Thursday, August 28, 2014

What I really want to say is...

There are some great lines from some fantastic films that reverberate with me, and at times I wish I could use them to satisfy certain situations.

Marc Whalberg is filming Ted 2 in Massachusetts right now, and my sister and I got to talking about some of the movies he's been in.  Inevitably, The Departed was first out of our lips.  Boy, there have been many a day when I wished I could've said...

Some other classic favorites of mine include just about every word that comes out of George Clooney's mouth in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?, but I really get a kick out of this scene.

Today was one of those days when I felt like Little Nicky when he wanted to kick the devil's ass in the pillow fight.  It's back to school time, and to your surprise and mine, some kids just aren't in learning mode.  *gasps while holding finger tips over lips*  I've asked this little bugger nicely to change his attitude, but he's apparently under the stronghold of Satan.  So, would it be ok if I do this?

I don't want to go all Breakfast Club on his ass.

Really, assigning detentions is more of a pain for me than it is for anyone else involved.  I have things to do.  I don't really want to sit in a room and stare at this obstinate little bugger for 15 minutes, nor do I think it will rectify the situation and prevent any future misconduct.  Maybe if I take a page from Rhett's book in Gone with the Wind, the kids will turn into teary-eyed Scarlets and weep themselves to sleep in hopes of finding some way to get me back.  Probably not, but who doesn't love this scene?
There is so much that I would prefer to say to these sassy little teenagers, but turns out much of it is not only unkind but unprofressional.  Alas, tomorrow is another day.

And speaking of tomorrow--good news! I'm back to working on that fiction book that I'm hoping to some day finish.  Because it's Labor Day weekend, I'm again offering the FREE kindlebook of my memoir this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!  Click here to download a free copy, and if you like it (or hate it for that matter), PLEASE post a review on Amazon.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Going Pecans --a blog dedicated to Gina Henning's new book release!

I'm not sure you know this, but I'm sort of a big deal on Twitter (@KSZ714).  I have 568 followers.  Calm down.  I'm not going to let the fame go to my head or anything, but I do feel the need to do a solid for my tweeps (that's twitter peeps) when the opportunity presents itself.  One of my favorite gals is the ever-adorable author Gina Henning whose new release Going Pecans is making noise the world over.  I'm sure that you're following her on Twitter and friends with her on FB, and you too have enjoyed emoji cocktails with her.

What?  You don't know Gina?  Well, stop reading right now and Contact her--she's all over the interweb:  Facebook Author Page   Twitter  Website  Goodreads 

Order your copy of the book here on Amazon link: Going Pecans

So Gina has taken on the task of driving this crazy train, and I am thrilled to hop aboard with all of the others who are headed for Pecans, Crazy-town.  I'm like a hobo on this train.  I've been to Pistachios, Macadamias, Walnuts, Chestnuts, Cashews, and Almonds so often you could put me in a can, toss me on a shelf, and market me as mixed nuts.

The truth is, I'm a high school teacher of English.  That's it.  There's my story of Going Pecans.  It started seventeen years ago, and the ride has never ended.  Oh, I'm also a mother of two toddlers.  Two girls--1 and 3.  No need for specifics, right?

Since I happened to write a memoir about a time in my life when I was the conductor of my own little crazy train, I've decided to share an excerpt of my book for this blog hop.  For those who don't know, I drove across the country alone in the summer of 2002 because I felt that my life was falling apart.  I was Going Pecans--seriously.  The weeks on the road allowed me to experience things that I had never encountered in my life, like seeing Old Faithful erupt, the awesomeness of Moab,Utah, the scariness of being alone in Burley, Idaho in a shady little motel, and the garish decor of Graceland.  In this excerpt, I had arrived in Cody, Wyoming to find that the major entertainment for the night was--of all things--a rodeo!  While I realize this might not seem too crazy to a large population of this country, it felt to me like I had entered another world.  I couldn't believe it.  It seemed crazy for a girl from a small town in Massachusetts.  The night was one of the most entertaining escapes into a little slice of pecans that I had while on the road.  It's a little more light-hearted than the rest of the book because there are so many ways to go nuts.

