I am woven in the womb of the cosmos
Created in the brilliance of Stars
Leaving remnants of me like a comet, a spray
A blip on the radar of time
I am loved. I am wanted. I am held. I am known-
By the great Maker whose hands fashioned mine
Zellie M. Quinn
(In a small den on a high hill
Wolves huddle close in the stormy chill.
Lean eyes flash the bolts of light
No howling at the moon this night)
A birch falls onto flooded grasses
Seeds are carried to barren places
The storm that thunders, pelts, and scourges,
In years to come, lush landscape forges.
Zellie M. Quinn
New Pope Francis takes public transportation, cooks his own meals, refused to live in mansion, living in an apartment instead…Sounds like a cool dude!
The Colorful Bottle and the Genie
Some called it a lantern,
When a candle was placed in it
To set off its colors like errant rainbows
Cut glass sapphire blues, ruby reds and emerald greens
A room’s lit chandeliers and flickering candles
Others called it a vase
When it held rare flowers
On the mantle
But really it was just a colorful bottle
Whose undoing had been one too many falls
Damaged just enough
Its glass pieces now chipped, scratched, or missing-
Its once shimmering gold outlines and filigrees
Dull and corroded in the outdoor elements
Discarded in the woods
No longer receiving long gazes
Drawing ‘oohs,’ and ‘ahhs’
Greedy for beauty
Now turned away in a huff
For a long time it lay on the ground
Not fighting its change of fortunes
Not moving at all
One day, in the warmth of the sun
A powerful genie, like a gentle cloudy vapor,
Filled the broken bottle
The poor bottle noticed that the genie carried with it a lovely light
Shining through the chipped colored glass pieces
Now even its gold seemed less dull
“A lie!” swore the bottle
The bottle rolled back and forth in the winds
To unsettle and dislodge the genie
The genie stayed
“Obnoxious!” thought the bottle
It thought it heard the genie laugh softly
But having no ears to hear,
It wondered how it had heard
It rolled itself under the brush
A worthless bottle
Fall rains came,
Dead leaves collected in the brush
The bottle was buried alive
The bottle dared not move
Lest it encourage the genie
The genie stayed
Cold winter days came,
Heavy snows froze the bottle
Spring thaws came
The bottle thought the waters that filled it
Would drown the genie
But the genie stayed firm
The bottle began to admire
The steadfast genie
One day it was the bottle that laughed softly
With admiration for the genie
It heard itself, and knew that now it had ears to hear
It reminded itself that it was the genie
That now made the bottle
Beautiful with its light
The bottle, plain though it was, took its place out in the open
Marveling at the genie’s light
That shone through its brokenness.
Zellie M. Quinn
A shift of the Earth, and the cold winds come, the cold of Space unleashed by the loss of my Sun…
Why Do Some Trees Dance?
Why do some trees dance
At unseen breezes,
On the stillest of days…
Why are some branches quite limber,
Shaking leaves in gentle spritely waves,
Making a new music of light and sound
Yet other trees are still
When the winds dance by
Holding their breath
“Those dancing ones can’t have known the beating rains
The heat of that sun!
The drying winds
Or they would be
Why do some trees dance
At unseen breezes,
On the stillest of days
Yet other trees are still
Stoic, and sad
As the winds dance by-
Zellie M. Quinn
The beauty of a sun dog, silver sky after a storm- all glimpses of heaven, spy cams from earth’s shores…
But when my schedule changed this past fall, there was no time to write and get everything else done.
I was starting to rebel, and find ways to ‘get away.’ Like the time I drove for half an hour to pick up one item, just so that I could get out of the house. Or jumping from one unfinished chore to another- due to an anxiousness and restlessness that made me feel a little panicked.
Then it hit me. I had my eureka moment in the kitchen one day when I was in the midst of washing dishes. I wanted to ‘escape‘ not because of all my responsibilities, but because that was all I did these past couple of months. There was no time to write in the midst of classes, home chores, and various other things I was doing concerning the kids, work, bills, and other obligations, appointments, and commitments.
