Xmas, 1970. Santa brought a white doll house, with a blue roof topped with a shiny, gold bow. Wooden furniture and a funny man with kind, hazel eyes smiling at me, full of pride. I was 2. How could I remember? How could I know, dare to imagine, how full of happy this man would make me. This oh so amazing, lightning bolt father of mine. How magical growing up in our family would be, how jovial he would make it. He kept a solid roof over my head, our heads. Every single good I am came straight from his heart. He was Christmas, the Easter Bunny, Disney, the every hero in my bedtime stories. Being in his company never got old or monotonous. He taught me the most important lessons by example; be kind, be compassionate, be humble, don’t judge, keep it simple, give whenever, as much and wherever you can. Keep on giving, give it all away. Don’t boast, don’t ask, do it in secret. Because, you have more than you need. However much you have, share it. Don’t hold onto to things; grudges, ideas, envy, they won’t matter. Take care of your mother, she won’t ask but she’ll need you. How could I know, when he said goodbye forever, a lifetime of his love would not die. I miss him, my daddy. Me, the adult woman forty-four Christmas’ past. I miss the one who made life brighter, better, more meaningful than yesterday. He’s never far, lives in every wall, every memory, every room in our house. It might be impossible for a two-year old to remember playing doll house with her daddy, one long forgotten Christmas. It’s not impossible today. I recreate the dream, close my eyes and I am back there, on a shaggy, spotted, brown and yellow carpet by his side. He’s easy to remember, impossible to forget. I loved him before I ever knew I was capable of great big love, and I’ll love him every day after. My heart tells me so, and I am half a heart his precious baby, adored daughter. The other part belongs to her, my mother. And there’s plenty of room leftover. He showed me how to keep stretching, expanding the muscle.
Happy Father’s Day, daddy. Thank you for teaching my heart how to smile, for loving me so complete, so big, so much better than I could’ve asked for.
What will it take to fix a broken system? Wake up people, wake up. #NotOneMore
A pseudo famous person, used the term ‘mentally deranged,’ I take offense. The Mental Health system has failed the mentally ill, our streets, jails at over capacity. Guns, why do we need weapons of any kind?! I can buy my meat at Walmart, instead of a gun.
Society is deranged, where reality TV faces become rock stars. WAKE UP, people. Stand up. Do something. Your child’s life is in danger, not from the ‘mentally deranged’ but from a system that is failing us all.
#NotOneMore #NoEasySolution #GetInvolved #RadicalChange
The New Asylums
Since Newton, 74 more. #UnspeakableViolience #UseYourVoice #Educate #Advocate
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord
the dark squashes me in broad daylight
And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, Oh Lord
big moments, big, big grandiose moments
still waiting, still hoping, oh Lord
do you hear me, screaming
Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord
faith is a five letter word hard to swallow
rocks, pebbles slice and cut going down
I bleed red same as you
Well, if you told me you were drowning
I’d jump in and regret it
I would not lend a hand
yeah, I would unwilling
hatred, tick embedded disease
I’ve seen your face before my friend
don’t have any
friends, strangers, foes, allies, enemies
But I don’t know if you know who I am
how could you, hide my face
so complicated, hard to navigate
Well, I was there and I saw what you did
everything I thought true
wrong, wrong, wrong
big moments don’t come
I saw it with my own two eyes
I misunderstood, got it wrong oh Lord
I did that, sole responsible
I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life, oh Lord
keep waiting, hope dwindling
fight or flight, fight or flight, fight or flight
Lord can’t save me now, joker, charlatan
thick of it
Stranger to you and me…
DRUMROLL, Phil Collins
Oh Lord, I forgot
love that song
Phil Collins, In The Air Tonight partial lyrics
“It all comes back to a red metal bench in the woods on a small hill by a nothing- special pond. The air is sweet and wet and fall is here for now. Ducks sleep near the brisk, damp water waiting to take flight to sunnier places, offering no solution. I shiver and squirm in my own discomfort, clenching the bench, determined to will myself better. I’ll sit there god damn it, you fucking divine coxsucker, I’m as stubborn as you, until there is something to look forward to. I’m not pretending rosy and cheery just maybe a hint of curiosity.”
-excerpt The Red Bench by Jacqueline Cioffa
We only get one heart, happy home. The place where breath comes easy, life’s complexities do not get in the way. It’s absurd to think, I can do it all, right now. You can’t, you won’t. Me, I worry over every single, mundane, idiotic thing. Some hard wiring has no fixing, we learn compromise. Writing is my heart, happy home. It keeps me grounded, sane, a kinder, more compassionate person. Living demands attention, that’s ok. For five minutes forget, and visit your happy place. The Vast Landscape thrives and Harrison lives in story. The universal themes of love, hurt, adventure, self-doubt, and inspiration are in fact, only part fiction. They are my most intimate truths, my very personal way of seeing the world. Harrison exists because you the kind reader, keep her alive. I’m humbled, grateful and always surprised by the overwhelming, positive response. I believe pixie dust and magic are waiting, invisible, barely out of reach…if we keep stretching…magic happens. I get to stay in my heart, happy place a bit longer with Georgia Pine.
I wrote The Vast Landscape, the prequel to GEORGIA PINE., at a dark, scary time in my life. Harrison, the brash heroine was something tangible I could cling to. She gave me reason, to get up, to go on, to fight, a much-needed respite from what was happening in my real, everyday life. I made the conscious decision not to write about manic depression, the disease that has disrupted every neuron firing through my beautiful, chaotic mind. Bipolar Disorder, the label I detest is en Vogue. There are trending bestsellers, Oscar-winning films and sensationalized television. It’s glamourized, modernized, made to look cool. Trust me, it is not. Mental Illness is the train wreck, the ugly, cruel, exhaustive, intangible, and solitary battle. It does not discriminate, rich, poor, smart, stupid; brings grown men to their knees, ripping whole families apart. Writing The Vast Landscape freed me, to live my dreams on the page. Harrison is I, I am she mixed together so deeply, the lines disappear. The outlines blur, intentionally. Was The Vast Landscape reality, or fantasy? That is for the reader to decide. We are all disabled, broken parts, lost individuals, trying to find our way. Truth is what you know, here and happening now. There is only love, and love is the bravest character of all. Harrison is the voice in our heads, asking the important questions. Where do I fit? Why I am here? Will I love, be loved? Born with a fixed expiration date, yet we carry on. Walking this earth the best we can until we’re pixie dust. Cherished, kept alive in memory by yellow parchment, precarious, aged photographs in a cardboard box. Lives touch; intersect in the most unpredictable, meaningful ways. The essence continues, because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack; I seize the opportunity. To revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. To choose hope, against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life, our greatest asset.
The story continues in… GEORGIA PINE.