Thursday, April 10, 2014

Medicine Story #3 ... more magic, a bit of mending, and meddlers

Spring brings new growth. Pollens spread nature's never ending story. Asking no permission the gold dust covers roof tops, collects on hair, enters sinuses not to create harm for pollen sufferers (like me) but to fill the promise of living. Trees, flowers and shrubs have a lesson for me, and stories that could, and do, I believe offer me and other human beings a chance to mend/recover/rediscover LIFE'S FORCE, life's magic.

I write to live the myth -- that which incorporates what I cannot understand with logic alone -- in a place where characters show themselves and build the character within me that calls for a new stitch here or a loosening of binding there. All manner of metaphors season the myth. Astrology assists me on my path as writer and artist-of-a-life-worth-living. I welcome the study of heavenly bodies along the way, and the interpretations provide angles to assist me over harsh obstacles; timing and durations of events or decisions beyond my control soften habits of self-criticism. I evolve, astrology is folded into the myth. Generational lessons are played out through the characters who are mothers, children, time-travelers, familiars, trees and feathered cousins, and elemental forms of Akua Gods and Goddesses. Ancestral memory, language and cultural practices sustain the characters. What I as a writer and woman alive today cannot or have not yet experienced, the story gives me a deeper reach, a fuller breath, a feel for something other; courage to believe in spring.

The medicine stories continue. I'm writing the third one live and share it just as spring spreads pollens and salmon berry flowers turn to guava-sweet fruit. It's called MEND MEDDLE MAGIC. You might enjoy it here.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Playing with the process of writing

"Print is predictable and impersonal, conveying information in a mechanical transaction with the reader's eyes. Handwriting, by contrast, resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly, and is as intimate as skin." - Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being

WHY write by HAND? what is it connected to? WHAT moves it? what is a hand? A BODY in MOTION IS MOVED BY .....There is a STATE OF MIND WHICH is NOT accessible by thinking IT SEEMS TO REQUIRE A PARTICIPATION WITH SOMETHING like a pen like a pencil ..." - Lynda Barry, WHAT IT IS

I'm in the middle of playing with The Joy Weed Journal, looking and listening in particular to how a story is printed (as on a computer) or written by hand (as a personal journal would be written). If you've read The Journal before, it is possible you notice the change in the font. I'm playing with it considering what Ruth Ozeki writes "Handwriting resists the eye, reveals its meaning slowly ..." Reading the script font is slower to get To some readers, the myth and the language of medicine stories is equally slower to get. I wonder about that. I'm not really trying to make it make difficult to read my stories, really! As the New Moon in Aries approaches I'm juggling the way I tell stories and perhaps address some of the questions like these posed by mystical physician Christine R. Page:

  • What dreams or fantasies am I holding onto that will never be fulfilled?
  • Where am I giving love in the delusional belief that it will be reciprocated?
  • What expectations do I carry that can never be fulfilled?
  • Where am I still attached to my own stories from the past because they evoke emotions such as anger, pain, disappointment, and shame?
  • What seeds of wisdom do I need to glean from the situation that will allow me to move on?
Questions that might clear my creative womb where stories live, or die, before moving on with the cycle of getting on with things ... a cycle that sometimes rushes forward without attending to the protocol of slowly being in the time being.

How does it feel to read this script-y font on a computer screen? I'd love to know. 

Update: I've returned the spript-y font to a printed one. Thank you Renee for your comment. More time for play in other ways. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Final Entry: Celebration

"Memory is a funny thing, young man.  And, as you grow Kai memories will stretch making it possible to include things, people, who were not part of the memory in the first place."  She looked at her son for a read on the idea and saw that it had already crossed the boy's mind, his experiences so much broader than boys his age." - Madeline

Max finished the stories. I lingered in the space absent of his pace and purpose not so much waiting for the next word, just savoring the images and people we had been with.  The old Rosehill library clock with large black numbers and a second hand kept the heartbeat of time like vinyl recalls memory of sound in its grooves. Absently my eyes looked at the big time piece. The hour hand held steady between the twelve and the one. The minute hand pointed straight down. The slender second hand tickled steadily. Twelve thirty. Only thirty minutes had passed since we sat for tea. I thought of Max's third set of teeth. I flexed my hands and felt the age of eight decades, blinked to clear my eyes of the clouds that persisted like a foggy hand mirror.

