Spellbinding stories of mystic love and soulful hope . . .

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yes, ‘bad’ poetry from a non-poet Sunday is back – ha!

 

 

IT’S ALL RANDOM

 

1.

The giant she’d become

Pleased her

She passed a church singing

Tore off the roof

Because she could

(see all the people?)

Singing silenced

Tiny people looked up

At her giant mooned face

They thought, she thought,

She is God.

 

2.

A fine morning

She found fifty-two emails

Oh how fifty-one adored her!

But that one

Who did not

Would not could not chose not

Caught in her throat

Tore at her brain

She read the words

Once twice thrice

The words bloated

Sagging heavy in the middle and outward

She walked to town

On slippery feet and happenstance notions

But the words fattened ever more

Bloated fly words, blue fly shoo

She ran home, slipping on the grease

Of oozing words; hid in her bedroom

The words found her, weighing

Down down the bedroom roof, down

Down sagging upon her poor sore head

Until that head bowed in supplication

The heavy heavy words grew bolder

Split the roof asunder

And all the bloated oozing words laid

Atop her—writhing lazy

A lover could not be as complete

—so was spent the last day

Of her life well-known

 

3.

He liked to break things on purpose

Cell left in pocket off to the washer

Oh dear I dropped your camera

There’s his hip, hop, hip

bump against the table

Comes crash and splintering

Of beloved glass memories

“I burnt the teapot, my love;

was it a favorite?”

Once the car ran, until it did into a tree

 

she doesn’t know why she didn’t see it coming

 

4.

 

 

Her life is an ellipsis . . .

. . . inside each tiny little dot

she lives . . . and even in the pauses . . .

between them she could be found

. . . but no one tried . . . .

 

-kat magendie

Littlest Tender Graces Reader . . .

Fun for all ages (ha)

Here’s a secret: I don’t have a clue what favorite flavor of ice cream is Virginia Kate’s (The Graces Trilogy books main character) favorite flavor. If I thought about it, maybe I’d have her go into the ice cream parlor and she’d step up to the counter and she’d order a . . . *kat thinks* . . . chocolate dipped cone. There. She doesn’t like pistachio like I do. She’d eat strawberry, though, yeah; we both like strawberry with real chunks of strawberries in there.

Sometimes authors make detailed “character sketches.” They know their characters so well, up to the minutetednest detail—their favorite foods, their favorite movies, how they look from the top of their head to the soles and souls of their feet—every detail about their physical appearance. They know every like and dislike, every nuance, every place the character has been or worked or gone to school, etc etc etc. — Lawdy! I have a headache just thankin’ about all that!

1743500_553542498076585_1943216434_nWhen I first began writing fiction, I thought there was This Way I was supposed to write and think and do and be, and if I wasn’t This Way, then I wasn’t a Real Writer. I might as well have put thick gloves on my hands and tried to write that way, for thinking “what I am supposed to do” versus “what is comfortable and real and instinctual” for me creates boundaries where there should be free space. You know how I came up with the Sweetie character? She came to me whilst I was walking Muse Trail One in my Smoky Mountain cove. Hovered there as an apparition demanding me to tell her story–first time that’s happened. Was it real or imagined in my writer’s mind? Who cares? Sweetie has become one of my most beloved books. I won’t question it.

The Lightning Charmer coverfamily_graces_-_screenFor me personally, when it comes to character, I learned I have to discover my character(s) as I write, and even in that discovery, just as it is with meeting real people, I never know every detail about them, and may never know every detail. Up until the last Graces book (Family Graces), I was still discovering who Virginia Kate is. If I have an ice cream scene, that’s when I find out what flavor she will choose and likes (chocolate dipped cone! Now I know!). If I have a movie scene, maybe she’ll talk about her favorite movie, and then again, maybe she won’t—maybe I’ll never know her favorite movie. I know she loves books, and has a special place for her Black Stallion and Black Beauty books, but what does she read as an adult? Well, I don’t know. She hasn’t had time to read because she’s going through her families’ archives (their letters, journals, photos) and storytelling their lives. When I wrote my sixth work The Lightning Charmer, I first tried to shoehorn things I thought I wanted for my characters into the book–I was trying to please someone outside of myself, and the book was suffering for it. It took me a long time to relax and let the characters have their way, and even so, it’s still a book that my readers either dislike completely or love as their favorite–not much in between with that book.

follow your own path

follow your own path

Well, y’all all know how writers love to give advice—heck, I do that here on my blog every so often or often or every once in a while. Most all of us mean well. Many of us give advice because we want to tell you “Hey, relax a litle–it’s all okay; really!” We want to support you and help you; we want to give you guidance; we want to perhaps make things a bit easier on you where we had to muddle our way through; and we want to talk about the craft, the language, because it is important to us and we love it so. It’s rarely to tout and shout about our books even when we shamelessly put photos of them in the post and all that because our publishers are probably upset at us for rarely talking about our books, teehee, lawd. (And y’all know I rarely tout my books–but perhaps I should do more of it? How else will people know about my books? How else will I please  my publishers?–more on this later in another post, y’allses.)

