Sunday, October 15, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Thoughts I wish I wasn't thinking: (Voice of Innocence)

It won't get better
The PT is wrong, just like the other one
You don't know how lucky you are riding your bike on this golden day
Why does that person over there smoking and yelling at people get to walk when I can't?
You've got nothing to complain about: your broken ankle will heal
I have nothing to complain about: look at the guy over there
Why can't I run, too?
You'll probably end up like that guy over there at this rate
Maybe not knowing is a good thing
Good things don't happen to me
I'm getting fat from lack of exercise
The yoga is wearing off
I should've never stayed in reclined bhada konasana for so long: that's what did it
Should I test for MS?
Should I test for Lyme?
7 months of this; it's not getting better
I'd give anything to go for a walk
I'd give anything to walk fast
Will I ever have faith in my leg again
or the ground beneath it?
Will I forget how to trust my own body?
What's the use in being back in your body if it's not safe right now?
Breath work worked for her, but not me
Can I cut out the nerve? Kill it?
Why does no one have any fucking clue why this is happening?
What they say online is true: I'm fucked
I'd be completely fucked without my friends and family
Am I going to end up in a nursing home?
Will I ever drive again?
Do I have to go? I don't want them seeing me with a cane.
Don't look at me like that.
So many people have it so much worse
Why did I ever complain about anything ever?
It's Sunday and everyone else is out enjoying it: walking, running, hiking, standing, biking: I'm sitting here getting fat and taking two hours to get down stairs and back up again, carrying one thing at a time
You're lucky Too Cute will carry your purse
It's not fair
Why is that guy walking his dog so grumpy looking? He can walk: doesn't he realize that's all that matters?
A lot of people would kill for the excuse to not be able to walk to avoid exercise
I should handle the pain better
This good mood will leave as soon as I stand up
I would get so much more out of this lovely moment if I could also look forward to hiking later on
Why can I walk and run and hike in my dreams so easily?
How will this end?
When will my voice of experience come back?

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Testing

Soon there will be testing at my son's school. Serious testing. So begins the life of serious tests, serious waiting, the serious relationship to the results. The serious, serious results. The not knowing. The life-of-its own life form that not knowing becomes, a fungus, but not always the good kind unless you're the further-along-the-path kind of Buddhist where not knowing is all there is.

 I'm not very Buddha about not knowing these days. I'm retaking the test for enlightenment every day and I'm failing. What does Ram Dass say? "If you think you're enlightened, spend a weekend at home with your parents"... is that it? Well, you ought to know by now, Rami, that the proper rebuttal to an assumed state of enlightenment is "then spend a weekend with a serious disability." But I suppose both are true and not too long ago, Ma was in town, so you can imagine how that went. Nope. A being of enlightenment I am not.  A being of enlightenment does not more or less tell their insurance company to fuck off. Downright uncouth, I am.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Hardware

Because cleaning and shopping are what I can control

I'd rather truck to Home Depot even though I hate the place can hardly walk from the paint aisle to the flooring department where anti fatigue matts cost less than

                   at the smaller quaint hardware stores owned by well intended families
where the dogs roam the aisles and they charge way too much and follow you around and want to be helpful and know all the everything of your hardware plans that are never well thought out so you're forced to come up with one on the spot

but this is how it is now and where I must go in a pinch

for a little distraction and little daydream about fixing up the house and home improving and

occasionally an impulsive need for a sharp tool strikes.... "oh, and where are the paint scrapers?" because I realize if I could only scrape the shit out of something, crucify the lingering grime, break open some rotten cork, pulverize a centipede, dislodge the tile, obliterate the old paint, scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape, scrape  scrape  scrape  scrape  scrape scrape scrape scrape scrape, out over away... anything really...

"Sure, right this way, Mam..."

Dear god, Just tell me where they are—

I don't need an escort... just tell me what aisle... oh shit, the dog is coming now too... "okay, thanks very much. okay this is good, thanks"

What size are you looking for?

"Oooh, I don't know.... but I'm good, this is good. I'll just browse. This is great. Nice selection. Thanks so much."

What do you need it for?

What do I need it for? What do I need it for?        Is that really something you want to know?

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—In hindsight (voice of experience)

My massage therapist telling me, "Your feet are fucking tired! You are on your last lifetime!"

My left foot going funny in triangle pose

My right hip not dropping in triangle pose

My yoga teacher walking toward me upside down, funny face, saying, "are you aware that you are balancing on the side of your head not the crown? 

I am?

