Never got a Manual (or Perceiving is Detrimental)

Wants me broken; Wants me burned.

Washes my mouth out

With the script of right words.



I am a wild thing;

A cataclysmic song.

Break apart in earthquakes

When the perceptions are too strong to belong.

I'd be a super-hero.

You'd want me on your side,

If what I felt wasn't measured out

In so many wrongs and not enough rights.


Gather together

All ye manual laborers!

Ye students of the calm!

I never got the notice;

I missed the trumpet call.

When you feel too much is precisely when

You're to show nothing at all.

Be broken.

Be burned.

Memorize the script.

Memorize the words.

July Twelfth Two-Thousand and Three

I find that I fade out of moments and struggle with words I fear are wrong.

Caught up in upheaval,longing for the ability to keep my eye on the ball.

My dreams disturb me, the players never right, all the wrong characters coming and going, kissing my mouth and I blush, turn around, and close my eyes.

Where is the even-tread?

We stare into mirrors lovely, tired, worn, and console ourselves with pots of colours, with notions, with idealism run rampant born from a magazine.

I see a girl. Reciting words to her mother, "This means family, this means love."

She calls her mother a bitch, stares hard to hurt, her mother withdrawing in pain.

I watch that embrace.

I hate that girl, these girls, those girls with their mothers.

They do not know how good they have it.

We have the smoking gun.

We have so much to lose.

We have run hard to ignore.

We have our projections to share.

My revenue is dropping.

My profit is waning.

My status is under review.

My outlook is revised.

Here is a sprinkling of words that mean nothing to you.

I toe the line, I dive right in but without the optimism he tends to pretend.

You light my fervor

You stop my waning woebegone Sundays on fire.

You tickle my fancy maybe

you speed up my heart, a low-battery jump start and a Pop Pop Pop of my love is jumping out at me.

I would write you a song we all could sing and hope you'd remember me but I don't have it in words, just love.

Canyon Cake Maker

I was walking the edge of the canyon line-- Slipped and fell into that great divide--

All that caught me was memory and time;

A ledge on the outer edge of my mind.

I had been making cakes for everyone,

Watching them eat and leaving me crumbs;

A drill sergeant for an army of sons--

A mask so heavy it made me go numb.


I have dollars and plastic,

My head has a roof,

My body a bed and my body no bruise,

Fingers are warm; my belly is fed

But that means nothing when you’re fucked in the head.

Dare I long for more when at least I have bread?

When that far away child is quite close to death?

But who’s to say they wouldn’t want the same,

If they stood where I stood and had my same name?


Needed to find a place to belong--

Wanted to right the wrongs with a song--

The words they tumbled out of my hands,

And the melody left me for another man.

So just let me lay here for a long while--

Ledges are better than falling for miles--

My mind is slipping, my heart so tired

From everything of me that has been required.




Before I begin I just want to thank everyone who read and commented on my "coming out" post. Your comments were kind and a lot nicer than I thought they were going to be. A lot of atheists report horrible backlash when they finally decide to share with people about their atheism. Atheists are viewed by a lot of people as evil and lacking in morals. One study found that people distrust atheists more than rapists.  My decision to tell everyone about my atheism was, in some ways, directly tied to this stigma; I want to give a voice and face to what an atheist looks like. There are so many people out there who are atheists or agnostic (I'm going to write a post about that later) and most of us don't even know it.  

Now, on to the actual point of this blog post.


I wrote the song Stardust back in July (of 2013) sitting in a south facing 20th floor apartment in Manhattan. It was sweltering hot in the city; the heat indexes were some of the highest in recorded history. The apartment was only slightly cooler as the A/C unit struggled to keep up with the temperatures. The view, however, was incredible as the picture window took up almost the whole south wall of the apartment; the Freedom Tower the primary focus. And how could it not be? The southern Manhattan skyline once more dominated by a towering height of steel and glass. There was a guitar in the apartment and as I sat on the bed strumming the strings, I was ruminating on the damage that "faith" (a word Peter Boghossian defines as "Pretending to know things you don't know.") has had on humanity. All the things that people have done because "God" told them to, or because they had "faith" that it was the right thing to do. To be sure, it wasn't Christianity that brought down the Twin Towers, no. It was a group of people who ardently believed that Allah wanted it; people who believed just as firmly as the Christians; just as firmly as the Hindus; just as firmly as the Jews; just as firmly as the Mormons, etc. that what they believe is the ONLY right way to believe.

