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

#AuthorDiaries – Kristin Seborg, Author of THE SACRED DISEASE

2

#AUTHOR DIARIES IS PLEASED TO WELCOME Kristin Seborg, GRAVITY IMPRINT AUTHOR of  The Sacred Disease.

Kristin

What is your book’s genre/category?

My book is a memoir. More specifically, a medical memoir.

Please describe what the story/book is about.

The Sacred Disease is about my journey learning to live with seizures and epilepsy at the same time that I studied to become a physician and during my early years as a mother.

 

NOW FOR THE JUICY, FUN PART ~ DISCOVERING MORE ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU, THE AUTHOR TICK.

0002-106861130

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Living in the moment with nothing to worry about and no tasks to complete. In my “perfect” happiness world, I would be surrounded by nature and my children.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is that my epilepsy and recurrent small seizures will lead to early onset cognitive changes and/or memory loss.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I like to call it “realism,” but I tend to see the negative side of things. My husband is an eternal optimist so he nicely balances this tendency of mine

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

I have limited patience for laziness or an attitude of victimization. The best way to change things and change your life is to rouse and do something about it!

Which living person do you most admire?

I most admire people who succeed and excel despite adversity. Specifically Helen Keller (OK, she’s dead!) professional surfer Bethany Hamilton and all of the Gravity Imprint authors!

What is your current state of mind?

I am grateful, excited, and nervous. Grateful to Gravity and Booktrope for giving me the opportunity to share my store and raise awareness about epilepsy, excited that I no longer have to pretend that I am silently struggling and nervous because I have “spilled my guts” on paper in my book! I am more vulnerable than ever but hope that my words and story will help others with chronic illness.

On what occasion do you lie?

Friend/coworker: “How are you?”

Me: “Great!”

It’s often easiest to tell a half truth instead of the whole story.

Which living person do you most despise?

Currently? Donald Trump and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. They are politicizing fear and exclusionism and motivating voters to follow them by creating a culture of anxiety and unease

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

“That’s a good question”

“Absolutely”

“I get it”

“like. . . “

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My husband, Andrew, and our three fantastic children, Alex, Will, and Kalli

When and where were you happiest?

College at the University of Wisconsin. Endless promise and anticipation for the future, great friends, and no pressure beyond the need to study for exams. Adulthood with a mortgage, jobs, and children is a little more stressful!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be a little more artistic. I admire art and admire people that can draw and paint but I have no innate artistic ability. I do my best “painting” with words.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Can I say three things?

My medical degree (lots of blood, sweat, and tears!)

My children

My book

Where would you most like to live?

Someplace warm with natural beauty and not overcrowded. Oahu, Hawaii would be wonderful.

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty and selflessness. My closest friends will both tell me if my hair looks terrible and take time out of their day to help me fix it!

Where can we find your book?

The Sacred Disease is available on Amazon.


Kristin is a practicing pediatrician in Madison, Wisconsin, where she lives with her husband and three children. An advocate for epilepsy awareness, Kristin hopes that writing about her disease will help decrease the stigma associated with seizures.

You can find Kristin at www.kristinseaborg.com, at www.oneintwentysix.com, on Facebook at Kristin Seaborg MD, Author, and on Twitter @KristinSeaborg. 100% of author royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to CURE. Learn more about CURE’s mission at www.cureepilepsy.org


Thank you, Kristin for sharing your courageous journey, spreading Epilepsy Awareness, and Advocacy. I hope that your love of nature, family, serenity and a seizure-free life always find you.

Wishing you continued success with life, your writerly pursuits and poignant memoir, THE SACRED DISEASE.


ABOUT JACQUELINE CIOFFA

JCioffa_n

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 & Unfiltered Vol. 1, and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. 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 the exciting sequel, Georgia Pine, down.

“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

Look for her column, “Bleeding Ink” with Feminine Collective.

The Infamous Proust Questionnaire

In the 1880s, long before he claimed his status as one of the greatest authors of all time, teenage Marcel Proust (July 10, 1871–November 18, 1922) filled out an English-language questionnaire given to him by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, as part of her “confession album” — a Victorian version of today’s popular personality tests, designed to reveal the answerer’s tastes, aspirations, and sensibility in a series of simple questions. Proust’s original manuscript, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” wasn’t discovered until 1924, two years after his death. Decades later, the French television host Bernard Pivot, whose work inspired James Lipton’s Inside the Actor’s Studio, saw in the questionnaire an excellent lubricant for his interviews and began administering it to his guests in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1993, Vanity Fair resurrected the tradition and started publishing various public figures’ answers to the Proust Questionnaire on the last page of each issue.

