Journal Camp: Day 29

Ala Carte Blue

The color of her dress was a cross between periwinkle and the dusty blue of a prairie sky just after sunset. There was a pattern of small white flowers infused into the fabric that swayed in time to the movement of her hips. She was strong and young still, years from the strain of farms at auction, of entire communities vanishing, tilting toward the promise of union wages. Her eyes were green, and her nails were painted Ala Carte Blue. The hue of her dress and the blue of the tips of her fingers provoked a kind of stupor, a trance of scalded milk and blurry edges. The hem of her frock fell to just above her knees, exposing a slim white scar, the result of a tumble off her bike on that gravel road just off the old Red Rock bypass. When she walked a cup of coffee across the café, every head turned to watch the sway of that blue skirt, the set of those shoulders, the cadence of the quiet hum of her heart. The all wanted that coffee. They all wanted to be the cup in the palm of that hand.

J Camp Day 15

getting lost
“Get lost,” she said, closing the door with a dramatic flourish, something she’d harbored fantasies of but had never actually done. “Bye-bye,” she said, to the oak paneled door, bowing and backing away as if to attest to the gravity of the moment. She hadn’t thought about it. They had been talking, then hotly debating, which evolved into a rant, an argument, several accusations, and ultimately, a crossing of a line in a sea of sand she hadn’t known existed until now. She had tolerated the small crises when they arose, and met them with compassion. Still, when he tried to sneak something in: a package, a golf bag, a box of detritus, she called him on it. “Please remove it asap,” she wrote in dutiful, polite emails, paper trails of the millennium. There was always an excuse, high dudgeon. So much drama! For a lawyer, she expected something more. Something somewhat more dignified. The debris of one marriage, two marriages. It was too much. “Storage was never part of the deal,” she said, when she found a rental van backed up to the garage, discovering a deceit he had hoped to conceal until the deed was complete and then what could she do but protest inertly? “My brother in law moved,” he lamented. “It’s only temporary!” he cried. How did he manage to pass the bar? How had he survived this long in a liberal hotbed of assertive women and sensitive men? His mother had coddled him. His wives enabled him. “I told you. This is not your storage solution.” Then it came to her that all the times when she said no, he had feigned concern but had ultimately rejected her protests. In his head he muted her voice, her opinions dismissed as irrelevant. She didn’t want to be that gorgon, but now she craved to be heard, to bear the weight of relevance. “Go now,” she said gently, to herself, bowing and backing down the long hall toward the kitchen. Go. Now. To that place of lost treasure.

J Camp Day 3

Three Wishes

If she had known there were only three wishes, she would have chosen differently. Obviously. But there had been no instructions, no bullet points. It was another example of the inefficiency of the system. Some opined that the system had grown too big for its own britches, that the safety measure and stop gaps had gotten out of hand. Cynics said the lawyers were behind the crack down. Others insisted the problem was created from a complete lack of imagination. Governor Moonbeam was retiring after eight decades of public service. Some said he would be missed. He told his successor, young Kennedy, “don’t screw it up.” She presumed he meant the ten wishes stockpile of surplus gold. But there were no guarantees, if the three wish rule was enforced. So far, everyone operated on the honor system. She was down to one wish. The books said choose happiness. The ads said choose gluttony. She was pretty sure there was some middle ground. One wish. Puppy breath. Snow. Public nudity. Art. Music. Zero gravity. Invisibility. Hemingway in his Spanish Civil War days. Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen. The Columbia Gorge at sunrise in her living room every morning. Polar bears. Bumble bees. Tree toads. Wild salmon. Stories, stories, stories.

Journal Camp, day nine

Stories I Tell Myself

  1. One more cup of coffee won’ hurt
  2. But I need these shoes
  3. That spider could bit me
  4. Once bitten, twice shy
  5. My roommate is an absent minded genius
  6. I will drink more water
  7. I will relax in traffic
  8. Traffic isn’t so bad
  9. I have the best commute in the world
  10. Other people do more
  11. She makes it look easy
  12. The world is falling apart
  13. The world is a shared hallucination
  14. Quantum physics
  15. My chakras need clearing
  16. I love it when it rains
  17. If I eat the tomatoes now, I can save the artichoke for later
  18. Its hot enough to go to the pool
  19. Ninety degrees is the minimum to make the pool a good idea
  20. Check windspeed
  21. Journal Camp is awesome
  22. Here I grow again
  23. This is my favorite summer in years
  24. Its never too late for a happy ending
  25. I am a creative genius
  26. We are all creative geniuses
  27. Hooray for creative geeks!
  28. I am grateful
  29. I could be more grateful, more often
  30. Wahoo!

Journal Camp: Day 7

My Mother’s Scent

She wore Chanel No. 5. On nights my parents went out, she drifted out the door on a cloud of deep musky-floral pheromones, an  accommodation of the sophistication she yearned for. Periodically, when we were old enough for them to leave the brood with a reliable steel-belted sitter for the weekend, they journeyed north to the Banff Springs Resort in British Columbia. There are photographs of them from one trip, souvenirs from a night club they had attended. My mother appears to be in her thirties, young, pretty, wearing a classic kind of Jackie O sheath dress. The photographer caught her smile and a sparkle in her eyes. She seemed happy then, and glamorous. I imagine that in that dress, in that club, she was enveloped in a cloud of Chanel No. 5. She later switched to a fragrance called Interlude – with the same base notes, a similar mysterious, musky presence. Other scents of my mother that I recall: Breck hair spray, spray starch, despair.

Virtual Journaling Camp

Journal Camp (2)

Join me in July for a Virtual Journaling Camp! Journaling Campers will write for a minimum 15 minutes per day and in a month will have collected 31 pages of dazzling, original journaling prose.  Camper registration fee is $99. For this you get:

  1. 31 journaling prompts delivered to your inbox
  2. a signed copy of my book, Journaling As Sacred Practice: An Act of Extreme Bravery
  3. four video coaching sessions with award-winning author and coach, Cynthia Gregory
  4. access to a private FaceBook Group where you can post journal entries and share community with other Happy Campers

 

To register, email me at coach.cynthia.gregory@gmail.com

See you at camp!

journaling-sacred-cover-front-sm

six word story no. 190

“A short story is a shard.” — Will Self

May is Short Story month. Kiss a shard-maker, and support the arts!