Be in time. by Christina Rosalie

"You will be told that 'time is your greatest enemy, time is your greatest possession. Hey, you better be careful with time because time don't come back'; "Time flies" "Time is of the essence" "Don't waste time" "You must control your time" and, above all else, "Be on time - Be on time." Well, friends, in the words of the great Louisiana jazz trumpet man, Enute Johnson, "Son, don't worry about being on time, be in time." Because when you are "in" time, you can accept and experience a much larger slice of life as it unfolds. Instead of imposing your will on every situation, you focus on including everyone else, and just that little adjustment of attitude gives you the space to understand where and who you are."

-- Wynton Marsalis at my college graduation forever ago.

The place where things happen by Christina Rosalie

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset All morning I work at the kitchen table. The boys have off (first day of summer vacation!) and I do not.
Eventually when they've settled into a project, I head out to the backyard to my little studio. I always push through the door with a certain relief; glad for the fact that though it is small, it is just mine. (Virgina Woolf had it right.) The walls, bare on purpose, ready for for whatever I want to tack up. A place to spread out and make things, which I do, though not today.
Today I bring a summer peach with me, and later espresso to keep me fueled through the afternoon. Then I sit, contorting at ridiculous angles in my chair. One knee up. Then both, perching. Then I'm spread out on the floor. I love the work I'm doing, but my body isn't made for sitting still. No one's is, but mine, with my spring-loaded legs feels particularly ill equipped for sitting still, and I'm hankering for the run I hope to get on the beach, Sunday morning.
Today, five minutes of attention happens as I am lying on the floor waiting for my colleague to send me edits. I simply breathe. Feel the way my shoulders are holding on to the stress of a tight deadline. Look up at the way the room is framed anew with my upside down perspective.
Outside the window, day turns to dusk, and dusk to night.
Day 8: #the5x5challenge

Sojourn: The temporary state of now by Christina Rosalie


sojourn |ˈsōjərn|

noun a temporary stay.
Since December I've been doing yoga every week-day morning. Just a short, half hour vinyasa routine that ends with a few minutes of meditation. Every morning I show up, bend and bow, and discover my hamstrings are still as tight as the day before. Every morning show up, find my breath and focus my attention--and then loose it; find it, then loose it again.
Some days it's less of a struggle, other days it's more so, depending on how willing I am to take this sojourn into the present; how patient I am to sit with non-doing. Sometimes I count slow inhalations; other times I really am just there, in my breath; but many times I'm impatient, bucking up against the uncertainty of the now.
Without a clock, just breathing, time does it's own thing: Slowing to a maddening pace so that five minutes are an eternity of interruptions and distractions. The dog comes wagging. The boys wake up. The winter light glints through the chinks in the shades and flirts with my closed lids. Then all the worries I carry come crowding up, knocking their carpet bags and banging their shoes in the muddy entrance way of my mind.
If there were a clock, a countdown, a promise of what's next I could be patient I think. I could let go, sink in, and sojourn into the temporary state of now. But with the wide expanse of temporariness stretched out before me wide without a way to mark it's passing, each day I am challenged just to sit. To breathe. To be empty, and then to fill.
This has made me consider all the ways that I struggle with being in between, in the middle, in a temporary state of non-action, which is where I've been in my life quite a bit lately as we make plans and circle round them slowly, uncertain about a future that has yet to arrive.

I love this list of prompts so much, I've decided to join Amanda in writing every day as often as possible this month.

