Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I Wrote This A Few Weeks Ago (Shadows & Scars: Update 11)

Sometime during the beginning of December
Location: Cicero, IN

In my mind, I see much more of this scene than I put into detail below.  Perhaps I will add to it later. Perhaps I will just let your imaginations fill in the gaps.


The light is so soft I can hardly bear its gentle touch upon my face. The warmth is ever so inviting. Still, I cannot ignore the chill at my back, here between what has been and what could be.

Despite my discomfort, I don’t turn away. In this beauty, I could lose myself. I could find myself. I could belong. I could…

He places His hand upon my shoulder. I turn to see Him taking in the view as well. I try to read His face, but it is indiscernible. There is always a mystery in His eyes.

He turns to me, a smile of sadness and myrrh upon His face. “Come, we have work to do.”

I nod, but don’t move. I turn to gaze back upon the world just beyond my grasp. Moments slip away uncounted. Finally, I breathe, “Okay.” Still I remain unmoved.

His hand squeezes my shoulder firmly, in a way I take to mean, “If I lead you away, I can lead you back,” but could just as easily mean, “Take your last look, son of Moses.”

Either way, with that hand upon my shoulder, we turn – the warmth slipping from my face – and return to the darkness.

I want to ask Him when we will return, or if we even will. I have so many questions. But His eyes are already set ahead and I know those questions hold no answers yet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Like A Snack, When What You Really Want Is... (Shadows & Scars: Update 10)

December 7, 2011
11:23 pm
Location: IA Boys Dorm Apt.; Cicero, IN

Listening to: Starflyer 59, Talking Voice Vs. Singing Voice 


Resentment is the poison we drink ourselves,
but forgiving you feels like a toxin of its own.


I cut the rope

that keeps me tethered between
you on the bridge above
and the great unknown below.

Except, I do know
what's below: my death
and everything after that.


Lay your blame on me.
I’ll take it all – deserved
and undeserved – because
I know you hurt
but I can take the pain.


Why is it so hard for us to do the things we really want in life?  I am unable to move forward. I keep running into walls. I try to progress, but for some reason I remain stuck. I have opportunities but they all seem stalled out. Like some barrier is preventing true meaning.

There are things I need to "deal with." Shadows and scars... including the self-inflicted ones. And even when they seem behind me, still they drag me back when I try to take a step forward. They cannot be ignored. They must be faced.

Imagine: freedom.

What if we could really do what we really want to do?

Monday, November 7, 2011

*For exceptions, see Appendix 16, Section 14 (Shadows & Scars: Update 09)

November 7, 2011
10:05 pm
Location: IA Boys Dorm Apt.; Cicero, IN

Listening to: Emery, The Question 

just a few bits and pieces I was working on tonight...



In the morning
we are all less grand
with our suits and dresses
back in the closet
or crumpled on the floor.

Already the faces fade,
dissipating with the emotional charge
of such a fine evening.

We pack our bags, relishing
and regretting what could have been.

Perhaps the magic is in the distance,
in the unlimited possibility:
enticing as long as it remains
untested, just beyond our grasp.


Honesty is the lie
we tell each other
to maintain the illusion
that we have nothing left to hide.


Stretch me out across the sky,
thin enough to see
what casts this chill
across your face.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Two Weeks (Shadows & Scars: Update 08)

October 3, 2011
9:25 pm
Location: IA Boys Dorm Apt.; Cicero, IN

Listening to: Dead Poetic, Vices

It is scary how fast time can slip by before I realize that it is gone. Hours, days, months. Years.

It has been two months since I've done any real work on Shadows & Scars. I'm always "just about ready to work on it" again. Something always comes up. Something always will. If I wait for the ideal writing conditions, I may never finish this book.

Why is it so easy for the unimportant things in life to claw their way tot he top of my list of priorities? Not that everything I've been doing is unimportant, but enough of it was.

But this is just a snapshot.

I'm sitting here, trying to remember the last time I came to the end of a year and felt like I hadn't wasted it. The years have been slipping by and I'm always "just about ready to..."

How many years have I wasted? How could I have let them slip away?  I look back and cringe at the long line of months and weeks filled with... with what?

