Sailing lessons

I got an email recently about sailing without blame.

I imagine the sailing crew working together, hoisting the mainsail, securing the jib to the leading edge, tacking efficiently to follow the course of the wind and all smiling as the warm moist sea glistens on their working bodies. Everyone is fit and tan from the energetic sun and the boat glides smoothly over a calm sea.

I’m going to need some lessons. Or a new manual to follow. I have no idea what I just said.

What I end up doing is nothing like my imaginations. It resembles more of a cobbled together soap box, filled with leaded glass and gun powder on a metal frame that generates sparks while I drag it along the asphalt looking for an ocean to launch it in. I have long since kicked out any crew willing to assist me out of fear of losing them first to a better boat. I desperately thought I had abandoned this slip a long time ago and cannot figure out how to unlock it from my hitch.

Then, I seem to stall out…like now…

Lava tables and jumbled sleep

My soul slid through the narrow breach like molten lava whilst my trunk got stuck on its junk. I pulled and pried until my soul hardened, sealing the crevice only to break up into jagged rubble once cooled. Only my heart remained warm. It grew and grew until it took flight and left the trunk covered in ashes to rot on the ground.

My soul soars higher without a weighty pen. As a proclaimed artist, so many times I focus on what the pen is doing that I forget what the pen can see.

Look here…

The table is enormous and yet extremely crowded with a boisterous, extended family of lives. There is a woman desperately looking for a place to fit. To sit down. No one moves to let her in. Nor should they. They all belong equally. She sees a space on the corner with a wobbly chair and broken plate. Enough space, enough. She sits, she fills her plate. Her body straightens, her smile broadens, her shoulders even out.

Just trying to sit down…

I am up in the middle of the night scribbling dream induced words on the back of an old prescription paper. I believe myself to be desperate to find my place to sit down, hungry for my chance to eat at a table filled with food that won’t harm me. I fight with words on a page, slam the delete key too many times, contort simple phrases into jumbled consonants and question every inspiration, doubt each opportunity, long for any free moment.

Images of strength are vivid in my sleep, they fade closer to awakening.

I fight to stay there, awaken I always do.

Nancy Drew, Cheetos and My Little Girl

It’s been a while since I’ve written. Anything.

I am not able to focus lately.

I am not able to focus now.

I wanted to check-in with myself out here.

Life is full. Life is good. Life is Life.

There are days when I stare out the window of the car and wonder about the path of the unknown humans that pass by.

There are so many of us.

So many lives being lived.

I wonder if others recognize the awe —

Oh, who am I kidding?! I am trying to force-write something poignant and romantic about the beauty of life.

In reality, I am sitting at home on the Fourth of July with my daughter who is running a fever. Our boys -hubby and son – are off at a family gathering full of swimming, fireworks and fun. We could not go.

We watched Nancy Drew.

I ate some Cheetos, then we ordered Chinese.

She is feeling okay except for the fever.

I am feeling sorry for us.

Now is not the time to inflict you with insincere attempts to create something earth shattering.

Now is the time to paint some toenails, suck on some ice pops and enjoy the solitude with my Little Girl.

I’ll light my way through the black hole another day.

Overdue post – Sudden Fiction entry

A while back, I wrote about a sudden fiction story I wrote that was well received by A Room of Her Own Foundation.

Well, here it is.

I like this format.


Manifesting the Invisible

As she sat at her desk, surrounded by blue pushpin fabric and tiny windows whose only view was of interior walls, munching on pink M&Ms intended for Valentine’s Day, Vivian wondered how she’d let it happen again. She thought she’d been extremely careful in her choices over the last few years, made those major life changes all of the self-help gurus prattle on about and yet, here she sat convincing herself that not one thing had changed in her life and she was destined to fade away like an old water stain eventually does on decent leather – slowly, but surely.

