Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yes, She Said Cheese Tastes Like Scripture

In the beginning, the earth was null and vegan
And darkness was on the face of the deep, and God said, "Let there be light" - so that it may grow bacteria to ripen cheese,
And His spirit moved upon the surface of the waters, and saw a raw milk mozzarella.
And the evening and the morning were the first day.

There are few things that command respect like cheese, that make me stop what I'm doing, turn around and listen... for some, the first words of the bible are like a bugle, repeating a familiar tune that we've heard enough times that it's no longer a tune, but a chant... echoing through us and focusing us - to love, to arms, to anywhere.

Cheese tastes like scripture. Like little morsels of perfection borne to something bigger than us... weathered and ripened in unknown worlds - tough and hewn, familiar and foreign, melty soft and painfully sharp. And unbelieveably tasty.

Humility. Love Begets Love.

I promise the funny in me hasn't died and made way for seriousness... the funny is just keeping me sane right now and can't be readily shared!

Today, If my suffering is the whet stone against which I sharpen my soul, then my resolve becomes only more pronounced as I struggle. I Sharpen, and sharpen... until I'm a razor with a marshmallow heart (who won't eat them because they used to be animals, the irony). But I will cut a bitch!

Good night! And I don't mean that in the southern explanatory sigh kind of way... I mean good night - I had one recently. Good intentioned, well-balanced fun that my astral and human body needed. On a level of need one can't express. I started out this weekend intending to 'live' and most people interpret that as wanting to party. Yes, but only because it heals me to do so. All I could muster for 'living' was to make cheese and to make a party.

While I'm too old to indiscriminately waste me time on some night that ends poorly... We had good friends both represented and missed this gypsy weekend. I felt surrounded by all of my spirits, the ones who would tip a glass my way regardless of their coordinates, and those who were touched enough to visit me in my foreign land when I called them up.

This week has been a strange awareness for me, a wave-break against the rocks of despair that are as familiar as happiness. It's as if someone broke a light bulb against a wall, releasing the precious transmittive gas inside to go without light into the world to someday become another person's spark - and I'm left breathless, watching it happen. Grief is funny like that, it sneaks up on you when you break things... when you're uncomfortable, when you're vulnerable... as if the soft underbelly that lines each fearsome dragon was instantly visible to all and alighted by some passing gas - as the plate falls out of your hands: HA!

Some people choose to disappear in sadness. I'd lie if I said it wasn't me, and I refuse to lie anymore, even if it means I say things that are uncomfortable. When my friends and family suffer, I suffer. When the people I love hurt, I hurt.. whether I let it happen or not. Being solid and stoic do nothing but prolong and isolate suffering. I've been sad a long time, but this week, I asked for help in my own way... appealed to the universe for mercy. And the universe replied in chorus:

Mercy to those who seek it!

But also: Pain for Those That Feel it! and Heavy Burden for Those Who May Bear!

In new ways - instantly; and again, I love the people in my life. I learned from a master that you give love, and get love... and I'm becoming fortunate enough to see the return on that investment. Finally I know what gambling feels like - giving out what you can afford, and getting back ridiculous amounts of positive work!

Thank you all for gathering around me, and seeing that even though I asked you to come and unload your burden, I really needed to unload my own. Know that if I can transmit your pain to anywhere else, I'm standing on the rooftop with a boombox shouting it! Proclaiming it, so that all of us can help! Take that, universe, it's my favorite song - played in the key of melancholy, uptempo and sung by some white chick in Texas who has an abnormally large stockpile of beans- DIG ON THAT!

Thank you for always seeing me, especially when I try to lose myself. Thank you for reminding me peace comes from within, and it starts with me.

...and thank you to the bunnies we had to bury last week (and especially to Merlin for burying them) for making me appreciate fragile-ness in every being. We live on a precipice we can't see, and I'm happy I could help carry you across. Seeing things so out of my control reminds me of my first instinct - Shepherd those who need anything I can offer, even if it won't save them. It matters that you try regardless of the outcome, the skill is not in life-saving, but in compassion. Compassion changes success.

Vive la 'gypsy weekend', vive le difference, vive la vie! Dans la musique, de l'individualisme et dans la vie, nous vivons.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's Important To Tell Others What Matters To Us.

Dear Aunt Susie and Uncle Paul,

It's important for me to say hello, since it's been so long since I've seen you and I feel so close to you now... but I'm so far away.

Please read this to everyone there, it's important that someone know how close they are to their long lost loved ones, regardless of their tangible connections in life.

Paul, I met you briefly as a child, but you were one of my favorite uncles - and I have plenty to choose from. You reminded me of time spent enjoying life. The very first time I stepped on a dock, was at your house. Later, you would teach me tenderness. When your dad was very sick and you came home and you kept watch over him, I was deeply touched that you loved the man after what seemed like plenty of reasons to walk away. Your vigil made me love him more, and that is the essence of tenderness - to convince another that someone is WORTH loving. You did.

Later, when you were sick, you welcomed me into your home and I got to know you and your lovely wife, Susie. I wish I could have spent more time with you, but we're just poor folk spread miles apart. Nevertheless, I felt at home at your house, and welcomed - even during what should have been dark days for you.

All of those gifts are virtues that I hope to take away as learning gifts from you... as your mother said I would. In her last days, she told me to listen to family, that they were valuable teachers... but she couldn't have known what that would mean back then, only that I would do right by her words, as I know you have done. Your momma was the compass by which I live and since her passing I have looked to all the gentle people in my life to steer me right. There are few gentle people.