You answered, I listened by Christina Rosalie

Looking Up from below Selfie--Tree Climbing

The wonderland in our backyard

Surveying the sce3ne


I love how clearly the poll's little grey lines spell a message. How straightforward your ask, your wondering. The process of zeroing in. Of mapping the constellation that makes your one thing? Of going from macro to micro, from everything to just your thing. This is something I understand deeply in my gut. It is the process of ideastorming and pattern detection, synthesizing details and honing in; listening hard and hungrily for the clues. This is the art of creating your own compass. It's one part alchemy and one part science. It's analysis meets curiosity meets making things real. It's untangling narratives and discovering where your story catches you up (and also where it sets you free.) It's something I do with clients when we build a Brand Compass, and it's something that I'd love to do with you, in service of the singular thing that calls you (even if you don't yet know how to hear it's song.)
I'm making an e-course. It will be playful and fun and adventurous, and you'll arrive at the end with a tangible map for doing; an action plan for arriving; a lens through which to focus. It will likely be ready just in time for the New Year, and I'll be keeping it small, so that I can bring a true-to-my-heart hands-on approach (with some one-on-one coaching), and so you can also feel like you really belong to a community of kindreds.
If you're interested (and I so hope you are!) sign up for my vary occasional newsletter to snag a first-dibs spot.
(Also, I feel a studio pay-what-you can sale coming on. That will happen in late November, likely, just in time for holiday gifting. Just saying.)

The light is golden now, and the shadows lengthen. Sprout and I look for colored leaves. In the woodlands behind our house we rock-hop and discover trees that fill our arms. We look up, and up and the canopy is a lacework of leaves. When we get back to the yard, I climb the ginkgo until I am above the roof tops, until I can feel the trunk swaying gently with my weight, the fan-shaped leaves brushing my face. Below me the boys watch, grinning, a little awe-struck. When I come down Bean goes up, holding close to the trunk as I've taught him, his feet curling round the branches, prehensile, agile. We have a whole new hour now, ripe with promise when they come home from school, and we've been using it to just go slowly. We rig up a swing with rope and a round log. We play badminton. We linger till the sun slants low.
How are you spending your time at the end of these early autumn days?

Toward the closeness of friends { Just One Paragraph 24/30 } by Christina Rosalie





We pack all day, and then a few dear friends come, bearing dessert to sit around the bonfire with wine while the kids run wild in the woods. The moon climbs up over the peak of the roof against a violet sky. Then the crickets come, and the katydids, thrumming. Woodsmoke, laughter. A good final fire to mark the end of hundreds, all of us gathered on the uneven ground on dinner table chairs, dodging the wood spoke. After a while the kids light sparklers and twirl across the lawn, and when everyone there is only contentment. To be here, and to be moving toward the closeness of friends.

Nearly beginning {More than Just One Paragraph 24/30} by Christina Rosalie

The lower meadow vsco_0-2

There is mist when we wake up. We lie in bed, close, breathing, watching the soft world through the wooden slats of the blinds. Three days left.
I think about the ways we cannot know. The ways before and after are utterly discrete, the barrier between them absolute. It was the same, waiting for the arrival of my sons. Or waking up the day after college. Or the moment after I said "Yes." It is always this way.
We move with measured intention or whirling chaos towards the unknown, and then we are there at the brink. We can't know, and yet we leap. Wings made of faith, of certainty, of calculable odds, of foolishness, of hope, of daring.
I walk out into the meadow with bare feet, just to feel the dew. To pay homage to the way the grass has always been there, lush, tangled, season after season to harbor field mice and Queen Anne's lace and milkweed and monarchs. I go, because for so long this field has claimed me, and claims me still. Not just this field really, but all fields. The wild, my home.
We'll see where new begins; what shape beginning makes.


The moon drops one or two feathers into the field. The dark wheat listens. Be still. Now. There they are, the moon's young, trying Their wings. Between trees, a slender woman lifts up the lovely shadow Of her face, and now she steps into the air, now she is gone Wholly, into the air. I stand alone by an elder tree, I do not dare breathe Or move. I listen. The wheat leans back toward its own darkness, And I lean toward mine.

The day as it was {More than Just One Paragraph 23/30} by Christina Rosalie

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I didn't write last night because I came home and completely crashed: chills, swollen glands, headache. T wondered, "What about Lyme?" and so today I went and got blood drawn. I have nearly all the symptoms. But who knows? It could be anything, everything, my body on a collision course with the reality of moving, which we are in just four short days.
Bean came into bed this morning, his hair a shock of alarming curls, his grin sleepy and sweet. "How are you feeling, Mama?" he asked, spooning perfectly into my arms. And then he lay with me and we dozed and talked about things and imagined what the future will hold. He seemed to get it, my little aquarian kindred. That this is big, what we're about to do. "It's our last weekend here," he said softly, nestling in.
Then came Sprout who has the heartiest of laughs. His dimples cause an uproar of delight in my heart. He bounces instead of snuggles. His sturdy little body burrowing for a second before he springs back up, and kisses my cheeks and nose and forehead and then dives off the bed to go play with matchbox cars.

