Exploring the poetry of everyday life

Communication: Reblogged from Merging Traffic

Merging Traffic

Genuine communication
can only occur
when the need
to be right
has been checked
at the door.

© 2017 Dennis Ference

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AHA! Easy Trail to My Book on Amazon

A friendly blogger supplied the way to easily get to my book.


What the Mirror Knows

When I consider my blog as a mirror with revelations to offer me I first look at my posts. I see them going round in a spiral echoing the same experiences, ideas and feelings. There is a basic word-field I use to express myself. I love words – and writing. Maybe I write because I want to be heard, or at least to figure out how to be heard. Sometimes writing is how I play, especially my poetry. My blog is all of these things and still all-of-piece.

I named my blog Cronechronicler in collaboration with my son who is a writer. He remembered my identification with the idea of crones as women wise and free, set apart from society after their reproductive days were over and now occupying their unique niche. I chose Vivachange77 to represent my intention to get a new outfit for my life after the old one had become threadbare. I planned to complete my move by the time I turned 75 and did – hence Viva! – long live change. My current age is 77 and  I’m still going strong.

After choosing and abandoning several ideas for my blog’s theme I came up with the lines of a poem by David Whyte titled Journey that I feel define my journey.

” Sometimes everything
has to be
enscribed across
the heavens

so you can find
the one line
already written
inside you.”

Finding the design for my blog was serendipitous. From among the designs that were free I  chose one with an owl creature and a sunburst behind him that I thought fitting for a crone. Later when I wanted to know more about the possibilities for this design I window shopped other designs. In the process I accidentally replaced my wise owl design with my current one, Brand New Day, only with a pale aqua background. Posts were printed in white letters and were difficult to read so I went shopping again and learned that on Brand New Day I had a choice of background colors representing the cycles of the day. I chose Night which has a deep ocean-blue background and quite legible white lettering. I’m a technological neophyte so I leave the organization of my blog to the wisdom of the genies of Word Press. Recently much to my joy I stumbled on how Tags operate. I have much to learn.

My About section is abbreviated and refers only to very recent events. I plan to flesh it out. Also I considered choosing a new design for my blog until I realized how appropriate Brand New Day is. It expresses my life choices. The moons and planets in the night sky reflect the idea of my theme that everything has to be “enscribed across the heavens.”

When I pull back and look at the elements of my blog and how they came to be I’m reminded of the Ghanaian saying I originally chose for my theme.” When you don’t know where you are going, and you don’t know how to get there, you arrive there just the same.” Whether it is the mirror speaking or me that’s pretty much my operating principle.


Westward Ho! Ho! Ho!

Daily Prompt: What if I were to wake up one day and realize I am ten years older than I was the previous night. How does this change my life plans?

Thinking ahead ten years and wondering how my life plans are affected is lost in a mist of uncertainty. In ten years I’ll be eighty-seven. I know I’ll be ten years older and then what? I can expect natural aging and the accompanying adjustments. I can’t know my unique situation. I think the life plans I’ve chosen will do just fine. Maybe.

It’s like I’m a pioneer ever traveling toward the horizon. I started out with my prairie schooner packed to bursting with necessary objects and some beloved and even frivolous things. As my journey unfolded I made my way through plains, valleys, rivers, mountains, dry desserts – whatever the journey required. Somewhere in the middle of my trip I began to shed non-essential stuff to lighten my load, only I had no plan for what to toss out and what to save. My load got lighter and lighter. That felt free and good. I got better at figuring out the true path for my life.

The person I was before awakening and finding myself ten years older had begun to make conscious decisions about sorting out what really matters for me. It was working out. What was missing was throwing caution to the winds and having a fling with whatever life throws at me. How I would love to be a gadfly for once in my responsible life.


I Could Hardly Get the Word Out.

The Daily Prompt focuses on words that sound like the thing they describe. It asks the question do I have an example of such a word and what do I think creates that effect on me.

