THE PUZZLE OF SOLITUDE


The oaks and  elm trees are almost naked;  butterscotch leaves are face down, like half eaten lollipops. Lurching in the east; a mass of thick charcoal clouds without any wind to push them towards us.  This outdoor stillness and the hum of my refrigerator are subtle signals of the approaching hand of winter. The silence is like a cooking pot cover that secures my spirit into acceptance.  Listening to classical piano concerto’s, blue grass on Saturday, the blues on Sunday and rock & roll on Friday. Musicians are my guests, as much as the wild birds that pluck  from my feeders.

Sometimes, solitude feels like a draft and no matter how many sweaters I  put on, the seclusion tugs at my bones. There are a lot of us soloists that reside in Santa Fe. We are not questioned or scolded for our behavior, we are left alone!  If I am drawn into an empty canvass of what seems my destiny, I draw the opposite silhouette.  I am the light against the dark.   The green light in my head  reminds me that I have my teeth, my long legs, and some passion for almost everything that God and man created.  I just can’t decide which passion to follow. Should I do a  museum, gallery, lecture, drive to Taos, go to a concert, dance at El Farol, take Flamenco lessons, engage strangers in conversation, watch old movies, read more of the stacks of books on my bedside table. Should I interview the straggly teenagers in the park or hit up the high rollers? Should I write, submit or edit:  clean the laundry room, make a thick chili stew, iron my clothes or pick up leaves. Living unstructured is a discipline that threads easily some days, and when it doesn’t, I have to control my passion for daydreaming.

My daydreams: to inhale ocean air, to bogey board, to hike, ride horses, go to Lincoln Center, the wine county, Prague, Sicily, and Russia. My passion to be around little children at Christmas and stare at their patent leather shoes, and to eat pumpkin pie for breakfast, to converse on philosophy, the arts, social trends, and the interior life.  My passion for impulsive trips on the road to Kentucky and Tennessee, anywhere I’ve never been; I will go.  The obstacle I place in front of me; I don’t want to travel alone. I’m plain afraid. I’m afraid to fly more than two hours, my sense of direction is worse than anyone I’ve ever met, and I pack too many clothes to carry, and end up with a raw neck and numb arm.

Once in Annecy, France, I walked for hours trying to find my hotel. I circled the squareOld part of Annecy (France)

twelve times. I’d not eaten a meal in several days because my coin satchel was half full . In a moment, I just fainted and swooped down to the ground. A Frenchman was kneeling beside me when I opened my eyes. We sat on a little iron bench, and he offered to take me to dinner.  He was so kind, he kept bringing food to my hotel because he said I didn’t know how to travel.

The train of clouds are still in the east; fluffy white cream and silvery puffs of pastry. They too cannot decide whether to cry; or remain strong and commanding.

Dating is one passion I never had.   Even when it was as organic as sharing a cup of coffee or taking a walk after dinner. Dating now is about business and getting connected. It’s selfish sex with a price. I hear men and women tell me these stories and my response  freezes.  ‘Oh yea, she wanted $250.00 for a few hours; without sex.’  For  a woman she is expected to be complete; with independence and like total clarity about who she is and what she wants. ‘He  told me I had too much baggage; who doesn’t over fifty?’  I think we are always in an  evolution of  personal understanding of our experiences.  You can’t put people into cross word puzzles and expect them to stay there.

Now, hours later the clouds cried, and their tears pranced in a slight wind. I curled into my favorite club chair and watched a 1937 screw-ball comedy, ” We’re Rich Again.”  Like my Dad used to say;’ You’re whole life can change overnight.’  My bed is warm. My friends are loyal. I allow myself to write everyday.

REVERSE THE ORDER


There are themes to our lives. Sometimes a year, sometimes one single day launches the theme, or it may just tumble into our path unexpected and replace whatever we were holding on to dearly. The sensations leading up to my theme, reverse the order, peeked through the quagmire of disillusionment, frustration and mud heavy quibbling in my head. Reverse the order, blew into the quibbling, and straightened my piles of projects. Writing,editing, not believing in my word, leasing the house, getting into a relationship, deferred maintenance on myself and property I own, and sweeping leaves etc.
“ Stop writing as a means of self-gratification and start submitting what you have written. Leave the leaves to fall.

