New Questions

Buckets on a Barefoot Beach nominated me for an award. These are new questions, so I wanted to answer them. Plus, tag her because her blog is cool. I’m not following the rules, but I don’t mind. Do you? 🙂 LOL

  • What is your favorite time of day? Blogging time. 🙂
  • If you could trade cell phones with someone for a day, who would you choose? No one! I like my phone and its amount of calls. LOL Maybe I would trade with the Dalai Lama? LOL Or the pope. Or some Australian outback rancher?
  • Which musician would you sing karaoke with? Tom Waits? I’m assuming I could keep up and not sound horrible. Plus, he sings a song with my name in it–Martha. Plus, he’s not a bad actor.
  • Which fictional character would you have tea with? Mad Hatter? LOL How about Atticus Finch?
  • Which historic figure (someone who has been dead at least 20 years) would you like to have as a teacher? Jesus.
  • If you were going to spend the afternoon with some spokesperson from a commercial, who would you choose? Matthew McConaughey (Lincoln commercial) Alright, alright, alright!
  • If your life was a TV show, what genre would it be? Reality. LOL
  • Where would you NOT host a secret meeting? McDonald’s
  • If you were a TV weather forecaster, what would you call your show? Meteorology with Martha
  • Which historical figure would you play a board game with? Gandhi
  • If you had speech bubbles (like a superhero), what color would the text be? Black (I’m Batman.)
Advertisements

I Heart You

Science book illustrations taught me that the heart doesn’t look like the symbol we all
know and draw. It looks like a wadded up dish rag. A fist-shaped muscle, an engine valve on a sports car. But it actually does look like that candy box of chocolate, sometimes.
It looks like a heart when it contracts. It squishes down and forms that cutesy, homemade Valentine’s Day card.
That’s when the heart is empty. No blood. Well, very little.
It squeezes in and squirts out all the juice. So basically, the heart has to work to look like a heart.
If it just lays there and doesn’t do anything, it just looks like a big pile of silly putty.
My heart wasn’t working. It was tired. I abused it. I was dying. August 2012, I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure at the age of 39.

I could blame everyone else. I could. But I’m the one who starved it. Beat it up. Ignored the fading pulse of life.


So we put the heart in place of love, right? Mary loves John. ❤

We put a heart there. So you wanna know my theory regarding love?
You can only know what love looks like when you actually use your heart. Take a risk. Go out on a limb. Love someone first. Flex that muscle.
We can’t know love until we lay our heart on the line. Our heart isn’t alive until we use it.
A heartbeat. EKG. Charted heartbeats on graph paper. Highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Up and down and everywhere in between. Sharp waves of life beeping out over a loud machined monitor.
And what does it look like when there’s no more breath or blood? A flat line.
Nothing’s happening. You’re dead.
I would rather have the high peaks and low valleys. Rather than dead. Rather than flat, silent space.
A heart at rest can’t do anything. You can’t love passively. A heart in action gives life. A big, pumping, flesh-and-blood organ races at the sight of food, flesh, fear. Love. Beauty.

A heart on fire makes things happen.


My heart is getting stronger. Every day.

Hot Beach Trash

Photo credit: Guy Maggio


We recently went to Sharky’s Pier. A well-known tourist trap close to our home. Everyone goes there to look for shark teeth. It’s the shark tooth capital of the world.

It was interesting, but stinky. Dirty. Smelly. Because of all the tourists, visitors, beach-goers, fishermen, pier-walkers. It was filthy, full of cigarette butts and trash.

We arrived and walked out to the pier. The breeze way structure, where the restaurants are, is nice. Cool, shady, fountains. Boiling pots of seafood. Shops. Nice.

The beach and pier were a disaster!

First we walked on the pier. It was the end of the day so the trash bins were full! Gah. Looking down from the pier into the shallow water was cool. You could see fish and things. But it was a long way down. Me no likey looking down from any height.

Next, it was so sunny, we decided to go on the beach, check out the sand quality, look for shark teeth and see what the water was like. Cool off under the pier.

We took a picture and quickly left. Duuuurrrrty. Too busy. Old guy in a Speedo. BYE!

So, we can finally say we’ve been to Sharky’s Pier. I prefer our private beach. We can see the pier from where we are. And that’s close enough! 😀

An ode to Hot Beach Trash
(WARNING: DO NOT READ WHILE EATING OR ABOUT TO EAT!)


Dirty diaper
Rotting fish guts
Leftover hot dog on a bun of hair
Vomit
Flies
All on fire in the setting sun
Inside a hooded (wish it was sealed) trash can.

Will someone please empty me???

