Sifting through blog posts working backwards I found this. Family memories shift and time changes but the love can never be deleted and a home not a house never erased.
37 Windows by Jacqueline Cioffa
My parent’s house has 37 windows and countless memories. It’s the home my Mom grew up in. I know every nook and cranny; I’ve heard all her childhood tales. It’s the 37 windows that her father, an Irishman bought with a small sum and a dream. He’d plant a garden and fix her walls and cure this house and make it his own. He’d have babies that would grow into gentlemen and scholars. He’d live a rich life filled with triumphs and racked with disappointment. It’s the 37 windows that would beckon him and his wife to sleep one night after a life well lived. 37 windows would sweetly and softly carry them expertly back home.
37 windows watched over me as a child. Free and safe to run wild in the streets screaming and laughing out loud. My mom would call out every night at suppertime. We’d sit around the table, talking and giggling about nothing and everything. My grandfather was still there, feeding us food and wisdom straight from his garden. There was conversation and laughter and food enough for everyone. There would be cousins and friends who’d show up and stay in that house until they were independent and strong. Her 37 windows patiently nurtured them, sending them off once they were brave enough to leave home.
37 windows open faithfully each spring and hunker down in wintertime. 37 windows whispered to me as a teen, “Go, be brave and immerse yourself. Be kind and confident, behave like a solid lady who can reap and sow her own garden.“
37 windows welcomed me after a messy divorce and an abusive husband. She was happy to give me shelter and open her doors. 37 windows raised her arms and said, “Welcome home, little girl. You’ll be alright, time to heal your heart.” My body shook, my heart closed tight by each figurative and literal bruise, every new disappointment. Then, something magical happened over time, the birth of new babies and summers and barbecues and a puppy and a pool that looked brand new, but had thirty years healed me. I became whole again. I had forgotten for a second the power of 37 windows and where I came from. Sometimes, it takes the eyes of others to see who you are, the stuff you are made of.
Family has always been all around me. I guess I’m lucky like that. I tried to leave, venture out on my own. Move away. Continents and ocean lengths away, it was never quite far enough. In my mind and my heart, they came with me. No matter the color or style of the glass, the endless other windows that have housed me have never felt quite like home. Even with the spirits of the people I have loved housed inside me, I am never without the power of family and a healing home.
All the Buddha’s, the crosses, the picture frames, the Zen-like qualities I add to each new space I live in, there is still a missing ingredient. I lost my mind a few years back and once again my childhood home and her 37 windows beckoned me. My bed and the smell of talc, the clean summer-breeze smell of the sheets brought me familiar comfort. I felt safe, if not whole. The way the sheer curtain rose and fell in the breeze at night eased my heavy load. She promised me I’d find my way out of the dark. It was simple, I was home.
I never gave it much thought. I took for granted that house would be there. My Dad died 352 days ago. All that’s left now of 37 windows is my Mom and my infrequent visits.
Maybe she’ll sell it and move to a smaller, more manageable home. That would be ok, I think. I always thought 37 windows housed me. Her walls so deeply embedded; I never understood I actually housed her. I hold all her memories, her secrets and laughter and dance and death and songs. 37 windows hold my past and my present, but I house all the people I hold precious and dear and call home.
Originally Published Sept. 2013 madswirl.com
From time to time you’ll see Stolen Moments show up on the blog. Words forgotten and misplaced, poetry, anticipatory memories, prose, joy and sorrow, pensive emotion, random and not so random thoughts scribbled in tattered notebooks. To not forget but remember the precious, fleeting stolen moments in time. I’m a writer trying recapture on paper how it feels to be alive.
Training Wheels and Little Blond Curls
Jacqueline Cioffa 1998
Oh little girl
Stop for a minute
Let me enjoy your youth
The sheer innocence of fearlessness
Can I ride with you just one more time?
On your bike with training wheels
Let me float free on your back
As you learn to glide without safety wings
Don’t fret and don’t be afraid
Your youth will never leave you
She’ll grow on with you
As you and I both grow up
I couldn’t resist responding to the lovely Carol Adriana Estrella‘s post on Facebook this morning.
“Doing a small survey:
What are your first thoughts when you hear the word “bipolar”. Being that is an illness, I see it used around A LOT as an adjective or a subject.”
Visit the very hip and informative blog Is Ok Not To Be Ok to view some of the varied responses (including my abridged one).
Carol explains, “I did a very informal survey today asking people what were the first thoughts that came to their mind when they heard the word: bipolar. I got an incredibly array of answers from the usual (and often not funny) jokes, to what a harsh reality is to live as a bipolar individual.”
Thank you, Carol Adriana Estrella for starting the conversation today.
I hate the word, “bipolar.” It’s ugly, an overused throwaway word. Call me whatever. I’m a #Whatever if you must. Jackie works too.