How you write; how the process is for you is an individual decision–a unique glimpse into the mind of you as Writer/Author/Novelist. If you like to discover your character as you go along, or if you like to write detailed character descriptions—who can tell you which is “right or wrong” because neither way is “right or wrong.” If you read how a writer does his or her thang and then you try to duplicate that and in that trying to duplicate you hit wall after wall—your character becomes wooden, or doesn’t seem real to you, or something just isn’t right about this character dang it all!—then find your own way. Take off the borrowed gloves and feel the flexing of your own fingers, the feel of the keys, the freedom of ungloved hands.

Just Do It

Just Do It

Go Forth and Write, y’all!

balance, strength, energy

Work-out:

I used to tell my clients I trained to “listen to their bodies” to let them know how much they could do or when to pull back so there wasn’t over-use or injury. And that is mostly true, all y’allses beauties out there. However, I also recognize how this isn’t always the case. Sometimes our bodies/minds want to fool us, because what we are doing may be Haaaaaaard, and why oh why would our brains want to do the Hard Thing when it can at times easily convince us to do the Easy Thing? Even if the Easy Thing isn’t as good for us. Sometimes we must re-wire our thought processes.

Folks, there are times we must push through when our bodies/minds tell us it wants to slow down or stop—not to the point of exhaustion or dangerous over-working, but to the point of Kicking Our Asses and doing the Hard Thing—and not “once in a while” but “several times a week.” (Though, you must always consult a doctor before beginning a workout program!)

And you can see Monday Classroom archives as well if ye's wants a boost to rememborate sumpin. Write write write! write with abandon; edit with a keen critical eye!

 Write write write! Write with abandon!

Writer:

Some days I just ain’t feelin’ it, you know? Well, Kat, suck it up. Sit your arse down in the chair, fingers to keys, and write. Timed writing isn’t going to do it for me. If I watch the clock, then just as with my aerobics workout, I’ll be ever aware of that clock ticking: 15 minutes of writing? Okay – tic toc tic toc tic toc. *Yawn!* The work also isn’t going to be done by my whining about how haaarrrrd it is to be a wrriiiiiitteer.

Stop whining! It’s time to re-wire our “minds/bodies” from telling us we caaaaann’t to that of I can do this!–we have to, at the least, give it a try, right? Books aren’t written by rolling our eyes and sighing. Royalties aren’t paid to writers who aren’t producing books. The work is done by doing the work.

Work-out:

This person (me about a year ago) felt like shit. Wasn' t writing, wasn't taking care of herself

This person (me a few years ago) felt like crap-a-doodle-doo-doo. Wasn’ t writing, wasn’t taking care of herself

I used to crave junk and loads of chocolate. (Honestly, I still do crave it. And, I’m a Sweet-a-holic.) There were days I wanted to sit on my ass and do nothing but eat chocolate and feel depressed and not do a danged ole thing. Some days are sucky and I could fall into that trap again if I weren’t careful. But if I were to sit on my ass and gobble down an entire box of chocolates, feeling sorry for myself and the state of Everything, well, dangity it all to dangtown, but I’d feel even worse. My body would be bloated and sick from Chocolate-Junk-Sitting on my Arse Overload. Sluggish, tired, cranky, like in this pic from a few years ago–I was being silly, but there was truth behind this photo .

The more I work out, the healthier I eat, the better I feel, and the more I want to do those things to continue to feel better. Then when I do treat myself, it tastes/feels even better than it ever did before.

Writer:

Sometimes I want to sit on my ass and do nothing but feel depressed and not write a danged ole thing and eat junk and drink vodka. Some days are sucky. Well, guess what? If thousands of us sat our asses on the couch and did nothing because life is haaarrrrdd, who’d write the books?; who’d deliver the mail?; who’d bake the bread?; who’d teach the kids?

This book/writing business isn’t always easy, but ask yourself: Is this what I really want to do? Am I ready to be in this for the long-haul? Am I ready to sacrifice? Can I handle rejection? Scrutiny both good and bad and in between? If not, then what do you want to do? Reorganize your thought-processes.

