An Armful of Days


I don’t have cancer.

Not uterine cancer anyway, or at least not on this beautiful day in a (momentarily) beautiful world. It feels so very, very good. I do know how lucky I am.

And here’s how the news has affected me:

I’m suddenly doing all the things I’ve put off. All of them, with glee and abandon. It feels so very, very good.

I’m smiling more and worrying less, visiting those I’ve missed, creating, loving, talking. It’s a very good place to be. A very good place to create. A very good place to make jubilant new plans.

Why does it take an ISSUE to jump start us? Are we tired, depressed, discouraged, tired? Did I say tired?

I get it, especially the exhaustion, BUT it comes and goes, does it not? And when it goes, and we’re suddenly energetic again, do we choose to dive in with gusto? Or do we hang about?

I think I need to tape this to my bathroom mirror. And maybe to the kitchen window. And slathered across the front door.

I’m not sure why we forget to live sometimes, but it will be quite a while before I forget again.

And when my armful of days runs a bit ragged, I’ll be grabbing the next one.

Lots of love to all.

The Woman Sitting Near Me

There’s a woman sitting near me, and she’s gorgeous. Low suede boots, a forever-long black dress with tortoise shell buttons down the front, suede purse with a very long strap, and a topknot of lovely red hair. She’s chatting with another equally lovely though less bedecked woman, but I’m unaware of the words they exchange. They seem to be friends, and yet each is carrying a slightly irritated humor throughout their time together.

I’m glad I’m not with them. In just this glance, they feel Heavy. Burdened. Tired, and I feel myself coming perilously close to gulping their attitudes into my own. I’m glad when they stand and walk away in thinly veiled versions of themselves.

Thinly is an odd word, and yet so appropriate.

THinlē, adverb. In a way that creates a thin piece or layer of something; “thinly sliced potatoes.”

THinlē, adverb. With little flesh or fat on the body; “he was tall and thinly built.”

THinlē, adverb. Minimally interacting with life; “she was thinly present.” (my addition)

I love to watch. Or … I love to watch, in theory.

In reality, most people are far too heavy for me — or you — to carry around in either our brains or hearts, and this is good to remember.

At the Bookstore, Dreaming

It’s a cloudy, drizzly Sunday, and there are 30 people in the check-out line at Barnes and Noble. There are 12 in the cafe/caffeine line. I head for the second, mostly because I perused (and occasionally bought) everything in the first line a few weeks ago.

One of those heavy gray days with crows flying about, and the sky so wet that dribbles of moisture keep sliding down the sides of me like a cold bath. It’s dreary, and no one looks quite normal as they hunch this way or that trying to ward off discomfort.

The young girl across from me sits in the cafe section by way of the cash register section, and the belongings that cover her small table and quite a bit of the floor include giftwrap (a roll of gold and a roll of white with gold stars), a furry stuffed cat (orange), a science kit on Climate Control, nine record albums whose titles are sadly just beyond my view, a black purse, Monopoly (with Hello Kitty gracing the box), and two hefty hardcover books. The girl is midway through an even heftier paperback. I like her.

Every person in the cafe is wearing black on at least half of their body, with the exception of one girl wearing pajamas.

I got here just before the crowd. I get here every day just before the crowd, no matter what time I arrive. I’m lucky that way. I love bookstores, probably because they’re filled with minimally comfortable humans making their way in a world that generally includes few and excludes many, most of whom love to read.

I used to read. I pulled back when so many novels suddenly became harder to handle, and indeed happy books seem not to be in style these days. There were decades when I could handle the murders and loss, mostly because there was always a happy enough ending, and of course the good girl or good guy in charge of it all always saved the day. Now just as often, the good guy dies. Realism, they call it. It’s the third Saturday before Christmas. I’m in no mood for murders. Or much realism, for that matter. When I started writing, I devoured books until they began to hurt — when books came too close to reality.

So now I write. Growing up, I had no use for fiction and was all about truth and evolution, or as close as you can get from a carefully selected book chosen at least partially because you liked the cover. I still tiptoe around fiction a bit, but I love the process and the character creation. Those girls live with me always.