Oh, Beach Trash Can. I’m so sorry your life is one hot, steaming pile of mess.
If I could, I would draw wings on your sides so you could fly far from here.

Thank you for your service.

Will someone please empty HIM???

Ah, lovely day at the beach.

Beach!

Went to the beach this morning at around 8 am. Saw a bobcat!!! Beachdunegrassycat! Bobcat Beachthwait. OMG!

I’ve lived in Missouri my entire life except for the last two months and I’ve never seen a bobcat. 44 years old. And I saw one this morning on the path to the beach! Eeeeek! Freaked me out, but it was so cool. We kept our distance. My husband said he thought he saw a coyote the other morning on the way to work. We live in a densely packed neighborhood. WOW! Did not get a picture, he was too far off and I like my face where it is.

I’m a country girl, so it takes a lot to surprise me. But this morning was very cool.

Had a great time at the beach. Bobbed around in the ocean. Did not get mauled by any beach cougars and found a coupla cool shells. Got some sun, exercise and my mojo’s rising.

Have an amazing day! I know I will.

Grilled hamburgers for lunch! 😀 Yay, Saturday!

Let’s All Go To the Movies.

More from Vol. 2 of Present Tense


My mother and father have lost the will to parent. I am sitting in a dark movie theatre with Mom, Dad and my sister. I am five, almost six.
Alien.
Oh, God. That man’s face has just been attacked by an octopus egg.
Oh, God. The android’s head is decapitated from his body and milky fluid is shooting out from his neck.
I am screaming. I am crying. I am being ushered quickly to the lobby by my mother.

We lounge for about a minute.
“Ready to go back?”
Okay, there are no more bodiless robots. Popcorn.
I have to have my legs in my seat. I am sitting cross-legged. No aliens can possibly eat my dangling legs if they are safely tucked up, away from their snotty teeth.
Oh, God. There’s spaghetti exploding from that guy’s open stomach.
Oh, God. It’s a baby alien. I am screaming. I am crying. I am being ushered.
A minute.
“Ready to go back?”
My parents also let me watch Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Deliverance (ABC Presentation of the Week). Also, A Thief in the Night.
This 1972 (made before I was even born) Christian classic talks about end times. Christians are taken to heaven in the rapture and non-believers are left behind. Everyone has to take the 666-Mark of the Beast tattoo or they can’t buy eggs and butter. People who just want a little breakfast are arrested for trying to buy groceries, and a girl with a balloon gets beheaded on a guillotine. There’s a fun song at the end, too.
I wish we’d all been ready…

The synopsis of this movie may be slightly inaccurate. It’s what I remember and the impression that remains.


I lived through what seemed like a very real threat of nuclear annihilation during the height of the Cold War and was constantly worried about being microwaved to oblivion by a nuke. These movie nights and paranoid world destruction fantasies could be considered the bright, sunny moments of my childhood with an abusive father. My prayer, as I got older, became this:

If I have to die–God, just don’t let me die a virgin.

Bible Stealer

I would not describe my father as a dishonest man. Brutal and demanding, but not a liar. Sick, twisted and eternally paranoid. Sneaky, weird and selfish. But not a liar. He truly believed his delusions.
But he did have a bad habit of stealing Bibles. From hotels. Hospitals. Anywhere.


Is that a sin? LOL Is it stealing?

Where the Gutter Ends

This is an old inking of a guttering bend I did for drawing class in college. Does it look like that? LOL A poem for the gutter.


It’s altogether different from
Where the gutter bends
All the way down to
Where the gutter ends.

When you get to the bottom
There’s no place but higher.
You’re among the garbage,
But not for long, my Flyer.

It’s okay to be down.
It teaches you how to stand.
It teaches you to be strong.
How to accept someone’s hand.

Swallow your pride.
Pull on your boots.
Plant those feet.
Let your heels dig roots.

Believe in what you do.
Or don’t do a thing.
If you have a voice?
Open your mouth and sing!

Float from the gutter
To reveal your mystery.
Let the world listen to
Your hard-to-hear (hard-to-tell) history.

The Best

If you’re a llama?
Be the best llama you know.
Sorry, Non-llamas.


If you can’t be a llama, be the best version of yourself today. Or at least be a little better than yesterday–in understanding, patience or kindness. That’s what all these tomorrows are for.

Drawing credit: Jimmy King (dad)

Disciple of Writing

The rigor of writing
Is a discipline of desire.
Touching keys is
Fishing for fire.

I am a disciple of writing.
My job is one of igniting.
Writing is not a choice.
It is an immutable voice.

Set the world ablaze with your magic mind.