• Zen of the Broken {Poetry}

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015 No tags Permalink

    imageBe broken.
    Lie there
    on the ground
    in the wreckage
    until you can feel
    all of your new jagged
    edges individually.
    Notice how much more
    surface area there is to you now.
    Notice there’s a rhythm to the stinging.
    It will lead you back to your pulse.
    Try to move if you can.
    Follow the path the pain takes
    when it forks and sharks
    through your body.
    Focus on your uneven breath.
    Try to love way it hitches now,
    how each drag of air cuts
    through the field of panic.
    As your thoughts struggle
    to harden into words,
    return to your breath.
    Pull yourself into sitting
    as best you can.
    Be tender.
    Try speaking.
    Grasp the leathery
    harness of your voice.
    How long have you been crying?
    Hum something
    your mother taught you.
    Anything is fine.
    Feel it vibrate in your chest.
    That’s where your heart is,
    still beating,
    still wrestling life into you,
    still pushing back against the world.

    -Mindy Nettifee


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  • You Will Drown for Poems

    Tuesday, September 8, 2015 No tags Permalink

    If your notebook packed into a knapsack tumbles
    into the current of a river some October night

    If this notebook’s marbled face reminds you of home, a hand-
    drawn map of tectonic plates, a silt-soaked dock’s attendant moss

    If the words within have ever saved you If they liken love
    to glacial melts, the tides’ claw against rocks

    If they liken faith to waterwings

    And because the river is the Hudson, flecked with sirens Because it chews at the starboard cheek of tugboats and spits at ferries which pass

    Because you think poems are breaths that hands reclaim Because you wish one day
    to speak in tongues Because she should hear you read for her

    Because odes are now also elegies

    Because we cannot know what wake our living leaves
    Because this confluence of muscle and loss Because they float just 10 yards out

    Because you leap the pier’s railing headfirst

    -R.A. Villanueva

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  • Reader

    Thursday, July 30, 2015 No tags Permalink

    They dream of men with gentle hands, eloquent with tenderness, fingers that brushed along a cheek, that outlined open lips in the lovers’ braille. Hands that sculpted sweetness from sullen flesh, that traced breast and ignited hips, opening, kneading. Flesh becomes bread in the heat of those hands, braided and rising.”

    -Janet Fitch

    With words such as this, who couldn’t love books? One of the best vacations I ever took was a week at a condo on the Gulf of Mexico.  Walks in the morning along the ocean. Coffee on the balcony overlooking the water. Riding a beach cruiser bike to the local market to buy fresh fish for dinner. My chair in the sand, a big umbrella for shade, a cooler full of Negra Modelo or spritzers.  And books. Lots and lots of books. I sat on the beach, sipped my drink, and read an entire novel every day.

  • Little Red

    Thursday, July 16, 2015 No tags Permalink

    “This is the story of how I never stopped running.
    This is the story of how,
    when the wolves knocked,
    I met them at the door
    and I became the beast, instead.”

    — Ashe Vernon, from Little Red, Belly of the Beast

    Some days I never want to stop running. Some days I think it’s better to become the wolf than get eaten whole.

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  • 12 Things

    Thursday, June 18, 2015 No tags Permalink

    12 critical things you should never tolerate
    I think that, at least for me, these things are true. I am fortunate to work with good people. Many of you may recall from a few month ago the advice I needed regarding my boss and how he would sit in my office and talk to me (or just look at me) all day long. Literally. All. Day. Long. It was making me crazy. I work much better alone. I’d much rather listen to music or NPR. Or silence.  Honestly, unless I’m in love with you, I don’t want to spend more than 45 minutes at a time in such close proximity. So, my co-worker and I came up with a solution. We were in the process of doing some rearranging of the office, and in that process, we simply removef all the  chairs from my office other than my desk chair.  Problem solved.

    I no longer allow draining relationships in my life. I feel so much better for it. I thought it would be difficult to cut the ties, but the benefits outweighed the burden. Some people are energy vampires and don’t want to let go. When I realized this is the only life we get, I decided not to waste any more of it with toxic people.

    I took that photo last night. I’m a little late to the Konmari method, but I love the idea of only keeping the things that spark joy. Even after the great purge I did a few years ago, I think I still have too much stuff. Also, I’m moving in a little over a month, so now feels like a good time to get rid of some more things. I’m excited about moving. Wasn’t it the author Dorothy Parker who said that she hated writing but loved having written? I feel that way about moving again. The last time almost killed me and I was bruised from head to toe. It’s just mentally unsettling for me as well. My ex-husband loved to move. The first house we bought was custom-built and it took longer to build than the time we actually lived there. We lived there just long enough for me to paint all the rooms, sledge-hammer out the concrete patio, and install a flagstone patio instead. When he told me that he’d taken a job in another city, without even talking to me first, I was less than happy. Also, this was the third time he’d done the same thing. Which brings me to #12–communication. I can handle just about anything, as long as it’s the truth. I’m straightforward, and a lot of people find that off-putting. Luckily, the ones you want to keep around don’t mind, and actually appreciate and respect the candor.