When is the last time I've had two weeks in a row of peaceful sleep? Two weeks in a row where I haven't dreaded the quiet moments before sleep, when honesty speaks clearest?  Two weeks where I've actually lived beyond my ever-hungering emptiness?

Two weeks. Yes, I think that's a good place to start.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Steady as the Seasons (Turning Over New Leaves)

The winds are changing--
A bitter wind blowing in and
Rearranging everything certain.

And with this descent of
Another Autumn
A million leaves have scattered
To mask the familiar.

But in time the winds will be changing--
A fresh wind bringing new
Life to the uncertain.

And with the rise of
A novel Spring
A million leaves will flourish
To paint the unfamiliar.

Saturday, August 6, 2011


I find that God often uses normal, everyday things to teach me or remind me of things about Himself or who I am in Christ. Those moments have come after cleaning a kitchen, only to have it immediately dirtied again. They have come watching Kirby learn new things. That reminder may come in the form of a beautiful flower that I feel God sent just to cheer me. Recently, a reminder of who I am because of who God is came at 28,000 feet above the ground.

A few weeks ago I flew down to the panhandle of Florida to visit family. I had the window seat and watched as we began going down the runway, as the airplane lifted, and as we began soaring above the clouds.

Flight amazes me. I know that there is a complicated scientific and mathematical explanation that utilizes the laws of physics that somehow eliminates the mystery of flight, but to me whatever it is that allows a 35,000 lb hunk of people-filled metal to cruise through the air at about 500 mph is a complete mystery.

As I sat in my seat gazing out the small window of the plane, I thought of another mystery that amazes me even more.

I love to sit and watch as the buildings and cars and people become smaller and smaller. I thought about how in this vast universe, I am only a miniscule part. It was a humbling thought. When I am on the ground, I only see a small part of what is going on because I can only see what is immediately around me, but when I am thousands of feet above the ground, I am humbled to know that I am just a small part.

Any self-importance I may have felt vanished as I realized how insignificant I am in this great big universe. On the heels of that thought followed another: God sees the big picture and I am only a small part of His creation. Compared to the Creator of all that I see below and all that I can not see, I am even smaller, less important.

James 4:10 says, "Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up." It is only when we realize how un-important we are and how unworthy we are, that we can recognize how big God is and in doing so appreciate more fully the grace that He has so abundantly poured out.

I sat there for a couple of minutes pondering my smallness in relation to God's bigness when the best, most amazing, biggest paradox of all hit me. The question posed in Psalm 8:4 came to mind, "Oh what is man, that you are mindful of him?" I am not just a germ-sized person in an ant-sized car to God. The God of the Universe, the Alpha and Omega, Elohim, Adonai, Everlasting Father, Desired of All Nations, The Great Shepherd, the High Priest, the Holy One of Israel, the I Am... Lord of all Creation, El-Roi "the strong one who sees" SEES ME. He doesn't see just one of many, He sees me. He knit me in my mother's womb (Psalm 139:13), He has a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and He loves me forever (Jeremiah 31:3).

It's not just that He knows me and sees me in all my insignificance, but He calls me His child because I have chosen to call him my God. And since He's the King that makes me a princess. "See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are." (1 John  3:1) He has given me a crown of glory and honor and has made me a little lower than the angels. (Psalm 8:4)

There is a song by a Casting Crowns called Who Am I.

It says:

Who am I that the Lord of all the earth
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt?

Who am I that the Bright and Morning Star
Would choose to light the way
For my ever-wandering heart?

Not because of who I am,
But because of what You've done.
Not because of what I've done,
But because of who You are...

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind,
But you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord, you catch me when I'm falling,
And you've told me who I am...
I am Yours.

I am nothing but His, and because of that, I'm pretty special. You can be too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Bored (Shadows & Scars: Update 07)

July 27, 2011
10:14 pm
Location: The White House; Cookeville, TN

Listening to: Linkin Park, Meteora // So Long Forgotten, Things We Can See & Things We Cannot


[I wrote a blog about how I'm going through a phase of being bored with my own poems, especially the ones dealing with subject material that I'd rather just move past... and by the time I typed up half of it on here I got bored of that, so I got rid of it.

Writing and editing a book like this is strange because it is like spending hours upon hours talking to yourself. It can become tedious and even obnoxious quite quickly.

I spend too much time in my own head.