Immediately the word wheeze comes to mind. Beginning when I was two years old and continuing into my early 20’s I had chronic bronchial asthma. The raspy sound of wheezing when I tried to breathe identified an attack coming on. It felt like my chest was being squeezed like an accordion only to produce very unmusical sounds. It took so much effort to wheeze that I had a hard time getting words out. I spoke in gasps between breaths. An attack very often came on in the middle of the night and interrupted my sleep, and my mother’s.

My wheezing, like other involuntary bodily sounds, affected other people in various ways. In my teenage years sleeping over at each other’s house was the big thing. When I invariably woke up wheezing in the middle of the night I just moved my sleeping bag into a closet so no one else would hear me. In the morning my friends weren’t surprised to find me there. While I was a student at a women’s college we were allowed to stay overnight at nearby men’s colleges on weekends, in authorized boarding houses only. One night I was sleeping in a room with four girls from another college whom I didn’t know. In the middle of the night I woke up wheezing, which naturally woke up the other girls. One said she was sure a cat had somehow gotten into the room. I was so embarrassed that I sneaked into the bathroom and spent the rest of the night sitting on the toilet lid. Long ago I outgrew my asthma. Still, when I hear someone wheezing my chest constricts in empathy.

To me the word wheeze sounds like having an asthma attack. The wind to breathe out the sound of the word begins deep in my throat. After I have expelled the word I feel a lingering tightness in my chest like the breathlessness of an asthmatic wheeze.


Daily Prompt – To Procrastinate or Not

Procrastination is not in my DNA. As a first-born, seriously nice, Southern girl child molded to meet expectations it never occurred to me to rebel. I did things on time. I don’t know if anyone reads the Elsie Dinsmore books anymore but they are partly to blame. Elsie was good to a fault, and a chosen role model for me. I did my home work on time, minded my parents, etc. etc. etc., and grew up to be disgustingly responsible.

When I left home as a young bride, my intentions and habits went with me. I made, executed and checked off to-do lists with glee. I have to admit I like to check things off, even now. This behavior went on until it collided with real life. Even in the 50’s when I, like most women I knew, didn’t work (it didn’t occur to us then to stand up and declare that house work is real work) we found that we couldn’t “have it all.” I wasn’t very good at procrastination so I re-catalogued my work tasks.

It was OK to get things crucial to daily life done on time, but I reserved a few things to remain pristine and untouched by my to-do lists. Number one was gardening. I gardened for the love of it. When a glorious day came along I headed outside to smell good dirt and enjoy the tug of pulling weeds – the more resistance they gave the better. I planted spring flowers and tomato plants, and fall bulbs. Pruning bushes was a whole day affair. It’s hard to know when you’ve pruned just enough. And then followed the good muscle-tiring work of dragging the cut-off branches to the curb and building a huge testimony of my labors for the garbage truck to cart away.

In winter another of my un-to-do list things was the silvery task of sweeping snow off the flat roof of the airing porch. The porch could be accessed by a door on our second floor and had a low white railing enclosing it. No one quite knew what was aired on the porch, but supposedly bedding. When snow got deep in the winter I swept the roof to avoid leaks in the sun porch ceiling below. I waited for a brilliant sunshiny day and, broom in hand, went out to play. I swept the powdery snow skyward and watched the sun transform flakes into diamonds sparkling against the blue, blue sky.

As years have passed I have mellowed and can manage to put off until tomorrow what I can do today. I still reserve a few things for joy, untouched by any list. Writing is one of them.


Daily Prompt: Strike a Chord – And All That Jazz

My son knew that my entire musical collection consisted of a shoebox-full of audio tapes that I played on long car trips. He thought my tapes, mostly Classical music and Broadway Shows, left a lot to be desired. He set about making me a couple of audio tapes, (this was in the ’90’s) including a mix of Chet Baker playing jazz trumpet which he named “Chet Baker for Mom”.