I was relieved to realize, I was not rebelling against the my life, I was rebelling because I had no time lately for writing..
I ‘scheduled’ to spend the next day’s morning writing, after the kids had gone to school. I felt all the tension drain away, and peace come back. Knowing I was going to have a writing session the next day made everything else seem not only doable, but wonderful! I did an extra thorough job on my dishes, and felt I had a ‘spring in my step’ during the whole rest of the day’s responsibilities. No longer did I find excuses to run away.
The next morning I let everything go. I mean “EVERYTHING!” The dishes, the phone, the sweeping, the errands, the bills- I did take the puppy out occasionally for walks, as that would have been a little disastrous to my floors and rugs! She also got to sit on my lap during the writing venture as she usually likes to be right in the middle of everything.
I wrote till 2 in the afternoon, when the kids start coming home. I’d won the writing war.
Now when I start feeling that restlessness, that desire to escape, that feeling that I’m not satisfied, I schedule a morning for myself- an all morning event- and find myself able to go much longer on those other everyday ordinary things that were starting to make me feel dissatisfied.
Life will always throw wrenches into our plans. When something isn’t right, we feel an emptiness, a dissatisfaction, an unease that tells us to reexamine ourselves and find out what is missing. It seems when I turn to prayer, I am more quickly able to get to the root of my problems. I think I’d lost my focus in the busyness of life.
A friend of mine who is a teacher says that by the middle of the summer she wants to grab every random kid she sees on the street and say, “Come with me so I can teach you!” Another friend who sews says she is obsessed with sewing, and always has the next project brewing in her mind, in the midst of her present sewing venture. A painter needs to paint. A fisher wants to fish. A writer needs to write and do all manner of things related to their writing. I must remember this and write.
We all hear about the ‘BIG’ addictions like alcohol, cigarettes, eating and sexual addictions- which are obvious and so blatant, that hopefully we ‘know’ they are keeping us from the things we want and love.
But what about those little everyday addictions we think don’t matter, or that we think aren’t really hurting us?
Often it is those little itty-bitty addictions that keep us from doing what we actually want to do.
Addictions like tv. Does your nightly show keep you from finishing that task or project you were going to work on? After dinner do you freely take on that task or hobby you’ve been planning to all day, or do you scrap it because there might be something good on tv? Having a planned weekly favorite show or two is one thing. But if we ‘need’ tv every night- to unwind or relax, it might be something to question- ‘Is this how I really want to be spending my time?’
I once went to a religious book store. As I was buying the book I wanted, the cashier took it and curiously flipped it over and read a little of the back and said that it looked like a great book! I told her it was and that she should read it. She shook her head, told me she’d become too ‘addicted’ to Sudoku, so addicted in fact that she never read any books anymore. Ok… Maybe, just maybe it was time for her to face up to her ‘sudoku’ addiction? Nothing against Sudoku. Maybe time for her to face up to the fact that this fun little math puzzle was keeping her from deeper things, things she used to like to do. When I got home, I threw out my sudoku book- I realized that though it hadn’t gotten to the level of addiction that the cashier had, still, it wasted some of my precious time.
I watched a show on persons who had ‘shopping’ addictions. There are two kinds of people. Those who prefer not to shop-, and the rest of us who love it. It is an addiction though when we use it as our crutch, must do it every day to get our ‘high’- spend more money than we earn, or have to ‘hide’ our purchases because we know they are ridiculous- unneeded, and wasteful. Having scheduled shopping times is helpful. Also keeping a running list. There was a man (yes it isn’t only women who have this problem) who wrote that he decided he would allow himself to go to the grocery store 1x per week. And any other stores he’d only allow himself a 1time per month visit. He kept a running list. By the time the monthly shopping day came, many of the things that had seemed urgent at one time, were things he no longer needed nor wanted.