Sometimes being a published author (or an unpublished one) is the easiest best job in the entire danged ole world, and other times it sucks like a big fat suckity suck black-hole sucker—but I love it more than my right arm. Get back to work. Whatever that “work” is for you–if writing novels isn’t truly what you love but you’ve been slogging through it, then maybe there is something else in this business you will enjoy more? Or maybe you’ll discover a direction/road you never considered.

streeeeeetch

streeeeeetch

Work-out:

At the end of a grueling work-out, find time to stretch those muscles, and then just as important as the work-out and the stretch, comes the quiet moment of reflection. Time and distance and wants and needs lift away as we respect our bodies, minds, hearts. The old saying “you only have one body, one life” is true (reincarnation doesn’t count – because you’ll be someone/something else, right? so no excuses!). We have this one chance to make the best of our lives. To honor our bodies. To give ourselves the gift of good health and well-being. What will you do with yours?

Writer:

step up and see what's around that corner

step up and see what’s around that corner

When the writing day is done, find a moment to reflect on this writing life. Calm the voices, the rejections, the expectations, the harried hurry and the long-ass frustrating waits, and remember just why you love this writing life so much. Recall the raw beginnings of it, when it was just you and a white space of whatever in the world you wanted to say to anyone who would listen, even if it was only your own ears. Find that joy in quiet reflection. Time is going to pass anyway. A year will pass, and a year from now, where will you be? Will you have written a year’s worth of words? Or will you have angsted yourself to a wordless mass of messy nothing-on-the-page-ness. Time will pass no matter what we are doing with it; make the best of it by stretching your writing muscles.

Work-out:

Night comes. Time to rest the body. Rest is as important as movement. A good night’s sleep prepares you for the next day’s challenge. Your body/mind deserves and needs this rest. Requires it. Be grateful for the body you have instead of fighting against it. Why would you dislike your beautiful self? Our bodies are a work of art; a gorgeous scientific biological wonder!

Writer:

When laying your head upon your pillow, remember to give gratitude for what you have accomplished. This business is so much about looking ahead to what we “should” accomplish, or what may come, or what we hope will come, that we must remember what we did achieve. Hold on to it, let it come with us into our dreams. “You Did This! Good for You!” Sleep. Dream. Going to sleep with a heart of gratitude will ready you for the next day’s challenge.

dsc09813-1Namaste, y’allses.

 

 

 

(post taken from a previous post. soon I’ll be writing original posts again, but this is a start to getting back to blogging regularly!)

deep creek hike 148I never know what to do with my poetry. I’m really not a poet; I’m a novelist and occasional short story writer. Still, every so often I have to say something in very few words. I have to create an image stuck in my head and heart and other innards that is poking at me and needs release — and it’s something that definitely isn’t going to be a short story or novel. So, unlucky for you dear readers who happen here, *laughing*, I am going to occasionally post them here on Sundays. That way, they have a home and aren’t gathering mold and dust upon my computer. It just makes me feel better – as if I didn’t write them in a lonely vacuum and leave them homeless.

 

 

THE KILLING SPOT

 

The deer pauses

early morning fog twining ‘round a100-year-old oak

whose ancient branches weary to the ground,

reach, touch roots, leave a bit of deceptively soft Spanish moss

to trail along by the action of breezes

 

and she that is alone

lowers her snout to dew spattered grass, sips each blade

a delicate pull of her lips, teeth bite down, chew swallow and begin again.

Silence knows her.

 

He comes on quiet paw

watches her from behind a young swarm of knobby cypress knees—

the mother cypress towering near—steam sears from his heated body,

saliva slips from sharp points of teeth, his tongue protrudes,

slicks along his lips

 

she lifts her head

trembles, the ripples vaguely discernable across her small compact body,

nostrils flare, a tear of moisture drips and falls to the ground

as one tiny hoof lifts in preparation for flight—

 

—and he is upon her

snaps her neck, one swift calculated bite finds its way to her death,

she is consumed,

the rest left as pickings for the scavengers who are patient,

waiting for her fall

 

He saunters away belly distended

the good parts of her he uses for nourishment

the parts he has no need are disgorged upon the earth

 

Her bones are licked clean

Lay bleaching in the sun—

 

And he returns again and again to the killing spot, sniffs, wants more

of what she no longer has to give.

 

 

–kat magendie

 

 

(I wrote this a few years ago – I need to read it as if it was written by someone else and then listen – yes, Kathryn, listen to this writer/novelist who stomped over her fears; who didn’t let anything stop her from writing what she wanted to write. Who didn’t let depression, anxiety, anger, or anything else keep her from what she loves, and what she is, frankly, good at.)

