Monday, March 8, 2010


Hello to the five people who have bravely called themselves followers of this little wannabe blog.  This was my first attempt at such a thing and I realized I was trying to make it something that really doesn't work, so I've created a new blog with a similar name, From The House of Cole (instead of this one's IN ...) where I'm actually BLOGGING when I can in an attempt to get and keep myself writing in some form.

So if you love me :) leave this one in your dust and switch over to !!
And thanks for stopping by to spend some of your time with me.  I hope to make it worth your reading while.

All the best,

On Not Writing - Mar. 6, 2010

I’ve watched six cars back up the hill so far.  The wind is waking up so light flurries of snow blow into my face as I wait the extra twenty-eight minutes required of those who miss their train at the Rutesheim S-Bahn station on a weekend.  Damn snow.  It was sunny and verging on warm – in direct sunlight – this week, a tease of spring everyone’s got to be jonesing for come March.  Yesterday – it was gorgeous, blue-sky kiss all day yesterday, and this morning I’m shoveling at least six inches of maddening fluff off my car.  Forget the three near-collisions from which I slid just shy on the way to the station, I am not missing today.


People, the ones who didn’t miss their train, the ones who are, in fact, early for their train are starting to blow in with the snow, stomping the weather from their pant legs and nodding frosty hellos.  My fingers are numb and my nose is threatening a drip.


I’ve forgotten my iPod, probably sitting next to my pack of tissues and cell phone by the front door.  I’m annoyed, cold, and late, but maybe this would be one those unplanned writing opportunities I just read about in Writer’s Digest.  The article said that one must marry her life to writing.  There’s something I need to do, recommit.  Ask me what fills me up and turns me on, what can keep me burning into the wee hours of the morning without concern for the coming day’s responsibilities, and I’ll tell you without hesitation, writing.  But ask me when the last time that actually happened, and I’ll quickly change the subject.  

The train is finally here.

Writing, that which defined me from a tender age, that presence forever in my life to engage me or taunt me.  It is truly a relationship in and of itself, and there are days…

When we first moved abroad and settled into arguably one of the most beautiful places in the world, where I consciously decided to not work outside the house, to focus on my writing and soak up this amazing opportunity, I got blocked.  For five years.  We got to travel and taste places in the world we never even thought about, but I couldn’t write about it.  I was drenched, I was soaking in so much, but couldn’t muster a line that felt like it actually came from somewhere meaningful.  Now looking back I’ll admit there were moments, brief as they were, that warmed what had gone cold, but moments weren’t what I craved, what I expected from myself given such insanely optimal circumstances.  And it wasn’t as if I didn’t want to write.  I did.  I was just dry, somehow, in the writing zone of my brain and I’ve never been good with self-imposed requirements.  Daily journaling lasted only as long as it didn’t feel like an obligation.  Give me a deadline or an assignment as a person outside my head and I’m all over it, forever the eager to please student.  Just don’t be me giving it.

An announcement has just come over the speakers on the train, something other than the pre-recorded stop announcements, and after confirming with a group of boys standing to exit, it seems this morning’s unexpected snowfall has made a stretch of tracks unsafe, so we’re to get off the train and hop aboard replacement buses.  This will be my first bus experience living in Germany.  I consider for a moment crossing over to catch the train right back to my station and scrap the day, blaming it on bad weather and certain and unfamiliar circumstances, but decide to be brave.  I will follow the herd.  Moo.

Back on the train in Zuffenhausen, I’m wondering just how late I’ll be to this month’s writers’ meeting.  Another announcement I don’t quite get.  I understand “Entschuldigung,” which can’t be good.  They’re asking to be pardoned.  But back to my writing pad and thoughts of not writing…I feel stuck, but not exactly stuck because it feels more like I’m free-floating, unable to grab onto anything at all.  Not an idea; not a line.

I once wrote a letter to Writing, expressing my longing for its return and disgust for its absence in the same breath.  What had I done wrong?  Couldn't we talk about this?  Why couldn’t I come up with anything worth jotting down?  I couldn’t make myself sit and write mindlessly without concern for the finished piece like you’re supposed to if you’re feeling stuck.  I wished a didn’t care, and so that day I decided to let go of it, hoping that whole “set it free and it will return” thing had something to it.  To be honest, I felt rejected, abandoned, but by what?  My writing self, I supposed, that spark inside that lit me up when I got going.  I remember turning off my laptop and walking away, feeling relief, but only slight.  If I wasn’t struggling to write, what was I doing?  A writer friend I’d met through an on-line writers’ workshop had told me not to feel pressured to produce while at the start of this incredible time in my life, to let it soak in and percolate a while.  And so I’ve been brewing ever since.  That was nearly six years ago.

