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Letter Box On Line (LBOL) Files #3

  • Section C: January 15, 1997
  • Section B: December 15, 1996
  • Section A: November 15, 1996
  • Section D: .................................................................. February 15, 1997

    Sandpoint, ID

    This poem was written by my husband, Jon Ruffatto. He was impressed by Creative Edge and wanted you to have the first poem he's ever written. Jon works at sea aboard an asphalt carrier. He saw a butterfly with very colorful wings "lift" from the sea and saw the beauty in it -- and at the same time felt sorrowful about the Bosnian situation; thus he was inspired to write the poem. (Joyce Ruffatto)


      Today I saw a butterfly
      lifting from the sea
      do you wonder where
      it's going, Ah yes, so do I
      the Adriatic, so clear, azure
      the land behind it, gunfire near
      so sure, children's fear

      the butterfly that lifted
      some say the world has shifted
      those who saw, perhaps they're gifted
      its' left a hole, and made a sound
      the sound of thunder shaking
      could it be our conscious quaking?
      or the worldıs mind awaking.

      when great bells, swing, made to ring,
      or small streams cry, wonder why?

      they sing;
      tears sting

      were there holes in the wings?
      or depths, magic wonder brings
      pictures in the bright light holes
      made so clear, and yet so near
      did I see the past? or closer to the future
      much too soon, I fear
      politicians grasp eternity

      but miss the little things
      we sing; tears sting

      Don't forget the butterfly
      itıs flying up and far away
      listen to the world sigh
      watch, as simple people die
      gravity holds sway
      has goodness gone astray?

      the bells ring, the tears sting
      who can tell what futures bring

      Don't forget the butterfly.

    Jon Ruffatto

    Soquel, CA

    The first time this Monday's poem was published, I didn't put my name to it, using Random Acts, a small group I belonged to, instead. I sometimes am self-conscious about my thoughts, feelings, beliefs. Occupational hazard.


      Everything is sacred,
      sky, inventions, moths,
      oceans, dust, cliffs,
      the lonely dance
      of a piece of paper
      next to a busy highway.

      Sacred are the churches,
      pimps and palimpsests,
      campfires, bridges, thistles,
      hummingbirds and gargoyles.

      Even those that insist
      only certain things
      are sacred, are sacred.

      It is all the boom, flood,
      then stillness of things
      and you are at the center;
      and if you don't believe that,
      well, doubt is sacred too.

    Donald Marsh

    Capitola, CA

    I am starting to write poetry more as a result of a challenge that I gave myself... I would do something creative each day. It is a resolution that I have kept up, except for two days, this past month. When my son asked me to write some poems for him, this short poem came to me:


      My son asked for my poems.
      A messenger calling for my soul.
      The inner flame awoke
      clearing the smoke from a dying fire.

    Harris Clemes

    Stephens City, VA

    This is my first attempt to write a poem.


      I joined the net some months ago
      Searching for what, I didn't know
      A friend, a lover, maybe a new mate
      Someone to share my dreams

      I looked at so many sites, you see
      Some were just not right for me.
      Swingers and singles, no, that's not me
      This married but lonely father of three

      I found a site that seemed okay
      I posted my bio and sat back to wait
      Nothing happened, no mail arrived
      I decided I had to give sending a try

      I am a little shy, my nature, you see,
      So sending mail was quite a feat.
      I sent one, then two, not sure of myself
      When they replied, I wanted to yell

      The first two were lonely, looking for love
      We started to chat and exchanged cyber hugs
      The talk went from hi to let's jump in bed
      I'll ride you, I'll rope you, it made me afraid
      It was fun, it was safe, but, maybe insane
      These women were too lonely, to quick,
      I don't like this, I am going to quit

      Still lonely, I browsed more bios you see.
      I thought maybe I would be lucky with number three
      I sent a short note to a woman with kids
      She responded and I am so glad she did.