One day when I had a bottle of red wine hanging around, it suddenly seemed such a waste to have red wine hanging around. I realized that I kept thinking about the red wine that was unfinished. In fact, though I’m not a regular drinker, I realized that the wine seemed to be calling to me, “Wouldn’t I be nice and tasteful right about now?” Suddenly not feeling free, I poured out the wine, rinsed out the bottle, put the bottle in the recycling bin, and felt free to do what I’d been wanting to do- which was my work. I still drink wine occasionally, but don’t keep bottles of it hanging around. I buy it for company and family on special occasions only. Are there certain drinks or foods that make you not feel free? Do they have more power over you than you have over them? Often the temptation goes away simply by removing it from the house.
What amazed me the most when I quit smoking 25 years ago, was the freedom I had with my hands and time. No more having to stop my work to take frequent cigarette breaks.
For awhile I was a slave to the phone. I used to think that it was “professional” to answer each and every call, whether it was a friend, or a window salesman. But one day I realized that my phone rang a lot! That often tasks weren’t finished due to a phone call that interrupted my work. I decided to schedule phone times to check phone messages and return calls. Gradually the phone died down, and my productivity increased.
For many it is the internet/Facebook/texting etc. I’m not saying these things are bad. Not at all. I love all these. But in my case, I’ve come to the point where I give myself about a minute to check my emails, another minute to check FB-for any messages ‘directed’ at me- and fly off immediately so that I can get to the things I really want to be doing…My writing and my work.
Are there things keeping you from your work or your writing? If it is your family or kids- be grateful!
Anything else, I ask myself, “Is this what I REALLY want to be doing right now- or is this this an addiction I need to break?
I haven’t posted lately, as I’ve had too much on my plate. I’ve been in a rut lately-a writing, thinking, planning, and visualizing rut. That is, we got a new puppy who manages to take every spare moment I have, and turn it into “Me Puppy Time”- I won’t go on and on about what a cutie she is, or how sometimes people revert into baby talk when talking to or about her, or about how we think we have the cutest pup in the world, and wonder at the blindness of others who think ‘they‘ have the cutest in the world. No. I won’t go on about that, but will say, between preparations for Christmas, kids, puppy, Classes that I’m taking in Chicago, kids, new puppy, housework, kids, puppy, cooking, editor for an on-line poetry magazine, kids, puppy, phone calls, friend times etc. etc. etc. I would think about my wordpress blog and felt so far removed from it, that I couldn’t picture me writing on this blog again.
(ps, for any dog lovers out there dying to know, the puppy is a miniature Daschund- her father is a smooth (short haired) with dark markings like she has, and her beautiful mother is a long-haired all orange or reddish colored. She got her mothers longer hair, and her fathers beautiful markings. )
My writing on this blog ‘block’ seemed the same concept- by a long stretch- as the author who finishes his book and thinks he may never write another book- or the poet who finishes a poem and wonders if he/she will ever get inspiration again.
Then this morning, after the puppy seemed sapped of puppy energy and ready to relax on my lap -(I was sitting on kitchen floor, the laptop on the kitchen bench till the pup fell asleep ) – I decided to check in on my twitter account, then I clicked on a Twitter link to a blog that basically said, “This is what happened when I went to the Library today and this is what happened when I stopped at the post office today, (the author writes daily in his blog at the library) and somehow that brought me here.
I thought, “If that guy at the library, who must ‘travel’ to the library to work on his blog- can write a daily post, I can do a little better than I have been, and write.
Maybe today isn’t poetry. Maybe there is nothing profound. But I’m back thanks to a post by some guy (who talks about pounds and not dollars – so I suspect he is in England) I’m back thanks to some guy I don’t know who was brave enough to write about something so ordinary.
When My Ship Crashed
Not so long ago
When my ship crashed
On the night side of that far planet
Held down by injuries and wreckage
In the darkness you came with your light
Smiling, you stayed
Though no human life was near
I was tended to.
