the gods were listening

Dear Internet,

When I come up to the cabin alone, one of my favorite rituals is to sit on the front deck, regardless of time. Morning, noon, or witching hour, doesn’t matter. How a tiny prism of the world, a thousandth of a second, can make me feel so whole I will never puzzle out. But this is not a puzzle I want to complete and I leave it alone in its whole messiness.

I slept about five hours this morning before waking to the sounds of trees rustling against the A-frame. I’ve been alternating between completing my chores before the gaggle of females arrive and sitting on the front deck steps, while even as music has been playing cranked up to 11, there is still a silence that cannot be broken.

You can write things down, you can think deep thoughts, but hearing those same words spoken low to yourself is a whole nother beast. I said few things, to reassure myself of my thoughts. I side-eyed the chipmunks playing tag in the leaves and haltingly went on. I poured forth on secrets and loves, and thought for the briefest of moments to grab my phone to record this sunlight confession and immediately killed that thought dead. No, no evidence. Some rituals need to be completed without verification of proof for the masses. Once those secrets are let loose on the wind, only the gods can hear me. Only they can heed my prayers.

As I spoke, the wind started picking up amongst the treetops, the leaves rustled in agreement which gave me the confidence to go on. Yes, the gods are listening. I closed my eyes and smiled into the sunlight, the shadows moving like a fast forwarded film across my eyelids.

And I continued, I don’t know how long. I offered up a lot of prayers, requests, and pleas, the wind picking up in agreement with each of my punctuations. I poured forth love back into the world and love was returned back to me.

I stopped and opened my eyes, at the moment a particular song had ended. The treetops bowed to my requests and as the wind whirled around me, I knew my prayers had been heard and would be answered.

My ritual now complete, I came inside with the sunlight guiding me back towards life.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2012, 2008

swallowing me whole

Dear Internet,

It is oh so very late. But is this not the perfect time, my friends, for confessions and madness? Is this not the perfect time for moving back the veil and saying hello to the little man who controls us all?

Yes, yes it is.

Whenever I come up to the cabin, I am always expectant to see a bear lounging on the front deck, a deer moving near the fire pit, some kind of animal making its presence known. I never see those things and I’m almost always somewhat disappointed by the lack of fauna. But today, today was different. Today I saw a lump in a chair and upon closer inspection, it was a dead bird. A robin to be exact. Fresh enough there was no maggots, still full bodied and bright red chest. I called TheHusband in a panic. What the fuck am I supposed to do? This was never covered in Girl Scouts. “Dump it in the woods and wash your hands,” he replies logically. I will, I said. Soon, I promised myself. But the night got carried away with long talks and friends coming round. The bird lays still, untouched by any predator, waiting for its final place of rest to be chosen by me.

So here we are, at 4:30AM and I’m on the front deck listening to the silence. The wind is not rustling, there is no movement within the trees. The driveway leads up to a road, which buttresses up to a t-section. I stared intently into the darkness. There was no light, not even from the stars, and there was no sound. It was utterly still and I thought this is what death must be like. No light at the end of the tunnel, only the ever present darkness that envelopes you into its embrace.

When I was 10, maybe 11 or 12, I decided to write a book about suicide. I began the research at the local library, a small offering in a town of 20K souls, many whom would never leave beyond the confines of the city limits. I can still see myself of the then so clearly, biking to the library, checking out my books, and then riding out to a cove I had found, packed lunch in tow, that was on a shaded embankment on the St. Clair River. I would read for hours, the river rolling by and Sarnia nearly in my grasp, then pack up my things and come home.

Thinking about it now, all these years later, I remember no one knew what I was  doing. This quest of mine to find an answer, a string, a hope that things could change. I was determined then, oh so very young, that I could puzzle it all out. That even the complex and academic texts I was reading would not deter me. I envisioned the book being published when I was 15, I was very adamant about this, and the book was going to be my ticket out that place. I would win awards, accolades, and scholarships. Everything would turn out fine.

So no one knew, and thus, no one stopped me. The librarians left me alone — they were tired of my incessant questions, reading above my pay grade, and winning the summer reading program every year without fail. How does one kid read so many books? But it never occurred to any of them, why is this child checking out books on suicide? Why did no one contact my family? Or take me aside to talk? Why did no one care?

