Reading & Writing a Life

Carla Pineda's blog

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Sunday Morning

I am up at 5am. The two day old dishes have been washed. Now, the sink waits for the next load of dirty dishes, a sign of life around here. The familiar sound of Mr. Coffee perks, slow but steady. I drink my first cup of his coffee, savor its smooth, dark taste.

The phone # for yesterday’s vaccine registration sits in my line of sight. My phone registers 21 attempts to get through for an appointment. They are all unsuccessful. The virus numbers are off the charts.

I read a phrase this morning, “the art of observation”. I like it. It rolls around in me a tad differently than “the art of noticing” which is the title of a book I have.

To observe. To notice.

They are different I think. I observe. I spend time, catch the sight of something, spend time taking it in. I notice. I just see “it” and maybe make note. I miss the nuances (I like this word) that observations pull forth.

My friend, the writer and poet, Edward Vidaurre, says “see beyond the ordinary eye.” And I say, listen past the quiet.

Absorb the sights and sounds. The coffee pot is done perking. Now I hear the sound of the refrigerator hum and beneath it, the quiet of a Sunday morning at my writing table in the kitchen.

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New Year’s Eve 2020

It is early on this last day of this year. It is cold. It is raining. I am at my writing table, rereading my journals from this past year and writing down thoughts, fragments, questions in my final volume for the year. Since I have filled 10 volumes this year this entry from my first volume of 2020 made me smile.

I cannot find words this morning. I feel at a loss for anything to write…no questions, quotes, prompts surface. I just know I need to be on the page. I need the discipline, the practice, the commitment, the feeling of being loyal to the blank page. “Just be here” comes before the physical words begin to appear.

Just be present to the pen and the paper. Trust that something will reveal itself on the tabula rasa journal page and will in turn reveal, perhaps, a nugget of wisdom or a question needed for the next step. Just show up.” (from my personal journal entry of Jan. 12, 2020)

How did you show up on the pages of your journal in 2020? Are you ready to begin another year on the blank page? When you just show up, trust the process, the journey, and practice the discipline, you may find yourself with 10 (or more) volumes too!

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Questions and Stilling Water*

This thing about questions…there being no limit to how far one can travel (John O’Donohue)

Where does the question travel from? Where is the question going?

Me and the question going on a journey together, to the recesses of my mind, of my heart, we sit together, still and quiet

The question rolls around inside of me, most likely it begins with sharp prickly edges

Then after time, living with it, the edges smooth out, like a rock in a tumbler

Is this living, quietly into the answer, somewhere along the way (Rilke)

Not at Point A or Point B, but just somewhere, gradually, without any thinking on my part?

The question is answered, revealed, comes into focus, a reflection on the surface of stilling water.

*from a journal entry dated August 7, 2020 in the midst of the pandemic

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The small things

It is the morning after Christmas

Yes, it was different

Yet, it was Christmas and that is what matters

A “less is more” day (and year)

We had tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner

Something very comforting about ending the day with those foods

Basic and fulfilling

It is the small, is it not?

#readingandwritingalife #writinglife #journaling #journals #creativelife #creativity #reading #gratitude #cronewisdom #wisdom

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I am sitting amidst the sounds of the washing machine and the coffee pot

It is a new day, the Winter Solstice, my sister’s birthday, the week of Christmas

A candle flame glows gentle

I take time for a pause in this time of a long dark

I sit slow, move gentle

Immerse myself in this place of unknowing

Embrace the darkness

It is good for the soul











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A Small Thing

First chore of the morning is to fill the bird feeder. Lately, they go through a feeder full of food a day. Before I fill it I can hear them in the bushes and see them come in for landings as they wait…

They flitter, they flutter, the December morning chill must make them frisky. They push, they shove, they hover, wait their turn maybe…on the railing below or watch for a dropped seed to snatch up.

What is it about this little scene out my back door that brings me pause? Makes me smile, even laugh out loud, settles my heart in joy?

