Thursday, May 31, 2007

once in a blue moon

tonight is the blue moon.

and, as the song says, i am 'standing alone.' (i take direction well.)

'alone' has never held the fear or discomfort for me that it does for most. maybe it's because i have more practice or because my imagination keeps me company when company is hard to find. i almost crave the sensation, sometimes, of being accountable for entertaining only myself. i am a good friend. an excellent host. and i enjoy my company immensely.

and here, on the night when we can do the things we normally only dream of doing, that which is unusual for us, uncharacteristic, rare...

i am sitting still. quietly. wishing for company.

really, i am.

knees up, in my chair, waiting for you to come through the door, smiling and telling me of your latest adventure. and if you do, i'll smile and ask you to sit and stay awhile and share yourself with me. and for once, i won't talk over you or around you or at you. we will just sit and creep toward closeness. you, holding my hand, me - holding my tongue.

come here anytime, you'll be welcomed with open arms.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

amazing grace

i am back. older, definitely. wiser, perhaps. exhausted from my be sure. once i catch my breath, i will gladly recount my trip; tell the tales of surprises and hidden delights, until then...the sky is my favorite color of blue and the moon has arrived in the shape of a smile. it's cool outside.

i gifted myself this birthday with 'the collected poetry of nikki giovanni.' (it's a conceit of my youth, i admit. i have always loved her work and in the olden days, reciting her poems won me much acclaim and the admiration of more than one attractive debater.)

in the days since i bought it, i cannot put it down. i can flip to any page and always find a morsel of inspiriation. for instance...

'i am cotton candy on a rainy day
the sweet soft essence
of possibility'

see what i mean.

...the perfect description of myself in these last days and hours. and hopefully, in the days and years to come.

this 'essence of possibility' has been propelling me forward; the potential is at once beautiful and terrifying. still, i know this is going to be a very happy year. i have so much to be grateful for...

off-the-cuff compliments, freedom of the press, artistic license...cream cheese frosting, thinking caps...pb&j....adjectives, training wheels, sock monkeys, things not always being what they seem...not being 'too grown up' for anything...polaroids, mickey, wind & fire...being held soft and close...twilight lingering at the end of the day...'accidentally on purpose'...the hokey-pokey, fortune telling, unhurried hours, killer scrabble games...secret hiding places, james taylor, walkie -talkies, holding hands, late-night drive-thru windows...surfer boys, flying dreams, tuesday afternoons...
sneezes, tears of joy, pianos and acoustic guitars… things turning out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out...the art of compromise...fresh flowers, pedicures, marshmallow peeps, hot coffee, horoscopes, love stories...french blue, armless chairs, cats who come when you call, fireworks...the tiny pancakes formed from batter falling from the line for the bathroom...stage managers, brown sugar, being swept away by sheer delight...pale pink light tumbling into morning, conversations on paper, the impossible encounters that live in the imagination and somehow become reality...the knowledge that we are not responsible for those we love - we are responsible for those who love us.

to those who love me, who wish me well and who celebrate my birth - thank you! i have been warmed by you in many ways. talk about 'amazing grace'...

Saturday, May 19, 2007

little wonders vs. the miracles

my birthday is three days away. exactly. to the minute.

someone asked me what i would wish for on my birthday candles. it is an excellent question indeed.

right wish is to walk into a magical moment so pregnant with unforeseen possibility that i am caught entirely off guard. a moment where i am not in charge, where i am are neither the cause nor the effect. a moment where my lack of self-consciousness will open the door and whatever the moment requires will unfold easily without stress or contrivance, no ego or sense of self required. where i just might witness a miracle. happiness rising within, and spreading out into the world!

i would also like smaller hips, a video ipod and al gore for president. (look at that...still aiming for the miracle.)

i'll settle, though, for time with my family, kind words from friends far and near and an ice cream cone.

sometimes little wonders trump the miracles...and i like it that way.

Friday, May 18, 2007

of spring days, quiet certainty and waking with the moon

today was the most beautiful of spring days. cool. bright. blue as far as the eye can see. and in the midst, it was good, to be sure, to come home find letters from friends. they are always my favorite surprise.

i love to write letters. and i am at once comforted and exhilarated to know that i do not disturb, and, on occasion, set folks abuzz. i have a friend who has been absent for far too long. it was nice to know we are intact and it is simply an emergence from a 'quiet' time. and, too, i appreciate that i am not considered among the 'people' who fail to comprehend it.

the stillness to which my friend refers exists in all manner of disciplines. we have it in the theatre (and in oral interp), as well. the truly exceptional - the actual competition - are never the ones who are broadcasting their resumes or reciting their accolades. they are the few standing against the wall, quietly waiting for a turn. it's easy for 'people' to mistake the silence for nerves or arrogance. they just don't know.