You better come down

The legs and feet aching so much I have to hold myself up over the sink using my core muscles when doing the dishes

the times i thought I stepped on glass in the kitchen, in the bathroom, in the hallway, in my bedroom, wondering how I possibly managed to litter chunks of glass that I couldn't find

the many many ways I could always blame fibromyalgia and take more Ibuprofen

darn those flat, flat, fallen feet

my podiatrist, years ago warming me to never ever go barefoot or wear flats, no matter how comfortable it was: ditto my podiatrist last year

screaming pain in the Prius, left side back, but only in the Prius

the vaginal cyst
the emergency c-section
the warning labels
you're being a woos; stop complaining
you are not in pain
your relatives suffered a lot worse
no, you do not have to go to the bathroom again; we're not stopping
the invincibility
the up all night crushing raw pelvic pain (Were you sexually abused? Hmmm... I don't think so)
the bulimia
the trip to the er in my early 20s for crippling calf pain
the time my dad had to carry me and my skis down the Mammoth Mountain hill cause of the calf pain

Calf pain
         calf pain
                       calf pain
                                      calf pain: calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain
calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain calf pain                                      calf paincalf paincalf paincalf

posterior tibial something or another
                                                            plantar fasciitis, broken bones

born blue

and the every day gratitude for being able to walk, to dance, to run, to bike...

 because I didn't know what I'd ever do if I lost my ability to walk

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—What is the title of your summer?

Today in Wednesday Writers, we happened upon (as we Wednesday Writers tend to do: happen upon) this prompt.

Here are a (paraphrased) few, given my memory these days, which could prompt another title for my summer: "When Spinal Stenosis Steals Your Memory":

"Hobbling Around in Paris"

"In Hindsight, it was Pretty Nice"

"Hurry Up and Wait"


and a few I wish I could remember that went something like

Blank Blank about Gardening
Something Something about kids and outside in nature
Something sparkly about traveling....

all loaded with delicious prompts and a heck of a lot of fun besides. Thank you Wednesday Writers, which you would think, after all these years, might deserve a better title like the "Wednesday Wacko Writers" at the very least.

Anyway, try the summer titles prompt. It's juicy. Like a good orange. Like summer.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY- Thank you Mom

While waiting for my transforaminal epidural spinal injection, a  woman wheeled herself to the back of the waiting room single handedly, cell phone pressed to her ear with the other hand. "Hello Mama? I'm about to get a procedure done and I was wondering if you might want to pray with me before I go in."

They must have had a bad connection.

"Hello Mama? I was wondering if you...I'm about to have a procedure done and wondered if you would pray with me before I go in."

The woman wasn't much older than me. I heard her trying to explain her procedure,  what was going on, something with her digestion. There would be tubes. I wondered where her mother was and pictured her somewhere far, far away, maybe on a farm.  

And then they called my name and I gave a little wave. She walked over, helped me gather my crutches, my stuff because these days that's what it takes. 

 "And this is my mom," I said, "she's here all the way from California. Can she come in with me? Please?" 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—The irony of lyrical words




aren't they pretty, oh so pretty?


it' not what they mean, but how they sound: delicious


if only their melody could raise the bamboo trees

nurse its kindling back to reaching

neurogenic stenosis
nerve block
vertigo (oh, that's super poetic and a cool kind of pretty)

add them up and they make a song, make a village

                  and my leg will rise again

wake up Maggie, wake up

What are your favorite lyrical words that mean something uh oh?

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Still here, very here

Though my identity is on hiatus: I can't walk, drive, do yoga, bike, swim, run out of a rain storm, play Frisbee with my boy...

so much of who I am is of the body

and after all these years of coming back into my body, coming home,

I'm ready to leave it again

even though

my writing mind, my voice of experience, is still here

very here

reminding me over and over again that, hey,

 this is the real moment of your memoir

this is what they really write memoirs about

the memoirs you devour and think will never happen to you

but look, here it is happening to you too and are

you going to face it like a writer or an innocent?

a yogi or a plum?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—When several travel prompts are requested

 First of all, I hope you have an amazing trip and I look forward to hearing all about it ! And feel free to try these prompts at home! It's 100% safe!

There are so many prompts that I can only imagine will show up every moment of your travels; if you stay open to prompts, you will see them everywhere. Notice what energizes you/charges you--for better or worse and all in between--and there you have a loaded prompt. Is it pinwheels? Elevators? Hotel rooms? Hotel lounges or pools? Is is the lone person? The happy couple on their honeymoon? Is it a know-it-all-therapist? Is it jealousy or joy? Cocktail hour? Feeling left out? Feeling acceptance? The jacuzzi? The memories of being here before? The sensory array of blooming things? THe not blooming things? Can a face bloom or not bloom?  Notice what's happening inside and write from there and you cannot go wrong.

