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Only a Few More Run-Throughs on THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR! Sexy.

Dear everyone:

Here's a silly little video for you about my writing process, ha. In reality, I am thrilled to say that I am very close to finishing THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR, my second book. Let's see...currently, I am on p. 37 of 405, revision nine. Only a few more run-throughs to go. And then comes the process of seeking the right agent and publisher. Sweet. Whatever happens with this, here's the way I see it:  setting an unbelievable, lofty goal, plugging away at it, and finishing book #2 is no small deal! Also, this thing is chock full of rich brilliance. The story is so crafty, so layered, definitely hard to resist, and fast-paced. The characters are absolutely colorful and engaging. And sexy.

I am so pleased with how this monster of a novel turned out! To me, it is like entering another world. So keep your fingers and toes crossed for me as I go forward from here. I'm sure gonna need some energy, luck, you name it! Dayum, I put in the time, endless work, many years of focusing on the craft, the schooling, the living, and on and on. So in my heart I know I've done (and am doing) my part.

And that feels rad.

Hope you are happy. Hope you feel a lot of love in your heart. I do.

C.A. MacConnell


Exit 806

 Little poem revision today. I like how it turned the feel of a wintery drive. :) Hope you have great Sunday. I'm just plugging away on THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR. Rad. Love, C.A.

Exit 806

This November morning, when winter’s first snow tongue
licked the highway white, I wasn’t careful. Instead, I sped up,
checking the time, chewing on gummy junk. Hearing the wind
howl, I swerved, and next came Damien Rice. At 8:06 a.m.,
I took the funny, wrong exit. Out there, the phone didn’t blink.
No strange service could reach, and I wondered if some god
was grinning. Maybe, if I took enough lost, white detours,
this slippery trip would never be over. Maybe I could find you
on the curious way back, and we could wear our stupid hats.
From the thin road side, maybe I could find you walking
toward me -- bundled in black, holding two hot drinks,
raising them up, licking the side of one cup’s stubborn drip,
soon waving me down at the turnaround.

C.A. MacConnell


At My Window

You catch me singing
at my window --
neck stretched,
eyes pressed shut
as if my lashes
are skin-stuck.
One small spy
on the cracked
brick wall below,
you look up
and smile,
thin lids rising
and falling to blink,
cooling your eyes
like paper fans.
This is our iris.

C.A. MacConnell


The Artist Transition

When you pick up a novel, and you start to read it, what you might not think about is this:  the painstaking process that went behind the creation of the work. Same thing with albums, films, paintings, sculptures, and the like. Here are some things that I've noticed about the process...

There is no direct order to it. I can start something in 1997 and come back to it in 2005. I can revise 5 times or 20. It depends on the project. Often times, my longer works had their beginnings years ago and at some point, a little voice inside me said something like this:  "Hey, I could knock this one out." Then there were setbacks, such as having to get other jobs and pay the bills. The one I'm currently working on...I actually started the bare basics of it in 1996. In notebooks. Gray, 3-subject, spiral notebooks, to be exact. In 1997-8, I wrote the first version of the novel for my thesis in grad school. Later, I wrote another version, which was better. Now I'm on the final version, which feels awesome. Of course there is naked inspiration involved but mainly, it's been about painstaking research, commitment, and daily practice. It's about sitting my ass down, focusing, and getting to work, regardless of what's going on or how I feel.

With a lone creative project, there is no boss telling me what to do. I'm on my own -- in both creative ways and practical ways. Creatively, I've made decisions on editing, researching, and everything in between. Practically, I've made decisions on distribution, promotion, and all things related to sales. Of course, I could use serious help here, as it's not my specialty, but I do the best I can with my tricky brain, and I'm still learning as I go along.

There is no coach or teacher. School is long over, so as for support and encouragement, I'm on my own. It is both exhilarating and exhausting, highly internal and at times, there will be moments of "this is too much" or "I'm overwhelmed." And then I muster up what's left of my muscle and keep on working. Very odd indeed. Yes, I talk to myself.

It is hard, hard work. Mentally, it can be very taxing. After I finished this last revision, I was literally wiped out. I suppose it was because I poured so much energy into the creative process that I didn't notice how little I was sleeping and such. Later, it caught up with me. Not that I didn't love the work -- I definitely did. But like I said, it caught up with me.