they don't know the certainty of a that gift will almost effortlessly manifest itself when called forth; the certainty of the words, how - when spoken with truth and with gentle reverence - they will just carry you along. they don't know the quiet that attends such certainty. and they don't know the energy contained within that silence, how to harness it and reap the rewards.

i know it, though. i learned it from evelyn rodriguez.

we'd meet, sometimes, preparing for competition.  we'd look for poems for the upcoming season; other times, she'd give me monologues or stanzas to interpret to keep my skills honed...but mostly, we'd just sit. she is the one who first convinced me i had a gift and that i could do something no one else could do. i could talk. she showed me i could take complicated thoughts and phrases and make them sound as natural as if they'd come from my own hand...that with the tiniest inflection, i could break your heart. and she showed me how my silence could be more powerful than my voice. i could, she said, (and i think that i can, still) hold an audience on the tip of my tongue.

she would remind me that less is more and that the least obvious choice is almost always the most effective and true. she would implore me to trust my instincts and she showed me how to have determination without and stillness within. and i think she did her best to prepare me to be brave in the face of those who would fear my success.

i was unstoppable that year. and, as she predicted, very much alone. but, thanks to evelyn, i was almost always o.k. with it. in those months, i learned to recognize and treasure true friendship; how to bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray myself. i stood in the center of the fire and did not shrink back. and most importantly, i began to know what would sustain me from the inside when all else falls away.

this, i suppose, is a very long way of saying i understand the 'quiet.' i understand the astrological implications, as well. my pisces friends are a dreamy lot; preferring to indulge in the quiet world of spiritual thought and exotic imagination. their communication is subtle, enabling them to cross the threshold of the material world into the sublime bounty of unknown regions.

i, on the other hand, am a gemini. for us, the whole world is an ongoing cocktail party. we are restless and changeable, curious, talkative and versatile. an entanglement of paradoxes. which may, in some way, explain why people are drawn to me. (that and the fact that i am cute as a button.) i'm surprised that i - in all my gemininity - don't rattle more cages more than i do. or maybe i do and they just keep quiet.

as spring turns toward summer, today was the first in my long line of very early mornings. rising with the moon, feeling the weight of my job as i pour myself into bed later. i love this time of year. (i do not enjoy the actual waking, though...looking at the clock in the dark and knowing i need to leave the warmth of my dreams hurts my feelings a little.)

as this fri-day turns toward evening, dear friends, i hope you are wandering well, riding the edges and seeing around corners in ways that delight. maybe we can 'meet' here again before i leave for vacation.

i'd like that.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

i am who i am

today marks the last week of this decade for me. everyone wants to know how it feels. so far, i don't feel any different than i have leading up to other birthdays.

wait. actually, that's not true. i feel...better, somehow. and different, as well.

the last few months have given me perspective on evolution. i've stopped wondering how it is i've wandered so far from where i began and where i want to be. i get it. i'm not supposed to live my life with an iron control that excludes those different directions. the moon requires that i ride the high tide with no flotation devices, safety nets or rescue squad at the ready. it's just me and the great deep.

would my life have been easier, happier even, if i'd figured this out sooner? undoubtedly. but, i think i needed the struggle. to find balance and strength and gratitude. the struggle is why - and how - i am who i am.

so, who am i? this is the question that begs as this birthday looms large.

in the most basic of terms - i am still...unfinished. i am new. sometimes a drag. sometimes lovely. i am not yet the best version of myself, but i know she's close.

i am, and will always be - i hope - someone who spends freely of my time, energy, skills, money to see that nobody is left out. but, i will no longer be someone who allows my willingness to give to be misunderstood or abused, as if it were a weakness.

i am not someone who thinks myself superior to or more worthy than anyone else, but i do try to follow the example of the sun, beaming forth and shining indiscriminately on all who enter my domain. i am no longer worried that my light will shine too brightly, leaving others in the dark and waiting for their eyes to adjust to the light. it doesn't serve anyone to make myself small.

i am able to be alone and truly like the company i keep in those empty moments. i can to sit with pain and anger and loneliness, mine or another's, without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it. still, i am someone who cannot stay still.

and i am happy. given to graceful generosity and compassion. i can sense when someone is uncomfortable in a group and find a way to delicately put them at ease. i play the fool in order to shift attention away from someone else's mistake and try to do so in a way that doesn't diminish others' respect for me. i do not always succeed.

i am becoming much better educated for what lies ahead. i am free to choose my own direction, to explore and grow beyond the circumstances that used to hold me in, to see that the benefits that exist in my life no longer belong solely to me.