photo 2 (8)

boy and dog

T leaves for work. It's my day with the boys. Bean and I linger in bed, imagining where we'll explore downtown, what colors we'll paint their room, how we'll have friends nearby. Then, slowly we get up and while I'm untangling my hair and finding jeans he goes downstairs in underpants and a sweatshirt and starts making french toast. He's got the first round frying by the time I head downstairs, and is perched on the stool by the espresso machine, teaching Sprout the steps. He pulls a perfect shot. "Iced or hot, Mama?" he asks.
We eat mounds of french toast and it's perfect: eggy, with just a hint of vanilla and cream. Then, after unloading and loading the dishwasher and packing all the cookbooks that seem to have mounded themselves on the kitchen table, we head to the car with a lab slip for blood work.
Sprout watches the practitioner closely as she cinches my arm and draws blood. Unlike Bean who wants to know how everything works, Sprout wants to know if I'm okay. If it hurts. If I flinch. (I don't, just for him.)
They took such good care of me all day.

A record of unfinished things {Just One Paragraph 23/30} by Christina Rosalie

photo-1 Tonight my heart rides unsteadily in the hull of my ribs across the waves of all the unfinished pieces and fragments and questions that remain from the day. The arrival of new friends and the disappearance of old ones. The half-packed boxes strewn in every room. The half-written emails sitting in my inbox. The audio notes I take on my phone that show up as emails, skeletons of ideas, lurching back into focus. Pattern recognition. Inklings. Story fragments.
Here are a few recent note titles:
Take down the lights. It's about repetition. UK Art Everywhere Project It's so late the next day has already begun. Bear humphing around looking for Fox. She wants her way a lot. She keeps secrets. There is a woman who smiles with gaps between her teeth and her minivan in the morning... Heritage movie theater ads. Meyer lemons, eggplant, almonds, dill. Surfaces and the first day of seeing in a new city.
How do you keep track of unfinished things?
And how can you tell when things are finished? Friendships, stories, ideas, dreams?

On learning, right timing & finding directions when we need them: {More than Just One Paragraph 21/30} by Christina Rosalie

On our way to his friend's house this morning Bean asked if I knew the way.
"Not really," I said. (I have this thing called an iPhone. It makes me navigationally lazy.)
"Don't worry, mama. You don't need to know the way. You can count on me. I'll show you," he said confidently.
It's true of course. For more than driving directions. This boy is my teacher. This in-two-weeks-third-grader. This coltish legged boy with a missing-tooth grin. I've fallen in love with him all over again this summer. He's just so tender and thoughtful lately. So full of a new awareness that everyone around him has emotions and thoughts and secret goals and dreams.
I often notice him watching me subtly: for a furrowed brow, or a lightness in my voice. He wants to know, "Are you happy mama?" It matters now, differently than it ever did before.
I can feel the importance of how I am in each moment with him now. The way it's making something indelible. A blueprint of the emotional topography of woman.
It's no small thing, this. Raising boys.

