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

Spin Cycle

 

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I am forced to sit in the unpleasant, unfamiliar silence and hear myself calling. “Lady, so pleased to meet you. Take a load off. You’ve been running so long. Have the patience and fortitude to be still and walk away from an outdated life. Have the courage to know better. It has been such a long while since you’ve been home.

She and I were star stuff symbiotic… Jacqueline Cioffa

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She and I were star stuff symbiotic, dear, precious friends, old lovers who finished each other’s sentences. – Jacqueline Cioffa

“Her salt mine seas pacified the storms dwelling harmonious in one body. We’d spend a decade exploring, feeling the heat of the sun, flinching in the biting winter freeze, experiencing the mesmerizing, transitory alive moments in color and traversing the vast corners of the earth, boldly as one.

We’d chase big dreams, and conquer cracked filled pavements. I was happy. I was almost always happy, and happier than I’d been before. I smiled tears of sadness, and cried tidal pool oceans of joy. I was a beautiful contained palate of emotion, no longer insane, paranoid, turned-out, hallucinating, running, or screaming mad. I was okay. I was fine. I was in love. I was more me with her, than without. I never, ever, ever wanted to say good-bye.

Like a jilted, jealous lover quietly, methodically, slowly over time and all at once, growing spiteful and angry, Lithium began poisoning my exploding cells destroying my insides. Belly swollen, eye sockets burning, jaws clenched, muscles pinched, bones ached, feverish and ill. I was tail spinning, spiraling and insane. Even the holy, pure sacred womanly parts ignited.

The element lithium burns vivid crimson red.

Lithium crimson red flames imploding, screaming and demanding the quickest exit strategy. How could she break my vulnerable, trembling shattered heart, and peace of mind?

Did she grow tired of me, or did I?” – Jacqueline Cioffa

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– #excerpt from   

Lithium, My Toxic Love Affair by Jacqueline Cioffa

Courtesy of Feminine Collective on Bleeding Ink with Jacqueline Cioffa

SUBLIME FRAMEABLE ARTWORK: By the Haiku Queen, Witticisms Master, and pensive, and poignant writer, Ms. Dori Owen aka Diary of an Arizona Girl with Feminine Collective

– @jacquelinecioffa on Instagram

***DISCLAIMER: I AM ABSOLUTELY NOT encouraging ANYONE to go off of their prescribed psychiatric medicine. This is my story, my journey and trust me it was hell. Please remember that while enjoying these creative words.

 

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

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00021]Georgia Pine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE BOOK: RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1 by Feminine Collective

To find like-minded women, (and men) who encourage, support and uplift by sharing the most difficult conversations with no judgement or shame is a rarity and a gift. Writing my column “Bleeding Ink” with Feminine Collective, and being applauded for telling my deepest, dark and not always pretty truths has been an honor and privilege. 

Feminine Collective, and founders, Julie Anderson and Marla Carlton are making magic and changing the literary landscape with real, raw and brave humanistic essays and poems. – Jacqueline Cioffa

“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.” ― Rebecca West, Young Rebecca: Writings, 1911-1917

I am thrilled to announce: RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1: Selected Essays and Poems on Relationships with Self and Others.

Raw and Unfiltered

 


 

For Immediate Release

December 15, 2015

Los Angeles, CA – December 15, 2015: In their first bold venture into publishing, the masthead of Feminine Collective has pulled together an edgy, raw collection of essays and poems by women (and a few men) in Feminine Collective: RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1: Selected Essays and Poems on Relationships with Self and Others. These unfiltered essays from the best of FeminineCollective.com are touchpoints on popular culture, and span topics from self-awareness to bold revelations, from stories of empowerment to witty perspectives on working life and culture today.

RAW & UNFILTERED Vol 1 is the passion project of Feminine Collective founders, international supermodel Julie Anderson, and art director Marla J. Carlton, as a celebration of women’s achievements. The collection gives readers intimate insight into the brilliant minds of top emerging writers.

Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of Unbinding the Heart, said, “In the pages of this book you will hear your deeper voice and touch the raw places of yourself where angels fear to tread and as you read them watch out because you might you just might become fearless and unbound.”

Actor and musician John Stamos said this about Feminine Collective, “When I need to tap into my feminine side, I run to FeminineCollective.com and now this book. It’s really smart.”

This astonishing book is divided into four sections, each highlighting both masculine and feminine perspectives that give us a glimpse into the often insane world of others. A collection of 44 writers in 376 pages—some published for the first time—converge to paint a portrait of the journey of the female mind in a dazzling spectrum that is an unrivaled compendium on raw, unfiltered voices including a poem by street artist Jules Muck. Famous for her green goddesses, as well as her green version of Gloria Steinem, Muck’s work has been featured in numerous exhibitions including the Bronx Museum of Art and can be seen on the book’s cover.

The foreword by Rachel Hunter, supermodel, actor and creator of DocuSeries Tour of Beauty describes Feminine Collective’s book as an experience “Where men and women can glimpse into the world of others … understanding the vulnerable, exquisite, powerful place of being a woman.”

