Birthing Stars

One of my favourite writing friends, Julie Christine Johnson, just published an evocative post “Atmospheric River” on her blog. (Aside* Do yourself a favour and visit Julie’s blog. It will lift your spirits and inspire you.) I had never heard of the term “Atmospheric River” before but it just zings with me now. Julie speaks of awakening from a winter of the soul, one which I know well and so much of what she shares in this post echoes what I am feeling right now.

A couple of days ago I celebrated a birthday. In many ways it was a difficult Birthday because it was my first without one of my oldest friends, someone who is a part of my soul. But also because of A and how much she treasured life, even as it slipped out of her fingers like the broken silken threads of spiderwebs, I also was determined to truly appreciate the day. It ended up being both a terrible and beautiful day, much like life itself. Terrible in that someone, in a six degrees of separation way, was buried on my birthday morning. Beautiful in that a precious new human, the first longed-for son of one of my soul-friends, was born on the evening of my birthday.  A burial in the morning and a birth in the evening on my birthday. An ending in the morning and a beginning in the evening of my birthday. This paradox of tragedy/beauty and death/birth made me think of the life of a star.

The past and all its little deaths of finished moments births our present…

There is nothing more magnificent than looking up at a night sky and trying to count all the stars one sees. But the stunning paradox is that many of those bright stars that we see in our galaxy are reflections of their past. Many of those stars that look so bright with life are stars that have died but because of their immense distance from us, we are actually seeing their past in our present. Isn’t that how it is with our memories and our own lives? We see the past in our present, hope for the unknown future but all we do know is the past. The past and all its little deaths of finished moments births our present. The past beauty of stars gives us our present vision of the night sky.

Black holes birth stars

The above article was published a couple of days ago. Ironically it was published on my birthday. 

“A team of astrophysicists has discovered that supermassive black holes at the centre of galaxies aren’t just destroyers of stars, but can also be their creators…”

This artist’s impression depicts a galaxy forming stars within powerful outflows of material blasted out from supermassive black holes at its core. (ESO/M. Kornmesser)

This article filled me with thrills of excitement and it zinged with the epiphany I’ve had this week. I’ve been in my own black hole both creatively and emotionally. For the longest time I haven’t only not been inspired but I didn’t care that I didn’t want to create when life felt so destructive and chaotic. This black hole kept sucking me further and deeper into its vacuous depths. But very slowly a tiny, minuscule creative spark was being birthed in all this destruction.

This personal supermassive black hole had destroyed the stars of my creativity and ripped asunder the fabric of my night skies, forever changing the galaxy of my life, pulling it all into this consuming black nothingness that is grief. But where there is death there has to be life. This black hole I have found myself in has birthed beautiful, vibrant, sparking creative energy. The immense blackness has birthed exquisite light. 

This black hole has birthed stars. Out of chaos, beauty. 

I am birthing stars again. The synapses of my imagination are sparking with a fiery energy as they are born out of the very thing that was their destroyer. For the first time in the longest time, ideas are flying through me and streaming out my fingers into the ink on a page. Old words are reawakening. New words are taking their first breath. Finally I am creating again. This act of creativity/creation is awakening my very soul and stitching the broken pieces of my grieving heart  together again into something stronger and beautiful. The ideas are flying so fast and so abundantly that it is all I can do to capture them in the net of my page.

How do you net stars? 

I can’t net all the stars and some of these words, some of these ideas, like the stars in the night sky will die even as their trailing light births new words, new ideas and new stars of creativity. But I don’t need to net all the stars flying past me at light-year speed. It is enough that there are stars being birthed and that even as some will die, more will be born. My galaxy looks different now, forever changed. Life is chaotic and messy, tragic and broken. But life is also beautiful and precious, hopeful and whole. The seasons of a life are many and constantly in flux, changing even as they change us. The seasons of Creativity are also constantly in flux, ebbing and flowing, dimming and brightening. Life and creativity is a paradox of opposites, of winters and summers, of rusting leaves and fragile blossoms, and that is a beautiful reality.