Then something unexpected happened. As Vivian reached out have a sip of her soda, it was as if her hand – ever so briefly – disappeared. She almost didn’t see it as she was concentrating on her computer monitor with the usual blinding monotony that kept her seated there nearly forty hours every week. But, as she glanced down to make sure she actually grasped it instead of knock it over like she had been known to do – her hand was as clear the plastic bottle containing her afternoon caffeine fix. She made a tiny, yet audible yelp which in turn made her co-worker in the neighboring cube react.

“What was that?”

“Um,” stuttered Vivian. “Nothing. Almost spilled my coke is all.”

“Not again?”

“It’s okay,” Vivian replied quickly. “False alarm.”

“Humph,” the neighbor responded minus concern.

Vivian settled her hand onto her mouse as if clinging to the crossbar of a speeding rollercoaster. She had always been eccentric with a bit of the fanciful, but she had never, ever physically hallucinated before. IF that’s what this was –a hallucination. As she maintained her much too expected composure and clenched her every muscle into paralyzing submission, she allowed her eyes to slowly drift over toward the clock. It was time to go home.

“Thank goodness,” she thought. “It’s been a long day, probably nothing.” She hadn’t had a break as the office was short-staffed and she’d had to cover the phones most of the day. Vivian finished what she was working on, cleared off her desk and grabbed her purse. She stepped out of her cube to say goodnight but there was no one left. She quietly left by the back stairwell. As she walked to her car, she checked her hands every few steps to make sure they were still there. They were.

As Vivian approached her beat up old car, the thought again crossed her mind that nothing had changed for her. She originally loved her red station wagon with the turbo engine, but it had fallen into disrepair. She kept meaning to get that dent fixed, but never got around to it and now the dents had begun reproducing like rabbits. She climbed in, tuned into her favorite talk-radio station and began her short drive home in her typical mental brown-out.

Vivian liked to listen to sports talk-radio even though she didn’t really follow most sports. She liked the banter between the hosts and occasionally would talk back to them as if she were part of the show. The argument tonight was one she was becoming extremely tired of – steroid use by extremely well paid baseball players.

“What do you mean – no one cares?! What about the fans?!” Vivian yelled at no one in particular in response to the side of the debate which claimed that if everyone was using, the playing field was then level. She reached down to turn the volume up and it happened again.

Her hand was gone. And this time it wasn’t brief or for just a flash of a second. It was gone.

She could still feel it, feel her fingers but she could not see them. She clutched the steering wheel and immediately saw that her other hand was gone, too.

“Aagh!” Vivian screamed and hurriedly pulled off to the side of the road. As other cars passed, she could see drivers yelling and even flipping her off. She didn’t care. Couldn’t they see she was in distress? She sat there trying to comprehend the fact that although she could sense them, she could not see her hands at all. “What the hell is happening to me?!”

She stretched her fingers, balled her fists and even clapped – there was joint crackling, nails digging into her palms, and slapping sounds. But no hands.

Vivian had no idea how long she sat there on the roadside staring at the empty space that was expanding on the end of her arms. A car honked loudly enough to get through her haze and she instinctively found her winter gloves tucked into the side door pocket and put them on. She waived off the honker who was long gone and decided it was best to get home. She sped off down the road so fast, her car squealed but left no tire marks.

It was dark by the time she arrived. The porch light was not on, so she had to fumble with the lock and key mumbling to herself how it drove her nuts that no one ever remembered to leave the light on for her. She could hear the kids arguing in their rooms with their Dad about taking a shower or finishing up homework and headed straight to her room.

While in the bathroom preparing to take off her gloves, praying her hands had magically reappeared, her husband knocked on the door.

“Hey, babe, you in there?” he asked. Then, without waiting for a reply, he said “Going for a bike ride. See ya.” Vivian soon heard the back door swing shut.

She chose to leave the gloves on, she was cold anyway. She put on her nightshirt and climbed into bed without saying a word to anyone. Tears of confusion dampened her pillow, as she fell into a deep slumber.