I'm looking forward to this weekend and the discussions therein.]

Saturday, July 23, 2011

An Introduction to the Wanderer (Shadows & Scars: Update 06)

July 22, 2011
4:08 am
Location: Paris SDA Church; Paris, TN

Listening to: Showbread, Anorexia

He wanders because I wander. The Incarnation entered my world and came alongside me in my journey. Sometimes this makes me angry. Sometimes I wish He'd go back up to His throne and pull a few strings - lift this veil, or tighten the noose around my neck. Anything but the endless unknown.

But He doesn't. He just keeps walking next to me. And sometimes that is all I want: to be with Him, to follow Him anywhere, even if we wander forever through endless wastelands.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Best of You (Shadows & Scars: Update 05)

July 13, 2011
9:30 pm
Location: Lucio's house; Martin, TN

Listening to: Foo Fighters, In Your Honor

One of the interesting things about writing poetry is that you can wrestle and wrestle with a piece for months with very little progress, and then suddenly it will all start falling into place. Sometimes I feel like the poetry is writing me, instead of the other way around. Here is an example... I started working on this about three months ago, but it has only come together in the past couple weeks.

Let His Words Drain into the Gutter (Drink Every Drop, But Leave the Cup on the Table)

She stirs her coffee, slowly,
like a metaphor I can’t quite understand,
while I watch the steam rise and fade
in the morning sunlight, disappearing
like last night’s rain.

Tucking her hair behind her ear – even
her clichés are beautiful – she lifts
the cup to her lips, invites the moment in.

Her eyes are soft and brave,
but they are strangers to her smile,
as if she’d cast her pearls
at one too many less-than-great men.

I want to tell her:
Don’t sell yourself short.
You deserve to be happy.
You deserve the best.

And while I am arrogant enough
to think of walking over
and paying the bill, as if
I could cancel all her debts,
(maybe even a few of my own)

I don’t believe
that my words can be offered
from anywhere but this distance –
close enough to convey,
far enough to retain their meaning.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

One Last Disguise (Shadows & Scars: Update 04)

July 6, 2011
9:31 pm
Location: Hamburg, PA

Listening to: Project 86, Songs to Burn Your Bridges By

Progress has been slow. The writing process cannot be done entirely in solitude, but sometimes you do need to disconnect from everything and throw yourself completely into the material your working with. I have had some of these moments but I need like a week or a month, lol. Alas.

Here are a few excerpts from the poems I've been working on:

"She stirs her coffee, slowly,
like a metaphor I can’t quite understand,
while I watch the steam rise and fade
in the morning sunlight, like a metaphor
I’m all too familiar with."

"You put this gasoline
in my veins,
then denied me a match.
Still, I burn."

"Ironic, how
you were so afraid
I would leave,
but you are the one
walking away."

"My own personal Nagasaki.
A Hiroshima hit to the center
of my seven-year-old universe.

Instant devastation
as the mushroom cloud rose
like a headstone over our home."

and a "finished" poem, appropriately bridging UC and S&S:

I Feel the Weight of Every Word, Double-Edged

Sometimes confessions
evolve into inquisitions,
but still I hold the mirror –
covering half your face,
reflecting half of mine.

The blade cuts both ways.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome! (again)

Re-Introducing: the Chrysalis.

The purpose of this blog is to provide a safe place for writers to grow and develop. As a community, we can help each other become better writers, both through honest constructive criticism and through mutual encouragement and inspiration.

Whether you:
  • simply want to share something you've written,
  • are looking for feedback,
  • have a question about writing, or
  • just want to share some thoughts on your own writing process,
we welcome you to the Chrysalis.

For an invitation to become an official member of the Chrysalis, please send an email to:

Saturday, June 18, 2011

When You Pray, Close the Door (Shadows and Scars: Update 03)

Day 101: June 18, 2011

9:46 pm
Location: Hamburg, PA

Listening to: Red, End of Silence and Innocence & Instinct

I've been working on gathering all my unpublished poems and poem fragments together in one place so I can sort through them and figure out which ones will end up in this book. Once I've gone through this process, I can work on writing new material.