I envy the girl with the hefty book and the orange cat. I miss the days when I could read a slightly disturbing book, find the silver lining, and move on with a bit of new understanding enlightening my brain.

Street Trash

Yes, my mom did indeed tell me not to pick up “stuff” on the street. And yes, she had good reason, but also yes, I do it anyway. In fact, I do it every chance I get. It’s a kinda caffeine-like addiction, but without the shakes — only glee.

I’m not sure how or why or when it started, but I can’t get enough of accidental street art. The random bits of shape and color against black asphalt call to me like mourning doves, only a bit dirtier, and I grab them like Sandpipers stealing periwinkles on the beach.

I’m pretty sure you can see the allure, right? A little boy whose wagon wheel fell from his pocket, the death of a worm whose last message to the planet is love, a yellow bottle cap whose vaginal shape speaks of rebirth, a gorgeous fall leaf that has somehow matured and fallen several months early (which couldn’t be a good thing), total joy in the marriage of children and chalk, and a crimson leaf that has succumbed to changes I can’t identify, but I love her just the same.

As always, my message in the post is Look. See.

There’s magic everywhere.

Mood of the Day

There are days when I’m In A Mood. You’ve been there, right? Some days I’m wary. Some days I’m bull-headed. Some days I’m that free-spirited 20 year old looking for a meadow to roll around in. Some days I’m afraid. But most days, most days, I’m everything at once.

I feel the bliss of quiet sunlight illuminating early morning leaves. The protective warmth of green tea with honey and milk. I feel the dread of an upcoming errand that requires leaving home and interacting with strangers. I feel uncertainty about tomorrow. I feel both joy and dread in possibility. I feel.

And you know, I’m lucky that way. Not everyone allows emotions to have their sway with the head and heart. It’s a risky business, no doubt, but would life be the same without that full-on face to face with the world? With myself?

It absolutely wouldn’t.

And so as much as I luxuriate in the morning bubble that allows me an hour to visit the realm of my choosing, I try my best to equally meet the rest of the day head-on. To listen. To learn. To honor. To allow the ups and downs. To close the doors that need closing. To walk through the doors that patiently wait. To honor both past and future. To give equal consideration to the skinny branch. To choose my path each day, be it safe and comforting or wildly (and perhaps ill-advisedly) experimental.

I think we’re all allowed a certain number of safe and boring days. They heal. Find the balance.

Flowers on a wall in Giverny, Photo by Pam Goode

What do You See?

I see a whole bunch of us not understanding what’s going on in our world.

I see a child wondering where rain comes from, and why.

I see a construction worker who draws well.

I see happiness in the cordoned off zone of a parking lot.

I see someone, or a universe, that needs a hug.

I see polka dots.

I see yellow shoes that have been places. Lots of places.

I see a smile that’s only implied.

I see love waiting for her other half.

Book Release Coming Right Up!

It seems easy enough, right? Many claim to have penned this truth: “Writing is easy. Just open a vein and bleed” — and no doubt we’ve all felt it, whether during middle school exams or penning a verse to a would-be lover.

But the truth is, writing is sometimes hard and sometimes easy, but editing and publishing can extinguish god’s own holy spark in the best of us. Not that I’ve ever been particularly holy.

Regardless, I believe I’ve just pulled myself through the last hoop atop the last hill (and yes I CAN hear you laughing in the background) and have pushed the appropriate buttons to make the July 24 release date.

Can you hear my wild self-applause????

Touch of Fire by Pam Goode, available as e-book or paperback July 24, available for e-book pre-order July 10, aka, NOW.

Pre-Order Link here. Let’s roll!

Bowling Lady Watering Can

Birds and Words

Today I got out early enough for a bit of a breeze and so many birds, The birds are a gift to my own ever-tenuous ability to hear, as well as a sort of much needed cosmic validation that stretches between us. I’m still here and you’re still here, and some knowing of that life spark passes between us.

When I walk, the words flow, quite unlike the way they sit, box-like, arms crossed and eyes shut tight to truth, when I’m still. I often invite them quite graciously to join me at the table, but they know my tricks. And more, they know the cage has to rattle for truth to escape.

So I use my legs for the rattling. They say exercise saves lives. I say that much of that rebirth springs from the ground and heads straight to the page.

