Wednesday, September 29, 2010


People at work are driving me a little batty. Everyone is coming up to me and saying I heard you’re leaving for Trader Joe’s! NO, FOOLS! I AM A WORD ARTIST NOT A DESK JOCKEY!

I’m leaving to get on with my creative life, to create the life I want to live. I’m leaving for the freedom to persue dreams, I leaving because this air-conditioned, beige cubicle is murdering my muse! I went back into my original Nashville-move journal last night and it was full of gems, poetry, beautiful thoughts, story ideas, creativity.

Now my journals read like laundry lists. “I am so sad and bored and stuffed up” blah blah blah. It is possible for a place to stifle a person but only if that person allows it to. And I have allowed this place to smush me. I officially unsmush myself.

Sure, I’m working at a grocery store part-time. A grocery store I love, that treats people right and provided free benefits and good options for good workers. I am learning to work at work again, to find my motivation, to be among the living while being paid essentially what I am paid here.

but I am also putting my art into the world, I am starting an etsy, I am performing a rock opera, I am freelance writing, I am poet mentoring, I am LIVING and I don’t need a big Daddy corporation to take care of me. The world is changing, work is changing and America has become a service-oriented culture. what service can I provide my community, my friends, my neighbors? Well I am surely not providing it here at a Christian publishing house. I am a creative free-spirited silly outspoken authentic artist and until I own that and live that I will be miserable and I will only bring those around me down. I am living for myself and for the betterment of the people around me.

Love to everyone and every living thing.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Throwing myself

Leap and the net will appear.
Does this work? We’ll see, I suppose. I am trying to put my 2 weeks notice in at work. But my current supervisor (only of the past few months when my boss left for Atlanta) is never in his office. Monday, he was out all day “waiting for the contractor” who never showed up. Yesterday he was out for a dental appointment. Today, it’s a different contractor issue and 10 am and he’s still not in. BLARGH!

But I have gotten a part-time job with Trader Joe’s (free benefits, yo!) and I’ll have the freedom to do workshops with Youth Speaks Nashville. My first workshop was with middle-schoolers on Monday. Inspiring kids to love and be creative with language on a regular basis is heaven to me. I felt absolutely magical afterwards. The writing exercise I gave them was so fun to read.

I am thinking of doing some personal archeology, taking it on as a project, with interviews and everything. After the writing group last year about ‘firsts’ I’ve really been interested in writing a memoir. I don’t know if anyone would want to read it but I’m of the ilk that if you need to write something you should rather than writing for an audience. I had a wicked crazy childhood, no sense in letting that story be forgotten.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Success Terror Alert!

I meant to post more in August. I HAVE NOT BEEN WRITING MUCH. And this is a travesty. I felt empty inside, devoid of purpose. What is wrong with me? I KNOW I need to write to feel lively and part of the Universe but still I don’t find the time.

Can I be melodramatic for a moment, please? Yes? Ok - Work is KILLING me right now. KILLING ME. STAB TO THE EYE. Everyone is gone. Everyone that is cool awesome lovely has either been let go or let themselves go to a new job. Yay. Good for you. I hate it here. Ok, not everyone but ALMOST everyone.

Kat and I are working on a rock opera together and its going well. I am having trouble getting into it, feeling like a part of it because I’ve been avoiding doing the work. Listening to the music in the order I put it in, feeling the storyline, moving within the art. Why have I been avoiding it? FEAR OF SUCCESS. Totally immobilizing and terrifying fear of success. Scarier than Public Speaking and Death. In fact, I love public speaking and within the past 24 hours have actually wished for death but you know what goes bump in the night? You know what terrifies me beyond all recognition? *shivers*

The thought of succeeding and moving forward.
Must. Defeat. Success. Wait…what? No. Must Defeat Fear. (paralyzed)

Do you remember freeze tag from when you were a kid? I wish I were playing freeze tag with God (The Universe, Great Spirit, whatever you wanna call it) and God would just unfreeze me and I could run like the wind to my most productive and successful existance.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

dragonfly unsettled

Today I went up to the roof to talk on the phone. On the roof a dragonfly was flitting around a rooftop puddle. Winding from back to front, back and forth, never landing anywhere. I’ve been looking for the messages in life lately and I love to see them in animals as noted in my last post.

Dragonfly medicine beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which need changing.

Dragonflies are a better metaphor for me than a monkey-mind. I think of monkeys as diligent, balanced and relaxed. So maybe its the words I've been telling myself. I've said don't have a monkey mind but I thought that wouldn't be a terrible thing. What I need to avoid is dragonfly habits.