Sprout gets to be the only child at dinner tonight. We sit around the butcher block counter together eating soup with grilled bread and talk about numbers. We consider "How many, and then one more?" Then we make a game of writing the numbers out, each one with their own special characteristic--5 with it's baseball cap, 3 with it's two bouncy balls.
It might seem odd that I haven't taught him numbers before: he's 4.5, headed for preschool, and I'm a certified elementary teacher.
But the thing is: the meaning of the word "readiness" is debatable in my book. In the school system, readiness is knowing your numbers and letters so that you can be ready to learn mathematical operations, write sentences, and read about Spot and Jane. Then of course, those skills are learned, because they are readiness indicators for later academic skills, and so on, each skill set building to the next level until ... what? We reach the end of school, and have a bunch of skills that prepared us for more school. Hmmm. Is that really the goal?
If, instead you think about readiness from the standpoint of developmental capabilities, then things like learning numbers and letters and reading and writing are naturally, and almost inevitably a part of the process of learning to function meaningfully in the world. Academic skills are acquired when they're needed and appropriate to problem solve and recognize patterns; to make connections and navigate complex social situations; to make order from chaos, and chaos from order. Learning is about understanding the process of innovation and excavation; leading and following, taking note and being of note.
And at the end of the day, if children are submerged in a culture of learning, with real, tangible opportunities to make meaning of their world, then things like numbers--both knowing them, and writing them--are easily acquired when they're most appropriate.
Like now. Sprout's just ready. He's known how to count to 10 and farther for a year or so (although he gets creative in the teens.) And he knows how to do simple calculations: 7 and one more is 8; if there are two cookies and four of us, we'll have to break each in half to make fair shares. He even knows how to write the number 4--which is the most important number to him, of course, since that's his age. But tonight when I teach him how to write the other digits, I wish you could his chortles of delight!
With each new number, he lets out the most triumphant laugh when he masters it. Pure gusto! Complete ease. And in ten minutes he knows and is using all the digits easily. Right timing. They're useful to him now.
Of course, it's way more just this, and has everything to do with a household where learning happens all the time. A house that is literary rich, and scientifically minded. A house where T and I both engage our kids in problem solving while doing real-world tasks rewiring an outlet, making quiche, filling the gas tank, calculating change for the parking meter, programming a website, or mapping directions. (And we're blessed with kids who are typically functioning and healthy, which makes everything simpler without a doubt.)
But I've been thinking lately about the rush that we have as a culture--to get ahead. To prepare. To be productive above all else; at the front of the pack, and ahead of schedule--and how that affects me as a creative (often leaving me exhausted). And then I've been wondering if it's not something we're tacitly teaching our children, instead of showing hem that real learning means exploration and going at your own pace, prototyping and practicing and narratively mapping meaning. For that's how children are hardwired--to learn: iteratively, intuitively, and instinctively from real-world experience.
But if we dialed it back just a we bit and rested into the truth of this:
"Don't worry, mama. You don't need to know the way. You can count on me. I'll show you." I think they'd turn out just fine.
More than fine, actually.

Change is always this: A thin, perforated line between known and unknown{More than Just One Paragraph 20/30} by Christina Rosalie

Christina Rosalie
When I wake up still feeling out of sorts: achey headed, light sensitive, and all-round fragile, I feel betrayed. Who gets sick, I think, with just a week and a half left before moving for the first time in eight years? But of course, that's why I'm feeling off, as Elizabeth gently pointed out to me in an email today. My ultra-sensitive constitution is humming with the vibrations of change that all of us are trying to wrap our heads around. Processing.
At the kitchen counter drawing together before dinner Bean says, "I'll miss watching the snow falling from those windows on my birthday." He sits looking out the windows in the dining room where now the foliage is green and lush, but come winter, are the best ones for watching the snow fall. Each flake fat and white, while inside just there, you're always warm by the wood stove, the table golden in the pale winter sun.
After dinner the huge, pink cumulus over the mountain top gather, bigger than imagination, wider than a dream. "Oh T, look," I say, and he comes over, and the boys follow after and we all stand staring. The boys are in various states of undress getting ready for bed. T rests his hand on my lower back; presses his lips into my hair. The blue hunched shoulders of the mountain settle in the twilight. The clouds nestle in, the sun's setting turning their bellies to flame. This view, oh this view. Every day changing, yet every day the same. How I'll miss it.
Sitting in my studio later, the coyotes call, as if just for me. First one, then several, their wild, giddy yelps rising up among the night sounds of whirring katydids and crickets, tree frogs and owls. It's these things I'll miss the most. The way the natural world edges up close here; close and hungry, finding us at the door every morning: the small garden snake on the path; the moths by the lamp; the cedar waxwings in the lilac.
The move is what we need and want. I'm hungry for cultivation. For culture. For community. For the connectivity and ease of living just 2 miles from the heart of the city. But still, the actual process of moving: of heading face first into the unknown of it, feels daunting.
Isn't this always the way? The hardest part of change is the anticipation that comes before; the huge fractured maze of what we can't imagine. The particles of possibility are infinite. Any way might turn out, or no way. That's what our minds say, at the doorway of the unknown, and in turn, what's known becomes beloved. Familiar becomes nostalgia overnight. Not because it is right or true, but because the course is already set. Because the heart knows its way through, each turn familiar and made by habit.
Change is always this: A thin, perforated line between known and unknown; it's like one of those one-way metal grids in parking lots that prevent backing up. We've already changed. Crossed the line. Made the move to move. Now we're just catching up.

