"To not forget but remember the precious, fleeting stolen moments in time." 'funny girl'

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.

funny girl

by Jacqueline Cioffa

Dec. 2006

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I would like to lead a dark, sophisticated life

I dream of a fancy lady in spiked heels, red nails and lips and such

She wears corsets to breakfast

and dines on champagne and caviar

Instead I run away from fame and all it’s trappings

I’m a messy sneaker wearing practical jeans girl

transparent to the touch

I know it’s crazy but I miss you everyday

more not less

I don’t need a prince charming just a soft whisper

A subtle nod, bittersweet embrace

Ask me to cross an ocean and I’d do it for you

Even for just five minutes

I don’t care I’m not proud though I am scared

I’m sophisticated just enough

I am somebody’s child, you know. Jacqueline Cioffa #mentalillness  

I never cared much about looking back when I was young.

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I could not wait to leave this house, this town get out and experience stuff. You know the obstinate dreamer looking for bold adventure. It worked. I ran. I ran fast and far, and kept running. That’s the funny thing about developing a serious illness, you are forced to re-prioritize. Becoming insane in the middle of Manhattan did not bode well for me or the strangers that crossed my path. The fancy friends eventually grew tired and gave up on listening to the paranoia, illusions of grandeur or understanding the enticement of pretty pink and shiny purple horses or the flickering lights of the carousel. Ones you can’t dismount or runaway from or dismiss, like the mania and depression you can’t out run. Round and round you go, in perpetuity. There are worse things than glaring evil stares when dancing alone in a Radio Shack in Harlem. There are even worse things than sitting on the floor in the middle of Rite Aid, Gatorade in hand, sobbing because you don’t know where you are, why the room is spinning or if you’re going to hurl from the strobe light storm happening inside your brain. There are even worse, more horrific things than why you’re all alone sitting on the cold, dirty floor. You are sure there are. You watch the news, bad shit happens. This bad to you, you’re not so sure.

Mortifying, that’s what mental illness is. Ruthless, ugly, hide your face in shame from the judgmental, fearful stares. The noise level in NYC is just too high. You can’t stand when passerbys brush against you, the subway screeches to a halt, or the taxis whizzing past. The bright yellow hurts your eyes. You can’t see. You can’t hear. You cannot process the incessant, relentless buzz, hums and whirring noise.

S.T.O.P.

I am somebody’s child, you know.

I am somebody’s child, same as you.

I used to love the Carousel screaming and running towards it, arms flailing like the happy carefree girl I once was.

What I can’t figure out is what the hell I’m supposed to do? Now. With this.

Some people are addicted to the mania jonesing for the next high, the visions, euphoria.

No, no, no.

Not me. I’ll take the black hole depression and blasé every single time. It’s quieter and peaceful alone in the dark. Except for being skinny, that part of the mania I’ll keep.

There’s only one thought to trust, one way to save yourself.

Maybe, maybe if you go back you might find your way.

Safe passage awaits.

Home.

Maybe I’ll breathe easier there.

Maybe the familiar, childhood home might save me.

Probably not. It’s my best shot.

You see, I don’t care if I live or if I die. I know that sounds harsh, exaggerated, self-indulgent but it’s not.

I only care how I live and where I’ll die.

I’ve been asking my mom about her mother as far back as I can remember, cataloging the information in a deep, pooling reservoir of serenity where I could reach in calling on the stories to be soothed.

I have tidal waves of memories, and ripple effects of love stored in my brain.

My grandmother, May, died in her sleep before we could meet. Fifty-three is too young to leave, she was barely getting started I bet.

I know some things about her. She liked to fish and the solitude of being on the water. We have that in common.

She drank a Manhattan every night after work. She was a baker’s daughter, my mom still makes her molasses cookie recipe at Christmastime. She loved her husband who’d get sick, (like me) and then better but never quite the same.

“Don’t bother your father,” the phrase handed down to her own daughter.

May worked in a plumbing shop with him, raising her children to be responsible, gentile and hardworking.

