“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan


i never head to the new side of town for images

i never head to the new stores, new roads, new lawns with no trees in the yard, and despite what a local radio ad says, i am attracted more to those restaurants with hand painted signs, not the others with signs slick and perfect, no brushstroke to be seen.  i never head to where it all looks the same at first glance, the mailboxes standing in neat little rows, the flowers tamed and stifled, one thumbwidth between each blossom, no telling secrets from bloom to bloom.  i never head in that direction.  i like things a little messy. 

"it is so very easy to fall into step
with these rhythms and easeful footsteps around me . . ."  
from maddie this weekend, with perfect timing.

i know of what she speaks.  i know this dance that is not my own.  i sometimes go for days with no reading of anyone's work, no blogs, no images, no books.  it is where the second-guessing lives, where footsteps are drawn on a dance map - put your left foot here, put your right foot there, and no matter how secure you are, if you have an artistic soul that questions everything - everything, everything, everything! - you question yourself and you fall into those others' rhythms and you are lost - after all, their music sounds divine, so why not? you think.  it is not vanity, you understand, it is fear that everyone else has it just right and you don't. 

so i leave the music off, the words unread, the pictures unseen, and i let my rhythms move me. sometimes they are too-fast movements, sometimes slow, mournful, painful steps; sometimes my hip hurts when i move a certain way, but move that way i must or i will stay stuck.

sometimes the best artist date of all is to stay out of the museums.

i haven't been anywhere these last few days, i've been right here, just being, just sitting, because sometimes i need that. another need.  always another need. but it's one i've learned to honor because it's where my words are born - words that will be poetry or paintings, beginnings or endings, trash or treasure, kept or tossed. words that need room, space of their own, words that nestle next to me, sprawling on the couch, watching baseball.  words conceived in nothingness.  i jot down sentences here and there, type a few lines, nibble some chocolate, and revel in the being nowhere.  and then i come back.



  1. i should visit here more often. i love your rhythms. but i should also spend more time by myself, without the influence of anything save for self. thank you for this.

  2. yes. you made me think of anne lamott's thoughts on writer's block, that it is not a block, it is an emptiness, and you have to wait for it to refill. you have to do exactly what you have done, sit with yourself, just be. i love the mental image i got of words sprawling on the couch, watching baseball. that's the way i read it, and i love it.

  3. p.s. sometimes you have to sit in the quite just so you can hear yourself think. :)

  4. oh how we second guess ourselves....

    and the questioning of being good enough, that feels as tight as a winter ski cap made for a child mistakenly worn on my head...

    i love maddie, too.....

    and yes, her timing was perfect !

  5. Yes, somedays must be like this. We must just sit and turn off and nibble some chocolate. I could use a day like that.

  6. Well, consider your experience 'paid forward' ~ for your words have confirmed feelings within me and I now feel greater conviction in my own heart with a decision I was making.

    Tomorrow, I'm being interviewed for a Podcast about Creative Living. Me! Good Golly ~ I could write reams on why this is startling, but that would spiral me back to the insecure place I try to avoid.

    Part of me, Professional (and Nervous) Sally, has been wanting to listen to previous podcasts to get a sense of what is discussed, how others respond, etc.

    But something inside me keeps whispering, "Don't do it. Approach with an open heart, BE in the moment and speak from your heart." That's the voice I've listened to ~ with trepidation.

    I can't tell you how comforting it is to read that you (and others) follow this path too.

    Thank you.

  7. hello my friend -- i adored your article in the latest somerset life -- you are such an inspiration full of light:))

  8. I am much the same way. The new side of town doesn't appeal to me either--I am in love with the old, abandoned, timeworn buildings. I love their history, their shabbiness, their uniqueness.

    And I also regularly need to clear a space in my head for my own voice, and even though I *know*--have always known--that writing is my talent, when I read something particularly splendid and beautiful I sometimes think, Oh my God, how can this person be complimenting me?

    Your writing is frequently that splendid and beautiful. I am glad you have learned to honor the need to just be and let the words come as they will, because it works wonders. Every time.

  9. just one of the reasons, i love ya!

  10. Brilliant! Messy is good!

    Sandra Evertson

  11. I love how you trust yourself. You listen to the quiet little mutterings of your heart and you do what is needed. This is good stuff.


come. sit under the emma tree & let's talk. i have cookies . . .