I think of me then – what drove me to do this? What was the seed planted that lead me on that path? Why couldn’t I just enjoy my Barbies like all the other girls my age?

I was so solemn in my youth and so alone. There are flashes of insight of the then. A birthday party here, slumber party there. But I was almost always alone. Every adventure I took, ever place I cycled to, every ice cream bar I ate, every fort I built – alone. What was I protecting myself from? Why did I always feel so isolated from the world? What drove me, at the age of 10, 11 or 12, to want to write a book on suicide?

Tonight I peeled back layers of my armor and let myself wallow in music. I began with the 2007 remaster of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, followed by Interpol’s first two albums, Antics and Turn on the Bright Lights, and decided why the fuck not? And hustled on with Elbow’s first disk Asleep in the Back, moved on to their second disk, and made half-way through their third before finally saying enough.

I cried. I never reached the point of ugly crying, but I did get close. I understood I was grieving; grieving for my father, whose been dead for over a decade. Grieving for that lost soul of my youth, wandering around trying to find answers to questions that were too big to be asked. I grieved for the could have beens, the missed connections, and alternate universes that would never come to be. My heart felt raw and exposed, but I knew I had to push on, to not keep it contained. If not now, it would never happen. To find joy, you have to feel the pureness of sorrow. Fuck, that sounds so cliched, but perhaps because it is a universally accepted truth.

Was the book ever finished? No. I don’t know what happened to the now abandoned project. At some point I must have stopped. But when? And why?

On the drive up, I obsessively listened to two songs. 12 tracks between them. For a 100 miles, before I swapped over to another band, only to pick back up on my quest on the last 20 miles to the cabin. Even now I cannot stop myself from listening to those two songs as I write; as if they had the power to change the past.

I knew what I was doing. The songs themselves didn’t, but the behavior does. It matters to watch patterns. I need to be aware, but the exhaustion of constantly being ON to function within society can wear thin some days. I gave myself goals. I can make it to Big Rapids. Now I can make it to Cadillac. Now I can make it to Kingsley. Now I can make it to Cedar. Just a few more steps, then you are at the cabin. Now you can turn off. But the music still plays on repeat in my head, even when there is silence.

I stopped listening to music a few years back because I couldn’t to bear what it was doing to me. Music was once the surest ways I could feel, but then I stopped feeling and I thought, what was the point? But now, I need to always feel. I need to always feel the needle marking its way across my heart. I need to let the ghosts go free.

It is oh so very late. I am not afraid for I can feel the weight of all that love that surrounds me, keeping me upright and ready; it is what propels me to go forward even when all I want to do is disappear. I wish I could live in a world where all those I love could be always near and not hundreds or thousands of miles away, so that they will never leave.

I have so many people to love! So many of them love me back! I would put weights in all of their hearts and marry them to my charm and grace.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2012, 2012, 2008

gilded tongues and pretty words

Dear Internet,

It’s been a hellauva week.

There are two things I cannot discuss just yet, but many of you are aware of at least one of them. So let us trip up instead on good news instead of navel gazing on the bad.

Earlier this week, I posted on various social spheres that a present arrived on my doorstep, courtesy of TheBassist:
thud!

And when I mentioned in the posting the book took 8 years to get to me, questions were raised about why and how. It’s simple: TheBassist and I dated. We broke up. He had gotten the book signed for me at some point. The book had been lost, and then refound. So against his promise to never get in touch with me again, he did reach out because a promise made to me superseded a promise made to himself.

(Yes, the same person I mentioned almost a year ago about finding his coded messages to me on various Internet places and he clarified as to why he did it. The promise he made to himself to never get in touch was because he knew he had hurt me so badly, he didn’t think anything he could ever say would ever help ease the hurt of what he did.)

Complicated? Absolutely. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

After our stilted feeling out dance around each other, we became Facebook friends,  laid down some boundaries, and started to get reaquainted with the other. In a very strange way, it is not like eight years has passed between us as conversation picked as if we had only spoken last week. You have to understand when we were dating, we used to text, talk, and email the other all day long. Literally, from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed.