 

 

If the shoe fits

In line at the grocery store I couldn’t help but check out the pretty, cool chick in front of me and her wooden clogs. They had heels. I thought maybe she’s from NYC, she’s not from here (most sensible people wear boots). And, she’s going to fall on her butt outside. The sidewalks are sheets of ice.

I had just fallen on my ass.

A disabled man one counter over was having trouble paying and checking out. The cool chick was there in two seconds, “I’ve got this. Let me pay for this.” Well, the man could not have been happier…she made his day, the cashier and mine.

Moral of the story…if the shoe fits.

Thank you, cool lady with the funky shoes.

picture2kue

To The Orbs by Jacqueline Cioffa

 

photo-1445443385222-53ca40599f15To The Orbs 

Duty, responsibility, obligation and drudge

I run around making false promises lying to myself

I must end this cycle of debt, hush-hush niceties and learn to live it

 

This life

 

Starring me

The oddity full of venom and regret

Regret for harsh words hurled in the face of others living in the continuum

The vortex seasonal cycle of disgust and disappointment

Passing judgment upon judgment and hanging no mirrors in my house

I am unable to see the pretty person’s reflection in glass

Wake up child and move on

Go, get, get on and get the hell out from under

The relentless abuse you swallow the misbegotten forgotten soul

The core is damaged from unwanted vocabulary, an unpleasant learned space and skin scratch uncomfortable place

Molestations and accusations what are these words?

I am innocence tossed in the trash long discarded

I have no choice but to make amends

To say, I’m sorry

Simple, two simple impossible words do not roll off the tongue

I’m sorry for so much wasted time

I’m sorry for doubting my perfectly imperfect being

I’m sorry for forever cursing and cussing the bright light burnt stars

I am after all worthy of love

A life filled with some resemblance of happy

I’m not asking for false pretenses or avoidance

Gut punch sharp zinger pain is necessary for growth

A second act?

To right a whole bunch of fall in formation wrongs

I shudder at the possibility of abundance where olfactory senses delight and grandiose dreams are free from jagged edge worries and boundaries

If I can’t be this plain and simple unruly self, who then?

Some other pleasing needing false misrepresentation?

And so, I make amends

And so, I choose to forgive my horrendously ugly fuckups, mishaps and misfortunes

And so, I will learn from the past and the present

Goodbye, old friend

I’ll meet you in the heavens where the orbs are light dancing and colliding transparent

A buoyancy and freedom of physical weight your human form has never known

The torrential, unrelenting downpours of distraught

The hell you experienced?

Dissipated, forgiven and forgotten in less than an instant

Time is not measured in increments

A myriad of wondrous, cheery, crazy beautiful light bright color streams encapsulate and flash brilliant

Hues and the most superfluous elegant words paint the world you left behind

In the orbs there is only purity and lightness of being

You can’t possibly see it, dream it or feel it 

Human

The weight disappears and floats upwards 

Hope floats forever unbound

 

 

photo-1444703686981-a3abbc4d4fe3

 

Do I know with complete certainty there is an afterlife waiting for me?

Of course, I don’t. This I cannot say.

 I want my bubble to be filled with words floating by in a lighthearted stream of consciousness in no particular order.

Being human is hard and excruciating at times, I expel the pain onto the page and wait for cathartic transparency to come back around my way.

To the orbs, I place words with meaning in no varying array. My black and white truths become a grey concept and fade away. The dark cannot shine without the light.

 Family, love, rape, anguish, hope, faith, purpose, death, life, home, heartbreak, birth, joy

The words lose their hold and I am set free

I support #TheLoveEffect film – ‪#‎SuicideAwareness‬ ‪

IMG_0041

As an Advocate, Buddha Collector, Spiritual Seeker, Author, Being, and Human how could I not stand up in support of #theloveeffect film?

Living with mental illness, suicide and the dark are the all too familiar unwelcome visitors, and close companions.

Experiencing the personal devastating loss of someone precious, brilliant and beautiful to suicide is unbearable, impossible to comprehend. And, yet somehow we manage to go on.

Not without help, none of us can do life alone.

I use my voice. Everyday. Every single day I make a promise to write the hard unspeakable truths, insurmountable pains and blinding bliss. To choose hope, not fear.

To always seek out the light.

I support #theloveeffect because the film shares uncomfortable truths, ones that matter.

