Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Because/I've been away so long

Why I've Been Away So Long

because taxes
because taxes are done
And new glasses that I had to return because they didn't fit and I need bifocals and I can't deny any longer that I can't see close
Loft class ending; Loft class over
What exactly is it I am doing with my life again? 

Because I made a deal with my therapist that I would schedule out each and everyday for a week and see if I could stick to it
I didn't—I haven't had time to schedule it in my schedule
Because I still have to give up sugar for a week while my bff in Texas has to give up TV
Because I have a memory of cross country skiing last winter with my very sweet laughing friend Jess and we ran into a friend of hers who she hadn't seen in ten years whose husband then came skiing around the hill and we got to talking and he said, "well, at least I get to pick which 80 hours per week I want to work."

Because everything and because nothing
I forgot or I remembered too late
If I fail to text myself an email I'll end up all alone and forgotten
Because: summer camp, the Delles, my out of tune ukulele, yoga, Ma
Because Jude and I falling down laughing when we have to finish our math homework
Because just one more Louis CK on You Tube
Just one more kirtan, one more song, one more page...
one more minute of rest
because tick tick tick tick tick tick
Searching for more time to do everything and

Because yesterday, a glorious fall like spring evening, Passover picnicing with our friends in Northeast outside of Circus School—watching the lightrail, seeing the umbrella sky, matzo-krispie treats—a poem in the making because we agree to let ourselves see the everyday urban thorough the perfect light of a giant pinwheel
Because I tell him I have no idea what I have been up to this winter, no memory at all and he says back,  wise like a rabbi, blonde and fair like a brother,  "it's all just made of small things and moments like this, like hanging out with my good friend Rox in April by the lightrail outside of Circus" and
I am so moved I want to fall to his feet

Because loveland

Because we can't come back to where we were and where we've been
though sometimes we have to in order to come back to exactly, really, where we are
which is why we've been away so long


Sto, eta? So, what is this? Simply a raw intuitive "list poem" titled Why I've Been Away So Long, prompted by one of my beloved loyal readers who finally asked me, what gives? Where the hey are ya?

So what about you? Why have you been away so long? From me? From you? From...? Have fun with the flow of the list poem: random thoughts, words, associations that come to life with any given title... write and write until something catches... you'll be writing for days!

And... if you'd like, check out my upcoming SUMMER classes and retreats! Thanks for reading and hope to write with you soon!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Highlight of the Day Journal

Jude and I are having a fantastic spring break. I can't remember a spring break where I've had more fun. As far as childhood goes, all I can remember is a haze of spring breaks spent in Palm Springs, which was lovely, but so was Los Angeles. One student joked the other day that I never had to go away for spring break because I was already there! True that.

Of course those were wonderful times and deep memories of a "happy childhood" were made there: the desert was glorious, the bingo with Great Grandma Jean and her mountainside trailer beneath the lemon tree, scurrying up "my" mountain, the oasis that was the small oval pool with plastic yellow and white lounge chairs, miniature golf with Grandpa Norman, visiting the giant dinosaurs, marveling at Bob Hope's house, the Hollywood glamour of downtown before it got all touristy, the romantic nights I envisioned for myself there when I grew.

Truth is,  I wish Ma would have indulged a little spring break action with me when I was a kid. She was around, but I think she was too stressed out to get into it. She wasn't one for fun... kid fun anyway.

Inasmuch, until today, I never realized that spring break was actually a time for parents to take a break and have some fun with their kids. To take some days off, get down on the ground, eat the junk food, build the Lego towers, and have some kid fun.  Ooooooooooooooooooooooh. This likely explains why so many folks I know are out of town with their kids having fun somewhere fun.    Glad I caught on.

I won't go into all the fun, but it began Friday night with some rounds of silliness after too much chocolate cake making and eating, topped off at bedtime by the following joke that came out of one of Jude's scholastic books:
KNOCK KNOCK?
WHO'S THERE?
OSWALD
OSWALD WHO?
OSWALD MY CHEWING GUM

Okay, you don't have to tell me whether or not you think that's funny (but DO feel free to share your Knock-Knock jokes) because the point is that was the moment that unleashed it all and it's been mostly a party ever since.

One of the great things that has come out of this spring break week is that Jude and I have been doing our "Highlight of the Day" Journal together. His class was recently assigned this nighty homework and we have made it a ritual to do it together. What a gift. Just as in the spirit of things here at the Beach, we write together and then we read out loud to each other. And it's beautiful! Worlds collide! Sometimes we write about the same things, but a lot of times we get to hear new things, remember places or moments, relive a certain magic, go somewhere new...

Of course my highlight always has Jude in it. But that's my truth and that's writing it down. (I realize he may write a memoir someday. He may regret that his mom had too much fun for spring break and couldn't she act her own age, for crying out loud?) Either way, today we both wrote about how fun it was to have fancy donuts on Eat Street.


Spring Break story? (college spring break stories?!)
Highlight of the Day?

Moral of the story: Writing together is fun! Writing together is a great break! And if you need one—with your child, your honey, your fun-less (or too fun!) mother, your best friend—join me for DATE NIGHT WRITING ON THURSDAY MAY 1!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Weird, Weird, Just Weird

So, for no reason whatsoever of any kind, I began singing "Let it snow! Let it snow! Let it snow!" this morning around 6:30 am. I was in half-dream mode, fumbling for my glasses, jeans, brain, victim to the torturous early morning wake-up required for Jude to get to the bus by 6:55 am.  Though I thought I'd be used to this by now, we're going on spring break here, folks, and it's not looking good. I'm all for early morning, rise and shine, but we get up before the sun does. It's just plain dark.

In any case, in order to cope with this dreaded routine, I've found myself singing myself awake, usually going with the first thing that comes into my head, my subconscious obviously hungering for any hint of melody that might ease the stiff darkness we are shocked into each morning. (Hey, I may sound like a complainer, and I'll grant you that on this. But even Jude struggles. It takes him several minutes to slide down the stairs in the fetal position, still half asleep himself. Sometimes he eats his Cheerios lying on the table and I'm not going to give him a hard time for that).