From Finding My Way Home:  A Memoir about Life, Love, and Happiness by C.K. O'Neil

For the first time in my life I watched in awe as live men in Wranglers and cowboy hats saddled upon ferocious beasts fighting to maintain balance upon their wild backs.  Others galloped on horseback with their lariats swinging wildly through the air chasing after the fearful calves racing to safety.  It was the makings for a Marlboro commercial where Stetson men and women competed for the lead role. 
Wrangler and Dodge banners decorated the stadium.  The event blasted off with a parade of horses circling the arena.  Upon each horse sat a man, woman, or child proudly carrying a flag representing a sponsor, an honor to our country, or a symbol of the wild west.  A clown with puffy hair beneath a red cowboy hat wore a white polka-dot shirt with extra large overalls and oversized cowboy boots.  He wheeled around his red cart of tricks to begin the show.  He was silly, but then again, he was a clown.  I giggled at first and then joined in with the roaring laughter of the crowd.  In a few moments, he exitd right and the announcer introduced the first hero of the evening. 
A loud rumbling ring released the metal gates to the left.  To my surprise a man on horseback charged out alongside a running bull.  He finagled himself close enough to grab hold of the bull’s horns then lunged his body somehow straddling both beasts.  Instantly he swung his legs from horse to bull and tried to steady himself on the back of the angered creature who snorted and bucked wildly.  Within moments, the cowboy crashed down and the crowd gasped, then released a slow exhale. 
A series of events from barebacking to steer wrestling, barrel racing, and bull riding continued.  Between each heroic feat the silly clown offered comic relief.  I enjoyed a beer and popcorn as I took in this sampling of life in the West. Another bell, the gates burst again. This time an angry bull with a strapping cowboy on his back bucked wildly about the arena.  The bull was shreiking and mad, yet the man rode him with determination.  He believed he would win.  It was a contest of man and beast, and this wild animal wanted the man off his back.  The bull dueled with impressive strength and jumped with the sole intention of propeling his opponent off of him.  In all of this tossing and jerking about, the cowboy never lost his hat.  It was impressive, but it was also the final performance of the  rodeo.  
That evening I thought about the vitality of the show I had seen, and the danger and risk involved in the daily lives of these cowboys and cowgirls. To the audience, these strapping riders appear invincible.  I watched them all enter the ring, battle the beasts, and exit victorious.  As with most people, it was their strength and fortitude that I saw, but their battered bodies and behind-the-scenes defeats are not showcased in the stadium.  I’ll never know the stories of those who were so severely beaten by the bulls that they were rendered crippled.  For it is only when the body has been beaten that others can see the physical pains we suffer.  We all, at some point, appear to the world to be something other than who we are—stronger, more confident, more stoic, more at ease.  Yet appearances are not always what they seem.  Outside of a rodeo, few have the courage to admit that they are battling an internal beasts.

Going Pecans Blog Hop
Please follow along and enjoy these great blog posts below and remember everyone that comments on every single post will receive a Going Pecans Recipe Card signed by Gina Henning, please be sure to include your email!
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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Watch your step!

Sadly we have returned from our family vacation in the Outer Banks, and I woke up this morning with a stiff neck and a sore back.  Yes, I made sure to keep up with my training every day, but the exercise isn't to blame for my discomfort.  "What happened?" you ask.  Well, I of course wiped out last night.  At a gas station.  In Connecticut.  Trying to walk to the door.  Yup.  I'm a major klutz.

Picture it.  It's 9:00 PM.  Two sleep-eyed kids rub their faces and whine in the car, and the husband is inside taking a bladder break and collecting sweets for the final two hours of our drive.  I realize that the little babe could do with a final cup of milk for the evening, so I grab her cup and rush over to show it to daddy before he makes his purchases.  I'm running the twenty feet from my car to the door so focused on the milk that I don't see the curb, thus I don't step up.  My toes bang into the cement and my body catapults forward into the trash barrel then ricochets back and falls into the stacks of pre-packed firewood piled against the wall.  My head and hand crash against the glass, and I imagine I look something like this.

My arm is scraped up, my toe could be broken, and my alignment is definitely out of whack.  I stand up and look around and there is not a single car or human being who witnessed my major tumble.  Really?  Nobody saw that?  Come on!  It had to be hilarious, and I wonder if the gas station has video surveillance cameras that we can rewind for a playback.  

I fall a lot.  Often when I'm out for a run, the little devil who dwells in the sidewalk will pop out and grab a hold of my ankle.  Sometimes I manage to twist free of his grip with a few long-forward-lunging strides, but there have been times when that little fucker has brought me down.  I've fallen down stairs at the airport.  I've fallen off my bike and broken both arms.  You'd think by now that I would slow down and watch where I'm going, but why would I do that?  