It was a simple, honest life.

She liked to dance, but didn’t go out often.

She loved gardening, planting roses and peony  bushes.

Did you know it takes peonies a full year to bloom? 

Maybe May knew while planting the seed, her heart full of family.

An invisible string from the heavens touching mine, her orb a sweet- scented blushing pink.

Maybe she knew, probably not.

She’d adored diamonds like me, wore an outrageous sparkling solitaire with facets that shimmer and catch the light on my finger. I only wear the precious heirloom on special occasions or when I’m morosely blue. It makes me feel pretty inside, close to her.

“You never told me I looked like her,” drilling my mother with yet another ten-thousandth question.

She nodded, “it makes me sad and happy at the same time.”

Home, a place one doesn’t fully outgrow and never truly leaves behind.

But home, this home however much I am the failure for needing to return is where I would like to live and how I would hope to die.

Not necessarily the physical dwelling, but the contentment feeling and serenity of a happy place inside.

Surrounded by love. Less alone.

Unencumbered by the weight of heavy living.

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“Legacy can feel heavy, sad or even sweet-smelling at times. I am the gatekeeper of this home, but not the original keeper of the key.”

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'A mother's love is everything in our #BookBubble of the week' by Jacqueline Cioffa

“They have mere minutes left, not long ago lazy days in the thousands. Oh, if she could give some of them back, maybe it would stop. The deep lines etched across her mother’s beautiful face, the crude reminder it does not.” The Vast Landscape

“I am not a mother, I only understand the depths, beauty and bitter-sweetness from her side. It’s what I know. The one truth I’ve learned that matters. I write the complicated mother-daughter bond from both sides.”              Jacqueline Cioffa

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True gray with primary colors whirling all around

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I wasn’t going to write a sappy. I wasn’t. But, I jumped. 

My father was and always will be the great love of my life. It’s been seven years, the 5th of May. I know the date I was there beside him. My mom, too. I can’t speak for my brothers, nieces or anyone who had the good fortune to meet him. He taught me everything I know about kindness, loyalty, humor, respect, family and faith. His faith was unnerving, never wavering for one second. I was a hellion, a wild child and my dad never judged. He watched and waited to pick up the pieces. There are too many stories. One I remember vividly. I was 18, spoiled brat, came home drunk, puking my guts out. I don’t even drink anymore. My father cleaned me up, put me to bed and slept on the floor beside me. I can still feel him near, even if I can’t see him.

“Take care of your mother, be a good girl. I love you with my whole heart.”

Okay dad, I’ll try. Although I’m not sure I’m doing a bang up job. Her and I, we fight. Argue. A lot. Rarely agree on anything. I’d like to wring her neck. This woman, the person I call mom I aim to please. She wanted a cordless vacuum for Mother’s Day, not a fancy car, Dior or diamonds. Something useful with a purpose. That’s all. I’d be so lucky and well-adjusted to be more like her. The original, fearless warrior.

I’ve experienced the love of a father like mine, and a mother. Together, they made our family complete. Wherever you are Choff, I hope you’re winning and smirking that devilish grin. The heavens and the orbs are in your favor. It’s your time.

I have to go right on living. It’s rudimentary. Five-year old mathematics, numbers you live a whole life by.

I think they stink. Crap odds. I have to stay anyway, a while longer. I guess. The canvas resets to a stark sterile dove white, a color choice off a paint swatch. The happy, unhappy complicated family colors muted and wiped clean with the stroke of a paint brush. Obliterated by a sixty dollar gallon of paint.

I close my eyes and trust I will see them, the shade memories. I trust they were indeed real, trust they will remain to guide and comfort the remaining journey.

Putrid acid green, Pepto-Bismol pink, sherbet orange and garish gold marble swirls alive in the brain.

Life lived in increments and numbers. The numbers they never lie.

I hang crystal prisms in the bedroom window to capture the sunbeams washing over my face, remembering the weight and light of a kind of pure and selfless love.

It wasn’t perfect, I’m not deluded I know that.

