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10/23/2014

Blackbirds.

Painter, your hands moved
to make me.
Seattle raindrops
landed on reaching fingertips,
dying there.
The weather came slowly,
stopping and starting
through the strange trees.
Blackbirds
sifted through leaves
and the muck of dreams.
You made them scatter,
a good use for coin.
We watched them almost fall --
sharp, dark shapes
that flew only for you.
We watched the wing songs
blur to one shape,
and then all were sleeping --
each on a chosen limb.
Later, we broke in,
remember.
Painter, with your hands,
still faces came alive.
All over the walls,
they hovered,
frozen in silent looks
of smiles and screams.
And I knew that outside,
those trees must still be
melting into wings.
You were so clean.

C.A. MacConnell

10/22/2014

Man Jeans

A while back, I bought a pair of ancient Wranglers in the men's section somewhere. Can't remember where I scored these, and I think they cost around 5 bucks. Now, these jeans had some interesting characteristics. First off, they were so big, I could slide them on and off without unbuttoning them. Also, they were so worn out, they were paper thin, and in the wash/wear, you could see the actual body outline of the man who used to wear them, which was incredibly creepy, and I figured the former owner was probably dead. And because they were way too long, I had to turn up the bottom and make a cuff that was about 1 foot high. And most importantly, they made me look like I had a penis, and you could actually see the outline of the bulge where the former owner's penis used to be. What's even more interesting is this:  I wore them every chance I got.

Why? You might ask. Well, they were so comfortable, it was like wearing Kleenex. I'm not big on jeans in general, and I hate skinny jeans, so when I do wear them, I prefer the ridiculously loose kind. Although some people like to draw attention to the ass when wearing jeans, I prefer to wear jeans that make it look like my ass is sliding off into no man's land. Of course, sometimes people would comment on these jeans. But most of the time, people would just stare at them. When I say stare, I mean THE BIG STARE -- this is when people "secretly" look at you when they think you're not paying attention, and they let that long gaze run all the way from your shoulders to your ankles while they're intently checking out your goods. I'm not sure what THE BIG STARE meant. I've decided it either meant that people thought that I needed some serious help, or they were secretly jealous that I had the balls to wear those horrible pants. And indeed, as aforementioned, they gave me balls.

After many years of wearing these Wranglers, I decided to take a break from the "ass-slide" pants. I thought I might try to fit in a little. So I finally threw the suckers out, much to the relief of some of the well-meaning women in my life. I tried out some skinny pants, some "boyfriend" pants, you know, all those ridiculous styles. Well, here's what happened:  when I wore these new pants, the whole time I had them on, I was focused on my pants. Someone could be talking to me, or I could be writing, and yet still, I thought about my pants, how they felt funny, how I felt stiff. I thought I might adapt, but no matter what, I felt uncomfortable, annoyed, and preoccupied. I threw them all out except for one pair that I keep for special "blending" occasions, ha.

Now, I do have plenty of jeans from my horse riding days, but they're all loose and wide at the bottom. They call them "boot cut" for a reason. When you ride, you wear boots. But recently, I was doing some grocery shopping, and I happened to glance at the boys' clearance section. And there they were...a pair of boys' jeans on sale for like 5 bucks. I tried them on right there in the aisle, slipping them on top of my Adidas track pants. Perfect. They were so loose I could slide them on without unbuttoning them. They made me look fat as hell, and they made my ass look like a pancake. They were so long I had to cuff them about a foot. And yes, they made me look like I had a penis. Not as clearly as the Wranglers, but it was still there. Perfect! I bought them, and I was grinning the whole way out of that store.

As an experiment, I've been wearing them the past few days, just to see if anyone will say anything. So far, no one has said anything out loud, but I've definitely gotten THE BIG STARE multiple times from men and women all around me -- at the grocery, the food mart, everywhere. It's hilarious. And you know what? When I wear them, I feel comfortable and chillin'. I feel like me. At 40, I think I'm hitting the rebellious stage that most people hit back in grade school. Well, I mean, the nineties were one big freak show for me, but I had so much going on, i.e., I was fucked up, that when I was a kid, I never really had the chance to find myself, so to speak. So I guess I'm doing some of that investigating now.

It is a weird phase I'm in. Last night, I thought to myself, after years of therapy and self help groups and the like, I think that half of my problem is really much more simple. Catholic schools, making the grades, pulling the knee socks up, keeping quiet -- I'm sick of it. I have always been intensely creative, but I've had to find it and express it all on my own, and I've definitely had to live it out with nearly all of the encouragement coming from the inside. Living in this conservative city with a conservative family, I feel like I've never had the chance to really be me. I mean, I do have all the tats and whatnot, but I want more creatively. I want to wear my man jeans and write about stars, skateboarders, musicians, and lovers. And make a damn good living at it. I want more.