In more recent years he made me CD’s – of Gershwin, Harold Arlen, Louis Armstrong, Hoagy Carmichael and Duke Ellington. I had always liked their music but for years hadn’t listened to it. I didn’t listen to anything that wasn’t necessary while my children were young. Quiet was all I wanted to hear. Most recently he made me three CD’s of varied artists playing for Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL, from 1961-1973. I used to jitter bug to this music and I can’t keep still when I listen to the CD’s. Now that I live alone I eat lunch at my kitchen table, tuned to my son’s gifts to me and loving the company.

But “what strikes a chord”? At dinner time I set my place at my dining room table, nuke my Lean Cuisine, pour a glass of wine, light a candle, and put my old Chet Baker tape on my boom box. His trumpet accompanies me every night – always new. I love jazz, brass and best of all Chet Baker’s music.


A Discardable Flavor

Choosing a flavor to discard would be like choosing a day, word, assignment, comment or story of Writing 101 to discard. Impossible. I feel like something I did not choose is being discarded inside me. Waking up and readying my day to be in my chair, eager to write, at 10 AM when the ASSIGNMENT will appear on my computer screen has filled me with joy and purpose. I want to hang on to the flavor writing gives to my days. I feel like a baby learning to walk, letting go of someone’s hand to toddle off on my own. I know I was born to do this but I have to practice to get it right. Write?

I’m going to say farewell fellow travelers, but not goodbye. I am already homesick for The Commons and getting twenty emails in the morning with Posts to read and comment on. If this reveals a hole in my ordinary daily life, so be it. I’ve heard that you don’t abandon grief. You let it fill the waiting hole within you. It becomes part of where you travel next. A sweet burden.


Writing 101, Day Eighteen – Scents and Then Again, Smells

All around me and always I’m immediately aware of sound, colors, the feel of things, and tastes. In the present scent can delight the senses and also trigger memories. Smell is a subcategory of scent, important and impossible to ignore.

I haven’t lived in my apartment long enough for it to have developed a distinctive scent for me – like a long-lived-in home has. For Christmas I received a bright green candle with a pungent pine scent that lingered after I extinguished it. I breathed in the scent daily and was sorry when the candle guttered out. I replaced it with a peach colored candle that is supposed to have a mango scent but is too faint to make much of an impression. Then there is my Williams-Sonoma Winterberry hand lotion that has a cinnamon scent good enough to taste. Rubbing it on my hands is almost as good as a having a small snack. In my kitchen there are few scents. Lean Cuisine in the microwave doesn’t count.

Scents can take me like a magic carpet to places in my past. The scent of the Shalimar perfume my college room-mate wore which made me open the windows after she left on a date. The scent of Vix Vaporub my mother used to rub on my chest when I had an asthma attack as a child. The scent of the lilac tree in our backyard in early spring after dark. I couldn’t resist burying my nose in its branches. The spicy scent of the apple sauce cake baking that my mother always made for my birthday.

And then there are smells. Smells alert us to things and give us information. Like the “sniff test” I gave my baby’s bottom to see if a diaper change was in order. And the unmistakable smell that a change was long overdue. The smell that assailed me in the locker room one day when my son and his team mates were putting on their hockey gear that told me the little boys were becoming fledgling teenagers. The terrible odor, worse than a smell, that led me to where our turtle Alfalfa, a gimpy Georgia box turtle, had crawled off to die. The smell of a scorched pan when I cooked my first supper as a young bride.


P.S. To Writing 101, Day Fifteen, Being Found By Your Voice – Whatever

I have written a completely new post for this assignment that probably did not come to anyone’s attention. Instead of writing a New Post I deleted my original one and reused the same space. Being Green isn’t always the best way to go. When I read my post from yesterday I recognized my old voice which I’m heartily tired of. I gave up for a while and then sat back down at my computer. I feel really good about my new post. It is spoken by the voice I’m growing into.

You can find my revision under the title Writing 101, Day Fifteen: Your Voice Will Find You – Actually I Think It Did.

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