Monday, May 30, 2005


Seed Lines: By Maya (Featherstone woman)
At Cherita Fitzgerald
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Fitz #1 continued

“Caught in the breath of night.....”
“Join me, if you dare to dream.”

I am always caught in the breath of night. The process in which a normal body is awake for sixteen hours and asleep for eight seems to mean less than nothing to my body, which obviously doesn’t count itself as normal. I’ve always had rhythm, but I am currently fresh out of the ‘circadian’ variety. The normal human brain contains a type of "pacemaker" called the suprachiasmatic nuclei which regulates the firing of nerve cells that set the bodies circadian rhythms. I evidently have a broken suprachiasmatic nuclei. Possibly my nerve cells are pacificist. They certainly are not firing. No matter how you construe the metaphor, something is broken. I don’t seem to be able to get a cast for it, find a clock-maker to mend the springs or discover the right kind of glue that will repair it. None of the ancient remedies, old wives tales, modern medications, approaches, techniques, systems or methods have been able to unspasmatic my suprachied nuclei.

Caught in the breath of night, I drift. Sometimes, I drift like a tumbleweed on the dry prairie air, rolling here and there in an aimless, random way, squashing up against things only to lie there until a stronger wind comes and rolls me on again. Sometimes I float like a feather, falling in drifting patterns through endless ebony; weightless and unconcerned, never touching anything but darkness. Sometimes I fall like a stone; fast and hard, spinning and shredding through razors of stars.

Awake, out of rhythm, caught on the breath of night, strangely, incongruously; I dream. Not the dreams of sleep, that rich, kaleidoscopic ride into the subconscious, but certainly not day-dreams either; for, of course, it is not day. The waking dreams of the night are very different than day-dreams; less regulated, less patterned, less predictable.

I find the usage of the word ‘dreams’ fascinating. When someone asks ‘what are your dreams?’ they are very rarely asking to hear about the surrealistic paintings your psyche produced last night. They usually mean ‘what are your aspirations? What are your hopes?’ There is a chance they might even be asking ‘what are your longings? What are your yearnings?’ If we took everything a step further than anyone ever takes it, we might conceivably be asking each other, ‘what are your fantasies? Your reveries? What are your inventions? Your creations? Your inspirations? What is your mythology? What are your rainbows?”

Caught on the breath of night, I spread my words out around me like glistening glass beads and in the long hours of darkness, I string dreams. I thread them onto the clear filament of my thoughts; onto ribbons woven of idea, image and concept; onto the thin, glinting wire of vision. When they are strung, some of these shining strands turn out to mirror my aspirations and my hopes. Some strands, slightly translucent, echo my longings and desires. Then there are those gossamer strands that are created of cloud, airy and ethereal, stung directly onto my veins . . . here are reflected my exhilarations, my elations, my rainbows, my myths, my fire. Shimmering and scintillating, these lacings of alabaster ice become poems. Poems about dreams.

I find all of the dreams intriguing, partially because they are not what one would expect them to be. They are not what I expected them to be. Some of them are so small and so simple that I am shocked. I still want to write “The Great American Novel” and I wouldn’t argue with it being wildly successful. However, the sound consummation of a poem of integrity is of much greater importance now. When they were babies, I sometimes dreamed of my children being wildly successful, flowing over with achievements, living cornucopias of fantastic accomplishments. I smile at this now, knowing that my greatest joy comes simply from their being happy. I count among my favorite things the Debate Team that gives my son self confidence, the job that fires my eldest daughter’s mind, the boy that puts the sunshine in my youngest daughter’s voice.

My longings and yearnings have changed so much that the girl I used to be wouldn’t recognize them. I wouldn’t turn it down if someone wanted to give me a million dollar mansion, but what I’d really like is for someone to help me clean my office. I still want to travel, but the exotic, glamorous places I used to dream of have faded into softer images.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been completely transfixed with an idea, sort of nailed to the wall with the sharp star of a specific dream. When Anna Chinappi first joined our groups, I went to visit her web site, as I always do with new members. To see what someone is doing on their own site helps to get to know them and understand better who they are. I was quite interested in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method and Anna explained it to me in a little more in depth.