Feeling fragile + Reading fiction {Just One Paragraph 19/30} by Christina Rosalie

photo (62)I felt sick all day today, out of the blue. Fragile. Shaken. Even though the weekend was wonderful with perfect weather and an evening with friends. Today I woke for no reason with a headache and stomachache, and packing boxes all I wanted to do is curl up. Eventually I did, finishing Elisabeth Strout's new book, The Burgess Boys tonight. (I'm in awe of the way Strout can write a story, telling it from many points of view, each one real and simple and poignant.) It was the first fiction book I've finished in months. It feels so crazy to admit such a thing, but it's true. Most days I feel like every minute ought to be filled to reading "useful" things, that will make me smarter or more strategic. Fast Co articles, and the New York Times. (Do you ever feel like that?) But tonight it was all about slipping into a different point of view, and this much I know is true: I'm hungry for more.
I'd love to know what your favorite fiction reads have been this summer? Please share!     Also, I can't quite believe it. Next Tuesday we move.

At the fair: where we all show up for something {More than one paragraph 18/30} by Christina Rosalie

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The fair always captures my imagination. I could sit for hours watching, making up stories for every person: gap-toothed, lonesome, tattooed, bulging, burly, burlesque, vapid, vagrant, lustful, lascivious, wholesome, homely, heartfelt, heartbroken, dejected, addicted, desperate, depressed, wondering, giggly, giddy, grave, ghostly, strung out, sunken in, over zealous, sensuous, sexy, confident, criminal, carefree, innocent. All kinds show up to the fair. Everyone hungry for something. Welcome to Dreamland.
There are so many girls with incredibly short shorts, pockets sticking out the bottom, wearing cowboy boots and too much eye shadow, following after boys still pimply and lanky armed. The boys have nothing to offer. But you know how it goes. Small town. Bright lights. Everyone wants to be seen. Everyone arrives, hopeful for something that will elude most of them. To be whirled off their feet. To be wonder-filled. To gorge on funnel cake and corn dogs. To win a blue ribbons for milker cows and tractor pulls. To fall in love. To make out. To make a buck. To get a quick fix. To get a rush. To free fall. To fight. To escape the every day.
The carny at the Landslide dances to the pulsing beat of the ride across the midway. He's got some not-so-terrible freestyle moves, his arms jerking about in synchronized symmetry, his eyes closed, his head his own world for now. The kids swoop down the slide towards him on their magic carpet squares screaming. One small girl slips at the bottom as she tries to stand. Hits her butt hard. Bursts into tears.
At another ride, two carnies wrangle over cigarettes, one not more than twenty, the other old enough to be my dad. So many of them are smoking, pack after pack, the only escape during the forever long days before they can turn to whisky or meth or whatever other vice it is that claims them with the night. So many of them have blackened patches on their hands and faces, cheekbones gaunt, missing teeth. Some smile and get into the whole thing, hi-fiving the kids, make a ruckus over their sound systems, "throw your hands in the air!" "Step right up, step right up, I can guarantee you a bouncy ball!" Others move like sleep walkers, numb to the repetition, to the pulsing sound, screaming kids, cotton candy, mud, lights, gluttony. One man at at the swaying entrance to the fun house stands unmoving as kids run past him. He wears shades, stares straight ahead. We circle past three times, he hasn't moved a muscle.

