South Haven, Michigan
PROUD BUT NEVER SATISFIED began its pre-launch today by our publisher, Huron/The Studer Group.
Alas, I’ve typed the surface off some of the keys while writing this book… apparently, writing about healthcare puts a lot of pressure on “H” and “M” and “N.”
#seavercreative #deliverables #transformativehealthcare #leadership #needanewkeyboardnow
It would be hard to articulate how I felt when she told me what she’d finally settled on as the subject of her next painting–the one that was for me. After months of pondering, the talented, divinely-inspired artist, Thimgan Dodd Hayden picked the photo that Wolfy took for me.
It was a tough choice, given that she had to pick from amongst a thousand or so images on my photography blog (ask for me for that link if you’re interested) and the only input I gave her was headed in a completely different direction. That she picked this one (only a half dozen or so duly-credited photos on that site aren’t mine) without knowing how special it is to me just blew me away.
Thimgan (pronounced TIMee-yun) is a Celtic name, aptly enough. Of course she’d find that November sky to paint.
That Scottish sky was taken for me by Wolfy, my eternally-present but far-away companion who lives in the UK. I met him when he was fishing off the dock at Cromarty in October 2012; I took this picture of him.
Wolfy’s glorious sunset was taken at Melvaig the month after we met. He was on his way to the lighthouse there because he had this amazing gig where he just drove to these incredibly remote places throughout the Scottish Highlands and did engineering checks and repairs on the BBC radio towers.
Now it’s hanging in the entryway of Swanchurch above the water pitcher that belonged to Jill’s grandmother and the small red mourning candle I got in Vilnius last October on the table below. The ornately painted Persian mirror with tiny doors from Faegheh hangs on the other side of my office door above Makena’s walking stick from the UU bridging ceremony at People’s Church, and my own (made by Geo from tanglewood) leaning into the corner.
It is understood that nearly everything at Swanchurch (where I live) has a story, including its name.
In a few months, Thimgan says the painting will be ready for varnish then framing.
Last night as I turned out the lights before going to bed, I noted how the painting’s setting sun seemed to hold its own even in the dark. This made me smile and consider a new aspect to my routine . . . smiling at the light of the sky inside the dark each night before sleep.
I’m so utterly delighted and blessed to have it here.
Thank you, Thimgan.
Thank you, Wolfy.
I was trying to explain poetry to someone who is trying to understand . . .
THIS . . . THIS . . .
I wanted to see where beauty comes from
without you in the world, hauling my heart
across sixty acres of northeast meadow,
my pockets filling with flowers.
Then I remembered,
it’s you I miss in the brightness
and body of every living name:
rattlebox, yarrow, wild vetch.
You are the green wonder of June,
root and quasar, the thirst for salt.
When I finally understand that people fail
at love, what is left but cinquefoil, thistle,
the paper wings of the dragonfly
aeroplaning the soul with a sudden blue hilarity?
If I get the story right, desire is continuous,
equatorial. There is still so much
I want to know: what you believe
can never be removed from us,
what you dreamed on Walnut Street
in the unanswerable dark of your childhood,
learning pleasure on your own.
Tell me our story: are we impetuous,
are we kind to each other, do we surrender
to what the mind cannot think past?
Where is the evidence I will learn
to be good at loving?
The black dog orbits the horseshoe pond
for treefrogs in their plangent emergencies.
There are violet hills,
there is the covenant of duskbirds.
The moon comes over the mountain
like a big peach, and I want to tell you
what I couldn’t say the night we rushed
North, how I love the seriousness of your fingers
and the way you go into yourself,
calling my half-name like a secret.
I stand between taproot and treespire.
Here is the compass rose
to help me live through this.
Here are twelve ways of knowing
what blooms even in the blindness
of such longing. Yellow oxeye,
viper’s bugloss with its set of pink arms
pleading do not forget me.
We hunger for eloquence.
We measure the isopleths.
I am visiting my life with reckless plenitude.
The air is fragrant with tiny strawberries.
Fireflies turn on their electric wills:
an effulgence. Let me come back
whole, let me remember how to touch you
before it is too late.
– Stacie Cassarino, SUMMER SOLSTICE
The leeks I planted have gone to seed.
This pleases me to no end because that’s when they’re most photogenic.
That’s how my garden grows, and that’s also how writing goes. A thing gets planted . . . but it often produces a different yet related outcome . . . like somewhere along the way, the question I was asking changed because of the answer that appeared.
When I was about 19, I had this remarkable dream that I would have a son one day who would be a seer. I wouldn’t know what that meant until almost ten years later when an audiologist confirmed our baby boy was deaf.For the most part, I put off the grief about that news for almost 25 years. Instead, I thought of that dream and dove into its goodness . . . this was going to be about seeing, not about not hearing.
How that boy could see . . . always different than everyone else . . . inside the soul and outside the lines. One morning when he was maybe four or five, he woke up earlier and happier than usual. I came into the kitchen to find him already at the table with crayons and paper drawing something with the kind of intensity that pushes tongue out over lip. He beamed up at me . . . held up his drawing of this scene:
“Last night I dreamt you a raccoon.”The years have been full of such gifts . . . deafness has given me much more than it ever cost me. But it cost a lot–frustration, raging at the world that wasn’t kind, patient or just; my guilt and vulnerability and trust and doubt and confusion and exasperation.
But not with my son, at least no more than usual when your kid sasses back, whacks his brother, launders his hearing aids, skips school, keeps dating a bad girlfriend, and trades his sensible car in for a super-jacked ATV.Now we are writing a book together, and more gifts come at me a myriad of ways. Things I wondered about in the days before he had enough language to tell me what he felt have come pouring forth. We are waking and dreaming together.We laugh, we cry, we find each other in new ways and discover we were never lost, not even once. Even now when he lives a thousand miles away and days pass without a word, I can feel him in the darkness of every kind of distance. For me, this hasn’t been about seeing or hearing, but about feeling.
I write every day for a living, and as a hobby, I also write (and take photos).
If I could do this any other way, I’m sure I would. But perhaps you can relate–knowing what you are here to do brings a kind of peace along with torment . . . the poison and the antidote . . . the creative imperative . . . the sleeping and waking. Elaine Pagels quoted it best here:
“If you bring forth that which is in you, what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is in you, what is in you will destroy you.”
– Elaine Pagels quoting from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas