Thursday, May 29, 2008

Person A and Person B (a short story)

Person A says: "I don't know if we can move in together, and if we do you'd have to find a place that you can afford on your own. I still have to pay rent on Person C's home."
Person B hears: "You should expect to pick up most of the bills. Be secure, and I'll help how I can, when I can."
Person A means: "I'm scared to trust completely in someone else, and I'm also scared Person C will feel abandoned."

Person B says: "I don't know why you took the new job there. It's only part-time, and is not enough to pay your bills, let alone help us start saving to living together. Besides, you should look into a different kind of job where you might be able to make more money."
Person A hears: "It's more important that you make lots of money, rather than putting effort into a career that you feel passionate about and spiritually connected to."
Person B means: "I'm scared, because I want us to connect forever, but I need to know you're on my team too and that you'll be there for me in both emotional and financially stable ways."

Person B says: "If I stay home one more night and watch one more stupid movie, I'll blow my goddamn brains out. I'm so bored. So totally unstimulated in my life right now."
Person B means: "I feel like shaking things up in my routine, doing some more spontaneous stuff. You and I need to shake up our routine, but I also need to do some soul-searching in terms of my job, what's important to me, my family issues with Person D and Person E."
Person A hears: "You're boring and unstimulating. If you made more money, we'd be able to go out and do more stuff and dine out more often and treat ourselves more often. You made the wrong decision taking that job."

The boy misses the other boy once in a while. He misses the closeness and the sex and the quiet moments. He misses laughing and taking drives and warm bodies under flannel sheets and giving treats to his cat. The boy misses the other boy sometimes and rolled up with the missing is the anger and the relief and the sadness and the knowledge of the right decision. The boy wonders about the tree hole at the exit right before Canada, and if their secret is still there. He hopes the other boy forgives himself someday, and learns to ask himself hard but important questions. The boy daydreams that he'll return to that tree hole someday and find, like a perfect mess of cotton candy at a carnival, that the other boy has left him a message.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Dewey....and other characters in Nathan's Life Adventure.

For a long time -- maybe my whole life -- I've wondered why some people treat others like shit yet get handed diamonds, and others can give and give and give and Life seems to mind-fuck them with a vengeance. God has a dark sense of humor, I guess. So do I, but I'm not sure I totally understand.

I think it's because a part of me, unhealthily, still relates sucess with money. Financial wealth = accomplishment. Is this my culture working its way through my DNA? Is this the shadow of my father, who abandoned his family so that he could focus on his career and his new, more mainstream second family? Is this my tendency to be attracted to men who at first are in awe of me -- my quirky habits, my offbeat spirituality, my sexual curiosity with its raw, rough edges -- but then are threatened when they "can't live up to my expectations" and retreat into their shells of shallow needs where they don't ask enough (spiritual) questions of themselves?

We recently lost W, a resident at Our House. Her Circle was beautiful; I shared a Buddhist poem, and others shared words of wisdom and enlightenment and sadness and curiosity. I was particularly impressed by Brian; it was his first day as a student nurse, and he talked about how he'd never even heard of W until fifteen minutes before the Circle. He said from now on he'd always associate the name "W" with his first day at Our House. We all picked out beads that capture the color/essence we associate with W, and we strung them into a necklace. I picked a blue bead, for "ocean", for infinity.