my challenge and opportunity now is to see how my experiences will lead to fresh possibilities, new ambitions and an inspiring vision of even greater potential. and i know that somewhere, beneath the surface, there is a reserve of strength that has been building for just this kind of opportunity.

this is all, i know, a little 'leigh anne around the philosophical bend.' and i know it may seem ridiculous and slightly self indulgent to admit these things, but i actually feel better for having written it.

life is too short to keep everything so well protected and unsaid.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

for mom

dear momma,

this morning, i raided the refrigerator for some breakfast, poured myself a cup of coffee and woke up slowly with the world.

today feels like a charmed moment. the sun is shining. the coffee is strong and hot. of course, it may just be the clarity that follows inclement weather -- it's all the more precious in contrast with what came before. even if life cannot stay this way forever, right now all feels right with the world. i am joyfully at peace.

the cat in my lap is gently 'bathing' the dog's nose as he rests it on my leg...providing a gentle reminder that we are capable of looking after each other in a kind and careful way.

wouldn't it be lovely if the world were a place where everybody got his or her needs met and received plenty of acknowledgment? everything is sweeter when we begin to appreciate each other and mutual admiration prevails.

mother's day is tomorrow. and the idea of appreciating each other reminds me how lucky i am to have you as my particular mom.

far from perfect, and frequently far from sane, you are the reason i am who i've become. as a child, you always treated me like an adult (which, frankly, i didn't always appreciate - though i'm grateful for it now.), and now that i'm older, you recognize me as an individual, not as an extension or reflection of yourself. and you always treat me as someone you like (and remind me to treat myself that same way - thank you).

and if i'm honest, i know it's mostly due to your example that i have the tools i need to navigate the world...that i know how to be reasonable and fair and strong and careful and responsible. you are the reason i can drive a stick-shift, make a thanksgiving turkey and find humor in everything. you are why i cry when i laugh, and pay attention when i drive, and why i spend saturday mornings cleaning the house and listening to carole king. you are also the reason i know the joy of 'too many' pets, that i don't fear moving to new places where i don't know anyone and that i know there isn't anything ice cream, james taylor or a phone call from home can't fix.

happy mother's day, momma. you and your existence in the world flavor everything for me.

(what flavor is it, you ask? vanilla ice cream with hershey's syrup. is there any other?)

i love you,

leigh annie

Thursday, May 10, 2007

what goes around

it's so curious how i can resist tears and 'behave' very well in the hardest hours of grief. but then someone says something nice or a letter slips from a drawer... and everything collapses. and so, a day that started with blue sky and sun ends with rolling thunder and rain that defies mood reshaping the weather, the way the moon rules the tides.

i miss my friend. when i let myself. and sometimes, when i don't.

it seems an age since we've talked, but i find it hard to write. i don't know just how to pick up after time apart. as much as i hate the sound of 'goodbye,' it's the 'hello' after a distance that always catches in my throat.

i'm sad, thinking about the adventures we won't be having. the road just seems to have disappeared. but then, maybe that's the way everything should end. driving along, 100 mph, cruising...happily...and suddenly, the road just disappears. no less feeling. no unkind words. just an end.

i am usually the one to disappear, so i suppose it's really true that what goes around comes around. it's my turn to wait and watch the wheel of time eliminate old circumstances and initiate new ones, and my only response is to adapt. and, somewhere we live our real lives and i know they're our real lives because in real life there never was a space for 'us.' only work and family and words and a million other things.

still, i would like to think that as the sky grows darker, without being conscious of it, we'll begin to regain the intimacy...that somehow, we'll find our way back and slowly come into focus again.

i'd like that.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

the company i keep

every now and again, i like to tempt fate - well, if not tempt it, at least tease it a bit. i like to draw a tarot card and see what the day holds. today, i drew 'the world.'

'you drew your arrow and hit your target with the style of a skillful archer. you appear to be approaching circumstances that previously existed only in your imagination. after years of effort and struggle, matters may seem absurdly easy soon. your ambition, inspiration and perseverance have taken you toward your desired outcome. now you are zeroing in on the bull's eye, having explored the territory and brought yourself to its center.

pause for awhile and enjoy this moment. recognize that you are completing what you set out to achieve. you are becoming the person you want to be in the presence of the company you've wanted to keep. you will soon inhabit what used to be a dream.'

does it get any better than that?

this morning, the company i keep is a cup of hot, cinnamon-laced coffee, a dog named elvis, and a steady rotation of mingo fishtrap, jack johnson and jason mraz.

what the rest of the day holds is anybody's guess.