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10398086_10152474576124176_3232207411175342070_nBefore I was published, whenever I’d read about an author who wrote a book and never wrote another one, I’d say, “If I had the chance, I sure wouldn’t be hesitating. I’d sure be writing to beat the band!” I simply couldn’t understand why a writer who had the chance to have his/her next book published would not jump on that chance with all the glee and energy and writing writer write they had, especially if that book was a success.

Until my own books were published. Then came the understanding of how fear plays such a part in this business.

writer's blodkaAn artist and I were in a conversation about not letting the negativity get in the way of creativity. I said to the artist how we have to have the dark and the light in our work, but we have to make sure the dark is not someone else’s shadow. Much of what you hear after you publish your book is Everyone Else’s Opinion—if you are not careful, you begin to listen to too many voices/opinions. Finding a way to separate the “should not listen to” versus the “this will help me in my journey” is a difficult one.

cropped-emailed-002.jpgAfter my first book, Tender Graces, was released, I woke up with anxiety so fierce that my stomach tied in a snarl of knots. Fear of what someone may say about my work. That I’d disappoint readers. Some of this faded as time went by, but only because I stomped over it—how else could I go back to work? But it came again with the release of the Secret Graces, and then with Sweetie, and onward with my other novels. Will people still love me and my characters? Did I do okay? Are my words reaching anyone? Will I be loved?

Just Do It

Just Do It

My friends, I understand why some writers do not write that second book. An author can become paralyzed with fear. That fear can permeate and penetrate and become so prevalent that creativity is stifled. Imagine writing a book and being compared to other writers—but—imagine writing a book and being compared to yourself! Harper Lee, Stephen King, Oscar Wilde, Gail Godwin, Ralph Ellison, Margaret Mitchell, Elizabeth Berg—all have one thing in common: they wrote a book. What they don’t have in common is some went on to write more and others never wrote another book, or at least one that we know about.

If I had not stomped over my fears, skirted around the dark that is someone else’s shadow, ignored my terror, more work would not have come to me and then to readers. Writers and artists and singers and dancers and actors—all those whose work is out for public consumption and review and deliberation—must find a way to stop the: “I have to be loved by everyone. My work must be adored by everyone. I am afraid of what will happen. I am afraid of success/failure/mediocrity.” And instead, we must do what we love and do it the best we can and do it with love and hope and strength and honesty.

DSC_0052-001Of course, we must also do it in a way that sells, don’t forget that. Art aside, love of books and reading and writing aside, it has to be deconstructed into the business side of things as well. Heart and Brain go hand in hand in this business. What a terrifyingly fascinatingly wonderful sucky horrid confusing business!

dsc04492Am I still worried about the books I write to be released into the hands of readers? Well, yes. But am I letting that stop me? No. Step out from that shadow and show yourself. Be brave and hearty in whatever you love to do. How will you know what you can create until the creating is accomplished?

download (3)Cowardly Lion: I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks. I do, I do, I do, I *do* believe in spooks, I *do* believe in spooks, I do, I do, I do, I *do*!

Wicked Witch of the West: Ah! You’ll believe in more than that before I’m finished with you.

In the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and Friends quake and quiver and stare in respectful awe at The Great Wizard. The curtain hasn’t yet been thrown back to show the little old man who hides behind a great fiery bravado.

images (1)Dorothy: It really was no miracle.

Once the man behind the curtain is revealed, the magic and mystery is gone. The man is exposed and thus isn’t viewed in awe, isn’t revered as The Great One. He’s only a man with a few tricks up his sleeve that he’d used to his advantage. He must come out, show his true self (and all along his true self was wonderful indeed–he never recognized this before).

Sometimes it’s like this with writers. Or, maybe I should say it was like this for writers. The little old man behind the curtain with all his levers and buttons and devices used to project the aura of magic—an enigma and a mystery. But, somewhere along the way the curtain was pulled back to reveal just who and what was behind all the fire and booming voice and bigger than life image projected.

Wizard of Oz: Step forward, Tin Man!

Tin Woodsman: Ohhhh!

Wizard of Oz: You DARE to come to me for a heart, do you? You clinking, clanking, clattering collection of kaligenous junk!

Now, with so much exposed, writers are pushed out into the world, blinking in the sunlight, their mouths in soft O’s of surprise, turning this way and that to all who stare at them and say, “Wait just a minute here—behind that curtain is just . . . you? What’s so special about . . . just you?” And like the wizard, the author must explain him/herself and then offer up gifts to show they really do have something more after all to give, and not just all the flash and thunder, but something more—what what? what they ask, what more? Our heart, Our brain, our courage . . . .