I thought to myself, How profoundly sad that most of us live waiting for an afterlife. That people think, "One day I will be in heaven and won't have to deal with any of this anymore."

I want to live for now. I want to die trying to make the most of NOW.

And so the words poured out:


Waste away in buildings built

To ease our sorrow, ease the guilt

Supplicate to the up above

Hate to say no one's listening, love.


Time was lost to a fairy tale

Forbidden fruit that led to nails

And born to see but rendered blind

By mankind to save mankind


Oh we're stardust

And we must

Make the most of this

While we're breathing

No more living

For after dying

No, I'll die trying

To make the most of now



Ate the body, drank the blood like

Every good boy and girl should

Babies raised on bread and wine

Let your little light shine

Oh let it burn

Let it shine

Oh watch them burn




The amazing Deke Spears, producer and musician and friend extraordinaire.  Shot with a Yashica Mat-124.

Below is a rough recording of the song that I started with Deke Spears. The song is still in its infancy. Deke and I recorded in the performance hall at KSU - he played the acoustic guitar and I played the gorgeous Steinway Grand piano and sang. We messed around with backing harmonies and then, later, Deke threw some drums and bass on the track to see how it felt. I'm not sold on it but it's all I have to share with you right now.

The gorgeous Steinway Grand I was honoured to play.

Please know that it's not mixed or mastered and most likely will end up sounding different. However, I've found that nothing I do will ever meet the standards I have in my head, nothing will ever be perfect enough, and so I need to get over my stupid self and share whatever it is that I have at that time. Capiscé? Hate it? Love it? What do you think? Be honest. Honesty is a very very good thing.

Many thanks, everyone.

[soundcloud url="" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]


( By the way, I know that some of you are going to hate this; it's going to make you very uncomfortable. I'm sorry for that and yet, I really hope that this gives you reason to consider why you believe what you believe. Stretch your brain a bit, it won't kill you. I promise. ;-) )

When I Grow Up...

About a month or so ago, I crept gingerly into our living room so as not to disturb my 4 and 1/2 year old, Hawke, while he was playing the piano. I would be remiss if I said that I don't hope one of my kids will be a musician of some sort and so I try very hard to not be TOO terribly over eager when they even go near an instrument. So, to hear Hawke playing and singing made me ridiculously excited. A creaking floorboard gave me away and Hawke turned around and saw me. "Mom, will you help me? I writing a grow up song but I don't know how to get it to sound wight."

I was delighted.

"Of course! Sing me your song!" I said as I surreptitiously grabbed a pen.

So then Hawke, in a little voice at first, that grew louder sang,

"When you grow up You are already big And you can sleep Wherever you want You can watch T.V. And play games When you grow up When you grow up

When you grow up You can be in a band And you can play Really awesome guitar And look at pictures And drive a car But not at the same time 'Cause you might die

When you grow up You can go on a trip On an airplane Beyond the sea Or maybe to the beach Or a pool Or maybe your house When you grow up

When you grow up You get to be Whatever you want to be When you grow up When you grow up When you grow up."

I tried very hard not to cry. I failed. Then I had him sing it a few more times so that I could learn the melody and figure out the chords. I wanted him to sing the song while I recorded it but Hawke would have none of it.

"You do it, Mom. That's your job."

So I used the Voice Memo on my phone to quickly record it. In the end Phoenix decided to chime in with some opera. You can listen here:

[soundcloud url="" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

A Bike. A Bell. A Map.

A Bike. A Bell. A Map. My youngest son, Hawke, and I had a little date at Historic Fourth Ward Park today. We used the restroom at one point and as I was drying my hands I turned and saw Hawke's silhouette in the doorway and quickly grabbed my phone.

"Don't move, buddy. Okay? Stay right there." I was quickly trying to get my phone to focus when he said,

"Mom. I want to get married."