Every life matters. Suicide and depression are real, they aren’t going away.

The time to #StartTheConversation is now without shame, only courage and joy.

The sea, sun, and the elements make soothing, stunning backdrops in #theloveeffect trailer.

The perfect setting to vital, important topics.

One love.

Kickstarter: THE LOVE EFFECT – Film Launch!

by Drue Metz

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/druegrit/the-love-effect-film-launch

“SUICIDE AWARENESS – A CALL TO ACTION

• Over 1,000,000 people die by suicide every year.

• There is one death by suicide in the world every 40 seconds.

• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.

• Suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds.

Why aren’t we discussing this? As filmmakers, we have an opportunity to be fearless, vulnerable and open by sharing a story that’s both universal, dramatic and ever so poignant.

THEME

A film dealing with suicide and pain is never easy. Especially when it hits so close to home for so many of us. With the support of many celebrities, organization groups and people around the world, we have decided to take this head on – connecting our own struggles and pain with suicide, loss and depression to make a film that poetically expresses the importance of LOVE and its EFFECT. Short films are a difficult thing to create, however with suicide being such a relevant topic, we feel this story is a voice that needs to be heard.”

#BOOK FEATURE: THE PINK MARINE by Greg White Cope

I am thrilled and proud to present the hilarious and touching The Pink Marine by the multi-talented author Greg White Cope with Querelle Press.

 

7278536

​TITLE: The Pink Marine
AUTHOR: Greg Cope White
PUBLISHER: Querelle Press
DATE OF PUBLICATION: October 21, 2015

 

BLURB:

When Greg Cope White’s best friend tells him he is spending his summer in Marine Corps boot camp, all Greg hears is “summer” and “camp.”

Despite dire warnings from his friend, Greg vows to join him in recruit training. He is eighteen, underweight, he’s never run a mile—and he is gay.

It’s 1979—long before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, and with no LGBT rights in place in most states, and the Marines having a very definite expulsion policy in place for gay people when it comes to military personnel, will Greg even survive?

The Pink Marine is the story—full of hilarity and heartbreak—of how a teenage boy who struggles with self-acceptance and his sexuality and doesn’t fit the traditional definition of manliness finds acceptance and self-worth in Marine Corps boot camp.

PRAISE:

“A great story beautifully told—surprising, funny, courageous and inspiring.”
— David Hyde-Pierce

“The Marines got a great soldier out of it. And we civilians got a great author. This is the story of how, through pure gumption, a most unlikely Marine candidate rises to the occasion to show his true colors!”
— Jane Lynch

“Greg is as inspirational as he is hilarious—I love this book!”
​—Margaret Cho

 

3709752_orig

 

AUTHOR BIO:

A card-carrying member of the Writer’s Guild and SAG, Greg’s a produced television writer. He also steps in front of the camera and hosts. ​The Pink Marine is his first book.

His writing credits include HBO’s Dream On, Norman Lear’s The Powers That Be and 704 Hauser, Fox’s Life With Louie, Sony’s animated series Jumanji, and Disney’s Social Studies. He currently has a sitcom in development with Norman Lear’s Act III.

He writes television, film, and articles for publication. He’s a member of The Association of Food Journalists and James Beard (his major passions are food and storytelling).

He appears on this season’s Unique Sweets on the Cooking Channel.

He also shot a pilot for Food Network as host & cook for a food and travel adventure show and competed on Mark Burnett’s TV show On The Menu in 2014.

He writes articles for The Huffington Post and Good Men Project, and most recently his memoir of his time in the Marine Corps–The Pink Marine (available everywhere books are sold 10/15).

Veterans Writing Project and Military Experience and the Arts include chapters from his memoir in their print editions of collected short stories – he’s honored, and bought 5 copies for his mother.

His memoir, The Pink Marine is also being developed for a TV series by Rachel Davidson and Pamela Oas Williams (The Butler, The Amazing Spider Man ….) .

 



 

AROUND THE WEB:

THE PINK MARINE thepinkmarine.com

FACEBOOK: EAT GREG EAT https://www.facebook.com/EatGregEat/

EAT GREG EAT BLOG: Eat Greg Eat

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/eatgregeat

GOOGLE +: https://plus.google.com/+GregWhite/posts

INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/eatgregeat/

 

Please find links to buy The Pink Marine from all of your favorite booksellers on his fun website www.thepinkmarine.com

 

 

Waiting on Oprah: Never Quit Your Dreams

dreamcatcher

Waiting on Oprah

I close my eyes and can almost see the perfect fairytale life I envisioned in my wildest dreams.