See, here's a simple example. I want a new tattoo. A hawk. They seem to visit me a lot these days, and they make me feel fierce. And I want that tattoo on my arm, in the most visible spot possible, so that I can look at it and be reminded to stay fierce. I'd also like purple highlights in my hair. Things of that nature. Maybe these are just visuals, but to me, it's sort of a rite of passage. I brought these ideas up to some people close to me, and I was met with a huge NO. This happens a lot. My whole life, I've been fighting against this NO. Who wouldn't go "crazy"? Normally, I wouldn't use that word, as I hate all of the stigma attached to it, but in this instance, I mean it ironically; that is, who's the "crazy" one here? All I want is to be myself.

Seriously, after all this trudging and whatnot, I just want to be me. Why do people give a fuck if I get a tattoo at 40? I'm 40. Why do people give a fuck if I wear jeans that make me look like an old man? Who cares. If it makes me happy, and I can be me, I can be of best service to others. I don't judge others when they plan a fancy wedding. Whatever, that's you. But I may show up in my man jeans, because I can't afford that kind of dress. That's me. That's how I see it. Sometimes, I feel like I'm in a cage for sure, like I want to pack my book bag and take off and not look back. Now, I've done this before, but at the time, I was pretty addicted to everything. It is different now. I am focused, determined, and I have years of hard work under my man jeans. Yo, I am fierce.

Let's see how it all unfolds. I may sound restless and discontent, but actually, I'm grinning a little. Why? Because although I may be consistently met with THE BIG STARE and the NO, I have a little secret, a "crazy" spirit inside me that says, YES.

C.A. MacConnell

10/21/2014

Special Delivery

The bedroom wall is peeling. Take me.
Lead me to my new employment.

I'd make an expert paintbrush or vacuum.
Take me to a strange residence -- siding,

stone, or brick -- where even the new house
lives and breathes on a fresh street. I hear

knocking, my special delivery. Pick me up
in a rusty truck. Pack my words in back.

Me, bare or made up. I know we both see
the same moon. Take me to a new quiet,

a new thunder. Pick me up in the smallest
plane. We'll shoot across, making a sky exit,

barely sliding through the slightly cracked
door of lightning. See the room full of boxes.

The family swallows my dreams for dinner.
Take me. Bring me any life but the high rise.

C.A. MacConnell

They Have Room

Sure, I can get caught up with money issues. Whether you're a lawyer, a billionaire, or a thief, I believe that everyone feels this pressure from time to time, but one night a while back, my mind had been racing about finances all damn day. I had that "dread" feeling in my heart and gut, the one that speaks of this:  tread lightly. Don't trust. As a result, I'd had the day from hell. You know the ones.

Well later, I was with some friends, and I sat down next to this curious, brown-haired woman who had sneaked in with the group. She had an odd look -- an eerie, yellowish glow. Wide-eyed, she stared at me intently, as if she were convinced that she knew me from somewhere, some time, some place. So I said "hi," and we tried to figure out if we had ever met, as people often do. Perhaps we had worked together? No. Maybe we'd shared some friends? No. She even asked me if I frequented a certain gas station where she "hung out." No, I said. We couldn't seem to find and answer, so we both stared at the wall for a minute.

Soon we got to talking, and I felt immediately comfortable with her. Connected, in a way. I started to open up, telling her some of my concerns -- that I had lost a bunch of work, that life had thrown me some recent setbacks, that I felt like it was all piling up.

She smiled, nodding and listening. Her eyes looked watery. Not teary. Watery.

Finally, after I was done spewing out all of my childhood angst, I asked, "How are you?"

"Well, I've been living in my car," she stated.

Immediately, I felt an asteroid in my throat. "What happened?" I asked her.

"I lost my house, my husband, and now I'm in my car. It's not bad. I have my independence," she said. Weirdly, the whole time, she was grinning.

I nodded, and I wrote down some numbers for some possible shelters, rooms, and other places to stay.

At first, she wasn't interested, but she took the number list and explained, "Earlier today, I was at a mechanic's place. I set up a lawn chair in the garage and got some sleep there, but I have to catch him when the place is open to get some rest time," she said. Again, the whole time, she was smiling.

Faintly, I smelled the alcohol on her, and I noticed the "lost" look buried deep within her eyes. And I noticed the leathery, yellowish skin, the distended stomach, and other signs of long term alcohol abuse. I thought hard about offering up my place, but I worried about what her withdrawal was going to bring on. I had a connection at a nice housing place near a park -- a warm, safe place for women. She'd have her own space, get her basic needs met, have a chance to sober up, have protection, and there would be medical attention. It seemed like the ideal solution to me.