Sit. Check in. Look around. Check in. Write. Oh, and what about "checking in"? That there is a great prompt. Especially in therapy-land. Many stories there.

Ditto walking. 

Ditto sitting in a conference hall.

Ditto the carpeting in the hotel conference hall. Oh, the memories and infinite possibilities that live in hotel carpeting.

Which has so many shades and patterns and colors, and really, can take you to drapes, which have many stories you've forgotten you've forgotten, and of course, windows and views outside of windows and.... do you prefer your shades up or down? Is your favorite color blue or red or both? And what are your memories of that color and associations with it? And what if you just write for an hour about lemon yellow? Or lemons? Or table cloth white? Or table cloths? You've got to just trust that when you give it space and time, something magic will show up and have lots to say. Will move through you and thank you dearly.  For that matter, you could write about gratitude. Or grumpiness. Yours. Hers. Theirs. The righteousness you feel when it's some unenlightened else's. 

What you hear at the pool. Or smell. What does chlorine do to you?

And of course the food. What you love. Fear. Won't eat. Can't eat. How you judge what others eat. How you hold back. How you count calories or splurge or compile recipes or tell yourself "well, I'm on vacation..." and what about all that? Or maybe you have a daquiri which you haven't had since you were 21? Or whipped cream? Or try eel sushi? Or skip a meal and write about your hunger. Hunger moves words in a myriad of acrobatic and architectural ways.

And of course... it goes without saying... what you're learning and how it moves you because most of all I think it's good and energizing to attune to what moves you, what works that incredibly receptive life giving muscle to tears, laughter, to happiness, to release, to insight, to friendship, to new beginnings, and possibly new endings... 

and before I say 'write about beginnings or endings' or meetings of all kinds or reunions, I'd better quit now before this gets completely out of hand, but for now, I'll just say "thank YOU for the prompt."

Have a ball! (oh gosh... and who doesn't have ball stories? My first ball was a soccer ball...)


Friday, March 3, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—A simple dream realized

What dreams have you realized lately?

For as long as I can remember, I've watched those wide push brooms with the smiling mouthful of teeth sweep through large vacant spaces either before or after the event or perhaps during sparse attendance—dance halls, cafeterias, bars, yoga studios, lobbies, elementary school hallways, etc— across hardwood floors of all shades; likewise linoleum, marble, 50's style checkered, peel and stick modern, faux wood, etc, always deriving the same pleasure I would, say while watching the big ice machine clear the scuff at the ice rink on Santa Monica Boulevard by the beach, where we cooled off many days of the year, lost in the magic of so much ice in one place, starring trancelike, almost hopeful, into the milky eye of the North. 

So today, I finally got a wide push broom at Home Depot. So inexpensive. So easy. Why had it taken me so long? And I was so excited, even though it's still cold in here, I took out even more tropical colored rugs (one-by-one) from the living room floor and wondered what else I could get rid of in order to waltz this widening open room-broom dance into the night and for the rest of my life. For what could be more gratifying than sweeping an empty space down to its skeleton, raking the debris from its belly and then lying on your back in the soft, open, shine as a newborn ?

Wish I had more time to write about this. Or more time to sweep. Darn. Never enough time to push the broom across the floor or sweep the hand across the page. Someday, perhaps when I am very old, I will realize the dream of endless time to write and sweep. But in the meantime, I've wanted one of those brooms forever. Lucky me.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Was it a beautiful day?

Was it a beautiful day?

In your neighborhood?

Write about any neighborhood you remember or want to: now, then, in between.

Write and see what happens. They may switch around. Your childhood neighborhood might show up in your dreams and spill into yet another neighborhood. 

Enjoy running into old neighbors and expect many surprises. Personally, when we did this yesterday in my monthly Memoir/Creative NonFiction Group, I was delighted to run into my old love, Joe D, whose last name is so dang literary I long to share it, but alas... even my first love with the pompadour and Buddy Holly glasses deserves his privacy. Especially since the writing and running into him yielded some yummy memories and that felt really good to write about; not because I long for him, not because I wish I still lived in my childhood neighborhood in Los Angeles with the lemon trees and Olympic Blvd, with its 12 lanes of traffic. Not even because some of my happiest memories live there and daily beckon me back to the ocean. 

It felt good simply because in the mysterious ways that writing together works its magic, I was full as I could be to unexpectedly remember and write about that pale, aspiring actor, with  his green cardigan and white pick up truck, his face in the jasmine bushes in my front yard, breathing deeply, not a care in the world for that summer moment, despite the gridlock he'd just battled all the way from Carson.

