One Times Four – excerpt from GEORGIA PINE

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The Cove, there was no other place Georgia wanted to be. She loved summers at the beach with her pops. Georgia pulled the rocker close to her grandfather’s, almost touching. She needed to be near, reassured by the sounds of his breathing. Side by side, gliding back and forth. She had nowhere to go, nowhere she’d rather be. Mostly, she rocked while he nodded off. He was her most favorite person. She refused a life without him. Georgia knew what was coming. Maxine wasn’t the only one with a gift, she didn’t brag. Her grandmother was a fading memory, but Georgia could still recall the tight squeeze of her hand. How overtired giggly they got when she tucked her in. Harry whispered secrets in her ear.

“Don’t let anyone make fun of you carrot top, freckle face, how you are. Someday, they will see how dazzling and pretty you are. Stand your ground, find something to believe in and go for it. Don’t look back. Don’t apologize. Be nicer to your mother, she was a free spirit once. She plain forgot. Make her laugh when she gets too serious. Protect and cherish your sisters, they’re what you got. At some point, you will be disappointed by them, even hate one or all. They might despise you, too. It won’t matter, your sisters will pick your side every time. I promise, that’s what families do. Your family, our family is bound by deep love and tradition. We are not quitters; we are backwards optimists. Takes a little longer, we get there on our time. I love that shared trait. We believe in our truths, once we’ve ripped them apart and examined the guts with a loupe. I’m dying baby, I won’t spare you, hide the truth. You won’t have to wonder where the hell I went. I adore you too much to leave you questioning my invisible parts. I love you right now, in this room, on this bed. You’re my big girl, so smart. I will miss bedtime tuck-ins, our secrets. Don’t tell your mama, she won’t understand. You have your grandfather’s eyes, and my cautious curiosity. Close your tired eyes, tomorrow we’ll go to the beach. Hug your grandfather when he gets sad. He’ll need you Georgia Pine, when I go.

Georgia looks at Harry through the puzzled eyes of an eight year old. Hush don’t be afraid, life is about coming and going.”

excerpt from the book GEORGIA PINE

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GEORGIA PINE, the sequel to THE VAST LANDSCAPE

Pruning Mad

I thought the words and thoughts escaped me, but the mind is perpetual movement and the physical change of space a welcome opportunity. Granted it’s a backwards return to an old familiar. A place filled with deep sorrow, craziness and rerun memories. It’s a half empty house that holds a far away happy and lost together times and sparse family. I’ll take it. It suits me better than isolation and the sad exhausted faces in the big city.

We are a people in search of a nation. We lost our tribe, our values, and our rhythm. I don’t want to be reminded of the labels stamped on our backs. I don’t care about the tube and the lies, the affairs and the misguided wannabe celebrity. I want authentic personality. I want Chagall and his torture and color and art. I want to be moved and inspired by individuality. Call me crazy. He makes me to want to walk away from the glamourous life. I am convinced I will not find my way out of the dark if I am not prepared to live for a time in the empty. I’ll squirm and slither, giving in to a forgotten town where nothing happens. It’s a stand still place where nature is your best bet for entertainment.

I say bring it on motherfuckers. Throw me more shit to swallow, give me the pills, I’ll take the drugs, hand me the rage and I’ll run with it. I’ll make a goddamn mish mashed masterpiece. I will not hurl things, I will shout through my fingers. This place, this twirling planet is unfit. Burn it, drown us, and wipe it out. Eradicate the greed, me included, the ego-driven and self-obsessed. Forgo the fast and over processed. It’s a bullshit new millennium.

I am going simple until something shifts.

I bury my distaste in the physical task of cutting back the hedges. Every whack of the saw loosens my muscles and frees my thinking. I trim the grass until the sordid is no longer. I work determined and with purpose, like my ancestors.

I want to dirty my knees and bury the hatchet. I will plant flowers and feel the dead working beside me. Today I will shed no tears, I will not cry out in despair. I will grit my teeth. I will find projects that need doing and complete them. I will listen to the wind and wait. I will thank the sun that I’m still here. There must be a bigger reason.