When will this God-forsaken pot of coffee be done?  Something has got to happen beyond flashes of passion to work on my novel, or anything, that last about as long as any flash might.

I can see the Hauptbahnhof ahead.  I have no idea what time it is, but I know I’m more than fashionably late.  And I don’t even have a damned thing to share.

Sunday, January 31, 2010


This one will probably only be interesting to those who know and love Heidi already :)

It seems that Heidi has adapted to German weather pretty well.  Born in Alabama, raised in Florida, and vacationing in and around Italy, our puppy has always known some serious sunshine.  When we first moved to Germany last January, we went from sun to snow in a matter of hours, and our little lady wasn’t sure what to make of it at first.  What was this cold, white stuff she was forced to stand in to do her business?  The disdain was clear across her face as she tried to walk without letting the foot-deep snow touch her belly, and the cold was certainly something for Little Miss Sunshine to get used to.

Today, a bit over a year later, she added snow to her ever-growing list of delicacies.  I'd say she's come around.  While Chris and I were trying out our new snowball makers, Heidi was fervently gobbling up the small chunks of snow by our feet.  She ate not only as if she hadn’t done so in days, but also as if these bits of snow were concealing something as sinfully delicious as cat feces, one of her favorites.  Mature as we are,  we decided to offer her a perfectly formed snowball to see what she might do with it, and watched as she went from ginger nibbles to monster bites, savagely devouring the snow.  Our dog is weird.

If snow isn’t odd to you, try the Duraflame fireplace log Heidi snacked on this last week while we were out.  Really?  Duraflame?  She’s still with us, thank goodness for that, but her increasingly billy-goatesque tendencies are making us more cautious about what we leave within her reach.  But come on- Duraflame?  

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

a song

Isn’t it strange how in the midst of our current lives, busy and confused, we find comfort in the drownings of the past.  We know they’re drowned, because we were the ones who held them under until they no longer made us cry, until they no longer possessed the power to bring a wince across our face.  These things that are gone now, dead to us, we drowned for a reason, but every now and then, even the longest dead resurface for a moment.  I think we’re the ones who bring them up, maybe searching for something good we had only when we had that miserable part, too.  Maybe the comfort lies in the past that was good before it began to rot, before our eyes, under our noses, and within our chests.  Maybe that’s why now when that old song comes on the radio I don’t feel bitter, and I don’t feel sad.  Now, so many years later, it only reminds me of the reason it ever became so embedded in my heart.  That first love. 

That song used to make me smile until my face hurt, or my eyes flooded over with longing.  The words were suddenly mine, written for the first boy I ever fell in love with.  The music was the love I wanted so badly to make to him, flowing and pulsing in my ears and through my body.  I wanted everything then; love, promise, forever.  That song filled me with heavy amour to my ears until all I could hear was a distant beat playing under water.  That’s how much I loved him, and every time I heard that song, I drowned. 

Then that song abruptly turned from warm liquid to jabbing shards of ice.  It acquired the ability to cause me to vomit with just its opening notes.  Suddenly, that song became the poison that ate away at me, my broken heart and my embittered spirit for much too long.  That song became the anthem for loneliness and I hated it more than I hated him.  Even two years later hearing that song unexpectedly on the radio called for an instant reflex of channel change, like someone tapping your knee.

Now, sitting in my car with that same, old song, I’m comforted by what I had in that time, even if it did end painfully.  I let myself trail back to a time when I was na├»ve about the world, and my desires were so simple; a time when I had no scars to carry with me the stories of my life that cut deeply enough; a time when I didn’t understand how vulnerable loving someone makes you.  I long not for ignorance, but for peace and simplicity, and first love.  And I don’t miss him, but how my life was for a little while when it whirled around him, when I first learned what it was to lose myself to a feeling.  That song places me in shoes now too small and unscathed soles brand new.  That song lets me be her again, before the sky came crashing down; fresh, dreaming, and unscarred. 