      She was divorced and living alone
      Looking for a soul mate to share her home
      We started chatting about kids and our life
      We share our dreams, our fears and our ideals
      We talked about flowers, music and more
      We bared to each other our souls
      Now I am sure, I want her to be my new wife

      It has happened so fast, this affair of my heart
      My mind says slow down, it may not be real
      My heart says charge on... so good do I feel
      I am in love with this lady in Texas, its grand
      I want to announce it with a 100 piece band

      Together we will walk through life hand in hand
      Surprised by the love we found, in cyberland

    Greg McGee

    Knoxville, TN

    All of my poems/stories are based around my life and the situations that build in it. I base a number of these on my fiancee, who is the love of my life and my inspirational dreamer. With out him, I just don't know how I could express myself and who I am. My poetry comes naturally to me to express these feelings, and how many people in society do you know who would accept somebody walking around talking in that manner or context? Alas, in any relationship, there are also conflicts which must be resolved, and again, my most reliable source of resolution is my writing. It is the truer side of who I am.


      We should have been together in a different age,
      But long ago we should have known to read a different page.
      I'm not saying they shouldn't be a little torn,
      But maybe it would go away if I could be reborn.
      I'm yours?
      You're mine.
      A promise sealed by the kiss of time.
      We're growing old with a handful of ghouls,
      (And those who were faith filled were deemed as fools)
      Brown paper packages tied up with strings
      Can't bring me back from the pain that this brings.
      So I'm still a child power
      wild flower
      witching hour
      Resume in my place among foe and friend,
      as long as you love me,
      it's never the end...

    Kimberly Anne ( Butterfly )

    Sydney, Australia

    Here is my next effort that I think is ready for anybody to see. This one is more a story than a reflection of life on the service. Yet because my writing style is cryptic, it does have meaning between the lines. I hope you deem it worthy to publish -- and thanks for publishing my last piece. Boy, have I grown up since then -- I have learned that if you persist long enough and have enough faith then anything is possible!!!!!


      Once upon a time in a land far, far away there lived a great old toy maker whose house was full of all sorts of toys. People throughout the land would go to this toy maker for he was the master craftsman, and he knew all his toys because he would talk to them as he made them.

      Every night when the toy maker would blow out his candle and go to bed, the toys would come alive and they would play games together and laugh and have fun. The Barbies would dance with the G.I. Joes, and the Lego would play cards with the chess pieces. In fact all the toys would have the merriment of their lives.

      All that is, except for one; a puppet who sat high on the shelf unable to move for he was tethered by string and needed someone to direct and guide him. The puppet would question: "Why great toy maker, have you tethered me with string, unable to move without your guidance and directions?" It would make him sad, to have to sit back and watch the remote controlled cars zip by, free to go where they pleased, to race around -- to slide jump and flip. "I want to move and play and be free like the others. Toy maker, when will these strings become not a burden?" the puppet would cry.

      The next day the toy maker was dusting his shelves and came across the puppet. He picked up it's cross and marveled at his workmanship before directing the puppet to walk. "I have a strong feeling about you," he wondered out aloud, "There is a reason why I made you like I made you. Yes, I have strong feelings about you."

      That night when the toy maker had blown out his candle and had gone to bed, the toys came alive and started from where they had left off. From high on the shelf, the puppet watched as the remote controlled cars took themselves where they pleased, but gone was the zip, the slide jump and flip. The puppet wondered; and looked at his tethers: "What are these pieces of string?"

      The next day, a man walked into the toy makers store. "I am looking for a toy for my son," he said, "What about one of those cars?" The toy maker looked up and replied, "A car will go as it pleases, and tires as a result. But this..." he said as he reached up for the puppet, "needs guidance, a skillful hand and thus will never tire."

      The man took the puppet from the toy maker and tried it out. It danced,

      "I'll take it."

      As the man left with the puppet, the toy maker thought -- "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and learn not unto thine own understanding. In all ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thine path." (Proverbs 3: 5,6)

    Ethan Tate

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    Section C: .................................................................. January 15, 1997

    Orinda, CA

    Nov 6: I'm going through this difficult yet potent time of my mother's passing. I've written several poems during the process and wanted to share them with you. It's as though I'm able to climb into my "observer" self and carefully chronicle my emotions through writing. Yesterday my tears finally broke down my carefully constructed dam and they haven't stopped flowing since.


      Heavy body that cannot turn.
      "It hurts! It hurts!"
      You grip the side-rail
      of the hospital bed
      until your next morphine shot.

      Years of leaning on your advice.
      Now I must choose--
      a tube to keep you alive
      or painful mini-swallows.
      And for what?

      I want you to feel good again.
      Keep the cookie jar full,
      plants blooming in your garden.