The repetition and tradition quiets the squalls and rough seas rolling around in my head. What is my purpose? Will I lead a life with meaning? Why doesn’t God hear me? Where are the motherfucking signs? What am I supposed to do? Will I survive these worst of times? Do I even want to?

I sit outside on this unusually balmy November afternoon shrugging my shoulders. I wonder if anyone out there feels this pain and doubt with me? I worry where have my dead gone and question why can’t I go to with them? Was there ever a point to the borrowed minutes and sweet nothings?

Turning the corner is a matter of opinion. I never made that choice. Everyone leave me the fuck alone please until I find what’s waiting. I want no part of this fast paced, over stimulating, hole- hollow, simply filling the borrowed time mad existence.

excerpt from THE RED BENCH

Rocking the End-Cap with Anne Lamott – Downtown Books and Coffee

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Guess whose books are hanging with the fabulously, talented and sublime author, Anne Lamott (squeek), at her favorite ‪#‎indiebookstore‬! (moi). 🙂

Thank you, Downtown Books and Coffee, and the community for the love.

Shop ‪‎Indie‬, and support local bookstores kind readers.

I purchased ‪Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by ‪Anne Lamott

“Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

Pick up a book at DowntownBooks and Coffee and a ticket for the upcoming lecture, book signing and Q & A. I did both. 

I am in awe, and inspired.

P.S. Best- Selling author, Anne Lamott is coming to Auburn, April 8th! Get your tickets through Auburn Public Theater, “An Evening with Anne Lamott.” 

Let’s celebrate women, the arts and lift each other up!

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AUBURN PUBLIC THEATER:

‘Sponsored by: The New York State Council on the Arts, M&T Bank, The Citizen, The Holiday Inn, The Allyn Foundation, Senator John A. DeFransisco

*If you are visiting from out of town, The Holiday Inn is offering a special room rate for Anne Lamott attendees. Use the block code ALE before March 11th, 2016 to reserve your room. Call 1-800-957-4654 or visit their website.*

This event will be ASL interpreted. Please contact the box office for seating in an advantageous vieweing location. info@auburnpublictheater.org

BUY TICKETS
Friday 4/8 at 7pm – Auburn High School

Anne Lamott
Best-selling Author of Bird by Bird, Operating Instructions, and Plan B

“Reading Lamott is like having a chat with one of the angels, a smarter, wittier one.” – The Denver Post

***The evening will include book signing, lecture, and Q & A at Auburn Public High School***

Anne Lamott writes and speaks about subjects that begin with capital letters: Alcoholism, Motherhood, Jesus. But armed with self-effacing humor – she is laugh-out-loud funny – and ruthless honesty, Lamott converts her subjects into enchantment. Actually, she writes about what most of us don’t like to think about. She wrote her first novel for her father, the writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. She has said that the book was “a present to someone I loved who was going to die.” In all her novels, Anne Lamott writes about loss – loss of loved ones and loss of personal control. She doesn’t try to sugar-coat the sadness, frustration and disappointment, but tells her stories with honesty, compassion and a pureness of voice. She says, “I have a lot of hope and a lot of faith and I struggle to communicate that.” Anne Lamott does communicate her faith; in her books and in person, she lifts, comforts, and inspires, all the while keeping us laughing.

