Passo dopo Passo

Passo dopo Passo

A photo by Andrew Branch. unsplash.com/photos/Wlm53j4te78

 

I cut the grass. Big whoop dee do. To some this might seem trivial, like why the hell is grass between her toes so important? Grass between my toes, in my teeth is of the outmost importance because it means I cared enough to push myself, and get off my ass. Out of my comfort zone. Some would say shake it off, the depression, but you can’t shake off a sadness that sits inside you making it hard to pull on your sneaks, and simply walk outdoors. To push when you mostly want to hide, tricking yourself into believing you might be getting better. And, you just might. Maybe, with the right combination of meds which is tricky business. Just maybe it’s because those blades of grass inside your sneaks, clinging to your socks and tickling your toes feels like an accomplishment. You get out of your head, and look up at the clear, baby blue powder puff sky noticing the clematis and smelling the intoxicating aroma of peonies in full bloom, planted lovingly seasons past. Someone asked if I was bed ridden? Should’ve I have been? I could have, but I didn’t. I’m moving slower than usual, writing much slower than usual, thinking at a snail slow pace. How can I be the same me but so different? No matter how bad my muscles ache or my shoulders tense, I keep moving. I’m wondering too, how much time do others spend doing things they don’t want because it hurts, is trivial, or seems menial? Like when not just your muscles ache but your skull and heartbeat hurt heavy too. Fresh cut grass smells like clean, green living, cool and inviting, not sad. No, not sad at all. I’m not sad for a beat, and that beat means mulched grass will grow back stronger, healthier with each passo dopo passo. That freshly cut grass smells just like heaven. Maybe I’m growing stronger too, standing taller and more resolute. The joyful, satisfactory memory of a job well done and sunburst yellow sunshine’s warmth, buried deep inside the muscle. I plop down grass stains and all. I lie on my back and look up at the wide-open ceiling, cracking the slightest smile. Hope lives. Hope is alive and well, grasshopper.

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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Humanity ~ Jacqueline Cioffa

 

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Humanity By Jacqueline Cioffa

We are a sick society.

Before you hurl stones, rocks and bullets at my beliefs, or me please don’t.

I never asked to be put in a 2 x 2 narrow minded, cement block box filled with blame and shame, yet here I am. One of the crazies. On the outside I appear pretty, well mannered, kind and a little bit eccentric. The three-pound brain matter floating inside my skull and faulty DNA tells me otherwise. The darkness and the violent genetic history, the ever-present reminder the cracks and fissures could explode. The grandfather who threw boiling water at his wife ending up in Willard, a violent act, the relative who committed murder and suicide, a violent act, the gorgeous, brilliant cousin who I adored’s death by suicide, another violent act.

Do I blame them, absolutely not. Do I understand the out of your mind depths of a psychotic break, yes. I have been out of mind, spinning out of control, consumed by the crazy. Who’s to say the phone I hurled at my mother in a moment of paranoia, fear and rage could not have been a loaded gun. I cannot honestly say with one hundred percent certainty that I would not pull the trigger. In that one instant I am not a thinking, rational human being with a healthy brain. I can’t in good conscience be responsible for brain matters I do not understand, that Science does not understand and when crazy is shrugged off as the inconvenience.

All people have a propensity towards violence, throw in Mental Illness and it’s a recipe for disaster. Now, do not misinterpret or misconstrue what I am saying. There are millions of upstanding citizens living with mental illness and thriving with not one hint of violence in their beings. Me, I am blessed with an army of support, a goddamn brigade of humans who circle around me, creating a bubble of protection when I am unwell. Which, in truth is every single day. I am broken, cracked and seriously fragmented. What I am not is delusional, in denial or unaware.

I do not blame myself. I will not blame myself. I will blame the mental illness that has wreaked havoc on my life, and the ones I love dearly.
You see, I would kill for them. And, that scares the hell out of me. I have written the blame and shame game in I AM ADAM LANZA, I have shared the ugliest, darkest, scariest pieces of my insanity in SEVEN SHADES OF SICK.

Who is to blame for the massacres, the sick individuals who walk into a school or movie theatre with mass arsenals readily available?