I kept going back to her site for some reason, however, reading what I had already read. As I read it over again and again, certain words waltzed away from the others and lined themself up, creating an almost-poem that felt full of strange import . . . a yearning, dreaming feeling that was brushed about with something enchanted.

The Guided Pen CREATIVE Writing Workshops Led by Anna Chinappi. Writing Workshop and RETREAT Guidelines. In Anna's writing CIRCLES, beginning and experienced writers will find a SUPPORTIVE and ENCOURAGING ENVIRONMENT to CREATE from their DEEPEST SELVEs. ALL YOU NEED IS PEN, PENCILS, NOTEBOOKS. SLIPPERS, SOCKS, COMFORTABLE clothing and walking shoes for daylong retreats are highly recommended. Weekly writing workshops the center for PEACEful Living, inc. Day-long writing retreats at LADYWOODS game preserve.

Creative circles

Encouraging environment
Supportive selves

Pen, pencils, notebooks
Slippers, socks

Peace . . .

Deep . . .

There was definitely a theme going on in my head. It seemed to have much to do with the word, ‘retreat.’

Definitions of retreat:

* noun: a place of privacy; a place affording peace and quiet
* noun: withdrawal for prayer and study and meditation
* noun: a area where you can be alone

But Anna is not necessarily talking about prayer or just study and meditation. She is talking about writing. Ah. That is the delicious feeling of “All you need is a pen, pencils, notebooks. Slippers. socks. Comfortable clothing.” So basic. So beautiful. She is not talking about being alone, but about writing with other people . . . and there are the words: circles, encouraging, supportive. LadyWoods . . . this word whispers to me of myth and legend. Creative. Well, that is my own word, it always has been.

When I thought about it, and distilled it all, the yearning and enchantment that I was feeling could be brought down to two words: Writing. Retreat.

And then, reading through the Guided Pen site, I added a third word. Italy.

“It is fate. But you can call it Italy if it pleases you, Vicar.”
(From ‘A Room With a View.’)

International writing retreats. Cortona, Italy (Tuscany)
Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, 2005.

Writing. Retreat. Italy.

I haven’t gotten completely lost here . . . this does all have to do with dreams. You see, I told Anna that I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than go with her on this Writing Retreat to Italy. I was half shocked when I thought it through some more and realized that I was absolutely, undeniably serious. I really couldn’t think of anything I would rather do. Anything. Not a string of romantic nights in Paris, nor roller skating down the Great Wall of China; not dancing under the full moon at the Acropolis or waltzing in the Vienna Woods; not experiencing the Great Pyramids of Giza, Karnak, Luxor, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Valley of the Kings, nor Boating on the Nile in a boat with perfumed sails; not drinking rum in the white Carribean sand or sipping Dom Perignon in a hot tub in St. Moritz; not Running With The Bulls in Pamplona nor running the rapids on the Amazon. I really couldn’t think of anything I would rather do. I, truthfully, found this strange and a little unsettling.

Then I read Maya’s beautiful poem and was arrested by two lines. Both of them kept coming back to whisper to me. “Caught in the breath of night”, and “Join me if you dare to dream.”

Maya’s words brought me a deep sense of peace. Deep. Peace. The last two words from the almost-poem that had waltzed itself into being. I felt a deep sense of peace because I realized I do still dare to dream. My dreams have changed, they are different than they once were, but they are still strong and full of power. They have never stopped flowing or ceased to fly.

I am probably not going to make it to Cortona, Italy in September of 2005. But I can imagine it. I can envision it. I still dare to dream it.

I will continue to ride that ship of dreams, a hope-enchanted-vessel woven of fantasy, moondust and starshimmer; sea-worthy, spellbound and sailing . . . caught in the breath of night.

©Edwina Peterson Cross
May 30, 2005

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Gleaning Image

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"You don't even know what is swarming in your own insides" Winnie Cross - Desert Dreams -Weird Tales From Deadwood Hall May 27 2005

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Gleaning Images

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

I have never been known for my 'sketching abilities'. This is a skill had been well and truly hidden under my apron. A number of patrons have shared terrible experiences about people making scathing comments about their art. One story that is etched into my memory is from the person whose mother destroyed here Art Work because it was not appropriate

Well no one even bothered to be scathing about mine. I was deemed useless in this department so I have never attempted to express myself with a pencil or paint for that matter. My husband, Darryl in contrast is quite the artist and has drawn from time to time. About fifteen years ago when we were on holidays he was sketching and I had a mad burst and sketched people. Suddenly I realised that I could actually create something that resembled something, so long as I had something to guide me. But I never bothered to go on with it and have not sketched since.