      I want the rock wall back
      that I grew against
      finding my shape
      in your strength.

      Nothing to push against now.
      Only the sound of your voice,
      "It hurts!" rattling into my ears,
      bouncing off my heart.
      And restless limbs
      thrashing for relief.


      This is the hour
      to pull the tubes.
      Sugar in her veins
      will not pump Mom
      back into full life

      only leave her trapped
      inside a body
      unable to raise her head,
      eating through plastic
      stuffed down her nose.

      This is the death vigil.
      Slow starvation
      for a good woman,
      a junkie on morphine
      feces soiling her legs.


      I feel like my heart
      is about to break
      watching my daughter
      walk to the plane.

      I'm alone again.
      No one to catch my grief,
      woman to woman
      in the blood line
      of my grandmother.

      As old ones have died out
      and new ones have flowered,
      I've been in the middle,
      sandwiched between Molly and Mom.

      Now I'll be at the top of the chain.


      I awoke this morning
      not knowing if
      she was still alive.

      I planted a garden in her honor
      filled with red tulips,
      not knowing if
      she was still alive.

      I ate my lunch.
      Talked to a friend
      on the phone
      about my mother,
      not knowing if she
      was still alive.

      Then the call came!

      Details will follow
      and time...
      but meanwhile,
      I have slipped
      into "oldest woman"
      of my family
      with the slipping away
      of my mother's breath.

    Nov 24: I just received a call from my brother that my mother finally did pass away. A strange phrase, pass away. For the body remains, still and frozen in time and the decaying process. What is it that passes away? Their living, breathing, moving presence for us passes away, no longer available. But as I sat holding Mom's hand yesterday and looked into her eyes that could recognize me, what remained of ther living, breathing, moving self? All that moved was her breath, and that was so labored that it puffed out her neck such that it came even with her chin. Her hand was no longer able to squeeze mine. Her lips could no longer move to form words. The most they could do was hang onto the damp sponge we put in her mouth to give her moisture. Her vocal cords could not form words either, only little grunting sounds, mono sounds of trying to communicate. Once when I told her I was leaving to go home now, her mono sounds came out rapidly in a pair... sounding like uh..uh. So I sat with her a little longer, stroked her, kissed her, cried a little and told her it was ok to let go. That we were all fine. That she lived and would always live in my heart. And other words that came pouring out of my mouth that could still form words.

    Sharon Davies

    Ft. Lauderdale, FL

    It was terrifically exciting to see my writing in the most recent LBOL. You were very right on about seeing one's work "out there". I have even received a response from someone in Australia which has really been an inspiration -- to think someone halfway around the world has the opportunity to read something I have to say. It's really a mind-blower. Thank you, thank you for being there!! Here's another couple of my "musings." Hope you enjoy!

      SANIBEL Part II

      Shell collecting is a truly profound spiritual experience for me. Now, I suppose different people have different experiences they find deeply moving or profound. But, its amazing to me how every time I have ever walked along the shore on the Sanibel beach (not just any beach mind you) and looked at shells and stooped over to pick up ones that catch my eye -- I am overwhelmed by the magnitude and timelessness of God and life and this planet we call home.

      And all this profundity sparked by a silly little thing like a seashell. Maybe, they're not such silly, little things after all... And who knows where these particular shells on the southwest shore of Florida originated -- they could be from the other side of the world for all we know... And what's more, over thousands or maybe millions of years the shells become the very ground we walk upon.

      So here I am, taking a leisurely stroll along the shore and I start to pick up a few shells and WHAM, I have the whole history of the universe laid out before me. Life never ceases to amaze me.

      Thank you God for the opportunity to realize your magnitude and magnificence -- to feel your presence in the form of a simple shell -- in simplicity, period.

      The challenge then, of course, becomes how to carry this simplicity -- this awareness -- this experience of God back to civilization -- to the frantic pace of life that most of us live -- the desperate struggle to survive -- to get ahead -- to succeed -- How do we merge these two? A difficult task perhaps -- but not impossible...

      Like any other aspect of the quest to live a more enriching, fulfilling, spiritually-oriented life -- I guess one has to begin with ever-increasing awareness -- and then simplifying --and a dash of discipline thrown in -- ultimately achieving a greater and greater sense of balance.


