Monday, February 27, 2006

....But, sometimes when I write (or even at the same time), I feel like this....

Thursday, February 23, 2006

This is how I feel when I'm writing


This one will be a short but sweet entry. (And I'm giving a big shout-out to the High Priestess of Darkness. I love those winks.)....So, wow, I'm going gray. It's strange. I've had a few people comment on my hair the last few weeks. I mean, it's not the occasional gray hair here and there....My temples are starting to gray, as is the hair in back. Thing is--I kinda like it! I don't know if it's the fact I think it's "distinguished," or if it's just something different, but I don't mind it even 1%. Maybe I'm just becoming comfortable with myself, with aging. I'll be 30 this year, and I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe I'm buying into some kind of myth, but I think I'll be more relaxed, feel more chill about my place in life, and have more self-confidence in my 30s. So many people try to cover up the fact that they're aging. Heck, I sure want to stay in shape and look my best! But it's the details that define us. Gray hair. Wrinkles. An extra pound or ten. These things show people--and ourselves--that we've been places. Physical locations and emotional crevices of Experience. So I say, Fuck it, bring on the literal and metaphorical shades of gray. I'll embrace them with Sassy Style.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Bad Boys Vs. Good Boys (Or, Sex)

Is it just me or do you sometimes find yourself attracted to completely different types of people? I mean, sometimes I picture I'll end up with some gray-haired middle-aged man who has grace, maturity, and self-confidence (and, of course, he completely worships the ground I walk on). Other times I think I want some cigarette-smoking rebel who will kiss me with his pierced tongue and when I see him naked for the first time I'll just want to run my fingers over all his tattoos. Good Boy is a bit more reserved in the bedroom, but knows how to hold me while I fall asleep. Bad Boy f#%*s me like he's rocketshipping me into outerspace, but I'm left feeling kind of lonely afterwards. One makes me feel safe, the other makes me feel objectified (in a good way). Both make me feel sexy as hell. Good Boy takes me to some fancy restaurant with candles on the table, and we drink expensive wine and talk about the existence of God. Bad Boy talks about God with me, too, but he prefers to do it in a diner booth where there are coffee stains on the counter and people have crushed their cigarette butts into empty, cracked cups. One smells like cologne, the other like a squeaky leather jacket. It's funny when people ask me my type. I have several--short, tall, dark, blonde, stocky, skinny, preppie, skater-boi, you name it. I could easily snuggle inside someone's Abercrombie & Fitch sweatshirt that I've snatched off his shelf, or I could wrap myself in that black leather jacket and run the zipper through my fingertips. Am I falling in love with different versions of myself? Different versions of my father? (Go Freud!) Different puzzle pieces that provide answers on the same Life Board? Ryan Adams says in one of his songs: "One breaks my body and the other breaks my soul." Men seem to break me in both ways, at the same time. Love and lust get mixed up with memories and biological needs and future wants. Sometimes I'm aching for human connection and sometimes I'm achin' to chill with the Universe through carnal, primal means. If I even try to fill in the blank gap of my Maybe Soulmate, I'm left with lots of blurriness. I know, though, that I search for kindness, passion, intelligence....These qualities may be found in my Bad Boy or my Good Boy. Maybe I'll end up with In-Between-Gray Boy, who's willing to dip into both sides of himself and express those to me. Maybe that's Love. Showing someone layer after layer after layer, without stopping.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Totem Creatures

Sometimes I wonder about the connection we all have with other creatures on this planet. Why do we connect with owls or stags or seahorses? Is it because we were these creatures in a past life? Or do we "mold" our relationships with certain animals/creatures based on how we perceive ourselves and others perceive us? When I was younger, I used to think that my totem creature was a ladybug. And who knows. Maybe at the time it was. I certainly have had some amazing and beautiful experiences where ladybugs have shown up in expected places. On my shoulder. On a friend's computer screen. Some very unlikely little places along the way. Looking back, I think the inner-me was trying to figure out just WHO I was--my desires, fears, ways of approaching situations. Over time I've comfortably settled into a relationship with owls. I think they capture me both in spirit and in physicality. I've never seen an owl in the wilderness, although I've heard them. I've witnessed their beauty in zoos, and these experiences have been tinged with both grace and a little bit of sadness at the fact that they're behind bars. Don't get me wrong--I actually think zoos have some pretty darn great purposes--but just the fact that I couldn't witness an owl flying free has made my heart do tiny pitter-patters. The closest I've gotten was in Stratford-upon-Avon, where a bird trainer at one of Shakespeare's "habitats" asked for a volunteer for a demonstration. I raised my hand and headed out into this field. He had me stand at one end; he stood at the other, with the barn owl perched on his arm. Another trainer stood behind me. I crouched down, and he let the owl fly, and it zoomed through the air and right over my head--its feathered wings even skimmed my hair--and it landed on the other trainer's arm. I was in heaven. Owls come to me in my dreams, usually when I'm going through a really stressful period. Their eyes glow burning white light and they approach me from treetops or windowsills. I wake up feeling electric, comforted, in tune.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