It takes me a while, through the haze of breakfast, coats and boots, hats and mittens, to tune into what I am singing. "What a weird thing to be singing," I remember thinking this morning as I poured the milk and belted out the verse about the fire, thanking god it wasn't anywhere  near Christmas. Like everyone else, I've moved on. I even planned on taking my skis out of the car this very day. But I guess the song isn't the point; the singing is. Soon enough, Jude perks up and joins me in song; granted neither one of us is happy to be singing or up, but we have little choice at this hour and when in doubt, sing, I say.

The walk, wait, and walk home was uneventful, but surely dry. A bit cold, but what does one expect before sunlight? As normal, I walked home, showered, and came back downstairs to the light. And then I saw it. IT.  I swear.  Honestly.  I'd been singing long before the stuff started puffing around the city this fine spring, March morning. Really I had no idea. Sure, it's not that weird; this is Minnesota and we can expect snow most days and most months, given this brutal winter. Still, a little odd, no?

Admittedly, this sort of weirdness or coincidence or pessimism or whatever you want to call it, isn't new to me. I find I am fairly psychic in general, though sometimes I think it's because I have a fairly routine, predictable life, perhaps to the point where it is supernatural.

What kinds of little weirdnesses have you been experiencing lately? Does this sort of thing happen to you all the time? Ever?

And if you want to shake it up, get in on some weird fun, join me for my upcoming workshop in May: Bring your pal, your guy, your gal, your best friend, your mom, someone you love (or want to love or want to love you (more)) or anyone you want to share an intimate evening of fun, laughter, sweetness, with a sweet little book you'll make together and share for all time and live happily ever after. Register soon! Limited to 6 pairs. $65/pair

DATE NIGHT WRITING

Thursday May 1 6:00-8:30 pm


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—WHY ASK WHY?

Am I a bad mom for not getting Jude's warmer coat this morning when we stepped outside at 6:50 am and realized it was colder than yesterday and we had only enough time to walk to the bus stop?

We could drive? he said.
No we can't, I said.
Why not?

Will getting up at 6am ever get easier?

Will I always be tired no matter how early I go to bed when I have to get up at 6am?

Are things as hard as they seem? Remember the story about building bridges by hand, Jude? (That is hard; sitting down to do a page of math is not hard). Or is it?

Are things harder now then when they were for our elders?

Is first grade too young to be doing math homework or any homework? Does homework, like my friend who is a father aptly points out, rob a child his time to just be a child and be in childhood after a long day of work at school?

Is this why so many of us never stop working?

Or, like an old friend once asked, is childhood an institution?

Why are the brilliant ones of heart and mind so often unsung? Does that make most of us unsung?

Is everyone tired?

Have we lost our ability to slow down?

Why do I know so clearly what's "good" for everyone else but hazy when it comes to knowing what's good for me?

Why?
Why?
Why?

This morning, we started writing together by just writing down our questions. Whatever they were, about anything. There was quite a range; each one read like a poem, each telling a story, each begging a memoir.

Then we wrote again and answered any question (s) that held our energy . Or went deeper into our questions. There were all kinds of answers. Some came in the form of a memory or story or deeper questioning. One of us, completely surrendering to the song of the page, wrote how writing is the answer. I, to no one's surprise, ended up writing about Ma getting all dressed up and going out on the town when I was a kid and me never really knowing why she did that instead of staying home with me and my brother. Then I asked why I never said anything to her about that at the time. Have I asked her lately?

As writers, this is what we do. We ask, we figure it out. We answer what we can. Sometimes it takes many pages, sometimes just a few. Sometimes it takes our entire lives, sometimes just a few days. Maybe it's a memoir; maybe it's an essay.  Sometimes our asking presents another question or the answer. Sometimes the answer is an opening for another question. We never have to know, one of us writes this morning, that is the pleasure in asking.

Which of course takes us to another question.

Does that explain why as kids we always ask why?

What questions went unanswered and are unanswered still from when we were kids?

What does your little you still wonder?

What does the Fox Say?

What DO YOU WONDER? WHERE DOES THAT WONDERING TAKE YOU? YOU NEVER KNOW WHOSE QUESTION YOU ARE ANSWERING IN THE ASKING OR WHOSE LIFE YOU ARE REAWAKENING. As always, follow the energy! Surprise yourself... you never know where you'll go on the page!

Hope to write with you soon!  ROX



Monday, February 24, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Eating my (written) words...AND/OR Is Writing Enough?

EVERY YEAR around this time when I sit down to do the Writing with Rox calendar two months into the year,  I find myself wondering why in the world I can't just sit down and decide which workshops to offer. If you're like me, every idea creates another one.

If you're like me, and also happen to be a bit handicapped by your creativity or "go with the flow" ways of life, you aren't great at marketing yourself. If you're like me, thank God you have amazing students who word-of (spoken word)-mouth you up and down their communities, which is one of the main ways you get people to show up for your classes and workshops.

If you're anything like me, you let your creativity sabotage practical matters; you compromise a complete coherent sentence in order to indulge a bit of wordplay, you spend hours contemplating the most creative workshop or retreat possible, only to find yourself two, maybe three or four months late getting the info out there for the people.

"What really strikes me about what you're saying is that 'writing is enough,'" my very wise, cool, dear, dear, ninja colleague, student, soul-sister and me-in-other (better)-form friend told me last week when I was lamenting my stuckness.

And, if your'e like me, sometimes it's hard to have faith in your truth.

I looked up from my fruit salad, for tropical fruit salad is a must when you spend the morning tobogganing your car to Cub, given the mile-high drifts. Oh no, I thought, is she going to jump on this "you are enough" campaign? Not that I don't go for that, but I was needing a little something beyond my own advice coming back to haunt me, which in that moment resembled contemporary psychobabble gone feral via the cliche highway, lost with words like "mindfulness" and "the present," and other sacred teachings that lose their meaning in the drone of the masses.