Released December 11, 2015, Feminine Collective: RAW & Unfiltered: Vol 1 is available to purchase on Amazon.com. For the launch of this book, Feminine Collective has partnered with Women’s Center of LA. Now through March 31, 2016, Feminine Collective will donate 50% of the net proceeds from the book sales to Women’s Center of Los Angeles (WCLA). WCLA is a community of dedicated women with the shared goal of guiding, educating and supporting women and girls to attain the knowledge, confidence and courage for a life of personal success. On January 28, 2016, Feminine Collective will host a book launch party and fundraiser for WCLA in Los Angeles, open to the press.

About Feminine Collective

Feminine Collective is a platform devoted to raw, unfiltered stories and poems of emerging writers. They focus on nonfiction stories of interpersonal relationships, published four to six times per week, including essays, poems, and short fiction. While they avoid breaking news, they have been known to publish opinion pieces on current events. The provocative voices on Feminine Collective are unlike any found in mainstream media today—storytellers who openly share raw accounts of abuse, emotional and mental health issues, parenting, love, and self-image that empower, elevate, enlighten, and entertain. Each writer expresses a vulnerability yet unseen that impacts the lives of Feminine Collective’s rapidly growing readership. Feminine Collective was launched in January 2014 by creator Julie Anderson and co-founder Marla J. Carlton. Julie Anderson has enjoyed a two-decade long career as a supermodel—where she has been the face of influential luxury brands and cover girl on international editions of Vogue, Elle and Harper’s Bazaar. Marla J. Carlton, a former international model, founded the award-winning Los Angeles based design firm, Specto Design in 2002, where she works as an art director and writer.

About Feminine Collective Foundation
Feminine Collective formed Feminine Collective Foundation in December 2015 with the sole mission to raise money to donate to charities that are dedicated to helping women and children in need, including victims of domestic violence, child abuse, drug abuse, rape, human trafficking, at-risk teens and women who suffer from mental health issues.

3 Day Quote Challenge: Don’t Be An ASSHOLE, just don’t

I was invited by the lovely blogger Stephanie Ortez (thank you), of Collected Essays of The Anxious Mind to participate in the 3 day Quote Challenge on the theme of sadness.

I have chosen not to write about the recent tragic events and massacres unfolding on a global scale, but to look back and reexamine where we have been.

To ponder how did we become such a bunch of assholes? 

I had a hard time picking my top 3 Asshole Quotes- there were so many to choose from…hell I even ordered the t-shirt by Statement Tease and creator of the original viral meme “I stand with everyone who isn’t an a**hole.”

 

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Asshole

(Albert) I’m kinda reaching my breaking point with all this.

© Facebook/Sick of the Slant

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Assholes

© (Albert via The Christian Left) Exactly the problem I’m having with the GOP “outrage”.

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 Bunch of A**Holes

  © Danielle Magestro

‘Quote says “I stand with everyone who isn’t an a**hole. Regardless of Race, Gender Identity, Religion, Age, Marital Status, Sexual Orientation, Disability, and National Origin.”

Humanity needs less A**holes, and more kindness.

 


Challenge Rules:

Post three consecutive days.
You can pick one or three quotes per day.
Challenge three different bloggers per day.

 

While I’m honored to participate, I’m choosing not to challenge another blogger. These are highly sensitive times, where privacy and time to process personally is critical. If however there is a blogger (or two) who would like to join in and accept the challenge please do so on my behalf.

 

 

 

3 day Quote Challenge ~ Tolerance

I was invited by the lovely blogger Stephanie Ortez (thank you), of Collected Essays of The Anxious Mind to participate in the 3 day Quote Challenge on the theme of sadness.

I have chosen not to write about the recent tragic events and massacres unfolding on a global scale, but to look back and reexamine where we have been. To ponder how many mountaintop peaks and ocean depths there are  separating and dividing us.

How do we find our way back to respect and basic human kindness?

 

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911

By Jacqueline Cioffa

Sept. 2002

 

And a universal ‘omni for everyone’ God is great

He / she is grand, selfless, caring, humane

The destruction comes at the hands of so few

Who knew not love

Only anger and hate

And so many millions of hearts hang heavy

In this time of unending sorrow for so many lost lives

Yet I breathe a half breath of hope towards mankind

It lies in the children their fear and our strength to give comfort

And I am not afraid to cry because I can show love

And weep for my brothers and sisters

Tolerance must rule

 

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“It’s unpopular to take a strong stand on anything (these days) except tolerance.” – John Piper

 



Challenge Rules:

Post three consecutive days.
You can pick one or three quotes per day.
Challenge three different bloggers per day.

 

While I’m honored to participate, I’m choosing not to challenge another blogger. These are highly sensitive times, where privacy and time to process personally is critical. If however there is a blogger (or two) who would like to join in and accept the challenge please do so on my behalf.