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Monthly Archives: January 2013

Words, words, words

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In my everyday life outside of Happy Monkeyland, I teach.  Thirty-one 4th graders – all subjects.  Including, writing.  The process and the craft of writing.  And like all good writing teachers, I teach them about brainstorming and rough drafts and editing, etc, etc.  I tell them to PLAN their writing.  Afterall, isn’t that what all good writers do?  Sure they do.  Right?

Ironically, that is not how I approach the writing process.  Not one little bit.

I can have an idea in my head, kinda bouncing around, but not be able to write a word.  If I try to force it, I won’t be happy with the outcome – if there is a finished product.  Frequently it is an idea I hadn’t even thought about, a piece will just pop into my head.  When the words are finally ready to come out, they flow forth fully formed.  Like Athena being born out of Zeus, fully formed and ready to rumble.  The words don’t really care what I am doing, when they are ready I had better be ready, or else they will move on and I will be unable to find them again.  Nor do they care where I am, I had better take pencil to paper (my preferred tools), or they will run away as quickly as they came.  Often it happens in the middle of church.  I have pages and pages tucked into my choir folder.

This is one of those pieces that fell out of my head and onto the paper while sitting in the choir well.  Have no fear – it is not recent.  It is perhaps a few years old.  I just came upon it.

It is the Music

When all is a pit of emptiness,

It is the music that fills me.

When all is floating away,

It is the music that grounds me.

When all is a cavern of deep despair,

It is the music that lifts me.

When all is crumbling ruins,

It is the music that strengthens me.

When all is dead and dying,

It is the music that enlivens me.

And when all is in pieces,

It is the music that makes me whole.

Too Much Time on My Hands…

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I have been home for the past few days with the flu.  Ordered to “rest,” drink plenty of fluids, and take Tamiflu (which, by the way, is a miracle drug).  So, my mother took the Three Little Monkeys to her house and I have been in solitude.

And bored out of my mind.  After all, there are only so many times you can watch episodes of Friends and Sex and the City.

And when I am bored and things are too quiet, my mind starts to wander.

And I begin to have conversations in my head (I’m not crazy, my mother had me tested).

And I realize that there are things that I wish I could say out loud.  But, I can’t.  Not even here.

And I feel like the Cowardly Lion.  “If I only had the noy-ve.”

And that is very frustrating.





If “Love is a Losing Game,” why do we keep playing?

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One day, while waiting for Monkey #3 (The Girl Child) to finish ballet rehearsal, I decided I needed some “Mommy Monkey Time.”  So, I grabbed a cup of coffee, a good book, and my ear buds and headed to a park.  Ahhhh…peace and quiet and stillness – just what I needed!

I found a nice bench, under an old pecan tree, pulled up Spotify, found just the right station, opened my book and waited for my brain to be still.

Mission accomplished!  That is until “Love is a Losing Game” by the late Amy Winehouse came up.  At first, I let the easy, bluesy, soulful sound wash over me – that is until I started paying attention to the lyrics…

For you I was a flame,
Love is a losing game
Five story fire as you came,
Love is losing game

One I wish I never played,
Oh, what a mess we made
And now the final frame,
Love is a losing game

Wait a minute.  Is that true?!?  Is LOVE really a losing game?!?

Oh God, I hope not!  How depressing!  Surely, SURELY that can’t be true!

Can it?!

Played out by the band,
Love is a losing hand
More than I could stand,
Love is a losing hand

Self professed profound
Til’ the chips were down
Know you’re a gambling man
Love is a losing hand

Oh, my.  Maybe she is right.  I mean, on one hand, (the losing hand) I have never been in a love relationship – a “romantic” one that is – that hasn’t ended.  Even those where I thought that at long last (after going into double overtime) the game was finally over – that Team Love WON!

So, if we know that love is a losing game, why then do we continue to BEG the coach to put us in the game?  Doesn’t it seem like we are simply setting ourselves up for another entry in the loss column in the Game of Love?

In the past 12 years, the Detroit Lions have lost about 140 games out of around 200 games.  They have only won 30% of their football games this century.  That includes a total of 18 losses IN A ROW – spanning 3 seasons.  However, I am pretty sure that every time they took the field they thought they stood a chance at winning.  They never just called the NFL and said, “You know, we really REALLY suck.  How about we just stop playing?”  Nope.  They suited up, and ran out there and PLAYED.  Oh, sure.  Most likely they will lose.  I mean, look at those stats!  But, they still played.

Love is that kind of game.  No matter how many times we lose, we continue to suit up and play.

No matter how much the stats may suck.

No matter how EPIC some of the losses might have been.

We still suit up and play.

Maybe I am an eternal optimist.  Or, maybe I’m just deluded.  Who knows.  But, isn’t a good thing to not want to give up?  Isn’t it a bad thing to throw the game?  And isn’t it even worse to not play just because you are afraid you are going to lose?

I’d like to think so.  But, maybe that’s just me.

Who knows?  Maybe the next season will be a winning one – and I’ll take it all the way to the Super Bowl.

(Please feel free to groan at the sports metaphors.  I know I did as I was writing!)

“Love is a Losing Game”  from the album Back to Black (2006) Music and Lyrics by Amy Winehouse