(Okay. You want an example? One time I was teaching a yoga and writing retreat and this woman goes  "before I started doing yoga I might have missed the early morning frost on the trees," referring to one of the teachings in Matt Sanford's Waking, which emphasizes that we experience a lot of "you just missed it," moments when we are too busy looking for "perfect" moments. She may have caught the frost on the trees, but she missed everything else, point being that it's all here now: not the beautiful sunset, but also the "ugly" one; not the deep conversations, but also the "shallow" ones; not that big moment, but also this little one: it's all the same moment, folks. Our judgments over what makes a moment missable or not are what keep us separated from the riches and intimacy of the present moment. Contemporary, Junk English, by no fault of its own, can erode the essence of communication by touting certain  things in extremes, is my point. The well intended spiritually seeking yoga woman was only half getting the point about "missing it" that the author intended.).

That said, I fear that "I am enough" is beginning to lose its essence and giving folks the sense that they don't need to work on themselves anymore, myself included. So what good is a workshop called Writing is Enough? Sure, writing is enough, I am enough, you are enough, but how does that translate into a workshop? As it was,  I was feeling pretty defeated that it was coming on March and I still have 2013 fliers all over the Twin Cities. "Sure," I said, "I can think about that."

But she continued. "I mean, you're basically saying it doesn't need to be anything more than that for people to come together and write because that in itself is more than enough." She was referring back to what I'd said earlier in the conversation about always feeling like I have to sell the writing process by offering certain guarantees, objectives, insight, outcome, etc, all of which occur  naturally within the powerful experience of writing together in community. "Why do I spend so much time doing the sales pitch when the act of writing together is more than enough?" I'd complained. I'd known this to be true for years, but somehow always came back to the need to add more more more, contributing, I fear—or at the very least supporting—the destructive forces of our dysfunctional "go! go!" world.

I ran the whole thing over in my head. All the way up until the part where she said, "...what you're saying is that writing in itself is enough."

"Oh.... that kind of  'enough'," I said, suddenly clicking into alignment. How could I have missed it? Well, I was looking for something else. Something bigger and better instead of what was so clearly just here.

"Yeah," she said, smiling that patient knowing smile, "that kind."


Is writing enough? How so? 

And/or what sort of workshops would you like to see here at The Beach? 

As always, thanks so much for sharing and I hope to write with you soon! xoxoxo










Thursday, February 13, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Good Folks, Good Times

Ever since I was seven, when Ma hauled me and my brother off to Northern Californian for four weeks to go to the coolest summer camp ever (it was a win-win situation!), I've loved sing-alongs. There was something about sitting beneath all those shady apple trees in the heat of the summer and singing about love in my bell bottoms and tie-dyed sunshine t-shirts that has stayed with me and likely, had always been a part of me, even long before summer camp. Somewhere deep within the timelessness of the human body, mine recognized and rejoiced in the rise, fall, and resolution of a good solid folk song. My heart hung on the story lines, memorizing the words and melodies, singing and living through them each time as though the first.

  Let me tell you the story about a man named Charlie on this tragic and fateful day...

Though some of my counselors were hippie strange and even though I had no idea what most of the songs meant and I  likely botched the lyrics (as I do so today), the magic of the singing together ran way deeper than anything I could ever have put into words back home without making it sound, as my LA friends back home would say, "lame" or "gay," as this was the mentality I was dealing with back then, back home,  before either of these words meant what they really mean.  I think because  it was such a contrast to life in LA— to the hustle and bustle of disco, fast red cars, movie making, fast talking, deal making, etc—song singing was a welcome slower pace, a sort of peace that I never knew, but must have longed for... When we sang together I felt a belonging to the entire world, unlike at home where my latchkey years were devoid of any consistent source of community.

but he couldn't get off of that train...

Well, fast forward 30 years and I've come home once again to the sing-along. Many fortunate and coincidental and surprising things have granted me the good life where I am able to spend much of my free time playing music with others and singing. Don't ask me how, but I've even been lucky enough to go along with Two Cute Face, a real musician, on a few singalong gigs for 55+ communities.  What I've discovered in singing (or writing, for that matter) with others is how much I hear consistently how much "we need this."  Last week after singing, one of the elders approached us afterwards and said, "There are so many bad things going on in the world, but singing is good. We need to sing." This of course opens up similar feedback, as well as stories about growing up and singing Blue Moon when the sheet music was hot off the press and delivered to your classroom and nothing could be better.

Lately I've heard a few people make a similar declaration: the world is in big doody trouble, but (fill in the blank) is good. As long as there is (fill in the blank) life's not so bad after all. In fact, my son's circus teacher (is that what they are called?) announced this to a roomful of nervous parents about to see their child dangle and clown and climb and swing for a paying crowd; at the beginning of the show he said something to the tune of: Everyone says life is so bad these days, but here at the circus, life is pretty darn great. We have a great time. 

I find these finally carved and well lived declarations of insight so moving. And so crucial, especially given these quick-paced times where genuine community is endangered. These declarations hit me like hope, like powerful cinema, and I can hear the natural swelling of music in the earth as I take in the wisdom of said optimism.

As writers, especially memoir, we need to balance the dark and drama with the light and celebratory.


What do you see that's "good"?  How do you complete the sentence "The world is in big doody trouble, but                           is good! Better yet, or                                                                                                            


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                             
                                                                                                             ... is good!"

  



And you know what? If you don't know, maybe that is good, too.



And speaking of not knowing, please join me for my upcoming March Workshop at the Beach WRITING INTO THE UNKNOWN  SATURDAY March 22, 2014 9:30am-1pm. What's gonna happen? Who knows, but we'll start with six words and go from there. Where?  We'll go where no one has gone before on the page... linger in the unknown and witness how the unknown lends suspense and depth to the page, and our  lives. Email or call to register. Limited to 6! 






Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Guilty Unpleasures

Is anyone able to sit in the womblike white sand beneath healthy swaying palm trees, coconut- mango liquado in hand, while staring blissfully into the many shades of rolling blue ocean lapping at your feet and NOT feel guilty while most everyone you know is back home under snow and 20 below?

Some other things I feel guilty about:
throwing away pennies while vacuuming because the trash is closer than the coin bowl
eating sugar
drinking coffee
making Jude go to school on his seventh birthday
not having a "normal" day job while some people I know work 9-5 either in cubes or standing up without enough potty breaks
being a non-traditional parent
being a parent when I have a hard time parenting myself on some days
texting instead of calling
making ice lanterns in my spare time
not sending birthday cards
taking my time with things
not going to bed on time because I want a few more minutes with my own thoughts or to read
sleeping in when others have to get up at 5 am
cross country skiing on my lunch break
the hurt I've caused others when I didn't have to
being a free spirit when others take life much more seriously
liking candy as much as I did when I was a kid
not wearing a helmet


While it would be nice to be enlightened enough to view guilt through the lens of clear perception as the sack of rocks that it is, I'm just not there yet. Oh, and that's another thing—the "lens of clear perception"— I'm working on letting go of my guilt about my lack thereof, too. 

And yes, I realize that guilt can be a great teacher, a reminder that I need to get my ass in gear and learn how to change my own oil, fix my own sink, tune my own ukulele, etc. I  am also un-blissfully aware that a certain amount of guilt keeps me cozy in a state of stuck: well, as long as I feel guilty about not going to bed on time I may as well not go to bed on time!

Ah, if only we lived in a less guilt-inducing world! Where road signs read "Take Your Time," instead of SPEED LIMIT 55 or WRONG WAY; where we are greeted at any given place of business with "welcome to my place of business, so nice to see you," instead of "may I help you?" If walking into any given place of business is seen as a cry for help, we may as well get real about it. "Why yes, you can help me. Can we sit down and talk for a while? Or maybe we can write together...?" I swear, but every time I go into a store for a little shopping therapy (yes, guilty!) and someone beelines me with "CAN I HELP YOU?" I feel guilty for saying "no thanks, just looking." Sometimes I dare to follow up with, "is that okay with you?" Last week I told the hounds at Office Depot that they were making me nervous... that believe it or not, it takes me a lot of concentration to pick out the right pen. At least I didn't go into the ADD defense, which I've done in the past. I'm getting better.

Of course I'm wise enough to discern when the guilt is really mine or when it belongs to a dysfunctional society based in the "tyranny of the urgent," as my son's principal wrote about last week in the Barton Bugle regarding the recent cold weather school closures and consequent pressure to catch up with all that was lost that week in the classroom. He wrote that he refused to give into that pressure. What a hero. I feel guilty for not congratulating him on that post and surely, I will do so after I do this and the fifteen other things I think I'm supposed to get done before lights out.


Guilt is just another  real thing that makes us human and another detail that adds great depth to our writing! What it is, what we do with it, and how it manifests is what makes us uniquely human.  So commiserate with me on the page! Meet your guilt on the page! What are you feeling guilty about today? And... don't let guilt get in the way of posting... you can always be anonymous!




Thursday, January 23, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Winter Survival

Greetings from Akumal! Even here in the sunny Yucatan winter has found her might way... reports of storms, rains, and even "shape shifters" have found their way on the (cyber) page here in Mexico, warning travelers and locals alike of how to negotiate the (if and when) coming tropical storm. If and when because you never know in Mexico. You can count on weather reports as much as you can count on the exchange rate being consistent. Still, I love the "whatever, manana," attitude here. I think it's partially why I return time and time again, frustrating as it can be.

But enough! I imagine you Minneapolis readers are shaking your pens at me for complaining, let alone being in Mexico and out of the negative climes!

The point is I love how writing continues to honor its roots of communicating vital information from human to human about how to survive. Before it was made all pretty and put into beautiful books (which I for the most part loooove, mind you), writing was a simple act of love, a gift, an offering, etc— an organic need to create and communicate. How many times have you said or heard someone say: "I have to write this down"?

Perhaps over time we added music and sang our wisdom from tribe to tribe to get folks to pay more attention. I'm sure ADD existed then too, after all. From there, we wrote things on the cave walls, which led to paper and pen and highway signs and note passing and book making and texting and ...



One such offering I read yesterday: 
BEWARE OF STONEFISH. DO NOT STEP ON THEM. BITE CAN BE FATAL. 

And wouldn't you know later that day while snorkeling I swam right over a Stonefish, which I of course thought was at first any old ocean stone (You know? Those!) and could have easily stepped right on it and gone fatal had I not known it had fins and a very ruby red mouth. It DID look less threatening when swimming, but still, I saw fire in that fish's eyes.

Last week in Tuesday Eve Healing group, we began our night by writing out our winter survival tips. Still being a relative newbie to MN, I was amazed at what I learned about how to get through this. (Of course, my contribution was "go to Akumal.") Everything from talking to natives about directions to carrying a shovel and kitty litter in your car to creating arte de snow by adding food coloring to your snow-folk. Oh, I guess I did also say "Go to the Loppet on Saturday night to see the fire lanterns go up into the winter sky." I stand by that today, now, even in the tropics.  We could have written all night on that. Perhaps into the morning. We were all feeling much better about winter, at least for then. But we knew if we ever again got discouraged, all we had to do was look into our little notebooks with the added tips etched into the margins and all would be well again. Remember that this too shall pass.

So, wherever you are, whatever you are doing or not doing, What is your winter wisdom/survival song? What is the story behind that wisdom?

And remember, when you share, you are helping us survive! We don't care (yes, we enjoy!) how pretty or poetic or literary it sounds... share from your heart and truth and it sings no matter what!

So help out your writing and human community alike... we want to listen to the whole story!


Sending love and sunshine (with a bit of wind and rain) from Akumal xoxoxo










Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Why writing is like playing the ukulele

HAPPY 2014 WRITING FAMILY!