  • I Love Big Books and I Cannot Lie

    Thursday, May 7, 2015 No tags Permalink

    Read in bed

    I absolutely love to read in bed. But this time of year, I can most often be found on my patio, in my comfy chair, with a book in hand. (A cup of coffee in the morning, and a glass of wine in the evening.) It’s finally warm here and I find it difficult to be trapped indoors all day. I Struggle to concentrate on my work and stare longingly out the window at the sunshine and green leaves on the trees. I’ve never quite outgrown spring fever, but I don’t mind. I welcome it each year, arms wide open to the simple pleasures that bring such joy.
    To read

  • What

    Monday, February 9, 2015 No tags Permalink

    WHAT I’M READING: I just finished the novel Year of Wonders.  It was about a Plague village in 1600s rural England.  I really enjoy historical novels!

    WHAT I’M WATCHING: I don’t watch much TV; I don’t even have cable.  But I do love my Roku!  I’ve gotten into the BBC series, The Fall, with Gillian Anderson.  (Thank you, Charlotte, for the excellent recommendation.)

    WHAT I’M LISTENING TO: The NPR Podcast Serial.  It’s a spin-off of This American Life.  If you haven’t already listening to it, I highly recommend it. I like the idea of a story told in multiple installments.
    WHAT I’M WEARING: Lulu yoga tights, a black tank top, a black pullover, and black socks.  (I haven’t showered and changed from the gym yet.)

    I own too much blackThis made me laugh out loud when I read it because it is so me.  Whenever I buy something that isn’t in black, I almost always regret it.  I look at it and think…hmmmm…I’d like this a lot more if it was black.

    WHAT I’M EATING: Amazingly, I’m not eating anything at the moment.  I’m going to be eating chicken Parmesan meatballs that I’m making for dinner.  OK, now I’m really hungry!

    WHAT I’M ENJOYING:  Peace and quiet.  A creeper-free day after a creeper-filled weekend. (More about that in another post as I need some advice.) A warm blanket.  A cup of green tea with honey.
    WHAT I’M SNIFFING: The bouquet of fresh hyacinth that’s on my kitchen island counter.  Smells like springtime!

  • Darkness

    Thursday, December 18, 2014 No tags Permalink

    “Dark matter is needed to hold galaxies together. Your mind is a Galaxy. More dark than light. But the light makes it worthwhile.”
    -Matt Haig, The Humans


    Black hole

    M60-UCD1 black hole, via NASA

    Seriously, how cool is that?

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  • Something Beyond

    Friday, October 24, 2014 No tags Permalink

    Watching the movie The Hours is a great way to cheer yourself up after a hard week, said no one ever. However, it is a truly beautiful but gut-wrenching film. I’d expect nothing less when it comes to Virginia Woolf.


    Virginia Woolf

    Me too, Virginia. Me too.


    “She was like a fire, a burning bush, and the candle flames about her head were silver leaves; or again, the glass was green water, and she a mermaid, slung with pearls, a siren in a cave, singing so that oarsmen leant from their boats and fell down, down to embrace her; so dark, so bright, so hard, so soft, was she, so astonishingly seductive that it was a thousand pities that there was no one there to put it in plain English, and say outright “Damn it, Madam, you are loveliness incarnate,” which was the truth.”

    — Virginia Woolf, Orlando

  • The Cure

    Monday, October 20, 2014 No tags Permalink

    As I’ve mentioned before, the name of this blog comes from a quote by one of my favorite authors: The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea.

    This weekend I worked out hard- sweat, and cried over a movie (quite appropriately, Out of Africa)-tears. I’m only missing the sea. I suppose that’s why I’m yearning for the ocean today. It must be synchronicity that I came across this post on Colossal:


    Underwater Atlas

    “Ocean Atlas” is the latest underwater sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor. I snorkeled every week when I lived in Hawaii, and I’d love to visit some of his underwater sculpture installations. Add that to my bucket list. Snorkeling feels like a combination of floating and flying. It’s a complete sensory experience, the silky warm water enveloping your entire body, the rhythmic sound of your breath moving in and out of the snorkel, and the amazing sights that lie just hidden below the ocean’s surface.

    Also found while browsing Colosal- a beach made entirely of sea glass, near Fort Bragg, California

    At one time I had a large amount of sea glass that I’d collected from beaches where I lived and visited. The green is my favorite, because someone once told me that I had sea glass-green eyes. Blue sea glass may be rarer, but when it comes to eyes, only 2% of the world population has green eyes.