"Oh you do, huh?"

"Yeah, I want to get married to a girl. And have a really awesome bike with two wheels and a bell. And a map so that I don't get lost. My married girl will think I am so cool. Right, Mom?"

I melted.

"Yes, little man. She will think you are so cool. I know I do."

I got the shot I wanted, too.

A Question and A Response

Last night I got an email from a lovely lady that I follow on who had written to me regarding this blog post I had written a couple of months ago. As I replied to her, I realized I was finally getting out what I had been ruminating on for a few weeks. I asked her if she minded if I shared our exchange and she wrote back to say that she didn't mind at all. So here it is: I was just reading your blog and listening to "Twine". When I started reading your post about Kicking the Fat Girl, I was utterly overwhelmed.  Even now as I write this, I'm fighting.  About a third of the way into it I thought, she's inside my head, she's writing about me.


All my life I've been the strong one, the supporter, the shoulder, the cheerleader, the one that stands up for everyone else.  Sometimes I feel like one of those people in the sport of curling, like I'm one of those people brushing the ice and frantically skating sideways so that someone else can achieve a goal. My parents divorced when I was 8 and my dad all but disappeared while my mom decided to live her own life with my brother and I as appendages. I had to stand up at that point and take care of my little brother and myself.  I'm going through some pretty intense personal struggles right now and I found myself ruining my keyboard while I sobbed over it.  

 Thank you.  Thank you for showing me that other mothers and wives feel the way that I do, that it doesn't diminish the strength of who I am to feel lost and shadowed.  That it's ok to take time for myself.







Thank you for writing. It means the world to me that you would take the time to do so.


Personal struggles? LAWD. I get it.


Your metaphor of the sport of curling is well said.


I have found that there are other women out there who don't necessarily think that being a mother is all they should long for, but it's like a secret that they feel they can't share or something. I've said it before, I'll say it again--I've just grown weary of shutting myself down to make other people comfortable. Hell, I need to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way, too. I love being a mom. Love it. However, I am an artist, too. I don't think those two things should be mutually exclusive but for some reason, they mix like oil and water. There always seems to be too much of one and not enough of the other. It requires a constant shaking to make it work and, frankly, it gets exhausting.


I am deplorable at taking time for myself. I tend to stuff and stuff and stuff and stuff and then--Zack can attest to this--I blow up and everything is way worse than it should be had I allowed myself the ability to care for myself in smaller increments. Does that make sense?


The other night--Monday night--I was literally so mad at Zack (and really, poor guy, he had nothing to do truly with why I was angry. He merely unwittingly lit the fuse…) I called him an asshole and stormed out of the house right after dinner. Ended up in a movie theatre parking lot where I sat -- fuming. Decided I'd see The Great Gatsby. BY MYSELF. BECAUSE NO ONE WOULD WANT TO SEE IT WITH ME ANYWAY. BECAUSE HELL! I'M THE ONLY ONE IN MY FAMILY WHO HAS READ THE FUCKING BOOK. ( And it probably won't be any good!* ) I watched that movie and ate six fun size Baby Ruth's before the previews had even finished.


I left the theatre and returned home three hours after I initially left feeling spent and sheepish.


"I left myself alone for too long."


You see, after the "Kicking The Fat Girl While She's Down" blog post, when Zack finally came home from his travels to Dubai and Istanbul where he was doing cool shit and meeting cool people and just generally being awesome, I crawled into bed and didn't leave for a week. There may or may not have been a bottle of Vanilla Smirnoff on the floor by my side of the bed. I was a mess. I was so tired. It took some time but, after that week, and going to my Dr. and getting on an anti-depressant, I'm doing much much better. I realized that a lot of it could've been avoided had I slowed myself down. The expectations I have for myself are so fucking high I think that, if I ever did attain them, I'd end up in the same fate as Icarus. I need to go easier on myself.


Which brings me back to the other night.


"I left myself alone for too long."


