I hope yours will be as interesting.

Anita Marie

here I am!

Well, I don't know what I did right this time, it took all of 30 seconds to post this pic of me! It was a test post gang! I didn't think it would go thru, so I just clicked the first image in the file. I used the html edit page and then viewed it in the compose page, but, it's hello software. I used it from the original computer on which the pic is stored instead of the network comp I'm usu on - I know, too wordy here - well, this is me off into the woods in search of soul words!!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Alas! I have been at it for over an hour now, and cannot grab an image, any image. I have downloaded the "hello" site the blog uses (that can share images), and I have even figured out how to reach my computer via the post page, and image icon on the toolbar, but when I try to "get image" all I seem to get is the message this page cannot be opened, tech difficulties. It may be a cookie problem and I am not up to dealing with it since the thought of cookies leads me into temptation and I must go bake something! Wyllowisp

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Settling Into Your Room - A Special Box of Chocolates

Upon arrival you will find a comfortable room that you can call home while you are staying at the Abbey.

On the bedside table you will find a very special a box of chocolates.

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Take one, savour it and post your first piece here.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Waiting by the Door

I have always been here, you know --
though I've taken a side journey or two,
using Syble's magick to flit there and when.

The lantern needs care each morning,
just in case you arrive other than planned,
but as you should -- just right.

There is time for musing while I wait ...


I embrace the essential calling
to become more of what I am.
I am.

I am here because I am supposed to be here.
I need no involved justification --
do not have to pledge dedication
in affirmation to myself.
Not that I don't need reminders.
I come with memories of another life
-- grief -- confusion - boundless joy.

I am told, " Throw them away, clear your mind."

Methinks there is no memory that is ever bad --
just see me sad when I could be glad.
So easy to wish to release your heart --
get it on -- get past it!

Yet I must ask why?
Why can I not cherish this pain with the joy?
Would it not be better to nurture those memories
that silently cry with those that are loudly singing?

Can't I find a niche in which
to place them both to rest in an honored place?

I am carved by hard chisel and polishing love.
The chips that may have fallen away
during this 'sculpting'
are already ground into the course dust of time.

That which remains is most surely mine,
and ever should be.
I cannot deny who I am -- where I have been.
My spirit may progress in quick release,
or evolve beyond the blocks of mind,
but my past is what has brought me here.

The key perhaps is to become content,
to seek balance between 'what was'
with 'what will be'.

If this takes strength, if this demands courage,
then I dare not throw away
the crucible in which I was ground.

Above all else, when I extend my hand
to those in grief, pain and confusion,
I must be able to say,

"Been there -- done that."

Only then will I be believed.
Only then trusted.
Only then authentic.
Only then me.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Covers Have Come Off

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The covers in the Abbey have all been pulled off and Ebony Wilder, the Housekeeper, has been sprucing the place up. Fresh linen has been put on beds in the private quarters and everyone is anticipating the arrival of some new folks who are going to be working together on an intensive.

The Abbey is close to the Enchanted Wood where the Faraway Tree is located and residents will be wandering out to explore. But not until they have settled in here and enjoyed the tranquil setting and explored the garden.