For the boys, it is pure delight. They're at just the right age for all of us to walk about unencumbered, grinning, our fingers sticky with maple syrup cotton candy and ribs. Sprout was just past the 42" mark and Bean, long-legged and tousle-headed well past the 48" mark. They wanted to ride everything, and Bean would have if he could. For him, no amount of spinning or speed put him off. But the sheer volume of music on some rides utterly overwhelmed him. For Sprout, who is all volume all the time, noise wasn't the issue, or speed, but heights.
On the dragon roller coaster, they rode together. Bean was all grins, and Sprout too, until it made it's first rushing descent. Then his face crumbled. We thought he would cry, but Bean put his arm around his brother. "It's okay buddy" we watched him say. My heart felt like it'd just been inflated with helium. (How I love these kids of mine--and how happy I am they have each other.)The entire time they were at each other's sides, running ahead and stand in line, pushing each other, then holding hands, sharing an ice cream cone, chasing each other through the maze of mirrors in the fun house, or standing side by side to watch the tractor pull.
We do the rides, and then we do this: walk about, looking at all the things that make county fairs great. Kids on stilts and arm wrestling contests; a barn with home made quilts and jams; roosters with fancy combs, rabbits with floppy ears, new calves, a mama pig and her piglets, horses with long eyelashes and silky manes. The ponies nuzzle our palms. Sprout watches cows get milked with a commercial milk machine for the first time. Both boys stand forever in front of the incubator, watching eggs about to hatch, asking a million questions. Sprout almost cries when the white tractor he loves doesn't win the tractor pull. Bean drives bumper cars until his hair stands up with static.
And when leave late, two hour past their bedtime, the moon is a sickle in the inky sky, and the Ferris wheel is whirling, it's lights bright. Bright enough to blur the edges. To leave marks on closed lids. To make the whole thing seem real enough to be a dream.

Stuff I've learned while starting out, carrying on, or attempting something great: by Christina Rosalie

               photo (59){Not Really A Paragraph 17/30} :: Repeat this mantra: There is enough. Enough resources. Enough people. Enough audience share. Enough.
:: Ask: how can I help?
:: Join forces. Take people to coffee. Listen.
:: Listen some more.
:: You'll make mistakes. Many of them. Admit them, apologize and then move on.
:: Move on for real. Don't let emotional stuff become an energy drain.
:: Know what it is you're actually offering, or doing. Why does it matter?
:: Know who cares about what you're offering. Who does it matter to?
:: Treat people like people, not like numbers or features that increase klout.
:: Spend some time considering what it's like to be inside your audience' head. What motivates them?
:: Reward loyalty and awesomeness in kind, with real things like handwritten notes, surprise discounts, chocolate.
:: Get over this fact right now: there will be competitors, haters, and jealous fools. Consider them a sign that you've arrived.
:: Be humble. Ask for help. Admit that you don't know.
:: Be generous. Share what you do know. Share your process. Share your best tips, tricks, insights and understanding. It will make you richer, not poorer.

The hitch of course is kids {More than one Paragraph 16/30} by Christina Rosalie

airborne running
I was so intrigued by the comments in yesterday's post about shifting towards a morning habit. About writing then, and soaking up the world as the new day unfurls.
But here's the thing that I can't seem to get around--even though I want very much to go to bed earlier for all the reasons I mentioned in several recent posts... But the hitch is kids. Their existence in my world makes morning finite. There is no pushing on, if I'm in the groove. No additional hours that can be spent, past midnight if necessary if a project demands more time, or a story is taking me places.
When the kids wake up, they arrive: giggling, yelling, whining, squealing. They want things: snuggles, underpants, clean socks, cereal. They need things: undivided attention, clean laundry, reminders, mediation, affection. The hours hurtle on. Even if I awoke at 3am, I'd only have 3 hours until 6 when they typically wake, and 3am doesn't look nearly as interesting from the vantage point of waking up, as it does from the perspective of going to sleep, if you know what I mean. Nearly every parent I've talked to has said something about the "freedom" that night affords: the opportunity to exist with one's thoughts uninterrupted. And that is entirely what I love about the night: that it affords carrying on. Uninterrupted.
Earlier today Austin Kleon tweeted that this poem should be featured prominently on every creative's refrigerator. I think he's right. And I wonder, is my problem simply that I'm aiming for all three?
Is the plight of the modern creative that because we have such boundless abundance, we believe we are boundless? Our modern world offers so many choices, opportunities, options, mediums, encounters, tools, that in turn we tell ourselves we can do anything, be anything, all at once. I for one, fall for this story time and again. But time isn't fooled. And morning, wise and new, knows better too.
So, how to shift night to morning with kids. How then? Is there some middle ground, some secret strategy? Tell me, tell me.