She shook her head. "I like my independence," she stated.

I nodded, listening to her. I pushed the idea, encouraging her to call. "Call tomorrow. Last I heard, they have room," I said.

"Maybe I will," she said. "You're the second person tonight who has given me the name of that place. Maybe it's supposed to be."

I nodded. "Yes."

We talked for a while and by then, my stress faded to nonexistent. I realized that no matter what was going on in my life, there was so much to be grateful for. I was sober, safe, I had supportive friends, my loving cat, a roof over my head, hot water, dinner waiting for me, and a sense of spirituality that carried me through. Certainly, my life was far from glamorous, but it was damn more than enough.

Today. Sometimes I fail to see all of the blessings surrounding me, and my vision becomes too cloudy. I get trapped in the state of want, want, want. I try my best not to go there, but it happens. Thinking about this brown-haired woman certainly re-opened my eyes. She reminded me about what's important, what's real, what's tangible, what's beautiful in its simplicity.

I've been praying a lot lately, praying for others who are suffering and praying for the universe to lead me to do the next right thing, whatever's best for all involved. I've been praying for happiness, peace, and freedom from suffering, and the ability to best serve others. And I know this:  usually when things disappear, it's because new things will be moving in. Perhaps they don't move in as swiftly as I would like, but in my experience, they do come.

I'm tuned in to what may be next. Action has been key, and I've taken many, many steps, so we'll see what rolls on in. In spite of my naturally brooding self, I am hopeful. And thanks for the lesson, my dark-haired friend. You listened to me, even though your bed that day was a lawn chair. I learned from you, and you may have thought you were some woman merely putting one foot in front of the other, barely getting by, but to me, like everyone around me, you were divine.

They have room.

C.A. MacConnell

P.S. Today's odd jobs were very autumn-celebratory. Okay, yard work. Also, I'm thinking of a hawk tattoo. Leg or shoulder? Love to you. Teary. Peace. Out.

Glass Study


Here I am, eating a late night dinner in my glass study. Give me
the blankie. Make no mistake. I’m lucky to have short-nailed,
writer’s hands, strong fingers ready-made to release and bind,
but I have a bone to pick with my magic mind. God, can’t extra

sensory perception be true this year. Can’t strange love become
the new style. Let it break down and burn up science. No stamp
needed in this here ghost town. I like the sound of twigs snapping,
the moment when they are forced into kindling, and I must try

to describe it. We are forever on some couch. The skin isn’t skin
at all. You are made of smoke, smog, fog, dreams, an intangible
buffet, a cirrus cloud, a vast, gorgeous vapor. I know the fingers
aren’t really there. I know the shoulders are made of static,

but I swear I see you facing me, stunned, hot, and grinning.
Something hangs between us – a fight never fought, the fast
walks, the quick trips, and the makeup screw. We are the loss
never lost. I live this way, speaking without sound, without

words, through a speck of dust, between notes, moving
to the rhythm of one. To your life. To my life. To the strange,
unshakable silence -- from the dirtiest laundry to the purest note.
Sometimes, I imagine I see you shaving. I see your version

of a late night dinner – orange glass, green plate, no napkin,
bare kitchen that holds the slightest scents within the walls,
and when the intruders, my panic, my war, comes, I feel you
holding me close. I feel us breathe just in time, cutting the quiet

in two. I see our small house, paint chipping on the left, the heart
side. I see you call the painter. I see me call the gutter man.
Here we are, relaxing in my glass study. At last, you’re present,
and no matter how the meal ends, empty or full, even if I could,

even if I should, I wouldn’t take anything back. I see us sit down
at the same time, sinking into high-backed, plastic chairs, praying,
laughing, and digging in, whether or not people need to eat
in heaven.

C.A. MacConnell

10/20/2014

SNL Commercial: F'n Rad Neck Cone



I think that someone (me) should market and sell these neck cones as accessory items for humans. We could use them when we get sick or when we need to keep our focus on projects. Or how about using them as a punishment for adults when they’re bad people at work…you’re late, sorry, fucker, you get the neck cone for a day. You call in sick and you’re lying, sorry dick, you get the neck cone for a week. You gossip about your coworker, that’s right, people-hater, neck cone for you. And even use it for the boss. Let’s say the boss is an ass one day, well, sorry boss, you’re not special, shitsack, neck cone is on its way to your office, special delivery.