Then they came for me
Finding one they thought dead
And brought me back
Where voices and sirens
Colors and shapes
Bodies and buildings
And bright gleaming lights
Hid You away.
I remember how You stayed with me
When I was thought dead.
Zellie M. Quinn
I remember once looking into the back seat of my car
And I saw how excited my young son was-
thrilled to go for a car ride
I hadn’t even told him where I was heading-
Whether it was a trip to the grocery store
or the fabulous toy store- he didn’t know.
All he knew was that we were going ‘somewhere’ and we were on our way!
That was enough for him.
With time we too learn to allow ourselves to be thrown on the winds of this life,
with all its bizarre twists, currents, and surprises-
Giving up control-
And like a leaf
Carried on the wind
We learn to trust the powers above
When the winds of life seize us
Though we may not yet see our destination.
When I think of this life, I’m baffled. I read of zillionaires who die suddenly at the age of 40- Wasn’t all their hard work engineered to provide them a wonderful & luxurious living in their old age?
I read of a beautiful rock star who gets beaten to a pulp. Then she goes back to the guy. Huh? How has she lost her sense of self-worth? Of truth? Of justice?
I hear of workers who slaved days, nights, and weekends for their bosses and their companies only to be let go, fired and discarded at the first change in economic winds. Meanwhile, all the managers get to keep their jobs…Who runs these companies? Where are the hearts in these bosses? Is it just about the money? ‘Business is business’ I hear many say. But should it be?
What is the point of life if it isn’t for something? It certainly isn’t worth much if it all starts and ends here. I remember an old sergeant in the army who would daily randomly and loudly proclaim as he was walking past ‘If you don’t stand for something, you’ll surely fall for nothing.‘ (I was never sure if he said it more for his own benefit or for the benefit of those of us nearby who were his supposed listeners)
Watching the ‘great’ ones of this world, actresses, writers, CEO’s, politicians, presidents, and geniuses, I am more and more unimpressed. Not because I don’t respect them and their office or role- I’m unimpressed because this life is so short, and fame lasts 15 minutes. Wealth is lost at death or earlier through theft, carelessness, the economy, or government’s excessive taxation of business or individuals.
I watch how ‘into’ this world many of ‘the great ones of this world’ are and wonder, “Don’t you know it will sometime end? Don’t you know you are only a morning’s mist? That you will someday be just a memory that will evaporate with the noonday sun? That someday all that will be left is a tombstone, where strangers walk by and wonder, ‘Who was this John Smith, or this Jane Doe?’’ If that doesn’t hit you, walk among the tombstones of forgotten cemeteries. Read the names. If it’s a really old cemetery, even the carved-in names will be fading from the elements. There among the tombstones, among the graves of past families, doctors, judges, farmers, wives, daughters and brothers, the eerie silence is a stark reminder that one day too, others will walk on our graves and not know who we were, nor even care.
I recall years ago seeing a video shown to families of victims of violence in hospitals, a video of a Surgeon who ‘died’ when he came home from a 2-week conference in Europe. He said he remembered entering through the front door, thinking it odd that all the lights were off. He could see the outline of his house-sitter sitting on the stairs with his head in his hands – He approached him and noticed that the guy was sweating profusely. He asked him if he was ok. His house-sitter stood up, pulled out a butcher knife and stabbed the doctor something like 17 times or so, plus or minus. (Later he would find out that his house-sitter had been very high on drugs.)
The surgeon remembered trying to fight him off and then sinking to the ground, and as he was falling he saw a white light behind the sitter. He had a great sense that this light was a powerful love, and forgetting his attacker, he went to it. He found himself in a place where there were clouds or mist around his feet and felt a great peace, a peace he hadn’t been able to feel for a long time. He noticed a group of people standing off to the side talking among themselves like old friends. One of them separated himself from the group and came over to him, and asked, “Do you want to stay, or do you want to go back?”
The Surgeon answered, “I want to stay.”