I thought Valentine's Day would be a good time to send a big shout-out of love to my muses. Muses are so mysterious....I feel sometimes like they're half us, half part of the ether. We give energy to our muses to make them strong. And we have to make sure not to piss them off since they've chosen us to mentor. I used to get such strange looks from some of my teachers when I would talk about muses. One of the common comments I received was: "Don't you think giving credit to muses takes away from what you bring to the work?" No, not at all. To me, everything and everyone and everywhere are connected. Thus, we're all pieces of energy, sometimes on the same plane, sometimes not. We have "give and take" relationships with our muses. They supply us with creative energy from the ether, and we respect this energy by following through with our talents and art....Side note: This energy doesn't always just have to be about muses. We assign power, that spark of Life, to books and lamps and clothes and rings, etc....Some of these things are tangible, some not....Okay, back to the core....It's interesting this connection that I have with my characters in my stories. Amanda--the protagonist of the novel I'm trying to get published--is one feisty teenager. I didn't feel so much like I was writing about her as much as CHANNELING her, giving her shape and form on the written page. If we all exist in various incarnations, who's to say some of us don't take the form of a character in a book? This doesn't make them any less real. They laugh, cry, hope, despair, and love. I cried so much when writing Amanda's story. She was helping me just as much as I helped her. And she came down through my muses because she knew that I--this Nathan incarnation--was the one to best empathize with her story and bring it to light. This is another comment from the cynical: "Don't you think these ideas are all coming from your head? Don't you take responsibility for what you're writing?" Of course I do. As artists, of whatever variety, it is our duty to flex our bodies/hearts/minds/souls so that we can best let in our "characters" (these characters can be novels' protagonists; tapestries weaved on looms; graceful dance moves). If we don't keep "working out," we lose focus, piss off our muses AND our "characters"....That's not to say they go away. They chose us for a reason. But they do get all huffy and turn their cold shoulders for a while. Just be careful. They love us. They are always here, inside and outside of us. Honor them as you want them to honor you. Tori says her songs speak to her in filaments of light; I think that's a great visual representation for what we have to let into our pores.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Bliss: those transitory moments where earth and sky melt together and you get trapped in the middle of this lovely blanket


This may be one of the most important words to ever grace the universe. I think I listen to the Plague Monkeys' song "Safe" so much because it reminds me of that feeling that comes with people, places, things. Our families can make us feel safe--or the complete opposite of that. Same with all those others who enter our life. Safe to me is: trust. Tori says in her song "Jamaica Inn"--"the sexiest thing is trust." I agree, Tori. That's the quality I want most in a life partner, if I ever find a life partner. Safe to me is: hugs; movies on Friday nights while eating pizza with friends; playing Hearts with Mom, Jordan, and Aaron while listening to really good music; reading a passage in a great book that reminds me that I'm not alone in my thought-patterns and that someone has that same thought-pattern imprinted, forever, in black velvety ink; wrapping up in a blanket and hugging my starfish pillow that Lizbeth made me; chatting with Cassandra without anyone around to think I'm weird for talking to a mannequin; coming home to a roommate or pet and, even while you're each doing your own thing, knowing there's another beating heart in the house; screaming really loud in the car while I'm driving down the road, with my music blasting and the windows closed, and I just scream and scream til I feel empty in that really good cleansing way; writing something in one of my novels that makes me cry; lying in the hammock and looking up at the sky between the tree branches; smiling at a stranger and having them smile back; more hugs; knowing that people believe I will get my novel(s) published, and knowing they really believe that and aren't just saying that because they love me; singing "Toy Solders" with Tara at the Alibi; spending the night with Mom in her hospital room after her surgery; hearing, while we're on the phone, how much Aaron is falling in love; flipping through a book of faerie drawings with Jordan and knowing that out of everyone in my life he and I sometimes have a secret language where we don't need to verbalize things all the time; walking down really cool alleys in Portland, wondering if any urban-faeries are chilling by rocks and roots and weeds and garbage cans, saying hi to me while they smoke their glitter cigarettes; seeing pictures of Matisse on my computer; eating chocolate; finishing "Buffy" and crying and knowing that I've reached the end of an era, in a really kick-ass way; hearing "Don't Fear the Reaper" on the radio, and how special that is, and that's why I'll never buy the Blue Oyster cult version....because it would take a grain of that specialness away if I could hear it whenever I want. Whew. Okay. That's enough for now. Maybe I'll end with this: being safe is looking back at the past and, instead of feeling regret or freaking out about something, just letting a little smile tug at the corner of my lips because I know this pulsing, breathing Nathan is a result of all those infinite Nathans I've been and will be and they've all led me--are leading me--here and everything is always, always okay.