I will net enough stars out of this black hole, enough stars to remind myself that I am breathing, that I have this time, this present moment. This present moment is all that we have but what lies in our control is what we choose to do with it. For me, right now, I am birthing stars.

Out of destruction, creation. 

Out of death, birth.

Out of darkness, light.

Out of grief, hope.

Out of chaos, stars.

Writing on the Go

Three things I love and use every day:

  1. My iPad Mini
  2. Scrivener 
  3. Stationery (Especially the delicious lure of NEW stationery)

In this post I get to combine all three of some of my favourite things.


Writing Essentials: iPad mini/Logitech Bluetooth Keyboard + Macbook + Scrivener/iOS + Paper Notebooks (Nanami Seven Seas Crossgrid + Moleskine + Hobonichi) + Bag full of Pens/Pencils + Coffee + Water + Private Writing Space + Spacious Desk + Ergonomically comfortable chair #onmydesk #onmydesktoday #inkslaying #drafting #writersdesk 


Scrivener iOS + iPad Mini

This month I finally downloaded the Scrivener iOS app on my iPad Mini. I adore my Macbook but my iPad mini is never far from my side. I have had the “MacGyver of Writing Tools” Scrivener on my MacBook for 6 years now and it is hands down my favourite writing software. But it had one drawback, it did not have an iOS app. Until now. So until now, and because my iPad mini goes everywhere with me, I wrote on the Write for iPad app and then copied and pasted from the Dropbox sync folder into my Desktop Scrivener. Until now. Until this month. At the beginning of this month I finally downloaded the magical Scrivener iOS app. WOW! I’m not sure what I was really expecting but I had thought the iOS version would be a bared-down-minimal version of the desktop version. I was right and wrong. 

Minimal: 

  • Yes. In that it is a minimalistic, distraction-free and beautiful digital writing space. 
  • No. In that this is the Full Monty of Mobile apps. This is not a “mobile” version in that it lacks from the desktop. It is a “mobile” version purely because it is 100% Scrivener on a smaller screen.

Finally I can write on the go, anywhere and it is synced through to my MacBook Scrivener. No more copying and pasting. All my research/drafting/edits/notes at my fingertips whether on my MacBook at my desk, or on my iPad on the go.

As much as I love Scrivener and love my digital technology, I can never say no to the delicious lure of new stationery. For me paper and pens are my essential favourite things. I am especially obsessed with the magic of Tomoe River Paper. Since getting into the world of fountain pens I realised the many different qualities of paper. My first experience with Tomoe River Paper was through my favourite planner: Hobonichi. Tomoe River Paper has three amazing features: It is all Ink/Watercolour friendly, it is very thin, smooth Paper and it shows off sheeting fountain pen inks. 

Then I heard about Nanami Paper. An online maker/supplier of notebooks and stationery, most importantly they made big notebooks full of Tomoe River Paper. The only issues were the limited quantities available. These notebooks are so amazing that the minute there is availability they are sold out by the second minute. So I have waited patiently until there was stock available. Finally I was able to snag one of these elusive notebooks for myself: The Crossfield.

Nanami Seven Seas: The Crossfield

There are three different types of Seven Seas notebooks. The Standard, the Writer and the new Crossfield. The Standard is blank Tomoe River Paper. The Writer is lined Tomoe River Paper. Both of these options are an ivory coloured paper. The newest Seven Seas notebook is the Crossfield. This is an open-cross-grid Tomoe River Paper and the colour of this paper is white. I tend to choose either blank or grid paper and prefer white paper over any other colour so the Crossfield was the perfect option for me. Another fantastic feature of this notebook is that it is a 480 page notebook but the magic of the Tomoe River Paper is that it is exceptionally thin paper so the notebook itself is not much thicker than one of my hard-backed moleskine notebooks. The Crossfield comes in the A5 size which is my favourite drafting notebook size.