I blame every single one of you. And myself. I blame the lackadaisical therapists who missed something, the arrogant pyschiatrists who check the clock unwilling to study, delve deeper, question everything they know about mental illness throw it out the window and start fresh. I blame the media whores who shove the pictures of dead children and gruesome images of grieving parents without following up. I blame the fractured, broken mental health system where prisons have become modern mental institutions. I blame the government, politics, the NRA, greed, power, and money-grubbing mongrels for shoving the news down our throats with no concrete answers. I blame the parent who buys their child a laptop, or a Smartphone because they’re too busy to go outside and throw a ball around, to communicate and ask simply, how was your day?

I blame anyone and everyone who is in denial about the violent, sick, twisted world we live in.

I blame Social Media for creating an easily, accessible outlet glorifying the senseless massacres. I don’t blame the lonely, isolated, unwell human beings with no support system. They are very real, and they exist in our world. They are humans desperately trying to fit in. Their sick, twisted minds don’t need the apathy of a deluded society.
I blame anyone and everyone who thinks their child would or could never commit such a heinous act. Guess what, I am somebody’s child.

And I’m telling you not to look the other way. Violent acts happen every single day.
I do not need or want a gun in my home.
Who do I blame the most?

I blame humanity.

 

“MINDTRIP CROSSFIRE HUMANITY EDITION: MENTAL ILLNESS, MASSACRES & MISINFORMATION”
Originally published in THE LITHIUM CHRONICLES courtesy of Nicole Lyons

Look for The Vast Landscape and Georgia Pine on the GRAVITY Imprint of Booktrope Publishing

COME ON GOD, Buddha, anybody?

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Manic Depression, Benzo Taper Withdrawals, Fatty Liver Diet and oh yeah, there’s THAT (see below).

Did I miss anything? I think I’m going to cocoon in bed with baby pillow and watch a movie.

Preferably something ‘light.’

COME ON, GOD, BUDDHA whoever the fuck is out there listening.
“Agoraphobia is often, but not always, compounded by a fear of social embarrassment, as the agoraphobic fears the onset of a panic attack and appearing distraught in public. This is also sometimes called ‘social agoraphobia’ which may be a type of social anxiety disorder also sometimes called “social phobia”.”

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#EndTheStigma.

Snake Charmer

 

I never paid much attention to a normal, calendar year. When you have a serious illness, days are measured in hours, minutes and even seconds. On a good day, when the mind is quiet, belly laughs come and go. That usually happens when my favorite people are around, the ones that know me best. Yes, being loved without the label or judgment, counts. On a bad day, I fight. Alone, no one can do it for me. I have to choose life, the want to live, dimmed by shredded, twisted neurons of a misfiring mind. I don’t count years anymore, I count the seconds. The good and bad days a mashup, strewn together like broken bulbs on Christmas trees. I prefer the lunar year, where the sun, stars and moon align, and misalign. That, I can relate to. Goodbye lost friends, career, moments I won’t experience again. A warm embrace to those that stuck around. Yours are the ‘likes’ on Facebook, the thoughtful cards, the small kindnesses that make time bearable. There have been happy moments; love, laughter, May sunshine, colors in bloom, life filled with  purpose. Personal goals, I set for myself. Come hell or high-water. In the middle of the raging war inside my head, I set only one, besides getting better. A lofty, intimate, soul fulfilling, goal. To write, and finish a book. Not any book, but a glorious, life-affirming story filled with raw, flawed, humanistic beings, who choose hope and love. The things that truly matter. No small feat for the ‘normal’ everyday person, a gigantic leap for someone like me. I hate labels, I find them abhorrent, run of the mill ordinary, much like holiday festivities. There is no other me, or you. There never will be. Embrace it, give yourself a hug and pat on the back for enduring another year, gracefully, humbly and with integrity. All of it, the messy, and the emotion. Say good-bye to the evil snake of 2013, welcoming the Chinese New Year, 2014. The year of the majestic, elegant, lithe, spirited, strong, dreamy, ageless, wild, fast, beautiful horse.

Horoscope 2014, forecast for the 2014 year of the Horse

The 2014 Chinese Year is the 31 number in the sixty-year cycle called Chia Wu and described in Chinese tradition like “Horse in the Clouds”. 2014 is the year of Green Wooden Horse. 
The upcoming compassionate 2014 year of the Horse is going to be attentive to all our troubles and quick to react in protection of those who cannot fight for themselves. The optimistic nature of the 2014 allows us to cope with financial hardships in the belief that good fortune will soon be on the way, while kind-hearted nature of the 2014 year provides us with supportive friends, ready to help us in difficulties just as we have helped them.
More:http://www.gotohoroscope.com/chinese-zodiac-horse.html

The Vast Landscape on Amazon.com