I realized that it had been a year since I had been in the studio. A year since I recorded what would become the two EP's, The Cracks & The Crevices and The Loss & The Love. Realized that I needed to get back into the studio again to pour out everything that has been building up in me. The pouring out is a pouring in of sorts. I have to spend time pouring into myself or I will become a bitter, cynical, shrew of a woman and I know that is not who or what I am. I have to tell myself, everyday, that my circumstances and surroundings do not define who I am. They do not. This does not always work. Some days I tell myself that and I might as well have told myself that I can fly if I just believe hard enough. Some days I tell myself that and end up eating my feelings in the form of Chicken Tikka Masala and a Coke and twenty-seven BBQ chips and a brownie (gluten free at least, I mean c'mon--I have standards) and oooooh! Are those Skittles? Good for me. I only had four of them. Packs. The small kind.


I marvel at Zack's ability to care for himself so well. It's not a selfish thing; it's not a self centered thing, it really isn't. It's not that he doesn't stress about stuff -- he does. However, he can just turn things off; simply, and without the wrestling around that I go through to get there. I honestly don't know how he does it. When his head hits the pillow every night he…get this…goes to sleep. I can't do that. I surmise that when my head hits the pillow my brain associates that with, "Time to think about everything ever -- in DOUBLE WARP SPEED. Time to make a list of all the lists you have to make! Aaaaaaanddd GO!"



I ended the email by telling her to keep an eye out for a thing I've been working on; a thing that, maybe, in time, I will share more about here. I signed it,

"Much love, in buckets, your way."

I sat there for a bit staring at my monitor while Hawke and Joshua and Caleb and Phoenix laughed and fought and bickered and played around me. While I watched Zack in our bedroom packing for a big job he has in Arizona this weekend. While I stared down the never-ending laundry (whoaaaa...whoaaaa...whoaaaaa...) in front of me on the dining room table. It dawned on me that I hadn't really given J an answer. Not really. Nothing definitive. All I did was share where I am and probably too much of my icky bits and that didn't feel like enough. Then I thought that--in situations like the ones we moms' are in--sometimes that's all we need. That in the times where the lines of where we end and our children begin starts to blur; in the times where we feel reduced to being mere drill sergeants; the times where we feel victorious getting to take a dump in peace; the times where our teenagers look at us like we're something the dog threw up; sometimes all we need to know is that we're not the only ones who struggle to remember who we are when we aren't caring for other people. And that it's okay to feel a little lost sometimes and like everybody else is a better mom than we are. That maybe you don't agree with Nancy Turner when she says, “The best thing a girl can be is a good wife and mother. It is a girl's highest calling...” That maybe you don't think it's the best thing a girl can be; maybe it's one of the best things a girl can be. It's okay. It doesn't make you a bad person or a bad mom. It does not. And if, at the end of the day, you have no one else in your life telling you this then I swear, you have me. Little ol' Meg, over here in my southeast corner of North America, waving my hands and saying, "I GET YOU!"

So, I thought all of this. And then?

I hit send.


“The great motherhood friendships are the ones in which two women can admit [how difficult mothering is] quietly to each other, over cups of tea** at a table sticky with spilled apple juice and littered with markers without tops.” ― Anna Quindlen


*It actually wasn't too terribly bad despite the fact that the movie portrayed Daisy as being far more interesting than Fitzgerald ever intended her to be.

**That would be red wine at my house.



Zack and I just arrived home from Cuba yesterday after spending a week there with Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. Zack was one of the leaders' of a group of people who all obtained special visas to Cuba under the People to People Cultural Exchange program. It was life changing.

I'm still processing everything that I saw there. Processing through conversations that I had, people that I had the privilege to meet, and the experience of being in such an interesting part of the world. I went because Zack didn't want to experience Cuba without me - to be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to fare surrounded by a bunch of photographers, but I think I managed to hold my own. I used my little Epson RD-1 that Zack purchased for me a couple of weeks ago; I treated it like a film camera (I kept the screen turned around and left the leather case it came with on so that I wasn't tempted to try and see what I was shooting), and tried my best to capture how I see the world. It was intimidating being the only person there who didn't really know what I was doing but I had a great time. There were so many fabulous moments but the discovery of the brilliant photographer Raúl Cañibano was truly the highlight. Zack and I, along with a few of the other workshop attendees (who I now consider dear friends), had dinner with Raúl and his wife Lisette and it was amazing.

