Miracles are a rare thing. Too rare. Keri passed away last night.

Neither chemotherapy nor radiation, Tibetan singing bowls nor prayer circles were enough to save her, to summon a miracle. She was surrounded by love and I hope that made her transition easier, more peaceful.

I’m sad that I didn’t know her better, that my sister lost a friend. They met in the chemo lounge, each connected up via an IV drip to their own special concoction of drugs. (My sister can make friends wherever she goes!) It turned out that Keri’s parents lived in my granddad’s neighborhood, just a few doors around the corner. And a few doors from Dr. Bernstein, their oncologist…. they all got to know each other because of cancer. Debby and Keri soon became friends regardless of the cancer, in spite of Cancer.

If Debby didn’t have cancer they would never have met. She would not have lost a friend… Debby would never have known the difference. Keri would not have mattered.

But she did matter. And I can’t help but think that maybe my sister has a special angel looking out for her now.

Sometimes its hard

Hard to stay positive in the face of adversity. Somehow this guy Tom Bailey found me and posted on my blog, so in the interest of good blogosphere relations, I checked out his blog, which he bills a “a personal blog for people who know me” and says it “is not a business blog.”

Well, I don’t know him. But I like his blog anyway. Hope he doesn’t mind if I pop over and visit every now and again.

Many of his posts are about staying positive. This is a message I need to hear often. I truly believe that we create our own reality, that we choose how we react, that negative thinking is a bad habit and only serves to make you feel bad… Unfortunately I don’t always practice what I know.

One of the reasons I named my blog akajesais because of my nickname, JeSais, which began as a joke. Later, taking the name JeSais was my way to remind myself that I know more than I think I know.

I don’t do New Years Resolutions. I think they are meaningless unless you have a plan for implementation in place, complete with milestones, and measurable goals. What I do try to do is assess at year’s end my accomplishments. This is a good way to stay positive, to focus on what I did right.

I know this post a bit of a ramble. I hope like me, you’ll all take a moment to take stock, look at what you’ve done right this year. Make a list. Check it twice. Did you go the extra mile for someone? Did you finish a project? Did you make someone smile? Did you do something nice for yourself? Remember one good moment– a sunset, a raindrop, a conversation with a friend… Even if it was something small put it on your list. Because, afterall, big stuff starts with small stuff. Or a better way to say that is “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.”

Happy Holly Days everyone.

Say a prayer for Keri

Debby’s friend Keri is not doing well. She’s in the hospital and has been for the last 6 days. She can’t eat. She can’t talk. She can’t see.

Keri has ovarian cancer… cancer that has metastisized. Spread. It’s in her brain now and they couldn’t get it all with Gamma Knife like they were able to do for Debby. So they had to do brain surgery. And radiation. And chemo… and it hasn’t helped and it totally sucks and its unfair and I’m glad its not my sister Debby. I wish it weren’t Keri either, but I’m really glad its not my sister.

So in the midst of all the ho ho hos and and nog drinking, raise a glass and say a little prayer for Keri. And even if your family drives you crazy, enjoy the moments you have with them.

Tagged. Why am I doing this?

It’s the blogosphere’s answer to a chain letter… a meme or a meme wannabe in the making. Sheila of GetSheila.com “tagged” me which means (a)I’m supposed to post in response to being tagged. and (b) I’m supposed to pass it on and I’m supposed to post the rules.

My post:

1. Like Sheila I count things. Mostly stairs and steps
2. I play air piano along with the music even though I’ve never learned piano
3. I imagine flying my car off a cliff, not in a suicide attempt, but rather in an attempt to be airborn… to fly. Of course I know this will not work, and I would die, so I don’t do it.
4. I wait until the last minute to do almost everything. Then I stress over it and freak out. Doesn’t matter what it is: paying a bill (thank god for online bill pay); making an appointment to get my hair done; writing an article/essay; etc.
5. I hate to shop. Really. Mostly because I hate to spend money AND because I usually know what I want, and then of course I can’t find it so it becomes an exercise in frustration.
6. And speaking of exercise… when I do exercise my face turns bright red and freaks out aerobics instructors.