Not even the dog asleep at her feet noticed as the lump under the covers slowly, but surely faded away.


Kathleen Vaught
© February 11, 2009
All Rights Reserved.

Pain Management, Drugs and Power Outages

I am behind on my blogging.

I have no excuses, but I do have reasons.

Finally taking care of some chronic pain issues.

Unfortunately, it involves some drugs. And, in a few days, a giant needle in a tricky location.

Our power was out due to storms and I discovered my total dependence upon electricity. Even though that was this past weekend, I have not yet caught up.

Needless to say, I have no witty comments today, no soul searching angst to spit out into the universe nor any veiled haikus of hidden feelings and secrets I am too afraid to announce presciently.

However, I miss my blogging connection and am popping in to say “hi.”

Okay – maybe I do have a haiku…peace…especially to my friend… ♥

How strong is my heart?
Endless downpour pushes brink.
Love shines from the stars.

Let them eat steak

I recently came across a familiar situation where I was faced with the opportunity to not do something I didn’t want to do. Toss in a little bit of having to do something I needed to do, but am not generally good at – and you have the makings of yet another blog post.

Let’s see how I fared, shall we?

In case you don’t know, I suffer from many “issues” one of which being I have a very unstable stomach. Food, which is supposed to be my friend, can in many ways be my worst enemy. Not only do I have the pudge-potential syndrome, I also have the irritable bowel one. Food choices are critical to ensure I do not end up writhing in pain for days. However, food is also my go-to mood adjustment device. Happy? Have a cupcake. Sad? Eat an entire bag of potato chips. Enjoy camaraderie? Scarf down enough Chili’s chips/salsa/ranch to feed a small nation. Totally depressed? Eliminate food altogether – which is clearly as harmful as eating too much.

[If at this point, you are thinking I need some sort of therapy – please, please refrain from suggesting that road which has been traveled ad nauseum. ]

This bit of background leads us up to the other evening when I was having dinner with some folks I am very close to. Food issues already range from the comical to the serious over the course of my life, so the fact that I have dire choices I am faced with making three times a day plus in between snacks only enhances any sort of meal-enticed environment around others because I then have to throw in the fact that I believe my choice must not offend or upset anyone, in anyway possible.

For many reasons, one of which being I had recently had the stomach flu – considered akin to a near death experience for IBS folks, I was not feeling all that great when I arrived at the dinner. It was soon revealed that we would be dining on good old fashioned steak and potatoes. No other choices offered.

I immediately thought, “Ouch – red meat on an already fragile stomach? Nope, cannot do it.”

Which was immediately followed by, “Fuck. This means I have to say something about it. Fuck.”

For just about anyone else, the solution is simple – state that you cannot eat the steak but would be delighted with the baked potato and be done with it.

If you have read more than one blog post from me, you also know I do not consider myself anywhere near the realm of normal. Telling someone that I am unable eat what they have prepared or don’t like the way they cut my hair or think the brakes they installed are not quite right or disagree with them over anything in general can be as difficult for me as brain surgery is for a statistician while at the same time producing some sort of self induced traumatic esteem injury.

[Again, if you have that tiny little urge telling you to suggest therapy for me – please don’t, pretend you did and simply allow me my eccentricities.]

I gave it a try anyway and said that I would not be able to eat the steak due to my stomach still not being totally healed. Whew! Look at me – gonna be tummy cramp free!

Then, when dinner came and my plate was being loaded and even though I’d been very clear that I was not going to eat steak – I was offered steak like parishioner is offered communion. I, again, said, “No, thanks. Remember, my stomach?”

The steak was held out in front, hovering in the air like a Matrix special effect by a pleading host.

“Are you sure? Just a little bit won’t hurt you will it?”

Did I maintain my commitment to my internal organs and refuse to eat the steak?

Or did I crumble like a tin can under the weight of an 80 ton tyrannosaurus rex crashing through the jungle on its way to a veggiesaurus slaughter?