Anne Lamott is the author of seven novels including, Hard Laughter, Rosie, Joe Jones, Blue Shoe, All New People, Crooked Little Heart, and Imperfect Birds. She has also written several bestselling books of nonfiction, including, Operating Instructions, an account of life as a single mother during her son’s first year followed by Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, and a writing guide; Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. She has also authored three collections of autobiographical essays on faith; Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith. In her latest book of non-fiction, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers, Ms. Lamott gives us three prayers to assist us in trying times. Her most recent book is entitled Stitches; A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, an honest, funny book about how to make sense of life’s chaos (Oct 2013). She is currently working on a new book of essays to be called Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (November 2014).
Lamott has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, and has taught at UC Davis, as well as at writing conferences across the country. Lamott’s biweekly Salon Magazine “online diary,” Word by Word, was voted The Best of the Web by TIME magazine. Academy Award –winning filmmaker Freida Mock has made a documentary on Lamott, entitled “Bird by Bird with Annie” (1999). Anne Lamott has also been inducted into the California Hall of Fame.
*If you are visiting from out of town, The Holiday Inn is offering a special room rate for Anne Lamott attendees. Use the block code ALE before March 11th, 2016 to reserve your room. Call 1-800-957-4654 or visit their website.*
This event will be ASL interpreted. Please contact the box office for seating in an advantageous vieweing location. info@auburnpublictheater.org
Tickets: $50 – Event will take place at Auburn Public High School.’

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AUTHOR BIO

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JACQUELINE CIOFFA was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in the anthologies Brainstorms, Feminine Collective’s Raw and Unfiltered, Vol. 1, Stigma Fighters Anthology, Vol. 2, and numerous literary magazines. She writes the Bleeding Ink column at Feminine Collective.

Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.

Her poignant, literary fiction debut, THE VAST LANDSCAPE, gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt.

Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put down the exciting sequel, GEORGIA PINE.

The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life. ~ GEORGIA PINE by Jacqueline Cioffa

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Harnessing the Madness – Jacqueline Cioffa

Harnessing the Madness is Proudly Featured under ‘Poets’ under The Lithium Chronicles

 

Harnessing the Madness

By Jacqueline Cioffa

Don’t worry Hush, little mama

Dry your acrid, bittersweet, woeful tears

Don’t you cry, pretty mama

Your darling, happy, freckle-face baby is struggling, fevered, and

deliriously HOT

Oh, okay, go on then

Go ahead and cry, little mama

Cry those real, big-old-salty tears

Enough to fill an ocean

Squash the fire under mountains of regret, and molten lava erupting

Don’t worry, hush lullaby mama

Your baby girl is a strong, solid swimmer

You taught her that

You and her, submersed

Her JOY full love of water

Bouncy, giggly, freedom submerged while cemented together hand in

hand

She was fearless in your arms

Unafraid of stormy seas, tsunamis and heavenly floods

Little girl’s flapping her arms now, mama

Crazed, and kicking hard to swim to the top

Oh hush now, pretty mama,

don’t worry your fraught, exhausted mind or fret

Water trumps fire, and this girl

Your darling baby

She

Is

Harnessing the madness

Submersed, safe and sound in the Marianas Trench

Her screaming, gurgling lungs breathe better

In utero

Go on now, mama, gather your salty tear filled buckets and buckets and buckets

Pour them right over her head

Fire burns out, smoldering wet

The melody is haunting and heartbeat sweet, familiar

And sigh so lovely, lovely, lovely

Your baby feels all the feels, smells in color and vibrates clickety-clack

sounds underwater

Hush, now child, don’t you cry, too

Together in tandem

Your mama is there, she’s right there

Feet firmly rooted by rocks, wood and earth on solid ground

Smiling down

Harnessing the madness with her bleeding, thumping, overflowing

bursting heart

In two-time rhythm

Same heart, hers and yours

Keeping time together

She tosses a life jacket attached to an unbreakable umbilical cord, made

from solid oak, and knotty pine twine

The rope plays shadow games on the surface, as the water sways to

and fro

Under the prettiest, blinding white sunlight

Bubbles of air and H2O

Oxygen

Hush now, mama, keep pouring those frozen buckets of ice-cold-doubt

Over your girl’s scorching, sizzling brain on fire head

Hush mama, your little dolly is just a girl, and not a funny fish

She’s going to be A-OK, alright?