Related Links

On Mornings like these, and a new travel tradition #Soulfood #Poetry #Journaling

Bliss is found on mornings like these…

Today has been spent eating Poetry for Breakfast and Journaling in my heart space ~ my Zenkraft traveller’s notebook. I bought these two stunning poetry editions while in the UK last year. Poetry and music were my healing spaces in 2016 and continue to be this year. I also decided to start a new personal travel tradition. Instead of keychains or other travel keepsake ephemera I have decided to buy myself books of poetry every time I travel somewhere. These are my first two poetry mementoes and what stunning eye candy for the senses and soul food for the heart and mind they are.


“Time cannot be cut

with your weary scissors,

and all the names of the day

are washed out by the waters of the night.” 

excerpted from Too Many Names | Pablo Neruda



I have always wanted my own edition of exquisite Pablo Neruda poetry. This edition is truly exquisite. The cover is stunning, symbolising both a sensuality and a vulnerability that is embraced in the words contained within. 


“In the name of the lost who glory in

The swinish plains of carrion

Under the burial song

Of the birds of burden

Heavy with the drowned

And the green dust

And bearing

The ghost

From

The ground

Like    pollen

On the black plume 

And the beak of slime

I pray though I belong

Not wholly to that lamenting

Brethren for joy has moved within

The inmost marrow of my heart bone…”

excerpted from Vision and Prayer | Dylan Thomas

I have always wanted to own The Complete Works of Dylan Thomas. This centenary edition stood out to me because the waves on the cover are deeply symbolic to me and a beautiful echo of my journey.

How do you fill your well? 

Tell me what brings you bliss?

#Travel Edition | These are some of my Favourite #OnTheGo Things #2017 #EDC 

For the last 5 months of 2016 I was on the road, in the air, on planes, trains, underground trains, cars and mostly living out of a lightweight suitcase + a backpack + a crossbody travel bag. So I had to minimise my favourite things into portable Every Day Carry (EDC) options; those which would take the least amount of room, be highly functional, be minimalistic but still give me pleasure. When travelling, especially long-term, the key-words are Minamalism + Functional. I would add my personal motto of Yo-No-Bi: Simplicity, Function, Beauty. 

  • Yo-No-Bi 

This principle is known as yo-no-bi. Common among the older generation of craftsmen in Japan, yo-no-bi consists of two kanji, yo (用) which means use or application, and bi (美) which means beauty. Together they aim to balance the aesthetic and the functional – not only must a technique/item be functional, but it must be pleasing to the eye.


So here I’ve summed up my Favourite On-The-Go EDC things, all true to the principle of Yo-No-Bi, that I ended up carrying with me all over Australia/Hong Kong/UK/Greece for the last half of 2016.

Write It Down

Hobonichi 

  • Hobonichi Weeks [Wallet-Size]

Hobonichi Weeks

Hobonichi is hands down my favourite planner. I have waxed lyrical about my love for Hobonichi before. Hobonichi come in 3 sizes: Original Techo/Planner -A6; Cousin – A5; Weeks – Chequebook/Wallet size. I have all 3 sizes and use all three for different uses. But my favourite that is always with me is the Hobonichi Weeks. This is the Hobonichi I chose to carry with me while travelling overseas.

Traveller’s (/Traveler’s – USA) Notebooks aka TNs

Favourite Brands:

Chic Sparrow Maverick – Pocket

    Zenkraft Appalachian Trail Trifold Logbook

    I adore my collection of traveller’s notebooks [Current count = 7] but in 2016, while travelling for 4 months, my constant companions were my hardy Chic Sparrow Maverick Pocket TN + my rustic Zenkraft Appalachian Trail Trifold logbook. These were the two I chose to carry with me. My little Maverick (Water-Buffalo leather) went everywhere with me as my notebook-on-the-go. My gorgeous Zenkraft Appalachian Trail- this leather is stunningly soft and pliable – embraced my journal.