Oh you guys, I didn't mean to, but I totally find myself being drawn to the capturing of moments with a camera. These are a few of my rudimentary photos from the trip.

You can click on the pictures below to see them larger if you'd like.

I cannot wait to go back to Cuba; we only just scratched the surface while we were there. I came home sunburned, exhausted, overwhelmed, and yet completely happy. If you ever have the chance to go; go. You won't regret it.


For those of you who are interested in hearing the full version of my song, "Polly", that Zack used in his short film "Signal & Noise", you can download it by clicking here ------> Polly The song is actually still a work in progress; what was recorded were merely ideas and rough sketches for a hopeful finished product. I started writing the song shortly after the death of my Grandmother, who passed away the day after Christmas this past year (2012). Her name was Vera, but was always called Polly, and I was mourning the fact that I did not get a chance to say goodbye before she died. There are no lyrics because I did not have words to sing. Just melodies, and the desire to use my voice as an instrument. When Zack asked if I had anything that could work for the film he was making, I played him a bit of the song and he liked it, so my dear friend, Deke Spears (who helped me produce The Cracks & The Crevices and The Loss & The Love), and I put together what you hear in the track.

It might be finished. It might not. I might leave it as is. I might change it or morph it into something else. If anything I feel that it captures a bit of the emotion.

What do you think? Should I leave it as is? Or give it actual words and fill it out a bit more?

Thanks for stopping by.

"To live in hearts we leave behind Is not to die."

Thomas Campbell, "Hallowed Ground"

Quiet Hounds :: New album on its way...

In a little house, on some farmland just northwest of Atlanta, my brother Hounds are busy laying down new melodies. Happily, I get to be a part of it. I am pleased to literally lend my voice and time to such a talented group of friends. Also, soon I will start the process of recording four more songs to bring this trilogy of EPs* project to a close. I use the word, "close" lightly though, as this process has been so much more of a beginning for me than I can properly convey.

I'm getting ready for this winter; hunkering down with good wine, good books, time in my new studio (more to come on this later) not a little chaos, as there always tends to be chaos in spades with four boys running about my house, and ruminating on what is to come. There is so much on its way and it is all so very, very good. Things have been changing in me. Much. A lot. More muchness is happening in me? To me? All internal, all in heart and head. The best kind of growing larger. Although, if I don't lay off the egg nog I'll be growing a little more externally, too. I'll write more when I have the words. They are there, just not quite ripe enough for picking, and I am getting ready to do some harvesting.

"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius." Pietro Aretino

*First was The Cracks & The Crevices, then The Loss & The Love, and soon to come, The Hope & The Hurt.

The Possible Impossible Project

IMG_9180Damn it all. I'm really in for it now.

I swore that I wouldn't get sucked into photography ANYTHING.

That's what Zack does. He's the photographer.

And yet here I am walking out the door everyday with my little SX-70 trying to capture moments in real time and not just in megabytes. Not in pixels.

I want something I can hold.

I don't do well with screens. I don't like looking at screens (she said, while typing staring at a screen), I don't look good on screens; I am not a fan of digital period.

Give me analog or give me death.


Thus, the beauty of the Impossible Project and the loveliness that comes from their effort to bring back the analog image. Muchly much joy is derived from the sound of the camera launching into action and giving me a picture of what I just saw. Never as I originally saw it, though. Always something elusive in how differently the camera sees what I see.

It's addictive.

I love it.


Calm Down or Up but don't Give Up


“Such is the pleasure of projecting that many content themselves with a succession of visionary schemes, and wear out their allotted time in the calm amusement of contriving what they never attempt or hope to execute." --Samuel Johnson

I am fighting hard against the undertow of stress that is pulling on me these days. There is much to be done, and oh, I will get it done, but it's easy to allow myself to sink into a kind of noble procrastination. By that I mean choosing "busy-ness" because it gives me an excuse to not dive into, and finish projects, I've started. Why wouldn't I want to finish them you might ask? Because, if I finish them, and put them out into the world, they might fail. I can't fail at laundry. Or chores. Or the various sundry of errands that I find myself swept up in. I am really rather good at those things.