AUTUMN AWESOME SANTA FE, NM

AUTUMN AWESOME SANTA FE, NM

SACRIFICE


Locked up in the imaginary world of writing. It’s not always so accessible, so effortless, and when it is lock yourself in and give it your life.
The fall drapery from the window teases me with specks of sunlight, and leaves dropping like snowflakes. My spirit is drawn outdoors.
to walk, hike, run in its splendor. Sacrifice is how we finish our plays, canvas, book, song, and poem.

DIARY TO DIARY


I appreciated him coming back to look after me while I was temporarily flattened by a silly back spasm. I know that he would have preferred staying in Taos with his new lover. I also know the feeling of being split in two-known it for two and half years when I was with John. Sometimes I felt like Anais Nin who had a husband, she didn’t sleep with but who supported her writing, and then accepted her lovers like Henry Miller, Gonzalez, and Durrell.

That mixes up the cocktail of love so at one moment, you know whom you love, and whom you want to be with, and the next day, it is all clouded, opaque and vague as a dirty olive martini. It is frustrating to know that my love for Rudy is bygone for what we both need now. Sometimes, it just crushes me in the knees and I beg for answers. He is sheltering me from the truth, but I know the new woman in his life could be serious. I know that, because I know him so very well. I am prepared; at least I’ve faced the insertion of someone else in his life, who will encapsulate his time and thoughts. If only I had the motivation to script this, or book write it, because it is, extraordinarily unique. It divides the weak from the strong when it comes to love. Nothing ruins a man more than love, and I mean woman too. It is the one force in our life that can leave us heartless or make us heartwarming.

When life imitates art; I’ve read the diaries of Anais Nin so often, they must have invited themselves into my life.

MY MOTHER MY HEROINE


The throw of the dice this week lands on redefining one kind of relationship for another. It’s also called the breakup.  The words are familiar to most of us.  How we get there is unfamiliar. The exact path each of us takes towards intimacy, and then away from it, is custom-made. 

What brings two strangers together at 25 years old is attic material at 55.  The physical appearance and satisfaction meanders over the dips and dives.  All the quarrels, hardships, and difficult compromises are either dropped, or repeated without sustained anger and outrage. The arguments begin and end within 24 hours. There is a journey between a couple and neither one knows the final destination. For some it is an 8 week affair, others an eternal matrimony, and then there are couples who must battle the journey all the way.  For some unknown reason, two people love unevenly. With every other aspect of life in perfect order, the scenery, replenishment of necessities, even absence of tragic disorder, this couple will never find peace. They are unmatched where it counts the most. They are staring at opposite corners, refreshed by different tastes, and feel almost nothing that the other person feels, with the exception of the feeling they have of comfort and trust. After 25 years, you know where the rumbles and ridges are, and you know how to handle them.

You even get accustomed to the battles, and what defenses you can use. The drama though draining has a certain appeal, in that it is familiar. When the truth rises above the camouflage, you cannot mop it off.  It interferes with the loveliness of a yellowed summer moon, or a morning so beautiful that you want to hold it in your hand.  It is like walking with lead in your shoes, and you freeze the lightness in your heart. With this burden, you cannot balance all the other misadventures in life.

When I was 29, my wings had just been released.  I was alone, without any family around me, and I took the least familiar flight, and moved from my home in Los Angeles to Del Mar.  It is beyond the mist of golden memories, it truly was the most unforgettable 6 months of my life.  I had to rebuild everything from scratch, and in the process, I was building myself, step by step. That kind of work is irreplaceable, even the most adventurous of travel does not compare to rebuilding your life.

Now, is not much different from back in 1983, only I am not alone.  I feel the same yearning for self-discovery. A breakup does not erode the love, companionship and trust of a 25-year friendship.  With all those foundations in mint condition, you should be able to take on the new journey you have missed.

But! It is delayed for the reason that attachment is beyond emotional; it affects financial, social, and business survival. One by one solutions can be created.  Sometime circumstances of life create them for you.  Whenever I am stagnate, and unable to make a move, I have to think of my mother’s life.