    Notebooks

    Pens

      Fountain Pens

      TWSBI Vac-Mini Fountain Pen + Visconti Travelling Inkwell + Chic Sparrow Maverick Pocket TN


      My favourite on-the-go fountain pen is designed with an ink shut off valve for easy carry and no mess on airplanes. Although it is a mini fountain pen, because it is a vac filler it holds a large amount of ink so it is both functional and portable. Along with the handy Visconti traveling inkwell, I can travel with these with ease and still have the pleasure of writing with fountain pen.

      Ballpoint Pens

      Archival Ink Pens

      Pencil Case


      Devices & Apps

      • MacBook 13″ Aluminium 2008 Laptop 

      This laptop has been my faithful companion for 8 years and is still going strong. But I can no longer update the OS so this year it will be a time for an upgrade. I have decided, after lugging around this MacBook in my backpack through airports, that I need a more portable laptop. So this year I will be downsizing my MacBook 13″ and getting the new 12″ ultra-light MacBook. These (1) + (2) articles had me lusting over the 12″ MacBook. But it was when I went into my local electronics store and tested one out for myself that I was 100% convinced this will be my 2017 laptop. And Yes, I can’t resist that gorgeous rose-gold option.

      • Apple iPad Mini

      Hands down my favourite on-the-go EDC device. I can write on it, I can communicate on it, I can be entertained AND it is extremely portable.

      • Apple iPhone 5c

      My favourite mobile phone is actually my Blackberry Storm 9900. But although I took it with me on my travels, it was not playing nice with the different overseas networks. Thankfully I had my backup iPhone which ended up being my main phone. 

      These ear-phones were a godsend on my ultra-longhaul flights + numerous underground/overground train trips. Excellent audio quality and excellent external noise-cancelling qualities but allow in just enough external ambience noise so that you’re aware of what is happening in your surroundings – vital for travelling.

      Favourite Apps

      • Dropbox – My favourite cloud backup.
      • Scrivener – Hands down my favourite writing/editing word processing app.
      • Swipes – My favourite to-do list app.
      • Netflix
      • Spotify Premium



      Travelling/ On-the-Go

      Although I have travelled a lot in the past, the longest those trips were, were 1 month. In 2016 my travels were for 5 months. On top of that I travelled from the…

      Southern Hemisphere Winter: New Zealand (Home) – to Australia 

      To

      Northern Hemisphere Summer + Winter: Hong Kong – U.K. – Greece

      To 

      Southern Hemisphere Summer: New Zealand (Home)

      So not only was I crossing hemispheres but I was travelling to countries with vastly different climates to New Zealand’s. So I had to plan both my luggage + wardrobe options very carefully and precisely as well as take into account that I would be changing seasons while on my travels as well. I was also travelling by myself which meant I had to carry everything. If nothing else, this journey made me an even better traveller. With all this in mind, I did my pre-travel research – we writers love any excuse for research – very thoroughly, both on what to pack and what to pack everything in for long term travel. Here is what I ended up with…

      Luggage

      These PACSAFE bags were two of the best purchases I have ever made. Extremely durable, all-weather-proof, brilliant anti-theft features and the clincher for me, both were extremely comfortable to carry.

      Favourite Clothing Items (for longer-term travelling across seasons)