So. I need the calmness of heart to push through my noble procrastinating, but not so calm that I fall prey to what ol' Samuel was talking about up there in between those quotation marks.

So here it is, a list of things that I am working on, so that I can be held accountable by the internetz.

1. A conference/retreat (a concreat? A Reconferencetreat?) for creative women, specifically geared towards moms. Even more specifically geared to those moms who have much in them to do, but haven't learned, or in my case, forgot how to, make time for themselves and their art. Who feel guilty even wanting to pursue it. More on this later. But you heard it here first. This one is a big one. In the next year. It. Will. Happen. My friend, Betsy Garmon is going to be involved, too!

2. The book I have been working on for about two years has now broken off into two different projects. The one I'm choosing to focus on now is centered around my my mom's death 21 years ago. Only now it's become something entirely different from a book. Much to my horror, it has morphed into a one woman show, complete with props, the portrayal of different characters, and the singing of songs. I've been fighting against it so hard. So, so hard. But I can't shake it. It's a persistent daydream and if I have learned anything, I have learned to pay attention to my daydreams.

3. Learning how to take real nice pictures. Not because my husband is who he is. Not because I want to be a photographer. I just want to experiment in another medium. That's all. Just stretching creative muscles is all.

What about you? What are you working on? TALK TO ME PEOPLE.

The Loss and the Love

I am sitting in good ol' St. Arbucks right now, in my little home of downtown Decatur, GA. I am wearing a sweater. And a scarf. Both of which make me so happy. I am not a hot weather girl. I am a boots, jackets, sweaters, scarves kinda girl. Today, on this very perfect 9th of October, I am releasing the next batch of songs that I worked on over the summer. When it was hot.

When I recorded the vocals in a hot warehouse storage/band practice area at night, because the sun had gone down and the heat of the day had dissipated for a bit. For the day. For a few hours.

Deke, my good friend, and my genius producer, constructed a little vocal booth out of blankets and a couple rolling walls. We would have a fan blowing in the booth in between takes to try and make it bearable for when I was in there. I can't listen to these songs now without remembering the heat and the late nights. The only time I will remember heat fondly, I think.

The song "Twine" with its green and white and its strings makes my heart swell.

"Lucille" was written after a particularly painful trip to NYC where I spent time with two different friends who were/are going through very difficult and/or growing (depending on how you look at it) times in their lives. Unrelated and yet not. Separate but always and ever together in these lyrics.

"Spanish Bombs" is a cover song from The Clash's "London Calling" album. I fell in love with this song after I was asked to cover it for an ATL Collective event last year. I suspect the Spanish in the song is most likely wrong but I chose to sing it true to how good ol' Joe originally sang it. I just chose to sing, "Oh my heart" at the end. Changing the Spanish to English to reiterate the beauty of the words. It really is a beautiful song. I just hope Joe isn't turning in his grave.

I sang the song "Sweet Hello" through 3 times. No stopping. No cutting and pasting of vocals. I think I ended up choosing the 3rd take. I wanted that song as close to real as possible.

I just got a notification on my phone that my parking ended. 5 minutes ago. Which, knowing my luck, means that a parking ticket officer fiend person, was standing there waiting on my time to end and is now gleefully dashing off a ticket to put on my windshield with a flourish.

I should go check.

In the meantime, please listen to my latest musical offering. I am already working on the next, and (for this project) last batch of songs. I'm hoping to release "The Hope and the Hurt" sometime in February.

Much love.

The Cracks and the Crevices :: Coming July 17th

Just letting you in on a little secret. Deke Spears and I have been holed up in the studio 3-4 days a week since the beginning of May weaving sounds around my little melodies; melodies made in moments stolen when small boys and a bit bigger boys have been sleeping. Quiet hallways and tip-toeing about, whispering lyrics to myself, and playing my Winter upright as softly as I could.

All You Want Is To Be A Rockstar

“All you want is to be a rock-star.”

“You suffer from delusions of grandeur.”

“You disdain motherhood.”