Birds in Tree Crop

Creating a Life: Inspiration from Orvieto

Pamela GoodeThere are those who ask me why I love to travel. In a few words: the exploration, the reversion to a simple and spare life, the crisp solitude of being alone in a new culture and unfamiliar language. Quite simply, stripped of my accustomed ways of being, I open my eyes and see. I remember who I am (and who I am not) and redefine the ways I want to experience my finite number of years. Travel sets me free to choose anew and gives me focus.

Below are a few things I’ve learned about myself during a cultural immersion week in Orvieto, Italy, and a handful of images to remind me when I’m tempted to give in to big city ways and forget.

I Want to Live a Life

I want to live a life on the edge — a life between consciousness and culture, between solitude and community, with easy access to the gifts of both.

Adventures in Italy

I want to live a life where city walls both shield and embrace, but also beckon me past my accustomed boundaries.

I want to live a life engulfed in scents and tastes and textures, with visual surprise around every corner, be it a new village or a just-unfurling jasmine bud.

I want to live a life where the strong and stalwart and majestic serve as constants for the fragile, a land where the porosity and lightness of stone do nothing to diminish its fortitude.

I want to live a life where both the dead and the living are honored, and joyously — a life where Etruscan tombs from 400 BC sit beneath the waving of wild cherries, and a waiter from lunch three days ago will wave you down in the lane for a smile.

A life where it’s okay to say hello to anyone you pass, to acknowledge life wherever it exists, including your own.

I want to live a life on many levels, from the surety and abundant offerings of ground and field to the communal path, the surprise and joy of rooftop gardens, the soaring art on soaring cathedrals to cotton ball skies and Jupiter shining above the lane after dinner in Charlie’s gardens.

I want to live a life where children in gingham smocks gather magnolia leaf bouquets and squeal with delight, where song is a part of every day’s curriculum, where physical safety is a given.

I want to live a life as many-layered as this cypress, this town, these rooftops.

I want to live a life with as much community as these vibrant streets and as much peace as these convent gardens.

I want to live a life as broad as this vista, completely unbounded by my psyche and conventions, my habits and my fears. I want a life with such clarity and vision that all of my options are recognizable.

I want to live a life where unexpected joy exists stunningly, and sometimes consists only of a gathering of simple greenery. Where the breezes dance, where the air is cool and clear and food holds the tastes of sunshine, rain, and origin.

People ask me why I travel. I travel to pull myself out of daily habits and rituals that keep me from growth. I travel to empty and refill my soul, to recapture moments that makes my heart beat faster.

So Go. See. Assimilate. Love It Up and let it make you better. And do whatever it takes to sear those images and awakenings onto your heart for the days ahead. Take photos. If there’s one thing I’ve learned taking 57 million photos of life, it’s this: turn around. From every position, there are at least two views, and they will constantly surprise you.

P.S. I’m very blessed to be traveling for six weeks in Italy and Ireland. Endless thanks to Adventures in Italy for giving me the fabulous opportunity to teach, to the loving and adventurous  group that accompanied me to Italy, to Olive Stack Gallery in Listowel Ireland for gifting me an entire month to explore and create, to the inimitable and wondrous Olive herself, and to Laura McRae Hitchcock, best residency partner on the planet. You can read more about my Irish adventures for the month of June at https://exciraanddelira.wordpress.com. Love to All!

Little Hurricanes

Prettier in Paris

My daughter arrived on Wednesday, creating a little hurricane in my carefully organized room, and isn’t that what we all need? Someone to stir the pot, to rustle us from the same old, to say “no” to our plans and shoulder us into the new?

She was ten when we first came here together, posing beneath the miniature Statue of Liberty in Luxembourg Gardens and dressed all in purple and pigtails. She won’t let me show the photo and she knows a secret: Honor the past, but don’t let it define you. I need to remember that myself.

Dressing this morning, she pulled a straw-like and scythe-shaped grey hair from her locks and held it toward me. I told her it didn’t belong there and not to worry; it had most likely blown off the weathered head of a boat captain as we walked along the Seine last night. Another gift from getting outside your self. He knows secrets too, but we decide to only imagine them.