Monday, August 30, 2010

Scented Flavor of an Ordinary Orange

A long time ago, Danzig says, one of my students told me a story about a rice farmer in Vietnam who escaped to America. Boat people, remember? His only provisions for the small fishing boat were seven oranges. He couldn't imagine that the size of the ocean he was crossing could be any more than seven oranges' worth of distance.
Did he survive? Merav asks.

After he told me the story, my student told me that the farmer was his father, Danzig says. It was his father's voyage.
She tears one section at a time and holds the juice in her mouth as if to quench the thirst of a rice farmer in exile. He was farther from land than he'd ever been, with no shore in sight, only the wind and the waves for company...."

---from Blue Nude, written by Elizabeth Rosner
a poetic, seductive and secretly devourable read.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And above all,


with glittering eyes

the whole world around you

because the greatest


are always hidden

in the most unlikely


Those who don't believe in magic will never find it

--- Roald Dahl

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Blue (Magic) Nude, by Elizabeth Rosner

Dear Ms. Rosner,

Thank you soOo much for selecting me to win one of your precious copies of Blue Nude. I am honored and will treat it with delicate, loving care. Honestly, I can't wait to devour it and wish you were closer so we could sit over a cup of tea and talk about it, about life, about all the juicy things that the majority of people seem to skim over...and I seem to crave, constantly. I am working away on my own novel (passed the 40,000 word mark last week!) so I am sure I will appreciate it in ways most wouldn’t.

a daisy for your desk,


p.s. the premise sounds tantalizing…an artist and his model and their ‘engrossing, timely story.'


Dear Ms. Rosner,

Thank you for your kind words. I, too, was delighted to hear from you. I adore your work and couldn’t move my fingers fast enough when I saw your name in my ‘in-box’!

Something wonderful happened to me today, something that happened because of you! I can hardly wait to share!

We are spending the summer in San Miguel de Allende, a mountain town in Mexico. Its a beautiful town and one of the most magical things for me is the library. I hear its the largest English library south of the border. So when I won your book and didn’t know when my mom would be able to get it to me, you can bet I high-tailed it there right away. Today, in fact. And...I found it!! Hooray! So that’s part one.

Part two is this: I sat down in the library with Blue Nude next to me, preparing to do some research for a friend. The nearest seat was at a table with an elderly gentleman. I said hello and we started talking. After a few minutes of sharing his story (as so many of us ex-pats do) he then proceeded to tell me that he was an artist and that if I agreed, he would like me to be a model for him! He couldn’t have seen Blue Nude, it was hidden among my things and even if he did, his inquiry was genuine. Am I suddenly a character in your book? How's that for magic?

So just another beautiful tidbit that your book has brought into my life...and I havent even read it yet!! I think you must have written from your soul.

a smile and a squish,


p.s. the artist asked me to meet him any morning at 10 in the library. Still not sure if I will go. I think I may need to read Blue Nude first. I have a feeling I might need its guidance.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fresh Eyes

The crisp morning breeze begged me to gulp it down. I breathed in until my belly grew large. My clogs tapped the cobblestones with a hint of spunk. My hair, still drying on my back, swayed with the breeze, with my steps, with the lift of early morning.

I once read that one of the best gifts we can ever give is to see each other with fresh eyes. Meltdowns are forgotten by the next visit. Judgments are erased. All that is left is a blank canvas, one to be filled with who your friend is at that new and present moment in time. As I started down the hill into town, I wondered silently to myself if I could give that gift to a place, too. Could I see my familiar walk, the stores, the signs, the traffic, even the trees that lined the Jardin—with fresh eyes? Could I give San Miguel that gift? Could I give myself that gift?

As I neared the center of town, I heard the faint outline of music. It grew louder with every step, the kind of beat that thumps in your gut to bring out the primordial beast. It wasn’t ugly, though, it had a spirit to it, and from a distance I was intrigued. I think I even liked it. So when I rounded the corner, my smile had already marked its place.

The dancers looked like tin soldiers in tight little lines all moving in sync—hundreds of them in all shapes and sizes moving their bodies to the beat of the funky music, bouncing and swaying, jiggling and jostling, moving with a rhythm that was beginning to infect me, too! In the front was a man dressed in exercise gear, getting the crowd to push themselves harder. Move your booty! Let those hips bounce! Shake it, shake it, shake it! He blared into his microphone, his Spanish echoing across the plaza. Feet slapped the pavement, sweat stains grew still larger, faces swelled with heat, with exhaustion, with joy. Was I in the happiest part of a movie or was this real?

Of course I had to join in.

Of course I couldn’t stop laughing.

Of course I began to feel differently, even if just a little bit, about this familiar place.

Did I have my fresh eyes on or was it the universe giving them to me freely? Ok, so this was a big event, not something that happens every day, but the timing…it was so perfect. I asked and suddenly the familiar wasn’t so familiar anymore. It was fresh and new. And boy, did it feel good!

So...what if we all did that?

What if each of us asked for fresh eyes every day when we woke up?