With the internet, social networking blogs twitter Facebook, et cetera; the author can no longer easily hide behind the Wizard’s curtain. Most all is exposed. The awed revered mysterious respect authors may have once enjoyed can be torn asunder as the heavy curtain has been drawn back and people peer in at the levers and buttons and projected image paraphernalia.

images (2)Wizard of Oz: A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.

I don’t know what it felt like to be an author during the Wizard Times. My experiences have all been after the curtain was thrown back and the Wizard’s controls were set to “off” and the fiery veil died down to embers. I have been the little old man from the beginning—exposed.

Do love what you do? Do you love yourself?

Do love what you do? Do you love yourself?

I’ve shown my heart to you through my writing. I’ve given of myself through what I reveal on my blog or Facebook, or any other site I may wander through or write thereof henceforth et cetera.

I still hide—there are sides and parts and parcels of me that I keep to myself. But, open my books and I am an open book. My heart beats within and among and between the pages of my words and characters.

I give myself to you, my heart. Tha-rump, tha-rump, tha-rump.
Wizard of Oz: You, my friend, are a victim of disorganized thinking. You are under the unfortunate impression that just because you run away you have no courage; you’re confusing courage with wisdom

Artists, actors, musicians, authors, athletes—all have had the Wizard’s curtain pulled back, leaving them vulnerable to speculation, observations, opinions in a way that is much more public and personal than ever before.

Lately, I have run away from it. I’ve not been writing. Oh, maybe something here, something there—no, I lie. I lie, lie, lie! I have not been writing at all. I’ve been running far far away from myself. I’ve been denying the heart of me and I wonder: do you feel the distance, my lovely readers? Do you miss me at all? And then I feel foolish for my meandering thoughts, for there are so many of us! How is even one missed? I quake and quiver—I’m confusing courage with wisdom.

Because sometimes we just need a little time to realize we are human after all.
018_thumb.jpgDorothy: Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore

How many times have you heard someone speak about the “downfall” of a “celebrity” with a little too much glee in their voice? Or a sense of “Huhn, they thought they were SO smart and SO important—now look at them, they’re only just a little old man and not a Great Wizard after all! How Pa-The-Tic!”

What goes up must come down. The bigger they are the harder they fall—you’ve heard the clichés. There were those halcyon days before, when that writer/actor/singer/musician/athlete followed that yellow brick road looking for the wizard—some to unseat him, some to find out his magic to take for their own, some to find heart or courage or knowledge or home.

The stakes seem higher now, the road longer, the expectations bigger. What’s a poor Wizard to do?

Scarecrow: Come along, Dorothy. You don’t want any of *those* apples.

Apple Tree: Are you hinting my apples aren’t what they ought to be?

Scarecrow: Oh, no. It’s just that she doesn’t like little green worms!


Follow the Yellow Brick Road. Follow the Yellow Brick Road . . .
We’re off to see the Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
You’ll find he is a whiz of a Wiz! If ever a Wiz! there was.
If ever oh ever a Wiz! there was The Wizard of Oz is one because,
Because, because, because, because, because.
Because of the wonderful things he does.
We’re off to see the Wizard. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

There will be a new day in the land of Oz—old ways turn to new ways. Things cannot stay the same because the Land of Oz is changing.

images (3)Meanwhile, our Dorothy dons her ruby slippers and turns three times:
There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home; there’s no place like home . . . .

But even home has changed, for Dorothy herself has seen the other side, seen behind the Wizard’s curtain.

And she turns, turns, turns—going to some altered version of what may or may not be truly home, never to be the same again.

But after all, is that so bad? It is neither bad nor good—it is life and love and hope and fear and trying again and again and again and giving up and giving in and getting up and going forward.

Oh! Auntie Em! Auntie Em! I’m following another road! Where . . . where . . . where . . . where . . . where . . . ?

10398086_10152474576124176_3232207411175342070_n

(I’m continuing to repost earlier blog posts until I am ready to being new postings – soon. So, in honor of my snotty cold – eww – I repost this that includes Cave Snottites in Mexico. Hoping in the months to come to have some science, some book/writing related, some health related; whatever strikes my wittle fancy)

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134Where did life come from? I am here to explore. I am here to say what if and wow and imagine and Can you believe that? And could that have really happened and–to Discover!

Did we come from outer-space? Sounds weird, doesn’t it? Well, aren’t we now in “outer space?” Isn’t Earth a celestial body? We’re hanging about in the air just like all the other planets, stars, moons.