The forward from GEORGIA PINE explains how strongly I feel about the word(s), “BiPolar Disorder.”
I wrote The Vast Landscape, the prequel to Georgia Pine at a dark, scary time in my life. Harrison, the brash heroine, was someone tangible I could cling to. She gave me reason to get up, to go on, to fight, a much-needed respite from what was happening in my real, everyday life. I made the conscious decision not to write about manic depression, the disease that has disrupted every neuron firing through my beautiful, chaotic mind. Bipolar Disorder, the label I detest, is en Vogue. It appears in trendy bestsellers, Oscar winning films and sensationalized television. It’s glamorized, modernized, made to look cool. Trust me, it is not. Mental Illness is the train wreck, the ugly, cruel, exhaustive, intangible, and solitary battle. It does not discriminate among rich, poor, smart, stupid; it brings grown men to their knees, ripping whole families apart. Writing The Vast Landscape freed me to live my dreams on the page. Harrison is I, I am she, mixed together so deeply the lines disappear. The outlines blur, intentionally. Was The Vast Landscape reality or fantasy? That is for the reader to decide. We are all disabled, broken parts, lost individuals, trying to find our way. Truth is what you know, here and happening now. There is only love and love is the bravest character of all. Harrison is the voice in our heads, asking the important questions. Where do I fit? Why am I here? Will I love, be loved? We are born with a fixed expiration date, yet we carry on, walking this earth the best we can until we’re pixie dust. Cherished, kept alive in memory and yellow parchment, we become precarious, aged photographs in a cardboard box. Lives touch, intersect in the most unpredictable yet meaningful ways. 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.
The story continues in… Georgia Pine.”
Excerpt From: Jacqueline Cioffa. “Georgia Pine.” iBooks.
Woke up to a flooded basement (only a little), and a head that feels like it’s in a vice-grip. I have taken half a Benadryl, Alka-Seltzer and Flonase with only marginal relief.
Not matter what’s happening or how shitty I feel, my personal summer goal is to swim every single day.
And, it only counts if I get my head wet. Duh, everybody knows that.
Went to the gym and for a dunk even the asshole mouse floating past, more like sunken did not stop me.
It would have thwarted my goal day three, if I had seen it. I might have passed out.
Can you pass out in water? Huh, I’ll have to google that.
Mouse??? I DON’T DO MICE. Let me be clear, reiterate, I DO NOT DO MICE.
I’ll spare you the yuck factor and unpleasant bloated, furry black pink tail imagery. Squeak. Eek.
Yeah, no. I will not go down that easy.
Drowning by mouse.
I felt like this today.
You don’t need to hear about the numbness, excruciating pain, overwhelming anxiety, residual anxiety, paranoia, dizziness or that I prayed to whomever was listening to just end it. Fucking end the ridiculous, relentless, ad nauseam, non-sensical hours that consume my days. Frankly it’s wearing me down, ripping me to shreds and fucking exhausting fighting invisible monsters.
Yes, I know I’m sick. Yes, I understand tapering off benzos is worse than hell it’s maggot filled shit. Yes, my empathetic, cool therapist talks it out. Reassuring me I am indeed strong enough.
Resilient enough. Tough enough. However. Makes me wonder.
Where in the hell am I going to replenish precious missing elements when the planet is currently fluctuating between earthquakes, tornadoes and drought? In a constant state of chaos, flux. How to replenish when I can’t remember pieces of yesterday. Blurred and hazed memories clog and pollute the brain.
Where? How? Why? Great questions. With zero answers.
I said NO anyway. For shits and giggles, ya’ know.
I don’t feel like shit, I feel eradicated, violated and obliterated.
I go to the hairdresser’s armed with my peppermint and lavender doused washcloth unsure I can make it through the hour-long dye process without flipping the fuck out.
Home. I want, need, have a deep desire to be home.
Grey roots and I have a larger more burning desire to feel pretty, alive, and validated.
Breathe, just breathe. You are safe. You are fine. You’ve been through this before. You are safe, breathe.
Your stylist is your dear friend who knows and loves you well she will take you home if necessary.
FUCK YOU anxiety, fuck off, go fuck up someone else’s day/ existence.
It’s sitting there threatening strangling my neck, throat, cramped shoulders, tingling extremities and limbs. Sitting patient, greedily waiting to pounce.
I apply eyeliner (Armani #02 pencil my fav.) and concealer to brighten my shiteous, difficult existence and in spite.
Tomorrow will come with or without me, isn’t that the cliché? What they say? Whoever the hell they are, Martians maybe. Fuck if I know, can’t be sure.
This first Friday in June, all I know is I am doing my best.
My very damnedest.
And it looks like this… on the outside
“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” – Harper Lee
Authors supporting authors is groovy!