Then the other guy pointed up and the Doctor saw something like a screen where his whole life flashed before him; his birth, youth, schooling, marriage, work, and divorce.
Central to all these images his 3 year old son kept appearing. Because of the image of his son, the doctor said, “I want to go back.” He woke up in the hospital. The hospital staff told him he’d been in a coma for 2 weeks.
This is what he had this to say as he reflected on it. He didn’t know what the light was that he’d felt drawn into, but he felt it was a great Love. And he didn’t understand the meaning of it, but felt it was either something he was either supposed to ‘seek’ in his life, or something he was supposed to give. He felt he would spend the rest of his life trying to discover what it all meant.
I thought his experience especially relevant because the doctor, at the time, was an atheist.
To all the experts who dismiss out-of-body experiences, long tunnels, white lights etc, and say it is just a brain reaction to a stressful event, I say ‘thanks for putting your personal bias stamp on your statement- Thanks for not believing in what your small brain can’t understand. Thanks for trying to destroy the relevance and meaning that these stories could teach you. Thanks for trivializing those who were brave enough to share their personal and life-changing experiences. Oh, and thanks for making commanding statements that you will never be able to verify, on something you’ve never experienced.’
Surely there is enough evidence of there being ‘more’ out there than meets the eye. There are visionaries, profits, ghosts, bad spirits, good spirits, Angel experiences, Jesus of Nazareth and his followers who healed impossible illnesses. Then there are those modern day miracles that have no explanation except that someone, or many, prayed. What will it take to wake us up, to realize that this life is fleeting, a puff of smoke that dissipates in the air… That we have to discover a deeper meaning that isn’t always obvious. That if we focus only on this life, on ourselves, our ambitions, on the rewards that vanish with this life, that then we’ve become as pointless as monkeys performing tricks for a very brief reward.
I look for a path in the new fallen snow
For it is night and not wise to travel
Where am I going? I want to know
As the wind at my back does show me
It howls in the night, like a wolf at the moon
As it rushes through trees and hills
And its voice tells me ‘run’ as it hurries me there
To places and lands yet unknown
I beg for a rest. Let us wait for the light,
For the darkness and cold don’t please me.
But a whippoorwill, laughs, there’s no time to waste,
For life and your future are waiting
Zellie M. Quinn
This is what happened. Once, I was writing a wonderful story. It had a wonderful main character. A main character who was a male. But something happened along the way and not only did the key opening chapter completely change, but so did the main character, who is now female. Not through a sex change operation. But through the knowledge that I’d best write what I know, even though I loved my former main character, as a male.
Many female authors have had their main characters be male. Who can forget S. H. Hinton for one, author of The Outsiders.
So why did this happen? One day, my beautiful wonderful male character- who had all the attributes I’d want in a male star character, suddenly became a lie to me. One day I no longer really knew my main character. I was trying to guess what he was thinking and what he would do in new scenes and dilemmas. It became so difficult, what was once so easy, that I realized there was a problem. My ‘knowledge’ was spent. I had to write what I felt I knew, and was comfortable with. From the moment I began writing from the point of view of a female, the personality blossomed.
In fact this main character is an astronaut. At least as of today, yesterday and the beginning of this whole venture, she is not very feminine in the traditional sense of the word. She is very much a tomboy type.
Could my main character ever go back to being David? I don’t know. I loved the character who I’d created, but there was a certain point past which I wasn’t really sure what he’d do. Not being male myself, I was on shaky ground.
I like the new character. She grows on me every day, and she certainly has what it takes to do all the things that David was going to do. Just shows we live in different times. I wonder if there is anyone out there who has gone through this major change of person like this, maybe I’ll google that… “Main Character changed from male to female” Nah. To many modern day interpretations on that.
The learned men came to see
What could be done about that tree
Stout and strong and big and tall,
Faith inside that garden’s wall.
Machines and steel their only hope
Sturdy chains and heavy rope,
They wrap around that solid tree
And yank it for a student’s fee…
Zellie M. Quinn
That Thieving Spirit
Mark my words- the Holy Spirit is a sly one!