"How comfortable are you with the memories that stretch the way Madeline suggested her young son would experience as he grew?" Max tested my listening muscles. I knew what he was asking. People and events were becoming as cloudy as the vision I have on a clear day. Sometimes, when I sit to write it's not so much the flow of story that hesitates as much as a word that was once as familiar as salt.

"Uncle, I wonder how flexible I am now that some memories are foggy."

"All memories Pale? Are all the images illusive?" Max rode time without gluing any one moment but was at the same time a teacher who gently, but informatively, made me consider my choice of words.

"No Uncle. Some images are so clear and stayed purely in the body other than my head. The woman Madeline she is so familiar to me. Family is she?"

"She is." The research I do for my storytelling include venturing into the splintering voyages of Kanaka who left the piko -- the original island source. That research and the connections become a mythic plot of imaginings and loose webs. The interlaced fingers Max and I created that day he showed up before the twins were born: that image tickled me.

"Madeline is an aunty, at least three, if not four, generations removed from yours. Her father was one of those sea-loving men whose venturous soul was captivated by the tall ships of the haole in early Maui harbors. Like the stories you have written, Madeline is a woman who knew some things while other memories are foggy like that worn and cloudy mirror."

Max continued. "You are eighty years, today, Pale. Your family and in particular your children will bring you presents today. They are even bringing you dinner and cake!" I nodded and considered my luck. Max stopped to reach for my face which must have been a sight of perplexity. He rubbed my ears, ran his fingertips across my eyebrows, kissed my cheeks and then joined his broad forehead to mine. We exchanged the breath as he held my shoulders, and I held his.

"But it is the gifts for them that makes this birthday party special. Your stories. Tell them the stories, these stories, all the stories. It is your face, your voice that animates and brings the story to life. Am I assuming too much to say in your former incarnation as a young mother, you believed it was kapu, forbidden to be the center of attention?"

"When I was a young woman with wings still wet from my first voyage, and mother of two children I shunned attention seeking or affirmation. I had so little confidence in my decisions. Fencing myself in I thought I could separate a past that frightened me.  My history: an incomplete story. My lineage kept secret.  With so much Scorpio I felt ill-prepared for life. Deeply unprepared."

"Now? Are you as deeply unsure today?" After all the years of being on the border of cultures, my life in Salish has been my initiation into the deep comfort with my body, satisfying my soul's yearning, accepting my human mistakes. Most important though I have come to know the wisdom of Papa Hanau Moku -- Earth, and Mo'okiha,  dragon mother, my 'aumakua. The twins born decades after my monthly blood had ceased opened up the vastness of a woman's awesome power; her choice to embrace a loyal lover of any species. Who said the division of ancient values would cease because the conqueror made new rules? My mind was swimming with implications.

I answered the kahuna this way, "Today I love that my gut has space for traveling with you." Smiling at both his queries and my habits of being far too serious for my best good a roaring belly laugh erupted. This beloved time traveling ancient spirit, my Max, had led me through the many levels of reconnection. This male energy has made connection with Wahine Nui, The women.  Max has brought me home to myself.

"No residual?" He asked. His attention now poised on my head that hard, large space that spends such long periods of worrying over things beyond my reach. I swept my hands through my hair and looks for the strands that always collected between my fingers. Silver thread tangled my fingers.

"A little." Dream travel had become as easy if not easier for me to do while awake as I aged physically. I laughed at myself and said "It's probably all these thick wiry gray hairs. All that electrical connectivity. Easier to take my body through the portals birthing myself over and over again. Making up for that C-section when I was a purple tiny girl gasping for breath.