      • Black Leather Jacket + black leather gloves
      • Kathmandu Isograd All-Weather Waterproof 3-in-1 Jacket
      • Skinny Jeans [Day + Night] – In 3 colours, classic distressed blue, classy indigo blue + dressy black.
      • 3 * Cotton Cargo Trousers – My preference are the ones that can zip off into shorts.
      • Tank tops in multiple colours
      • 2 * Boho-inspired maxi-dresses + 2 * maxi-skirts 
      • Little Black Dress (LBD)
      • LED Little Everything Dress – not black, but something that is a colour version of the LBD
      • 2 * Pashmina Shawls – Brilliant as knee-blankets, scarves, shawls, replacement cardigan/jumper/jersey
      • Monokini Swimming Costume – One-piece swim-wear costume with cutouts + a good beach towel
      • Underwear + Socks (Took the basics but ended up buying what more I needed while travelling.)
      • Pilates work out pants/top – Triple use as casual day/wear and/or Workout clothing and/or Pjs (sleeping).
      • Havaiana Flip-Flops
      • Flat-heeled Knee-Length Boots – Tip: make sure your boots’ soles are thick, especially if in Europe/UK cobblestoned streets.
      • Platform/Wedge Heeled dress shoes (They look good, are comfortable and good for cobblestoned streets.)
      • A good water-resistant pair of running shoes
      • A good pair of ankle hiking boots.

        Tell me, what are some your Favourite EDC On-The-Go Things?


        Capsized | Writing through the Fog, Emerging from under the Wave

        The Uses of Sorrow | Mary Oliver

        (In my sleep I dreamed this poem)

        Someone I loved once gave me

        a box full of darkness.

        It took me years to understand

        that this, too, was a gift.


        …And today I felt like I was drowning in this ocean wave of grief and pain and lostness. I felt overwhelmed and raw with too many emotions trying to come out all at once…Then I knew I needed to quiet the ocean of noise in my brain. The only way I know how to do this is to Write! So here I have been writing in this journal on and off all afternoon/night. I don’t think the noise in my brain has died down yet. But it feels cathartic to see my thoughts and feelings in black permanent ink on a white page…-I need my poems to truly expel all this grey emotion. I’ve been purposely staying away from working on my poetry because I don’t want to actually face all these emotions. But I know I’m drowning beneath all my emotions/thoughts…the only way I know to come up and out from under all of this is through my poetry. It is my own life-raft. I need to get back in my life-raft… | excerpted from my journal ~ Greece, September 2016

        “From the Sea” [Image by Bojan Jevtić]**

        capsize

        kapˈsʌɪz/

        verb

        1.(of a boat) be overturned in the water.

        “the craft capsized in heavy seas”

        “gale force winds capsized their small craft”

        antonyms: right

        cause (a boat) to overturn.

        “gale-force gusts capsized the dinghies”

        Origin
        late 18th century: perhaps based on Spanish capuzar ‘sink (a ship) by the head’, from cabo ‘head’ + chapuzar ‘to dive or duck’.


        A new country called Grief

        I am a traveller in a new country called Grief. For much of last year I was lost in a place-less Fugue. I went through the motions automatically relying on muscle memory rather than being present in the moment. There was no need to be present in the moment, this Fugue state carried me through this isolated country of Grief. I couldn’t concentrate or focus on much else than normal daily surviving requirements. Fiction, my own and others, was no longer an escape or a refuge. For the first month and a half after losing A, I just barely existed. But slowly as I got acclimated to this Grief, I started looking for ways to communicate; to express myself more clearly and to process this emotion that remained nameless in its immensity. Music and Poetry were the two life-rafts that rescued me from this storm-ravaged place.

        A New Project

        Newton’s law of motion states that “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”. Grief capsized me completely but through the twin life-rafts of Music and Poetry I was slowly Emerging: Emerging into a new direction, an altered me. When you sink, the equal and opposite reaction is to finally rise and emerge. I have found a way to breathe again. I have a way to stop drowning in this Grief. 