      Magical island
      Land of dreams

      Soothing and reassuring
      the wounded spirit
      Struggling and yearning
      for serenity of the soul

      Precious island
      Land of beauty

      Enveloping the weary traveler
      in peace and tranquility
      Offering a respite from the storm

      Wondrous island
      Land of simplicity

      Feeding the starving infant
      Searching for the onmipotent father/mother

      Weave your magic
      Cast your spell

      Call your lost children
      back to the bosom of love

    Susan Schanerman

    Knoxville TN


      You speak to me of things
      With names such as love, peace, truth
      And you ask me to believe in you words...
      My day will come?
      My day is HERE.
      I have already broken my lock again,
      And I can't help but laugh as you wave the keys
      in front of my face...
      Cease your incessant ranting...
      Is that fear in your spiteful eyes?
      You have failed to murder my will...
      this stands as my weapon now...
      I will be born as your twisted logic
      withers away...
      And my world begins

    Kimberly Anne ( Butterfly )



      And I do not
      to dirty up the
      blank page
      with my sorrow,
      I wish
      to keep it white
      veins running through
      the body
      of my mind.
      Let's not make
      the simplicity
      of it
      with our
      It cowers
      from the pen I hold.
      The ink I spread
      on its lovely
      Scratch away
      at the stain of words,
      But it will not
      be undone.

    Emma Barry

    Sydney, Australia

    It was one of my strongest desires to come from a close nit family, and after four years of trying and being slapped in the face for my efforts, I have given up. Yet by giving up on my family, I feel as though I have made a huge sacrifice in the eyes of this society. That is the sad part. My family will never like each other, and even if by some miracle we did, then would I have to sacrifice my creativity and individualism, which is the very reason why I am the Black Sheep in the first place? It's the whole question of the lesser of two evils.

    The following is my contribution to the forum.

      Today is a sad day for I am reminded of the sacrifice I am giving up in order to live out my dreams. The sad part tells me that I really do want to make this thing work even though I know it won't, and that even if it did it would make things harder and more frustrating.

      But how hard is hard? And what are the limits of self determination? I think you should push things to the limit; then will yourself to take that one step further before digressing and using the energy and self-discipline/control to follow the next dream. (Or part of the whole one)

      You should push against something -- a challenge? -- something that will test your mental soul, until you can't push anymore. And then break through. Once you have broken through, use that experience to your advantage. Learn from it, build from it, steal its energy. Then jump to the next level of your creativity. This is how you succeed.

      But it is sad. It's sad to know that sometimes somethings don't work out even though you wish to God that they would; but wishing that they didn't as well.

    Ethan Tate

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    Section B: .................................................................. December 15, 1996

    Seaside, CA

    Here is a poem and drawing (#9) from my Puti series (Puti: an Italian cherub -- they fly around Rococo alters.).

    [Puti #9 drawing]


      As time begins
      And sand is swept
      The moving for infinity
      Up and out
      The metallic sound
      Of feeding gulls
      When the tactile
      Surface of the water breaks
      The fog lifts
      For an instant quick
      Allowing the bell to toll

    Steve Brown

    Carmel Valley, CA

    Here's my Thanksgiving Haiku

      In stillness
      I touch the hand
      that moves the moon
      through darkness.

    Illia Thompson

    Sandpoint, ID

    Your web site has been an inspiration to me -- I love it!! "Despair" was really just a silly little poem that I did on the spur of the moment after having described my 'despair' to you -- I was really only having fun with the word itself and thought you might get a chuckle out of it... I can't imagine that anyone would like it!!


      Oh, Despair, my old friend
      where have you been
      will you ever come to me again?

      You were there when I needed you
      as much foe as friend
      but you stayed by my side
      never wavering
      when I wanted to plunge
      right to the depths of hell
      you held my hand and encouraged me
      how you loved that leap
      now you never visit
      even as I sleep

      You used to lurk in the shadows
      in the tiniest darkest parts of me
      always ready to spring out
      and live with me in my darkness
      rejoicing in my sorrow
      you sang the saddest songs
      sad, gentle, mocking music
      and I hung on to every word
      you guided my soul down
      down, down
      until I thought I'd never get up again

      Ah, I recall the day you left
      you really are such a coward
      the day hope came marching in
      singing raucously, songs of glee
      lighting up all the dark crevices
      clearing all the dark hidden places
      the hiding places of you and me
      she burned bright and true
      scared you off, Oh Despair, didn't she?