I am like a dragonfly, flitting from one thing to the next, never landing for long on one thing and never resting. This is the habit I want to change.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Blue Jay fights a Bobcat


I’ve been riding a desk for 8 years. Maybe more, I’ve kind of blocked it out. There is now no denying that currently: This is My Career. Wow, what a scary thought. How does one shake oneself out of ruts like this?

Sometimes I’m not totally honest with myself and that contributes to these terrible ruts. Here is one example. I love the concept of totem animals. I believe the way you figure out your totem animal is to listen to yourself about which animals you are drawn to, which ones hold special meaning in your life and/or the ones that show up all the time either in life or dreams.

So for years I’ve thought my only totem is a bobcat/lynx.

Lynx people…have a tendency to be a know-it-all. It's important for all (including Lynx people) to realize that they do have the answers and the knowledge, it just might be hidden under the trappings of the ego or the desires of our emotional existence. Those with Lynx medicine are good at keeping secrets hidden, they are also excellent at giving advice to those who need to know when it is time for a secret to be revealed.

Bobcat people can see what is hidden -- and this ability
can make some people uncomfortable around a Bobcat person.

Bobcats…tend to feel resentful at having had to learn tough lessons on their own, and usually feel isolated. They are young with old souls.

But Snake and Blue Jay have been calling to me lately and when I looked up Blue Jay I recognized myself immediately. Bobcat may be my life totem and my guiding spirit but I have gotten sidetracked and I need this loud, obnoxious blue crow to pull me out of the muck.

If Blue Jay is your totem, you may have tremendous abilities and potential, but you must learn not to be scattered and neglect to develop your abilities to their fullest. Blue Jay people can become dabblers – a little bit of knowledge about many things but master of none. Develop your gifts and you will have unlimited potential.”

A boisterous and bold blue jay lives in my backyard. It struts on the carport and flies at the windows startling the cats. It leaves me gifts of amazing blue-striped feathers and Sunday, a special gift of a half-blue opalescent half-gray dull one that woke me up to my own blindness. Thank you, Blue Jay.

Friday, April 16, 2010


Ever heard of free will astrology? These are silly flighty fancy horoscopes which too often (for me) hit the nail on the head. I check it about once a month to avoid these kinds of reality checks. This week I did and here's the zinger: It's an excellent time for you to give more of your passion to fewer causes.




I have too many hobbies and I like ALL OF THEM but I have to stop. I am never going to accomplish ANYTHING that I want to accomplish if I don't stop having a monkey mind.

My brain flits from thing to thing, researching, exploring, investigating in an endless quest for ____ - WHAT? What the hell am I gathering all this information for? For someone? For Jeopardy? For all these books I am "going to" write but have no credentials for? Am I so nervous of appearing stupid that I am constantly gathering useless snippets of info on EVERYTHING so I never falter for one second in not having some semblance of an answer to everything? Am I truely facinated by the world and many aspects of it? The truth is probably some bastard child of these last two.

What I realized while reading Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers" is that the people who are really really GOOD at something have been doing it A LOT for A LONG TIME. 10,ooo hours to be exact. They are experts. And since I can't go back and DO something for 10K hours (except I have probably read that much and I am pretty damn good at that) I have to start to really group my shots.

What are the areas in my life where I want to excel? What do I feel passionate enough about to begin working on it for a theoretical 10K hour marathon? I am calling more focus into my life starting right this moment. I want to be an expert (if only to myself).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Darrel, the IRS super

Yesterday I had my taxes done at the IRS. If you make >$49,000 per year, the IRS has to prepare your taxes for you. Even though this often takes an hour or more (wait time), I love the security of knowing the IRS prepared my taxes and cannot audit me or otherwise say they were done incorrectly. They did it.

I walked in about 2pm, there are over a dozen people waiting but the man at the counter says “whatchu got?” and takes all my tax papers. He has tightly curled black hair and red-brown skin with (oh, my favorite) dark brown freckles. Very dark brown, like little chocolate buttons. Probably in his early forties, dressed like a jazz musician from the 30’s, slightly taller than me, soft brown eyes.
“You just walked in here?” he asked. It seemed as if I was over-prepared.
“Yeah.” I say and he doesn’t give me a number to wait (although most of the people in the room have these). Slightly concerned that I have no number, I trusted my gut which was telling me this guy liked me and wanted to help.

After about twenty minutes, he calls me up with a few others to go to another room where someone is preparing taxes. He keeps calling me by my first name and has a very tender demeanor. I wait in this other room for about 45 minutes.

