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Letter Box — Newsletter #34

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For me, 2001 was the actual millennium... The year 2000 was the struggle of the computer world, or you might say, the struggle of the intellect. The year 2001, was a more personal initiation. I decided to enter this new millennium in the dream state. When I awoke the next morning I had the great desire to grab pad and pen. I share with you what came out of the year spent in silence.

Today—January 1, 2001—a New Year, a New Millennium. I shout into the ethers, "Would the real me please stand up." At least a hundred and fifty people of my interior community rise to their feet. No way! I can't possibly be all those people, and yet I am. I am every person I have ever met, I am every tree and every blade of grass, I am every puppy I have ever loved, and every movie I have ever watched.

From the first breath I took until the last breath I exhale I will be the sum total of all my experiences. I am the love I never found, I am the pain that I hide from, I am the hope that never fails, I am the dream that I search for, I am the voice that never speaks, and the ear that never listens. I am judge and jury, prosecutor and defender. I am the greatest friend I have ever known, and my most profound enemy.

I have molded this interior community. I have drawn toward me those that would offer me my greatest struggles, my greatest defeats. I have asked others to put me down so that I might experience the rise of my character. I have denied love, and been denied so that I might experience abandonment and the uselessness of such a journey. When others have not been brave enough to inflict the wounds, I have self inflicted the wound. Cast myself out of Eden, not for self punishment, but to learn what is valuable to the soul when the personality seeks such a path.

Upon my return to Eden I will bring the riches gained in having experienced my own struggle with good and evil. I will add my own story to the tree of life, along with so many others who have journeyed back home through the dark night of the soul. And my soul will be richer and stronger for having made the journey. Upon my return to Eden I will return to my self, all that I myself have denied me. I have learned that without darkness one cannot see the light, and the light would be void of purpose without the dark arena in which to shine forth.

I have learned, that for some strange reason, one never really appreciates what they have until they lose it. I have held death in my arms, I have tasted the bitter anguish of grief and loss, I have deceived and been deceived. I have learned that innocence is not valued, and ignorance too often wins. And with all of this proof contrary to my beliefs, I have learned about faith. When I have not seen it in myself, I have witnessed it in others. And their spirit renews my own.

I have learned that at the very darkest moment in your life a hand reaches out to hold yours. This hand you trust, this hand you recognize as fellow traveler, as friend. For none would willingly enter such darkness if they did not carry the light within. It has been a rich and rewarding journey. I am no longer blinded by the light for I have found my own. I am no longer lost in the darkness, but strengthen by its presence. With all that I have learned, would I be tempted to bite into that apple again? Probably, for there is still so much to learn.

Patricia Ann Doneson

Monterey, CA

Your recent issue is, as usual, beautiful and true and stimulating... from cover to cover. I would like to say that I am in total agreement with Patricia Ann Doneson of Colorado Springs, Co.

I too have a special relationship to the printed page, one that can never be replaced by the Internet... never, never, never. I do value the Internet but I do not wish to lose the intimacy (ever!) of the printed page; it is truly a lifeline for my mind and sanity, much as food is a lifeline for my body and physical health.

This Fall issue made me contemplate my own feelings about creativity and I realize that, for me, creativity has to do with the courage to feel, to acknowledge my feelings, and to express them, in whatever form I choose (i.e., talking, writing, dancing, singing). The very act of feeling my feelings, whether they are shared and expressed or not, feels creative to me.

I believe that, because I was unable to express my feelings as a child (my parents did not allow them) as well as a large portion of my adult time on this planet (by this time I could no longer access them), just being connected to them feels liberating and creative... and somehow a real privilege as well. My gratitude that they have gradually risen to the surface, that I have become a more feeling person, knows no bounds because, obviously, living my life able to express my feelings openly and honestly has enhanced my life immeasurably. I am still confused at times about what I feel but I suspect that can be said of many of us.

    AM I WILLING?

    Am I willing to feel my heart
    The path of not knowing
    Where breath gets short
    And fear waits at the ready
    To invade
    Take captive all the peace
    I've ever known
    My world turned on its side?

    Am I willing to live my days alive
    With every sadness known to man
    Refuse to court a numbness
    Or choose to hide?
    Oh yes, my choice is risk
    And if I lose I've gained
    A life where feelings
    Slice my heart in two

    With wounds more precious
    Than contentment.