Thursday was a strange day in general. Cracks of conversations at work where I could almost see the Web working its way amongst us all. I took a different route to work than usual; I'd gone to the early Bikram yoga class, and because my car was parked in the reverse direction outside my house -- while I showered, got ready for work -- I decided, heck, I'd take the alternate way. At 15th and Killingsworth, while at the stoplight, I saw this cute little fluffball of smunchiness, covered in shit and dirt, looking all panicked as he ran down the sidewalk. I didn't see his owner/companion anywhere in sight. I pulled over right as a woman -- her name's Susie -- also pulled over to see what was up with Dewey (as Mom and I have since named him). It took Susie and me 10-15 minutes to get Dewey safely into my arms. He ran in front a semi; blocked traffic; got scared and ran down sidestreets, behind someone's recycling bins, in someone else's garden. Finally Susie and I got on both sides of him, and I scooped him up in the towel I keep in the back of my car to lay down on the seat after yoga. I swaddled him up, and Susie and I shared a few grace-filled words back at the stoplight, and then I promised to take him to the Oregon Humane Society. Dewey got calm once we got in Chloe (my Saturn), but he still tried jumping in my lap to look out the driver's window, which was semi-comical because I was on the phone with Kay at work, telling her I'd be in a touch late, and I almost dropped the phone, and my arms got all tangled. At OHS, the doors were locked; a stranger, a man there also, pointed out the sign: I needed to make an appointment or bring Dewey to my local county shelter. "No good deed goes unpunished," he said (which Mom also said to me the next day), and then the stranger told me maybe I should set Dewey free on the street and "let nature take its course." Um, no. To make a long story only a little bit longer, Mom and I worked together to get Dewey cleaned up; to put out notices at various sources for Dewey's possible past family (though there are signs he'd been neglected, even abused); and to get out the word to friends & coworkers that little Dewey needs a new home.

Any of you want to give Dewey a loving home? (Tara and Brad just adopted two dogs -Maria and, get this, by coincidence/convergence, Dewey, or they might've been willing to cuddle up with Mr. Smunchy.) Dewey is cuter than any button, totally sweet and non-aggressive. He IS hyper (though calmer by the day), and he does need some house-training. Mom and I would really love to give Dewey a home with someone we know and trust, rather than just taking him to the shelter. Call me or write me at my email address (my personal account or the one I use for this blog in my "Contact" section). Dewey does need to be taken in for shots and to be neutered, and he needs to get his dreadlocks shaved....We took him for an initial visit at the vet to have him checked out and to see if he has a chip (he doesn't), and he's in good health, about a year or year and a half old, with no fleas, and strong teeth. You'll love him!

Yesterday, Mom and I drove to Astoria to visit with Jacki, my cousin, and with her kids, Regan and Ignatius, whom we hadn't met yet. (It's been four years since we've seen Jacki; she lived in Hawaii and now in Las Vegas, and is visiting in-laws in Astoria). How wonderful to spend the day at the ocean, in the sun, eating quesadillas and ice cream, carrying Regan and Ignatius, catching up in snippets about our families and the past several years. It was hard for me to say goodbye to Jacki; she's such a loving person. I have SO many relatives on both sides of the family, and because of family drama with both the Bucks and Bonaguros, we've lost touch with many of them. Many bridges have been burned. And then burned some more. Most of the time I feel strong and okay with it being "just" Mom, Jordan, Aaron, and me, starting over almost, the four of us the roots of a new Family Tree. But sometimes, like yesterday, there are these pangs of melancholy at the loss and misunderstandings. So many relationships with the Bucks and Bonaguros have been damaged -- and so much of this has to do with money, the stealing of it, the hoarding of it, the backstabbing and the lies. Money feels like curdled milk way too often. If you don't put it to good use, it gets spoiled and warps you, takes you to dark places.

I'm still having dreams of Jim, Levi, and Ben, although they're lessening. I've also had some dreams that have come true lately, which is interesting. Just read two amazing Francesca Lia Block books, Quakeland and Blood Roses, and her words have ignited fires in my heart. My novel is comingly along just swimmingly, and I'm currently in love with Cyndi Lauper's The Body Acoustic and Seal's System (which is blasting at this moment throughout the house, while I sit here with Ollie, Luna, and Dewey.) I've been exchanging loving emails with Margot, the recipient of May's Twelve Months of Christmas care package. Also exchanged loving emails with Karen, April's recipient. Lately there have been tons and tons of little moments of revelation and connection and waves of Life-Passion. The Web is Vibrant and Alive, pulsing with dance-energy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

quotes of the day.

"By means of all created things, without exception, the divine assails us,
penetrates us, and molds us. We imagined it as distant and inaccessible,
whereas in fact we live steeped in its burning layers . . . This palpable
world, which we are used to treating with the boredom and disrespect
with which we habitually regard places with no sacred association, is a
holy place."
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, *The Divine Milieu*

"Let the body think of the spirit as streaming, pouring, rushing and
shining into it from all aides."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Tara and me, by the lighthouse, right before (or after) we saved the starfish.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My Lost Theory


So, I've been rolling around my Lost theory, and I thought I'd see what you think:

What if Lost is one giant videogame?