The opportunities are limitless. I envision myself starting a new yoga class -- I'll teach with a super serious face, repeating all of the most beautiful mantras in the world, all while wearing the neck cone. I think I’m on to something here. It'll be so unique -- a yoga teacher that can’t even turn her head at all. That's right, "Neck Cone Yoga." To my knowledge, this is the only type of yoga that's never been done before.

Just sitting here trying to add some thoughts on world peace. Also, I think I may suggest this at my job interview today,

C.A. MacConnell

10/19/2014

Finding the Genius.

Good morning. Five a.m. Time to write.

Last night, I made some lovely visual changes to the blog. Honestly, it's mostly due to my need for new glasses, ha. I dig the new look. Sorta dreamy or whatever. Hope you like it as well. Decided to drop out of social media for a while. Let's put it this way -- my mind already goes 24/7. From time to time, if I take in all that nonstop extra stimulation on those sites, the material is more than my sponge brain can sort through, I suppose. I've learned to catch it earlier, which is good. Over the years, I've worked hard to come to a point where I can recognize when things are becoming too much, and now I can "nip it in the bud," as Barney Fife would say. Amazing really. There was a time when I couldn't do that, and I'd get so lost in everything. Literally, I remember nearly every post/photo I see, and I pretty much pick up everything, and then I connect it with a gazillion different things going back to grade school and the like, so it's a lot of info, to put it mildly. Best I can explain it.

Acceptance is the answer. And then shrug, let it go, and keep moving forward.

Don't get me wrong. I'm grateful for my tricky brain. It's mine, and it makes me who I am. It has taken me a long time to get to that level of acceptance, but I'm sticking to it. I think my Mimi gave me some of her genes in that department, only she was so much better at Jeopardy. I sucked at it. In print, my memory picks up dialogue and images, and in person, dialogue and visuals. Hers was keen on facts. It allows me to "stretch" creatively, to write with depth and vision and the like, but it can be overwhelming.

But you know what's absolutely rad? I'm in a "category" that includes some pretty cool people:  Jimi Hendrix, Robin Williams, Edgar Allan Poe, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Ernest Hemingway, Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Vincent van Gogh, to mention a few names that people know. And then there are the countless people I know personally, the ones who fight to be clean, the ones who fight to get and stay well, the ones who love and honor me and each other on a daily basis. So much love and support around me. I am so blessed, so incredibly lucky. I love you all so much, my fellow gutter punks.

Hopefully I won't alienate readers while backing off for a while, but I have to take care of myself and others, you know. Ah well, fuck, if I had it my way, we'd all still be writing real letters and talking on ancient telephones using a switchboard lady named "Betty" or something. Speaking of Bettys, I love Betty White. Now there's a genius. Would absolutely love to have lunch with her.

I'll be back on that promotional, social web of goo when I finish my second book, though. Just taking a break so I can focus on THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR, which is coming right along. This revision is difficult, since I'm moving through it and making three sets of changes at the same time. A little overwhelming, but they're all necessary changes. And I know that once it's all smoothed out, I'll be glad I went through these difficult steps. Kinda like life, yo. The next revision will be fun...I love it when I get to the fine tuning part. Not quite there, still altering the story. But so close. :)

In the meantime, have you checked out GRIFFIN FARM? If you have, write a comment on Amazon...any review would be awesome. Tell your friends! Share it on Facebook, Twitter, call your buddies and enemies. Tell your German Shepherd, your fish, your pony. Any help would be appreciated. At the moment, I'm totally doing this by my lonesome, so if you read this work and took it to heart, I would be so grateful for any assistance in promoting it. After all, it took many years of my life to create it, including fighting to get well, writing, editing, struggling, laughing, trooping along, and finally, celebrating. I celebrate the accomplishment, and I celebrate you.

Hey, I'm a film buff. There are three movies I have walked out on. Just got up and sneaked into another theater. There is one movie I saw last night that I made fun of the entire time; it was supposed to be a serious drama, and I was literally cracking up. Can you guess which ones? My least favorite four movies. And it wasn't because I was disturbed. It was because I was bored out of my mind. Two of them were award winners, ha.

And sometimes you have to sort through the mental sludge to find the genius.
Just write.

