Friday, January 27, 2006

Vaudeville Frog

I am brilliantly efficient. I capture precision strategies. My brand of creativity is unrivaled.

And then I leave the waiting room, the lobby or get out of my car.

See, when I'm forced to sit still, my thoughts unfold into straight lines and sharp edges. With amazing clarity, I come up with opportunities for launching new projects, defining improvements on existing endeavors, consider new partnerships to forge, and recall distant relationships to bolster.

But as soon as I start moving, thangz get fuzzy. Not the ideas, so much; that faucet drips constantly. But the how of it all can get sickeningly coy: where should my first calls go? what kind of advance time do I need? what relationships do I already have in place? who could help pay for this? is this a realistic concept, anyway ...

Once the doubts begin needling into certainty, my thoughts unfold into languid, waving ribbons instead of crisp, hard edges. Makes me think of that Warner Brothers cartoon where the guy discovers a frog singing show tunes ... until they're not alone. Then, "ribbit." No more Broadway, no more high kicks, no more top hat. No more, until they're alone.

Just like me and my bright ideas.

But I'm used to this betrayal. In fact, after decades of working like two or three people, I know that most of the problem comes from crowding my poor brain with too many layers of too many tasks. I've only recently (like, four weeks ago) recognized that I'm reaching my own critical mass and need to engage other folks and resources to keep the machines churning. The rest of the universe saw it a few years ago ... but it's been hard to let go of things without feeling like I'm letting go of the standards and expectations I've set for myself, too.

Poppycock, you say.

Ribbit, I say.

And like the cartoon's stubble-faced man who was determined to get that damn frog to sing in public, I'm fatefully committed to expecting more than the most out of myself. Not perfection --gave up on that when I got a C in Handwriting in the third grade. I just want to be able to realize my every fancy and idea.

What?

It's not like believing in singing frogs or anything ...

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Preacher, Prostitute and Duck go into a Bar ...

So I'm on my way to do poetry in Iowa ...

Which lead-in sounds like a joke?

Well, the Iowa thing could've gone either way, especially when my gas needle hugged waaaayyyy to close to E as a result of the exits with gas stations being waaaaayyyy too far apart. Me digging out my teensy gas can, leaving my car abandoned on the rural road (I exited, at one point, thinking there had to be a gas station fairly close), walking miles in the dark, my right pinky toe humbling me to vow a forever allegiance to rubber sole wedge flats, and peeing on myself at the mere thought of getting snatched up by some snaggle toothed creep driving a Dodge charger, Mack truck or state patrol car.

No ... no punch line there ...

Instead, I put my car back on the highway and thanked God --in advance-- for letting the next exit be one with a gas station.

If it was humor I wanted, though, the Iowa City Slam was hilarious! There was a poem about belly lint ... a poem with steps for baking blood pudding ... a poem that came with a broom accessory ... poems with amazing metaphors and imagery "earning" scores of 3s, 4s and 6s ... and a spontaneous public service announcement against nerve-numbing sex lubricants.

... then the Duck says to the Prostitute ...

Best of all, I've adopted (and hopefully been adopted by) a few Iowa poets. There were three Milwaukeeans in the audience! Chillin' drove an hour from Waterloo to show love (We actually adopted each other a few years ago and it was great to see her looking/feeling so good)! I stayed up with Joe-squared (Slammaster Joe Mirabella and his partner Joe) until the wee hours talking about life, laughing at change, shuffling through Tarot cards and comparing notes on how we plan to help Ikea take over the world.

And did I mention that most of the IowaCity Slam audience were already organ donors? Go 'head Iowa DMV!

So, sorry, no corny Iowa jokes (oooh! corn. that one was an accident!). Just another wonderful experience on the road trying to saving the universe through poetry.

Okay. Maybe there was joke in here somewhere.

[this post makes up for the one I missed last week]

Friday, January 13, 2006

Hello, Friday

A new year can be like a new love: this one is going to be special. Better than the ones before. This time, not only are you going to expect more, you're going to be more -- more healthy, more honest, more assertive, more daring, more passionate, more thoughtful, more ... more.

Then, of course, January ends and you realize that this new year is weighted with familiar strains and tendencies as the ones you've barely survived before. You realize --again-- that upgrading your entire mindset or your life is much more than a notion.

Still, we set ourselves up for possible deflation every year. Even the folks who proclaim that they never make new year resolutions (and you posers know who you are!), even they have made a silent promise or two to themselves for a better world. Announced or not, broken promises are a drag. Especially when you can only suck teeth at yourself.

Knowing all of this, I still love January. It's a guaranteed block of 30 days where I can walk around feeling like a dream ready-to-be-realized and see my life and everything in it as endless opportunities for ... more.

Hell, I'll deal with the other 11 months as they come.

Like, right now, I'm attacking my task lists rather than re-writing them and delegating instead of over-doing and exercising at least three days a week and drinking my four glasses of water every day and not yelling at my kids every time I'm not in the mood for them to be kid-like and making myself more available and active as a friend and peeling back one more layer of myself for my husband and sealing off access to people much less worthy and caring less about protecting everyone else's feelings and calling spades for what they are and treating myself to special things and setting aside more be-still moments and giving myself permission to think like a warrior queen ...

Right now, anyway. If I'm down to half of this list by March, I'll still consider the new year / new love as "more." We gotta make new promises and set new goals to move a few squares closer to CandyLand. If we content ourselves to stay on our same purple squares simply for fear of losing a turn, we've cheated ourselves and lost the game. Yes, the game which truly is all about being on the board and playing with integrity and some conviction ... "winning" and "losing" are just the byproduct terms we all agreed to use.

So, this is my fraternal nod to everyone who has publicly or privately made a promise for 2006: celebrate yourself. You've spoken a potential new truth into your own reality. For 1 day or all 365 ... your simple promise to drop a habit or pick up a hobby confirms that you are living your life, and not letting life live you.

And if you stumble or detour or just downright quit ... well ... nobody said it was going to be easy. In fact, I invite you to remind me of that fine print when I fall short of posting to this blog every Friday. I may not be able to fully adopt the habit right now, but I've promised myself to give it a shot ...

... at least for another 18 days.