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The Longest Night: How To

First of all, let go of all expectations.

The theme is the Longest Night: Finding Light in the Darkness, and is always, always, always held on the eve of winter solstice (December 21).

1)Send out invitations however you like – I use social media and the occasional email.

Given the theme, invite friends whom you feel you can be spiritually naked with.  The more the merrier, or not. It’s up to you. Personally I love having an eclectic group of friends who are intelligent and kind.

2)Each person is encouraged to bring a piece of writing, poetry, artwork, music or visual art to share with the group.  Have them bring copies to give out if they can.

3) Pot-freaking-luck – this not only takes the pressure off of the host, but it offers everyone a chance to bring a special dish that honours the spirit of the evening. Sharing food is an intimate act of friendship.

4)Offer a place to sleep should anyone be enjoying a few beverages or, if you’re in Canada, cannabis.

5)Offer all of the seating you can; couches, chairs, cushions, stools. Basically, form a cozy circle where people can relax.

6) Draw numbers to see who shares first, second and so forth.

7)Begin the evening with a toast, or reading appropriate to the theme. Light a candle as a symbol of the season of mystery and hope.  The joy of the evening is to share, discuss and share some more, taking everything at a leisurely pace.

8)Enjoy one another’s company.

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The Stillness of August

storm cloudsThere is something to be said for stillness.The way that the long, close days of August build up in the atmosphere, slowly unwrapping the ribbons on a parcel of thundering rain.

The trees look up, waiting on behalf of the parched land below. The sky, in slow-motion turmoil does not look down. It only simmers and rolls until finally it splits open. The trees and tired earth receiving their blessing in torrents, gusts and rivers, flooding the cracked earth.

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Speaking With a Writer: How Not to Lose Your Mind

writersbrainYou avoid direct questions,” he said as he fumbled with something or other before we tucked in for the evening.

“Damn it, he sees me and he knows me, and he’s going right for the jugular, I thought, “That’s good. How very refreshing.”

I smiled, knowing all was finally  right with the world.

I don’t  avoid direct questions per se, but it takes me a while to mull them over. So far, no one has caught me at it, or at the very least, had the balls to call me out on it.

I’m a writer, and we tell stories. We subscribe to the old way of thinking, and believing that we are a culmination of all of the stories of our ancestors and all of their ancestors, and before that, the moon and the stars and the silent, mysterious breath of creation.

Writing came second to cave drawings, the first primordial expression of the human spirit.

I’m a writer who visualizes my thoughts, words and characters in my head. I make sense of issues by painting pictures of images which touch the deeper meaning of language and cut to the quick of our universal soul, despite my love of profanity and preference for clarity with regard to all things prefunctory.

It’s quite a process really, and it takes a damn long time to create the image, and then go back and pack it neatly into a package of language.

I don’t avoid direct questions. I just avoid answering them right away, because often direct questions are asked at critical crossroads, and at critical moments. I believe that we instinctively know what we need to do at these times. Overthinking really just mucks it all up.

Instinct rules in the moment. You may not consider it the right intellectual or emotional tool  for the long-term, but in the moment it often works best, and I’m ok with that. If you’re ok in the moment, you’ve got a firm foundation from which to navigate. That’s more than most folks, and a beautifully secure place to begin any journey.

Sometimes you know where you want to go, and it’s all smooth sailing. Sometimes you also know that conditions may not be just right. That means you change course, enjoy the view, and make discoveries at the mercy of the breeze. Why waste energy fighting it when you have so much to learn? Besides, you know want you want and where you’re going. Be a lover not a fighter darlings, it’s better for your skin.

When it comes to communicating with me, with a writer, with someone who entertains and quite enjoys having a Willy-Wonka mind,  it must be frustrating, fascinating and inspiration for many WTF’s. I would offer apologies, but I’m not sorry. I like who I am.

If you or your conversation is not significant to me, I’m direct, concise and clear with my language.

If you are part of my heart, if your very existence resonates in my bones, and my soul smiles when I think of you, let’s just put it this way; you’re gonna have to take a seat, order a nice, slow cocktail and settle in for the duration. Hell, order one for me while you’re at it. My thoughts will reveal themselves to you, me, and us, after a long slow unfolding on the canvas.

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Lovesong for November

wildnovemberHello November,

I see you’ve brought the snow and tempted the trees to  undress

in a flutter of wind and colour,

caressing each leaf and branch

with the cool nip in your breath,

hinting at snowdrifts and darkness.

Welcome, November.

We were expecting you;

the seduction of your grey skies

forcing us to touch the nakedness of our own thoughts

and holding us there despite our resistance.