Hush mama, her head’s on fire, and lungs are all wet

But, she’s paddling hard and fast towards the surface

Flailing and searching for your firm grip, and steady resolve

Inside her shaky, trembling fingers

Oh, sweet heartbeat

The birds chip, and an indigo blue, clear sky, sunshine lights up the dark,

murky, clouded depths

Blue is the loveliest color

Pretty, strong, and powerful

Little mama is calling her name

Right there, oh, there she is

Mama’s shadow, bounce-back light and love reflection

Makes circle formations, bubble distress calls, and H2O air

Oxygen

Right above the surface,

Mama stands tall, barefoot on the green grass

Beside her baby girl, all along

Mama, your dolphin lung baby is gasping for air underwater, squashing the flames, and surrendering

Floating freely, buoyant, as the salt tides push her to the surface, and the scorching sun’s beautiful, intoxicating light feels warm and inviting

She sees her mama’s pretty face for the first time, smiling and kind

Aged

Bound forever by love, and heaven on earth

Little girl remembers, hope floats

Her one and only, mama’s fierce motherly love waits, prays and watches

Her all-grown-up girl

The gyspy, free-flying, Mustang wild spirit, good, mad woman

Grow roots, and quiet her wings

Thank you, dear mama

Yours, and only yours

L.o.V.e.

Anchors the soul

 

 

 

FORTITUDE – Jacqueline Cioffa

FORTITUDE

FORTITUDE. @jacquelinecioffa

The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life. – Georgia Pine by Jacqueline Cioffa

Never Judge a Book

Never Judge a Book

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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Here’s the thing about writing.

When someone risks pencil to paper and is fortunate enough to convey an emotion about the unique way they view the world well that’s art, magic and creative expression.
I am not a brand.

God, I hate that word.

Although, I have been.

Modeling, acting and all the various exhausting pretend faces I’ve worn just to fit in.

I have gifted away most of my words and that is life as it should be. The day I become calculated, contrived, or worried about how many books I’ve sold, or how filthy rich I am, or if the comma is misplaced, or if you like and hate the person more than the page will be the day the words no longer belong to me.

Funny, I was a rich model once and that means very little if next to nothing today.

Except for a whole bunch of potential storytelling catalogued in the brain.
Write because you love it, you can’t breathe without it, and because the words don’t require a two-way mirror.

Only contemplation, beautiful sunshine redemption, and bounce back reflection.

Never, ever judge a book by its cover.

Crack the spine and see for yourself.

Me?

I am writing

For the love of possibility behind the broken glass.

 

The Paradox of Our Age & a Beatbox

The Paradox of Our Age and a Beatbox

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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I’m not going to spin the crooked ways the world disgusts me, fueled by greed, and selfie look-at-me affliction. I’m not going to ask why the hell we’re celebrating, glorifying, mystifying, ridiculing, opinionating, posturizing, and Glam-O-Rizing Reality TV wannabe Celebrity with million dollar ‘99 problems but the bitch ain’t one’ bad behavior? I’m not going to rant and rave graphic, go on and on and on and on and on about fabricated circus ponies, farce bullshit, false niceties, lies and innuendo. Bad, bad PoliticO’s.

Rappin’ box beats…

Nope, nah, forget it man.

This bullshit, twisted, wake-up-people rant ain’t about greed, ain’t about you, ain’t about me.

Shit, Player, I’m a foul-mouthed-fool checking myself, too.

I’m gonna spin this prophetic, profound, and wax poetic

To a true, old school melodic moment of gangsta’ rap radio wave silence.



THE PARADOX OF OUR AGE 

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We have bigger houses but smaller families;
more conveniences, but less time.
We have more degrees but less sense;
more knowledge but less judgment;
more experts, but more problems;
more medicines but less healthiness.
We’ve been all the way to the moon and back,
but have trouble in crossing the street to meet our new neighbor.
We built more computers to hold more copies than ever,
but have less real communication;
We have become long on quantity,
but short on quality.
These are times of fast foods but slow digestion;
Tall men but short characters;
Steep profits but shallow relationships.
It’s a time when there is much in the window but nothing in the room. —The 14th Dalai Lama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Modern Ties

These Modern Ties

By Jacqueline Cioffa

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You know what I despise sometimes?