A loud ruckus broke the spell for us. In the tree just outside the door it was Raven Clan, the first arrivals. My Raven, silver-haired master of service at The Safety Pin Cafe had the family busy in the cafe kitchen. My need to make soup for dinner was a habit that dies hard. Like my mother who baked her own birthday cakes, I would not be baking my own birthday cake, but soup? I would make soup.

"Nearly party time," he was not staying. Max reached into his coat pocket and pulled a parcel about the size of a medium size book but bumpy, not rectangular. A rough paper wrapping weathered the way old books turn yellow was wound with a length of simple string."When they ask you, or think it only to themselves "Is that really true" open this for the children. Let them decide for themselves."


I did enjoy a festive and jolly eightieth birthday party. Food, music, dancing, more food and stories. I told many stories that night. And the children did ask the question. I handed them Max's gift. 
Sugar mice.


I want to acknowledge, and celebrate, the contributions of audience members who gave me feedback that fit and wove into this final entry and ending for The Joy Weed Journal. Thank you Morgana for reminding me that the live telling animates the story for you. Your words gives me the ball of enthusiasm to fuel a performance of the story; Gail you bless me with your observation that I have 'birthed my power' with these medicine stories; and Teri, long-time girl friend and now crone-elder together, your mirror serves me at so many different levels.  

The story may change as I edit and play with it to prepare the live telling but for now the magic and medicine has been grand. The participation has made all the difference in my world. Thank you!

A hui hou,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Four Full Moons, not just one ... the overflowing blessings of Mahina

• The third day of the four Hawaiian full moons was believed to be the fullest moon.
Fishing is good at sea, not onshore.
• Watch for high waves. - Kohala Center

The elegant and inspired Full Moon in Virgo according to astrological calculations happens at midday tomorrow, March 16, 2014. The Hawaiian Moon Calendar includes four full moon phases to account for the subtle yet powerful influence of the brightness or darkness of the moon's reflective light. So today's moon would be Hoku, the third day of the four Hawaiian full moons believed to be the fullest. My ancestors' observations and implications for a sustaining and reciprocal (give and take) relationship between human-earth-water-ocean-sky and spirit accounted for the keen attending to nuance. The gift of the present moment was life. Simple. Isn't it? With so many demands on a human beings attention, the daily or nightly watching or attending to the moon doesn't show up on many do-lists. I overheard a man talking with a clerk in our local market a few days ago. He said "And, it's the full moon. That would account for a lot of this nonsense." What preceded his comment I had no idea. It was no way near being full moon when we were in the same place in that market. It was one of the quarter moon phases (times of rest and reflection and no new projects). But, it makes no never mind for whether we attend to the moon or now, the moon does attend to us. Perhaps the man was having a frustrated moment, a bad day and was picking on the full moon.

In connection to the creative nature of being alive, the cycle of birthing -- bringing a seed through the process of development in the dark womb, nurturing in the protective sea is reflected in the regular cycles of reflected light from our companion moon, Earth's one moon. What I have been doing with the writing and sharing of The Joy Weed Journal is to align myself and the a story with the natural, painful and joyous process of a natural birth. Through the birth canal, the medicine of creating prepares this story-creation for life on Earth. The process of bringing a baby: an egg, a calf, kitten, lamb or human involves pain and the igniting of emotions, hormones, receptors and memories of birthing as Woman has always known. It IS the great mystery, and the great gift. 
The medicine, magic and mystery in the stories I write gives birth to my power. Long in coming, these stories and this medicine chants the chants of formlessness. Time? Timeless. The feedback I have received over the last two moon cycles have been the mid-wife I needed. The Universe, The Goddess, my ancestors celebrate the birth and I give thanks to all our readers and audience members for their invaluable part in the delivery.
Difficult, multiple meanings, ethereal, laced with tangents, inspiring, whimsical, possibly confusing? Yes, all of that. Life is like that!
The last segment-entry of the medicine story The Joy Weed Journal pushes through that metaphoric birth canal on this Hoku Moon. Tomorrow you can meet it/read it here. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Who DO I write for? (look for updates to this post as more comments arrive)

