In Thanks

I find it difficult to celebrate Thanksgiving without pondering the things I am thankful for. And there is much to be thankful for. I am thankful for my family who loves me, and my friends whom I love. I am thankful for my job, and thankful that it allows me to take care of myself. I am thankful for a place to live and food to eat, because I know others may not be so blessed. I am thankful for the education I received, and the things I believe. I am thankful for talents. I am thankful for the mountains around us, for seasons and beauty: the colors of autumn, the sight of trees dusted with snow, the hot, bright sun of summer, and the rebirth of spring. I am thankful for moments of grace and tender mercies, because they give me a glimpse of God.

I am Thankful.


"Song of the Heart.."

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a singer; any kind of singer, I didn't care. By the time I was in high school, I had narrowed it down, and cared rather a lot: I wanted to be an opera singer. I wanted to Sing on stage, sharing my passion with those who came to listen to me. Singing was everything to me: it was how I identified myself, it was what I did, who I was, how I worshipped, why I did anything I did. I'll admit I was a diva, but I honestly thought I had reason to be.

Cut to the beginning of my senior year. I get a call from my long-time voice teacher, the one who could've helped me get where I wanted to go, telling me that she didn't want to be my teacher anymore. I was devastated, and all these years later, I'm still not entirely sure what happened. Thankfully, I was able to find another teacher whom I loved, who really cared about me, and who did wonderful things for my voice. But, when I had been dropped by my other teacher, I wondered if she had dumped me because I wasn't good enough for her to want to help me.

I graduated and went to college, where I declared my major as Vocal Performance. But, I didn't get a scholarship, I didn't get into a choir, and none of the professors knew me. I was invisible. An opera star cannot be invisible to her teachers. I tried to tough it out, but it wasn't going to work: I wasn't a favorite, I wasn't even known, and that was that. I knew then that I was clearly nowhere near as good as I thought I was, and decided to cut my losses. I dropped out of the music program all together. If I couldn't Sing, I didn't want to sing. It was like carving out a piece of my heart. What does a girl do, when her entire identity is stripped away? In my case, she stops singing, and decides to major in English, because she likes to read.

I found a new voice with words, and fell in love with the magic of language. I am grateful that I was able to find something else that I enjoyed and had at least a little aptitude for. Words have treated me well, and made me happy, and given me opportunities that have changed me. They are my new identity, if you will.

Cut to a few weeks ago, when my dear friend Jennifer (she of the lovely doe eyes and beautiful voice), called and asked if I wanted to see a play called "Master Class." Who doesn't love a play? Of course I wanted to go. We got to the playhouse, and I asked Jenn to tell me what the play was about. It was "about" Maria Callas, the opera star so world renowned they called her La Divina. The idea of the play is that Maria Callas is teaching a master class, and the audience is meant to feel like her students, in addition to the few "students" she helps on stage.

I was enjoying it, far more than I ever enjoyed any of the real Master Classes I went to; the music was beautiful, and the woman playing Maria Callas was incredible. Then, halfway through the first act, Callas is trying to convince a student to enunciate, and tells her: "Words mean something! Vowels are the sounds our hearts make, and consonants give them their specific meaning, eh?" I couldn't breathe for a second. That one line seemed to embody who I was and who I am and I felt them both, together, in equal measure for the first time. The place where singing used to be in my heart ached, and I wanted to Sing. It was a poignant moment for me, and one of grace, I think.

I have thought about that moment, that line, a lot. My heart is still tender, and while the ambition I had to be on stage is long gone (good thing, as it is years too late), I miss Singing. Words do mean something, and they are powerful. But there are times when words need help. When they need music to help them mean more. Sometimes, words need to be sung. I don't know yet, what to do with that moment. I don't know if I'm allowed to have both, but I find myself humming a lot more...


In Which I Attempt to Cheer Myself through Poetry

I'm feeling very blah today. In an effort to alleviate the blah, a poem:

Love or Otherwise

You are the smell of rain,
the spiced breeze,
the apple-tang fog,
the strange, familiar scratch of wool,
the bitter note of wood-fire smoke,
the sound of leaves,
the red-gold pallet.

You are the autumn damp through my window.

You are all these things,
whether I am in love or

This is my homage to my favorite season. I have never been able to write about fall successfully. I've tried. So, I snuck it into a love-ish poem. Whether it is successful or not remains to be seen.

But, I feel slightly less blah.


Oh, My Hell!

So, I may have just lost my ever-loving mind, but I've signed up to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!

Basically, you sign up, and by November 30th, upload an original, 50,000 word novel. AAAAHHHHH!

Wish me luck!

Because Autumn Demands Poetry

I thought of this poem this morning, as I was sorting through my fall "trinkets" (I went with an autumn flower in my hair...):


The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

--Emily Dickinson


Oh, the Shame

The following is a maudlin rant.
Be ye warned all who enter here (or, you know, keep reading...)

I have this desperate desire to be liked. By the people I work with. Which is a little silly, all things considered, but I do spend a vast portion of my life with those people. On the drive home, I was thinking about it...

I am a Blue - Red Personality, which is The Color Code equivalent to Multiple Personality Disorder. The Blue part of me is motivated by feelings, which makes it a natural that I want people to like me, while the Red part of me is motivated by power which means that I don't really care if they do. At least that's what I've always thought. It makes sense, right? That whole Blue-Red thing. Except that I DO care if "they" like me or not. To a certain extent.

This is what I figured out as I was thinking about this on the drive home: I care if some people at work like me: the "cool kids," the people at work whom everyone likes. They are popular. And (here's where the shameful part comes in): around them I still feel like the chubby girl on the playground. The one who didn't have a best friend, but who was more like the third wheel. The weird one who didn't play sports, but liked to read and sing.

There are some people who always make me feel like that girl, on the outskirts, in an ill-fitting jumper, glasses sliding down my face...

For some reason, I still want them to like me. And it kills me when they don't.