“Julia! Are you still here!?” He says when he sees me. I’ve been doodling. “Oh you’re an artist! Look at that.” What a sweet kind man, when the tax preparer has some problems itemizing my mortgage stuff, he comes over to help, he laughs at my secret-unclaimed-beach-house joke. She calls him Darrel. He tells her I am an artist and asks (in earnest) to see my doodle again. Thank you Darrel, the sunshine on my Tuesday tax ick.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Crazy

Last night while lying in my vat of usual insomnia, I remembered the time when I worked for a brain-damaged psychologist. I was fresh from dropping out of college, confused, broke, living with my “best friend” Buzz who had convinced me I was a helpless idiot, dating a boy. It was a rough time and here was a seemingly together gentleman taking a chance on me. He gave me a job, paid me way more than I was accustomed to and helped me develop a skill set that helped me survive. Sure, he'd had an aneurism rupture and part of his brain removed, but he seemed ok.

But as I remembered the crazy things the good doctor made me do all in the name of the 9-5, I wished that I had kept a blog back then or a daily journal entry or something about the jist of what Crazy task I'd been given each day. As boring as it would’ve been to do, it would be nice to have a record of those things. And because I was so shut down at the time, the record would have been hilariously matter-of-fact. (example: Today I went through all E---'s possessions. These were shipped to me after he jumped off the Golden Gate bridge subsequently ending his 34-year existance. My task is to pick out the "pertinent items" for Dr.- to look over when he gets back. Having never met or even spoken to E--- I am not completely sure what the pertinent items are.)

But then when you’re enmeshed in The Crazy, its hard to see it for what it is. I probably wouldn't have known exactly what was Crazy and what was just work since I was so Crazy myself.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Starlings are an accident in America, one man’s obsessive love of Shakespeare has overtaken the entire continent. Those of us who love songbirds and the wonderful colors and twitter of our indigenous birds know the bane that starlings can be. They clean out a birdfeeder in an hour, flocking and pecking and tossing seeds. The swarm stomps our delicate grass shoots to flat green paint splatter on the muddy ground.

As a lover of all living things, I’m shocked at my idea of buying a BB gun but there it is. I want to shoot the little bastards. I’m tired of this! I think they kicked my woodpecker out of her tree! They have this evil way of letting woodpeckers make a hole to live in and then flocking them into giving it up! Isn’t that awful? They deserve a good buckshot. Ugh. I say that but the first time I hit one, and it fluttered awfully to the ground, the self-loathing would be unbearable. Anyone know how to convince these greedy bastards to move on?

My neighbors are putting in a Purple Martin house and I fear it will be overtaken by starlings then I'll have a family of them next door. I want my woodpecker back! I love her cute little red-mohawk and infernal pecking at the birch in the front yard.

Monday, March 15, 2010

writing workshop

This weekend I took part in a critiquing workshop at the main branch of the Public Library.

The creator of the workshop sloppily foretold in emails what s/he was planning. Declan, an obscure male traditionally-Irish name, turns out to a be a young woman. She is probably in her early twenties and proactively decided to begin her own writing workshop to built her resume. I appreciate the gutsiness.

About 12 of us show up, as soon as I walk in I see my son's grandmother. The woman who served us with papers filing for full custody at the behest of her son, who took part in the brief time when we were denied access to our child until the courts rectified that. This all took place after a painful and unfortunate accident that left our son injured, a time when he needed his parents (all of them) the most. I was shocked, but being who I am it was easy to hide shock and I only said, "hello".

She didn't recognize me at first then, registering shock in her wide blue eyes, she stuttered "I'm so happy to see you here."

It was all I could do not to say "I'm so NOT HAPPY TO SEE YOU here." I felt invaded, scared, irritated, angry. Then, I took a deep breath, let her sentence hang in the air and said something non-descript like "what a surprise."

In typical steam-roller fashion, I had agreed to share one of my poems at the first meeting. I waffled, thought of reneging then just decided whatever the world has in store for me, it will out. So I guess I'll go back next week. I am thankful that such a program exists in this city for broke writers such as myself, even if it comes with unwanted lessons in forgiveness.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

the iNterNet

The internet is freaking me out today. I was searching for a contributor online because sometimes our contributors fall off the face of the Earth and I still have to pay them. I stumbled across the website, ussearch. I'm not linking to it, it's too creepy.

I typed in MY NAME and it knows where I live, how many addresses I've had where and promises more information like annual income, value of property and current address (verified by utility bill payment!) arrruuuugghghhgh! Freaky!