Lucky for us, some might say,  Writing with Rox has not been shut down by the government! As always, the gates are wide open! So come on in and have a write with me! I have plenty of openings here at Beach for 2014 including my FRIDAY MORNING WOMEN'S WRITING GROUP,  MEN'S GROUP, INTUITIVE WRITING WORKSHOPS AND CLASSES, AS WELL AS HEALING WORKSHOPS AND RETREATS COMING UP.

A few months ago Too Cute Face mentioned that he could see me playing the ukulele.

"Ukulele? What am I, six?"

But Too Cute Face is smart in the way of music and in the way of knowing what makes me happy, so I listened on. He said a few reasons why, like it would be a nice addition to our little Kirtan band, might give me the melody that drums don't, might come naturally since I used to play the guitar a long, long time ago. I reminded him how that relationship ended badly. How I couldn't learn a song to save my life, how my fingers were to short and numb, that I was hopeless with strings.

He was persistent though and he promised it would be a lot easier than the guitar. He made a good argument. But what really sold me, shamefully, is that he said it would make me look cute. In fact, I think that's all that really mattered when I finally picked up the cute as pie little Flea, which I had to agree would make anyone look cute. So cute, in fact, that when I strummed it around Groth Music, I didn't even notice what it sounded like. I mean,  it sounded really sweet because it looked so cute. Anyway, I thought about it for a couple weeks, then went back and bought it.

It was still cute.

When I brought it home I wondered, "Now what?" As long as it sits around looking cute, I'm happy. It took me a while to finally play it. Too Cute sat on the couch, strumming liquid sunshine out of that little blue babe, while I puttered around with more important things to do. "Sounds great, honey!" I called from the kitchen.

"Are you going to try it out soon?"

"Maybe! After I vacuum under the dishwasher!"

A few hours later we gathered with friends. I picked up the Flea and began strumming around very softly, pretending I knew what I was doing (which is a nice skill to have by the way). Honestly, I was amazed how good it sounded. Is this what a ukulele sounds like? Like a mandolin? Seriously! Every chord or non-chord sounded good as I intuitively strummed around. Not just good, but like it was actually some kind of some-thing. A note, a song. Whatever I remembered from before about strumming and picking came remembering out body of and eventually I let go of expectations, of outcome, and I just played by feel. Then it sounded better and better, to the point where I finally said,  "I'm not doing this," I said, "this ukulele plays by itself..." and I still think this is partly true, magical little blue uke. By the end of the night I learned "Tears on My Pillow," "Blue Moon," "Earth Angel," and "Jambalaya," but they all have the same 2 chords so it's not big deal. What is a big deal is that I could've (and did) play those same 2-3 chords all night in different beats, tempos, rhythms, etc. It was hard to put it down!


When I started out years and years ago as a writer I remember buying fancy pens and notebooks and all the right writing things. I dressed a certain writerly way, I carried around writerly books. I read all the cool writerly writers I thought I should be reading and quoted all the writerly writers I thought I ought be quoting. I went to the right writerly cafes and museums and got to know all the right writerly people. Eventually I wrote for a few writerly magazines and because of all the writerly people I knew, I began to make a small writerly name for myself among certain writerly circles.   All of this makes me a writer, thought I!  Look at me, I'm a writer! I'm cool and pale, and thin and drink microbrew and write for the cool people and I live in the coolest writerly city there is and...

Yet I felt very, very empty. Unfortunately, I had nothing to write about aside from the very surface of things, which wasn't very satisfying. And in return, I lived a very surface life, where I allowed surface things to define me (if that isn't obvious enough).

Eventually, in the middle of a dark depression on a dark day, I wrote a letter. I wrote the letter that saved my life. Perhaps I'll write next time of that letter. For now I'll say it was the turning point in both my writing life and my life life. Somehow I allowed myself to dream a little on the page, and that created an opening...  And through that opening I fell completely in love with writing. Or remembered it, I should say. Before I got distracted by the external forces of life.

I am grateful that this intuitive/raw writing process and the love of writing just for writing/writing without outcome and writing in community has opened me into the world of intuitive ukulele-ing. Oh, the places you'll go on (and off) the page!

WHAT HAS WRITING OPENED FOR YOU?







Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Is anyone NOT lonely?

Last 
week Dada 
sent me a story 
about a buddy bench  
which was created by a 
second grader in Pennsylvania 
who was concerned that some of 
his buddies might feel lonely during 
recess. The buddy bench invites anyone who 
is feeling lonely or left out or needing someone to 
talk to have a seat, either joining like-lonelied peers or 
announce that he'd like some company asap. I love this.
 I think it's one of the most brilliant things I've ever heard of. 

Why? A physical space that offers a place of safety and vulnerability, where vulnerability is okay because, heck, aren't we all vulnerable? A place that admits we all need a little help from our friends and not-yet-friends? A place where when words or actions fail, you can announce your way in the world by sitting in the peace zone? You can just sit there and be seen for who you are without having to go about it totally internally alone if you don't want to and if you have no idea how to deal with it. Wow, wow, wow. How revolutionary!

Of course as ideas go, this one got me to thinking and dreaming way too much. Well, why stop with a buddy bench? And why stop at elementary school? What if there were public spaces—call them public works of art if you must—that invited folks to sit here if they felt happy and wanted to talk about why. Or sit there if they wanted to have a hug. Or over there if they felt like making a new friend. How about over there if you want to play tag. Or how about one in the mall that says "sit here if you don't want to be here?" Or another one if you are "lost" or "found" or both, but either way you need to be seen.

Or how about one in your very own home... one that invited a place for "I'm mad, but don't want to be mad anymore, but I don't want to give in first... so let's kiss and make up." Or a corner that said simply, "I'm sorry," or "I'm afraid to tell you something..."