"I would be a liar, a hypocrite, or a fool -- and I'm not any of those -- to say that I don't write for the reader. I do. But for the reader who hears, who really will work at it, going behind what I seem to say. So I write for myself and that reader who will pay the dues.
... Every human being has paid the earth to grow up. Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. Not really. They get older. But to grow up costs the earth, the earth. It means you take responsibility for the time you take up, for the space you occupy. It’s serious business. And you find out what it costs us to love and to lose, to dare and to fail. And maybe even more, to succeed. What it costs, in truth. Not superficial costs—anybody can have that—I mean in truth. That’s what I write. What it really is like. I’m just telling a very simple story."   - Maya Angelou

The neap tides have turned, the moon's globe is fattening up on her way to becoming full in Virgo on Sunday, March 16th. The 'old people' those who lived and felt the turning of tides and the fattening or leanness of the moon kept in sync with everything around them so what was inside became in sync with the outside. The full moon means the sun will be directly opposite the moon, and in the sign of Pisces. My astrologer says:

"The full moon takes place on March 16th, midday, at 26 degrees Virgo.  I like the look of this. It’s elegant.  You may be able to ground a good idea at this time."
The magic and the medicine of stories flows or is stopped at the border for another time, or for some other. I write because that's part of the remedy that keeps me fluid rather than brittle, tickled rather than tortured or torturous and I keep learning something through the process. With practice I gain some confidence with the ups and downs of the creating and loosen my grip on perfection. The magic and medicine remains lively and ownership is not part of the prescription. I write for the younger me who didn't have the words to speak in language forbidden by laws made up by missionaries with a bible and paper to take and bury the protocol and practices of common magic -- elemental wisdom. I write for my mother and my father, my aunties, my mango trees. I write to make space for Grace.

Now that the neap tides have turned the process of showing The Joy Weed Journal to an audience is nearly over. I have received valuable feedback and information that I will horde like a greedy bear cub hungry for a taste of something yummy. A second group of audience members read the story at their pace. On the inspiring and elegant Full Moon I will ask them "How is/was the medicine/magic/tale is for them?" With that feedback we head more fully toward the Spring Equinox on Thursday, March 20th!

Today, the first two salmon berry blossoms are smiling at me through the Quonset window, day by day the Spring sun partners with them and the promise of plump fruit.  With the horde of feedback I'll go back to the creative cave when the moon is new at the end of March; and muck around with the story(ies) editing, licking, and floating in the rewrites preparing for storytelling under the moveable umbrellas of The Safety Pin Cafe.

This post is a summary of the feedback our readers and audience have given over the past several weeks. A huge, sloppy and slurpy hug and thank you to all of you for your feedback and attentiveness you have written this border witch. Your honesty, love and support is such a gift. Thank you very much. Mahalo nui loa a pau.

Audience Feedback

The following quotes are posted with permission from our audience members who emailed me their  communications. In addition, there as comments posted on the individual segments of The Joy Weed Journal.

" I have been delighted to see you opening up in such a beautiful way.  And that you are asking for feedback, which in your old reincarnation, would have been forbidden as attention seeking.  I'm assuming too much,
but it's a thought I had, how you seemed to shun direct attention or affirmation in those old days.
I love that you are seeking feedback, and enjoy the dialogue, and of course, the stories,
which are so unique, as they are you.

I also wanted to say that I love writing, which has me in awe of what you are doing,
actually putting your writing into a cohesive story with so much of your cultural soul in it,
and so much playing with the elements.  It comes from your core, and takes great honesty,
so you have a fan!

It is so interesting to have known each other as young women, and now meet again in our mid sixties (well, I'm in my mid sixties) one phrase you used summed up for me why I always wanted to know more of you when we were young mothers, it was
"..not too many words to 'explain' ... enough to plant seeds or stir up primal roots for the committed explorer." - TW, Whidbey Island, WA

"Like S.P.C (safety pin cafe), old memories, old friends, a meta world & healings- so broth does for me.
I spend 85% of my waking life cooking, the other 15 if a cross between, hiking, working out, cleaning, and nature.
Fantasy--of memories- did i live them or are they a collective memoir of things past& almost forgotten--RESURRECTED.
through the labor of broth making the gift is more than the product- if you use protocol.
protocol.--- asking, waiting, listening, thankful and thankful again.