(TheHusband and I have a similar relationship, which is one of the reasons why I married him.)

Really, what is kind of awesome about this new forged friendship between TheBassist and I is that he’s given me carte blanche on getting the answers about what happened between us, what has happened to him, and what is going to happen to his future. It’s intoxicating and overwhelming at the same time.

It is a heady power, one I will not use for ill will either.

(Plus he states on the reasoning on why we broke up, he says in honesty yet it will come out sounding cliched, it really was him and not me.)

Last year, I said

  1. He splintered my heart the first time that when he came sniffing around the second time,  about six months after our first tussle, I showed him my partially fixed heart which he took a sledgehammer to. Again.
  2. While the connection between us when we were together was insane, he routinely lied to me on just about everything
  3. I could never trust him again, even in a platonic manner

1 is absolutely true. 2, he clarified and filled in the missing details, which were easily verifiable. So a lot of his actions are much clearer now on what happened and why, so it was not so much as lying as things were withheld. 3, perhaps is not wholly true because unlike some people from my past, I don’t feel like he’s creeping on me for the sake of creeping nor do I feel he has ulterior motives. (We’re both happily partnered up and I don’t think I would ever leave TheHusband for even Alexander Skarsgard. Maybeee James McAvoy.)

In my long storied history, TheBassist is one of my top five exes. And I’m really thrilled we were able to get closure on a lot of things that happened in the past, which apparently has freed up some unintentional emotional baggage because TheHusband said I’ve been really happy these last few days. (But I think the happiness has more to do we had really good shawarma for dinner, which precluded to me making happy noises while we ate.)

(When I broke this all down for my therapist last week, Dr. P. said this was not going to end well. When I asked why, Dr. P. seemed to be of the mindset that men and women can’t be friends once they have a romantic relationship because doing so brings up all the old feelings which can only lead to no good. I vehemently disagree with this because I am still in contact with many of my exes, the bad and the good, and some I’m quite close to. Just because we’ve seen each other naked and inserted things into orifices does not eradicate the bond we shared long after the romance was over.)

Time to switch gears and talk about a project I’ve been working on for the last few days as part of my writing schedule for July which is the get Vol 1 of secret Kindle project completed and online. The purpose of this project was to test out the ease and flexibility of selling stories via Amazon’s Kindle publishing platform. I don’t wholly expect to make millions off this, but it’s nice to figure out a new tech and make it work for me.

This project is turning out to be much bigger than I planned. I was originally anticipating that about a years worth of content would roughly translate into 200 pages after being formatted for the Kindle, but I’m four months in and already at 50 pages with the formating. So this may turn out to be one big, glorious mess. Hooray!

As part of the project also coincides with getting more of my old content on the websites, I’ve spent the last two days curating, uploading, mildly editing, and publishing stuff from the mid-late 90s and up to mid-00s. All of the existing prose pieces that used to reside here at EPbaB were moved over to my author site. About 50% of what’s on that page is “new.”

If you follow the weekly round up I do every Saturday, I typically list out these “new” entries that I put up for that week, but I often don’t give them summaries. I was pretty pleased with few of the pieces I found today, and was passing them around various social spheres, so here they are:

  • sassy skirt seeks alliterative ally
    This is my personal ad I put on match.com circa 2006. I’m pretty sure if I were single today and looking for fresh meat, I’d use this same ad with some minor edits.
  • rock*star
    I wrote this piece in my undergrad for a creative writing class and I’m pretty proud of it. I blend together The Afghan Whigs lyrics, the time before a concert begins, and finding my high school love after nearly a decade.
  • popular suicide
    I wrote this in 2004, documenting my 1989 suicide attempt and the advice my mother gave me after it happened.
  • Tripping on Stars
    This was a lit ‘zine project some of my friend and I did in the summer of 1999 that lasted for an entire month! The few pieces I created for the project are not half bad.

Word to the wise: If you do decide to go down the Lisa of yore, be prepared for lots of angst, self-loathing, frank discussions about sex, and more.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 1998