Many things happened on my trip to Tifton when I saw you last. I learned to appreciate hospitality in a way the rest of our family can't afford. You're a beautiful pair, and you have changed the way I accept people into my home by your love and example. Also, your appreciation (and reasonable care - without ridiculous watering) of a garden helped me think about my little square of land and how to best nurture it into maturity. I wanted nothing else when I bought my house to have a big gate under a towering pine tree... well I built the gate, and the pine is forthcoming. You know what I mean, I've modeled some of my life after yours... quiet, peaceful and utterly beautiful - azaleas included.

In any case I don't want anyone to think that your interactions with me have been insignificant. On the contrary, the lack of hate I felt in your lives was more important than any love I can count on. It was unexpected, and gorgeous.

I wish we knew each other, Paul and Susie. We're the same kind of people. Clean, eat, grow, and teach... even if some of that is unconscious. I'll wear you on my heart forever. And thank you for the gifts you've given, always. You love when it doesn't make sense anymore. You forgive when it isn't popular. You thrive when it isn't possible. You are simply wonderful, and in all honesty, I am humbled by knowing you as I do, just as I was by knowing your parents, Paul, who made me the person I am.

I wish I was there, but since I can't be... know that music and happiness in my heart will always ring of the good ol' days. The times we shared that I know you recognize... music on a mandolin, joyful singing mornings, wonderful questions, and as many answers as they could muster - why?

Love always,
Katy Hamlin

Still Awake? It's Late Here.

a song published without sound is lost, but expression in its purest form is still art, even without a piano?

Still awake these days?
Must be still alive,
still growing...
worried what you're knowing
Still wondering what it takes?

Then I look myself in the eye,
talk her into a drink...
She tells me she wonders
what to embrace
Still wondering just what it takes?

And what it makes?
All this time?

Still awake these days.
To a different end
Then again
struggling to be growing?
And fussing with what it makes?

And what it leaves in its wake?
And what it gets in its take?
And what it breeds in its stake?
And what it feeds in its make?
And what it heeds in its fake?
And what it reads in its leaves...
to the deepest quake?

Still alive these days,
to be youthful, but not afraid
to be bold, but not too outlaid
to be railing against something made
not out of my own...

Still alive these days,
to be loved as I deserve
to be fought for and be served
to be nothing to forget, that's such a bet

And I don't bet, I know.
Usually, or don't you so?
To a point, deliver the words you know?
To someone, if only yourself?
I am, I will be, I know.

Can she hear?
Can she tell I care?
That I want to know?
What inside her, drives resistance like now?
Pride, rage, envy, or fear? or more?

I wonder.

and I long...
to be there,
when she knows.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Most people who know me understand I don't love water. It's not that I don't like being in the water, it's that I don't like getting wet. It takes me straight back to childhood, playing in the public pool and then riding home in a car with a hot vinyl seat, no ac, and a chafing wet swimsuit, literally chapping my ass.

Since then, I've grown to dislike the feeling of water evaporating from my skin in addition to my hatred for wet clothing. My showers have become shorter and my trips to the lake or pool, nearly nonexistent. In fact, I can't tell you the last time I got wet for any other reason than: I'm dirty, it's ridiculously hot, or someone pushed me.

I've never had a drowning incident, except for after my first chest surgery, when my pressure drains filled up in the night and I woke up unable to breathe, my lungs surrounded in fluid. Still, suffocation and drowning are two different things, and that happened when I was 23, long after my aversion to water began.

Just now, I mixed up some salt water for the neti pot and felt the water between my fingers. It brought me back to the very few times I have been in the ocean. You can feel salinity in water, it's not slimy, or viscous, or even soapy feeling. It's just different. I wonder if the perceptible difference in texture is because the saltwater is effecting osmosis on my fingers, gently drawing water from their cells and what I feel is actually that exchange when I touch the water.

I think I feel that at other times too, when something draws energy from me. Could be a reason I hate water. Yo no se.

Summer in Texas Haiku

It is too damn hot.
The sun scorched my roof so bad,
The house still won't chill.

Living in a house with hollow walls makes it hard to forget what summer feels like for a living thing in texas.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Equal and opposite does not apply to compulsive guilt.

I suffered this weekend, gypsy style.

Music, drinks, and revelry replaced sleep, food and the gaping hole in my heart. My family gathered and let me feel, as uncomfortable as feeling can be.

Do I wish I had another outlet for pain? Of course, but not because this method isn't fun. Only because I feel completely and utterly selfish taking three days to scream against that pain, allowing myself to bear grief like labor... Eventually producing the quietness and calm that comes after pressing yourself sharply against the universe to feel a resistance. Grief is not a sentence. I have to appeal, even if it means I do the same time.

I regret only that I took, instead of giving. I wanted badly to reconnect with my people, and did. But only because they were willing to come to me. I'm very thankful for that.

I do take issue with the fact that I counseled someone about guilt and letting it go, and then penitently posted this blog because of my own guilt. Well, sometimes those who can't do, teach. It's better than nothing.

The best part? Knowing that I experience pain with this intensity, means I will experience joy the same way. I just need to remember this lesson when it comes around. Feeling is a gift. A unique talent that is acquired with vigor.

The hole in my heart is not gone, but now it isn't as obvious. Thank you, Teresa. You're my recovery touchstone.