These three statements, made by a person I once called a friend, have reverberated in my head nearly everyday for six years. I allowed them to permeate my heart and there they festered and poisoned my self -esteem, my dreams, and my hopes. I let them. Heaven help me, I let them. I began to think that everyone saw me this way. That I was seen as a woman who was too much; who was too big; who wanted too much; who wanted more than I had a right to want.

This fact used to embarrass me. Why was I letting the words of this person bother me so much? Then I grew angry and I wanted an apology. But slowly, over time, I began to realize that these words were spoken by someone who didn’t understand me, who was riddled with their own insecurities and doubts, and, most likely, couldn’t stand to see someone think outside the box, to see someone decide to not be bound by what is expected of them. That’s when I began to feel empathy for this person. I thought about the idea of forgiving them. Then I thought about it some more.

Then I actually did.

All of a sudden I was free. Oh, it’s such a cliche isn’t it?

It’s true though, like most cliches always are.

A couple of blog posts ago I wrote about my time of solitude out at the Serenbe Farm near Palmetto, GA. It was there that I really wrestled through this. It was there that I had a bit of a break through over the fear and doubt that had been ruling me for so long. I allowed myself to rest. I offered myself some grace. Let myself off of the hook I had been re-hanging myself on everyday. I looked in the mirror and slowly, one by one, began to pull out those barbs that had settled so deeply into my heart.

I have always been a little afraid of the things that I think up. Since I was a little kid. The ideas that I have, oh boy - I have lots and lots and lots and lots of them. By afraid, I mean that I was afraid of what others would think of me if they knew what I dreamt about. I operated under a shroud of false-humility.  (Donald Miller has an incredible blog post about this. If you want to have your gluteus maximus kicked in a well written way, go read this ) I spent way too much time denying that I had big ideas, and big aspirations, and that I was talented, because one isn’t supposed to think that way. Somehow, (sadly mostly from the “church”. I’m pretty positive this pisses Jesus off big time) it was communicated to me that to believe in myself, to believe that I had a lot to offer, was wrong and vain.

When I got home from my respite at Serenbe, I noticed the manifestation of the time I had alone by the way my piano no longer mocked me when I walked past. It looked…friendly again. It wasn’t a reminder, a kind of remnant of what I used to do. Of what I used to love.  I sat down. Let my fingers wander over those familiar friends, those smooth white keys, and let the colours of the notes shyly step into my brain.

That was four months ago. I have written several new songs since then. Not all of them have been any good mind you, but they have been brought forth into the world. I have allowed myself to be creative again. I have allowed myself to dream big dreams again.

That is a big expletive deal.

Here’s the thing.

I got over myself.  I got over my dang ol’ silly self. I started thinking about the things I’ve said to friends of mine, who are seriously and amazingly talented (I’m thinking specifically of a conversation I had with my friend, Liz Chai), where I pretty much chastised her for not believing in herself. Where I said that she had so much talent, so much to give, and to stop comparing herself to other people who seemed to have it more together than she did.

Fuck Expletive ‘em” I said. “You are too good to hide behind doubt.”

I've been talking with my friend, Betsy, like I do, and she told me how she keeps a picture of herself at five years old up in her painting studio as a reminder to be that wide open. To be that alive. To be that free. It was in mulling over this conversation that I had a sudden revelation.

That I need to tell myself what I would tell myself if I wasn’t myself.

This is what came to mind when I decided to do that:

I am really, really, really, talented. I am good at a lot of things. And I should celebrate that. Not hide it. Why should I be ashamed of my talents? Why should I apologize for them? I have ideas of how to bring some beauty and wonder into this wide wide world; moments to sweep you away, dear reader. Moments to make you think. Moments to help you push through your past, to inspire you to create, to inspire you to fight off the same depression and shame that I have walked though. I want to do this because I need these things, too, not because I want any sort of accolades or admiration. Expletive that. I will do these things because I truly believe they have been placed in my heart by God to do. Ideas and dreams that will not be silenced any longer. And I want that for you, too. I really, really, really, do.

(I just used the word “really” six times. Just letting you know that I noticed it, too. And I’m leaving it that way so THERE.)

I will fail at some of them. Oh I will, I will. But I will not cower to that anymore. I will fail big. I will celebrate the losing. I will welcome the inevitable failings because, at the end of the day, I freakin’ TRIED.