Imagine Early Earth as this fiery ball bombarded with meteorites and comets. What if the basic beginning of life was deposited here by those meteorites and comets?

download (1)Look at the oldest fossils found, a few billion years ago, and there were microscopic “life forms” that caused our earth to change from that uninhabitable ball of fire and raging heated lifelessness to one like we now know.  And how did they survive on the earth that was so roiling and boiling?– I like the scientist character’s assessment on Jurassic Park: “Life Finds A Way . . . . ” So, here are these tiny forms of life Finding Their Way, and what they did was transform our Earth! These microscopic entities created the oxygen that sustains the life forms inhabiting our Earth.

Sometimes I wonder: what if I were suddenly transported back a thousand years, or two or three thousand, how would my breathing be? What would the earth smell like? How would my feet feel upon the ground, my eyes see color and texture? My blood circulate? And if someone were transported forward to thousands of years from now, evolving instantly along the way, how would they breathe? How would their lungs and circulation work? What would the earth smell like to them?

evolutionIf one took the soft tissue of someone from a thousand years ago and compared it to my soft tissue, what would the differences be? How have we evolved because of the changes to our atmosphere, and what we eat, how we move about or don’t move about, and how we live our everyday lives in response to happiness and having things and not having things, to the stresses and joys and overwhelming possibilities of just where are we headed and how life is lived now and our responses to each other as humans with varied thoughts and beliefs—how would we differ from the earliest “intelligent life?” How has Earth Evolved? Are we only a big Circle of Life and Destruction? To begin and end and begin and end and begin and end, round and round and round we go.

So, evolution doesn’t happen in a sudden way where we can look and say, “Hey, I have an extra vein that leads from my brain to my spinal cord because . . . . ” Instead, the changes are insidious. Human Animals and Non Human Animals adapt to our environments. Some become extinct, some alter they way they fit in the world–survival versus extinction. We can’t remain as we are, and hundreds of years from now, what will our bodies be like? What will our brains be like—how will we see and hear and think and discover? Who will we be?

But, I digress; don’t you love to hate my digressions?

These tiny micro-organisms were creating the oxygen to change the atmosphere of our Earth to one where A Life Form would simply be vaporized if they stood upon the earth’s surface to one where we can walk along a garden and pick a fresh tomato and eat it while a rabbit sniffs the carrots and a butterfly sips from a flower and a tree shades a dog and a cat eats a mouse and a child is born and it is protected (or it is not), to where we can be arrogant about the very air we breathe.

In Ancient Earth, meteorites bombarded—carbon arrived. Things began to change.

downloadIf you imagine our sun as weaker, and that light from it was weaker, if you imagine the hydrogen sulfide and stinky fumes and the amount of carbon dioxide, this inhabitable fiery place—this sounds more like a Biblical apocalypse, doesn’t it? As if the End of The World in the book of the Bible is not really the End of the Earth, but the beginning of it. So, here’s this Earth with a stifling atmosphere and a red-orange color, and oceans that were a weird slug green color. Comets and meteors pounded the crap out of our Earth, vaporizing waters, creating this noxious rain, and it is in this environment that Life Finds A Way.

300px-Dscn1976aIn Mexico, an example can be found as to how Life Finds A Way. In the tropical rain-forest, in the cave Cueva de Villa Luz. In this cave is a nasty smelling place of hydrogen sulfide—much like scientists believe the earth was a few billion years ago, maybe four billion. Scientists study this cave, since they think it represents Early Earth for clues to how Life began. Inside the cave (and to enter this cave, you have to wear gas masks, for it is deadly), are these single-cell bacteria that dribble this slimy ick that the scientists call snottites—because, yes, they look like snot. How original! Those silly ole wacky scientists have a sense of humor! But, the snottites are “alive” and they are in that hostile environment, thriving.

Bacteria. The most ancient form of life on our Earth. They adapt to what they need to adapt to (and isn’t that a scary thought—think about it: we spend millions in attempts to be bacteria free—well, if these little organisms are that tenacious, if they are the origins of life, if they stubbornly insist on BEING HERE, then don’t you think they will Find A Way? Dang.)

So, the bacteria begin to thrive, grow, adapt, reproduce. In the single-cell bacteria there is a molecule of DNA—and we all know that DNA is the Code of Life—allowing them to multiply. Inside the snottites are millions of bacteria. And in this cave, which represents Earth billions of years ago, there are towns and cities and continents of bacteria, which depend on their environment instead of being consumed by it.

Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “Conditions on early Earth may have been far worse, but these bacteria suggest that primitive life could have thrived in extremely hostile environments . . . For more than a century, scientists have known that life is the result of chemistry, the combination of just the right ingredients in just the right amounts.”

downloadAnd those ingredients, folks, for every living organism, are: oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus—elements that are common in the universe, with our buddy CARBON as the Main element, good ole flexible Carbon (you’ve all probably heard our “carbon footprint” environmental stuff, right?).

imagesLife Is Chemistry—we are a chemistry experiment created by whatever you choose to believe: Chance or God or Both or All or Some or Chaos or Design or Science is God or God is Science or Big Bangity Boom Boom Boom—but we are chemistry, y’all. Beautiful gorgeous lovely interesting fascinating chemistry experiments.