It happened...

from 2000, days at UF

It happened.  And it was nothing like I thought it would be; but few things are, I suppose.  So many times I imagined seeing a certain face, saying certain words, feeling certain ways.  So many times, but so many times didn’t equal what actually happened.  In my mind, we’d be bitter, or we’d be cold.  In my mind, one of us would win and one of us would not.  It was always like that with this mind, the thinking behind the eyes that once beheld mine so carefully.  In my mind, I expected games.  In my heart, I expected a little stale pain left over from years ago when we still knew each other. 

It happened.  And it was nothing like I thought it would be.  I turned a corner and you left a building and there we were.  Three years since the catastrophe and two since I last saw your face and there we were, face to face.  Again.  My heart jerked from the surprise and I slowed without thinking, not sure what to say.  It felt like I’d found something I knew I’d run across some day but wasn’t quite prepared for yet.  The way our eyes traced each other’s two years aged bodies and faces… it was curious; it was interesting.  It was nothing like I thought it would be.  It was gentle and it was ambivalent.  It was strange.  We stared at each other.  The interest and the inquisitive gleam shooting between us were clearly visible and there was nothing I could do to control either one.  But I suppose there would have been no use in trying to contain such natural responses to resurfaced drownings of the past.   

It happened.  I saw the older face of a boy I once knew and he saw me, too.  We wondered with our eyes and asked not the questions that wanted so much to be asked with our mouths.  We remembered with our souls the pains we endured for and because of each other.  We, in that moment, experienced each other.  And it was nothing like I thought it would be.

Open Wound

I am an open wound.  But not in a bad way.  I’m freshly punctured, split open and exposed to more than I ever knew I didn’t see.  I’m full of fluid and blood running out of the corners of this slightly parted mouth, like tears out of the corner of your eye.  I’m crying because of what I see for the first time.  I’m bleeding and open and warm and here, and I feel so alive.  A fog of awareness lifts out of me and thins and clears as it disperses and absorbs into everything.  I am in everything now.  I see everything.  I feel it.  Suddenly every movement, every sound tickles the sensitive rim of my open awareness.  Suddenly, I am a hole hungry for more, gaping and waiting to be fed more, more knowledge, more feeling, more life.  I am curious and excited and terrified lips ready to taste everything I never imagined, anxious to kiss every experience square in the mouth.  I am sore inside, but only because of what I haven’t felt yet, sore because this is the first time I’ve opened so wide to accept the world I was afraid of for so long.  I’m sore because I’ve just been born in a way, and I’m bleeding, bleeding, bleeding to feel.  I’m overflowing with tears and sweat and excitement, waiting for it to begin, waiting to see all there is to see.  I’m here.  Finally.  Here and on my way somewhere even better, even more enlightened and liberated and flying.  I never thought I’d be on my way to where I’m headed, simply because I never knew it was there.  I never knew for the skin over my eyes, my shallow consciousness.  But now something has broken through and found me waiting beneath the surface, waiting to be set free.  Waiting to be touched.

I am an open wound.  But not in a bad way.

The Sandbag Family

The Sandbag family lived on an island

in the Mediterranean Sea.
And among them were nine Sandbag Sisters,
all of whom dreamed of what else could be.

Hannah dreamed of her own great house
perched upon a greater hill.

Megan dreamed of a working ranch

with plenty of land to till.

Tracy dreamed of seeing the world,
capturing it in prose and rhyme,
while Krista dreamed of saving it
one little child at a time.

Carol dreamed of sailing away
to discover an unknown place.
Jenny longed for her own island,
so she’d never lack for space.

Nelly dreamed of flying a plane
and soaring above the clouds.
Alice dreamed of having the privacy
to yell all her dreams out loud.

And last but not least was Elizabeth Sue
who wanted nothing but this;
to paddle away on her own boat of dreams
in search of the perfect kiss.

The nine Sandbag Sisters cried and complained
for they never got to leave home.
The oldest was twenty, the youngest just ten,
but all wished equally to roam.

So one fall evening, their father came in,
his hands all blistered and worn,
and told them he’d built a boat for each one
so all their dreams could be born.

The Sandbag Sisters cheered with glee
and named each vessel that day.
They tied them up tight, that very same night,
So they couldn’t drift away.

Days crept by, and turned to years,
but still those boats were bound. 
What good is it to have a dream
that’s tied and anchored down?