in my edge of the world, there is much excited! great food! great music, great style/fashion, cool stuff-BAM BAM BAM!!

i touch all that-- i walk through it, sometimes matching the energy, sometimes creating my own,  but mostly we walk through it all, like a fish in a fish tank, observing through a window. its a bit better now for me. i need to keep my energy clean and bright to have the stamina for all the cooking and walking i do.
i am thinking a lot about Raven and guardianship role, as well as other roles, he provides.

what about those lots of questions on that." - R.J.A., San Francisco, CA

" [in response to New Segment to The Journal] another fab read; lots of culture and history and wanting to read more"- jt, Lacy, Washington

" ... So that is what I need right now - sleep, rest, and taking care of myself.  I know you are familiar with that space.  I will dip and sip and savor The Joy Weed Journal again soon, I hope.  I know it would likely be healing."- K.A. Port Townsend, Washington

" I'm not sure I'm going to be a good reader for your story, but I will go back to it again.  Just not sure when.  Nothing to do with the story, really, just with me... It's almost like I have a fence around myself... Anyway, I may not be able to take in your story at all, just because of that fence.  But I do think what you're doing is wonderful and hope you continue!"- M.G. Langley, WA

" I feel surrounded by the love and warmth of Pale's magical life, a much needed remedy for these cold winter days and colder nights. The story guided me into a realm of the limitless possibilities that truly exist and are always within our grasp only slightly obscured by interference of common life. Following the advice of any reflection I experience to "go outside" and embrace the wonderment of life giving birth, I thank you Pale for the encouragement to breath deeply, allow for the awareness to grow and hold dear to your precious tale." - P.L. Langley, WA

And this feedback just added today, Thursday, 313/14

"I am only part way through the story and what I notice is that I must read it with a "different mind"--shoooo away the all too left brain of form and instead dance it with my right 5th dimensional formless self.  I let the words wash over me and take the essence of what you write, Moki, and that is most likely the "magic" of medicine story.

Raven has come prominently in my life while on Whidbey ... where I thought only eagle sat holding royal court over the you can see, your whimsy and Hawaiian mind softens me and has me speak and see differently.  I am a fan and only hope I am back to Whidbey for the early fall story telling of the Joy Weed Journal--it is your voice and face that the story animates coming most alive for me." 
-M.M. Clinton, WA

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Piece-meal or piecemeal?

"There were things about being wife that were most definitely piece-meal.  She was a woman with memory of independence and near fearsome solitary ways.  Becoming wife was something she had had to learn episode by episode.  They told her somethings would be learned only through the doing.  Payment for the learning of things like being wife would not be in gold pieces.  Instead, the value of her lessons as wife would be defined as she learned them.  It would be part of patience.  The waiting part of becoming.  Madeleine was glad that her husband was away for long periods at a time.  She needed the separate life as mother and home-maker to prime her for the things she was getting incrementally, and seemingly in no organized fashion.  Within the next ten moons, her husband would be home.  She would know then how well she had done at her piece work, to date." - Something written piece-meal years ago, now being pinned into The Joy Weed Journal
Journaling is writing out loud. Where and how will this piece fit? Who do I write for? Why is Max telling me, or telling Pale these stories?

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Yet another new segment: Sugar and salt

Note to the reader: This is another New Segment to The Joy Weed Journal. If you have not read the original journal entries, you might like to do that first. Click here for those original entries.

The hot sugar water had me prickling like a sparkler. Like the sparklers we used to light up on New Year's Eve. The smell of the burnt sulphur made my nose wince. The bright light illuminated the brown faces -- my brother's, the neighbor friends-- the old valley absent of fences, bold with innocence.

Max's drum of a voice began with this "In another place ... " 
P.S. Readers: March 6, 2014 late AM. 
I am pinning stories together like a whirling dervish so you might have missed the recent connection that continues the story Max is telling. Click on the link above, and see what I mean by reading through ...