I have learned so much from some fierce, fabulous authors and continue to be inspired by their talent, words and willingness to share.
Thank you for being cheerleaders, kind motivators, smart and courageous trailblazers.
I have always believed there is indeed room for us all.
To grow, to learn, to get inspired, to dream bigger.
Get ready to meet some pretty spectacular writers, and human beings.
Inspiration is happening right now.
“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
CHOSEN ONE is 604 pages of hold your breath Science Fiction and Fantasy sweeping adventure from the gifted imagination of author Steven Sutherland.
Click>PB http://bit.ly/1zYS8kw D http://amzn.to/1KMik7S After>You Will Get It So You Can>Arrive
Be amazed and see with your own eyes…
“Sir Stephen along with lifelong friend Sir Brent take off on a dream adventure to find the promise land and to live significant moments… Can their hearts desire lead them to where they want to go, or does it already? Will they discover if they are a Chosen One or not? You will climb the highest mountains and weep with them in their lowest valleys. Prepare yourself today, for The Chosen One.”
“My hope is readers walk away with an appreciation of their significant moments and take a step back if necessary, to avoid regrets and aspire to thrive. I believe Chosen One will become the one novel they go back to time and time again for their life’s ride.” Steven Sutherland
Follow Steven’s author page on Facebook
Visit Steven Sutherland on Twitter
CHOSEN ONE Trailer youtube.com
CHOSEN ONE on booklaunch.io
When Sarah Fader, CEO and Founder of the mental health non-profit organization Stigma Fighters asked me to write “It hurts, Ya’ Know,” an essay for Stigma Fighters I was overjoyed. How often is it that someone is acknowledged for talking about difficult, life-saving topics like mental illness? Sarah Fader does not shy away from challenge. She is a force with the uncanny ability to bring people together while making each person feel individual. An important, collectively part of a group that needs to be seen and heard. Sarah also blogs for The Huffington Post and writes a column called Panic Life for Psychology Today.
Sarah Fader’s recently released Stigma Fighters Anthology, “a compilation of personal perspectives, the first volume of the Stigma Fighters Anthology features essays from real people living with mental illness from around the globe.”
The first volume suggests there will be others. I sure hope so, and cannot wait to continued to be inspired by the light Ms. Fader shares and shines on others.
Authors inspiring authors and I have a feeling Ms. Fader has much to say and joyfully shares her talent and tales.
“Once upon a time Sarah Fader wrote a blog post called 3-Year-Olds Are Assholes. It went viral on HuffPost Parents with over 400,000 shares on Facebook.”
THREE-YEAR OLDS ARE A**HOLES, is the funny and touching little gem that can be enjoyed by mommys’ and non-moms’ alike.
Follow Sarah Fader on Twitter
Sarah is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters
Find her books here Stigma Fighters Anthology
Three-Year-Olds Are A**holes
Sarah Fader on Facebook
Sarah’s website Old School New School Mom
I cannot wait to discover the witty, gifted world of J.C. Hannigan
COLLIDE by J.C. Hannigan (KILLER cover)
“Harlow Jones has a troubled past, and a questionable future.” –collide
Visit J.C. Hannigan’s Facebook Page
Visit her on her personal blog
Follow her on Google Plus
Check out the Bumpy Bones Blog
This week, we have the very groovy, sensitive, gifted and kind Rachel Thompson. Blogger, Media Consultant (guru), founder and creator of #SexAbuseChat, Director of Social Media at Stigma Fighters, creator of the wildly popular hashtag #MondayBlogs, Director of GRAVITY IMPRINT for Booktrope Publishing, passionate, empathetic sexual abuse advocate and eloquent, gifted author. Rachel truly epitomizes the phrase “authors inspiring authors.” She was the first person I met in the daunting world of self-publishing, and first to extend a hand with a smile. Thank you, fiercely inspiring fellow red.
The sequel to “Broken Pieces” by Rachel Thompson “Broken Places” is available, and happening now.
Visit Rachel Thompson’s Facebook Pages
Follow her on Twitter
Director of GRAVITY IMPRINT for Booktrope
Check out the link to Rachel’s poignant, raw award winning books
“As an artist do I need constant flux to create? How will I find words in the woods surrounded by trees and rotten cornfields? How will I find anything besides dying, wet leaves?
I cannot escape the volume in my head, the constant churning. The Jesus fucking Christ, turn it down chatter. I have been told to be patient. Wait for the drugs, the quieting veil, and the lavender calm to smooth out the ringing. My mind is full of death and black spots I’m sure, much like a stroke patient after a spell.
“The chaos comes with you,” simply stated my friend. He was right. I am here, here am I. Sick and tired, tired and bullshit sick.
The blank paper waits and my hands navigate the keys and the thoughts go where they may.”