Dear Fantasy (Oprah), “I feel that I am a very fortunate person …”

I was fifteen. Fifteen, gawky, wickedly uncomfortable in my so called ‘model frame.’ Somehow fifteen was the perfect age to concoct wild fantasy adventures and the fastest way out of a stifled, small town. There was a kaleidoscope world waiting for me, exclusively.

Strangers, intoxicating places and new faces I ached to see.

I guess Oprah never received the letter or maybe it got shoved to the bottom pile. There were one billion other worthy dreamers, perhaps more worthy than me. Maybe it got filed away, who’s to say?

I barreled ahead out on my own and concocted the fantastical dream anyway.

I had my picture taken, a lot, wearing expensive, sequined designer gowns. I lived in far away lands. Swam naked in cerulean silk seas with infinite sparkling black diamond sandy beaches. I stood atop glaciers touching the clouds where the landscape was breathtaking white, and the earthly humans invisible below. It was lonely and cold, and I felt nothing but numbness. Decades and decades past, I was stuck bone cold.

I could no longer picture my paralyzed, frozen feet on solid ground. Be mindful, careful, and specific before dreaming.

I woke up. No longer a child, no longer a pretty pawn, no longer me, no longer an identity, just a jumble of misfiring neurons.

I had freedom, for a time. Airplanes, buses, pre-packed duffle bags ready, lavender mister, passport, baby pillow became the two ton heavy, overweight baggage. I could not lighten the load no matter how much stuff I discarded. The heavy barred down on my brain, burrowing deep under my skin.

Change is so excruciatingly difficult when you’re living the dream.

Oprah never told me dreams can shift, that there can be more than just the one.

Or maybe, I wasn’t listening too busy running scared. Maybe I had to live through the dream to get to the here and now. Maybe I grew up, a little. Maybe the dream plain wore out.

Shivering, dizzy from submersing my head in the clouds surrounded by foreign tongues I did not understand, the physical me grew bored and misplaced. I dined on spicy and sweet, savoring cuisines that were taste bud delicious yet soured the stomach.

I was grinding, squirming, picking, pinching awkward, drowning inside the fifteen-year-old expired notion of bliss. I think when one is asking for a dream, one must be specific.

I’m sure being kicked to the curb no longer the prettiest, youngest, skinniest ‘photo op’ of the day did nothing for my already damaged low self-esteem and defunct, busted aspirations.

My life has been filled with love. Looking back and forward, my life has been filled with love.

That must be the first thing I cling to while reminiscing. My life has been filled with heart swelling, shattering, terrifying, emotional, easy breezy, destructive, goose-bump alive love.

The heart is a muscle it cannot possibly feel yet it does. Bizarre but so blazing sun, crescent moon, silly stars, perpetual movement sea elements comforting.

I am loved; even on the days I forget how to love myself.

It has not been easy, my middle, it’s been split open, fractured; please God let me end the crucifying. That, and all that mess that is my life are for a different tale. Perhaps when we have a little more time.

I’m back home now. I’m not fifteen anymore. My dreams are simpler, quieter, not half the screaming loud as before. Home, that’s what I’d been missing all along. Not the physical dwelling perhaps, although that helps joggle the mind.

Sensory memory.

The giddy anticipation of my mother’s White Shoulder’s perfume, her lips brushing against my forehead, the charms on her bracelet jingling and dancing on her wrist. Giddy elation alive.

“Go to sleep, sweet child of mine.”

I’d pretend sleep, twisting and squirming awaiting her return. Back from a well deserved evening out way past midnight to stroke my hair in the dark. I was sugary five not smart mouth saccharine EMO fifteen, not biting sarcastic know it all twenty, not disillusioned complacent crazed thirty, not even bitter shattered fragmented forty.

I was five.

I was living the dream.

Dear Oprah, “it’s okay.”

I think I’d like to give this living thing a shot, keep the next dream nestled close.

Readily accessible in my front not back pocket.

Dreams change.

And me, I am transitioning.

I’m not waiting on Oprah, not this time.

This dream is waiting on me.

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender

Training Wheels and Little Blond Curls #StolenMoments

stolen-moments-2

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.

9b885cab

Training Wheels and Little Blond Curls

Jacqueline Cioffa 1998

Oh little girl

Stop for a minute

Let me enjoy your youth

Your radiance

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

beautiful you

IMG_6704

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost.” – Martha Graham