I used to love the holidays

They were a time of anticipation, of warm drinks and crispy nights where the stars all glittered with a promise of exciting adventures just around the corner

Life happens, as it does

Loved ones went away. Jobs shifted. Hometowns got shabbier. That bell ringer became annoyingly aggressive in front of the store. Instead of good will towards all, the mantra seemed to be, what’s in it for me?

The pandemic of sadness and grief settles like an ice fog over everything.

I want to tease out all the components that contributed to this and cleanse them of darkness, but

I lovingly hoard each dirty, grimy piece because they are mine alone. They are my companions, for good or ill. Perhaps one day, when the first daffodils poke out their heads from the cold ground, I will try to travel lighter, with less baggage and more kindness.

Until then, let me grinch and grumble, toast my irks, feed my peeves. After all, this is a time of giving, and it’s my gift to myself.

 

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scenic view of the trees
Photo by Alex on Pexels.com

There’s a curious freedom in dreams

curious and crucial

it makes for exciting scenarios, heroic actions, perfect endings with perfect partners

perfect skin, perfect teeth, perfect body

And just for that while, that vivid, fantastic dream period, the smile in the mirror contains all the wisdom that unlocks every mystery, answers every question that my fevered mind shouts into the void:  Two nights in a row,

My lost love reappeared to let me know that all those feelings never left completely

that what we’ve built separately could have never been accomplished together, because

Together, we were complete. Together, we reached the pinnacle.

There would have been no need to strive for more, to engage every ounce of energy in creating a place of serenity, for we were already serene together

And for a few minutes, I embrace the wisdom of dreams, the divine message of meaning and hope

that I cannot fathom when I am awake

And it feels quiet and good and perfect for a few minutes.

gift set 2

I have tons of ideas.  Most are good, viable moneymakers.  Others, not so much.  Recently, a walkway to a new school opened near my house.  It winds through the woods for maybe 1/4 mile before it ends at the unfinished school. Several kids from my neighborhood will go to the school when it opens, but parents are leery of the isolated pathway and likely will drive their children to school instead of walking with them.

So, my brainstorm was to offer walking services to kids and their parents for a small fee.  It seemed like a win-win in the first minute or so.  Then, my internal editor/parent/critic started up with fifty reasons why it would not be a good idea.  A few of the highlights:  what if it rains? What if somebody gets hurt? What if my ankle and back get too sore to do it? And thus endeth that brilliant, flawed idea.

My newest venture is soapmaking.  Actually, making soap is but a part of my business. I’ve started making bath bombs (whoo, boy, the kitchen smells like someone slaughtered a bale of crisp cotton) they are now curing in the laundry room. My coffee scrub is very popular with at least one customer. My next product rollout will be wax melts just in time for the holidays.

“Fail to plan, plan to fail”. I’m seeing this in action.  I’ve watched at least one hundred videos on every aspect of the soapmaking business, from marketing to packaging, and I’m seeing a pattern.  Successful businesspeople actually get out of the niche and generate more income streams with videos, affiliate marketing, instagram posting, and their original business has settled into a solid grounding, but not the only income they rely on.  Hmmm.  Interesting.  So, first things first.  I have gotten great views on facebook when I make videos of my processes. I will likely start making weekly videos on whatever I’m working on at the time in addition to building my product inventory.  I have a possible retail space opening up in a store in a very hot area here, so definitely, more inventory is in order.

Packaging.  I really am not very good at it, honestly.  My label making skills are somewhat on par with a toddler banging away on My First Tablet.  I spent hours yesterday trying to make one label, and it didn’t go as well as it should have.  So, I found a video that showed some easy peasy ways to wrap soap, and I thought, oh, yeah, this is the way to go.  Then I remembered that I cannot wrap a present, much less make a cute, tight little soap wrap.  So, I can go for easy and inexpensive, or I can go for easier but more expensive.

Right now, I’m giving away a lot of products. Most everything I ship costs as much to ship as what I charge, so what am I doing? I’m getting feedback on what works and what doesn’t. My beta customers will always be the ones who will get the discounts, the secret goodies, and the upcoming production runs and the new scents available.

I must be doing something right, because I’ve been waking up at 1 am every night, having an anxiety attack, hearing my internal critic berating me unmercifully.  I get up, get a drink of water, and go back to my recipe book in search of new combinations.  Sometimes, that is just too much.  That critic can get so loud that I feel like giving up, but then I remember why I do this.