Or a laughing bench. Or a crying bench. Or a grieving bench. Or a circle of benches for back rubs? A drumming bench? An "I miss my mommy" bench?  Or one that says "I wish the holidays were over and I don't have a new year's resolution." Or one to give away free stuff? Or, of course, a writing bench... a place to write and share with others. Of course, a quiet bench is always nice, but most of them are quiet already, so how about a loud one? A cheering section where you cheer for each other and go if you need a cheer?

What sort of bench would you put out there? In your home? In the future? What would it look like? What would happen there? Or not happen there?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Living Your Happily Ever After

Lately Jude has been watching Willy Wonka and I can't help but watch it with him. I'm not sure why, but the ending makes me cry every time. (Does it make you cry every time? If not, what does? Not just movies, but what in life makes you cry every time?)

Maybe because Charlie is only a wee bit older than Jude and I wish for Jude someday to be able to fly high over the sky in a real glass elevator. I wish for a world where children are revered for their purity, their love, their honesty, because, as Willy knows, only wide-eyed magical, dreamy children "can be trusted to run the chocolate factory and take care of the Oompa Loompas."

Maybe it's because the movie is ending and I hate to see it end because it is so wonderful. Or maybe it's because it's only beginning... Or maybe it has something to do with how much I love Gene Wilder, or how it takes me right back to childhood afternoons in the Valley with my best friend Laura whose parents were "in the business," so we could dream and dream big and believe in our dreams, our own big Hollywood dreams in the making...

But likely because, as Wonka says to Charlie, "Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted...... He lived happily ever after."

So... here's what let's do: Since there's no need to be dreamin' of a White Christmas, tell me what else you're dreaming for... In fact, let's go all out: What's on your dream list? Your "everything I always wanted" list?
If you got everything you ever wanted and were living your happily ever after, what would that look like?


Of course if youd' rather just write your Christmas list, that'd be great too. I'll see what I can do. :)


Remember that you are TOTALLY ANONYMOUS if you so choose.
Remember: it's only writing. If you can't dream and wish and happily-ever-after on the page, where can you?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—What (CLICHES) are you grateful for?

Okie dokie all yee Morning Pages folks out there... WHAT ARE YOU GRATEFUL FOR?

Are you grateful for cliches like being grateful on Thanksgiving?  I for one sure am!
Are you grateful for cliche writerly things (Morning Pages)?  Me,

        I'm grate    ful       for         e.              e.         cu
                                                                                      mmin             g
                                                                                                                        s
who wrote:
        
    "may I be I" is the only prayer— 
not may I be great or good 
or beautiful or wise or strong. 
 
To be nobody-but-yourself—in a world 
which is doing its best, night and day, 
to make you everybody else—means 
to fight the hardest battle 
which any human being can fight; 
and never stop fighting.

I'm grateful for quotes.
I'm also grateful for short jokes and puns, especially when least expected or not in the mood to be silly and you just can't help but laugh.

What else?

What 3 line jokes are you grateful for? (Please share them as I am most grateful for them)
I'm also grateful for 3-count dances like the waltz and the lindy-hop
And my son's baby teeth: They're so cute and disarming. I'm grateful for that.
I'm grateful I can be disarmed these days.

I'm really grateful that I can laugh at a lot of things and that I laugh a lot. I'm also extremely grateful for my hilarious Too Cute Face who does amazing impersonations and for being, well, too cute; for my dry quick witted ex-husband for being a best friend, an unsung genius, and a dad who loves his son from the depths of his being. I'm grateful that he is making a movie only "loosely based" on the facts of his life and I stand behind it 100% percent.


What do you want to be grateful for?
I wish i was more grateful for the sunrise since I see it now three days of the week when I take Jude to the bus.

So, here and now, what are you grateful for? Don't worry about telling me how grateful you are for friends and family and air and food and all the obvious stuff we can assume to be true from our own lives UNLESS you wish to show me the details of that gratitude by taking me there as though I am right there being grateful with you... (what kind of food? Where are you with family and friends? Doing what on your vacation, where?)

(I mean sure, I'm grateful for my breath and yoga and kirtan and experiencing the bliss of the moment if and when I can ever get myself calm and slow enough to simply be there in it, in the simple always giving space between the breath, where infinity is—a garden of peace with ever blowing stardust and floating hearts, where we remember the fluid, simple, real life lessons we learned in the womb and that we all long to get back to)...

In other words, we know. We're remember. We've all been in a womb.


Maybe you have something else to say about gratitude too. Maybe you are not grateful for anything and are tired of thinking you should be grateful. I know I get tired of feeling like I oughta be grateful for my curly hair or my "good" health or whatever else is anything just short of "bad."


Lastly I am grateful that you are reading this right here and now instead of the 14000 other cliche things about gratitude you could be reading...

   and I'll be really grateful to read yours.... xoxoxoxo


PS: There's still time to get grateful with me and the gals at the upcoming Wild Writing Women! Winter Solstice WILD WOMEN WRITING RETREATSATURDAY DECEMBER 14, 2014, 10AM-4PM. We'll gather to write and remember our fire and sing our light on the page. Plus all the usual community, warm nourishing potluck joy, silly and sweetness. Register soon. Fills fast. $75

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Bye Bye Google!

This morning I was watching one of my favorite psychodrama people talk about two of my favorite subjects: creativity and consciousness raising, the link between them and how as a species we may be moving out of the Age of Knowledge (what with everything we ever need to know available at the click of a thought) and into the Imagination Age. His talk gave me the lift I forgot I needed being so lost lately in my heavy head knowledge. "Heavy" because the coming of cold and dark makes me crazy in so many ways...and I fall for my mind's trappings when it comes to the suffering I create by  believing that my critics, both real and imagined, are right. That yes, it's true: I have no idea what I'm talking about. I'm full of b.s. I'm faking it and now everyone knows. Everyone knows I don't really know a ding dang thing, that I'm just a flower child with a flowery dream. Busted. Go to jail; go directly to jail; do not pass Go; do not collect $200. Well, egg on my face. Big Shit. Life is hard and then you die. Cliches are even more right than me.