Passing it On:

Thats all. I don’t know if I have 6 blog people but I’ll give it a shot… Jesleahpeah…and um, while we’re at it Joeterri (because she really needs to write a new blog post) and Jill the Muse (because she really needs to write a new blog post too) and last, but certainly not least, dear Ralph, so he too will learn the joys of the blogosphere. Sorry guys.

Remember, this is like a chain letter. You may ignore it if you like, or just do the post, no need to pass it on.

The rules:

Post a blog with your six weird habits/ things as well as the rules/ instructions;
Add to your blog a list of your six victims to be tagged;
Leave a comment for your six victims that says “You are tagged! Read my blog” (but you cannot tag the person who tagged you).

I am not a poet…

Not even a Prose Poet, as I discovered at last Saturday’s workshop with Roger Aplon.

A prose poem is open ended. I like things wrapped up in a neat little box.

A prose poem is driven by metaphor. I’m not metaphoric in my writing.

A prose poem is dream-like, surreal. I’m real.

At any rate, here’s what I came up with:

Today the sun shines like shards of glass piercing the soft blue sky and the ocean swell is from the south or maybe it’s the storm that passed over Hawaii yesterday and today is the place to be in the town that is where we lived when I was five and six and maybe even seven. And now I stay out of the water, the smell, salt taste on my lips and bacteria that I fear may seep into my soul.

Today is the place I want to be usually and sometimes it is the only place that matters when life is unpredictable like a Vegas slot machine. One push of the button and you win or you lose and coins tumble like a thick chunky waterfall into a bucket, not your bucket but your neighbor’s bucket and you want to be happy for him or her but you can’t because your today has passed.

Today is a dream of birds flying, mocking squawking and swooping in and out of the pepper tree taunting me with their wings, but they don’t know Today I will fly.

# # #
Not sure what it is but it is probably not a prose poem.

Poetry and Prose

On Saturday I’ll be taking a workshop from published poet Roger Aplon— The Prose Poem: Investigation and Discovery. I’ve met Roger once, briefly, at another event sponsored by San Diego Writers, Ink. He told me I wrote beautifully and I was too stunned to tell him I thought the same of his work. Not only does he write evocative poetry, he has a wonderful cadence and rhythm to his voice that lends itself so well to his poetry. His poetry reading voice is not the sing-song stacatto beat of a slam poet, but more like a melody of words that is performance, but natural as well.

Roger describes the workshop:

The prose poem is the child of associative & colorful prose. A bastard at best. Taking the economy of poetry & marrying it with the random experience of “story.” It can define a momentary, captivating glimpse at some “thing”: a chance encounter, a dream &/or any fragment that allows the reader to impose him or herself in or on that environment. The prose poem form allows greater latitude than strict “poetic” form where the line breaks must be of the most exquisite design. The prose poem is less formal, more given to risk & open-ended. A classic example of a renegade form. For this day we’ll explore some prose poems & write some of our own, using as material our discussions, prompts, dreams & improvisation.

He says “This is an experiment as all prose poems are experiments. I’m looking forward to the investigation.”

And so am I… and I look forward to the opportunity to play with words. And poetry, although not my strong suit, appeals to my desire to convey deep meaning with few words. As my writing coach says, I’m “more Joan Didion than Janet Fitch.” I’d like to be a little of both, the minimalist approach of Didion blended with Fitch’s mellifluous language.

Spam Spam Spam Spam….

This is from the Huh? file:

Sometimes the minivan of a class action suit self-flagellates, but a financial cowboy always graduates from a fruit cake of a ball bearing!

The defendant is gentle. When a briar patch is lazily snooty, the grizzly bear often is a big fan of a chess board of a turkey.

A light bulb related to the wedding dress prays, and the unstable support group reads a magazine; however, a bowling ball around a dolphin pours freezing cold water on a pork chop.

Sometimes a microscope goes to sleep, but another blood clot always finds subtle faults with the skyscraper!

I admit it, I read the SPAM sometimes. I’m sure there is some reason why they (the spammers) write the prose they do, probably to get around the SPAM filters, but my question is how does this work? the SPAM thing? are there really people who click on these emails, then actually BUY from people that have such unethical business practices? from people who can’t write a decent sentence? and now I’m getting SPAM in Russian. Yeah, like I’m gonna click on that!