Anita Marie Moscoso's stories have fascinated me mainly because I have never taken any interest in the twilight zone and horror. Then recently she sent me her story 'Going to Croatan' and I was intrigued by her idea and said that I could see what was happening and that I had a desire to sketch. When she pleaded with me to do a sketch I thought 'right'! Now I have gone and opened my mouth far too wide.

So I checked out the internet and found various images that matched what she was saying. I did feel rather ghoulish when I put corpses into the search engine but sure enough - up came some corpses. I pulled up odd images of doors and rooms and ghoulish votives and other weird stuff and then propped myself up in bed with my sharpened grey lead and eraser and well, what you see is the completed sketches, based on stuff she had written.

Darryl of course sees these images and thinks I have lost it completely. He sees Amazon parcels arriving with books like Dead Men Do Tell Tales and Ship Fever and my references about poisons and alchemy and shakes his head and looks disturbed. Interestingly enough it does not really disturb him too much and I half suspect he thinks it is all a bit intriguing.

It took some courage for me to actually put those images on the blog and I felt weird when Anita said her husband and family liked them, but it took even more courage to 'really' show them to anyone.

I should have known that the folks at Soul Food would be supportive.

Going to Croatan - The First Part of the Journey
by Anita Marie Moscosso
Illustrations by Heather Blakey

Years ago, before they walked into oblivion someone turned back and left this message carved on a tree, " gone to Croatan ".

Now it's my turn, tonight I'm going to Croatan; I'm going to Croatan to avenge my own murder.

My name Is Livia Cotard and once I owned a little bookshop at the Marina on the Duwamish Bay.

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Duwamish Bay by Heather Blakey

In the front of my shop you would find books sought after by collectors from all over the world. Rare first editions, bound sets, atlases, maps, and a variety of other books that were prized by collectors for their illustrations.

The front of my store is separated from the back by a large imposing oak door. Its hinges are leather and its locks and tumblers are made of wood.

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The Imposing Oak Door by Heather Blakey

This is where my real store is; this is where I conduct my real trade.

The room behind this door is a very comfortable library. The walls lined ceiling to floor bookcases. One case has a glass door, the second had an iron gate and others were left open.

Each case held over 100 volumes.

The books were crafted by an unusual group of Authors and had been written for a very exotic group of clients. These were famous one of a kind horror stories among this group of readers and they would spare no expense in collecting them.

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The Authors by Heather Blakey

This is how these little treasures were created.

If the Authors were to arrive at a home for a story they always came hours before a funeral and they were never turned away. After a small ceremony involving salt and scented oils they were left alone with the Dead and their work would begin. The Authors would take blank sheets of parchment; sometimes strips of linen or thin sheets of copper, gold and in later years paper and place them over the chest of a dead person. Then the Author would place their hand over the corpse's stilled heart and the story would be recorded.

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Authors at Work by Heather Blakey

It was said you could hear the scratching sounds of what was assumed to be pen to parchment and that no matter how much you were tempted that you should never try to catch one of these Authors at work. Not unless you wanted to end up bound in one of those books too.

When they were finished what was recorded on these pages were all the sins and evil that the dead person ever committed. Page after page would hold horrible dark stories and horrific illustrations. Brought forward by the Author's skilled hand, images and words and flashes of smell and sound would be captured then interpreted by the Author and burned onto the pages.

The Authors always left a gift for the stories. Sometimes they left gold or jewels, potions in bottles and sometimes money.

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

After they left these homes the Authors would take these pages and bind them, and place them in libraries in homes not fit for human habitation.

To read the complete story Go To Croatan

Friday, May 27, 2005

GLEANERS "We interrupt your regularly scheduled day to report the mackerel sky. . ." Ruhdwulf at Live Poets, 4/26/05

"We interrupt your regularly scheduled day to report the mackerel sky--"

I can still see it--a celestial traffic jam of cumulus clouds in shades of peach, violet, and gunmetal gray. My friend, driving me home, turned at the corner to let me off, had no time for interruptions, couldn't stop for the magic or the glory. I got out and watched for a few precious minutes as the colors faded and blurred into the deep blue of night.

One summer day, while reading, I noticed a flicker of movement on the ground beneath the butterfly bush in my back yard. The featherless bluejay, covered with ants, became a blessed interruption for the next three months.

A regularly scheduled workday was almost cancelled due to an overnight ice storm, but since the ground had been warm the streets were safe and dad drove me to work. As we wended our way through the park the sun burst out turning every twig and tree limb to blazing crystal. His phone call twenty minutes later told me the same sun had melted every drop and the extraordinary was once again ordinary.

I learned long ago to savor interruptions caused by nature, the miraculous and serendipitous moments that can be so fleeting and yet last for a lifetime.

I'm still working on telephones.


Seed Line: From the Poem “Ecstasy” by Vi Jones.
Posted on the Lemurian Abby Blog, Friday, May 20, 2005

“Such is ecstasy”

Seed Line: From a post by Tracey at the Joseph Campbell Mythology Group

“ Where are your bread crumbs now?”

Ecstasy. A word to crack the stars with splendor. Like much else in life, it’s meaning is constantly changing, altering and shifting; transposing, transforming, transmuting, transfiguring; translating like an ermine in the snow; modifying, metamorphosing, and mutating; molting flight feathers and springing up covered with soft, new down. The word has been erotic, metaphysical, descriptive, abstract, effervescent, linguistic, arousing, tangible, delicious, luxuriant, exciting, motivating, . . . A list that goes on forever: the voluminous, vivid and varied shapings of “ecstasy.”

And such is ecstasy . . .
Brimming with bounty, full of fulfilment, rocking away midnight with a baby at my breast. The luxuriant flood of slow pure light like liquid silk poured over the night, a luminous mountain moon. The transparent, transcendental reality of a rainbow splashed like a fantasy across the heavens. The suspended voluminous vastness of a summer sky shot with silent silver stars. The stillness of secret snow, breathing the wind, becoming whiteness as the world falls away in a rush of descent. The drowning sweetness of a mouth on mine, lit like lightening, melting my bones like wax. A sun of impossible fire sinking behind the mountains in an aching awe of color. The ripe, mellow moan of a single cello, the haunting, ancient call of a wooden flute, the spine shivering spill of a Celtic harp like a fey Bridge Between. Questing for words: desiring them, dreaming them, discovering them, drinking them, drawing them out into deep designs of . . . ecstasy.

The river above Ashland is rushing full with a spate of spring, tumbling and splashing in the green shadows beneath the pines and the towering redwoods. A sudden shudder . . . a thrill sings up the spine . . . a clear, indrawn breath of wonder. What walks beneath the trees, beside the river? Is it only twilight? Where are your bread crumbs now? “Follow your bliss,” the wise man said, but in the emerald shadows flowing beneath the ancient trees, I think that it is following me.

©Edwina Peterson Cross

Thursday, May 26, 2005


Seed Lines: From the Poem “Dancing in Perpetuity” by Anna Chinappi. Posted on the Lemurian Abby Blog, Tuesday, May 24, 2005.

“She’s done with the dancing,
no steps and moves left,”

April Night

She has the truth of
my body
the slim, supple, rounded limbs
that flow so freely into movement.

She has the truth of
my spirit
a joy that knows no edges
a heart that dances and dreams.

Bright, ethereal spark of dancing light
she is the image of my
other side,

That solid self
once-upon when
before time
before the splintering shadows
of pain.

She is the image of
my body,
my spirit
my joy
moving . . .

Moving . . .

I leave her at the studio door
and a shadowed specter slowly walks away
eyes swimming with salt
body twined with pain.

I hear the music
I can almost taste the movement
behind the

But, this shrouded spirit is lifeless
dormant, barren, maimed,

Broken, cleft, splintered

As my soul split
I kept only
my heart

and it is
burning . . .


©Edwina Peterson Cross