Write About an Object That You Coveted As A Child

~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course

You are gifted a blanket at birth. A crocheted rectangle of comfort, in pinks, and blues, and greens. After two decades, and thousands of washes, it is a tatter of gray, more aptly described as a ‘security blanket’. Unraveling yarn makes gaping holes in its center, but the edges are what matter most. The solace of this blanket comes in the feel of the familiar, textured softness of its edges through your fingers.

Your rhythmic circumnavigation of the blanket, traces the weave through thumb and middle finger, bringing a solace like nothing else. Its comfort outweighs the awareness, that it is a little weird to be twenty and still sleeping with a blankie.

You realize you’ve got an odd attachment to a ragged bit of cloth, and wonder about why the fingering ritual brings so much peace. Then, a revelation. You watch the tracing of rosary and mala beads through the fingers of the devout, realizing you do the same with crocheted string. Your attachment to tactile tracings is suddenly elevated. Perhaps it’s spiritual. Maybe even past life bleed-through. You continue to keep the blanket.

But then you turn 21, and a hippie from the dark side, named “Many Rivers,” (black cape, and hood, and all) steals your gear at a Rainbow Gathering on top of Mount Shasta- his booty includes your borrowed sleeping bag, which had your spiritual security blanket stealthily stashed in the bottom.

You search all over the mountain’s campsites, asking every free spirit you meet if they’ve seen your rag of a rectangle anywhere. And when someone tells you they think they saw it in a pile ready for burning, you run there just in time to find smoldering ashes.

You find a place to be alone. There, you cry. The deep and sorrowful wailing-kind-of-cry (because you are on this mountain to free your soul, and touch the depth of your beingness, so you know that it’s essential to release every ounce of agony). And after the tears have purged several layers of pain, the color of the sky looks different. You notice the wildflowers waving in sunlight. You wipe water from your face with sooty fingernails, and watch butterflies flit through the grasses. Everything seems to be conspiring to this bittersweet moment, your loss some sordid gift, signaling your growth. Through snot and no tissue, you realize your rite of passage: you have graduated to a blanket-free existence, the remains of your pseudo-security, ceremonious ashes on Mount Shasta.


courtesy of megananne
courtesy of megananne

Write About the Most Interesting Person You’ve Ever Met

~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course

He was why I’d come. And now, he is here in a wheelchair before me.

I squat down to be eye level, taking his soft, outreached hand between my palms. His joyful eyes and his broad smile beam from behind his white beard, seeming to welcome, not only me, but everything. His entire countenance emits ‘yes’ to each particle in existence.

I mention having seen the movie about his life, “Fierce Grace,” and when I reference a deeply moving scene, I find myself starting to cry unexpectedly. Ram Dass tears right along with me, the water rolling from his eyes, a short sob catching in his chest. Yet, these movements seem inconsequential to him, as typical and natural as a breath or a heart beat.

courtesy of Zeitgeist Films
courtesy of Zeitgeist Films

After our short, yet deep, exchange, I feel a profound tranquility that I can only attribute to having been in the presence of a highly awakened human being. Steeping in that peacefulness, I find a place in the auditorium where Ram Dass will offer his talk.

Having suffered a stroke years before (an incident he refers to as having “been stroked”), Ram Dass’s speech is slow and deliberate. His face often moves, as though about to utter a word, but then stalls, as he breathes, pausing longer, just waiting. Never afraid, a roomful of hundreds of people hushed to hear his next utterance, and he waits. Sometimes there are minutes between words.

It’s as though his heart’s been cracked open, revealing to him some secret beauty. As if he now sees something so precious, it is nearly beyond words.

I want to know what he knows. See what he sees. I want to tell him about the dream I had of the two of us riding tandem on a bicycle, while he showed me all the signposts along the way.

So I find him after the talk, sitting in the passenger seat of a minivan. As I appear at his open car door, he looks at me without surprise or judgment. He knows what I have come for, even if I do not. Before I can speak, he’s pulling me close with his one moving arm, enveloping me in a full hug.

I feel the depth of his heart. Become acutely aware of my own. Am surprised when I hit a wall. Only able to let the Love in, so far.

courtesy of www.found-my-light.com
courtesy of http://www.found-my-light.com

Write About a Subculture You Belong To

~the following is part of “Prompted Prose,” a series of posts from the prompts I’m working with during my Spring 2016 online writing course

I was the girl living in her Subaru, driving interstate with nomads named “Sunshine” and “Pony.” Eager to camp with friendly freaks, eat communal stew out of a coffee mug at the drum circle.

But fifteen years later, at the three-day music festival on a remote Maui coastline, I’m on the fringe of the fringe-dwellers, agitated in a sea of perma-grins.

Young women skip barefoot over grass, as if gliding on fairy dust, half-dressed and shining. They seem levitated in rapture, humming to themselves and picking flowers for their hair. I’m at my tent, slathering hand sanitizer past my forearms, trying to air out my molding sleeping bag.

Everything’s skewed, even my picturesque view of breaching Humpbacks. They’re blocked by the figures in front of me, a couple contorted in some sort of dual yoga pose, her legs wrapped around his neck, looking as if she’s on the verge of either transcendence or orgasm.

In the converted gymnasium, pods curl around communal pillows in cuddle puddles of family love. Home-brewed Kombucha tea is for sale next to racks of hip outfits, branded perfectly for next year’s Burning Man. A woman tries on a pair of yoga-pants-turned-naughty, sporting a transparent backside, while her friend in fairy wings nods in approval.

Conversations float on the smoke of burning sage and nag champa incense.

“…so the sound harmonics generated from the crystal bowls infuse into the water, changing its molecular structure, clearing negative energy…it’s like the water gets healed…and when you drink it…well, you’ll see. It’s amazing…”

I’m a misfit among misfits, but I’m stuck here (quite literally- they’ve blocked in my rental car with a dented Vanagon, essentially, kissing my bumper). Though I’ve worked to overcome my resistance, I’ve determined that these blissful love bunnies are simply not my people. Yet, they continually insist that they are. The weekend’s mantra is hauntingly chanted, “We are one,” and even though I can wrap my head around the ideal, does that really include the dreadlocked kitchen volunteer who stands scratching his scalp with one hand, while scrambling our breakfast tofu with the other?

2016-04-02_we are one