Do you have a fun falling story to share?  

Monday, August 11, 2014

I Hate Drugs

When I started teaching, I wanted to help change the lives of my students.  Be a positive role model for young women, open doors of opportunity in the same way that they had been opened for me--through books.  It never occurred to me that part of the job would be watching kids suffer from terminal illnesses, losing students in car accidents, or knowing that they are struggling with drug addiction.  I wasn't prepared to deal with these emotional hardships.  Many of my colleagues don't.  They hear the news, they recognize the sadness, they attend a service or send a card, and then they go on with their lives.  I wish I could do the same.  Instead, I get in way too deep.  It's almost an addiction.

Yes, I'm a high school English teacher, so it is no surprise that when I finish a book, I have a hard time closing the cover on the characters.  They stay with me, and we continue to visit with each other in dreams or moments of contemplation.  Theo Decker, the narrator and protagonist in The Goldfinch, still stalks the hallways of my mind mostly because I so deeply empathized with his emotional turmoil, which helped me to understand his drug addiction. You can imagine that if it is this difficult for me to move on from a fictional character, it is nearly impossible for me to forget about the real human beings I know and love.

That's why I hate drugs.  More than anything, I hate heroin.  Let's look at the year in review so far.  In early February, the public conversation about heroin began to shift in the aftermath of Phillip Seymour Hoffman's death.  Only a month later, there is an explosion of news stories about the rise in overdoses across the nation.  By April, many news headlines lead with the astounding number of overdoses in the most unsuspecting of places--small town suburbs across Massachusetts (where I live) and the nation are on high alert.  In April, Governor Patrick declares a public health emergency.  July rolls around, and still the number of overdoses continue to rise.  Now we are into August, two-thirds of the way through the year, and Worcester, Massachusetts is making the news.  Vacation destinations like Cape Cod are issuing warnings to vacationers because the number of discarded needles found on beaches is becoming a problem.

This scares the ever-loving shit out of me.  First, I have had several (no, not one or two, but SEVERAL) students who either died, ended up in jail, or really screwed up their lives because of heroin.  I teach in a pretty affluent, predominantly white community where no one would suspect kids are doing heroin.  But they are.  They were ten years ago when OC's led them down a deadly path, and there are still kids in EVERY town who are getting hooked.

Thankfully, some have successfully recovered and are living healthy and happy lives now, but those stories are not the norm, and I think accessibility is to blame.  The drugs are easy to access and heroin is cheap, but finding a bed for recovery is nearly impossible and a recovery center is outrageously expensive.  One former student who spent nine months at a facility in Utah said the treatment center cost upwards of $35,000.  Fortunately, his family could afford it and he's been clean for 2 years now, but his story is more the anomaly than the norm.

The stories of recovery, and the work of Chris Herren and The Herren Project, give me hope and a desire to do more, and then I remember the ones who have died and I fear that this war on drugs is impossible to win.
I think the game has changed, and heroin addiction isn't what it used to be.  It's children.  Sons.  Daughters.  Mothers.  Fathers.  Sisters.  Brothers.  Cousins.  Uncles.  Aunts.  Friends.  And I fear more than anything that one day it could end up destroying the life of one of my babies.  I can't say "that will never happen to me."  I wish I could, but I know the good families that have been impacted by heroin, and I know the amazing parents who provided healthy and happy lives for their children only to see them messed up in this deadly shit.

These people need help.  When I read the stories and listen to the interviews, I believe that these addicts don't want to continue to hurt themselves or their families, but the addiction is so powerful that they are lost beneath the drugs.

Maybe instead of dumping buckets of ice water on our heads, we could all donate the $1.99 it costs to buy a bag of ice to The Herren Project or some other recovery center to help save a life.  That way, the donation to ALS isn't compromised or reduced, even though all of the Facebook posts will be.  Maybe you won't get the 25 likes from your friends who watch your video, but you will know that the friend or cousin or uncle or sister or brother who is in trouble can *maybe* get the help s/he needs before it's too late.