Rise Up: Your Neighborhood

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Junk Mail Poetry? Old Friend? Does this happen to you? Do you know this hunger too?

Oh how there is endlessness to write about. Am I the only one getting these random messages embedded into my junk mail? Pretty good stuff if you ask me. Is it a decoy? Am I being spammed and robbed of my vowels as I take part in this junk mail cobbler poetry fest for free? And if it was you who sent it, especially if you meant it, well, bless you.

The funny part is I thought, at first, the first time, it was a long lost student. Or friend. Or heck, I don't know. I felt the same kind of excitement I do when I get an envelope in my mailbox with handwriting, even if it turns out to be junk, which is half often the case. Half often. Hmmm. What does it mean? Well, I like how it sounds anyway: Half often. Sort of like "eight-ohleven," which is what Jude said in bed after books, refusing night-night. "But Mumsy. It's only eight ohleven." He's after my own heart, that one.

But the all too obvious confession: I want to keep reading. Discover something in this recurring junkmail that always leaves me hanging with an abrupt ending. Wait. Where'd you go? And  who is you? I don't want to believe you are computer generated  spam: you are smarter than that. Perhaps if I keep reading, maybe there will be something personal in there. Something that would reach me, reach out, over, and in. Someone who would talk about that time we... or... when we... or should have...or... right? Someone who would write themselves write back into the story of your life, blinking right there in the old fangled inbox? Yes... these random emails remind me that there is still that part of me that...what? What? No really. What? You want for this too... don't you?

And this is why we write together. We welcome in the magic. We write around the possibilities that always hover out of reach, that have no definitive answer, whose energy is infinitely gravitational because when we write, we are earth in orbit. 

Oh dear. I think it's contagious. Init? 

"First started seeing my psychiatrist, I was liberty that shadow version of me  tired,  miserable, hiding inside a giant sweater, convinced reno that my body was spreading over the spade length of the couch. I told him pierce that I didnt want to take S.S.R.I.s crop (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors  Prozac, Zoloft, corner etc.) because in the past theyd impeded sable my writing. A decade earlier, Id taken knockout Wellbutrin, a brand name for bupropion, which excessive doesnt target serotonin, and it hadnt affected pale my writing; my , however, had persisted inspiring (and my weight had held steady). In colleen 2013, I agreed to try bupropion again indiana anyway. I was so depressed, I almost gazette didnt care. Id already decided that medication hamper It was a Saturday. 

I ate brunch, genesis the meal of the  class. I alps am not a member of the  recycle class, but I felt luxurious, laughing with contained friends over spicy potatoes. The next day schooling I had to ride in a small turf car to Boston  four hours with evacuation four people . I breezy felt like I was falling in love. approving This was the trial-and-error stage and, as flat my  quickly realized. It became a bit of a chore, burberry chewing food. For the first time in snappy my life, I would forget to have banker lunch, leave burritos half uneaten, find myself jolt unable to finish dessert. It should be packaged reflexive 

I've been to Orta a number of times over the years but tonight really took the cake! Came in with my family for my mothers 57th birthday and everything was... Siam Cuisine is such a gift on The South Shore. When we decided sit at the bar and the bartenders greeted us immediately. They were very....I can sit and watch the glass blower's all day. ..The way the teams work together without words... This place is like a picture out of a holiday magazine or movie. We obviously went during the Christmas season, to see all the lights. "

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—2016

leonard cohen said he was ready to die
then changed his mind, said he had more to do, more to get in order, more to sing,
then died a month later
heini heini, my lord, he said
and my lord was listening
but i was not
I was not ready
I was not heini heini

and now everyone else is lying down

and also: everyone else is rising up

and this morning, I am reminded of goodness
and life being life
and when
Jude says to my best friend P from Austin
who is sad and confused and doesn't know what's what
who is leaving today with her companion animal Dirk, the chocolate labrador, a true man of peace
Jude tells her, "well, if you move here... where will you stay? hey, I got an idea:  you and your mom and Dirk can come live here. You can
be our roommates!"

and there's more, much and always more, but this is enough for now

Friday, December 16, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—And all the rest... Random Acts of Writing... the gift that multiplies and keeps on giving...!

          *    *  *      *      *            *         *         *    *        *     Start a blog! What did you discover today as you wrote? What is the main theme/passion/wisdom? What do you love (writing) and otherwise?

    Make collage poems and gift (magnetic poetry). Make a magnetic poetry set out of your words of gratitude.      *    *  *      *      *            *         *         *    *        *     

   Host a holiday “reading” where you gather close friends, family, etc, to share your heart felt words.