It can be lonely. Most of the time, if you're an introvert like me, it feels like second nature to plug away for days on end all by your lonesome. Actually, most of the time, I crave it. But here and there (especially when living in a conservative town), I begin to question my life's direction, and I wonder if I'm the only one on the planet writing away. But it passes, and then I feel a new spark. Again, this all comes from the inside.

It is like a relationship. Seriously...I have gotten mad at my book. I have cried with it. I have laughed at it. Sometimes there are pauses to reflect. Sometimes I steamroll forward, and it's smooth. Here and there, I've struggled with what to do, but I stay committed, and I don't give up. Funny about that parallel.

I make no money, and I barely get by, but I really don't give a fuck because I'm doing that which makes my heart sing. And then I do give a fuck, because there are bills, and it can get to me, and it's hard as shit to stay motivated sometimes. And then the doubt passes. I'm on a mission. My soul will thank me for it. Deep down, I hope prosperity will circle back.

When I finish a huge project such as a novel, there is a period of euphoria. And then there is a period of extreme tiredness. And then up again. Later, some things make me sluggish -- like when I hear about people "borrowing" my work from someone. Or when people ask me to "send" them a copy. It is very strange. Some of this art takes twenty years to create. My first novel costs less than a t-shirt.

When I pick up a novel, watch a film, and listen to music, I think about all of these details. Certainly, our world is rapidly changing, and the digital age is at the forefront of communication. But we are in transition in terms of distribution of songs and books; that is, it seems to me that the full extent of the capabilities are in the baby stages and right now, artists are hungry, angry, hurt, confused, and scared. Including me. Change always makes people scared, and we fight it. Honestly, I have sold everything of value. Everything. But this is my choice. And I stand behind what my heart is telling me to do. So here I am, wondering where it's all going.

As far as what comes next, how I will release this book, well, I've been praying about it. That's all I can really figure out at the moment. When I finish revising, I will try the traditional route. I will try multiple routes, if necessary. I am open to change as well. One thing is certain...I'd like to get by and pay my bills and not have to live on oatmeal, but as far as where this is all going in this age, I'm not sure. All I know it this...I pay for books, albums, and films. Always.

But I think there is something more to all of this, something that the general population is not seeing yet, something bigger. Just my hunch. Yes, there is more here. And maybe many want to get rich, but I think eventually, it'll settle into something more beneficial to artists. In my experience, usually, with time, things settle (of course sometimes there is disruption first). It's just that now we are in between and many are scared. But how can you control something that is uncontrollable. The world rolls on, aye.

Most people think this -- how can we rope this in? How can I keep my money? But what about this -- how can we, as artists, entrepreneurs, promoters, and businessmen and businesswomen, use this vast, unbelievably magical and scientific Internet to help people? What about that? After all, from the time that man began, art was used to help society, to pay tribute to the gods, whether it be in a cave, on an Egyptian pyramid, or inside the Sistine Chapel. All of it was considered divine.

When I see great art, I think of the immense amount of time and energy that went into it. I think about the feelings, the process, the long, arduous labors. I think about the joys and triumphs involved in releasing such pieces to the world. I'm not talking about a one-hit wonder. I'm talking about the work that has been created by skilled, passionate, determined, aching, hard working hands. These hands are indeed holy. And in this futuristic world, there has to be some kind of celebration for such ultimate beauty. There has to be a way to embrace the digital age, as well as to make a passionate call to hang on to the divine mystery that lies behind it all.

We are in transition, and it is far from black and white. There has to be something more here. I do not feel I am in charge of this divine mess, but I will keep creating, and regardless of what happens with distribution, I will keep making the choice to follow my heart.

C.A. MacConnell


The Waiting

This past week, I've been visiting one of my best friends at the hospital. A series of really strange complications have led to one serious issue after another. For a few days, we watched movies in her room, laughed, and I tried to help her relax. It seemed like no big deal. The usual hospital scenario -- those wicked lights, the vending machine coffee, junk food, people interrupting you in the room every five seconds, tubes all over the place. It seemed all right. It seemed like it was going to be a short stay.

But in the past few days, my friend's situation has gotten very serious, and now she is in a coma. Not breathing on her own, bad pneumonia, not conscious, the whole deal. When I visit now, I continually have this thought:  This is real. Now it's a waiting game. No idea what's going to happen. No idea. Could go either way. All I can do is wait.