 

MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT


I rose at 3:00 AM to turn the heat on, pick up my writing journal, and discern the week’s theme.

The house is unfamiliar at this time, as it is my first middle of the night experience here. I wonder for a moment if I should boil water for tea or coffee, and settle on decaf. Alice and Bugsy follow my footsteps, circle their feeding table, and then begin to cat play. Bugsy gallops around in circles and Alice watches. Their presence kindles the stark rooms. While the water boils, I step outside to the porch I hear the distant sound of pounding surf and sit down to listen. The moon is shaved from the fullness of the previous night, and reflects my own disposition.

The street is hollowed like a tunnel, the light of day is shining in some other distant country, and the sky is appears tinted with primer. Somewhere someone is dressing for work, breathing by the tick of the clock until he must report for work.

The draft of sleep lingers in my eyes, and my feet shuffle on the cold tiles, while I grind the beans and think through the remains of the week. There are themes to our lives. Sometimes a year, sometimes one single day launches the theme, or it may just tumble into our path unexpected and replace whatever we were holding on to dearly, and deliver something unpleasant, like sickness, or separation. The sensations leading up to my theme jilted my creativity, and the pages I wrote were jammed with contradictions, maybe they still are.

Thoughts begin to form and ruminate, what is important? The theme of my week began when I was informed a Frog’s member I knew only slightly died very suddenly. From that day on, conversations, books, and televisions shaped the theme.

I see what is in front of me, and I am dissatisfied with the surroundings. The temperature, color, textures and placement of furnishings is flawed, and I have abated good temperament, creativity, and affection. I have tried to replace my incompleteness with substitutes: new shoes, scarves, and half a dozen books. Ah Hah! I have caught the intruder, the inconsequential  arrangememt of new stuff.

Several more incidents aided my awakening. One came while reading Mark Twain’s “Following the Equator, A Journey Around the World.” It is a first person narrative of his lecturing trip on a sea voyage around the world bound for Australia and New Zealand. His diary pages are as powerful as water sprung from a fire hydrant; and I flowed into the adventure with him. A few days later while I was vacillating between reading and watching television I channeled onto a movie, “Shadows Over Tuscany.” Harvey Keitel emerged as a familiar character; a writer who has stopped writing. Along with the added irony of his resplendent surroundings in a villa over Tuscany, he still could not write.

I have settled into a corner of the sofa by the light, and now Alice is purring into my robe. Writing with pen is so different from keyboard, journaling is always with pen, but columns are on the keyboard. The next incident occurred in conversation with a woman who relayed her elated experience from meditating. She asked me about my own source. I understood that to mean what tranquilizes all the peripheral complaints, mental pains and wounds that lie dormant or at least manageable. Without thinking of the tormented hours, I thought of the comforts of exhibiting my life on paper.

The shallowness of that answer makes me uncomfortable. I return to the porch for one more gulp of landscape that I share with the stars.

The street is unfamiliar, a temporary scene like a bus stop, and I am merely waiting to move on. The neighbors are strangers, and stories do not blossom here. My desk is sealed into a corner of the bedroom, and too small to stack all my photographs, books, notepads, and dice mementos.

It is not the act of writing with pen and paper moving along at a steady rhythm; it’s the activation of the heart and mind, collaborating to unravel the relevant from the irrelevant. To reach this state of matrimony a writer needs not a Tuscan Villa, or a Moorish Castle, but experiences that flake off the skin, or recall of the experience that gives it relevance. A story is flickering at my source, asking to be written and I’m avoiding the introduction. Fear is shining like a spotlight on one end, and insecurity is the temperature that stifles my pen. It is not the cold tiled floor, and cramped desk.

I wrote a novel in a 99 square feet room that SC and I shared for a year and a half.

If I continue to roam around the task of writing this story, the intensity of irritation will escalate, my neck and shoulders will not loosen, my walk will be feigned, my smile forced, my heart longing for padding, my ego striving for recognition in the wrong places, and my soul roaming the hallways at 3:00 in the morning.

My spineless spirit that sends me out shopping for shoes, scarves, and earrings will finally halt. I will return to shopping for inspiration, courage and confidence that I can write the story.  folliesls@aol.com