It makes sense, if you think about it. There are impossible coincidences and connections amongst all the characters --their pasts, presents, and futures are all intertwined in mind-blowing ways that have spiritual, political, and psychological connotations. Also, the creators of Lost love to play with our expectations, time-wise....I often find myself thinking: "Am I in the past now? The future? Is this an alternate reality?" It seems that the show is possibly hinting -- if I'm reading this right -- that different parts of the Island lead to different parts of one's history, almost as if this Bermuda Triangle-inspired hot spot has some form of magnetic energy that makes you leap between various parts of your consciousness (and the key here is "consciousness": characters don't seem to actually physically leave their bodies when they "time jump").

I have a few tidbits about my videogame theory:
*The videogame these "players" exist in is so real, so advanced, that Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, and the rest don't even realize they're playing a game. Think The Matrix meets David Cronenberg's eXistenZ.
*Each season seems to be one "level" that the characters "beat" or advance out of. The Tailies in season 2 -- those who were in the back end of the plane that went down -- are like new players that have decided to "plug in" to the game and "fight" the characters from Level One. Interesting, as well, how each season is constructed around one group of major players -- the mainstays from season 1/Level One, the Tailies, the Others, and now the Rescuers in season 4. Who's next?
*My videogame theory helps explain all the "icons/symbols" that show up as guides and "stopping points" along the way, to let the characters/players know they're on the right track or wrong track. Remember the Gold Coins and Mushrooms, for instance, in Super Mario Brothers? Lost's cases in point: Walt's Polar Bear; Kate's White Horse; Sayid's Cat; the Smoke Monster; the Dharma Initiative's Branded Shark....How else to explain these cameo appearances at key moments?
*It goes without saying that the videogame world incorporates many, many elements from the characters' lives outside the game -- thus, Jack's troubled marriage, Juliette's bond with her sick sister, Sun's haunting relationship with her father, all are brought into the game. Thus, the Island is the game and people's pasts & histories are the fodder to keep the game running 'til the end....All the cures for people's illnesses fit in with this, too. Rose is no longer sick; Locke can walk; the list goes on.
*That all being said, it wouldn't surprise me in the least to have the creators flip everything on its head -- maybe the Island's reality and all the OTHER stuff is "game plot"!
*Finally, while getting off the Island is (was, I should say) the main goal of the game, videogames often have one tangible figure that you must rescue and bring to safety. In Super Mario Brothers, it was the Princess (you just have to get past that dragon). In Lost, of course, this figure is Aaron, Claire's son that was born on the Island. It's been hinted time and again little Aaron has a huge, almost messiah-like purpose in the mysterious web of the Lost universe.

I may be totally off with all this....I think about Walt, his psychic intuitions, and game or no game -- the bad guys (whoever those ultimately turn out to be!) sure are looking to exploit people, use their gifts for their own benefit. Ben is such a wicked, human villain -- and I fear that, no matter how much I love Juliette (she's one of my favorite characters), she's ultimately going to turn out evil, as she was first introduced, and she'll betray Jack right in the thick of things at the end. I also fear that Juliette won't live through Lost's final episode. What if the characters don't even know whether they're the villains or the good guys? You have to keep playing to find our your role....

In the end, just give my theory some consideration: Charlie comes back from the dead in season 4's opener, acting all casual. What if he got "killed" and was unplugged from the game? -- he LOST the game (get it?) -- but he was able to plug in (while clued in to the game's intentions) and give some advice and guidance like a cyber guardian angel.

I may just be right. Of course, I'm hoping that the creators of Lost read this, get a hold of me, ask me to immediately delete this blog post -- and then promptly hire me to write for the final two seasons of the show. My first mission? Beef up the gay characters! I have some cool ways to do this, guys....

If you'd like to share your thoughts, write me a comment or email me in my "Contact" section of my profile.