Perhaps, you know, somebody, or lots of somebodies, will say that I suffer from delusions of grandeur.  Well then fine. If that’s the case then may I be deluded for the rest of my life.

At this moment I am sitting in small studio, on the Westside of Atlanta, literally one mile away from where, six years ago next month, so much pain was wrought in the community I was a part of. Because I made a choice to step outside of what was expected of me. I asked for a divorce from Phoenix’s father and chose to make a new path for myself. And people were pissed at me. However, out of that choice so much joy, and love, and growth, and hope, and life, and redemption, and FRUIT has been born. These songs reflect that. Some of them are old, from years ago, songs that I dusted off and welcomed back, and some that are so new they’re still teething. I can’t wait to share them with you.

I have made peace with the fact that I will never fit into normal. I am a messy-sparkly-clumsy-loud laughing-tight hugging-beautiful-slightly fluffy-funny-rubber faced-firecracker of a breath of fresh air.

Damn it all, I am PROUD of that. I've grown weary of shutting myself down because I just might make someone uncomfortable.

So now I ask of you, what are you hiding in yourself? What are you shutting down for a "someday"? What are you waiting for? Your children to get a little older? When you’ve lost some more weight? Who has told you that you are too much? Or, conversely, that you are not enough? (I think you’re allowed just a wee small moment of imagining that you’ve told them to go jump in a vast boiling lake. After that, though, you need to work on the forgiveness part. It’s kind of important. Just sayin’…) It just might be yourself telling you all these things and if that’s the case, may I suggest you do what I did.

Tell yourself what you would say to yourself if you weren’t yourself.

I dare you.

"All my life I had been looking for something, and everywhere I turned someone tried to tell me what it was.  I accepted their answers too, though they were often in contradiction and even self-contradictory.  I was naïve.  I was looking for myself and asking everyone except myself questions which I, and only I, could answer.  It took me a long time and much painful boomeranging of my expectations to achieve a realization everyone else appears to have been born with:  that I am nobody but myself." 

Ralph Ellison, "Battle Royal"

I was so busy trying to rest...

...that I neglected to post what I came up with creatively for June's word. It's crap.

Aw geez. It's not crap. I need to take that negative and make it a positive!

(Insert a turn to the camera, a big ol' wink and a sparkle off of my left incisor)

Here's what I came up with:

(imagine me peeking through my fingers as you look at it)

Thar she blows. I wrestled and wrestled with this one.

Not literally. Although I did just start to chuckle at the thought of me getting all WWF with it though.

"What was your process in creating this?"

"Well, since I was using a birch wood panel and not a standard canvas, I cleaned and treated the wood first. Then I added the white paint in small bits until I achieved the effect I was going for and then I PILEDROVE IT INTO THE GROUND! I threw it off the ropes of the ring and smashed it with a CHAIR!!!!!"

Wiping, wiping, wiping my eyes. Oh the hilarity.

I do not rest well. In anything. I find it difficult to sit in one place, comfortably and not start to feel guilty about the things I think should be doing. I suffer from insomnia because my mind will not stop cycling though all the things I think I should be doing. I am having to teach myself how to rest. Force myself.

I must do this or I am going to shut my body down.

Yes, yes. I'm in counseling. Hi, Sarah! (waves) ;-)

Tally ho! Onward to another topic!

Betsy* wrote me to let me know that she had selected the word for July. She's going to post her June word any day now.

And the word iiiiisss:


Birds! I love birds! Let's see what happens with that. In the meantime, stay posted for I shall soon share with you some things that have been pop-rocking around in my brain as of late.

It's 3:13am. That's stupid. I need to be in bed drooling on a pillow right now. You know, resting and stuff.

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." ~ Ovid

*By the by, I took Betsy's 4 week Art Journaling class that she teaches and it rocked my face off. If you live here in the Atlanta area you should go. Now. Do it.

Contact Betsy

P.S. I love the Ovid quote. I have been percolating over it for days. Thus the reason it ended up in the painting. I'll blog more about it later. In the meantime, does it resonate with any of you out there?