Your home is on fire. Grab five items (assume all people and animals are safe). What did you grab?
If I could gather up all my photos and books, that would be the bulk of what I need. My computer cannot be left to burn. It is what I use for work and a necessary part of my writing life. My journals contain my memories written out in symbols. At least one must be saved. My wallet contains the money I will need to get a hotel room until the details are sorted out.
it was the summer of 2010.
i looked out at the Melbourne ocean.
i was remembering Jamaica
and small white stones
under bare feet.
i remember someone
fetching water down by the
road side water pump,
jackfruit and sugar cane
growing along the way.
was it my grandmother or uncle?
was it Papa, my grandfather,
who pumped water for eight children?
i was too young to remember
the details but the feelings remain.
memories of guineps and jackfruit and
honeycombs live inside that place in
me where significant memories
are carved in stone.
papa was a beekeeper.
i remember this.
i remember many things,
like the sweetness of fresh
warm honey on my tongue,
honey sucked clean from
a honeycomb on an
island that remembers
maroons and tainos
and genocide not so sweet.
not so sweet; not like honey.
I keep having deja vu moments. I had another one today that felt like a repeat of one I had a couple months ago. There is something I need to remember and I’m not sure what it is. Whatever is on the horizon better be good because I’m tired. Change needs to be swift and fruitful. I’m prepared for it. I’m ready for the memory to return, the one that will transform my future.
A week long stay felt like months of winter. Minus temperatures. Flash snow storms. Ice patches. Frozen ears and fingers in a matter of two minutes. It is a much more bearable state in the summer. At this time of the year Vermont should be avoided by those (this would be me) who have a serious aversion to cold weather.
My Goddard residency went well. I’ll soon be in warmer climates as I cross over the Mason-Dixon line and continue further South into the Sunshine State. I will miss the space to write and grow with writer-mates and learning face-to-face from advisors who are passionate about the written word. I won’t miss the bitter cold and blistering winds.
we don’t live in the past or the future. we live in the now. memory is not a timeline, nor a calendar. it’s a place where fragments of experience invade our lives non-stop. the now is the creation of new invaders, a small space where a piece of memory is created with each thought and experience.
realizing this makes the now sometimes seem small and weak and almost unable to sustain life in any perceived future. memory becomes sometimes fleeting, sometimes concrete, but always perception.
we’re here nonetheless, breathing and thinking and loving and wondering and hoping and dreaming and remembering. we dig into memory to find a timeline that seems oddly off kilter. sometimes we find balance, other times our remembering bursts forth in pieces that fall from our soul in no particular order. was it in 1995 or 2002 that i ate that flaky apple pie with whipped cream? it burst with flavor i’ll never forget. but when was it? what day of the week? what year? what hour of the day? it’s all fleeting, except for the feeling.
i remember many feelings. they stay when everything else runs away from the mind. i’ll carry them now. not for yesterday or for tomorrow, but for this moment.
I had a red play book that my mother had bought for me many years ago when I was a child. In it were all manner of things to do. It showed me how to fold paper boats, make a telephone with two cups and string, create my own puzzles and many other things. My favorite thing to do from that play book was stringing up my room. I would run string from bed posts to door knobs, to dresser drawer handles, to chair legs, to curtain rods, until the entire room was covered in string. Then I’d throw a blanket over it and sit underneath alone or with friends. At night, we’d turn of the lights and flick on a flashlight under our room tent. We’d bring juice and sandwiches and talk about everything and nothing at all, with laughter vibrating the strings and the love of play vibrating in our hearts.
Writing Prompt: Gut Feeling When’s the last time you followed your instinct despite not being sure it was the right thing to do? Did it end up being the right call?