      Oh, Despair, my old friend
      where have you been
      will you ever come to me again?

    Joyce Ruffatto

    Shawnee, OK

    I wrote (the first) poem on March 6, 1995, when I was 18 yrs old and a Senior in high school... I was dealing with all the stress of graduating when I wrote this, and all I wanted to do was get some rest and dream of more beautiful and peaceful worlds. Also, I had just become a Christian a year and a half before, so I was discovering the wonder and joy of looking to God for my strength, and dreaming of what being with Him in heaven would be like (He's "the One whose redeeming/ lets me rest in the rushing, hushed blessed."). The second poem is from college.


      Let me sleep in the rushing noon-tide
      Let me dream of quivers and crowns
      That roaring, foam-clothed waves dare not waken

      Let me sleep in serenity upon soft sand
      Amid the pearlescent crescendo of sunshine
      With peace sparkling aqua-gold in bubbles cold

      Let me sleep in the rushing noon-tide
      Purple-land dreaming of the One whose redeeming
      Lets me rest in the rushing, hushed blessed.


      I am trapped in a sea of dust and knowledge
      Not every wave, not every page will touch my mind
      Older than I am, these words echo down through
      The Corridors of Time, and wait here on the shelves
      For searching hands to find them.
      Has every book been touched?
      Has every page been turned?
      Faces peer at me between the rows of binding;
      Empty eyes that cannot see haunt me with their blind stare.
      They hang on the wall, begging me for help, for a look;
      They want to draw my soul through their eyes
      -----that they might live again.
      Or perhaps they never lived at all.
      These magic books have been saved
      From smoke and fire of burning revenge
      Exacted on helpless monasteries.
      And now they bind me with their spell,
      With their heavy scent of ancient spices
      That drape (hang) the air with their secrets
      -----long forgotten and left untold.
      And then they come: those heathens
      With their quick tongues and closed eyes
      Who do not understand the sacredness
      That clings to this palace (temple) of words.

    Kimberly McMartin

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    I am so thrilled to have found you!! I especially liked what you had to say about revealing "our personal thoughts and feelings in the public arena" and the Creative Edge being a vehicle for that.

    Since I am still at the point in my creative development where I find it difficult to "put myself out there," I am thrilled to have found a community of kindred spirits who are giving me an opportunity to share myself and my innermost ideas and feelings. The following is what I call one of my "musings." I hope you enjoy it.


      Yesterday my friend Susie gave birth to her first child--a 6 lb. 7 oz. beautiful, baby girl. I just had a long conversation with her getting all the details of the labor, birth, etc--and as I got off the phone and I began "musing" about the wonder of it all.

      Is there any experience we know of or could even imagine that comes close to the awe, mystery and wonder of birth? I can't think of one.

      From the conception--the merging of male and female energies--to gestation--growth--maturation--to labor--and finally, birth.

      Isn't it interesting how for thousands of years there have been no rule books or How-To's regarding this most intricate, mysterious process--it just seems to "happen" on its own--guided by its own wisdom. And yet today, in our highly-developed, ultra-sophisticated, "evolved" world, we have reached the point where we seem to need to know "how to" do something that has been "doing itself" since the beginning of life itself.

      The act of creation is and always has been. PERIOD. From beginning to end--the process has its own timing--its own "knowing"--Just like Susie was saying about when it was time for her to push--it was just time for her to push--she just knew--

      Somehow these thoughts about a new birth and the incredible wonder of it all led my mind to contemplate the similarities with the process of creativity, in general. Conceiving of an idea--allowing it time to gestate--mature--going through a labor period and then voila--giving birth--and seeing the idea in its physical form. A thrilling experience for me, without a doubt.

      But what I am coming to understand is that any act of creativity, like creation itself, has its own timing, wisdom, "knowing"--and for me, I am coming to realize that the more I allow myself to "go with the flow" of the process--to trust it--the more creative I actually become.

    I am presently in the process of writing a book which I call Celebrations of Wonder. Besides my own reflections or "musings" on the subject (like the above), I would like to include stories, impressions, experiences, anecdotes, etc. by other people, as well.

    If anyone would like to contribute a short piece, please contact me. Credit will be given, of course.