    I’ll leave you with one of the best scenes from Out of Africa:

  • ‘Come closer to me, come closer. I promise you it will be beautiful.’

    Monday, September 22, 2014 No tags Permalink

    “There are two ways to reach me: by way of kisses or by way of the imagination. But there is a hierarchy: the kisses alone don’t work.” -Anais Nin

    I’m just finishing up reading A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932-1953. I must admit that I wasn’t much of a Miller fan in the past. I’ve tried reading Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn in the past, but just couldn’t get into it. Reading this book has made me much more empathetic to Miller as he truly had so much love for Nin. However, he was far too jealous and angry for my taste. Their relationship was extremely passionate, and just as tempestuous. Overall, it was a gorgeous, raw, sensual and cerebral exchange between two gifted authors.Sapiosexual.JPG

    “Don’t expect me to be sane anymore. Don’t let’s be sensible. It was a marriage at Louveciennes—you can’t dispute it. I came away with pieces of you sticking to me; I am walking about, swimming, in an ocean of blood, your Andalusian blood, distilled and poisonous… I can’t see how I can go on living away from you—these intermissions are death. How did it seem to you when Hugo came back? Was I still there? I can’t picture you moving about with him as you did with me. Legs closed. Frailty. Sweet, treacherous acquiescence. Bird docility. You became a woman with me. I was almost terrified by it. You are not just thirty years old—you are a thousand years old.

    Here I am back and still smouldering with passion, like wine smoking. Not a passion any longer for flesh, but a complete hunger for you, a devouring hunger.”
    ― Henry Miller


  • The Odd Uneven Time

    Saturday, August 23, 2014 No tags Permalink

    August rain

    In bed, bathed, and the good rain coming down again – liquidly slopping down the shingled roof outside my window. All today it has come down, in its enclosing wetness, and at last I am in bed, propped up comfortably by pillows – listening to it spurting and drenching – and all the different timbers of tone – and syncopation. The rapping on the resonant gutters – hard, metallic. The rush of a stream down the drain pipe splattering flat on the earth, wearing away a small gully – the musical falling of itself, tinkling faintly on the tin garbage pails in a high pitched tattoo.

    And it seems that always in August I am more aware of the rain. A year ago it came down on my porch and the lawn and the flat gray sea beyond at the Mayos – closing me in the great house in the day, talking to me alone in my room in the evening as I sat alone in bed writing; surveying my kingdom from my throne: the lone streetlight on the corner, hanging solitary in a nimbus of light, and beyond it the gray indistinguishable fog and the rain sound blending with the wash of the sea. It shut me in a rock cave with Dick on Marblehead beach, drenching, soaking, and we threw rocks at a rusted tin can until it stopped coming down viciously and churning the sea to a flayed whiteness.

    Two years ago August rain fell on me and Ilo, walking side by side, wordless, toward the barn. And it was raining when I came out from the loft, crying, my mouth bruised where he had kissed me. Rain closed about the windows of the car Emile and I rode home in, and fell outside the kitchen where we stood, in the dark, with the smell of linoleum, and the water always falling on the leaves outside the screen.

    Three years ago, the hot, sticky August rain fell big and wet as I sat listlessly on my porch at home, crying over the way summer would not come again – never the same. The first story in print” came from that “never again” refrain beat out by the rain. August rain: the best of the summer gone, and the new fall not yet born. The odd uneven time.


    Ahh, Sylvia, thank you for these words that are just perfect for today.

  • Dear People

    Friday, August 1, 2014 No tags Permalink


    I’m secretly happy that my plans for tonight got cancelled. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all.

    “Oh, I just want what we all want: a comfortable couch, a nice beverage, a weekend of no distraction and a book that will stop time, lift me out of my quotidian existence and alter my thinking forever”
    — Elizabeth Gilbert


    Oh yes, this describes me perfectly. In the hectic years when my son was young, I dreamed of a weekend like that. However, I always carved out time in my day to read and I taught my son to do the same.

  • Morning {Poetry}

    Monday, June 9, 2014 No tags Permalink

    Naked you are simple as one of your hands;
    Smooth, earthy, small, transparent, round.
    You’ve moon-lines, apple pathways
    Naked you are slender as a naked grain of wheat.

    Naked you are blue as a night in Cuba;
    You’ve vines and stars in your hair.
    Naked you are spacious and yellow
    As summer in a golden church.

    Naked you are tiny as one of your nails;
    Curved, subtle, rosy, till the day is born
    And you withdraw to the underground world.

    As if down a long tunnel of clothing and of chores;
    Your clear light dims, gets dressed, drops its leaves,
    And becomes a naked hand again.