I’m a tad psychic, so I’ve learned to trust what the universe, or my ancestors, or the collective presence that is the All, send my way. At times I will call it instinct out of cultural habit, but in truth, it’s like an echo through time or space that tells me what I need to know, or in some cases, reminds me of what I’ve forgotten. I don’t hear the messages as audible sound vibrations within the spectrum, but more as spiritual vibrations. It comes through me, as though through a type of ear, but not through my physical ears. I “hear” but not in the way most are accustomed to hearing. I can also “see”, but not in the way we understanding seeing with our eyes.
Following the messages I’ve received over the years have always been the right call. When I do not listen, I find myself in trouble, or someone whom I should have warned is caught off guard. I rarely, however, give information to people, especially strangers, without an invitation. I believe it to be intrusive to do so. If there is imminent mortal danger, I might drop a hint in a way that does not divulge details. But I very rarely do that, particularly with people who are not family or close friends. I also cannot yet control what comes. Someone may ask me to tell them what I see where they are concerned. But it doesn’t work that way for me. It comes when it comes. There are days when nothing much really comes. Other days, I am flooded with information that disrupts my ability to focus on my work.
I listen to what I receive, whether it be direct instructions requiring action or simply information I can later use to understand an aspect of the world that was once unfamiliar or unknown to me. There was a time when it was unnerving. But I’ve learned to accept it and treat it as a natural part of who I am. I know things, strange things at times, things I shouldn’t know either in advance, or at all for that matter. Maybe the messages come from my ancestors trying to speak to me. Maybe it is information from the Akashic Records. Maybe they are latent echoes or vestiges of life forces from a distant past that ripple through space and relative time, and land on those who are open to the vibrations passing through. I don’t have the answers, but I know what I live. Some people call it a gift. In this often insane, judgmental and disbelieving culture, it feels like less of a gift and more a burden. But it is my journey and I’m fine with it.
The one thing I will often ask people when they speak of impossible things (as it pertains to psychic abilities) is this—are you here? Don’t you exist in a world, in a solar system, in a galaxy, in a universe you have yet to fathom? One you have yet to find another intelligent living thing in besides what is here on Earth? You…are…here. And no matter your beliefs, evolution or creation, you know neither for sure. Our existence is magical and mysterious and amazing and beautiful and painful and unfathomable. It cannot be confirmed definitively to put anyone’s beliefs or scientific research to rest. Yet, you are here. How can anything else that comes after your existence be impossible?
Writers come and go, but storytellers are one in a million. True storytellers pick you up and drop you into their world. Before you realize what is happening, you are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling the world they’ve created. They are not merely telling you a story, they are conjuring a past life. Their words will reach into your soul and remind you of a past you don’t consciously remember living, but know is there, just on the surface, on the peripheral of your existence.
As a writer, I want to be more than just someone who puts words on paper. I want to conjure the past, tell stories from the Akashic Records and remind us of possible worlds we once could have inhabited and experiences we could have possibly had. I want to be the reader’s memory and awakening. I want to touch soul with my stories and spin tales that are more than mere words, but are ancestral history.
I am not one for favorites, but generally speaking, my favorite storytellers are those who can make me forget that I’m sitting in a room reading a book, because I am living the story; it is a new adventure, a memory, or a conjured past.
Memory can be sharp, or dull. Either way, it is memory, and it lingers—long and intrusive, flawed, but sometimes rich and overflowing with love.
It was about six years ago. My lover and I were out on the porch. It was a hot summer day. We talked about everything and nothing. We thrilled each other with our ideas and notions of existence. Talking about life was always sexy and made us want each other. I loved his mind. He loved mine. It was a thing of beauty. We stripped and on a blue and white porch chair, made love under the blazing hot sun. It was a very hot day. Very hot.
Writing Prompt:Present-day you meets 10-years-ago you for coffee. Share with your younger self the most challenging thing, the most rewarding thing, and the most fun thing they have to look forward to.
