Friday, 18 December 2015

The Bug

My first trip to Australia occurred in the middle of my second grade year. As the Aussie’s say, “year two.” Oz had everything to offer but a wizard. It was truly a wonderland to my seven-year-old self. To call the large, sloping backyard of my Aunt and Uncle’s home lush would be to make a massive understatement. The sound of a kookaburra’s cackle in the morning is a memory I recall with the utmost nostalgia. 

Australia was heaven for my curious little child-self. With wombats in Taronga Zoo, toilet water that spins in the opposite direction, and Carmello Koalas to satisfy my insatiable sweet tooth, there was no shortage of diverting experiences.

That is where I caught the bug. The travel bug, to be exact. Some people talk about traveling as something one must “get out of their system while they are young.” The people who say this are the one’s who have never been infected with the bug. If they had, they would know there’s no getting rid of it. It’s a chronic condition whose primary symptom is a desire to experience the world. This desire for me is as insatiable as my sweet tooth.

There is no cure, there is only treating the symptom. The treatment is obvious: keep traveling.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Missing Murphy

I’m lonely here, without you.

I like to picture you sitting next to me on the veranda of this little cafe. Laughing and sharing anecdotes of silly sweet things our men have said or done, reading our own books and interrupting the other to read aloud a particular bit we find funny or inspiring, sharing our food and sighing with delight at the delicious first sip of an Aussie latte (because they are the best there is)…

And then I blink and look around and the chairs next to me are empty and the voices I am hearing are only the gossip of the old, pearl-laden ladies at the table next to me.

This salad is lonely with only one fork in it.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Pink Flamingos

My earliest memory is of pink flamingos.

My memory at this age is more like a slide show on a 1980’s projector
than a running film. Short bursts of light-filled scenes indicating
activity and action, colors faded like my grandparent’s polaroid photo
albums. I can remember feeling confined by my stroller as we
traversed the San Diego zoo, choosing instead to toddle along beside
it. Blasted thing never moved fast enough anyways.

“Slow down, Gretchen,” Mama says.  I pretend not to hear. The pathway
before me is wide, inviting. Cast iron, scalloped railing
decoratively barricades me from joining the Alice in Wonderland
birds. Pretty in pink and knobby knees, I identify with them. Urging
my mother to look, I jab a little finger at them as if she didn’t
know in which direction to avert her gaze. I helped direct her
attention, just to be sure. Bouncing, giggling excitement bubbles out
of me. Nothing but complacency and a desire to preen comes from my
new, feathered friends.

Soon, I am tired. The day is long, flamingos fade, and I need a place to
lay my head. Stroller-prison isn’t an option. Daddy can’t carry me –
he is out to sea. Papa’s shoulder shall have to do. Yes, this suits
me just fine. Mama and my grandparents talk about when Daddy will
come home next. “Will you be here to meet him at the harbor?” She
asks them. I drift off. Mama snaps a picture.

So the beginning of my life ensues. In lace bonnets I play. Infinite
sea, infinite sand, waving palms cast dancing shadows on the beach.
Daddy home, and away again, and home again. I am splashed by whale
spouts and dolphin tails, giggling at the swift, shy anemones and
bumpy starfish. Here I dreamt and am dreaming still. Always missing,
never forgetting. Idealized nostalgia in which I lack nothing: Daddy,
mommy, Eric, and eternal sunshine.

Monday, 7 December 2015


I’ve decided to start sharing more on this blog. That is, I’ve decided to start writing more. Some of what will follow may be a snap shot from the memoir I am writing, or an excerpt from my “Morning Pages”. Such as:

I envy those people that pop out of bed in the wee hours and run through the mist, working up a sweat in the still, quiet moments when the rest of the city is shuffling to the kitchen in their pajamas, bleary eyed and yawning, fumbling for the coffee pot…

The point of this new decision of mine, to share more, is not about putting things out there that I think are publishing-worthy. No more over-analyzation of every blog post. It is about putting anything out there. Raw and uncut, as long as it’s writing and as long as it’s mine, I’m going to post it. Not to add more garbage to the world of blogs, but to show up, in vulnerability, as an invitation to my readers to join me on this journey of creativity and exploration. 

So, consider this your invitation. You are invited to comment on, critique, or congratulate anything that I’ve written and that I am going to write. Let’s write together.