An Online Portfolio

Archive for the ‘Random Thoughts’ Category

Life is A Heartbeat

Please, press play then come back to read while it plays.


A few years ago I had an echocardiogram and as I lay on the examination table and watched my heart steadily beat I was struck by the thought that this action, one I barely even think about, represented the difference between living and dying for me. Only me. This heartbeat was mine alone.

Twenty-two days after conception, before your existence is even known, your heart contracts for the very first time. A movement that begins the machine that is your body, and it continues beating with the same movement of muscle tissue throughout your entire life. It’s with you as you gasp your first breath at birth, grows with you as you run and play as a child, it might skip a beat at the sight of your true love and it surely aches during times of loss. It’s truly the only constant throughout your life, and the moment your heartbeat stops marks the end of your existence on this earth.

What a magical thing.

I don’t know when a soul enters a body or when “life” begins, that’s not what this post is about. I just know the function your heart performs is bigger than just mechanical and when this one small, naturally-occurring, automatic action stops our bodies stop, too.

What a profound thing, the heart.

The Promise of What’s to Come

Life poured from the grey clouds above,

sending colors to bloom in the parched fields below.

Find Your Own Way

I started a new book today. It’s about a woman adventurer named Emily Hahn and her spirit spoke to me in the very first paragraph.

Emily Hahn and her monkey, Mr. Mills.

“During the Great Depression, a male colleague cautioned Emily Hahn to “be careful” when she quit her $25-a-week teaching job, left New York and went looking for adventure in the African jungles. “I still don’t know what he meant,” she said sixty years later.”   – Emily Hahn: Nobody Told Me Not to Go by Ken Cuthbertson

Embarking on any new adventure will always invite detractors who, knowingly or not, have the potential to derail you from whatever it is that is calling your soul. Shut out those voices with all the energy you can muster because the words they speak are the same words they use to hold themselves in their own prisons of horrible jobs, relationships, etc. Each person is unique onto themselves and their goals in life should naturally reflect those differences. So, be supportive of your friends’ dreams while chasing down your own.

I’ll tell you more about this fascinating woman after I read the book.

Wild Banshees

The natives were restless that afternoon. Running around their primitive structures with wild abandon, screaming unintelligible words that caused my blood to curdle. Plumes of dirt puffed up from under their stomping feet as they danced around me with jerky movements that made no sense.

Dread flooded my heart.

As the group circled around I recognized one of them. I’d known him for two years and he’d shown me mercy in the past. I reached out a hand but he ignored me, caught up in the energy of the ritual.

Behind him a girl caught my attention and we made eye contact. For a second we were connected and I thought—hoped–I had another chance to escape this madness. My hopes were dashed when she opened her mouth to let out a shriek that sent shivers up my spine. Turning on her heels, she ran in the opposite direction and the others followed, crashing into one another as they righted themselves with the new rotation.

I looked around at the other parents and a collective sigh escaped us. It was going to be a long day at the playground.

Opposite Sides; Same Coin

Every once in a while I’m asked my opinion about this or that in a political context and a feeling of unease inevitably comes over me. I think to myself:  How can I state my beliefs in a way that will be accepted without the conversation getting derailed into a black & white death match?

This sticky situation stems from the common misconceptions about the state where I spent my formative years and the state where I’ve chosen to live as an adult. You see, I’m the product of a mixed cultural marriage between Kansas, a decidedly conservative state, and Oregon, a state that is equally rooted in liberal views. So, some wonder, “Is she with us or them?” Stupid, isn’t it?

Well, here’s my answer… I think there are way too many people in the country today who only experience what is put before them. They get one view of our world and accept everything they hear from those sources. I’ve seen this on both sides of the fence. Conservative friends have inquired about “my liberal views” and liberal friends have automatically assigned conservative beliefs to me that are not mine. Of course, I have views…about everything, but they never quite fit what people assume. Maybe that’s why I’m so inspired by the duality of life’s struggles and comparisons of opposites in my writing. Usually, the thought that I leave with after having a political/cultural conversation is: Wow! People really don’t know or appreciate their own country or the people who populate it.

Not that I know everything–I would never be so presumptuous to claim that. Even when I’m ‘in the moment’ and feel like I have an inspired insight I still, deep down, say to myself, “But, what do I know?”

So, what DO I know? There are really only three things and here they are:

1) All people want a decent life. A good life. Some people are lucky and get it; some people are not lucky and for many reasons don’t get it but every single person wants to be happy and healthy and feel loved.

2)  We’re all in this together, so we’d better get it together.


3)  In the end, what I really know is that I truly know nothing and I take comfort in the words of Confucius who so wisely said, “Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”

Thank You!

Thanks to all who’ve viewed, subscribed, and commented on my blog this year!

My writing goals for the upcoming year are:

1) Post an entry to this blog every week.

2) Once a month post a chapter to my new Sci-Fi blog.

3) Continue to work on The Byzantine Cross and submit a portion to a professional critic for review.

4) Continue to pursue professional growth through writing association events, writing groups, and from other aspiring writers.

May 2012 bring you much happiness and many blessings!!

Mom’s Music

I’m listening to classical music right now.

I listen to all kinds of music while I’m writing, often picking particular styles that set the mood for whatever I’m working on at the time. I don’t know why I picked classical today but it just so happens the first piece to come up features a pianist.

As I’m trying to concentrate there is a thing deep inside me that makes itself known. Not a voice, although it certainly speaks to me. Not even a feeling, really. Just a knowing…

It’s my mother.

My mom passed away almost ten years ago and for those who knew her personally I’m sure it comes as no surprise that the sound of a piano instantly brings her back to life in my mind. Music was a big part of her life. As was I. If only two things could be said about my mom they would be, above all else, she loved her kids and she loved music.

Thank you, Mom.

Now that I’m writing I can understand why she felt so connected to her music. Just like putting pen to paper is for me, playing music transferred her to a different world…heart and soul. When she heard the notes rolling gently along, building then receding, they spoke to her in a language only she could understand. It is the most intimate thing in the world. It was her poetry.

The image of her at the piano keeps popping up in my head. Her back is to me, her hands fanned out across the keys. They move with the grace of someone who is part of the music…not the clumsy, clunking poking at them like I do. She felt each and every note she played.

In a way, I see her music in my writing. The ebb and flow of the story, the pace and tone…it’s there. The way a sentence reads, letting it lead to the next thing. The images. For me, I must feel what my characters are feeling. I have to experience their emotions myself in order to express them in my writing. Sometimes that’s a bit scary…like right now.

I see her finishing now…just as I’m about to. She lifts her fingers from the keys gently, letting the music fade off into nothingness…

Just as she does…

Tag Cloud