The waiting is maddening.

The nurses told me that when she's in the coma, she can hear me, so I've been showing up, talking with her, holding her hand. Over and over, I say, "I am with you. I love you." Sometimes, she opens her eyes and squeezes my fingers. She moves her legs and arms as well; they say these are reflexes, but I disagree (not because I'm medically trained, but because I swore I could feel the fight in her). So I hold her hand for a while, but not long, because I think it makes her agitated that she can't talk to me. She's a feisty woman. I fucking love feisty women. Takes one to know one, I suppose.

Through this whole experience, I've taken on various roles -- advocate, friend, supporter, you name it. I've helped move her legs back on the bed, making sure she is comfortable. I've hung out with her husband some, trying to offer an ear, some coffee, just be there, and I admit that we smoked some cigs right in front of the hospital's "no smoking" sign. I've never been good at following rules. When other friends showed up, we hung out in the ICU waiting room, talking, telling stories, and having snacks. There is relief in touch and numbers, aye.

More than once, I've gotten "firm" with nurses. Sometimes it's necessary to be "firm" in order to get info or help. Once when my mom was really sick, and she was in so much horrific pain in the ER, and they were ignoring her, I went in the hall, walked up to the nurse, stood in her face and said, "Listen, you are going to go in there and give my mom some fucking pain medication NOW." And they did. Go figure. It's weird. I'm not usually like that, but when someone I love is in pain, I turn into a whole other animal.

This girl is my "wingman," so to speak, but what can you do? So there I am, at my best friend's bedside, holding her hand, looking at her cute little green acrylic nails. I have been able to be there for her in ways I will never forget.

I will never forget this experience. Ever.

Over the past couple of days, I have felt intense worry, grief, sadness, immense gratitude, joy, and a huge amount of love. All over the map. The things in my life that I've been worrying about lately -- job, money, loneliness, my book, my low self esteem, and the like -- they're virtually gone. There is something bigger going on, and the amazing part about it is that I can look around at the other families in the ICU, and I can see the miracles that occur when life forces us to tap into the depth of our hearts. It is oddly beautiful. It is raw. The process, being there day after day, is reminding me to be in the moment. And it's reminding me of what's important.

It reminds me to cherish the friends and supporters around me. It reminds me of how precious this life is. It reminds me that laughing with someone in my car is the most beautiful medicine. Our true friends, our true loves, they love us for our hearts, for all of our imperfections. And when it comes down to it, who gives a fuck about anything else besides love? That's why we're here, yo, to love and be loved. All those goddamn prophets were right. This message is not just present within the Bible. It's in every single spiritual text that exists. It's in the words of every visionary. It's in every single leaf. It's in the tracks on that junkie's arm, the one who is still suffering. It's in the vein of my friend who's sick, not from a relapse or anything she did, but just some fluke series of events. She's been my full-on partner in recovery. Sometimes, for no damn reason, we just get sick.

If I look around, I see the ebb and flow of the struggles of the world, and I am only one speck within this vast, spiritual place. Not that feelings aren't real and valid....of course they are...but we are all on some mad, cosmic, ride and sometimes, there's no rhyme or reason to the happenings. Sometimes, it's euphoric. Sometimes, horrific. And sometimes, it is simply magical. The truth is this:  I feel a new connection with her, her family, all of our friends, and with God.

Of course I wish for my friend to get well. I am human. I miss her so. It drives me nuts to see her on that bed, and I want to wake her up. I pray for her health, but at the same time, I have to give up the desire for control and let go.

Fuck everything on your "to do" list. Give your best friend a hug today.

C.A. MacConnell


The Right Sway

Art by Eoin

The Right Sway

I’ve often wanted a stone
Or brick house
With a porch swing,
One surrounded by wild fields of untamed grass,
A green
Tall enough to call my

Hiding place,
One soft to my bare, worn feet. I’ve often wanted
Him to appear, rising out of
Some storm, his smile tearing through the black
Night. Surely the sky will
Reveal his face

When some lightning is stuck glowing at the
Edges, never
To vanish.
I’ve often wanted to tour with words,
Touching millions, traveling to