Most of my writings are sufficiently organized on my computer, but I had to search through a number of various folders to gather up a few wandering sheep. The search turned up a few amusing results:

  • A parody of Sheryl Crow's "All I Wanna Do" that I wrote during the summer of 2006 when I was preaching an evangelistic series in Alabama, and yes it is about preaching that summer with my fellow field school classmates. Lol, good times.
  • A document/poem entitled "Now I Will Tell You What You Mean To Me"... the document, except for title and date, is empty.
  • A document created at 1:18 am on August 15, 2008 and entitled "224" contained only the following:
    Something isn't adding up here... lol.

Besides that, I did find some good material, too. But it is a lot to sort through, both in quantity and content. Which brings me to something I've been thinking about for a while in regards to this book: I want/need prayer support. As some would say, I want this process to be "bathed in prayer." As I mentioned last time, I expect this to be a very challenging book to work through, and I'd appreciate all the prayer support I can get.

So I'd like to have a group of people dedicated to praying for me for the next number of months (hopefully not more than a year), at least once a week. I'll leave it up to you whether you set aside a certain day/time or whatever. Let the Holy Spirit lead you as to what to pray for, and also keep reading these updates to get an idea of what I might need specific prayers for.

But here's the catch: I don't want to know if you've decided to pray for me or not. God is not calling all of you to pray for me, and I don't want you to feel pressured or obligated to pray for me or say that you're praying for me, so I don't want to know one way or the other. Keep it to yourself. :-) I trust that those of you who God is calling will pray for me and knowing that God has chosen some of you is enough encouragement for me.

Now, of course if you want to pray for me randomly for whatever reason, by all means go for it... but what I'm talking about specifically here is dedicating yourself to at least once a week until the manuscript is finished. It is a big commitment and I hope you'll take the time to ask God before deciding, because it is not for everyone. But to those of you who do decide to be a part of the official Shadows & Scars prayer group, I thank you in advance.


P.S. In my searching through documents I also found a document I forget existed: a poetry suite entitled "A Return to Purity." This collection of poems, put together in October 2006, would eventually become Unspoken Confessions. I'm not sure when the title changed, but it was sometime between then and when I turned in UC as my final project for Advanced Creative Writing at the end of that school year. Actually, I think the idea for UC came after this collection, but that many of the poems fit so well with my plans for UC that they were transferred over. The leftovers were either discarded or saved for later... some of which will end up in S&S, and some of which still await a future project. So there is your random bit of trivia for the evening.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Healing Tears-for the writing assignments, weddings

Healing Tears

Such deep pain from so many years,
Ran in the tracks of tears as they flowed,
Down over our cheeks,
And into the crumpled and shredded pieces of Kleenex
In my and my sister’s palms.

And so much garbage fell away,
In the falling tears of so many,
As my father, the patriarch of our family,
Walked down the isle of the church alone,
To the seats reserved for the grandparents.

He was frail and leaning heavily on his cane,
He sat in a pew all alone, In front of my mother.
But from his being shone so much pride,
In who we all had become,
And that all of us were together here,
In one place, at the very same time.

And tears of joy replaced those of pain,
As my brother walked with his child on his arm,
Angry words were forgotten, divorces and battles irrelevant,
As the service declared the purest of love,
Love more binding than any past ire,
That of God for his children and them for one another.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Writing Assignments, Summer 2011

Here are some writing assignments I came up with to hopefully inspire/provoke you to write more this summer.

Write a poem, short story, creative non-fiction, etc. based on one (or all!) of the assignments below. And please add your own assignments in the comments. The more the merrier!

  1. Write a piece based on this movie trailer:
  2. Write a piece about going to a wedding.
  3. Write a piece about one of your favorite summer memories.
  4. Write a piece about this image:
  5. Write a piece using the combination of:,, and
The cool thing about #5 is that it can be repeated again and again!

If you're not already an official member of this blog, you can either email your finished assignment and I will post it, or you can request membership and then post it yourself.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More (Shadows and Scars: Update 02)

(written a couple weeks ago... just now getting around to posting it)

Day 80 - May 28, 2011

8:50 am
Location: IA Boys Dorm Apt., Cicero, IN

What is Shadows & Scars? Every book has a purpose, a goal. What am I trying to accomplish? What impact will this have on my readers? On me?