What then would we see?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Sacred Sweetness

Went to an art show today with dozens of exhibitors. Huge oil paintings of contorted faces, swirls of acrylics with strings and words and musical notes, pulsating sculptures lit from within, metal contraptions, quasi-furniture, costumes, feathers on constructed wings….and then, amidst the decorated, playful noise, there it was. Respite for my soul. Something different. I looked thru a red painted room into the room behind it, felt drawn in like a moth to flame, my heart already smiling. Who was it that was able to see soul so clearly? Eyes painted on canvas with a depth greater than most living dare to share, secret colors, emotions that dripped and swirled. One canvas in particular I couldn’t peel myself from for minutes, staring like a child at her first Santa Claus. Awe. Wonder….Disbelief.

A man approached me.

‘Did you paint these,’ I said, my hands clasped in worship.

He beamed. He could tell my eyes saw what his did.

‘This?’ I said pointing to the painting I loved most of all.

He nodded.

‘Will you tell me about it?’ I said with longing.

For what seemed like seconds for it could never have lasted long enough, he told me the story of my favorite painting. He spent 3 months listening to one song over and over again. Not any other. Just the one. For 3 full months. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto. And then, when it was time, he stopped. He reached for his paints. And he created what he felt.

‘There is the melody,’ he said as he pointed, ‘and there, that’s the music in the background that elevates the melody. And the silence, that was the most difficult for me. Its easy for a musician to add silence but for a painter, it something different, something else entirely. There, there is the silence. Can you see it?’

‘And what is the sphere there, near the bottom?’ I asked.

‘The spirit. That’s Bach’s spirit.’

‘And the woman? Who is she?’

‘She is….'

Would that we could all spend the time seeing, feeling, creating from our souls, listening to that which moves us, to that which brings us closer to the sacred sweetness we unconsciously avoid. I know I am a richer human being because Edgardo did. Now its just taking his wisdom and making it my own.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crave More Magic?

Transform seriousness into humor
Transform imitation into creativity
Transform doubt into faith
Transform hatred into love
Transform fear into courage
Transform despair into hope
Transform a wish to die into a will to live.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Imagination's Gift

You’re sitting at your desk. And you’re fretting. Not about everything but about something that’s been bothering you for a while now. It’s like an ornery sliver under your skin. Something you’d really like to eliminate but you just haven’t figured out how. You close your eyes, hoping to somehow erase it, not realizing you are also clenching your fists. You really want to resolve this.

You open your eyes. Room’s still the same. Then why does it feel different? Your eyes scan around you. No one is there …and then…you see it. Are you going nuts? What? In your office? You decide to go over to it, to see if it’s as real close up as it seems from a distance.

Its faded, colored with a smoky paint brush or with the steam of a hot cup of brew. As you touch it, it feels entirely real. The railing is cool, hard as real metal in your hand. Hell, you say to yourself, why not? And just like that, you start walking, winding up and around in circles like a crazy on a wild trip. You chuckle every time your shoes make a funny ping on the steps.

At the top of the staircase you step onto sand. Beach sand. You take off your shoes and throw them to the side. You walk toward the water. On the near-horizon, you see a boat. It looks like it is coming toward you. Yes, it is.

When it arrives, a beautiful woman in flowing gowns gets off and walks to you. She welcomes you by name and is visibly happy to see you. She tells you they have been waiting for you for a long time. She invites you to board the boat. You do and with the driver, the three of you go out to sea.

A few minutes later, you see the faint outline of an island. Your hair damp with sea water, your face warmed by the sun, you can’t help but smile. You feel safe. You feel good. You even feel a bit excited.

On the dock before you stands a number of people you have loved from your past, all dressed in white and eager to greet you. They welcome you with open arms, telling you how happy they are that you finally decided to visit. You can tell they have been waiting for you for a long time. Your heart swells as they guide you to a large building where more people dressed in white await your arrival.

In the middle of the room is a table. In the center of the table is a box. A white haired elder and someone you know well, either from your past or present, motions for you to pick up the box. You open it. What do you find? What do you feel?

A few minutes later, you thank them. They nod and smile, grateful that you finally came to pick up what was always yours. They invite you to visit again, telling you that your means may be different but your path will remain the same.

Later, after you have reconnected with many you haven’t seen for years, you know its time to board your boat. You say your goodbyes. There are some tears for you know you wont be seeing most of these people again for a very long time. You ride across the sea, the wind licking your face, your hands clutching the box on your lap, your heart swelling with appreciation.

When you say your last goodbyes and make your way down the staircase you suddenly realize that what seemed like an issue to you before, isn’t anymore. You see with great clarity and no worry follows this knowing, just peace. As you sit at your desk again you look over to watch the staircase fade like smoke into air. You smile to yourself, thankful that you haven’t lost your imagination. For without it, your worries would still take center stage, your heart would still be in hiding. No longer are you trapped in a world much smaller than it was ever meant to be. Your vision is bigger now. Much bigger. You touch your new box, feeling the wisdom housed inside. Finally, you remembered to reclaim what you had so long ago forgotten.