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Yesterday marked my 1000th post on Seasweetie’s Pages. That is something.

I had been looking forward to writing about it, but today there is something more important. Because today I know that Patty is gone.

Patty was the loving owner of the wonderful blog meanderingminds. I do not know what happened exactly – only that she has passed.

When I got back from the islands, she wrote that her blog was taking a few days off, as she and Rudi were going to Florida.  When she didn’t get back for a week or so, I waited.  Then I wondered. I didn’t hear from her via email. She didn’t respond on Facebook. I started to worry. I mentioned it to MKL and to Kelsea.  And today, I searched, and found a memorial page to her at the homeopathic institute that she and Rudi collaborated on. She was gone. I started to cry. I’m still crying.

Strange and wonderful how someone you meet through a blog can touch you so deeply. Patty became like a mother to me in many ways – she scolded me when I was drinking too much Diet Pepsi, advised me on cures for colds, comforted me when I was blue and feeling unloveable.  We were like kindred spirits. One of her daughters had the same name (albeit spelled differently) as mine, and the other daughter and I were, she thought, a lot alike.

I feel in love with her art, her photographs, her adorable Havanese named Truffles, with how wonderful and caring Rudi was. I worried with her through the summer hurricanes. She sent me a book to read on my island trip. Just this weekend, I was looking for a particular gift for her. We’d talked about my coming to Hope Town this spring.  I was hoping I could talk her into selling me the painting of the roses that she did in Sidney this summer – it was my favorite of her works. There was so much I was looking forward to sharing with her, and learning about her.

I feel like I’ve lost a surrogate mother and a dear friend. I guess I have.

She was a light in this world. To honor her, I will keep writing and taking pictures. Maybe I’ll even try to paint as she was encouraging me to do.

Her blog will remain where it last rested – taking a few days off.

Oh, Patty, I will miss you so.

Photo for January 4, 2012: Sea of Sorrow

Somewhere outside of Tenby, Wales.

Quote of the day: “When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.”  ~  Kahlil Gibran

Daily gratitudes:
That Patty was in my life for as long as she was
An amazingly beautiful sunset
Walking Kelsea home on the phone
Water
Bookstores

I have 318 draft posts in the stomach of this blog.

318. That’s getting close to a post for every day of the year (just in case you couldn’t intuit that for yourself.)

But here’s the thing:

I have no idea what some of them are about.

Like most writers, my inspirations do not always strike at the most convenient times – like when I’m sitting down at a keyboard or with a journal and a pen.  So I do what all writers do. I write down whatever I can wherever I can. Because I know I won’t remember it by the time I get to the “writing place”. I can’t even remember the five-item grocery list that I’ve been reciting to myself ceaselessly for an hour – even going so far as to make up a little song as a memory aid – if I walk into King Soopers and am distracted by the shopping carts being stuck together.  Poof!  The list is gone, just like the outline of a cloud. I will, however, remember, while sitting in a meeting at work sixteen hours later, that I forgot to buy lemon juice.

This lack of total recall translates into several things:

1.   I have a dozen notebooks going at once.

2.   Even so, I don’t always have one with me. When I need one and no current notebook is handy, I find (or buy) a new one.

3.   If no notebook at all is available, I use whatever I have to write on – bills, receipts, dry cleaning tickets, my hand.

4.   I can’t throw anything away because it might have a precious nugget of creativity on it (though I do wash my hands). Kelsea is going to have to save everything so she can piece together my memoirs after I am famous and dead.

5.   I am a menace on the road, because it is very hard to write while driving.

6.   Sometimes my notes make no sense at all.

Many of my post drafts are just a title.  If it’s a brilliant enough idea to be a post and to have a title, surely the title will trigger that same waterfall of creativity about the topic.  Wouldn’t one think? Well, one would be wrong.

Take, for example, a post drafted in February 2011 with the title “George and Jennie”.

I don’t know anyone named Jennie. And I only know one George. Maybe something about Winston Churchill’s mother? I tried googling “George and Jennie” – maybe it was something an old movie stirred up, or something inspired by NPR’s StoryCorps series.  I often find that those spark the creative kindling.

The only thing I came up with was a couple named George and Jennie in Fayetteville, West Virginia, who mysteriously lost five of their children after their house caught fire back in 1945. Now, this does sound like something I would actually write about, but I know in my heart that I have never heard of this tale before, nor was it at all related to whatever my post was going to be about.

So I guess my George and Jennie post is as much as mystery as what happened to the five children sixty years ago (not to minimize the tragedy).  It will likely come back to me one day while I am petting a random dog or rock-climbing or changing cat litter. Most likely at a time when no writing resources are available.

Some draft posts are titleless and contain nothing but a few choice phrases. Opening those is like opening a present – I have no idea what I’m going to find inside. But those are the ones that, when the spirit moves me, I can whip into a literary frenzy and complete with relish (and mustard, if that’s your preference). Those drafts are easier to work with.

Many potential posts dwell in my notebooks as well, lists of them.  I often say to Kelsea, “I should write a post about that,” and she’ll say, “You should.” I treat her as my back-up brain – two days later, I’ll ask her,”What was that great idea I had for a post when we were watching Jersey Shore?” Sometimes she can remember, but sometimes she can’t.  Darn unreliable back-up brains.

The notebooks contain nearly finished pieces, but unfortunately, they’re in the notebooks.  And that’s often where they stay. Which is why Kelsea is going to have to keep everything that I have ever written on.  Half-baked (as opposed to fully cooked) posts will also dwell for eternity on neatly lined pages if they take longer than a bus ride to finish.  However, few of them – this one, for example – will, like a single-minded and determined sperm, make it to the promised land.  But only a very few.

A draft is defined as “a preliminary version of a piece of writing” or, if you ask Mr. Webster online, “an instance of drinking”.  I think for a lot of writers, there’s little distinction between the two.  Just ask Hemingway. But at the end of the day, as I contemplate my 318+ drafts, I’m certainly inspired to drink a toast to them, and to all that someday-to-be-tapped creativity.

As you know, the Weekly Wednesday Poem is generally a piece that touches my spirit and that was written by a well-known poet.

Today’s Weekly Wednesday Poem is a departure from that protocol – it is a repost of one of a piece by one of my favorite blogging poets.   Read Between the Minds  is an amazing blog by an amazing poet and photographer, and slp never fails to stir some emotion with his words.  I was honored when he dedicated a poem to me a few months back as I was in the never-ending throes of starting my life over.  But this particular piece is simple, evocative, erotic, reminiscent and timeless for me.  I hope you’ll visit his blog, and I hope he is pleased that I chose to share this as the Weekly Wednesday Poem.  He’s in the excellent company of others who’ve had the Wednesday place of honor, and I hope one day, his words will be as famous as those authors. 

Planning

just before
their lips met
his tongue
traced the edges
of hers
as if
mapping out
their future
and then
they took
turns
breathing
for each other
deep breaths
into each other’s soul
forming
an eternal
ring
of passion

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