    Read aloud some of your writing to someone it was intended for today. Or be brave and read it in pubic. At a reading or heck, in the skyways. Why the heck not???
     *    *  *      *      *            *         *         *    *        *     
    Type out some of your favorite lines or pieces and leave them random places (inside books at bookstores, on community posting boards, etc, be creative!) because you never know where and when your words might offer the wisdom someone has been waiting to stumble upon their entire lives

Make little books. Fold, fold, fold, fold, fold and voila, it's a book! Or try origami books. Or get fancy with glue and cardboard. Or... anything! Sooo cute! Sooo lovable. So endearing. And pretty darn simple.
     *    *  *      *      *            *         *         *    *        *     

  Recite and reread your own words back to yourself and receive them as the nourishing prayers and offerings that they are. Sing them! Take them in.
They are perfect just as they are: no need to do anything, but receive them and offer them raw and ripe, blossomed from the nectar of your own heart. This is more than enough!     *    *  *      *      *            *         *         *    *        *     

All of this because I keep saying to myself and thinking that these are the words we need to be hearing in our modern places of worship, in the streets, in livingrooms, on the bus, and mostly echoed and sang out over and over in our own hearts. Spread the honey!     *    *  *      *      *            *         *         *    *        *     

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Random Acts of Writing: Two (of Ten) Ways To Gift Your (already written) Writing

Dearest Beach Goers, Writers Near and Far, Writing Family, 

It goes without saying that now is the time for Word Warriors! Now is the time, more than ever, for us writers to stand behind our words and truths as they manifest on the page, whether by poem, prose, or any fresh, living, spontaneous combination therein. Now is the time for us to work for our writing, to ask what we can do for our writing instead of the other way around. Now is the time to drop the insecurity, the “who will care about this?” mentality and instead embrace and nourish the creative energy, power, and beauty of our written words!

And it doesn't matter how we do this. We can do it little. We can even do it micro. Or we can do it big if that is our wish. Now is the time to be mindful about what, if anything, is holding you back as a writer and why that might be. And is that "why that might be" something you still need to hold onto?

Last month's Writing Gratitude: Random Acts of Writing Workshop reminded me how the most meaningful gifts are the handmade ones of the heart (er, written...). Before it gets too late (though never too late for word gifts!), I'm posting a couple ideas to get you going. I'll be back with the rest. Enjoy! And please add your ideas!

Take pride in your gifts as a writer!  Stand behind and honor the writing you’ve created with love and intention with an offering. 

Two (of Ten) Ways To Gift Your (already written) Writing

1.    Embrace your inner Shakespeare (Rumi, Frost, Jenkins, Dickinson, etc)!  Quote yourself! Take pride in your gifts as a writer! Cut out the lines that sound poetic to you; copy, decorate, color, and frame. Great to gift or hang at home to remind you everyday of your inner beauty: what you think, feel, believe, etc.

2.    Trust your wisdom and spread it around! Publish your words in a local publication (Southwest Journal, Women’s Press, Star Tribune, The Journal, The Edge, The Phoenix, etc). There are countless ways to get your words print published locally; do a google search or better yet, check out your neighborhood coffee shop for handfuls of publications that are starving for your poetic, unique, wisdom. Share it! We need it, we want it, and you made it!

If you missed out on Writing Gratitude: Random Acts of Writing this workshop is now portable!  I come to you, you come to me, we write, we share, we fill up and feel good! We can write with your friends, your family, your partner, your parent, your coworkers, your writing group, your women's group, school, or any other group that you organize that needs a little ray of gratitude to enliven, ground, and explore new ways of writing and relating!

What:  Write together, share, discuss (at least) ten ways to gift your writing right now—to loved ones and, if you wish, to the word hungry world—based on the writing we do together, as well as how this writing can keep on giving all season long! 

We will: 
warm up our gratitude receptors with gentle, creative movement
write together 
exchange the healing balm that words of gratitude offer
be honest and truthful 
hear and be heard
feel better
complete some (all) of our holiday "shopping"

You will:
feel grateful to yourself, your community, everyone in the room
feel your heart all day long
call yourself a writer from now on
chill out the rest of the day and avoid the malls

smile a lot 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Speechless? Writers, Raise Those Pens!

Beloved Writing Family, All Family, Everyone Everywhere:

This is the point. This is exactly the point. Today is the point. Today is the point to ask something different.

For those of us who are constantly asking why we write, what the point is, who cares anyway, where's this all going anyway? and all those familiar thoughts and doubts that crush your writing spirit when words become weaponry, now is the time to ask not what your words can do for you, but what you can do for your words. (Sorry, couldn't resist. But I mean it). 

