Thursday, August 26, 2010


Lock up your shrill, your punishing monkey minds. If you are without basement, shed or soundproof closet, give them bus fare to get as far as the coast, encourage them to wade into the deep waters and hope the rip current takes them as far south as Cabo. They may like the climate, though a slower pace could give them the heebie-jeebies. Trouble stirred with a big stick, that's their element.

Doll-maker Jane Cather writes her characters' stories on the turned hems of their skirts or aprons. I would be wise to leave myself such a memo for those times when shrieks of malice drown all knowledge of the person I believe myself to be in my most compassionate moments.

We have done nothing to bring on the frenzy of abuse our thoughts heap upon us, nothing but dwell here, beings of spirit, laboring - in theory - to find an easy home in human form. Some low-toned yet wise voice suggests that we are many; I have taken to inscribing on my garment, along with my known truth in block letters, the names of those with matching symptoms. If found wandering, please contact...

Too many miles of my journey have been spent with doubt kicking up the dust beside me. I avoid post offices in new towns, not willing to be recognized should my photo appear on poster there: Wanted for unspecified crimes. I know every unloving act I have ever committed but have grown nearly feeble trying to clear my name, to reach the cool grove of respite.

Today I would prefer to be fueled by peaceful contemplation rather than angst. In a state of acute disrepair, I am not able to cozy up to words in workable order. I can think of only one piece I wrote under the influence of sleeplessness and grief that wasn't awful; it was the letter to my cousin's husband, composed the night she died. It might have been wise to make a copy. I know he saved it, as I saved his voice mail that told me so.

We don't forget where we've been; we don't need to stay there, we are not filing dispatches from the front. Distance and a measure of stability - we can debate the illusion of that state - give us time to collect images and to soften into something not so brittle that it cracks when we attempt to mold it.


Elisabeth said...

Brilliant writing about that awfullest of states, the demons/monkeys within, who seek to stifle and destroy us. I know these creatures well. Don't we all?

To me this post is such a good example of one way of dealing with our abusers - write about them, and thereby send them flying. Thanks, Marylinn

Marylinn Kelly said...

Elisabeth - Thank you. I seem to be involved in my own experiment: is it possible to be happy, we'll begin with that, and at the same time write things that don't make us (or others) cringe? You'd think this would be a very old idea but for me it arrived, fresh and surprising, today. I realize I would like to be able to have both.

Sultan said...

It is most important to spend some time contemplating how you can be kind to yourself. I think happiness is generally found in lack of attachment to things and doing work which fulfills you.

Good wishes to you.

Lisa H said...

Sometimes I wonder how you can take a huge, mismatched bag of MY thoughts and sort them into neat pairs that actually look great:
"...gee, I'd wear those again..."
"I thought that one had a missing partner but look! there it is!.."

I have found that my biggest enemy is indeed that voice that visits (usually at 3 a.m.) pretending to know me and lining up the reasons that I should stay awake and worry. Recognizing the culprit is half the battle. Love this Blog.

Anonymous said...

what an intriguing doll maker she is..

I love the jewelery details on her figures.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Laoch - I appreciate your good wishes, thank you. Sometimes I think we are all birds with broken wings that have been left on our own doorsteps; what sort of care will we provide? It has taken me so long to realize that happiness is a choice, unconnected to what might be considered facts.

Lisa - There may be an intuitive network that fires up at 3 a.m., telling us that others are staring into the dark, chanting and wishing the mean voices away. Heart palpitations would be so much more welcome if they signified an excess of joy. Thank you...remember it was you who got me to sit down here and do this.

Denise - Jane is a wonder, both for her art - which simply continues to expand - and for her vision and way of telling us about it. It was the act of sending for Rubbermooon's catalog, which advertised images by her, that led me to stamp design.

Melissa Green said...

But Marylinn, you put words down on paper, you tore the language out of your anguish in the face of all your terrors. Write the poison out the best you can, and know that it needn't be Great Art--it need only touch one other soul in anguish (and we are suffering by the millions) and you have done a kindness to yourself and to someone you don't even know. Now, that is actual power. Be gentle with yourself. You're very brave.

Marylinn Kelly said...

Melissa - Thank you so much, for stopping here, for commenting and for my badge of courage. We are suffering by the millions, much of it due, I believe, to not knowing how vast our numbers. There is great bravery to be found in writers' postings, thoughts in print which we could not have guessed, which rescue us from isolation and despair. And no, it needn't be Great Art; whatever we can muster will do for today.