Archive for September, 2008

In Case I Wanna Die….

September 9, 2008

            Things are better now, so I don’t keep one anymore.  Don’t feel the need for it these days.  But awhile back, it was a life-saver, literally.  I called it my “in-case-I-wanna-die” bag.

            I was going through some hard times, in deep therapy, not sure if anything good would ever happen to me again.  My therapist would end a session saying, “Hang on, kiddo,” and “Do something nice for yourself this week.”  Sometimes, when I was feeling suicidal, it took all my effort just to sit there on the bedroom floor and not do anything self-destructive.  So to distract myself, I created a special activity bag.  It kept me occupied until the black mood passed.

            I went through a couple different pretty gift bags over a couple of years.  I filled them up with favorite things – ink pens, journals, favorite perfumes, photos of people and animals I loved, postcards from museums I’d visited, books that made me smile again, like “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “The Book of Weird”.  It was evidence I compiled that there had been some good days in my life, even if I wasn’t having a good day right then.  Remembering happier times helped me to hang on.  I’d sniff the Silver Rose scent and be reminded of a lovely bed and breakfast stay the year before, see the pictures of my kids, that I did not want to have to find me if I “did something drastic”, and be scarred for life…I’d re-read sweet thoughts in pretty cards friends had given me.  Often it was just empty journal pages I could bleed ink all over until the pressure subsided.

            I’ve had smaller versions since.  I used to carry a medicine bag, a petite version of my “In-case-I-wanna-die” bag.  It held an acorn from the ancient oak in my grandma’s yard, a symbol of her strength and perseverance, an ID badge from visiting the Metropolitan Museum in New York City, a lock of my partner’s hair, a souvenir coin my son and I made years ago, a sugar cube from Les Deux Magots in Paris…These things symbolized sources of power and strength for me…

            Like a toddler who relinquishes her security blanket strip by strip, I am down to carrying just one stone with me.  It is painted with my spirit animal, Coyote.  I am looking within and finding my own strength, and taking good care of myself.

 

kerry vincent (c) 2008

my mother’s hands (response to “hands” prompt)

September 4, 2008

My Mother’s hands were never soft and scented. 

Mom was always a hard worker, and her hands told her story. 

Today, her hands tell another story.

 

I remember Mom’s hands, red and raw, scalded by the dishwater.

I remember Mom’s hands, caked with dirt from the garden, her nails rimmed black.

I remember Mom’s hands, quick and sure, peeling potatoes for her famous potato salad.

I remember Mom’s hands, cold and bony, touching my cheek to prove to me how cold it was outside.

I remember Mom’s hands, sharp and hard, like her sudden slaps.

 

Mom’s hands are no longer rough and worn.

Her papery skin looks like vellum,

But is soft like velvet.

Her left is paralyzed, claw-like.

Mom can still feed herself,

Write some, scrub a little.

Now Mom has to ask for help.

I know she hates that,

She who was always

so independent and strong.

It took a stroke for Mom to have soft hands.

 

Today I am very grateful for my rough, red hands,

Still strong and capable.

 

© 2008 Kerry Vincent

A writer’s manifesto

September 2, 2008

Why didn’t I ever see it before? Writing is all about connections – with myself, with others, with past, present, & future – connections with characters, how they interact, connections with plots, how events impact other events, how situations affect us, how we respond emotionally…

 

I write to speak to scream to whisper to shout to teach to learn to tell to show to try to give to share to parade to deepen to unfurl to open up to look within and see what is is.

I connect with the verbs & parts of speech with what I know, what I’ve learned what I still want to learn –

And where would writing be without readers? That’s a connection too – writers write for readers and readers encourage the writers to keep going….

I write because I can

I write because I have to get it out

Or I want to show you something

I write to create order of chaos

I write to explode safely on paper

I write to practice my talent my gift my duty my journey

I write because oh why the hell not?

I write because teachers encouraged me

I write to make people laugh or smile or forget their troubles for awhile

I write to get closer to God

I write because I wish I lived by the sea and I don’t so I just imagine the beach so I can smell the sea again and almost feel the warm sun on my shoulders and see the glint of silica in the sand

I write because I can’t experience things I want to – not enough time or money or opportunities –

I write because I can’t help writing

I write because I love the process

I love creating it keeps the blues away

or better yet it lets me face my blues and tell them which way to go –

I write because it heals

I write because it empowers me

I write to transform my pain

I write to keep from going crazy

I write to save myself from boredom

I write to please teachers and readers and myself

I write to play with words, my little friends
I write because stories help me make sense of the world

I write because what I produce often surprises me

I write to answer questions I didn’t know I was asking

I write and I keep writing whether anyone else ever reads my work

Because when I quit writing once before

It felt like my soul had been raped,

Profoundly robbed of something so very precious.

 

By Kerry Vincent © 2008

writing prompt – hands

September 2, 2008

            We use our hands every day, to hold a pen, brush, needle, camera, garden trowel, glasscutter, or computer mouse.  Our hands enable us to create, reach out, touch, help, heal, stroke, work, caress, pinch, pull, hold a baby, make a fist, fold in prayer, cook a meal, make a living, craft a work of art, interpret for the deaf.  We hold hands with those we love and shake hands with those we meet.  Sometimes hands are soft and smooth; sometimes they are worn, gnarled, twisted in pain.  We experience the world through our hands.

            Think about hands – yours, your mother or father’s, your child’s hands.  Describe them, paint them, be thankful for them.  What would you do without them?  Did you ever break your hand or a finger?  How did that affect you?  Try writing with your non-dominant hand.  Wonder at the dexterity, and ingenuity of the opposable thumb.  Read you palm, or someone else’s.  We value things that are made by hand – why?  If you were going to tattoo your hand, that you see and show to others every day, what would you have inked?   When we say something is in good hands – what do we mean?

            Write, draw, collage, paint, or photograph something to do with hands.  Post it at www.pythiangames.wordpress.com.  This is a “hands-on” experience!

 

 

Soul Food café Creative Hand prints prompt:

http://soulfoodcreativity.wordpress.com/2007/07/15/creative-hand-prints/