If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.-—Joseph Campbell

With Two Voices

How much can you do with two voices? You can sing thirds or you can sing fifths or you can do a background harmony.  Paul Simon

I just texted my friends on the street corner. They are protesting the painting over of their street art. Power to the people. Does that mean I want their art? I don’t know…I want to hear their voices! I want to hear mine with theirs!

Later today I will write with a young woman who wants to be a writer, but isn’t writing. We will write timed writings together. The topics from Natalie Goldberg: 1. I’m looking at…and 2. I’m thinking of… I want to hear her writings. I want to hear mine with hers.

Life as Story

The world isn’t just the way it is. It is how we understand it, no? And in understanding something, we bring something to it, no?

Doesn’t that make life a story?   Yann Martel, Life of Pi

1. Listening to the poetry of a writer friend

2. Catching up with another friend over Indian food

3. Reading The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian

4. Discussing the weather while waiting in line at the grocery story

5. Watching two children interact at the library

6. Answering a text on my cell phone

7. Reading and writing blogs

8. Writing morning pages and evening reflections

9. Listening to the thoughts in my head as I walk in the park

10. Listening to a song on the radio

Feelings into Words

How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.  George Washington Carver

Day 12words

YES!  When I saw this quote I knew it immediately as the feeling I’ve been desparately trying to find words for.

Growing Community

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.   Marian Wright Edelman

Day 11

Last night at the community garden volunteer training workshop we brainstormed how to get a neighborhood more involved. The Valencia Community Garden was established four years ago and the neighbors are still not working in the garden or participating in the monthly veggie of the month food demonstration or yearly taste-a-thon. I listen to ideas that sound similar to the ones we come up with every year at this training.

Early that afternoon I was the adult assigned to a table of four young adolescents in the youth summer gardening program. The tasks were to fry green tomatoes picked from the garden and to make a remoulade sauce. Two of the guys began the job of slicing tomatoes (carefully tucking fingers out of the way of the sharp knife) and then coating them with egg, flour, and a cornmeal mix. The only girl in our group took over the frying, diligently stirring and flipping the prepared slices. The youngest member of the group (whom I affectionately call Tigger) measured and whisked together the ingredients for the sauce.

There were no cuts, no burns, no big spills…and no arguments. All I really did was watch, amazed.

Hey y’all. Maybe we’re overlooking something here. For four years we’ve been grooming the next generation of neighbors. And they are very involved.

sign

A Creative Break

Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.  Edward de Bono

Day 10

I’m smuggly content at being able to spend a pleasant, somewhat productive day alone. But…

One brother is playing blues in a cozy little neighborhood bar on his 60th birthday. The other brother will be there with his new girlfriend from New York City. I don’t think I’ll go.

Why not, Laura?

The day has been so nice I could easily slip into pajamas and return to the book I’ve been reading. Anyway, I’ve seen both brothers within the last 24 hours.

And?

About six o’clock, as Buddy would be beginning to play, I think, “Why not, Laura?”

Yeah, my thought exactly.

So I slip on a clean shirt, put on a little lipstick, pick up the car keys and head out the door.

How is it?

Wonderful. I sit with a childhood neighbor, meet Bruce’s girlfriend and note a new confidence in Buddy’s presentation. And then…

What?

This young guy with an African djembe comes on stage. Buddy starts playing his guitar and the drummer adds rhythm. It isn’t long before the guy’s lost in the music. By the last song he has jumped off the stage and is beating the floor with drumsticks. It is incredible!

Better than pajamas and a good book?

Probably so…however, in the middle of all this energy, I wonder what this kid was like as a third grader.

Listening to My Life

The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.  Joseph Campbell

Day 9…

I started this project with a quote from Parker Palmer…

Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. 

And that seems to be what I am doing…

Yesterday I spent several hours cleaning the little cottage in my brother’s backyard before he rents it to a quiet single young man. This little cottage is located in what was once our family’s backyard. We called the “cottage” a guest house then. My grandfather lived in it for a short time, my musician brothers held band rehearsals in it at different times, and it served as a storage unit for me after I moved home from Mississippi.  My father was the first to rent it out…to a guy with a messy parrot. Lots of history here.

Needless to say it’s a mess.

But several weeks back I helped my best friend clean her new science classroom. The former occupant was not nearly as neat or organized as Cathy, so I became the recipient of a crash course in being neat and organized just trying to keep up with her.

It’s what I now bring to the guest house/cottage.

And do I need to state the obvious? It’s being rented to a quiet single young man. Ten and 1/2 years ago my only child, a quiet single young man, took his life. I guess I’m just still trying to mother.

  • Who I Am (itstartedwithaquote.wordpress.com)

Unfolding

I don’t want to stay folded anywhere, because where I am folded, there I am a lie.   Rainer Maria Rilke

Day 8…

This feels like a really scary quote, but today I write with Lynda, the buddy I’ve written with the longest. And I want to take advantage of her support.

Because support is what I need now. This project is taking me into thoughts and feelings I did not see coming. Yesterday as I listened for a sweeter focus to my day, I realized the “editor” has had an awful lot of control over my brainstorming sessions.

Aw, get a grip. Quit your whining. 

Calm down sweetie. What’s wrong?

I’m sad. And a little bit scared.

About what?

Things in my life I have no control over. The grief I continue to carry.

Like I said, get a grip. You’re just not that special.

Those are certainly things we do feel sad and scared about.

How do I get rid of these feelings?

Feelings are feelings. Sit still. Breathe. Let’s try a ten minute meditation.

That editor is not going to go away, is he?

Probably not. But maybe he doesn’t need to always talk in boldface.

Listening to Learn

Learning to Listen

Listening for Lessons

A Teacher and her Writing Practice

Writing Is My Drink

slake your thirst; find your voice

EventsForChange

~ creative ideas for making a difference ~

...the house I live in...

A journal of life pursued