    Susan Schanerman

    Wembley, London, UK

    Ted Welch

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    Section A: .................................................................. November 15, 1996

    Portland, OR


      I walk amoung them.
      Thinking they know me,
      they laugh.

    Carl J Shoemaker

    El Cerrito, CA

    I just found your page... It is always a delight to find like minded souls out here in cyberspace... I have facilitated classes, workshops and one retreat in Maui for woman on opening the channel of creativity in everyday life and work. I very much enjoyed reading your comments on creativity, and find them very timely as I push through barriers of emotions to release my own creative work.

    Katherine Mapes-Resnik

    Haifa, ISRAEL

    My work has taken me to the depths of the human spirit and shaped my life as a writer a poet and a philosopher.While surfing in the net I found about the Creative Edge. It was a wonderful revelation and comfort to know that I am not alone and I am not dammed to the loneliness of the free thinker. Here is my definition of talent.

      TALENT: Realizing that we are unique allows us to be authentic.
      Authenticity is the ground on which creativity flourishes.
      What we create is simply the natural expression of our uniqueness,
      that only when expressed loud and clear enough is (it) called "Talent."

    Reading the wonderful stuff people are sharing, these lines kind of wrote themselves and I felt like sending it too.


      God is the greatest game inventor.
      He made the largest board.
      His artwork is divine.
      The rules are coherent.
      Can anybody tell me what my role is?
      I want to play!

    Haim Shafir

    Knoxville, TN


      Why is it that
      I can no longer sleep:
      I fear the reaper.
      A grinning madman in my nightvisions--
      black revelation.
      Death spreads as a mist
      rampantly spreading, blanketing the damned.
      The numbness of paradise filters through my veins.
      Hot blooded lust takes over--
      I am soaked in sinful passion.
      ( Forgive me. My wants are powerful and out of
      control against the raw beauty of your flesh against
      the moonlight.)
      Hold me prisoner no less than eternally.
      Subject me to my consequence in your obsessive mind,
      Make me feel your wrath upon my inflicted thoughts.
      I am lying before you, my rage is buried, and I ache--
      If only to hold you for a while, feel you against me,
      with the knowledge that you want me and the intensity
      that fills me shared with you. It cannot destruct
      ( unite--whisper--breathe--feed the hunger in my veins)
      This is an unmatched beast, separate possession. Am I evil?
      Is the reaper my alter ego? I wasn't the one who ate the apple,
      I am not the temptress. I am drowning in passion.
      I question the logic and validity of my touch.
      If it is meant to be evil, I cannot escape it.



      That is a feeling,
      a thought,
      an almost undeniable experience
      in which
      two people become one being,
      one creature
      inside the world they choose
      to call their own.
      This is what they are
      and always will be.
      Because it is beyond mortality
      Deeper than God.
      Because it is pure.

    The most accurate way to describe my writing is that each poem is like a piece of my soul. Emotions are the most powerful substance on this earth and I believe they form many different shapes inside of a person. This can be described at best by things like a person has their demons or monsters or whatever they choose to call their painful emotions. My way of exorcising my demons is to expose them. That gives me the control over my demons and purifies my perception. It also allows me to give certain people an idea of exactly how I think or feel on a subject.

    Kimberly Ann Sowko

    Sandpoint, ID


      I climbed to the top of the mountain
      slept with the silver wolf on a lonely trail
      and fought for the right of the Indian
      but I could not save the whale

      The white owl became my mentor
      whispered in my ear that I had failed
      and I tried to rise above it
      but I could not save the whale

      I threw a line to a drowning man
      taught a child the notes on a scale
      but my life will always be empty
      I could not save the whale

    When that poem was written, I was at a low point in my life. For some years I had worked diligently with a Vietnam Marine veteran (my silver wolf), trying, as it were, to "fix" his life. He and I 'walked' and 'slept' on some lonely paths. During that period in time, I also worked a full time job, took night courses at the city college 3 nights a week, and somehow managed to nurture my 13 year old son (getting him to music lessons, etc.); and I was semi-active in the causes of the American Indians at that time. I felt good (the 'superwoman' syndrome!!) Then everything fell apart in my life. The man I loved decided to move on, my son was growing up and seemed to no longer need me, I quit school, and most of all I hated my job of 17 years!