    THE CREATIVE EDGE

    Creativity is, I understand,
    A wondrous wondrous thing
    But is it bound to what we DO
    To what we make and bring???

    For me, it is much more than that
    Much more than what we do
    It deals with what we feel and think
    Our acts of kindness too.

    It deals, I feel, with honesty
    The courage to stay true
    To follow what is in my heart
    And not what others do.

    And that is how I see my pledge
    To live on the Creative Edge.

Doree Bart

Salinas, CA

    THE NOTE IN THE BOTTLE

    Release waiting
    In a bottle full of Merlot
    Got it for a bargain.
    The depression will be first class
    The next day
    Clouding my thinking
    Magnifying the picture of one who could but won't
    Since it is meant for everyone else but me.

    Taking care of a family
    Life is over at 25 because
    Yesterday's bride now carries my child
    Responsibilities, taking care of
    A life that is just starting.
    Health insurance, house insurance
    Mortgage payments, malpractice insurance
    Life insurance, don't forget life insuranceŅand
    Death insurance.

    Nobody told me how it would be

    The dreams I had
    Inspired by Walt Whitman
    All gone, since this reality seems to dictate
    A life that my father fled when
    Divorcing my mother,
    Divorcing the responsibility of dealing with
    Children who come home with broken bones
    Since someone tricked them
    And they were dumb enough to follow
    Going full force into the wall.

    He was gone when I needed him to tell me
    That walls are real and not
    Just an illusion like I remembered it
    From the other side.
    This is a physical universe
    With bones and flesh and walls and pain and
    The reality of money
    The biggest illusion of all.

    Where is he now? That I am
    About to become a father, ending
    My life.

    Sitting within a circle of redwood trees who
    Lending me an eye,
    Sway gently in the breeze
    Things are so much smaller
    When your eyes are as high up as theirs.

Trude Zmoelinig

Big Sur, CA

This poem came in response to a friends question.

    WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR
    INSPIRATION FOR YOUR POETRY?

    Your face mostly,
    and quietness,
    always quietness—
    solitude in the morning
    and white stones under
    moonlight on dark hills.
    Thoughtless animals.
    The blood that moves them
    and the blood that flows
    through your hands.
    My blood. My longing
    for something eternal.
    My dark and light being
    alternating with the world
    like a wave in the sea.
    The sea.
    The unknowable depths
    of the spirit of the world,
    and trees.

David Wayne Dunn
® 2000

Pacific Grove, CA

My coauthored mystery novel, Beyond Bingo, has now been published and is available in local bookstores. Here is another one of my poems.

    WATCHING THE SKY

    I look out before dawn
    into the satin blackness
    of a rarely clear sky
    and see the upside down moon
    the sliver left of it flanked
    by a starry Venus, brighter
    even than the pale moon.

    In time a violent sunrise
    burns over the horizon and
    a feverish sun sets fire
    to the mountains and the sea.
    I rejoice in another day's birth
    and the promise of comfort and warmth.
    All I need for my daily rebirth.

Julie Houy

Marina, CA

    WHITE SYMPHONY
    (Sobranes Point)

    Melted ice caps
    rise and uneasily roll
    over tectonic cracks.

    Here elements blur,
    pastel and explosive cobalt
    rammed against stone
    at the roiling edge
    of a crumbling world.

    Stubborn intentions collide,
    roar watery oaths,
    pitch ashore weathered granite,
    disrupted ellipses of rubbery kelp.

    Pale detonations
    cough against pebbles and sand.

    Furious glaciers from harsher centuries
    blast solid shale into quivering portals,
    punch crude blowholes
    through front lines
    of surrendering earth.

Jennifer Lagir

Salinas, CA

    TARA SCREAMS!

    A bitter mist glazes the
    knife of death
    placed in my
    sad, pounded,
    & bitter heart.
    It's there always.
    Will it never leave?

Tara O'Reilly

Petaluma, CA

You asked how the Creative Edge fits into our busy lives... It is Shabbat morning and after meditation I get back into bed and read Jewish spiritual writings. This morning, because I have my Creative Edge News, I am starting with it. Creative Edge is part of my sacred reading that I do when possible—woven into my schedule, usually in the morning.