You’re a lady and a hard critic,

preferring simplicity and subtle grace to June’s light, blossoming gaiety.

You are a silent and quick captain on stormy seas,

with an eye for what mortals do not yet know.

Come in November,

reclaim your ancient throne in the dank chambers of our subconscious.

Remind me of the whispered mutterings of my soul,

that they will  not be silenced in my 41st year.

Set your pet, the cold, damp wind

on a fox hunt through the slumbering, forgotten forest of my creative spirit

and accept nothing less than the prize.

 

Copyright Andshelaughs 2014

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When Words Aren’t Enough

It’s been a topsy-turvy 24 hours, and I’m just headed back to work for a while. Sometimes loss affects even experts, and today is one of those days.

As it was pointed out to me last night, I surround myself with words. I have books and quotes and magazines everywhere.

As my writer’s brain whirls in over-drive, I leave you with a few of my favourite quotes by some of my favourite writers;

 

burn with desire

 

happy i muttered

 

 

whenever you come around

 

ink and rage

 

rumdiariesbook

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Opinions & Margaritas

"Some people say that there's a woman to blame. But I know, it's my own damn fault." ~Jimmy Buffet~
“Some people say that there’s a woman to blame. But I know, it’s my own damn fault.”
~Jimmy Buffet~

This post was inspired by chocolate chip cookies, samosas and margaritas.

Ok, mostly just margaritas. But let’s not get stuck on that little piece of trivia my darling.

Immediately before driving home and mixing up a batch of ‘Coconut Margaritas’, I attended a philosophical talk by the Vedanta Society of Canada.  At the end of the lecture, they sent everyone on their way with a packet which included a samosa and some Indian sweet I’d never eaten before.

When it was handed to me, I smiled and said thank you. After all, someone had gone through the trouble of making sure everyone left sharing some food.

Earlier this week, I offered a young child a cookie, not, of course, before going through the requisite permission asking of the mother. Well, I didn’t get past the mother. No, it was not due to a nut allergy, dairy intolerance, soy aversion or gluten issue.  It was religious and cultural.

The mother looked at me as if I were breasted-satan, and physically pushed the cookie away as she said (emphatically and rudely), “No, we don’t eat that. We only eat Halal.”

So, first lesson here; we live in a highly culturally diverse area. Second lesson; across cultures, and without exception, being offered food is akin to being friended.  Third lesson; you take the f-ing cookie and say thank you. Yes, inter-faith and inter-cultural living is that simple.

Margaritas are made with ice, tequila, lime juice and salt if you’re nasty. They are not made with coconut, strawberries or any other pooh-ha that rides the current culinary trend of we’re-so-wealthy-we-don’t-have-anything-better-to-do-than-make-up-recipes.

The same goes for any martini other than a straight up, shaken-not-stirred. Cosmopolitans? They are Cosmopolitans, not martinis. Appletinis – apple cocktails. Chocolatinis – chocolate cocktails. Sidecars – not just bourbon, bourbon mixed with other crap.

Single women are not scaled, withered up virgins. We are highly sexed, independent women who enjoy a good man, and a good sleep. No need for the sleepover or the snoring gents. Please pack up your tired  testicles and take them home when we’re finished. We love you, and we need our space to do important things. You’ll get a call-back when we’re ready for another performance.

Gal-pals. The most important element in a woman’s life. We love one another no matter what, and we disclose everything. We give one another hope to carry on. We also give one another our stories so we don’t feel so silly. Thank you gal-pals for all that you do for me!

Loud children. I love children. They are vibrant and bring a fresh perspective. If, however, I wanted to hear your children howl and scream at all hours, I’d invite your entire family over and pinch the kids at random. Hard. Please soothe your children and love them.

Glassware. It’s important to have an assortment. A great glass can change the mood of any drink, no matter what the immediate atmosphere. Second-hand stores have a terrific assortment. Note to whomever broke my French, antique pedestal serving dish; I will find you.

Belly laughs. They are the best when they are had unexpectedly while wrapped in the sheets with a best friend and lover. Thank you for the belly laughs my friend – you know who you are.

People who pass the buck. Yah, they are still out there my friends, despite the plethora of inspirational memes and social-media jargon. They make you appreciate real professionals. Amen.

Candlelight. A professional single’s best friend. Housework is for the elite. Us working girls don’t have time to waste on tasks that need to be re-done immediately and go unappreciated. Strategically placed and lit, candles hide a multitude of domestic, and anatomical sins. Get some.

One margarita to go, and then a hot soak before the man of the hour arrives…I hope you were entertained my friends. XO