You, any you. But suddenly, here, now, dusk, clear,
I come to.
I see that the cool, uneven ground, the secret blades, his lips,
The human, catchy words, and the right sway
Will come to me. When I let go, it will all come to me,
and it will wreck this world, my world, our world

With light.
There is a place beyond want, the still
Place of need in between the
Noise and the shock,
A glorious, striking crash to the chest,
Left of center. I have often been killed by

C.A. MacConnell



Photo from flickr


See the shape of it.
See the yellowish-green
the small, crooked
He makes big kid eyes.
For a vine
creature, his pear
stands alone -- 
too tough,
not too smooth,
not even organic,
and definitely,
It is beyond
but he squeezes it anyway,
double checking.
His smooth
softly hold
each end,
head to tail,
narrow to thick.
He twists the stem,
searching for the right
time and place
to take
one bite.

C.A. MacConnell


THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR, coming sooooooooooooooon!

Hi! Sorry this pic is so grainy. My phone camera isn't great, but I wanted to capture this 3 or 4am moment, whenever it was. Dayum, here's my second book on paper, all printed out. I'm surprised my testy printer didn't explode. At the end, the little sucker smelled like it was burning a little, but it hung right in there for the ride. Anyway, this monster genius of a book, THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR, is 405 pages at the moment. I'm on revision eight, and this one is on paper, which feels so exciting. All coming together now. When I look at this book, I think of the immense amount of work that's sitting here beside me, and I feel rather surprised and thrilled at the same time. What a difficult and beautiful and amazingly awesome journey this writing process has been. Really, I am ecstatic.

What a journey! What an adventure.

Now, thinking of plans on what to do with it. I've got three routes in mind, so we'll see how it turns out. Got a lot of hope, some cool leads, and a whole lot of stubbornness that will work in my favor here. Ha. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me. Man, this book is good and how I want it to reach everyone. It'll send you on a fantastic artistic adventure. Fierce love, murder and mayhem, unbelievable dialogue, twists and turns, colorful characters with heart and a touch of "badness," gritty street life, hilarious creative language, addiction, recovery, skateboarding, hostels, Seattle, the 90s. It is a thrilling, engaging, intricately woven story jam-packed full of gripping characters. Not to mention, it's sexy as hell.

Can't wait for you to read it. Just a teaser and a taste of the wonderful circus ride I've created here. :)

On another note, I hope that your day is full of laughter and love. And yummy coffee with your best friend or the love of your life or a badass tiger, or all of the above. You get the drift.

Peace and peanut butter granola,
C.A. MacConnell


Words on The Talk

Hi. Morning. It's around 4am, and I've slept some, which is cool. Sitting here thinking about my talk last night. Hang on, let me clean the litter box. Okay, I'm back. I'm also thinking about coffee, bubble gum, and true love. I'm sad about true love. I want it to be real. And then I flip into another girl, one who thinks this:  stop wanting and stop being weak. You are a powerful woman. And then I think this:  really, I just want to go see a movie with somebody and hold hands. Sheeit, I'm not that deep. Why am I thinking of Whitman's I Sing the Body Electric? And Family Ties? And monsters, roller coasters, Johnny Two Dot the horse, Barton Fink, and night sweats. A normal morning.

Anyway, let me get it together. So last night, at this rather large church in Mason, I spoke out about the brain, my journey to heal, and other interesting oddities. There were about 15 people listening -- mostly friends and family of those with different brain disorders -- and there was a lot of love in the room. Truth:  I was overly focused on the free caffeine, homemade cookies, and brownies. DELISH. Other than the snacks (which are often my focus when I give these talks), it was awesome to be there and share some of my story. As I wrote the other day, I enjoy speaking in front of people, whether it involves a large or small group.

This time, it really poured right on out of me. Felt very easy and natural. Maybe it was the Starbucks I had earlier, I dunno. And amazingly enough, I dressed up for the occasion...meaning, I wore real pants and a stripey shirt rather than track pants and an old Hanes sweatshirt. Pretty big deal, if you ask me. Also, I dried my hair and wore some mascara that was supposed to make my eyelashes look like they were false. I don't think I put it on right, but this was also a big deal. (When I turned on the blow drier, my cat looked at me like WTF, and my roommate Buzz asked me, "Are you all right?")