Now go live the wonderful Earth life those bacteria worked so hard on creating for you.

I found this blog post from right after my father died and my brother and I went on a journey – an odyssey – and I was keeping a little bit of a “blog journal” of our travels —  little did I know how my life would morph and change in unexpected, and very big, ways–though, truth told, I knew change was coming; felt it in my bones, down to the marrow. I read this post as if someone else wrote it, and it contains a message for me. Maybe for someone out there, too.

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10274015_10152437219614176_2351572946895967498_nAs my brother and I left Blanchard Caves on our Odyssey trip, one of the tour guides said to us, “Watch out for deer. They come out this time of the evening.”

It wasn’t ten minutes later, as we carefully drove along an unfamiliar road in the soon-to-be-coming dusky dark, that I saw a deer by the side of the road and said, “Up head. There’s one; be careful.” We passed the deer without incident, both laughing at how we were warned and then there a deer was.

A few miles more, and I saw her. She darted out quickly and in the time it took me to open my mouth and yell, “Watch out!” she’d already ran right into Tommy’s truck. The sickening sound of WHAM! against metal, and our cries of “Oh no!”

deep creek hike 130 Tommy said, “I can’t go back. I just can’t.” The stricken look that formed his features into grief must have mirrored my own.

I said, “I know, Tommy. I understand.”

Yet, as we both said this, he’d already slowed, ready to pull to the side of the road. We both knew we couldn’t leave a suffering animal. We’d just lost our father and the thought of dealing with death of any kind caused our faces to fall into folds of worry and sick and sad. The Odyssey had barely begun and already we were ready to call it Done. It was all too much. Too much. Too much. And if she was suffering, what would we do? How to help her?

Tommy looked into his rearview and said, “Hey wait! She’s up! She’s running into the woods.”

“That means she’s probably okay. Oh I hope so. And Tommy,” I said, “even if she’s not, we can’t go searching for her in unfamiliar woods, especially with dark coming soon.”

“I know,” he said. And we went on our way down that lonely darkening road. The night tainted, unfamiliar. Grieved. It felt as if Tommy and I were the only humans left in the world. Visions of the beautiful animal hurt in the woods pummeled my thoughts. I know Tommy was feeling that too.

084After driving in silence for another hour or so, we began to worry. There was nothing out there but a smattering of farm houses here and there far back from the road. We were tired and ready to settle in for the evening. At last we saw lights in the distance, and we came to a gas-station where we stopped to fill up. As Tommy went inside, I looked around, trying to gauge my bearings, feeling disoriented and exhausted. There were a few men standing around but they didn’t look approachable. Another woman filled her car, but she had an angry expression. I felt uncomfortable there, as if I were an interloper upon their space and place and time.

Just then, a woman pulled up to fill her tank. Something about her calmed me, so I made my decision and walked up to her, “Excuse me,” I said, “But where are we?”

She laughed, and told me.

“Is there a hotel nearby?”

She laughed again, then said, “Not one you’d want to stay in, that’s for sure.”

At my stricken look her face softened. “Hey, look. You can go to Hardy. It’s a little town but it has a couple of decent hotels. And!” She smiles at this, “And! it has a Wal-mart and a McDonalds!”

“Sold!” I grinned at her, then said, “Thank you so very much.”

“No problem. Drive safely. There’s some construction on the way.”

A little over an hour later, Tommy and I were checked-in to a hotel, and set out to the McDonalds for salads and to Wal-mart for a few supplies. Our moods were lighter, our faces lit in relief.

I said to my brother, “I only wish I’d asked her name. She saved us a heap of driving into the unknown.”

107The next morning was bright and beautiful. Tommy and I prepared again for our Odyssey, our faces as bright and beautiful as the morning. “Off we go!, I cried, “Into the wild blue yonder!” We laughed, speeding off to the next adventure.

I think often if we’d have given up because of that evening we were so tired and sad and distraught. I think if we’d have consulted technology and sped our way to an interstate where everything is The Same, given up the discovery we had been so excited about—the old back roads using only our sense of direction and a paper map. I think what if we’d have said the trip was too hard, and we were too tired and disoriented. We’d have missed the Rest of the Story. We’d have never known the days ahead of that evening. We’d have slapped the face of the evenings before The Deer & Lost in the Dark incident when we felt as if the entire world was waiting for us to find little treasures.