Visualize your best life,’ social media posts. If only you meditated longer, dreamt bigger, brighter and better… a gulf stream, rolls royce and diamond solitaire would magically appear via Amazon. All your grandiose desires, jubilee shrieks and pixie dust sparkle whims before you and not behind. If I were a blonde, bombshell genie in a magic bottle… I’d obliterate global warming, nukes, little girls with shredded self- esteem, cancer, homelessness, poverty. Name it. Go ahead…make your wish. I’d stomp out every single injustice; I’d balance the scales.

Christ I hate when someone writes, living their best life.’

It’s preposterous, deluded, and downright denial.

At times.

We are granted breadcrumbs of serenity; uncatchable, unmatchable, untouchable moments when life feels happy and snug. Calm and wonder overflow, and JOY is easily accessible. Perhaps. Yes, a few lucky upturned frowns sounds about right.  

Time is spent de-cluterizing, looking back and leaping ahead. Humans are predictable. They prefer to skip past the hard questions. Me? I can’t seem to stop the verbal diarrhea, pondering, squirming and searching. Why don’t the scales even out? Why does the too young, too beautiful, sticky sweet new mother die? Her babes left to fend for themselves. Why do gray cover clouds mask the sun? Why is it mother knows best not to ask unanswerable, stupid, preposterous philosophical questions?

It’ll make you go bonkers, Crackle Barrel, cuckoo clock nuts.

I bet she that mom visualized her perfect baby bump life in pastel hues, fluffy white lambs and nursery rhymes. Dead dreams don’t exist, silly me.

Why? I sure as hell don’t know, but I’d like to. There are no answers when newborns know their mothers in passing, through birth canals, photographs and hand me downs. Someone’s misplaced, jumbled, embellished memories reminisced in haste.

Do not post some inspirational, bullshit quote without asking first.

Am I aware of the planetary spins, people hovering and circling around me? Did I attempt one kind thing today; did I go out of my way for a stranger? Did I do something good, something considerate without telling a soul? Did I do something for the JOY or the pain without running to boast on Facebook, Instagram, and the Twitter? Did I live behind a screen, inside the screen, was I that blind? Did I venture out to inhale the oxygen, to forget what felt safe and comfortable? Did I take risks beyond the pre-determined edges, color outside the lines, feel the rain and the sun on the inside? Well, did I? 

Well, have you?

Have I been lucky? Damn straight. Have I been unlucky? That too. Do not say think positive; I might punch you. I fight to breath, to stay, to be alive. It’s hysterical; a dramedy. This life is not about me, and yet I take it personal. I’m a blip, a speck obliterated before the wind blows. I’m not complaining, but wait…  hell yes I am. I not a Debbie Downer most of the time or even full fledged pessimist. I’m a realist, I’d surmise.

Close your eyes and listen if you’d really like to know about me.

To understand how excruciating and uncomfortable it feels to bleed under the skin. To smile through tears and forget the bad times…To declutter, debunk, and destroy the pain that comes from a chaotic, misfiring, and free-floating mind. 

Do not suggest I try harder, or swallow my pride. Hey you, over there…look at the sunny side. What the fuck do you know? Tiny moments of happy are best lived inside the heart and eyes open wide.

The scales?

I’m tossing them out the attic window. Since the beginning of time until tomorrow they’ll be teetering, tottering, balancing and unbalancing. 

That’s life.

That’s pain. That’s JOY. That’s the high cost and the low maintenance.

And this is my honest-to-God get out of my face, in your face, best potluck shot.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a cheery, colorful, feel good quote.

Perhaps, maybe not. 

One never knows. 

How high the highs and low the lows.

These unfashionable, sufferable modern ties.

Disconnected

Still, it’s nice to see pretty colors and happy faces sometimes.