  "Lifted" because there is still time and room to imagine (and create) this world into higher consciousness, one that values creativity, spontaneity, love, abundance, lovingkindness, authenticity, community, etc,  over fear, greed, competition, irony, anxiety, and needless suffering. In such a world, self criticism is never on the radar; why would you want to assault the one person who is always actively loving you? IN such a world, you are an awesome mom (or dad) or son (or daughter) or poet, or gardner or whatever you are just by being fully your authentic self, even if that means admitting you have a really hard time being your authentic self.

As I watched and had my heart lifted, I wondered, hmmmm, how can I somehow turn this talk into this week's prompt? How can I turn this into something to write about and/or inspire writing? Well... I couldn't. So I put it aside and ran for the bus to get to Jude; I was so absorbed in watching my psychodrama guy that I almost missed the bus, but I made it on time and then forgot all about it.

 Then, on the way to Circus school, Jude started in, as he will, about his creation story, which apparently began way before he was in my tummy. No, it was actually the dust of a red Lego that I somehow swallowed that carried him from this former life into the one inside my tummy. You see, Mama, I was once in Lego Land, a red Lego, where some family took me home and played with me until a giant fan blew my out of the window until I was a spec of dust. But guess what? Before that I was in the Amazon. Yeah, I was in the jungle. (I am forgetting what incarnation he was during that time). And before that, guess what? I was in this underground world below my school. There was a battle and I was part of it and then I went into space and landed in the Amazon...

I think he could've spun on and on like that. He seems to be heavily into the Imagination Age. And according to my psychodrama guy, this is where we need to be (with a little help from our higher consciousness, that is). So.

WHAT DOES YOUR IMAGINATION SHOW YOU TODAY?
HAVE YOU HUGGED YOUR IMAGINATION TODAY?
IT'S 10 PM; DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR IMAGINATION IS?
SERIOUSLY NOW...tune into the imagination show you have within you all the time... where does it go on the page? Follow the light...   Wanna post and share? YES, you can be anonymous. Just post and click "anonymous" and no one in their wildest imagination would ever know it was you.... xoxoxo



AND Get Wildly Imaginative you Wild Writing Women! Winter Solstice WILD WOMEN WRITING RETREATSATURDAY DECEMBER 14, 2014, 10AM-4PM. We'll gather to write and remember our fire and sing our light on the page. Plus all the usual community, warm nourishing potluck joy, silly and sweetness. Register soon. Fills fast. $75






Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Are you there?

Hello? Hello? Are you there? Are you coming home?...

Occasionally I'll have a tapestry of lyrics from the 1980s and earlier running through my head....when I tune in and listen to my own head-radio it's pretty funny sometimes: just what are these lyrics trying to tell me? (This, too, makes a great writing prompt...) 

Laurie Anderson's Oh Superman is one of the most dreadfully depressing songs I have ever loved and I cringe to acknowledge it was close to #1 on my childhood soundtrack, a compilation that still awakens my lost and lonely adolescent self, yet ironically provides a certain self-indulgent Morrissey type misery-comfort I cannot get enough of. So what is Laurie asking of me? Why is Pink Floyd wanting me to wonder "is there anybody out there?"

I suppose there is a natural letdown after a weekend of writing with women. Once again, an entire weekend of writing and sharing stories with my women writing tribe reminds me that no matter how long you've known someone, and no matter how much you think you know them, there is always more, always deeper when you sit and write together. Of course, there is the added depth of being out of the city, relaxing by the fire, overlooking the lake and the quiet. The space to just hang out and be girls with each other. We hang out in our yoga clothes/PJs, drink our coffee and wine, watch the birds, eat our special food...  We talk about our men, our moms, our kids... take off our make-up,  forget about our hair...get growly, let our PMS all hang out—or whatever ails us. No need to hide anything. We do enough of that out there. Of course we let the joy hang out too; we write our dreams, of our happiest days and days to come, we get silly with Haiku and Haibun, we watch things our kids love on YouTube... And with each round of writing, we get closer and closer, to one another, to ourselves, our truth.

 God, I love my writing family. The collective voice that reverberates when we sit and write together is always this: I hear you. I am here. I am listening.

We need this. I need this, I should say. Especially days like today when it's gray. It's Tuesday. It's cold. You know winter is long and coming. Your brain is fuzzy. You sleep too late. Things are slightly out of focus. Writing offers comfort, and writing is a lonely business. It's a struggle to do the daily things. You know this too shall pass. You know the sludge will clear, the sun will spill itself eventually, the communities will soon gather near to write, to eat, to watch sunsets together... You know this is all part of the cycle of life. And yet, on days like this, you can't ignore the wondering...is there anybody out there? Where is everyone?

I wonder, what if, just out of curiosity, as an experiment, what if everyone reading this wrote a line that would create a collective poem that responded to that question: ARE YOU THERE? ARE YOU LISTENING? CAN YOU HEAR ME? I know you are there, I know you are listening, and... how would that echo out? What would a thousand voices echoing I am here sound like in cyber space? In real space?

What if there were so many answers, everything from "yes, Rox, I'm here. Here I am..." to "Yes. Hello..." to dead silence, to "I'm not sure where I am, Rox..." to "who are you and how the hell did I get on your mailing list?" ?

So what would happen if I invited you to scroll down and introduce yourself, say that you are here, listening to me, listening to you, listening to all of it at once? Are you there? Are you listening? What do you hear? Are you coming home?

You could answer by name or not, by song or haiku, by whatever intuitively comes... Can you hear me? Are you there?



But before you do... if you want to write in community with great women tribe, be sure and save your spot asap for the annual Winter Solstice WILD WOMEN WRITING RETREAT, SATURDAY DECEMBER 14, 2014, 10AM-4PM. We'll gather to write and remember our fire and sing our light on the page. Plus all the usual community, warm nourishing potluck joy, silly and sweetness. Register soon. Fills fast. $75

Now, as I was saying... Are you listening? Are you there?