I look across the table at my 10-years-ago self, wondering what she is thinking. Does she know what is ahead for her? Will she accept it? Will she embrace her future and make the best of it? She sips her coffee, places the cup in the saucer and waits for me to speak. I lift my cup, hold it to my lips, then without drinking, place it back onto the saucer. I look at her, her eyes wide, locks growing in and an eager but unsure smile on her face. She waits.
“Your life will be filled with many amazing experiences. You will fall in love and your babies will no longer be babies. The most challenging aspect of your life will be your spiritual journey. You will find it difficult to understand why you are here. With each passing day, you’ll realize that you are merely in this world, but not of it. Adjusting will grow increasingly challenging, because you won’t want to be here amongst the violence and racism and greed and ignorance. You’ll want to dissolve into another world where the beings know how to love. But you won’t dissolve. And eventually, it will be ok. You’ll learn how to navigate the madness and dissolve into spirit, while keeping one foot in this insane world. It will strengthen you and give you the tools to help others find their path.”
My past self looked at me with sad eyes, realizing the truth of my words. She looked off into the distance, as though already seeing a future she couldn’t see before.
“Your spiritual journey will take you to many dark places, but a great love will bring you back from the precipice. He will give you a reason to smile each day. He will love you with a depth that you never imagined. He will give you companionship so that you are not alone in your thoughts, because he will understand. He too sees the madness of the world and fearlessly faces it. He will give you strength and help you to realize that you are not crazy, and there is still something here to fight for. He will keep you from sitting outside on the grass, looking up at the sky, waiting to be picked up by a species whose purpose is peace and understanding and love and kindness. He will ground you here, where your journey must be lived. And you will love him for it. Because when you still need to sit on the grass and wait, he will wait with you. You will hope for a better world together. Or hope for something to intervene to take you to a better world. Or hope for truly loving gods to manifest in a world that is seemingly godless.”
A light wind blew between us. My past self sat motionless. It seemed as though minutes passed between her blinks.
“Through everything, you will laugh and find genuine joy. You will jump double dutch in your living room with your daughter. You will explore caves in the mid-west. You will relearn the pleasure of a childhood fruit, Jackfruit, from your island home, Jamaica. You will make love so passionately that everything around you disappears in the moment. You will watch your daughters grow, day by day, into beautiful women with their own hopes and dreams for the future. You will plant food and eat from your own garden. You will cry for the death of your loved ones. You will play in the snow and dance in the rain. You will lay on the porch on a blanket with your lover and watch the stars. You will remember the bad times, but let the good times rule your future. You will look in the mirror, see gray hairs growing in, and smile at the fact that you lived this long—so many didn’t make it this far. In the end, you will realize that even though you don’t like many aspects of this culture, you love this world and the beauty it is filled with. You will feel glad to be here, in this moment in time. Because there will never be another moment like this one. You will look back and remember how bravely you survived the drama and how fiercely you loved. You will remember a life well lived.”
My past self opened her mouth to speak.
“Before you speak, you need to know one final thing. The most fun thing you have to look forward to is your imagination. You are filled with ideas, and each day you unfold a new idea born from your imagination. Your imagination thrills you and injects you with new life each time you share a new thought. Never let that die. At the end of the day, your imagination is what sustains you in this realm. It will become your raison d’etre. Guard it with everything in you and share it only with those who can appreciate it without chastising it. It is your imagination and your life. Let it run wild and free.”
My past self stared at me in silence. I wondered what she wanted to say, but then realized that I was looking at myself. I knew that my past self had nothing to say. I was satisfied with the gift I’d been given. My future lies ahead of me, in a place that neither my past self nor I can imagine. We are both now embarking on a journey into undiscovered country. We will make it to wherever it is we need to be.
Memories never come in any particular order. So I’ll number mine randomly, in the spirit of the randomness of memory.
I was no more than 12 years old. A friend had just come up from Jamaica and had never seen snow before. The first snow fall of that winter, we both ran outside barefoot. We didn’t feel the cold. It was a magical day I’ll never forget.