Anyway, I think a lot of people were touched, and it wasn't a total sob story; I managed to get some laughs here and there and overall, it gave me an uplifting feeling, really. After I rattled on for 45 minutes or so, a lot of people asked questions, wanting to know more, and there were many who talked to me during the break. One woman looked at me and said, "You are strong. Strong. Don't let anyone tell you any differently." Rad, thank you. I'm feeling that way more and more these days.

In the back, on the right side, there was one dark-haired woman who really struck me. Quietly, she listened, and her gaze hit me more than once. She never asked any questions. But the way she looked at me, the way she listened...I could feel her light. I could feel the connection there, the love that exists when we, as humans, are raw and real. Sometimes silence speaks volumes. I love these kinds of connections. I suppose that's why I've always felt close to animals...I understand how we can "speak" through tiny expressions or communicate through the simplest of things -- a small spark, the light in our eyes. The soul light. Anyway, if she were still there when I left, I would've said "Hi."

So, hi.

This time, before I spoke, I prayed for the universe to remove my fear. I'm never afraid of the talk itself, and it isn't being in front of people that bothers me. What bothers me is the aftermath. Reason is...oftentimes, I have trouble with post-trauma reactions after I give these talks, which is annoying, to put it mildly. Sometimes, nothing happens. Other times, it can be a real bear. This time, when I left, I felt calm. Amazing. I still feel calm. A miracle.

So, to get cheesy on you, I'll say this:  it's been a long journey, and it's still unfolding. I am so grateful this morning, and my heart feels full. Mornings like this are so special to me. I feel like I'm OK in my own skin. I feel proud of my journey. Indeed, I feel strong. Not every morning is like this, but when they roll on in, man, it feels good. Okay, I'm done with my "self-help lingo" for the day, ha.

I'm off to work on THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR. Almost done with revision seven. Then I will print out the sucker for the first time and give it a run through the old school way. I am so excited. I am not excited about the reality that this process will use up two whole ink cartridges, but whatever. It's important to me to read it on paper.

Here's to your journey. Here's to my journey.

Love to you,
C.A. MacConnell


More Info on Talk Tonight in Mason.

As mentioned 2 days ago, I'm giving a talk tonight in Mason, Ohio. Come on out, get GRIFFIN FARM signed, or get a card from me to special order a book. I'll be talking for about an hour -- telling my reckless, carnival ride of a story and answering questions. Here are the details...

Time:  6:30pm
Where:  Christ's Church at Mason, 5165 Western Row Road Mason, Ohio 45040

NAMI Family-to-Family Class, moved to first floor. There will be a sign.

*My talk, the organization, and my book are not affiliated with Christ's Church at Mason; however, they are graciously lending the room. Thank you for the support.

Live and love. And Nutter Butters.

C.A. MacConnell


Talk in Mason Thursday: Come on Out! I'll be Naked (Figuratively)

Two days away, Thursday, November 6, at 6:30pm, in conjunction with a national organization geared at providing education about brain disorders, I'll be giving a talk in Mason. For about an hour, I will spend time as an oxygen thief and speak about stigma, geniuses like me, amazing brains, addiction, my book, helping others, and things of this nature. I'm sure I will go way off topic and talk about cookies or Pearl Jam or stuffed monsters here and there, but you know, these loves and digressions make life interesting.

Here's the info:  November 6th, 6:30pm. Mason Christ Church, Room 218, 5165 Western Row Road Mason, Ohio 45040. After the talk, there will be a Q&A session, and I'll be bringing some cards to pass out for anyone who wants to special order my book, GRIFFIN FARM. Also, if you have one you would like signed, bring it on out.

Should be a very small group. For a while, I traveled all over the region to give such talks, and it was both difficult and rewarding at times. Actually, for some reason, I adore speaking in front of people. It hasn't always been that way. Far from it. All growing up, I was painfully shy, but somewhere in my college years, after doing a number of poetry and fiction readings, I started to like it, and then I started to crave it. I'm a Leo, what can I say. I love attention, I admit it. Bring it on. So now, being up there in front of a crowd is one of my favorite things to do. Doesn't bother me a bit.