How do I even begin to describe the journey upon which I am about to embark? Not even that... I began this journey years ago. The beginnings of this book were actually compiled in 2005 as a 53-page collection that I shared with a few friends. It had a different title then and a different focus, but essentially, this is the first book I ever started writing.

So in one sense, as the second installment of the DarkLight series, this is the sequel to Unspoken Confessions. In another sense, it is a prequel, and in other ways it runs parallel to UC.

Now, back to the original question: what is Shadows & Scars? Truthfully, I'm not entirely sure yet. I only know that as I return to finish this book six years later, I am going to be working through a number of experiences specifically from the past decade but also dealing with things as far back as I can remember. Through this all, I will be seeking a variety of things, including:
  • release and closure
  • therapy
  • vindication
  • forgiveness, both given and received
  • answers and explanations (heh... most of which I probably won't get)
  • a deeper understanding of myself
  • trust
Most of all I want to trust. This is the most crucial aspect of this whole journey. I want to trust Jesus in a profoundly life-changing way. I want to trust Him when it doesn't make sense. I want to trust Him when I can't see the end. I want to trust Him, not just through the pain, but in the pain.

In fact, this starts with trust. Most people spend the majority of their lives avoiding the most painful parts of their lives. I know... I've done the same at times. But this book is specifically about going there, going to the most painful experiences of my life - times when I am the giver and times when I am the receiver.

There is a part of me that is terrified to return to those places... terrified that I will get stuck there, somewhere in the abyss, that the pain will be too much to work through... But it must begin here with trust that the darkness He calls me into is the darkness He will overcome, in fact, has already overcome, and is ready and able to lead me through.

This is going to be dark. More dark than UC. More honest. More personal. It will require more trust. But, in the end, I believe there will also be more hope.

And that is what I want to accomplish. That through trust in Jesus, we may find a hope more beautiful and powerful than we could have ever imagined.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cooking with Love