When I began my search for it, quick as lightening it found me-
And then it stole from me!
(Seeing shadows mostly, and hurting in light)
Were fine by me-
Those eyes were well trained
In the art of despair
That darkened my world.
They managed to see ghastly shapes at times,
And I thought them adequate.
But while I wasn’t looking,
That spirit snatched them!
I’m sure it must be so
‘Cause I haven’t found them anywhere!
And though perhaps I should take issue
Having never thought to give my consent
To seeing things I’ve never seen
With new eyes that see quite piercingly,
A world I now see is quite beautiful,
I prefer to let bygones be bygones
And to quell my querulous nature
And to let that Spirit have its way
(And he can keep my old eyes too).
Zellie M. Quinn
30-plus years ago, I found out in my first semester in college that my student loans didn’t come through due to a glitch in the paper work.
I ended up dropping out of college that first semester and joining the Army.
I thought it was a bad thing. But turned out to be a good thing.
Then I went to Alabama for Basic Training and had adventures.
There I was warned of poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, and poisonous plants. Then I was told to go play war in the middle of that forest, sleep in that forest, and check my sleeping bag for big poisonous snakes before I settled into it after a day of War Games.
It rained day and night on all 5 days of Bivouac..
I met people I will never forget, (even if I’m not in touch with any of them) and grew in discipline, maturity, and bank account.
I learned what a Boilermaker in Germany was (and enjoyed more than a few!) I ate schnitzel mit case und champignon which translates into a German for ‘porky fatty thing that hides its fatty chewy side by being overcooked and slathered with cheese and mushrooms’. It was actually delicious!
Fast forward to 3 years later, I thought I was a fool. I’d just passed the Sergeant Board and was told I would be promoted to the rank of Sergeant. But I was 6 weeks away from the end of my 3 year active duty term, and they wanted me to re-enlist before they could give me my promotion.
But I was burnt out, done, had had enough of my soldiering days and didn’t have the stomach to re-enlist.
As I took the Greyhound home, I was kicking myself for not doing 20 years in the Military and thereby insuring myself a small retirement for life. I thought I was a failure.
5 months later I was back in College.
What was at first a catastrophe (no college loans coming through) ended up being a blessing for me- an experience in the Army that made me grow up, made me strong, and helped me have the maturity and discipline I needed to later go to college- while living and paying for college at below poverty level income.
So often when we think it is the end, often it is the beginning. So many seeming set backs have turned out to be times where fate was re-setting my course.
I’ve learned to have faith. Learned to trust. And I’ve learned that though life is often a mystery, there is a purpose and meaning and reason for the many little setbacks, happenings, and stories that happen to us. We just need to have faith.
We’re all hearing that if we want to be successful authors, we need a platform. A platform means having an ‘audience.’ Without readers and an audience it is difficult to sell books. You can platform by becoming a speaker, starting a blog, and networking with others of similar interests on Facebook and twitter. It is the way of the future. Sometimes I find it distracting.
Sometimes when I’m platforming, I feel that that is time I am not actually writing.
Except on my blog. That’s because I actually get to write pieces, essays, poems etc while I’m blogging. I get to read the writings of other writers, and have other writers read me. Sometimes they even ’like’ my posts. And thrill of thrills, when they leave a comment. Ah… contentment. (I know its corny, but you can’t deny a comment now and then makes your day!) Blogging gives you feedback, and I’m finding it an important tool to discover who I am.
Then I discovered I could Publicize my writings on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc and found a good way to Platform was at the press of a button! The Publicize Button.
WordPress is a step up from the other platforms because you are actually doing your trade which is writing, if you’re a writer. I’ve heard several authors kept WordPress, but dropped some of their other platforms, finding that too many platforms proved to be a distraction. (True story, and I read this on a couple of blogs!)
Signing off, (just for a little bit) to try to work a little on that novel I’ve been working on since forever!