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Interests: writer. reader, teacher, blogger. reviser of my memoir. survivor. yogi. real estate developer.
Recent Activity
Today's #reverb10 post is from Jeffrey Davis: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? I am prone to a tunnel vision that can see only to-do lists, obstacles, and next steps; the papers on my desk, the emails in my inbox, the dishes in the sink. The undone minutiae of my life. And while I wish I could say that I am present enough, enough of the time, to consistently find wonder in these things, I am not. Stuck in this end-result-oriented viewpoint, I might go for days without noticing the moon over... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2010 at graciespeaks
Today's #reverb10 post is based on a prompt by Ali Edwards: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). I used to teach college students nearly every day: composition, writing about literature, American literature. Then, after May, 1995, when I gave up on academia, using words like "ivory tower" and "indentured servitude," depending on my mood, I didn't teach anymore. When I went back to school for an MFA in 2004, I walked through an urban campus and felt something long-silenced and long-forgotten begin to crack... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2010 at graciespeaks
December 2 Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta) Yesterday's question specified a one-word answer, and I liked the directness and simplicity of that approach so much that I'm going to use it again today. I WORRY. that no one will read me that someone will read me that while I'm writing, I'm ignoring something else that I'm not writing as well as I should be that I haven't read Freedom yet that what I write will hurt people that what I write will expose... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2010 at graciespeaks
Julie, A list of do-I-really-need-to's is, for me, too, the big detriment to writing. And the answer is "no." The only "do-I-really-need-to" for us is this: We need to write. Angela
If you were around at this time last year, you may remember the community of reflection that formed around Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge. Today, December 1, is the the first day of the 2010 version, Reverb10. December 1 One Word. Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you? I knew my answers as soon as I read the prompt, and that usually means that my heart is speaking up before my mind... Continue reading
Posted Dec 1, 2010 at graciespeaks
Cardboard strips of tasty hues, ripe for picking. Toffee cream and mesa peach. Tawny bisque and graham cracker. Lime ricky, lemon twist. One-inch squares in an orderly rainbow. Soft alabaster melting into Barbados sand, spring lilac deepening to purple haze, smashing pink bursting into Moroccan red. They fill up my eyes, my nose, tickle the sweet spot in my brain. And the whites! Whispering rebirth in a can. Bone white, Spanish white, marble white. Opaline, seapearl and niveous (Latin for “resembling snow.’’) Country white, yes, and evening white, cameo white, linen white, ivory white. Yes also to white swan, white... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2010 at graciespeaks
This has turned into a tricky post of "yes, buts," "no, ands," and "well, maybes." You may remember that I committed to NaNoWriMo. A few days ago I realized that not only was I not going to finish 50,000 words, I wasn't going to come close. I had to admit that I can't do "everything," so I put the novel away and embarked on a weekend of intense and productive memoir editing. A small part of me says I shouldn't have "quit," but I know that the decision to choose what's really important to me over what was for me... Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2010 at graciespeaks
I've been thinking about the Girl Effect since Tara Sophia Mohr put out the call on Twitter for blog posts earlier this week. I've lent money to women through Kiva and other microlenders, committed to the belief that women's self-esteem, safety, education, and business success are the keys to nearly all global ills. But I didn't think until now about girls' self-esteem, safety, and education as the first step for women and the world. The girls in the video are the ages of my three beautiful nieces, ranging in age from ten to nineteen. The seventeen-year-old met a "hot" twenty-year-old... Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2010 at graciespeaks
Dates are very important. They give us a sense in time, excuses to look for in advance and moments to remember. I celebrate almost everything: December the 24th –and not the 25th- Christmas with family, gifts and friends; December 31st, New Years Eve, with champagne and hopes for the best to come; the Fourth Thursday in November, Turkey Day, filled with a thousand reasons to be thankful; June something, my birthday, between tears for the new wrinkles that appear followed by a rewarding trip to the mall and a massive celebration with joy and acceptance, and finally, October 31st, where... Continue reading
Posted Nov 19, 2010 at graciespeaks
Lincoln Road is crowded this temperate Saturday evening with sunburned, fleshy tourists, cigarette-smoking, bony beauties, muffin-topped teens, movie-bound families, stylish dogs and strollered children. The pedestrian open-air mall now rents to the expected names, GAP, Williams-Sonoma, Macy's, (it is a mall, after all) but is anchored by an architectural adventure in the form of a parking garage. On a night like this food is eaten al fresco, and we watch each other as much as we eye the merchandise. This is a part of town where purchasers sometimes have to pull out a second credit card after the first has... Continue reading