I still remember the first full meal that I prepared on my own: Loma Linda Chicken Supreme (in a can), green peas, and real mashed potatoes and gravy. Though I made my first full meal that day, my love for cooking began long before that when I stood in a chair at my grandmother’s kitchen counter and she let me pour and mix the ingredients for pound cakes and birthday cakes and baby cheese cakes. My love of cooking began in the kitchen with my mom as she made marinara sauce and eggplant parmesan. The realization that most foods are not simply born or picked and then heated or used came the day I saw my dad turn cream into butter (and buttermilk).
I have friends who enjoy cooking from scratch and do it regularly and then I have other friends who have said to me, “Why make it when you can buy it?” and meant it. I believe that if you can make it, it’s better than buying it. Cooking from scratch is better than buying it pre-made for many reasons, but I will only address a few. Food tastes better, its healthier, it creates an opportunity for quality time with a loved one and learning opportunities for children, and it is more emotionally satisfying when you prepare it at home from scratch.
I have a friend who has looked me in the eye and told me that she honestly believes that store-bought jarred spaghetti sauce is just as good as homemade and she's not the first to tell me that. I’ve had other friends tell me that boxed or frozen mashed potatoes rival homemade. Sauce in a jar tends to be overcooked and too chunky or too smooth without the distinct and fresh flavors of minced garlic and fresh herbs, the bright slightly acidic taste of the tomatoes and the buttery smooth flavor of the olive oil. How is something that was mass produced and sitting in a jar for a couple of months going to compete with that? It can’t. Just like mashed potatoes from a box aren’t as good as creamy, slightly chunky homemade ones. Just like vegetables from a can are blander than fresh or frozen vegetables or vegetables that you’ve pressure-canned yourself. And you can’t tell me you’d rather have a canned biscuit instead of grandma’s soft buttery biscuits and homemade strawberry jam!
The one point everyone seems to want to argue on the homemade versus store-bought debate is time. My sauce takes five minutes to prepare and about twenty minutes to simmer. Your pasta and garlic bread are going to take almost that long! Mashed potatoes are even faster to make than marinara sauce. If you look at most everyday meals, you will find that the time investment isn’t that much greater than the amount of time you would put into throwing together a meal with heat-and-serve foods. If time is a concern, my advice is to carefully plan your meals and make what you can ahead of time and freeze it if necessary.
I’m not going to go into depth about why homemade meals prepared from whole foods are healthier than processed foods, because there are plenty of books and websites out there to do that for me, but I will summarize a few points. Typically store bought foods are going to be higher in fat and sodium and sugar and we all know that excess fat, high sodium, and too much sugar in our diets is bad. Processed foods are also usually lower in vitamins and minerals than homemade foods. If you can’t buy or grow fresh fruits and vegetables, at least go with frozen. If you’re eating healthier, you’re going to live longer and have better quality of life to spend with those you love.
Image Borrowed from
One way to spend that extra time with those you love is in the kitchen. If all I'm doing is opening up a can of vegetables and heating them in the microwave while I stir some water into dry potato flakes on the stove and bake some chicken nuggets (vegetarian or otherwise) in the toaster oven and open a box of cookies from the bakery there isn’t much opportunity for help. I like to cook, but I’ve also made my fair share of cheater meals so I know how easy it is and how little help you need. Take that same simple meal, and make the mashed potatoes homemade and you have an opportunity to spend time with your husband while he peels the potatoes for you to cut or you can talk to your kids about their day while they sneak the chocolate chips that are supposed to go in the cookies. And what kid (or person) doesn’t like raw cookie dough? In addition to providing opportunities to spend time together it also provides a teaching moment for your kids when you measure the ingredients for your cookies and teach them about how each of those ingredients plays an important role in the food they are going to be eating. Each homemade meal presents an opportunity to spend time together; it creates memories and a sense of pride when the food is finished.
Going back to the point that it’s healthier, it’s going to be easier to get your kids to eat healthy foods that they helped make. While they might look at something you made and immediately turn their nose up at it, if they had their hands (washed please) in it mixing it, they are more likely to give it a try and like it.
Making your own food is more emotionally satisfying than store bought food. When I cook, I put myself into what I’m doing. If I’m having a bad day, I hit the hand chopper a little harder or cut a little faster. On a good day everything tastes a little better and is extra special because I have the energy to put into it. I spend time making sure that coconut cream pie is just right for my mom because I love her and she would rather have a pie from her daughter that she loves than from the stranger at the grocery store. I try to replace the eggs in recipes with other things to help my dad out with his cholesterol because I love him, but I doubt the lady in the bakery is going to do the same. There is a sense of pride and accomplishment that comes when you cook a meal and it’s delicious and everyone compliments you on it. There is security in knowing exactly what ingredients are going into your food and what is going into yours and your family’s bodies. And when you bite into that rich, cheesy baked macaroni and cheese it does so much more to lift your spirits than a box of noodles and powdered cheese.
Cooking from scratch requires a little more time and a little more creativity than opening up a box, but it is so worth it.

For recipes and tips from Amber visit her cooking blog, À la Amber.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day One (Shadows and Scars: Update 01)

Day 1 - March 10, 2011

8:37 pm
Location: The Asian Grill, Noblesville, IN

... I guess my point is that, while I've been working on this book in one form or another since 2003 or 2004, it is demanding to be written now. And so today is officially Day One of this project. It is long overdue, or perhaps right on time.

11:58 pm
Location: IA Boys Dorm Apt., Cicero, IN

It begins with a whiteboard outline and a prayer.

May Your blessing be upon this. May You give me wisdom and guidance. May this be for Your glory and may others be blessed by my words. Mold this book, and me, according to Your will.


So I guess I should explain what is going on here a little bit. I'm keeping a journal specifically for this writing project to chronicle the process as well as give myself a place to work out all my thoughts. I will periodically be posting excerpts from that journal to give you all an inside look at the process. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shadows and Scars: Updates Coming Soon

For those of you who know what this means...

And for those of you who don't, you will soon.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

If I Were a Famous Musician, This Would Be My Application to the Club

Sinope concluded that the absence of passion
was better than incomplete passion
and I tend to agree,
though I’ve been known to digress.

But I can never wander far
from the truths and the riddles:

“When every bone in your grip is broken,
your weeping will be quenched.

When you are out of outs,
you will find your way in.”

Twenty seven new books
and twenty seven old letters
stuffed into an envelope
with a Claude Pepper stamp:
a warning – a blessing – from
the lips of Abbé Faria, eleven
years too early, never too late.

I take a stand, open
to amendments, fundamentally
opposed to closing my eyes
or staring straight ahead.