And yes, I put my money where my mouth is, and I just made a donation.  I hope it helps.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

A round of Cosmos and Minolos for All the Ladies

I've taken to following these fabulous ladies at Forever Twenty Something. I love reading their posts.  And this recent one about online dating really spoke to me.  Oh, the days of old.  Reminds me of the time I received a text message from a guy I had gone on one date with.  Turns out he was a neighbor in C-Town, and we had met for about an hour or so of casual conversation.  The end.  A few days later, he sent a text message asking if I wanted to give him oral.  Seriously?  The guy was in his late 30's, and I'm guessing he was really only looking to move some ass rather than get into a relationship.  When I told a friend, he said, "well, you never know unless you ask."

I remember this episode of Sex and the City fondly.  I felt just like Charlotte.
Dating was all at once a boat load of fun, an escape from boredom, and a complete nightmare.  A seesaw of hope and disappointment. It's probably the number one reason why I will never get divorced--I'm kidding--I adore my husband.  Laugh, please, it really was a joke.

Before I met my husband (and likely after I watched this episode), I convinced myself that I was completely happy being alone.  I don't mean to imply that it was some make-believe story I was trying to sell to myself.  I really did like my life.  I traveled a bunch, had a great group of friends, went on plenty of dates, which turned into great fodder for story telling.  Years flew by, and I turned 34.  Still single, I was certain that I would never have children, and I was ok with that--even though many people felt sorry for me.

As much as I wished to find a partner with whom I could share my life, there was something really empowering about growing up on my own.  Over the past seven years I have spent with my husband, I have grown in ways I never would have imagined, but I wouldn't trade the years before 34 for anything in the world, especially since I had Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda to make me feel good about myself.  I've been fortunate in that at every stage of growing up, I've really loved my life, and that balance has helped me to have no illusions of grandeur about being single or married.  Both require a lot of work in order to be happy.

When I was young and had a more self-indulgent perspective on life, love, travel, and fashion, I spent hundreds of dollars on designer jeans and adorable dresses.  Now that I'm a working mom, I don't shop as much, and I treasure the times that I get to toss on the Hudsons and a cute top and head out for dinner and that one drink (because I have to turn around and drive home to the burbs).

One Sex and the City episode that has really stayed with me is "A Woman's Right to Shoes".  When it originally aired, I wanted to punch that bitch Kyra in the face.  I revisited it in preparing to write this blog and wondered if my perspective had changed.  Nope.  I still think she sucks, for the exact reason Miranda points out--she is a bitch for making Carrie feel bad.
What I loved about the show, aside from Carrie's poignant narration and the jaw-dropping lines of Samantha Jones, was the celebration of women.  Of friendship.  Of being single.  Of longing for love.  Of heartbreak.  Of being ok.  Each of the characters was a symbol of all that we should honor about ourselves as women.  Single or married, women have value, and we all flow in the directions of the rivers of our own lives.  Whether you are in your 20's and loving the early years of adulthood or still single in your 40's, or married with babies, or widowed, you are where you are supposed to be, so celebrate your life.  Call up a girlfriend and go get a cosmo.  Indulge on an item that makes you feel gorgeous because you are.  And you don't need a White Knight to tell you that.  Save yourself, and don't let nobody shoe shame you.  But more importantly, don't you dare going shoe shaming anyone else!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Some things to like about this thing called life

After last night's ugly post, I had a good rest and woke up with my precious little 3 year old love beside me. She crawled in at about 6:00 am, not to wake me up, but to cuddle for the last couple hours of her slumber. That's the best way to start a brand new day.  Her little body is so soft, and she curls right up into a C-formation, and I listen to her sucking on her fingers and watch her pet her lovey, and I can do nothing but smile.

So, I thought I would post a list of things that I've enjoyed of late.  I've spent a few nights this summer watching movies, and I really appreciated the outstanding performances of Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep in August Osage County.

While the story is dark and tragic, it felt real because of its raw honesty.  The beauty of the film is the depth of emotion it evokes from the audience because the characters are so real.  In the aftermath of the father's suicide, the family has to come together and pick of the pieces of what remains for the life of their drug-addicted mother who is dying of cancer.  Open a few bottles of wine, and out spill some jaw-dropping family secrets.  It is an authentic depiction of life, which to me is the truest form of art.  I loved it, not because it made me feel good--in fact it didn't do that at all.  But every second of the film made me remember that I am human and that life, love, and family are not easy for anyone.

I also FINALLY finished reading The Goldfinch (buy it here at by Donna Tartt.
The Goldfinch

What an amazing novel.  It's like three books in one, but it's worth the time it takes to read nearly all 800 pages.  The writing is absolutely beautiful, filled with description that evokes images and ignites the senses.  Though Theo Decker is (like Jordan Belfort) a scam artist, he is likable because of the regretful tone he uses throughout his narration.  Theo has a conscience, though he doesn't actually connect with his moral self until later in life, he gets there.  He evolves.  He is reflective, contrite, tender, and hopeful.