I love it.

I didn’t get into this for money. I do this because I love to create.  My creations will sell themselves because I’m sold on them. That reminds me: I have a commissioned art piece I need to start working on.

 

adult alcohol bar bartender
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
Either the crazy never begins
or the crazy never ends

Irascible writers are blown by the
winds to their place, screaming or quiet

In life, as in marriage or writing or working or drinking or making love or sweating out a hangover

Desperate regret births fear
And so, safely in the waiting room, under the buzzing lights
we will read a magazine, toss it aside
pace and curse and commiserate with others
but
we will never leave that room

marsh

 

 

 

He tucked a cigarette behind his ear and stared at the blinding sand and the sad, blinding, dead-end strip of sand stared back

It knew it would win in the end

I watched his boot trace a silly amoeba, then dot a couple of eyes with the toe

and the sand stared back

There’s a silence in the country that pierces deep and dark and fills unsuspecting hearts with historical grief from hundreds of years of spilled blood and screams and ripped out hope

‘Stay here and suffer’ the silence begged. ‘Let it eat you alive, this soul stabbing pain’

He let the old rage come in and fill his body with pulsing red  He felt a high pitch of keening sorrow as it pushed aside the rage

it stabbed his lungs

He fell to the sand, the eternal sand

the wondrous grounding of soul came to quiet

He dipped a finger into the sand and tasted grit  tasted salt  tasted what was

what is  what will be

the beating of his heart remains connected to the sand

He felt dizzy and heard a drumbeat of the elders passing him a mantle

in the passing of a low rider

I’m full up, kids

To the edge

The salty brimmings

Move like a swimming pool on a cruise ship in heavy seas

You don’t see the source of the motion

Only the effect, which is the only thing that matters

Boats rock. Lives rock. Rain falls. Tears fall. The pool fills.

It sways to the edge and falls back

It undulates so gentle and easy

No way it could over spill

Every day it rolls, edge to edge

Rolls all night and rolls in the sun

She stubbed out her cigarette a few steps outside the doctor’s office

a defiant finger at good healthy living

her legs were cratered with sores, scratches, wrinkles

Her thin body spoke eloquently of liquor and smokes and hot dogs and hostess cupcakes and uncontrolled diabetes and a failure of an old man and boys in jail and girls with a mess of kids and who knows the daddies

The daughter was her twenty years earlier with a kid on her hip while she stepped on her smoke

I smelled old smoke, tiredness, failure to find the good life anywhere beside the sweaty validation of sex

It made me sad

The waves of seed puffs shimmied up heat columns and committed their souls to the air gods

I bet it would be fun to go where the wind carries me

I imagine landing in an algae pond floating on warm tiny waves

or skimming across the hot sand to surprising green oases

I could hear nature music

a samba

a symphony of ancient humming

or land on a speeding radiator that struts importantly to

big places, important places

to be rendered into junkyard dirt that rises in the fall rains maybe

Jade Literary Magazine

The afternoon breeze whipped a fly-spotted curtain into that peculiar fabric dance of letting go

I sweated and smoked, blew rings that vanished honorably like poets from decades ago flicked the same ashes as they thought drowsy thoughts and contemplated what words,

what words, what words

There aren’t any words. There’s just the bottle that drips time down to the table.

Time.

And soon, as the sun sets with orange and purple twilight chomping at the bit to bring its brief blaze of glory, a glorious interlude between sweating and swearing and yearning

to cool streetlights, nature night sounds, rustlings of words that sneak by in the dark

little thieves of time and comfortable existence.

Laidbackntx

*Talented work.

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I sling words with feeling without skimming on the surface like a cockroach across a puddle.

I get drunk and cry with my pen instead of writing about my tears.  Anyone can do that.

I drag myself through a slimy alley of darkness and live to keep it a secret.

I don’t have time to spout pretty words and platitudes and cocktail party phrases.

My life, my existence is this: every word counts.

Every stinking drop of sweat on this table is a poem. Every lamentation for lost vices pushes a limit. Every painful sunrise is a testament to being laid bare every night.

Every click of the compressor motor on the refrigerator counts down to the end, closer than the beginning, and I am alive to feel every second of it, taste every bitter dreg of it, lose myself in all the places where I don’t matter.