Best Wishes,

Friday, May 16, 2008

not my mood of the day.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day, Part II

Yesterday Mom and I saged the house. I brought home some White Sage, and we spread it through the rooms with many blessings. Then we headed out into the neighborhood and spread blessings as we waved the sage at our homes, sidewalks, gardens, alleys, you name it. We passed that lovely chalk drawing with Ella's name in cursive, and we saged the drawing, and on our return loop through the neighborhood we saw -- in front of Ella's home -- a young mother getting something from her car, with a little girl, maybe two years old, standing next to her. We waved hello, and Mom called, "Is that Ella?" and the mother nodded, and I said, "We love the chalk drawing!"

Today we woke up and headed to Toledo/Newport to spend the day with Tara, Brad, Nancy (Brad's mom), and Peggy (Brad's aunt). We ate a delectable brunch, and then Tara, Mom, and I headed out to take a hike down this very cool path through the woods to the ocean. Tara said it's her favorite. We wove through the trees, caught glimpses of the lighthouse out on the cliff, and emerged out onto the beach. The tide was starting to come in, and Tara and I -- in respect to one of her favorite rituals -- collected starfish that had washed up, still alive, and were waiting for the waters to bring them home. Some would have gone back with the tides, and some had washed too far up. So we gathered them, about fifteen total, and brought them back to the pools of water that would whisk them to safety. They felt so strong and resilient and scratchy and beautiful in my hands.

Mom and I took Hwy 18 home, and at the same time at one point said, "That's the house with the garage sale!" Back when Mom came to visit me in Corvallis, and we went down to the Redwoods and then returned, we stopped at a hippie's garage sale with some very cool stuff. He gave us this white albino plastic rabbit, which I adore and keep in a special place on my shelf -- his name, of course, is Silas (for all you Da Vinci Code fans out there). It was wonderful to catch sight of that house at the same time!

I feel rested, that breeze from the ocean still on my cheeks, memories of the starfish in my palms.

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there:

Physical mothers who have given birth.
The creative muse inside us all.
Our own spirit that wants to do good for others in the best way possible.
Future mothers who are now daughters and sisters and wives.
Men's yin to their yang.
Music and art and dancing and writing and everything that makes us feel safe and bold and exploratory.

And Happy Mother's Day to Mother Earth, and may we all work just a little bit harder to treat Her with the respect, dignity, and grace She deserves.

Friday, May 09, 2008

where do we go from here?

My heart is breaking because Tara and Brad's lovely black dog, Luke, just died -- he accidentally ate some rat poison and Tara found him, and she and Brad buried him, and have been crying for two days. And it's been a while since I've just let my heart pour out on the page unguarded; the last four months have been an effort to keep some barbwire around my heart; but I just walked up the steps after work -- after already having a not-so-great day -- and Mom just popped out onto the porch, and I started crying about Luke, and Mom started crying, and I just headed inside and sat and petted Ollie and Luna. I'm even starting to cry as I write this. And maybe I'll look back at this freewrite and feel embarrassed that I've put my heart not only on my sleeve but all over your sleeves too!

I've got to be okay with that.

I'm learning not to use qualifiers with myself, like "This is cheesy but...." or "I know I'm a dork because...." I mean, those things are true, but I don't need to keep bookending my comments with those things.

Ever since 2008 started, I've felt this was a year of transformation: and it has been -- but lots of it has been sad. I think about B all the time, and this week he was on my mind because I wasn't sure what to do with my pain. I'd just cupped it in my hands like fragile egg shells, and I feared what would happen if that wind came along and messed with my palms and those fragments. And so I decided I needed a way to set my pain free, and I started thinking about the vast musical compilation I'd made for B, and for others too, and I decided to create a library of songs for the residents of Our House when they're in Active Dying. Many times, staff and volunteers and nurses will take shifts and sit with our residents, and it came up that a particular resident would be leaving us fairly soon, and she was aching for music, and she had some great people to sit with her.....Then everything clicked. And I made "The Our House Diaries" and wrote the residents a letter, and this is my gift. I mention this not for kudos or a need for praise, but as an example of how I took my pain and transformed it and made it beautiful and filled it with grace. It's currently a razor blade grace filled with sharp edges and disappointments and sadness, but bursting out is all the growing hope and love and nurturing mother....