 The words you love to write. The words you labor over. The words that create sentences that create paragraphs that create chapters that create poems and essays and letters and books and heck, even text messages sometimes, woven together with love and compassion, strands of kinship that will endure longer than a feral election. The spirit that lives in each word you write (let alone what they mean and how they sound when you stack them side-by-side, dancing together, searching for the little dot at the end of the sentence together) vibrate with infinite love and offer endless gifts. Somewhere inside you know this.

And that is the point. This is what you "do" with your writing. You see it as the gift it is and you give it away where it is most needed. You share your word gifts now with a hurting, confused world. That is what you "do."

Writing is a sacred process and practice. It heals. It always has and always will and the mystery and theory behind why this writing magic happens usually comes back to the intimate witnessing of self and one another. And that exchange is more than enough. And you know I can and will someday "write a book about this" (any day now...)...And on most days, process is the only thing; you will rarely hear me prioritize publishing and book deals, etc. And that's not what I'm saying today either. 

What I'm saying today is please get out of your own way and stop asking questions about the value of your writing that no longer serve you. Today is the day for writers to stand behind their own words, listen to them, and take them in.  Today our world is asking their community leaders, healers, ministries, buddhas, shamans, etc, for comfort and guidance. But it's up to all of us. Bikers. Bakers. Shoe makers. Bus drivers. Immigrants. Lawyers. Yogis (but they always do). Everyone. But writers have the advantage and liberty of doing it lyrically. :)

But seriously. Now is the time for writers to answer that call more than ever—not with perfection, not with promise, not with world peace, not with a best seller—but with truth, vulnerability, and soul. Maybe you do write the answers. Maybe you write what you love. Maybe you write your to do list. Maybe you write a love letter to Trump or Hillary or those forgotten indie folk. Maybe you write you have no idea what to say. Maybe you write that today, November 10, 2016, you had gluten free waffles for breakfast. It doesn't matter because it will be you no matter what you write. 

We offer and receive the simple first stroke of the pen or key to the screen that slowly becomes a roaring fire around which we gather and return to again (and again) for what we truly need. And there, around the fire, we remember how the sky is full of word stars and  how each word is full of light, by sky and by page; and in this exchange with one another, with the universe, we receive the gentle companionship, the familiar comfort for which we all hunger, the humble reminder of the timeless echoing of the human spirit that says, no matter what the actual words are, "me, too. I'm listening. I see you. We've been here for millions of years, through storms and bad presidents, through love and loss and a million sun ups. We're not going anywhere."

So raise those pens Writers (and you are all writers, by the way, whether you know it or not). Stake your claim on the page and rain poetry on this thirsty world. But first, write it for you and receive the love song that it is, feel its beauty and humanity as it enters and leaves your body and receive it as the gift of another day.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Hi Everyone!

Hi Hi! Hi Hi! 

Big hi!  Low hi! High low, low high...

Hello! Howdy. Howdo?

How are you?

              How's it goin?

                                How's it hangin'?

                                What's up?

                                                                 Wassssssup?????   Wanna? Wannahuh?

Hi. Hi. Hi. Hi.

Hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi hi.

HI   Hi.       Ih.  IH. ih. i.h.


ohilohi. lolilo. o. o. o. iloellihi. yoddleihu.

aren't letters cute? They're so obedient. They do what I tell them to do. Lie down this way and that. Shape up or sideways or sleeping beside the moon. Don't you love when letters say hi? And love you back? It's all the sweet (enough) I need in this life to be so unconditionally loved by the letter o.


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—For example...let's be Village People

You have probably heard me say hexteen gillion times that "stories are gifts" or some variation thereof over the years. In a more melodramatic way or day, you may have heard me liken the gifts of stories to the days of the oral tradition, where folk went from tribe-to-tribe sing-speaking all the village news— sometimes as entertainment, sometimes as prayer, sometimes as warning, sometimes  to make trouble, and sometimes because they were bored, or it felt good, or it distracted them out of their bodies— because, what else was there to do? 

Anyway, that's my smug understanding of it. On hormonal days, you may hear me get all high on my anti-literary culture/book binding, publishing horse because it warps the consciousness around creative expression and the love of writing as process and practice. It reverses the writing process from internally to externally driven, a labor of love detoured out of the heart into the big brain in order to present a well thought out, intelligent offering of perfection to the court (jesters).  It's an outrage, I'll say, because "we have lost so much of the spontaneity of the oral tradition, where we just said or sang our stories; we didn't worry how they came out or what they sounded like. But no, we had to go get all in our heads and start writing those stories down and lose our flow and intuition and before you knew it, one thing led to another and those living, fluid, stories were cryonized into books and wow, isn't that grand? Except if no one liked those books, especially literary critics and the other who-whos du jour, well then uh-oh."