Friday, February 10, 2006

(Long Lost) Friends

I've been thinking a lot about friendships lately, and how they grow, transform, and sometimes dwindle over time. What do we owe the people who have been in our lives for years? Is there a time to let people go? How much responsibility do OTHERS have to US? Mom and I were talking through these things this week....I am who I am largely because of lessons I've learned from my friends. And there are those who have come into my life and stayed for the long haul; those who entered my life for a period of time and then we parted ways, as seemed meant to be; then there are those whom I'm not so sure about--where they fit in the Nathan Puzzle, if you will. I seem to be one of those people who has several close friends, with very intense discussions/conversations. We don't talk often, but when we do catch up it feels like we just spoke yesterday. I don't know if this is because of me--the vibes I give off to people--or if I just attract these same kind of people to me. Maybe it's a little of both. I often ache when I think about folks "long gone." But, really, with the Web and other modern technologies, I know I could track certain individuals down if I needed/wanted to. A.J. Beckert! I miss you! I miss climbing onto the roofs of churches and climbing through the sewers of Lemont and sneaking into abandoned homes and watching scary movies and fighting over pennies at garage sales....Brian Griffin, I miss your openness and laid-back nature....Lauren Cronin, I miss your "being green" comments and your ability to make really kick-ass mix tapes and for being my hot date at the high school prom....Callie Seymour, I miss your love of horror movies and that little dance you did to Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" once, and how much strength and courage you showed me when you lost your brother....Should I track these people down? Should I just remember them fondly and keep "moving" on with my life? Interesting questions, I think. I dream of you all sometimes. You all stay inside my pores, skin, and heart....adding to the energy of my muse, the lovely Cassandra.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I've been thinking about angels a lot--the human kind. I find it funny how so many people think angels live up in the sky, floating on some white-feathered wings, these dainty little halos over their heads. Angels are way more complex than that. Most of the time they look just like us--because they ARE us. They come in the form of friends, lovers, family members, and strangers. They dress in Banana Republic clothing or a hoodie and jeans or nothing at all. They make mistakes, have flaws. I do believe in Angels of a Higher Order, those beings made of some different form of magnetic energy that exist outside the human plane. I don't know if I'd call them Universe-Messengers, but who knows! They are definitely more evolved than us; maybe we all become angels as we move up the spiritual ladder. Anyway, it's extraordinary how we can pass someone on the street--and they change our lives forever, in little or big ways. Have any of you seen GRAND CANYON? My favorite scene is when Kevin Kline's character is thinking back to the time the woman with the baseball cap pulled him away from the curb, when he was daydreaming, and saved him from getting hit by a vehicle speeding by. I've had so many angels in my life....the young woman (Jessica, maybe?) whom I talked to about soulmates--and well, angels!--over a cup of coffee in Oak Park, IL. We swore we'd see one another again; that still hasn't happened; and that was years ago, back in my hippie-fro days, as some of you may remember! I've been thinking about Tara and Alie a lot, how much their words and editing skills have guided my writing....and I think about Karin, how one crazy night in New Zealand helped jumpstart the short story that eventually became the novel I'm trying to get published....Then there are the intertwined angel figurines that Levi found on his porch, right after we met, and how we knew we were meant to be together at the time....and Kevin, coming to me in my Hour of Need (and that Hour lasted months, some of you may relate)....I often think about Guardian Angels, that Higher Order kind I mentioned above, and how they've been there for me to help with my roommate situations: Tara, Jarrod, Carly....There's Jennifer, always ending up in the same town as me (!) and reminding me about where I come from, and why it's important to remember....There's Jess, taking me in for yummy meals on a weekly basis in Corvallis, feeding body and heart and soul all at once....Ah yes, Esther, who was there when I met both Jim and Levi and is the only one who can make complete fun of me--and I laugh along with her! She gets, as Jordan would say, my "inner core"....And then there's Anya, who has a knack for sending me a letter in the mail from the Ukraine exactly at the time I need to read some of her kind and inspiring words....I'm tempted to call Mom, Jordan, and Aaron angels, but I think they are more like Glittery Commanders-in-Chief. They kind of give my angels some direct orders, you know? They're a little too close to me to be angels....What's the word?.....Sentinels....Their energy helps decide which angels to let inside the Nathan Gates. Even working here at Marsh, I have Kevin, Lizbeth, Gary, and Unitia....who, when I was freaked out about taking this job, have helped make me feel safe and welcome. Whether we know it or not, our angels work together, on conscious and unconscious levels. My list goes on and on, of course. More stories for more postings. An experiment for all: Who are your angels? How do they differ from soulmates? Sentinels? Worshippers? Worshippees? Priests and Priestesses? Gods and Goddesses? I think the lines stay blurry, but it's an interesting concept to examine none-the-less. I often wonder if I've been an angel for anyone, or just a good friend, or both at the same time. I think about that young woman--it HAS to be Jessica--and wonder if she thinks about me, too, from time to time. Final note: If you ever meet a woman named Jan on an airplane (different Jan than my mom, folks!) see if she knows a Nathan Buck. I had a wonderful experience with a Jan once, back when I was 18, and she told me about a beautiful, splashy-green feathered Phoenix type bird who came to her in her time of need. Tell her I say hello and give her my best!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Do you ever just have one of these kinds of days?