At one point, I spoke at the Sharonville Convention Center in front of government officials. They had pretty good snacks there. Another day, I went all the way to Columbus to speak to House Reps. They did not have good snacks there, but the ceiling was awesome, even though it made me dizzy. Anyway, I spent many years speaking at various organizations, fire and police stations, universities, high schools, and at numerous government functions. I was interviewed by numerous magazines. I went on T.V., and I put my face with it. I wrote my story, and then I did it again. I published these stories; I put my name with it. I participated in a film to fight stigma; I put my voice with it. I wrote letters to businesses, restaurants, amusement parks, haunted houses and the like, letters that were geared at fighting stigma and man, we made a real difference, and it has been powerful and lasting.

Now I pick and choose my battles, but the journey has been truly amazing. Certainly, I've had to develop a thicker skin, and I'm still working on that, but I have definitely changed. One person can make a difference. I still do the writings and talks, but I have slowed down a great deal. It can get stressful. Usually, I don't mention it on the blog, but I thought people might like some books signed, so this seemed like an opportunity. Just thought I'd throw it on out there!

So anyone is welcome. I'll tell my story. I'll tell the ins and outs of my journey to heal. I try and spread the hope as much as I can; my brain disorder took me to a place from which most do not return, which reminds me of my friend Delbert Lee Tibbs. Delbert was once sent to death row. That's right, death row. Then, three years later, he was exonerated of his crimes. Some years ago, when he was in town, I wrote a story on him, and we struck up a unique, wonderful friendship. We wrote letters, sent pictures, kept in touch for years. Like me, he was a writer and a poet as well. Delbert died last year, right before I released my novel. Just as I never thought I'd come back from being sick, Delbert never thought he would see another day of freedom. We talked about what it was like to lose three years of your life. But through a relentless fight, we both triumphed, and we felt utterly heart-bonded in this feeling. I miss him and his letters. But I know, if he were here, he'd be rooting me on and at the same time, offering to buy me breakfast. I feel honored to have met him.

It is the season, again
The trees are green with leaves and flowers bloom
‘Ole man Sun shines strong
The dark sleep of winter is fleeing away and
Something awakens in me
-- Delbert Lee Tibbs

People like Delbert are the ones who inspire me to keep up the good fight. And people like you. All of you. As Tesla's Love Song put it, "Love is all around you, love is knockin' outside your door." I dig that album, Mr. Frankie Hannon on the acoustic guitar. See what I mean? Digressions make life interesting.

6:30pm Mason Christ Church, Thursday, November 6th, in case anyone wants to rob me while I'm there. If you do, you will find absolutely nothing of value, because it's all at the pawn shop, so the jokes on you.

In all seriousness, hopefully this will help someone, even if it's one person,
C.A. MacConnell



Hello, yeah, this little poem would make a cool song, just sayin. I need a piano. :) Hope you have a beautiful day, and if it sucks, remember to laugh! You know what one of my least favorite sayings is? When something bothers someone, like it really gets to them, and they say, "That really eats my lunch." I fucking hate that. I don't know why I hate it, but anytime anyone says it I want to cringe. I guess because it makes no sense. How could a situation eat your lunch? And if a person ate your lunch, who gives a fuck, because they were probably hungry. Ha. This has nothing to do with the poem. Neither does this...hey I need some shoes for snow walking, so should I get boots or trail shoes or just be lazy when it snows or pay for a few days at the gym. Hm. I'm leaning toward trail shoes. My cat won't give me a straight answer, so I just thought I'd throw that out there to my readers and special fans. Comments on the shoes, not the poem, would be appreciated. Love, C.A.


Way back, dawn was all mine.
Before the sun was mad with light,
peace came to me
in the red, rocking moment
of these quiet hours.
With the Bear Lake tide,
peace rolled in,
resting with me
on the silver beach swing
while Mom and Dad
frantically searched the cottage,
calling my name
at each other,
at everything –
together, then separately –
in high-pitched tones,
both terrified and amused,
knowing that I became invisible again,
knowing that each day,
the shore grew shorter,
and I crept closer,
nearly touching the calm,
cold morning water.
One day, I imagined, I may melt.
Always, twice, I checked
the minnow bucket.
Spiders clung to my dirty hands,
and in the sand,
I searched for kid God,
Wearing no perfume,
I wondered if the moon
or the tired sun
were made of milk.