        The only way I was going to emerge from this Fugue state was to truly give in to the terrible emotion. To let it embrace me without fighting it. The only way a drowning swimmer can be rescued is if they don’t fight or struggle but simply relax and let themselves be rescued. In much the same way, I needed to just let this Grief encompass me in her watery depths before I could be rescued. Slowly I started rising up from these depths and as I began to rise, words started rising with me. At first I could not grasp the words so I just let them rise around me. But slowly the words became clearer to me as I immersed myself in others Poetry; poetry by Dylan Thomas, Pablo Neruda, Leonard Cohen and Rupi Kaur, and let Music be the soundtrack to drown out the cacophony that was the silence of this Grief. Slowly I could grasp enough words to form a line then enough words to form a verse then enough words to form a stanza. As I journaled I realised that these were my emotions becoming words becoming poems. Poems that expressed what I could not, did not want to verbalise in conversation. 

        What was emerging from my immersion into Poetry, Music, Art and through my journaling was a collection of emotions in words: a collection of poems. Suddenly I could focus again creatively. I had stopped struggling and in my surrender to this emotional drowning I had found a way to rise up and to begin emerging again. So this is what I have been working on for the last few months and will continue to work on for the next few months. A new project. An anthology of poems that could finally name all these unnameable emotions that Grief drowns one in. An anthology that I am calling…

        CAPSIZE

        Every year for the last five years I have chosen One Word to theme and propel my New Year. Last year my word was ironically RISE. But although most of last year felt like the opposite of Rising, felt closer to drowning, it was the gift of words in the form of Poetry that did have me eventually Rising. 

        2016 has forever changed me. I’m carrying a box of loss that is forming a new version of who I am. So for 2017 I have chosen a new theme, a theme of hope. A new word for a different me. A me that is navigating an altered topography of where I am going, who I am now and who I want to be. I am ready for a new dawn.
        So this year my Word of The Year is: 

        EMERGE

        ɪˈməːdʒ/

        verb

        verb: emerge; 3rd person present: emerges; past tense: emerged; past participle: emerged; gerund or present participle: emerging

        1. move out of or away from something and become visible.

        “black ravens emerged from the fog”

        synonyms: come out, appear, come into view, become visible, make an appearance; turn up, spring up, come up, surface, crop up, pop up; materialize, manifest oneself, arise, proceed, issue, come forth, emanate

        2. become apparent or prominent.

        synonyms: become known, become apparent, become evident, be revealed, come to light, come out, transpire, come to the fore, enter the picture, unfold, turn out, prove to be the case; 

        3. recover from or survive a difficult situation.

        Origin

        late 16th century (in the sense ‘become known, come to light’): from Latin emergere, from e- (variant of ex- ) ‘out, forth’ + mergere ‘to dip’.  




        [**PostScript: The image of “From the Sea” by the Serbian visual artist, Bojan Jevtić, helped inspire my theme for my new W.I.P poetry anthology: Capsize. I found that this particular image was able to vividly portray how this loss, this Grief makes me feel. It was the picture that has inspired my new words.]


        Devastation | The Daily Post

        2016.Bitter.Sweet.

        …Today is a difficult day I feel overwhelmed by pain: emotional waves of grief and emptiness that keep on breaching my foundations; foundations weak from physical pain-migraine! I’m angry at myself for being a mess today. I’m angry that I feel so broken and I’m doing all I can to hold onto the broken pieces…but really I just want to throw away all the brokenness and wipe the slate clean and start again, build myself back up…I’m still in Migraine Hell. The pain has dulled but the nausea is now kicking in with full force. I slept better last night but took a while to fall asleep…too much noise in my brain again. But I put on my headset and drowned the noise with music. There is a numbness today after all the emotion that poured out of me yesterday…This is not the End of me…This is the beginning…For so long I had caged my heart, told it to keep quiet. I have lead solely with my head. But I have only survived, I have lived a life half-lived. But losing A so soon, too soon, opened that dark lock-box where I had hidden my heart. Suddenly it was no longer just a lock-box but it had transformed into Pandora’s Box. Suddenly I couldn’t contain, couldn’t constrain, couldn’t control all the emotion that came pouring out of this hidden place. Grief, rage, death, loss skinned me of all my protective layers. I was left unformed, raw, vulnerable, unprotected from the elements, all my dam walls broken in millions of pieces…this journey was a part of my destiny. It would take something tragic, something devastating to move me from the grey places I had walked into when I shut away my heart. The worst thing happened. Someone I loved, someone who was part of my history, part of my story, part of my identity…Left. Not only did she leave but I lost my chance to see her in person once again. She was ripped from my life, taken away with not enough warning. There are moments in life and death that define us, shake the very core of us, change us. There are moments in life that are defined by what came before and what came after. This is my moment. This is the moment, the fragment in time, where I decide to either stay the same or change direction. This journey has freed my heart from the martingale I had constrained it with. Then my heart, now raw, free and untethered suddenly found a reason to wake up…It was both the most painful trip I have ever had to make but also the most clarifying journey filled with sweet pockets of unexpected joy…I cannot help but think that A is still being my BFF and arranging circumstances and moments to bring me joy, to remind me what it means to truly live, not just survive but thrive. Seeing A go through the Cancer with courage and yes even with joy and still believing in love, in spite of the Cancer or perhaps because for her the Cancer clarified how short and precious life is and how rare joy and love is…| excerpted from my journal ~ 2016