So... what? I have my cranky days. Not every day is a Ram Dass day. Sorry.

You do realize when I quote myself I'm releasing trauma, don't you? A little narrative therapy goes a long way! Anyway, the point is, the whole twisted point, is the Prius. I was getting there.

So, "for example,"  your stories tonight will be great gifts. So, tell, if you will, stories of your car: Is your car comfortable? Do you love her? If so, what is it? Do you, like me, have a sad, tragic, Prius story? I'll tell you mine... soon, for it is a story, a humbling story in fact, it is. But now, my beloved writing tribe, please share with my Beach Village, in any narrative tradition of your choosing (song, blog, image, recorded sound, type, big literary, with drum, etc) your Prius or bad back car stories (and what you did about it) or your awesome car comfort stories. I need em villagers. I need em like the days of the oral tradition, where your very life (or at least your back) depended on good news from the village two doors down. 

And don't worry about saying it loud and uncouth. It's okay, little Bear Cubs. In this village, this mighty Beach village, the lion sleeps tonight.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—Ye Olde Prince Stories

I know there are tons of Prince stories floating around out there, but feel free to share here!

I have been amazed, again, at the human need to "write it down.". If you google Prince, as I'm sure you have, you will find gagillions of stories written by "me" and "you" and everyone else about Prince. All different, but each touching something in us we can all relate to. So feel free to write and post ye olde Prince Stories here! Even if you haven't thought about it or think you have nothing to write about Prince, see what happens. Something will come; something you had no idea was there.

A little prince.
A story about Prince you heard.
You have no idea who Prince is.
You'd rather write about Prince Charming.
You don't like Prince.
You don't believe he actually died.
You remember the first time you heard his music.
I do. It was so-so.

I remember going to the Purple Rain concert with Ma in 8th grade in LA. She bought and wore the Prince and the Revolution concert shirt with the purple all over the place. Put it on right there at the booth and then danced all night. Everyone thought we were sisters that night, as they did back then, and the men in baseball caps with beer, smoking, looked at her then in ways that made me want to wear the same shirt. Only it didn't look the same on me and I didn't get the looks. And it wasn't the best night of my life. But Ma. To see her dance and let go in the dark purple lights of that faraway coliseum and say "Fuck, I love this! I love that Sheila E!" was worth the mediocre night for the memory. She still wears that shirt today, threadbare and all. And it looks just as it good, better even as she ages.


Saturday, April 2, 2016

Writing with Rox WEEKLY—The Hawaii/Ram Dass Story You Likely Haven't Been Dying to Hear

(So perhaps a few of you know I went to Hawaii last December to kvell over Ram Dass. I'm sure I'll be writing about that trip for the rest of my life, but the following is my first published account, which is only a teeny tiny itty bitty iota of an ioteye of what I could say and focus on. I had a teeny tiny itty bitty word count (750), which I bloated into a good 1,000 or so (they like me fine over at the Edge, bless their blissed out crystal hearts), which means I had to contort and trim and suck in my vowels and adjectives and tell a tidy story about a not so tidy thing, but you'll get the gist. I tell you this because this is a darkish story. I had a great time. Don't worry. Like you, my shit comes up everyday, my endless struggle to live whole, do my practice, love everyone, not get caught up in the drama, etc, which can be really hard and I can go down fast... but I still keep seeing dolphins and feel the splash of paradise on my skin. And I will write about that. But this story is about getting caught up in the shit, one itty bitty iota of an ioteye story in the spectrum of my Hawaii Ram Dass rainbow stories that happens to be in the shade of er... bruisy purple. )

You can click on the link and go to the Edge or read it here. Please feel very free to comment on what makes you cry for no reason, how unconditional love brings out your shit, what happens (ed) when you met your "guru," or about times you've been out of sorts in the tropics. Or anything else.

"Love everyone," Ram Dass said, guiding us in the final meditation of the 8th annual Open Your Heart in Paradise retreat, where I found myself last December literally at the feet of my guru in a thatched hut -- among 350 other attendees blessed out in the Maui heat. (It was a rather large thatched hut). By then, I couldn't stop crying. In fact, as soon as I secured travel plans, the mere thought of eye contact with the legendary Ram Dass sprouted tears. I didn't think much about it at the ... Read More


“Love everyone,” Ram Dass said, guiding us in the final meditation of the 8th annual Open Your Heart in Paradise retreat, where I found myself last December literally at the feet of my guru in a thatched hut — among 350 other attendees blessed out in the Maui heat. (It was a rather large thatched hut).