Still paying homage to the night {Just One Paragraph 15/30} by Christina Rosalie

WingIt felt like fall today, even though we're at the height of summer. Crisp air, and the most beautiful bright bowl of blue up above. The weather has been anything but ordinary, and for that, I am glad I guess, though there is a part of me that longs for the familiarity of seasons; for the year broken into parts, for snow then rain, then sun then wind. At lunch, I walked the long way around the block just to catch a glimpse of it up above: blue, between hours working at my desk. It was a long day, all in all, though short on hours (how is this always so?) And now I'm heading off to sleep, while the night swims up to the edges of the house that sits like a raft at the edge of the valley, moored among the grasses wild and sweet. I love the way the air smells, not just here, but all over New England in the summer time after dark, as though the earth is exhaling sweetness. Rest rustling in the tall branches of the oak and fins out along the even, splayed leaves of the sumac whose leaves will soon be red. Owls calling in their secret owl language, silent wings stirring the air into spirals as they swoop. "The thing about getting up earlier, is going to bed earlier," I tell my friend. "Getting up isn't the hard part really, it's going to bed earlier that is."
I still haven't figured this out--how to flip flop the day and night. Start at the beginning rather than at the end. Write forwards instead of back. Explain this to me, morning worshipers, how does this work?

We're ready to make a new little nest for a time...{More than Just One Paragraph, 14/30) by Christina Rosalie

Nest-Christina Rosalie
We started packing today, for real, taping together boxes bigger than the boys. We started with the closets and the kid's room: places where things have been stored haphazardly or squirreled away with the irregular logic of eight-year-old Bean, who would keep everything for some later possible use or invention if given the chance. I should really document some of his collections. Keys, in particular. Keys and locks. He has dozens of them, old and new. Combination and padlock. They represent a certain kind of tangible magic to him I think. They are a secret that can only be unlocked if you are the keeper of the key or code. He likes the power of having keys. Of knowing the code. Of unlocking the secret truths that make things as they are. We put them into his metal tool box, the one he inherited from my dad, who was so like Bean with an inventor's mind and chaotic organization of an artist.
Then we worked on making decisions: keep, donate, sell, give away. The keep pile was the smallest, and that feels right and easy. It feels good to shed old things. To cut back. Diminish duplicates. And get rid of singular gloves, old shoes, ugly hats, cars with three wheels, dog-chewed blocks, jeans that won't ever fit. (I highly recommend this process, even if you're not moving. Particularly the latter. Donate them. It feels so nice. Even if you have only half a wardrobe left!)
The home we're moving to has a smaller footprint than this house, I'm excited about that. All around, we'll be living with a smaller footprint on this earth: a less driving, less heating, just less. It makes it easy to let go, to lighten the load, to look towards the future with not so much, and an open heart.
Still, We'll all miss the wide expanse of here.
T and I stayed up late last night, but this morning I woke with the sun and kissed him out of his dream and we went outside together: him with espresso, me with tea, to watch the sun come up. From where we were sitting the whole world unfolded below us, soft blue then lush green with the bright of day. T just sat watching the sky, but I wrote, my hand moving eagerly across my molskine pages with a fast pen. (That fiction story and the book Dan and I are writing, they're connected! That's what dawned on me as the world woke up, there at the table, under a bluing sky.)
Then the boys came, still in pajamas, their toes green with newly cut grass. Bean brought a blanket with him and curled beside me, but Sprout climbed recklessly and delightedly into my lap, and promptly began his soliloquy that never ceases as long as he's awake. He's just so ebullient and glad to be alive. I love it.
T and I grinned at each other across the table, and agreed: we'll miss this something fierce. This wide sky of morning. This view from above.
But we're ready, even though it's bittersweet. We're truly ready for less distance and more connection; for having friends to dinner often and riding our bikes for bagels as the sun comes up. It will 2 miles to my office, 1 mile to T's. That makes me giddy (as does the thought of a pretty new commuter bike.) And school is only a ten-minute drive instead of forty-five. Oh, how we'll all love that.
So yes, we're ready to make a new little nest for a time, and then inevitably, we'll want to lift off again and fly.