I'm sitting here listening to a new compilation I made -- I decided to start my library over, to kickstart a new era.

My mind and body and heart are tired, but I look in the mirror and I like who I see -- I'm not talking physically (though I have few problems or hang-ups with my looks), but I like the Nathan who is willing to dive into the underbelly of experience, even if that underbelly often involves sad parts and scary parts and transformation through loss. I told Mom, as we both sat here crying about Luke, that I think I've had enough Mac Truck experiences for now. I need to find a new highway or a scenic route or something! And what I've realized most of all is that no one can show me the way except myself -- a part of me, maybe a secret part, has expected someone to say, "The answer is here and here and here." But no.

Thank you all for listening. I'm sure you can relate to some of my words, and I wish you all the best on your own journey. Rosie Thomas' "Farewell" is playing, and I'm thinking about Margot's beautiful email she just wrote me in response to my own. Margot, the CD I'm listening to is for you, and it's on its way soon. It's tailor-suited to your spirit!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I sent a card to Esther yesterday, and Ella -- her new baby daughter -- was on my mind all day. Life is so interesting in its web-like tendencies, how we're all inter-connected. Strange to think I introduced Es to her husband, Rob, and they fell in love and have been together for many years and now have a baby together. Of course, they (smile!) did all the work, but in a New Age-y, philosophical way little cute Ella wouldn't be around to breathe and start her adventure on this earth if I hadn't hooked up those two Kool Kats. I don't mention that in an egocentric way, just a "hmm, how fascinating!" way. Who knows whom we touch through introductions, smiles on the streets at strangers, hugs at just the right moment. So many people, I feel, are responsible for me....I've built them rooms in my heart, and they drink margaritas deep down in there and ask me to please change the station to something other than Tori Amos, please.

Last night I took a walk at sunset, and I passed by this blue and pink chalk drawing that was part storybook and part hopscotch; the name "Ella" was written in blue cursive along one stretch of sidewalk square.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Yesterday evening, after a lovely day at Julie's for the BYOD party (Bring Your Own Dog!) and then a nice couple hours at Our House, I went for a walk with my headphones in my neighborhood, listening to some A Fine Frenzy and just groovin' in Nathan Land. Here's the cool thing: When I stepped outside my house, this little white butterfly fluttered around me and guided me down the steps. Then he flew by my side while I walked, and kept up with me for about 4 or 5 blocks. It was just a beautiful moment.

Later, I popped in an episode of Millenium. It revolved around a plane crash. While the FBI were investigating the wreckage, one character commented on all the butterflies that had congregated around the tail engine -- turns out butterflies are attracted to some chemical in engine oil. Also, butterflies are attracted to a secretion in tears. This could be seen ominously -- all those monarchs, painted ladies, mourning cloaks gathering around the ravaged bodies of the dead -- but I like to see the poetic metaphor in it all: death and rebirth, growth, busting out of the cocoon with both sorrow and joy.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Mom, Brenda, Charles, and I went to the May Day/Beltane/pagan festival at the Rose Garden this morning at dawn. The Morris Dancers & Friends were out in full bloom, dancing and chanting and playing instruments while we the audience clapped, participated, smiled, and walked through the gardens. The sun was peeking out perfectly through fragments of clouds, and the brisk air felt so good on my cheeks. The dancers (and some of the audience) were dressed in ornate costumes, and some wore antlers and masks. During one dance -- to honor the phallic May Pole -- several audience members, including yours truly, each took a ribbon and bowed and twirled and dove/danced in and out to weave the ribbons around the pole. Naturally, my ribbon was purple. We returned home just as Amy, our next door neighbor, had finished placing a little surprise May Day package on our porch -- a tiny metal bucket filled with cookies, other treats, and a life-like sparrow and butterfly. Mom and I jumped in our cars to catch an early breakfast at Francis -- only to see Brenda and Charles there. We joined them for scrumptious food and coffee, and the sun heated my face and made me happy. All morning at work I've been chatting up a storm with people and giving them hugs and letting this beautiful energy course through my veins.