All around, possibilities
and dead ends.

All around, the madness
of beautiful uncertainty.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Convergence of Our Lives

I really like the quote we used on our latest bookmark:

"Everyone has three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life." (Gabriel García Márquez)

We live our lives in these layers. As people get to know us and as we allow them to get closer to us, they progress past our public life and towards our private and sometimes even secret lives.

The fascinating thing about writing, though, is that when we write we tend to bypass this expected progression. I've found this to be especially true of creative writing. Through my writing, I end up sharing profoundly personal thoughts and experiences with people I don't even know, who I may never even meet. These people, who are barely even on the radar of my public life, are invited to enter into my private and secret lives through the written word.

As writers we often chose to break the rules of social etiquette for the sake of artistic expression. Or, perhaps it is for a deeper reason. Sharing our writings allows us to wear a broken mask, covering just enough of our face that we feel comfortable sharing, yet exposing just enough that we are able to share in an honest, compelling manner. I believe we share, not just for the sake of sharing, but in hopes that we will connect with someone out there, and in doing so that we will feel less alone. We find solace and meaning in shared experiences. We find purpose in being able to say, "I've been there too... don't give up, you can make it through" and "I've experienced that too and isn't it grand!"

Through writing, our lives converge. That is what Chrysalis is all about. We come here to share, to invite others into our lives and to be a part of theirs as well. And perhaps somewhere in this clumsy encounter, we will find something more than the mere exchange of ideas.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Baptism by Fire.

Baptism by Fire.
We are marching across the desolate waste land
Its name earth
Our commander and chief Jesus Christ
Our goal to save as many souls from the enemy as possible from the enemy
Our enemy is indeed old he is the father of lies and responsible for all death on this once beautiful planet
Our Father made the ultimate sacrifice for us by sending his son to die for us
So now we march on for his cause
We battle with the enemy spiritually wielding our spiritual armor and the sword of truth
We beat back the tide of evil even though the devils arrows, rockets and machine gun nests push us and make us stumble
We have an unbeatable commander on our side Gods own son Jesus Christ, who beat the devil and death
So we march on knowing that even though the fire enemy will burn us, but these flames will make us stronger during Judgment Day.
They are trials and they will give us patience which gives us endurance to withstand our Baptism by Fire.
We all have a road so far. They all may start at different places, but all are destined to finish at the same place.
The road begins with us in the dark, wandering not knowing what our purpose is in life.
It feels like we have no meaning and we think to ourselves, what’s the point to life? Do we just live our life and then die is that all there is to it?
We keep wandering in the dark, like our ancestors before us, going deeper into the dark cold abyss of the traveler who can never find home.
We do this for who knows how long until we finally shout, “Show me something that will give meaning to my life!”
Then from out of nowhere a light, like the sun, blasts through the darkness and drives it back.
The light reveals to us all our faults and gifts, it makes us feel blind with warmth and love like we had never felt before.
Then a Man comes out of the light, but we crawl away because we have never felt this kind of peace before.
The Man than says, “Do not be afraid, I bring a love that will set you free from the cold darkness.
The Man then takes us into the light and gives us a new heart and a new life and when we turn to ask his name.
He will reply The Light¸ Wonderful Counselor, but you may call me Jesus and when I turn to ask how I can repay him?
He will reply go in my name and bring others out of the darkness and show them the same love I have showed you.
Then when I come back I’ll reward you according to what you have done for your brothers as well as me.
We’re all traveling the same road at different times and places, but we’re all here to help each other on the road.
Who will you help today to know Jesus better or improve their relationship on your Road so Far?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the blood of dreams

crack your head open till it splits
thoughts so large, nothing fits
the blood of dreams leaks and drips
onto the blanket that grandma knit

working a 9-5 makes the dreamer sick
like their eye slits were stitched
"get me out of this straight jacket!"

rather be floating
than weighed down by bricks

the blood of dreams leaks and drips
can you turn this movie into a skit?
can't shorten genius, it doesn't fit
so you keep your head half open split

dreams are real and worth the risk
slaves keep wishing they didn't quit

the blood of dreams is thicker than spit
stir it in with cement, can you commit?

the blood of dreams
the blood of dreams
my heart is bleeding
the blood of dreams