So imagine I accidentally call some guy who is crazy because I push a 9 when I meant 6 and he gets pissed off and is will to spend $4.95 (!) to look me up on the internet and hunt me down because he's crazy and he knows the only way you get away with killing someone is by not knowing them at all! Of course, his number would be in my phone but only once and if the police called him he'd probably say it was a mis-dialed number. Then he'd laugh to himself at home, rubbing his hairy hands together and remembering my corpse. SO CREEPY. I am NOT friends with the internet today.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

5 love languages

A book The Five Love Languages has been rattling around my head for a few days. I haven’t read it, only heard of it. The basic premise is that there are five ways people show their love to others. Each person has a primary and secondary “love language”. Sometimes they are equally expressed, sometimes one is louder than the other.

The five languages are physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gift giving and quality time.

Sunday, I spent the day at my sister Hope’s house. Her son is an only child and he has everything he could ever want. Its not enough to have a Wii, he got an xbox. He has an unplayed guitar and dusty keyboard, both especially nice. Leather bedroom furniture, a 4-wheeler (though they live in a Franklin suburb with no trees) and a trampoline that he only uses when other people come over, the list goes on and on.

So I was thinking, are we training our children to speak in One Love Language? Gift Giving. And in so doing, are we perpetuating our extreme-consumer society?

My partner’s primary love language (I think) is gift giving. Her mother is a shopaholic (not casually) and the way they show their love in her family is to buy each other things. My partner, a broke musician most of her life, has always shown this sadness at Christmas time because all she has to give her family are home-made gifts, as if they are inferior in some way. To me, these are the best kind. Time is put into them, they are thoughtfully constructed for the person they are meant for and the maker’s love and hands go directly onto them. But I can see how being brought up in a home where love=stuff, the shiner the stuff the purer the love would seem.

I worry her side of the family will pass this on to our child and he will speak the language of “stuff”. Currently, he seems to lean to quality time and words of affirmation. He’s only three though, I hope it sticks.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Women and exercise

Three months ago, I began an exercise program to combat my 3 years of insomnia, my secretary ass and because I convinced myself that I have Mitral Valve Prolapse (exercise is the only thing that helps).

My company has a small gym on the premises, now I use it daily. Work-friend and I used to go to lunch sometimes or stroll downtown but I started working out on my lunch break instead.

“I can’t work out at work.” Work-friend explains when I ask her why she doesn’t come along. “I would have to take a shower then redo my hair and make-up. That would take almost an hour and it would just be too much time.” She complains about the hazards of “secretary ass” too but because of gender requirements she “can’t” exercise.

Then another coworker (overweight) walks up and joins the conversation. She agrees. The trouble it would take to reapply her make-up, redo her listless, difficult hair and unsweat-ify herself are too much. They both admit these are excuses to avoid working out, but what if they’re not just excuses?

Today while on the treadmill, I looked around the gym. Four guys sweating and grunting and huffing along. All enjoying sports center and completely oblivious of the fact that they hop in the shower, hop out and their hairstyle isn’t ever scrutinized at work. Their make-up never mentioned. Their non-interesting clothes choices regarded as normal or not ever regarded at all.

Women who wear make-up to work earn 20-30 times more, so that’s an undeniable incentive to conform to these gender norms. Hair and clothes choices are constantly scrutinized. I've noticed at work when I adhere more to a gender norm than I usually do (i.e. wear a dress, heels or make-up); people comment on it. Men are more likely to comment on "big" things like a dress or outfit, women notice little things like a necklace or make-up change.

But by this pressure to adhere to gender stereotypes, are women kept separate from their bodies? Do most American women never enjoy the amazing athletic possibilities of their muscels because they are wasting energy on trying to force their bodies to fit a societal idealization of beauty? I know feminists have been talking about this for forever but it really hit me today as I was sweating along with four guys in a gym which is a "company perk" in a company which employs more women than men.

Go throw the football with your daughter please, mister.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Composting classes

Last night K and I got a babysitter for the first time ever and went to a lecture by Eric Schlosser at Belmont University. It was a refresher course for two organic local-food-buying, non-junk food eating women (us) but it gave me a renewed vigor regarding composting.

Schlosser was talking about the guy who started the organic food movement in Britain, Sir Albert Howard, and how we are all interconnected to the soil. That in turn got me thinking about composting. I have a little compost plot in my back yard. It isn’t beautiful and in the summer it draws bugs but I love watching the eggshells, coffee ground, paper towels, broccoli stalks and other vegetable scraps turn back into this black soggy gorgeous earth. I love that I am teaching my son this by doing it with him. I love watching the birds twitter around it looking for goodies. I love that my trash never stinks.

In fact, our household makes very little trash. There is usually a week every month we have NO TRASH to pick up. I wish this was so for the rest of the neighborhood. I drive down the street on trash day and some of the bins are full to bursting and they have NOTHING in their recycle bin on recycle day, some don't even pull it out.