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WWRweekly—A New Car!

Growing up, I worshipped The Price is Right. We watched it nearly every summer day on my best friend Li's embroidered yellow couches, coming in from the pool to cool off, sprawled easily in our bathing suits, Pringles and Eskimo Pies at the ready.  Ah, the good life... there was something about being in Hollywood, watching Hollywood glamorized on television, knowing we were living a few miles away from the CBS studios in West Hollywood and watching folks "come on down!" to experience a little tease and taste of our glamorous palm tree culture.

We recited the lines along with Bob Barker telling the contestant onstage that "I'd love to give you this..." pause, pause...and then along with Johnny Olson voice overing: "A NEW CAR!" and the screens would open to reveal a shiny new Mustang or convertible with a blonde model standing next to it for emphasis, as if to say, "sure! I come with the car! Aren't we a sexy pair?"

Then the guy or gal would do some wild seventies dance which we would sometimes do in unison. After all, what could be better than a shiny new car? Cars were everything in my young mind. Advertising promoting superficial values worked well on me and I envisioned my future on Rodeo Drive driving a different Rolls Royce for every day of the week. My soccer coach picked me up weekly in his Rolls or Mercedes and I figured as a "famous actress," I'd be able to afford at least ten times that and more, for he was just a soccer coach, after all. Naivete comes in handy when your just a young girl with stars in your eyes.

The truth is I never owned a NEW CAR! In fact, I have a really hard time with new. New clothes, new things for the house, books, etc all tend to sit around for a good while before I am brave enough to remove the plastic/tags/etc and use them. I've had four cars in my young life, all of which have been hand-me-downs from my dad. Last week I had to retire the last, Odelle, in the father-daughter line because it's getting time to put her down.

The irony is that I'm not one bit of a car gal. My enthusiasm for shopping for a "new" car these past weeks was akin to shopping for a vacuum. Not that I don't love, "Four," my new 2010 Prius... not that she won't be part of the family in no time. It's just that she's too... new. I'm afraid of her. I don't want to hurt her and I'm just a tiny bit concerned that she doesn't feel the same about me. I'm not sure were that well suited; I may not be hip enough for her. If cars were assigned based on hipness, I'd be assigned the horse and buggy.  Essentially she's like my Smart Phone, but she moves; it's been two years and I still  haven't figured out my phone yet... heck maybe it moves too! In any case, I don't want her to get the wrong idea about my lifestyle...I don't know if I can keep up with her. She's much more advanced in the ways of the modern world than I, makes a bold statement about the current times, which she obviously knows a lot more about than I do.

So then Four is a Smart Car; she's a machine that also happens to drive, which I am starting to figure out, but it's taking me a while. Did you know I can answer the phone with my steering wheel? I can also watch a DVD while cruising down 94. It plays a million CDs at a time and even has satellite radio; I don't know what satellite radio is. Nothing surprises me since going to House on the Rock this past summer, but how am I supposed to concentrate on my driving when I'm trying to sync up my phone with my car via bluetooth and I don't even know what Bluetooth is. Does it have anything to do with someone's mouth? She has an onscreen map that tells me exactly where I am, where I've been and where I'm going, meaning she has a much better memory than I do. The kicker is that you don't need a key to start her up. That's right, just like the future promised. When Jude, my six-year-old, got in today for the first time he must have thought he walked into a moving video game because as I was remembering how to start it (really), he goes, "Can I push some buttons too, Mama?" I couldn't explain why or why not. "Later," I said, which I will regret. I believe I'm still in shock, still forcing my brain into a cognitive reality it is not yet willing to embrace. When Too Cute Face got in, he couldn't stop repeating how much it resembled a spaceship. I think that was how he handled the shock.

Keep in mind, neither of us has spent much time in a car built before 2000 and if we had our way, we'd all go by bike and foot.
A NEW CAR!!!


If Bob Barker back in the seventies would have shown us the car of the future on The Price is Right,  Four would have been it for sure. I can just imagine little me on Li's couch, wide-eyed with relief, dreaming of my future life where all I would need to get out of LA and live happily ever after was a click of a button or wave of the hand.  Good old Bob Barker and his Hollywood pals had convinced me it was that easy and I couldn't afford to imagine it any other way. Some day life would be too good to be true.



WHAT IS YOUR (NEW)CAR STORY? 




Want to comment on this post? Share your "NEW CAR" story?  Sure you do! Scroll and stroll through the GOOD NEWSand you're there! Don't have an account? Or... don't want anyone to know you wrote it? Okay! No prob! Simply click "anonymous"and write write write away into the night....



WRITING WITH ROX WEEKLY (Good) News

I got a new car!

WRITING WITH ROX WEEKLY (Happy) Announcements

Great news! I have immediate openings in my Friday Morning Women's Writing Group as well as my monthly Tuesday evening Healing Group! Email me rox@writingwithrox.com if you want to join in on the coolness!


I need an intern! Free classes/retreats/etc, great experience!
 rox@writingwithrox.com

Want to write but not ready to come to a class?   
You can take any of my classes online! Inquire within!rox@writingwithrox.com  

Also, I am happy to introduce WRITE LOVE NOW, my first online class. Want more love in your life? For your life? For your writing? For yourself? For your (Jewish) mother? Grow the love, linger in the love week-by week and see how "if you write it, it will come!" Call or e me for more information: rox@writingwithrox.com    612-703-4321  

Got news to share? Let me know! I'll post it here!


UPCOMING ♥           ♥               


Wild Woman Wild Solstice Writing Retreat  Saturday December 21, 2013


WRITING WITH ROX WEEKLY Woo-Woo Writing Wisdom...


Admit your shortcomings on the page! Laugh at yourself, allow the world to laugh with you and write their own shortcomings stories... Admit what you don't know and see how far that can take you on the page. You'll have lots of fun. You might begin to take life less seriously too♥  

          ♥                               ♥                                                        

   ♥