I've also registered for my first triathlon, (still time to register ladies) which I will be doing with a dear old friend from high school whom I've reconnected with via Facebook.  Sure, I've run into her a million times in the past 25 years, but those were coincidences.  Last week, we made plans to go for a run together, and today we're heading out for a bike ride. Without even trying, she swept me into this race, something I've thought about doing before but never followed through on.  For some reason, I felt safe committing to this challenge with her.  It feels like junior year in high school again, and it warms my heart to know that the byways of our lives have crossed again.  There is a sense of ease and serenity when life returns us to those we once adored but somehow veered away from in the choas of growing up.  A reassurance that our past is still with us wherever we go.  That's something that I really like about life.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I want my money back!

I hope I'm not the only one who feels that the biggest prick to walk the universe, Jordan Belfort, owes me some money back.  His smug face makes me want to vomit in my mouth.

<i>The Wolf of Wall Street</i>'s real Jordan Belfort.
Yes, I did it folks.  I watched The Wolf of Wall Street.  Against the recommendation of my parents, who said it was "all sex and drugs," I wanted to know what all the hype was about.  Granted, I'm nearly a year behind the hype, but cut me some slack, I can't stay awake for a 90 minute movie, much less a 3 hour bag of bullshit.  And who the fuck does this jackass think he is making a 3 hour movie about himself??????

So, here's why I am so angry.  This guy is a despicable human being whose greed and lack of any moral fiber robbed lots of people of their hard earned money.  He's a scam artist.  That's it.  And for some reason, I'm supposed to care about his life's story.  If you haven't seen the movie, don't waste your time or the $6 it costs to rent off Comcast because I would hate to see another dime going to this fucktard, drug addicted, scum bag.  There aren't enough mean words in the vocabulary of the world to express my absolute abhorrence for this man and his stupid friend Donny too.  The whole crew of them.  Here's a quick video to give you an idea of what the ENTIRE THREE HOURS is about...

His complete love of self.  Over indulgence in everything.  There were several moments when I wished that he would just overdose all ready so that the movie would end.  Don't get me wrong, I don't hate drug addicts.  I have a lot of compassion for people who suffer from addiction, but this guy is just a total self-loving, greedy, gluttonous, prideful asshole.  Did you hear the line when he claims that he was "very generous" with his money?  Really?  The hundreds of millions of dollars that you illegally scammed from people's pockets?  Wow!   You deserve a huge pat on the back for sharing.

What blows my mind is that Martin Scorsese actually made this shit bag's life into a movie as if the product had any artistic or cinematic value at all.  There was no growth, no character development, no moral discovery that the character undergoes which would have made the story minutely relateable to an actual human being.  The New York Times wrote a several page spread on him in which the headline's subtitle reads, "You can see why Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to play Jordan Belfort in the movie".   I don't see why anyone would want to pretend to be this douchey of a person.  Does Hollywood think the "little guys" are so envious of their luxurious lives that we actually have nothing better to do than sit around and watch these soulless, shallow, self-agrandizing criminals snorting coke off each others asses and banging prostitutes for 180 minutes?

I'm pissed that I was bamboozled into believing that this was a film of any merit.  I'm pissed that this ass hat wrote a book about his useless and wasted life, and I'm pissed that Hollywood turned it into a movie so that the masses could PAY HIM MORE MONEY, as if he hasn't screwed enough people.  He STOLE over $100 million!  

While he claims that he is a changed man, you can see him get all huffy about being questioned by reporter Liz Hayes in a 60 minutes interview.  Apparently, he's finding ways to avoid paying the reparations to his victims, and Liz is trying to get to the bottom of it. He's crying about "no one ever treating him so horribly", which I can't imagine. Surely there has to be someone besides me in this world who wants to spit in his face or kick him in the balls. I think if I ever met him it would be nearly impossible for me not to throw up on his shoes.

And the best part is that this piece of shit now works as a motivational speaker.  Come on!  What kind of world do we live in that HE actually has FANS?  I just can't take it.