Life was solid, a true gray with primary colors whirling all around.

And that, you can build upon.

Six feet of dock stretches out over a flat, refreshing cool body of water with no threat of jagged rocks, seaweed, or prey absolutely nothing that could hurt you.

With each breath we count, constantly weighing the risks, odds and numbers.

Me, I love to swim. I need to remember that more often.

Inside every jump right before you hit the water lives the dream and infinite possibility.

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"An amazing story of love, loss, and hope." #THEVASTLANDSCAPE 5-star review #amazon

Another 5-star review for THE VAST LANDSCAPE
thank you! ‪#‎grateful‬

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“An amazing story of love, loss, and hope. I read it in a week and then turned around and read it again the next week. The author writes about meaningful experiences that touch the heart. I have just finished the sequel, “Georgia Pine,” which continues the story of love, loss, and hope. This story is a heartfelt read as well. I hope to read many more books by Jacqueline Cioffa. She is an author who is here to stay.” – Amazon review

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DOIN’ things
@DowntownBooks
‪#‎georgiapine‬ ‪#‎spottheposter‬ ‪#‎booksigningprep‬

In truth. 41,700 word count

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I love GEORGIA PINE. I can’t wait to see how her story unravels. I love everything about her, crimson waves of strength, the direct extension of Harrison. Maybe, I did not want the The Vast Landscape to end, lost without my friend, daily companion, experience the death of someone too close. I needed a pause to reflect, the beautiful chaos that is Harrison. Families are strange, captivating complexities. I find human behavior both horrifying and fascinating. So there is room, more life experience to tell. We’re not finished yet, Harrison and I. Today, I wrote one sentence to Georgia Pine. One really good, authentic, brave sentence. Yesterday, I banged out three Chapters. They weren’t exactly ‘banged out.’ They’d been ruminating in mind for weeks, as I went about my very mundane, regimented day, the characters entertained me. I wait, not rushing my process, (ha, couldn’t if I tried) The stories as real to me as oxygen. I know I need it, to exist, to go on, to feel anchored while my brain travels in too many opposing directions. Life propels forward, shit happens out of my control. Georgia Pine. is carefully constructed, calculated fantasy sitting in truth. A fellow writer once said, “write the truth your reader can always tell.” 41,700 words of candor means the story isn’t finished yet, my story isn’t done. There is more honesty and no bullshit to be told.

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Taking Stock

“I see…fields forever                                                                                                       Growing wild and free.”

nature vs. nurture
nature vs. nurture

Stuff I’ve learned the past five years.             Good-bye, NY.

-when in doubt, go back to the start, go back, go back, keep going back

-I don’t miss cement towers, crowds, noise, designer flare and busy streets full of empty strangers
-if you plant seeds, they will grow
-closets filled with fancy things are just that, overcrowded
-sweats, sturdy hiking boots, practical dress may not look cool, they are warm and efficient

 

-purpose. find a purpose that nurtures the five-year old dreamer, naive, exuberant, happiest parts

-choosing love is hard, brave and healing
-loosing your mind, over and over, putting the pieces together is not what I would have chosen, it’s what I got

-right now is it, tomorrow is guaranteed different, tomorrow is not a guarantee

-I have lived in many countries, cultures, cities, experienced various tastes, varying people                      -you have only one heart-happy home

-when asked if I wanted to replace Lupe, born blind in one eye for a different puppy, my  answer was a vehement no, thank you                                                                                      -trust your first instinct, even when living in a constant flux of polar opposites

-at my sickest, darkest, scariest I knew, I would take care of her
-what I didn’t know was how well she would care for me, asking for nothing
-Lupe sees and feels with her heart, much like her mama

-where I am going is…nowhere, nothing special on the agenda                                              -I am here, doing my best to make it count

-there is pure, white magic on the small-town Street where I come from
-doors remain open, smiles greet me no questions, no judgement                                                 -warm welcome home.

-simple is good, simple is okay, simple is not very simple at all

its all right

to go back, try again 

lupita
another bridge