    The image is mine, but these beautiful words are Pablo Neruda’s. One of the many books I’m currently reading  is a collection of his poems.  I pick it up and read a few lines in the morning before I get out of bed. His amazing words create an oasis of tranquility and peace in my mind from which I can draw throughout my day.  That, my friends, is one of the many reasons poetry is such a magnificent thing.

  • Thank you

    Sunday, June 8, 2014 No tags Permalink

    When life is sweet say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter say thank you and grow.

    That’s most excellent advice. Lately I’ve been celebrating and growing.  Above all, I have been saying thank you. Every. Single. Day. Thank you for the blessings. Thank you for the lessons.

    “I have faced many challenges in my life. Some, a little more recent than those which have gone before them.

    Nevertheless, with each new day—and, no matter how I may feel—I smile in the biggest and most special sort of ways. For you see, these days, I am smiling because I am grateful—grateful to simply greet and embrace each and every single one of my days.

    And though, my mobility may be just a bit wobbly at times…like the bird, my wings are formed each time I leap from ‘life’s cliff’ and always before my feet hit the ground.

    I take great comfort in this, most gentle ‘knowing’—this understanding, that no matter what, I’ll be, always, okay.” -Ray Bradbury

    I just read an article about Ray Bradbury. I had no idea he was a Zen Buddhist. I remember finding one of my older brother’s Ray Bradbury books when I was about 8 or 9. I was desperate for something to read. Anything. I’d already read every single thing in the house including the dictionary, the phone book, and the deed to my parents house that went back to the time of the Indians. I decided to read whatever this stupid book was, because it was better than nothing. In my mind it had to be a stupid book because it was my big brother’s book. I can’t say for certain, but I think it was Farenheit 451 that I read first. I had an expansive vocabulary for an 8 year-old, but I’m sure some of the book went over my head at the time.  When I read it again as an adult, I was shocked at the subtleties that I’d missed the first time around. Life experiences can teach you things that an extensive vocabulary cannot. 

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  • The Cure for Anything

    Monday, June 2, 2014 No tags Permalink

    saltwaterThe name of this site originates from one of my favorite quotes by Isak Dinesen.  She’s better known as Karen Blixen, author of Out of Africa.  She was a wonderfully talented writer, a deeply passionate woman, and she lived a fascinating life.  She was also very wise.

    These three very different versions of salt water can cure your soul of anything.  Cry it out, work it out, or dip your toes (or better yet, all of you) in the ocean.

  • Hello, June!

    Sunday, June 1, 2014 No tags Permalink


    Welcome to my favorite month of the year. June. Even the word June is beautiful.

    Long, sunny days and balmy nights that call for midnight walks, star-gazing, and ice cream. Sandal season.  Toenails painted the same vivid pink shade as my favorite peonies.

    Midsummer’s eve, welcoming the summer solstice. Picnics.  Even better, picnics on midsummer night’s eve. Thanks to a beautiful bit of synchronicity,  one of my favorite events of summer, Symphony on the Prairie, opens the weekend of the summer solstice. The orchestra will be playing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and I can’t think of a better way to start summer. I’m already planning what to pack in my picnic basket, and the special bottle of Champagne for that night is sitting on my kitchen counter as a reminder of good things to come.

    Every June I re-read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea. This wonderful book explores the necessity of not only looking inward, but of focusing on one’s development in order to fully live. Lindberg (the wife of Charles Lindberg)is especially potent when discussing the necessity of occasional moments of solitude in order to realign one’s priorities and give freedom to creative expression, rather than running oneself ragged with the million fragmented responsibilities of most women.

    Gift from the sea

    A new addition to my June line up is going to be the N.I.T.E. (Navigate Indy This Evening)Ride. The N.I.T.E. Ride starts at 11:00 pm from IUPUI’s Carroll Stadium on New York Street, travels along well-lit roads through Downtown Indianapolis, the Indiana Statehouse, Monument Circle, Butler University, Indianapolis Museum of Art, wanders along the White River and through the IUPUI Campus. I’ve never ridden through any of these places at night, because I value my life. This event makes it safe, and I’m already looking forward to the new experience.

    “Green was the silence, wet was the light,
    the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”
    – Pablo Neruda

  • The Feast of Love

    Sunday, May 4, 2014 No tags Permalink

    Car WashThat’s a line from the book The Feast of Love.  I originally read it a few years ago and I re-read it this past weekend.  It’s fascinating how much your perspective can change.  That’s why I love re-reading a good book.  It’s a great way to really stop and make note of how much I’ve changed– the way I think, the way I feel.  Different passages and characters resonate with me this time around.

    More than anything, I realize how much more alive I am.  I’ve finally learned how to savor the present.  I’ve stopped berating myself for the past (mistakes? yeah, I’ve made my share.) and I don’t fret so much about the future.

    Continue Reading…