        I’ve been away, both from this blog and from my own life. I’ve come back from a life-changing, life-altering journey. A journey that I never wanted to take but one that is now part of my story. The journey started 26 years ago when two adolescent girls met one morning waiting for a school bus and said “hello”. One of these girls is me at 12, just moved to a new town with no friends. The other girl is A: a girl who stands with her ballet dancer’s elegance, her feet meeting at the heels and toes pointed in opposite directions. That first “hello” changed my story and opened the chapter of a life-long friendship. In 2016 that long chapter changed with the last words I told my friend, the ballet dancer, the daughter, the sister, the mother, the woman, the nurturer, the compassionate one, the warrior, my anchor; when I told her she could let go now, she could rest. 

        In 2016 I lost one of the cartographers of my past. In 2016 I lost my oldest friend, my soul-sister to Cancer. I then travelled thousands of miles, a journey that was delayed and complicated by a category 8 typhoon, to do my final duty as a best friend. We had been best friends for 26 years but for 20 of these years we had lived many thousands of miles and two oceans apart. This distance did not weaken our bond. Instead it deepened our bond because holding onto each other was a part of holding onto our youth, our land left behind, our past. I was planning on going to visit A in 2016 anyway because I wanted to help her fight Cancer by holding her close and being in the same physical space together. But we ran out of time. On July 1st, A’s journey ended. On August 1st, I left on a journey I never wanted to take. A journey that would bring a close to a 26 year long chapter of my story. 

        “Give it all or don’t do it” | Celine Cassone, Les Ballets Jazz de Montreal

        2016 has changed forever who I am. In a way I am learning to discover this new version of me. I am back “home” and have been for a month; seeing out both the dying breath of 2016 and welcoming the new breath of 2017. But I feel untethered in so many ways. I am not the same person who started the year in January 2016. I am not the same person who left on a journey both physical, emotional, and mental on August 1st. There has been a plot-twist to my story. But I am the same person who was best friends with A for 26 years. And now I need to continue on my journey wherever it may yet take me. I need to map out the altered, changed, new cartography of the next chapters of my life-journey. There are massive exciting plot-twists ahead for me in 2017. Chapters that will end and new chapters to begin. Old spaces to farewell and new spaces to welcome. Old words to end and new words that have already begun. There are many changes ahead but I am ready to put the Bitter away and to embrace the Sweet. I am ready to continue living out my story and to continue writing. I am ready to chase after, cherish and embrace joy, love and friendship, unafraid of the risks but to embrace them in spite of the risks and because of the risks. I am ready to truly live each present moment boldly and to own each chapter of my story. For that I know is what A wanted.

        2016.Bitter.Sweet.Goodbye.Hello.2017.

        *Feature Image courtesy of NYC Dance Project | Celine Cassone *