1.22.23 2:00 am Friend

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“… and she embraced the chaos as it painted her life with purpose.” – J.H. Hard

It was 2:13 am

and we’d talked for four hours

(four hours and nine minutes)

and the funny thing is …

it wasn’t enough

We could have kept on talking

until the moon and the sun switched places

again

Everything and nothing at all

tears

and tantrums

confessions

and conundrums

secrets

and surreptitious truths

Each of them weighted equally

as the minutes ticked

as the clock struck

done

All I could think, was how grateful I am

to have this gift in my life

a kindred

who knows both what is possible

and unlikely

but trades dreams … and wishes … and prayers with me anyway

Therein lies the true magic

the believing that four hours of life shared in conversation

changes things

because it does

It allows us to carry on

to keep moving forward in both the mundane and miraculous

May each one of us be so lucky

as to have a four-hour-conversation

and a 2:00 am friend

11.26.22 Gratitude

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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

To be grateful

honestly grateful

is not as familiar a posture as I wish it were

I say the right words

“I am thankful for …”

but do I live it?

Do I truly dwell in not just satisfaction

in temperance and tolerance

but actual gratitude?

Mind over matter – yes.

Logic wins. I am healthy. I am happy. I love.

But if I’m being completely honest

(as is rare for me to even be with myself)

I could work on my attitude of gratitude

Sometimes my prayers become a disjointed list

instead of an intentional offering

Sometimes my “thanks” are bottled and boxed …

saying sweet tidings

without animation

without spirit, or life

And I’m sorry.

Because this gift I’ve been given,

this life and these people

these days and relationships and serendipitous encounters

they deserve more

I’m ashamed to admit it might take me some time

this rearranging my posture –

I believe there might not be anything more important

than to saturate myself in appreciation

ordinary and otherwise

The brilliance of a sunrise and the miracle of one more breath

should be regraded with equal measures of requited adoration

I don’t want to say,

“I’m grateful,”

I want to remain in a state of being so

regardless

11.9.22 Cliche

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“I’m a cliche,”

she told me through her tears

she told me through mine 

I took in her tired eyes …

too tired to cry

I took in her straight-edge shoulders …

strong from the weight they’d proven they would continue to bear

I wonder if telling someone new hurts worse

than keeping it inside

Do the spinning, recurrent, stuck-on-play thoughts

pause 

when shared – giving peace to the weary,

world-beaten mind that must endure them?

Or does saying them out loud

again

open just-barely healed scars?

I hated that all I could do was listen

because listening doesn’t feel like enough

And yet the set of her chin 

the clench in her jaw

told me she was not waiting for the right words

(she knew no one would ever have)

she was not waiting for anyone to fix

or heal

or save

Listening would never be enough

but being heard … 

was 

Somewhere between the “I do’s”

and “I don’t anymore,”

between the “Until death do us part’s” 

and “I’ve got nothing left,” 

lay the infinitesimal

(albeit shattered) 

portion of hope

waiting to be stumbled upon in the dark 

And even though the dark remains

ink-stained as the document signed to revoke a promise that

paper should never be strong enough to change –

she’s going to make it

she is

Undeniably.

Somehow, slowly, 

crawling will become standing

on her own precious feet

on her own grounded terms

Pinpricks of light will begin to shimmer and wink into existence 

wish-worthy as a constellation

Feather by broken feather

her wings will knit together

her thoughts will calm, and quiet

and she will find peace 

among the pieces of what was

Though she can’t know it yet

she will

she is not a cliche

she is not a tragedy

she is a phoenix

and my but I wonder at the beauty that will be born

from her ashes

10.2.22 Your Company

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Sometimes I think you found a secret passage way into my soul –

a back door

or an open window 

that no one else took the trouble to look for

or check on … 

to know for certain that there was a part of me

that wasn’t actually locked

or closed, so much as un-searched for. 

How did you know to do that?

To go there? 

To find me? 

How did you know those were the questions that needed asking?

Those were the silences I needed to stretch in, 

the pauses between conversations that gave me the space

I didn’t know I required,

to open up.

You surprise me.

Still.

And perhaps that is the grandest gift –

the key that you are to me … 

No matter how many words are said or unsaid,

no matter how many days and weeks and months

lapse between our conversations,

I am always still looking forward to “next.” 

Because I know there’s more of me to find with you,

beside your quiet heart

inside your busy mind

with or without reason or proof of anything 

apart from my liking myself more

for your company.

9.18.22 And Then, There’s Bella

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My favorite thing about being a writer is hearing back from readers. I adore knowing which lines transcended the page and found their way into a heart, or a mind, or a memory. I love imagining my words as tiny, gossamer threads, weaving themselves in and out of the consciousnesses of others. When someone shares that something is, “exactly” how they feel, my heart alights at the wonder of it all … at this shared experience of life, and the living of it.