    I sat in the forest one day summing up my life -- mentally taking credit for my accomplishments and recognizing my failures. A white owl flew up and landed on a branch within 5 feet of me -- just sat there staring at me. The owl told me that I had failed -- not failed the people I loved, but that I had failed myself. I had been so busy trying to improve other people's life that I failed to feed my own soul. Even knowing this, I still told myself that I could not change. I fell into despair and self-pity and likened myself to the great whale whose destiny will surely be extinction in an uncaring world. So the poem was written by a person (me) who was feeling deep despair.

    I would like to point out that about 2 years later, I again witnessed a white owl sitting on a limb; he only looked at me briefly, then spread his beautiful wings and soared through the air with the grace of a sparrow. It all clicked into place, and I too flew, soared, danced away, did handstands on the rainbow!! I still care for others, and help them whenever I can; but I have learned to love and nurture myself as well.

    Joyce Ruffatto
    Joyce riveratz@digital-cafe.com

    Salt Lake City, UT


      True love is perhaps
      the ability to be connected
      from afar
      or maybe just from
      the distance across
      a kitchen table

      True love is too
      the way we feel
      when cleaning the kitchen
      knowing the one
      we love
      the little things
      that make us happy
      the nudge
      the look
      the grateful eyes
      that peer over a plate of spaghetti
      and vegetables
      that we burned
      in the big pot
      hoping to make it perfect

      True love
      Oh well...
      and doesn't mind
      taco bell
      if nothing else works out...

    Ingrid Maria Middleton

    Pacific Grove, CA

    I was playing around writing yesterday and followed a theme to see where it would go. This short story is the result. It has a surprising ending.

      November Story

      It embraced him like death. Biting wind whipped though his body.
      Sea spray salted his face. The man walked haltingly along the storm-racked shores like a specter drawn back to this strange day of the year -- Dia de los Muertos.

      His birthday, November 2nd, the Day of the Dead, now to be his death day... Continue reading

    Rose Reynolds

    Gonzales, LA

    I stumbled quite by accident across this site, and was amazed by so many people with the same experiences, and feelings. It is not just a site, but an experience!

    You said in NL#24:

    "However to be reborn in newness of life, one must be willing to look for their secret hiding places in forgotten often traumatic memories -- like the affliction from Pandora's Box, then engage them with sensitivity and finally, work to make a creative relationship with them as part of our rich inheritance."

    I have been an actress all my life. Playing the game of life, as if I had it all figured out. I was quite good at it up until four years ago, then came the collapse. First came the blackouts, but I tried to carry on as if nothing was happening. But when the darkness came, and I had no inner resources to call upon to save me...

    I began to seek out someone to tell me what was wrong, what was happening. Little did I know that no one could really answer those questions for me. All they could do was make very educated guesses, give me tests, and medication. And when those didn't work, more guesses, more tests, and more medication.

    Soon growing tired of this, I discontinued all of it. I understand that's typical for survivors like myself... Supposedly, childhood trauma or memories are the root of my problem. Therapist had a hard time with me because I could not feel the pain that they felt I needed to in order to exorcise the demons. It seems in order to survive, I learned a lesson I cannot un-learn. I remember, but I feel no animosity concerning my past, and it seems I must, or I am destined to forever live in this void.

    After all this, I finally get to the reason for my writing. I too believe that one has to recognize that their past is part of them, and is the reason for their being who they are. I believe the hardships of my past, are to be looked on as a gift. I do not mean that the things done to me were right, but there is no future in blame or self-pity, and I have strengths that enable me to endure what many cannot.

    I am now working on coming to know the person I am. I do not know how long this is going to take, or whether I will be any better for the knowledge of it. I only know that I must find me before I can give of myself to anyone.

    Except for God, and my family, I am alone on this voyage. I am at peace most of the time, as I have quit fighting and have learned to accept that which cannot be changed, except by time and God.

    Expressing myself by writing, is one part of me that I have discovered. I think I am pleased by this, though maybe a little intimidated because of my lack of education... but it helped me to write it. I need to learn to share myself without fear of what others will think of me... a problem that has plagued me for a long time.

    Charolette Ramsey

    Thank you for your creative offerings!

    I invite readers to share their own creative works (poems, stories, images, comment, etc.) in Letter Box On Line (LBOL). I look for work and comments I feel support understanding and encouragement of the creative process, and hence, the process of life.

    The Editor

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