The season for Old World Wisconsin ends in October.  Steve and I are gearing up for a 2-3 week road trip.  We have about 9 possible itineraries, National Forests and Parks mostly.  We’ve come to call this “our trip to metaphorical Maine” because although Maine is one of the top contenders, it is really just serving as the title of an unknown eventual destination.  This is how Steve prefers to travel, and he is teaching me to appreciate the spirit of living in the moment rather than planning for safety and control.  Not that Steve is an “extreme” kind of guy, a risk-taker for the sake of it, or anything like that.  It’s really more a Zen kind of thing of being aware of conditions as they arise and dancing with them rather than putting on blinders and sticking to a railroad track. 

We recently borrowed the DVD of “The Sheltering Sky” starring Debra Winger and John Malkovich.  I’m sure the book was better, but the film has some terrific cinematic landscapes and brings up a lot of interesting questions.  Like, “What is the difference between a tourist and a traveler?”  A tourist wants the comforts of home.  A traveler seeks adventure.  I recently had a conversation with a co-worker who talked about a visit to France and only mentioned that there were no bugs or birds and that French waiters substitute Sprite for lemonade.  This guy never thought he’d leave the country in his lifetime.  Maybe he shouldn’t have!

I feel like I have been working on my personal demons (neuroses, grief, all that baggage) and have gained some courage and self-confidence since our last big trip.  I did have one memorable meltdown in a rest stop off the highway in the pouring rain from about 2-4 in the a.m.  That was April of 2011, and we were on the road for 4 weeks.  Here’s a shot taken somewhere near the Colorado River in Utah that illustrates one of the many decision discussions we had.  Do you want to take this road or not?  Why? 

There’s no “right answer” and there’s no judgement, Steve told me.  “I just want to know what you think about when you make decisions.”  What are we here for?  What do we call “living”?  Is it “to be safe and have children and grandchildren”?  Is it “to learn to praise God and serve Him”?  There are a million ways to answer that question.  Steve describes his answer to me every time we have a conversation.  He wants to meet life with awareness, engage in nuance and complexity, question and think critically, try to discover delusion, respond in the moment to what is before him, and participate in the adventure of living, as holistically as he can.  Yesterday, I read a short science fiction story by E.M. Forster called “The Machine Stops”.   It describes a futuristic world where the human race is run by Machine and never ventures to the surface of the earth.  It’s eerie how much that could be the life of modern individuals plugged into the Internet with no experience of the physical phenomenons of Earth.   What kind of life do I really want to live?  What kind of courage do I have to face the adventure of living?  Do I prefer comfort to challenge?  These are good questions to take out for a road test.   I’m looking forward to it! 

You’ve Heard of Purple Prose….

…well, today I present: Purple Poetry.   The prompt for today’s National Poetry Writing Month post invites us to compose a piece based on a color.  I have to admit that my first response was to think of the goofy beatnik poetry in Ken Nordine’s Colors album, which Steve has.  “Yellow was in trouble…” and “Green can be a problem..”  If you’ve never heard these, you must.  They’re just too much fun!

So here’s my own word association dream on The Color Purple (no, don’t think of Alice Walker):

Twisting tendrils pulsing poison

Bloody Portuguese placenta

      birth marks and umbilicus

      bruises rhyme with purple wine

      capillary coupling

People eaters robed in splendor

Atmospheric skies at sunset

      mussels in deep, hazy rain

      eggplant mountains majesty

      purple cows and penitents

Pimpernel-ish violet babies

Lilac lavender suspension

     (dot, dot, dot) of disbelief.

And for the shutterbugs, some photos, too!


As we were walking off in the rain to meet his mom for breakfast, Steve made this sound of spring….boinnng!  I thought that would make a good title for a post. I admit that I am a sound effects gal.   It comes with being an actor of sorts and a singer.  Ever notice how most guys do use sound effects at least occasionally in their conversation, but women do less often?  Maybe it’s not really ladylike, but I get more animated as I get more comfortable with the people around me.  I enjoy hamming it up.  I’ve been posting some pretty serious stuff because I have a lot of that in me, too, but lately, I’ve been itching to burst out with something creative and lively.   I am ready to engage in some collaboration, but I’ve been frustrated in my recent attempts with voice students and job interviews (still waiting to hear from Old World Wisconsin).  I’ve found something to try, though….a poetry challenge!

That’s right, folks, the NaPoWriMo challenge is about to begin on April 1!  This is the National Poetry Writing Month challenge: a poem a day for 30 days.  I once self-published a booklet of poems and sold 50 copies at my church’s gift shop, all proceeds going to charity.  One of my poems got published in The Living Church magazine, though I got no payment for it.  My religious poetry tried to be very serious.  Nowadays I write rhyming greeting card poetry for Steve’s aunt, just because she lights up so generously when I do.  I’m curious to see how I might respond to the prompts offered by the challenge organizers.  It’ll be another way to discover who I am, and possibly there will be a collaborative element as I post and receive comments.  My father used to write very amusing little rhymes in Valentines and birthday cards for me and my kids.  I loved getting those in the mail!  I miss that.  Perhaps some of that joy will spring up with this endeavor in April.  Also, it’ll be fun to try to illustrate my posts with photographs to match. 

What do you do when you hunger for creative collaboration?  (…besides what the birds & bees are doing 😉 , which is very satisfying as well!)