And then, there’s Bella. Bella Grace comes in all her majesty, robed in the scent of ink on thick paper, and I dwell in the magical reality that this publication has linked me to so many. So many minds. So many stories. So many effervescent opportunities to merge one story, one life, to another. This fall, I wrote, “Dear Life, You are Not What I Planned,” for Issue 33. I really, really hope you have the chance to pick up a copy and let me know if any lines crossed your conscious and settled there.

“Whether playing hands with Fate or Destiny, or crafting conversations with God, you, Life, lead us on a path written in invisible ink.”

Please share a line that resonates.

All my love,

Elle

9.11.22 Alternate Reality

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“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?” 

― John Lennon

I’ve heard it said, 

that everyone has a different version of reality –

because no two people can live 

even the same experience

the same way

Some people would call this a lonely thought

because if true …

then no one can ever understand you

fully

But the way I see it,

it’s a blessing, really,

because if no one else can ever experience what you do

the way that you do …

how can you be wrong?

Or less?

Or not enough?

If what you experience in this life is yours alone, 

then you, 

precious one,

are a limited edition –

the rarest of finds, 

a treasure who can never be deemed insignificant.

How might the world transform

(glitter-bright with blameless, shameless curiosity)

if people could accept this about one another?

How might this life awaken,

dream-drenched with charm and adoration

if we could accept this about ourselves?

7.6.22 Bits of Whimsy and Wonderful

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Stampington & Company has come up with a fabulous new spin off publication! Bella Grace: Book of Lists. If you are anything like me … you are a list-maker, a note-taker, and a dreamer with too many words and doodles to keep track of. I was lucky enough to have two pieces in this issue: “Tiny Truths You Only Learn By Living,” and “25 Whimsical Ways to Enlighten the Light of Summer.” I hope that you will check it out and that the entire magazine will prove to be a source of joy and inspiration.

Sneak Peek Quotes:

“Magic exists in the space between a wish and a prayer.”

“Curiosity is creativity calling out for your attention.”

“Dreaming is the solution to the monotony of the day-to-day. There is nowhere a daydream cannot take you, and it’s never too expensive a trip.”

“You are not responsible for the state of the world, only the state of your being while in it.”

“There is no shortage of wonder in this life. Be a seeker of wonderful things until you are wonder-filled too.”

6.12.22 Forty-Five Years

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For you mom and dad. Thank you for teaching me again and again what love is. I am eighteen years in today … you are forty-five. I will keep studying your beautiful example. Here is what I’ve learned so far …

I’ve heard of love described as chemistry

but chemical reactions do not tend to strengthen over time

I’ve heard of love described as biology

but if it were, then it would be marked by an innate sense of self-preservation, not self-sacrifice

I’ve heard of love described as psychology

but human connection is not mutually exclusive to just one other

So …

I suggest love is built on something far more than powerful than science –

it is built on a promise –

to keep trying, when trying seems impossible (as it will)

to keep hoping, when hope feels too far away (as it is)

to keep dreaming, when dreams have broken (as they do)

Love is built on yes

and yes again

and yes a thousand times more

Love it built on time

time moving too fast

and too slow

and perfect moments where it stops all together

Love is built on someday

and countless yesterdays

and I’m here right nows

Love

does

not

make

sense

Yet here we are …

and so the only logical conclusion is that love is not a science,

it is a magic entirely its own

cast and crafted

blessed and bound

As old as Earth herself

As young as the echo of a heartbeat

Love IS

what other explanation need there be?

5.23.22 A Season’s Invitation

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Spring

a breath of warmth
whispering scents of hyacinth and lily of the valley in waking,
walking daydreams of pastel perfection
tucking you into the truth that
Winter cannot remain
darkness cannot sustain
and that
s l o w l y …
ever so,
the light begins to lengthen –
effervescent fingers stretching invitingly
into something entirely new

Might these calligraphic winds
turn your tide
strengthen your stride
and bow you back to humbler beginnings reminding you of earlier dreams

still waiting for their curtain call Time is a patient partner, holding out a hand to tomorrow if you missed yesterday

if you’ve a hesitant history build on, “not today”
the summon still stands

Anything is possible
in the sweet asylum of a world
where irises arise
where pink and peach watercolor clouds drift in and out of sunrise skies
where seagrasses sway
and a new night filled with
inconstant constellations
beckon you to wish
and wonder
what might become yours
as soon as you say yes
to the petaled promises
of the fresh-start season within

Questions to Light Your Path:

  1. What is a dormant dream you’ve recently reawakened?
  2. What are the scents of Spring that inspire you?
  3. Have you ever wanted to try something entirely your own and new? What might it be?
  4. What are the colors that speak to you of Springtime?
  5. Why does Spring personify the gentlest, softest time of year?
  6. If you knew the answer would be yes … what question would you ask? And to whom?
  7. Can you describe a sunrise using all of your senses to do so?
  8. What “summon” from your own “hesitant history” do you still feel calling you?
  9. Do you have a darkness you are ready to leave behind? What light will chase it away?
  10. If you are turning your tide to new winds, what one word will bespeak your new journey?