C.A. MacConnell


They Mirror Us

"If you would be loved, love, and be lovable." -- Benjamin Franklin

Ever notice how we attract those who mirror us? It’s like this -- when I see stubbornness arise in a friend, and it drives me nuts, if I stop and take a look at myself, I'm usually doing the same damn thing. When I see a friend pushing at life too hard, and I talk with her, helping her relax, I begin to realize that most of the time, I'm too hard on myself as well. It's all a reflection, if you get down and dirty and deep with it. Now, how I read into it is up to me I suppose, but I try my best to see the lessons and learn, and I feel that my heart is good. Every now and then, it seems that I’m right on target.

How strange, beautiful, and amazing the journey can be. Other times, it can be ridiculous, difficult, and tragic. But in reality, I suppose one side couldn’t exist without the other. I have no idea why I'm this short girl with crazy hair, man hands, strong legs, tiny wrists, and callused feet. Sometimes I wonder -- did I choose this life, this body? Eventually, will we all live every single life that exists, so that we will someday know what each unique, terrible, and awesome experience is like? Or is this the one, the only one? Or, have we lived each life already, and this is the last one? Or do we later get to choose whether or not we come back? I believe that I will move on to some other state. Just my hunch. God, I hope, ha.

However, I would like to see my Mimi and my old horse again, so I hope, if I go to Heaven, they will be there, and Mimi can make me a peanut butter and jelly because hers were the best (recipe below). Maybe a selfish hope but hey, they were both awesome, and in this life, they were certainly like magic to me. Then again, maybe these souls live inside that hawk who hangs out in the tree across from my window. Or maybe they're speaking to me through three deer who visited me the other night. You are beautiful. I love you. That’s what I said to them. And the hawk turned his head. And the deer twitched her ears. Yes.

All I know is that I feel a certain drive to move forward, grow, change, and evolve. Deep down, I have a fierce desire to do the next right thing and all the time, I want to give and feel love, and that is what truly moves me to keep on braving it. I suppose I could drive myself mad trying to figure out the ins and outs of why we're here and whether or not the sun and moon can hear me. I believe they can. I believe they hear all of us. So when I wake up, I think about my dreams, I think about the people in my life, I write a letter to god, I ask to be useful, and I write to you.

Look around. Who are you attracting? Why are these strangers, lovers, friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and family members in your life at this moment? Maybe she reminds you of your past, your present, or your desires for the future. Maybe he's there to show you how you could expand your music, because that song you were writing needed some juice. Maybe she's there to show you that in order to create touching paintings like hers, you better get cracking. Maybe he's there so that you can figure out that he makes a better friend than a lover. Maybe she's there so you can figure out that it’s not a good match, but her stray cat needs a home. Maybe it’s soulful, deep love – close, touching, real, and raw – and you have to believe that you deserve it. I want this, I do, but I am confused by what to do, if anything. Sometimes, when we’re in the thick of something, it’s hard to see the truth. Sure, hindsight is 20/20, but the possibilities are endless.

To me, it is all surprising, lasting, and beautiful. When I unzip my heart and take a look at those around me, I see that they mirror us.

C.A. MacConnell

Recipe for Mimi’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
(Please do not share or re-post without permission. This is confidential).

What you will need:
1. Thin Pepperidge Farm white bread
2. Smucker’s old fashioned grape jelly (You must not use the lower sugar kind. Unacceptable)
3. Creamy Skippy peanut butter (Again, low-fat or low-sugar are unacceptable)

1. Take the bread out of the fridge. It’s been there a while because Mimi lived alone, and she didn’t eat much bread; however, it will be chilled, but not quite moldy.
2. Take the peanut butter (always half-full because Uncle Chris was in there earlier) from the cabinet.
3. Find the big glass half-full (always half-full no one knows why) thing of jelly.
4. Pull out two pieces of bread. This may be hard, since they are always stuck together, so some of it may rip. Do not use the ripped pieces. The pieces must be whole. Put the ripped pieces in Mimi's overflowing, too-small garbage can.
5. Next, slap on some Skippy, but only a little bit. Do not overdo it because Mimi hates going to the grocery.
6. Next, gob on some jelly…okay, don’t gob, only use a little, a very thin coating, because the jar always has to be half-full.
7. Put the pieces of bread together like a sandwich.
8. Press the bread and see if anything squishes out the sides.
9. Lick around the crust.
10. Next, cut it in half.
11. Put it on a paper plate with chips because Mimi hates doing dishes.
12. Done. Sit down and watch football.
13. Enjoy!