Three ways I think about writing when I'm not writing {Just One Paragraph 13/30} by Christina Rosalie

I show up to write a paragraph tonight after watching Silver Linings Playbook. It was good, though it wasn't what I expected, and now it's later than I expected. Still, I've done this small practice for enough days now that it feels like a habit. Enough days that I show up even late, just because. My fingers following words across the keyboard, right out to the edges of my thoughts.

I scribble notes as we're talking; our weekly conversation about the book we're gradually outlining. I draw lines, connecting notes, a geometry of ideas. Pattern recognition. I try to reconcile myself with the fact that I still don't have make enough time to write regularly for this project. Then I try make up for it by thinking about it in all the in-between times, my iPhone full with audio notes, driving to and fro. I haven't transcribed them yet.

I mow the lawn in concentric circles, my thoughts circling with me, sifting, growing steady with the repetition. Then it surfaces: the fiction story, the one that I read a snippet of aloud to my writing group, so rough that the characters barely lift off the page...and yet. I can't shake the characters. They have the makings of a story that matters. Next I catch myself thinking, "Why am I thinking about this fiction stuff, when I've got so many other things I should be writing?" I catch myself. Should. I make plans for fiction. Hours of it. Fuck should.

Today {Just One Paragraph 12/20} by Christina Rosalie

       photo (56)
Today, nothing quite lined up, though there were many moments: picking wild berries, seeing friends at the South End Truck Stop, and watching Bean watch the glass blowers, his eyes wide, his whole body watching. And there was last night when my writer crew gathered around my dining room table with wine and good chocolate, ears listening for the heart of my story. Still, today was just today. And I am trying to let it be enough.

Today I'm flying low and I'm not saying a word. I'm letting all the voodoos of ambition sleep.
The world goes on as it must, the bees in the garden rumbling a little, the fish leaping, the gnats getting eaten. And so forth.
But I'm taking the day off. Quiet as a feather. I hardly move though really I'm traveling a terrific distance.
Stillness. One of the doors into the temple.
- By Mary Oliver

Hello sweet August, here are all my hopes + dreams {Just One Paragraph 11/30} by Christina Rosalie

             ItsInTheDetails_ChristinaRosalieEveryone, all over the world we woke up today to August. And here in the Northern Hemisphere, that shift marks the ripest month of summer: blackberry time, the county fair, picnics along the river. I asked yesterday what your intentions are for this new month, and am going to break paragraph form tonight to write my own list. These are the things I want to manifest from this sweet month:
:: A last hurrah dinner party :: Winning the project (yes, the one that counts the most) :: A new haircut :: Poems read to me by T a blanket in a field of grasses (and maybe also wine + fried chicken + sauteed green beans and orzo) :: The view from the top of the ferris wheel :: A goodbye fire in the backyard :: Collaborating with the boys to print an Instagram book of the things we love about this place that we've called home :: A nighttime walk listening to the owls one last time :: A successful closing :: A successful move (and movers to do the hard part) :: New paint on new walls :: Shopping for school clothes :: Getting Bean's first cello (he'll start playing in the orchestra this year!) :: A new commuter bike :: A new neighborhood to walk in :: A blackberry pie
Also, because Anna said so, here are my favorite posts from last August:
There Is No Blueprint For Everything The Heart Of Things The Truth And The Stories
What are your favorite posts from last August? And really, what are your intentions (and hopes and dreams) for this new month. (Magic happens when you write things down you know.)

Night magic + August intentions {Just One Paragraph 10/30} by Christina Rosalie

Monchrome Tonight it's about unlikely combinations, sweet red wine, chocolate with salt, the cat pacing on my studio desk as I work late, pausing now to slip in a paragraph as night walks up to the window and whispers: "stay." I fall prey. Is there really another way? Does morning really offer this? The whirr of crickets, jazz, the soft, fluttering flirtation of moths against the screen kissing the lamplight on the other side that falls concentric circles; the cat's purr riding up one side of the night and down the other. Is morning really more than this, with it's new rose and blush and bleary eyes. Coffee, a day new? Does anything really measure against this time when day disrobes, when hours unwind uninterrupted. Who am I to claim radical sleep experiments. Who am I to say: we should all be getting more sleep (even though we should.) I was born at night. It's a hard habit to break.  
{Tomorrow is August. What are your intentions for this new month?}