So all of this has me thinking about having a composting class at my house this summer for people in my neighborhood- especially kids- because they love to learn this stuff. Then as time goes by and more people in our neighborhood are composting start to have a gardening class. I always have a liberty garden with lettuce, spinach, herbs, cucumbers, pepper and a few tomatoes (tomatoes don’t love me and don’t grow very well for me). Very little work is required to grow a small garden as long as you’re composting because you are providing all the nutrients the plant need to grow by composting your scraps.

So that is my idea for the day, start a composting workshop at my house this spring and get people to have less trash and more beautiful rich healthy soil. I want to help people to begin to see that everything is everything else, we are earth and sky, that without bugs and birds and possums and bats and trees and lovely dirt we can’t thrive. We are merely surviving when we buy into this technological insanity and disconnect ourselves from the beauty and wonder of creation.

Monday, February 15, 2010

IGNORED: old people and young people

Old people in nursing homes are bored, I mean, they seem to be bored- and cranky. Kids in public schools are also bored and cranky. No one has time to listen to anyone anymore and the very act of honest conversation is going down the toilet. To remedy this, I think old people in nursing homes should be bused in periodically and assigned to kids in public schools.

I have friends who are teachers for Davidson Metro and they are now responsible for case-working a few kids. This is a new responsibility on top of all the stuff they already have to do. They work ALL THE TIME. They arrive at work at 6 am and don’t leave until 4 or 5 in the afternoon, there is paper grading to be done at home and they have to be available to answer emails from students, evenings of Parent/Teacher meetings, school assembly, all kinds of weird stuff. They work ALL THE TIME and now they are basically responsible for the well-being of a few “troubled” students as well. Way to overwork the overworked.

Old people have mostly gotten over themselves enough to be able to give good advice so I think this would be a win-win situation. The kids would get some much needed attention and the old people would have someone to tell their life lessons to. The only real downfall I can think of is a kid’s assigned old person kicking the bucket or being a secret molester. I think this would be supervised though, maybe like Study Hall.

So old people would sign up for this, it would be advertised in newspapers (old people still read those) and in nursing homes. PUBLIC SCHOOLS LOOKING FOR MENTORS! 65+ and explain it was on a volunteer basis, maybe provide a free lunch or something. The mentors would be screened and the kids would be given a self-assessment, then matched according to their interests. It would probably be expensive to begin it but once it got started I think it would work really well.

Parents would have to sign a waver that stated if you wanted your kid to attend public school you have to agree to this because it would be the freaky parents who would feel their “privacy” being violated or whatever over this that would cause a stink. Man, I wish Americans weren’t such assholes and suing each other all the time. We’d be less afraid of everything.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

trains vs. buses

If you live in Donelson and work downtown, I highly recommend a jostle on the train. The rates went down to bus fare price in July, only $1.60 per trip. I rode the Nashville Star today for the first time. From Donelson, it takes about 13 minutes and then another ten to walk to my office.

When I stepped off the platform onto 1st Avenue, the same intense connectedness that I’ve associated with the trains in Boston, New York, D.C and Chicago welled up in me and I felt like I was living in a city. A city! To call Nashville a city after experiencing the great thrive of big cities in this big country seems laughable but I felt it. The City-ness of it all and happiness and possibility seemed right there in front of me, chasing the frocked pedestrians and dark-clad queue waiting for the connecting bus. I wanted to run all 8 blocks to work chirping out how crazily wonderful everyone could feel if they’d ride the train with me every morning. I wanted to screen-print posters saying “Trains make people Happy!” and put them on every electrical pole. I wanted to hop back on and ride home again so I could ride back.

buses and I have never had the same heart-swelling relationship. I rode the bus to school for the first time when I was seven. I didn’t know when to get off. The bus driver found me huddled near the back, biting my fingernails (I’m sure) and walked me into the school where he’d parked and found someone who knew where I belonged. Unfortunately, it was my last school and the person he found was my previous 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Daniels, who did not like me at all.

At seven, I don’t remember thinking it strange that there was a teacher who didn’t like me and was very obvious about it. But looking back on it, the situation does seem odd and mean. Mrs. Daniels made sure I felt extremely foolish for not getting off the bus and explained to me what a bother it was that someone was going to have to drive me all the way over to the school I was supposed to be in. She made sure my mother knew which was not going to go well for me. Since then I have never liked taking a bus anywhere, but Trains! Trains are clackery thumpy stumble fun. I would take a train to the moon. (Although I’d still be nervous about when exactly I should get off)