I want my $6 back.  I want my three hours back.  And as far as wanting his life, I wouldn't trade my worst day on earth to be him for even a millisecond, but I wouldn't mind being able to close out my debt to Sallie Mae.  That's all I really want beyond the happy, healthy, and love-filled life I am blessed to have.  There but by the grace of God go I.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

It has to hurt if it's to heal

I love words, but the old adage that sticks and stones can break your bones but words can never hurt you is complete bullshit.  It defies Newton's laws of physics.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  If words can't hurt, then they also can't heal.  But they do both.  Words are powerful and painful.  Loving and hateful.  Kind and cruel.  And everything in between.  That's why a lot of people claim that they are not good writers.  Words are scary mother fuckers.  You choose the wrong one, take it out of context, add a different emphasis, and your compliment is turned to an insult in a snap.  Many people don't know what to do with that kind of power.  Some abuse it, while others try to control it, own it, master it, breath it, live it.  Give life to it.

I love words.  Even the stupid ones like big, fart, and moist.  Most of my life has been recorded in words, and it is hysterical to look back and watch how my use of language evolved.  The words I chose to match my meaning in 6th grade were simple.  Bland, but direct.

April 23, 1984

Today went smoothly execpt for Mrs. M.  She is a real jerk. (nothing new).  Something must of struck her 10,000 times.  I mean she was a jerk.  Tonight I did all my homework.  About the only fun thing in school is recess and VACATIONS.  At recess we help Mrs. G.  And on vacation we party!  I don't like all the subjects in school just a few.  Art, music, library, gym, language, and lunch.  I hate reading (Boring).  It is bad.  like my teacher.  Well times flying c-ya. bye-

(No date entered)
Dear Diary,

Today is the second to last day of school.  My teacher was wicked nice today.  I hate Michele and Stacy cause they always whisper about Mo and I.  I'm not talking to them at all.  

Bye bye for now.

My grasp on the dramatic power of words and appreciation for imagery and description evolved as I entered into middle school.

May 28, 1986 

Dear Me,

Today was a very terrible day, for one thing we had gym and music.  I didn't finish my french homework and Mr. V yelled at me.  I made up with Nicole and am worrying about my voice  So far in my life I've made out with 1 person, J.O. (gooshy & slimy)  I have a weird feeling inside me.  See me and K.L. were going out 4 2 weeks and that was a while ago.  Now I'm telling everyone I love M.L. but he's a dead cause because he's going out with J.B.  But I know deep inside me I'll always love K.L. no matter what.  I'd probably still be going out with him if I didn't waste 4 months of my life liking T.Z.  My life is so shitty i wish I was dead.  then I'd have no problems to worry about.  Well, bye.  I love M.L. even if I shouldn't.  

I find these entries hysterical.  They are the voice of a child long silenced by the passing years of life.  Had I not recorded her emotions, I'm not sure how I would ever recall that young girl.  That little me.  Perhaps we aren't supposed to, but then what is it all for?

Several events, whether banal or milestone adventures in my life, have been collected upon the pages of countless journals.  Reading the words brings pieces of my past back to life, if only for a moment.  Friends long forgotten are returned to me, and the memories of these scenes captured in words play in the theater of my mind.  My life's story.

Still, I continue to record my thoughts, for myself, for my daughters, for my readers--all 12 of you.  Each day I winnow through the puzzle pieces of vocabulary in my mind.   I  try to find the words that match the meaning of what I'm thinking and who I am.  Do they come together and create the right picture to show what I'm feeling, what hurts me, what heals me, and what brings me absolute joy and peace?

I found this poem midst my files, and it makes me smile.  I don't consider myself a poet.  I've made a few sorry attempts to craft poetry, but I struggle with the cadence.  The challenges of crafting rhythm and rhyme and diction into poetic form are greater than my lyrical talents.  It's enough of a struggle just to find words that flow together into sentences.

But this one, this one I like.  No, I love.  It brings me back to a place that felt simple and real, and I love that these words allow me to return to that place, even if only in my heart.

 “Midnight in the Kalahari”

I am white
Surrounded by dust
Connected by darkness and love
To a world that does not exist
A place that does not matter
A country?
A continent?
Is there a difference?
A distinction
So full of life.
What the world does not see
Kisses me good night.
The sun goes down
The night embraces all
Envelops me.
A million flashes crowd the sky
The magic flickers collide with the moon
The laughter of children
Traces the light.
No torch.  Only me.
Somewhere in the distance
Where I no longer want to be
Is home?
Is free?

 Yes, words will hurt, but they will also heal.