Faye Zimmerman

Carmel Valley, CA

    PRESERVATION AT
    SOBERANES CANYON

    Save me this day,
    this green and restful place,
    this narrow foliage-scented gulch,
    bramble-crammed meadow,
    tapered steep path.

    Save me these delicate
    pink verbena, graceful
    sword ferns, dried fiddlenecks
    writhing like colonies
    of gray caterpillars.

    Save me this cool solitary glen
    beside this wandering creek
    where a single yellow leaf
    takes flight
    from an infant maple,
    joyrides a ripple downstream,

    where white asterisks
    peek from clover-leafed sorrel
    and toppled redwoods
    nourish a wild canyon garden.

    Save me this merciful bliss,
    this glimmer
    of pagan paradise.

    WHAT SURVIVES

    At the verge of Highway One
    prehistoric pelicans glide.
    Mythic stone shapes
    remain standing.
    Colliding waves join forces,
    boil over land's dark rocky backbone.

    Turbulences seem natural here,
    a through-the-looking-glass reverse
    of life's inner disorder.

    Beneath winter's stunted foliage
    a black ant scurries and gathers.
    Ocean's muted explosions
    parody the canons of war,
    relentless
    battle of land and breakers
    on the front line,

    I measure swords with the unknown,
    mend torn wings
    in the drifting mist,
    question what survives
    at the juncture of sea
    and shore.

Laura Bayless

Carmel Valley, CA

These poems "arrived" after our recent retreat weekend. Invitation is dedicated to you yourself Donald as the Creative Edge, which keeps on being more keenly honed.

    INVITATION

    Come play. ally ally in free all,
    no need to keep score, just need
    to keep on, come into my sand pile
    visit my toy box, toss ideas into the air
    watch them land on notebooks
    sprawl across lines that turn
    into pages that turn into flying
    paper airplanes never knowing
    where they will land.

    Splash paint on white canvas
    paint white on white knowing
    secrets by the prints you make
    footprints, hand prints, heart prints
    lip prints as tentative voice becomes
    song, melody dances around wispy
    veils, whistles rival railroad engines,
    sighs echo butterfly wings, winds
    tell milkweed to multiply, bluebirds
    float memories on lost feathers,
    walnuts become lunch boxes for
    hungry crows.

    Jump rope, eesey-eisey-over.
    hot pepper under Texas sun
    double-dutch before ice cream
    red rover, red rover, let everyone
    over. hop scotch across the lines
    step on cracks touch the chalk
    roll down green hills to gather
    traces of travel and brush off
    prickly grass, braid a rein out
    of new mown hay, tie it onto
    a Clydesdale, ride over fences
    and under rivers, fly quietly
    through startling thunder.
    Come play. ally ally in free all.

    A GESTURE
    AGAINST LOSS

    a simple nod will do
    a silent inward Yes
    that moves the head
    forward and back
    repeated gentle
    rocking rhythm
    familiar as the womb
    and remembered
    place of comfort
    in mother's warmth
    while rocking chair
    caresses universal words
    spoken in tongues
    by people swaying
    calls to daily prayer
    voices in full song
    steadfast drumming
    movement itself
    speaks clearly Yes
    a gesture for life
    an unremitting
    indelible message
    proclaimed out loud
    seasoned by tears
    a gesture against loss
    a gesture admitting loss
    a gesture freeing loss
    to travel elsewhere.

Illia Thompson

Portsmouth, NH

I love getting each issue of The News as it arrives. So many good poems, thoughts, familiar names, workshops. I only wish I were closer so I could participate—Jay O'Callahan, Illia Thompson, all so tempting. As I reach 70, I feel transition, searching within more, letting go of a lot, very few mentors, it's fascinating, and hearing your contributors as they search and observe is always important to me. Poetry still is at the top of my list for sheer pleasure, and birds, a close second, tied with grandchildren.

Anne De Wees

Carmel Valley, CA

Hi! I echo the sentiments of Ms. Doneson (pg. 8 in NL#33) that I hope you will continue to print and mail the newsletter in the future as in the past. I do enjoy the newsletter when it comes, and wish you continued and enlarged good fortune for this oh so worthwhile endeavor. I will save both the tribute to Dick Criley and Laura Bayless' poems.

Ethel Costagliola

Monterey, CA

We seem to use the word love to represent very different states of being, very different ways of being in our relationships; friendships, family and marriage. In conversation with some friends online it became clear that they were talking about something very different than I was when we used the word "love" and felt that we needed a new word to differentiate between types of "love." I came up with CONA® representing the intense feelings of: Codependence, 0bsession, Neediness and Addiction!

    CONA

    CONA controls
    LOVE allows

    CONA needs the other to be
    LOVE is a state of Being

    CONA hurts
    LOVE heals

    CONA manipulates
    LOVE nurtures

    CONA clings
    LOVE frees

    CONA demands (often subtly)
    LOVE appreciates

    CONA takes
    LOVE gives AND receives

    CONA feels constricting
    LOVE feels expansive

    CONA retaliates
    LOVE respects

    CONA punishes
    LOVE communicates

    CONA needs you to be who the other says you should be
    LOVE encourages you to be all of who you are

    CONA makes you responsible for their happiness
    LOVE accepts responsibility for self's internal state CONA blames other
    LOVE accepts other

    CONA has an intense edge of excitement.
    LOVE has deep comfort

    CONA ends with broken hearts when the relationship changes
    LOVE remains even when the relationship changes

    CONA is conditional
    LOVE is unconditional

Lani Hudelson

Monterey, CA

This is from a Creative Arts Fellowship meditation.

    BRASS BOWL

    Closing my eyes my thoughts I let quiet.
    Myself I set drifting in a calm mist.
    Then out of that fog a figure appeared
    Holding before her a gleaming brass bowl.

    0 shallow it was and covered with runes,
    Filled to the surface with water so clear.
    Yea it was for scrying, that I did know
    The Future was resting in that brass bowl.

    I leaned forward to look into the future,
    But onto the surface then Time's Daughter blew
    To ruffle the water with her breath of Life
    Hiding whatever was in the brass bowl.

    0 shallow it was and covered with runes,
    Filled to the surface with water so clear.
    Yea it was for scrying, that I did know
    The Future was resting in that brass bowl.

    Some of the water poured onto my head
    Trapped in a torrent I found myself then
    Surrounded by myriad others as well.
    Flowing in a river from the brass bowl.

    I'm carried along to a great dark sea,
    Then swallowed up by some huge ocean beast
    There's darkness, then light, then I'm floating above,
    Looking down on the earth and the brass bowl.

    0 shallow it was and covered with runes,
    Filled to the surface with water so clear.
    Yea it was for scrying, that I did know
    The Future was resting in that brass bowl.

    Drank I next from the bowl, a drink without taste.
    Trying to swallow the future, I guess ...
    Oblivion followed, for there was too much
    Too much knowledge for me in that brass bowl.

    0 shallow it was and covered with runes,
    Filled to the surface with water so clear.
    Yea it was for scrying, that I did know
    The Future was resting in that brass bowl.

    Again stood I before it, what to do now?
    I reached out to touch it and was pulled in.
    Floating I found me above countryside
    Perfect and sterile—dead like the brass bowl.

    0 shallow it was and covered with runes,
    Filled to the surface with water so clear.
    Yea it was for scrying, that I did know
    The Future was resting in that brass bowl.

    Again was the priestess, the Mistress of Time,
    Off'ring the brass bowl for action of mine,
    Here was the future all open before me ...
    What? What would I now do with that brass bowl?

    0 shallow it was and covered with runes,
    Filled to the surface with water so clear.
    Yea it was for scrying, that I did know
    The Future was resting in that brass bowl.

    I turned from such knowing; turned my back to it,
    Walked into the mist and left it behind.
    Swallowed I was by the richness of Life then ...
    Enjoying my life without that brass bowl.

    0 shallow it was and covered with runes,
    Filled to the surface with water so clear.
    Yea it was for scrying, that I did know
    But I have no need of what's in that brass bowl.

Jeff Hudelson

Thank you for your creative offerings!

I invite readers to share their own creative works with a few words about the context of their work for either the new Letter Box On-line or regular hard copy version. I look for work and comments I feel support understanding and encouragement of the creative process, and hence, the process of life.

Submit your name, city and state with your works to Donald@creative-edge.org for publication. I also encourage you to approve adding your E-mail address. Submit images in 72dpi GIF, JPEG or TIFF format.

The Editor

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