C.A. MacConnell

10/17/2014

Pie


Rad, fresh off the presses. Nice to have something new. Hope you are happy today! Finally got some rest last night...well, rest for me, which is like 4-5 hrs. It's cool, it's just because I'm a genius, I'm convinced. I feel very awake and stubborn, and I feel a lot of love as well. Weird mix, but I'm smiling! Man, I'm seriously making a muscle. Can't stand doubters. Going through some sheeit, but whatever...everyone is! No biggie. Ha. If all of my incessant fb posts are annoying, sorry, I get passionate, and I write...wherever, although with integrity in mind, always :) Love to you. I have a strange urge for apple cider. :) Fall. <3

Pie

He came in pieces.
All greedy eyes widened
at his matchless, rare, fiercely kneaded, half-baked, erratic
dough.
Forked smiles scratched their way across his face,
and the holes
became his eyes,
and the eyes
became his breath.
She checked the timer, fearing mean seconds,
the naughty, too-soon scent, and the wicked, secretive
smoke.
He rose and fell
into the sleepiest, softest invention,
and then he was simply
done.
Morning, sticky silence rolled into the kitchen,
Flattening all sound, pinning it
down,
and the crumbs were far from golden,
but what remained – jagged, half-cut, and real –
was still cooked, honest, steamy, and sneakily
gourmet.
All eyes settled on his full, thick shapes,
carving out a slice. Even the close ones didn’t believe
that she had created, cooked and cut into him
until one day,
when he returned,
ingredient by fragment,
settling back
into her mixing bowl.
Crowding the oven, all eyes widened
at his sweetly cooked, fully baked, decadent, erratic crust, his coat,
his casing.
All mouths salivated with desire, and the ravening crowd
was overcome by the licking of
lips,
but before anyone dug in,
she heard his heated, sugary voice rise up
at last. Only to her,
he called out,
I am with you, bad apple.

C.A. MacConnell

10/16/2014

Word of Mouth is My Friend! Thoughts on Griffin.


Thrilled. I'm thrilled that I've finished and released my first novel, GRIFFIN FARM. You can find it here. It's available in paperback or Ebook. It’s been almost a year now since it’s been out in the public. I'm thrilled to know that I did it all on my own -- the research, writing, editing, collecting feedback, more editing, wrestling with formatting, design, all of it, 100% me. And I'm thrilled that I've sold many copies, and I have received some magnificent feedback. Wonderful. Slowly but surely, my book is entering others' lives, touching new skins. My skin, your skin, the world's skin. And each day, the reader web expands. Quite exciting to kick back and watch it all unfold.

If you buy this book, connect with the swift story, and take it to heart, I would be incredibly grateful if you would spread the word in any way – tell others, write a comment on Amazon, email others, share it on Facebook, Twitter, etc. "Word of mouth" is my friend. I believe that many will identify with this story, and I feel that the naked message is one that needs to be revealed to the masses. It definitely delves deeply into the minds of several characters who struggle with addictions and illness, but it also shows the ability to cope and live on despite life's intricate dealings, happenings, heartaches, sorrows, and joys. My hope is to fight stigma, give hope, spread hope, and radiate education, understanding, and love.

Here is one review: Christine MacConnell is a truly gifted young writer who understands that a tale well told begins in the heart and not in the head. This is a stirring, eyebrow-raising debut novel by a young woman who will be heard from, and you can see her bare soul on page after page. Chilling, frightening and uplifting... -- Dan Smith, author of CLOG!, a novel

Here's another: I read a first draft of this a few years ago. I thought it would take me at least a week to finish the book and comment on it, but I got so caught up in the story, I read it all in one sitting. That’s something I normally don’t do with any book but I couldn’t put it down. That’s how good it is. -- Larry Gross, author of THE HURRICANE CAFE, a novel

Countless others: “I couldn’t put it down,” “I read your book. It was awesome,” “I can’t wait to read the next one,” and on and on. People stop me on the street. People email me. People approach me at random locations all the time, and they want to know more, to discuss the details. It has created a dialogue of change. All around, these little miracles unfold as I write to you. GRIFFIN FARM is raw and revealing. It is heartwrenchingly honest and descriptive. But GRIFFIN FARM also shows the strength that comes from one person's willingness to not give up under any circumstances. Courage, light, the fight to get and stay well. Personally, I know this fight. Ask anyone who knows me…I'm stubborn as hell. Always have been. But I'm also a damn tough fighter, and this spark, this fight, is pushing me forward, keeping me focused and alive.

I say, regardless of your challenges and circumstances, never give up.

For as long as I can remember, I've held this dream close inside my heart -- a dream to publish a book, watch this book touch many lives, and later see it become a beautiful film. So these are my humble beginnings, but then again, perhaps if I don't give up under any circumstances, I may see these beginnings unfold even more beautifully with each waking day. The most awesome part about all of this work is this:  watching the way that one person can relate, then later seek help, and get well. It has already happened. It is already happening. Amazing, if you will.

Spread the word!

C.A. MacConnell

P.S. Coming soon, THE HOUSE OF ANCHOR. : )