The magical world of readingEverything doesn’t have to be easy. Everything doesn’t always go our way, or the right way. Everything we do has ups and downs, has disappointments and successes. It’s when we decide to keep going, to let the dark times teach us to reach out and to find The Rest of The Story, that we live the life we were meant to live—one well-lived.

Will you give up? Or will you find The Rest of Your Story?

ipod photos 082I done been here, and I done been there, and I done this and I done that and I done the other. I done thangs I never done before. I done thangs I haven’t in a long long time.

I been where I’ve never been, and where I’ve seldom been, and where I’ve left, and where I’ve said I’d never go, or never return to.

This here woman done seen thangs that made her speechless with wonder. Made her stop right there and say, “Well . . . oh my god.”

This here woman done done thangs that opened her up and turned her inside out bursting kaleidoscopic super-nova–KaBOOM! Ka-POW! Ka-BAM!

And I ate things I said I’d never again eat. I broke many “food rules;” like, never eat pork: I ate bacon and damned if it wasn’t tasty; I ate peaches with the skin on them and the juice ran down my arm and I licked it away; and my rule of never ever ever EVER eat in the middle of the night: welp, I ate cheesecake in bed with my bare hands (no utensils available–who cares!) at 2:30 PM in a hotel and it was GOOD! And I ate turtle pie at 2:30 AM in bed at someone’s house (something about 2:30, huh?) but that time I had a fork, and it was GOOD! And the world kept turning, turning, turning.

Nothing bad came of my rebellion against Self Denial–

So many things on the Kathryn’s List Of Things I denied myself over the years as I tried to control my world: POOF! I devoured those rules–I ate up those rules for breakfast lunch and dinner. I gluttoned myself on Rule Breaking. I stopped trying to control all the wild and strength and excitement and wonder and curiosity that I’d kept hidden from myself and the world. Hello, World–nice to meet you–how you like me now?

ipod photos 093I considered things I’d never considered. I reconsidered things I’d never reconsidered. I walked where my shoes had never been and tossed off my shoes and felt unfamiliar ground beneath my feet. I stomped in puddles. The ground didn’t open up and swallow me.

I drank too much a couple of times and lived to tell the tales though they shall remain secret. I became angry enough to break something that wasn’t even mine, at least twice–and that felt AWESOME! Though contriteness followed the breaking it still felt awesome.

Sleep was lost–lots of sleep was lost, but I didn’t care because it was on-purpose lost sleep.

Oh but I kissed without restraint.

And I laughed–a lot. I cried, but not where anyone could see; well, maybe someone did see but they understood the whys of it all.

The new novel was opened and I gazed at my words and I wrote many more words and I created new characters and I knew that I’d always do this even if, or though, I will not, or may not, ever make any really good solid money at it. I will write the words and the words will empty from me and then I will fill up again. Empty. Fill. Empty. Fill. Empty. Fill.–a metaphor of the rest of my life – fill fill fill empty fill fill fill empty FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL! OMG FILL ME UP, LIFE!

ipod photos 081Give me more life. Give me more love. Give me more people. Give me more food. Give me more new experiences. Give me more family. Give me more friends. Give me more lover. Give me more more more of the universe one two three blast-off!

There were the days that blazed brilliant. And there were the days that I drug my ass around in a daze.

There were old friends and new friends. There were people, and more people, and more people–and I did not hide (much).

For the last few months, I lived one hundred years of my life full out for nothing–full out for everything–full.

All the years I was the aging Rapunzel locked in her tower (where she’d locked herself by the way), I finally stepped out into the world and blinked and then ran towards everything I’d ever been afraid of–and some of it I am still afraid of but I’m kicking the ass of my fears. Kicking the ass of my fears. Kicking the goddammed ass of my fears.

Kicking the ass of my fears, y’all.

ipod photos 213

When Angie’s nekkid husband comes in (but we didn’t get to see him – lawd!) and Ann says she flaps around her house like a bird – well dang — and I receive texts that Ann interprets as inappropriate (because they usually are – teehee). But we do manage to stay on topic, a little anyway.

And yes, I have neglected my blog and for that I offer up only discombobulated grunts. One day my life will fall back into place, but won’t that be boring? haw! My life, right now, is all about exploration and discovery and wild rides and meeting new people and seeing new (and old) places and experiencing things I’ve never experienced because I’ve been afraid or busy or made excuses or was hiding — now, well, WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE HAAWWWWWWWWWWW! watch out, Kat (or watch out, World – maybe I should say!). All many of these experiences will go into my new novel. Yeah. WHUPOW!

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