Posted Nov 17, 2010 at graciespeaks
sometimes you start here and take a lot of turns to get here Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2010 at graciespeaks
From Bryce Canyon National Park, this is not a rhetorical question: who do you think you are? Location:Hurricane,United States Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2010 at graciespeaks
Based on a forecast I saw several days before packing, I was afraid that I would be cold. I packed several long-sleeved t-shirts, some purchased solely for this trip. At the last minute, I threw a couple of short-sleeved shirts, the kind I wear nearly every day, into my bag. The weather has been about 15 degrees warmer than I'd bargained for, and today as I was sweating, hiking about 2000 feet worth of elevation change up to Observation Point, I had a chance to think about all the times when I think I don't have what I need, whether... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2010 at graciespeaks
I live in and am usually driven by Eastern time. Flew into Pacific time in Las Vegas. Drove into Utah and into Mountain time. Tonight (tomorrow morning) all of those times will be changed from Daylight to Standard. Being in this place though, time starts to seem just, well, silly. Location:Floor of the Valley Rd,Springdale,United States Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2010 at graciespeaks
After the five-hour flight from Miami to Las Vegas, I spent half an hour in an airport taxi line worthy of DisneyWorld. But my Filipino driver was depressed, because between the economy and his age (maybe he was forty), he could no longer make a living in the casinos as a dealer, something he had done since 1998. When I said I wasn't here to gamble, the driver said I was "a nice professional lady," and I suppose he's right, but I was happy to stay in last night and be ready for today. I'm meeting my Adventures in Good... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2010 at graciespeaks
I used to believe that for every long-term struggle, there was one elusive perfect never-fail solution: the perfect diet or exercise plan, the perfect spiritual practice, the perfect writing regimen. If I could only find it, I would use it forever and my struggle would be over. I have given up on this hope. My new un-solution un-plan commits wholeheartedly, daily, to the solution that's working at the moment, knowing that it won't always work, being flexible and willing to change to a new solution when the old one breaks down. For several months, since my "if you're well enough... Continue reading
Posted Oct 27, 2010 at graciespeaks
If you've hung in there with me through the last five posts, thank you. I'll be flying like an eagle, measuring with a new yardstick, sipping my green smoothies, getting dressed without sifting through clothes that mock me in their not-fitting-ness, and being freer without those emotional Spanx. And I'll be curious about what will happen next. For now, I'll finish this cycle of posts where I began: with words, specifically, a couple of adjectives--"guru" and "heavy"--that I've been thinking about for the past ten days. As a noun, "guru" means teacher or spiritual master in Sanskrit. As an adjective,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 21, 2010 at graciespeaks
October 2010 is the "awareness" month for breast cancer and domestic violence. It's also the 10th anniversary of Spanx. Who knew? On the home page, I learned that you can "transform your silhouette and give your butt a boost with Slim Cognito," complete with "Butt pockets [to] lift your seat!" Don't get me wrong: I say thanks to the Spanx. Mine survived the Great Birthday Closet Purge. But the emotional Spanx are on their way out. Without them, here's what I hope you'll see from me: No compression: expansion and the dissolution of boundaries. Movement, fluidity. Visible lumps: everything... Continue reading
Posted Oct 19, 2010 at graciespeaks
Thank you, Megan, for commenting and for the birthday wishes.
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Oh, Amy--I'm sure someone will love those shoes! Who are the people with the narrow toes, anyway? Thank you for the birthday wishes!
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Thank you,Dian! It was a lovely Sunday.
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Thank you for stopping by, Sally! I am a big fan of Wholly Jeanne, too.
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Dian, Megan, and Jeanne, Thank you for sharing your experiences of keeping, and releasing, these clothes that silently badger us. I'm really grateful for your comments.
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2010 on too heavy, part 3: shedding threads at graciespeaks
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Dian, I love the term "feeling confiscated." That's a great way to describe it. Downloading "Grey Street" right now. And thanks for subscribing. Grateful to have you here. xo
Toggle Commented Oct 18, 2010 on too heavy, part 2: yardstick at graciespeaks
1 reply
Today is my 46th birthday, so here I am, closer to 50 than 40, ratcheting up the annual stock-taking. I remembered a peach blouse that recalled a particularly bad evening. I woke up this morning determined to take another pass through my closet. I am also determined to distinguish intellectual, spiritual, energetic heaviness from the burdensome heaviness that comes from the past, from others' expectations and standards. The latter is a weight and drag on our eagle natures. An eagle wouldn't be able to soar if she were wearing an extra jacket, or five, that don't fit. Today I am... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2010 at graciespeaks