Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Painting for Rebecca and Mike: HAPPY HAPPY WEDDING!!

Dear Rebecca and Mike,

As you know, unforeseen circumstances make it impossible for me to be at your wedding this weekend. That is the sad part. But the part that makes me happy is that I have a gift for you that I know Rebecca has long wanted: a painting.

Happy Wedding Rebecca & Mike
This one, like most of my paintings, emerged in a surprising way. I had no idea it would end up the way it did, with what vaguely appear to be two figures facing each other (one female, one male.) At the beginning, (like I always do,) I was just throwing paint on the canvas to see what shape the painting wanted to be.

I don't know if I've told you about my rather unorthodox method of applying my acrylic paint. I use a credit card as a kind of painting "knife," layering the paint on thick.

But then, when it doesn't have the right look or feel, I scrape off said paint. If I still don't get the desired effect, I sometimes take the painting into the backyard and hose it down and dry it off and then apply more paint.

With this painting, maybe because it was to honor a major life event for a dear friend, I was starting to get nervous. Nothing at all was coming "right." So I went even further. I gave the painting a ritual bath! Yes, I slid the painting right into the pond in the backyard, let it lay there for a few seconds, and then I took it out and removed more paint. I was still looking for contours that would make sense to my eye.

Finally, I was ready to give up. I decided if this was a throw away, I may as well have some fun and do a crazy-looking painted frame. And in painting the frame I began to see the composition emerge.
I realized that this was a painting that was, like any good marriage, composed of two things at once: a set of vertical images divided into two, but also combined into one seamless whole. By the way, the painting stands about three feet wide and four feet tall.

May this painting always bring happiness and joy and dreams come true to your home together. I will smile every time I think of it hanging above your sofa or dining room table or your bed. (Or even if it lands in the garage, that's ok too.)  I had great great fun painting it for you, and I send it on its way now, with blessings and big wishes for health and happiness forever.

Loads of love and hope to see you soon with painting in tow,


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hear it, My Rain Dance

By Claudia Ricci

Those lilies I planted by the driveway
are bent over, orange blossoms drooping into powdery soil.
The Lady's Mantle is shriveled and and the grass is crisp,
and the leaves of the White Gooseneck Loosestrife look fragile and limp.

All day I hear the gardens crying. There is no way to satisfy their thirst for water.
As the pond shrinks into an oversized green puddle, I miss swimming. Moreover, I get nervous every time I turn the hose on to water.

Will the well hold up through this awful drought?

I decided this morning I ought
to do a raindance.
Chanting, singing, shaking orange and green rattles,
I would wear a bright blue and purple and green cloak
around my shoulders and tie beads around my ankles.
I'd wear a costume fit to beg the heavens for beads of water.
A headdress of dead ferns, tied
together with the wilted vines of
my thin and wilting Morning Glories.
I would send up my chant to Mother Nature,
over and over:
Sssayayayayyure, saayayyayayayyeeeee
Wet me. Wet us. Wet the world.
Fill us to drench and slurping.
Send all of your thirsty nations
A long steady downpour
so we can begin to restore ourselves to life.

Friday, July 20, 2012

An Immigrant's Voice

By Camincha
We are a voice that screams,
tearing the silence of conformity.
We are a voice that screams,
revealing our talents: contributions
to progress, peace, innovation, solidarity.
Like a magenta flower, an aphrodisiac,
we seduce with ideas, the perfume
wrapping you in bright elixir, in swaying
opinions with a maddening scent.

We are a voice that screams
memories brought with our luggage
from other lands: flower petals hidden
between pages of a book. Letters
turned into dried-up-ink-flakes on worn
out paper. Broken doll, childhood
companion. Mother’s watch with worn
out silk band. Father’s moment of glory
in faded yellowed photo. Veil and
ribbons of most Sacred Day of her
First Holy Communion. Prayer book
with blessed stamps of Guardian Angel
wings spread out protecting little girl.

We are a voice that screams,
revealing our talents: contributions
to progress, peace, innovation, solidarity,

We are a voice that screams,
tearing the silence of conformity.

Camincha is a pseudonym for a California-based writer who was born in Peru. Her work can be seen on her website at 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Humbled by Skyscraping Sequoias

Like all things mammoth, the giant sequoias are hard to wrap your head around.

You stand next to them, you run your hand over their deeply grooved and spongy bark, you knock on it, and maybe you even try to hug the reddish brown tree.

But nothing begins to make them comprehensible.  How can you take in a tree that is every bit as wide as your kitchen or living room? And so tall that you cannot photograph the whole thing at once.

Humbling, for sure.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Chapeter 55: Sister Mysteries, He's There in the Rocking Chair

By Claudia Ricci

Every morning, he made his way onto the porch while she was still asleep and while it was still dark and the moon was but a silver curl of a sliver within the dark pines. He would creep quietly into the porch and remain there until she woke up. He had shown her every kindness, every form of polite and respectful behavior, and he gave her every reason to believe that he was kind and considerate. Still, she had her doubts.  She still had not really begun to trust him.

She slept each night, buried deep in the blankets on the porch, her arms squeezing what would have been a pillow if it had been more than a second small blanket stuffed with straw and tied, just like the mattress was, with twine.

She never saw him come in. She would fall asleep watching the starlight, and wake up to the creaking of the rocking chair across the porch, the chair he had chiseled and shaped out of fir and aspen and blood red manzanita. He said nothing at all, but the chair began squeaking and it mixed with the sounds of the throaty birds coming to life in the marshy area behind the woodland.

The early morning air was cool and fresh and misty and when it moved across her face it tempted her awake. But then she heard his rocking and squeaking and immediately she resented the fact that he was there in the porch rocking in the chair. Why did he insist on intruding this way on her morning routine? It had been a week that she’d been there, and she had not worked up the courage to tell him that it had to stop.

It wouldn’t be easy to tell him. He did everything imaginable to please her, including placing a glass of red poppies at her breakfast table each morning. He refused to let her cook a thing. He made her pancakes or scrambled eggs for breakfast. He fixed hot soups for lunch, and he skewered a rabbit or a chicken for dinner.

He had offered to hide her indefinitely in his woodland cabin. How he would possibly manage to keep her there, when the authorities were looking for her everywhere, she wasn’t sure, but he had ideas. “We could shave off the rest of your hair and dress you up as a farmhand,” he said at one point. She frowned at the thought, and said in a quiet voice that it suited her to remain a woman.

“Well then, maybe we could move you out of here.” He offered that he would risk taking her by wagon to San Francisco, “where you could catch a train east all the way to New York.”

Renata’s stomach tightened at the thought of leaving her beloved golden hills, her blue California skies. And running from the authorities? That squeezed her stomach even worse.

“How would I elude them? You yourself said they have my photo pasted in every building that stands.”

“And so, maybe you would have to become part of my baggage, maybe I could cover you up with a blanket and claim you as a chair.” There were other silly ideas, but all of them were evidence that he seriously cared to try to help her.

Meanwhile, her own thoughts focused on how she could move on from the woodland cabin on her own power. With each hour she remained at the cabin, she knew she put herself in ever more danger of being found.

Sister Mysteries is an on-line novel that can be found at

Thursday, July 05, 2012

MyStoryLives Taking a Break for a Few Days

Dear Readers:

MyStoryLives is taking a break for a few days while we vacation in California. See you when we return! 


Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Flowers of Summer

July brings so many gorgeous flowers to the backyard.

I love them all.

The orange lily.

The red red rose.

The amazing morning glory, purple and blue.

The divinely yellow primrose.

And the white rose. What it lacks in color it makes up for in fragrance. The smell of this wild rose makes your nose dance with joy.