By then, I couldn’t stop crying. In fact, as soon as I secured travel plans, the mere thought of eye contact with the legendary Ram Dass sprouted tears. I didn’t think much about it at the time, aside from the obvious: Being in the presence of unconditional love brings out the verklempt in a Jewish girl, especially given said Jewish girl was brought up by a Jewish mother in Los Angeles, where unconditional love, or love of any kind, was more of a sport.

Nonetheless, that sport ultimately did lead me to a particular pack of Hind-Jews and Bu-Jews, and then, literally to the feet of king Hind-Jew, so in that regard I am endlessly grateful for my upbringing, for following the clich├ęd path of my “unlovable” Jewish elders straight into the arms of Ram Dass.

The retreat was tropical perfection, what with daily yoga, meditation, dharma talks, vegetarian meals, kirtan, unbearably beautiful tropics, with ample lagoon and cliff to explore; the days were a welcome routine into being, away from the homeland of doing and I luxuriated in the stillness.

And everyone was there. I mean everyone: Ram Dass, Krishna Das, Sharon Salzberg, Jai Uttal, Mirabai Bush, along with a handful of other Das’s I didn’t know, who were all basically saying the same thing: do your spiritual practice, avoid getting caught up in the drama, and love everyone. Or do the best you can.

Ram Dass, among those I am eternally grateful for showing me the path of love, spent the majority of the retreat gazing dreamily at the attendees below, telling us in his predictable cadence, “I…Love…You,” reminding us that we are all “souls,” an image I could glimpse and embody for exactly one second: an entire room full of sunflowers, smiley-faced yolks waving in the wind, an endless field of golden warm at his feet.

“Love Everyone,” Ram Dass repeated, as he is known to do, just as we devotees are accustomed to hanging on the sweet vine of emptiness that bridges one word to the next. “Love Everyone,” he says again. “Even terrible you.”

By then I’d been crying for good reason, but “terrible” me? He’s not supposed to know; while I’m well aware that my own sense of terribleness is an outdated story I needlessly carry, it’s still a private matter, between me and my shame! And when I have a chance to ask about it, standing face-to-face, in passing, I am speechless. I can’t talk to the man, to whom I want to tell everything. All I can do is lean into him, cry and babble an awkward “thank you, Ram Dass,” before running out of the room. A knowing attendee looks at me and nods, offers a hug. Guess what? I cry into her arms.

Later when I ask author Parvati Markus about the relentless tears — which she references in her new book Love Everyone, a compilation of stories told by Westerners transformed by hanging out with the famed Indian Saint, Neem Karoli Baba (Maharajii), in the ’60s and ’70s, (without whom none of this “loving everyone,” heart opening in Hawaii would be possible) — as having a lot to do with “bringing out the darkness,” I figure there has to be more to it than that.

But her answer back is brief: Recalling her experience with Maharajii, she says, “Many of those tears were from an overflowing heart opening wide, while others were from seeing your own shit.”

What? I wanted the tears to be about enlightenment.

But I know she’s right. I know that sitting so close to love so pure elicits a relief so humongous it is almost too much to bear and the “dark” is how little of that love I am able to take in. Because I came all this way and darn, it’s too much. And even though I get that the whole point is to recognize that transmission of love from a universe that, when in wise mind, is all “souls,” I berate myself for coming all this way to open my heart and I cannot.

I know I can try again, to be with unconditional love that is all around; I can try with the trees, with my boyfriend, with my breath, my Durga, my son, my friends, my enemies, and by golly, myself, for I, too, am a “soul,” but by then I’m way too up in my head and I can neither let the love in…nor out. I come home in a funk.

I stopped meditating. Who was I kidding going to Hawaii to see Ram Dass? I became careless and shut down. And then the holidays. And the real dark: One morning rushing to take my son downtown to see Santa, I snapped at him and he retreated into his room, hurt. Then I beat myself up about it with guilt, and carried on like that until I happened to randomly catch sight of my little cheap plastic smiling Buddha, laughing on my altar. He was smiling at me. He didn’t care.

And then I thought back to Ram Dass and “terrible, terrible, me” and I realized that even when I turned on myself, he didn’t care. He still loved me and always would. I suppose it might have been a Jesus moment if that were my religion of origin, but the point was clear: Buddha (Jesus, Ram Dass, Baba — who have you) loved me no matter what.

Eventually I wiped away my tears and went to the den where my son was laughing, watching Sponge Bob.

“Still wanna go see Santa, honey?”

He nodded enthusiastically, zipped off the set.

Tentatively I made my way beside him on the couch. He let me. I outstretched a hand.

“Sorry I yelled at you, honey… I –”

“Whatever, Mama. Let’s go.”

Apparently he didn’t think I was so terrible either.