#readingandwritingalife #journaling #journal #writinglife #gratitude #wisdom

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“Winter is when I reorganize my bookshelves and read all the books I acquired in the previous year and failed to actually read.” (p.210)

Ahh! So true! Just recently, earlier this “fall” season I cleared four bags of books off my shelves. Three of them have been taken for resale, one more remains to be taken. My bookcase in the kitchen (yes, the kitchen) now has no overflow and the ones in the guest room are almost there. There is some sense of organization. I can, most often, find what I’m looking for when I need/want it.

I am reading Katherine May’s book, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times that I purchased just a week ago. I am nearly through it. It is a wonderfully warm and engaging read.

I have yet to put a mark in it which is rare for me. I will go back and find those lines I want to savor like a dense winter stew and mark them lightly with pencil. I am not looking for enlightening lines that take me into my head for insight and excitement. I will be looking for those single lines that drop me deep into my being, ones that wrap me in a warmth of words, leave me quiet, in deep, dark places.

I will likely finish this book today or tomorrow, dig for those gems, and write about them on the blank pages of my journal.

I highly recommend this beautiful book!

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The Long Tail of Trauma: A Memoir by Elizabeth Wilcox

A fascinating and beautiful read! We hear and read a lot about PTSD and what that looks like in individuals, victims of abuse, trauma, war. We’re learning more and more about how trauma impacts the individual and what the paths for healing can be. Yet, this is the first book I have read that untangles how trauma impacts across the generations. This book is a deeply shared and touching examination of the story of the author’s mother and the far reaching tentacles of her mother’s adverse childhood experiences (known as ACE). The separation of her mother from her own mother during the time of WW 2 in Europe all set the stage for the author’s exploration into what happens when trauma is inherited and how the maternal past and present is affected. The forward of the book states, “It represents a living autopsy of sorts, a dissection of the seen and unseen, of what lies beneath.” It is a touching “imagined history of maternal memoir” as well as an educational primer written by someone who has a grasp of the psychological wounds of early childhood trauma, its scars, and of healing.

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A Long Year

2020 Journals

It’s hard to believe it’s coming up on the end of September and before long 2020 will be over. It’s been a long year. A long drawn out year. With the pandemic, the political climate, and now the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg it just feels like too much to take it, to deal with, to continue to live with. I’m tired.

My journals have filled up quickly this year. Here’s the stack of them and I’m almost through volume #7. I’m finding that I need the blank page more often these days. Somedays I only write a line or two. Then there are days like earlier this week when I wrote almost 20 pages. My pen would not stop. Ever had a day like that? Where you are just the scribe and you are not even sure what you are writing?

I often get hung up on expecting that what gets on the page will all have deep meaning, be profound, or answer the most elusive question I have. Ha! Give that one up!

Here’s the thing. Just write. Take a few notes on something that spoke to you. Take a picture of the birds on your patio or a fresh flower that just bloomed. Write a short prayer or poem. Respond to the tree in your yard.

Life will still be going on. All the muck and muddiness of the year isn’t going to go away overnight. Just record something on the page of your journal and things will lighten a bit. Then, do it again tomorrow. I’ll be on the page with you. #readingandwritingalife #journaling #journals #writing

Wishing you well!

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The page is a safe place to take off these masks, to be naked, bare faced, bare voiced.

Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write

So, I picked up my book, Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write that was sitting here on the couch. I opened it to a random page. “Masks” is the seed I opened to. Wow! talk about weird.

I think about masks, we all do today. This piece of cloth that we now pick up on the way out the door the way we do our car keys – don’t leave home without it! We are, hopefully, getting use to putting it on the way we do a seat belt. It is for protection. It is for safety.

Putting on the mask reveals a lot of who we are. Whereas, in the past, we often thought of taking it off as that which revealed the true us. There is a lot to ponder here. How do you see your masks? What do they say about you? To you? Find a safe place/page to take yours off. Pick up a pen or put your fingers on the keyboard. See what shows up.

*thank you to my friend Viktoria for my beautiful mask! She is amazing!