Monday, May 7, 2007

now what?

spring doesn't stand a chance at the bottom of the lone star state. summer, like everyone else, is greedy here...grabbing at everything, with its heavy, humid hands. fogging up the windows and sending us back indoors.

i miss the spring. i need to live somewhere with more than one season...with more than one newspaper...more than one way of life. my horoscope agrees:

'you continue to experience evolutionary changes in your relationships and are redefining what you want. unfortunately, you may not have everything that you need, but you aren't willing to accept your dissatisfaction now. this presents you with a difficult set of circumstances. nevertheless, if you engage your passions head-on, even immovable obstacles cannot stand in your way.'

great. now what?

fourteen days left in my astrological hell and i'm still feeling like a snowglobe the universe shakes up every few days for its own amusement - to see where the flakes will land.

why else would the girl the golden vocabulary spend a day encumbered by numbers? finding myself in the midst of words and turning without them? all day, i've been pragmatic and intellectual - i'm ready for giddyness, ready to fall off the earth again.

my playlist for any fall off the earth...

rocketman - elton john
curbside prophet - jason mraz
falling for the first time - barenaked ladies
little bird - annie lennox
galaxy - jason mraz
chariot - gavin degraw
just like heaven - the cure
galileo - indigo girls
up on the roof - james taylor
rainbow connection - kermit the frog

tomorrow is my day off. maybe i'll run away for a day to the, sunglasses, the smell of coconut - and laughing at nothing. maybe i'll stick close to home, snuggle with the dog and cats and my words.

wherever you go tomorrow, may you see around a corner in a way that delights.

Saturday, May 5, 2007


i didn't realize that 'cinco de mayo' was spanish for 'reveal your crush day.' did you? yeah, my favorite blog clued me in to that. that and the fact that my spanish sucks. (of course, many people don't realize that 'la quinta' is spanish for 'next to denny's' either. just goes to show you how tricky a language spanish can be.)

i have a few - crushes, that is. here they are, in no particular order:

al gore - strong. smart. aware. hot. possibly the cause of global warming.
charlie gibson - every morning with charlie was a good morning, america
natalie maines - brave. powerful. cute as a button.
the japanese guy on 'heroes' - saving the world is sexy in any language
veronica mars - 'it's all fun and games until somebody gets my boot up their ass.'
gordon seagal - it's hard not to love a man who built his business based on good taste and a sense of fun.
john cusak - my first crush. what can i say? the first time you fall in love, it changes your life forever.
justin timberlake - bringing sexy back? it never left.
jim from 'the office' - i find him infinitely loveable. i would like to be the center of his universe.
william h. macy - my 'film-geek' is shimmering through on this one, isn't it?
jason mraz - he sings these songs and they are so simple and beautiful...and listening to his voice, it's like time standing the moment, everyone must want him to be singing just to them. i know this, because i pretend he's singing just to me.

so, these are my little crushes. i don't know where it comes from, but these folks are all covered in sparkles when i look at them.

what a silly, silly girl i am. i've got to go hide now.

Friday, May 4, 2007


this has been a week of temperance...extremes of temperature, folding and pounding, turning life inside-out, and bringing out the gold hidden within. it's been a good reminder that this life is a constant, gradual process...a subtle play of light and texture and shadows, measured in centuries and inches. i can't expect to have everything all at once.

still, i am impatient. i want to hurry because i am eager to see what lies ahead. i long to know the answer to every possible question and every decision i make. and i want to believe - even as i know that's not the way the universe always works - that sooner or later, good will come to those who do good; joy will be the reward for those who bring humor to others; opportunity will present itself to those who persist.

times of loss or failure will break the weak, and though fate may make my branches sway, there is no breach. instead, i stoop. i swerve. i tilt. i twist. i bend. i endure hard times, grow and benefit from them, because i have something stronger, deeper even, than fate...something incorruptible by even the harshest of realities: i have hope.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

lucky girl

the last few days have brought me to places that sit so still. and in the midst, i am reminded that there is a series of small miracles everyday that keep me alive. miracles of timing, of impulse, conversations left unsaid, people seen or not seen, opportunities and mistakes lost and grasped.

i have been reminded, too, that i have great friends. each of them represents a world in me, a world not born until they arrived.

sitting here, feeling drained of everything good in heart, heavy and unforgiving, i feel their smiles hovering in the background, reminding me that happiness is something worth working for in a million tiny ways. and it will never look the way you think it will.

i am touched by their simple and generous consideration, something as small as 'how are you' in the middle of everyone vying for their attention. and i will never be able to thank them with the kind of honesty and fullness they deserve.

i am a lucky girl.

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