cosmic chaos

cultivating calm & creativity in my corner of the world

Archive for the category “Inspirational people”

The Advocate

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  I am honored that one of my poems was used today to celebrate the work of the on-call volunteers at Beyond Abuse who respond to sexual assault victims.

The Advocate

I don’t know your name
you told me, I’m sure
but I can’t recall most
of what was said that night

I wouldn’t recognize you
if I passed you on the street
your face is a blur
a distorted memory

Except for your eyes
kind, brown eyes looking at me
in my despair
seeing me and not flinching

I hear your voice
gentle and caring
a contrast to the mechanical hum
of fluorescent lights and medical devices

I feel the warmth of your hand
grasping mine, never letting go
despite how hard I squeeze

You stayed when I needed you to stay
left when I needed to be alone
checked on me to let me know
someone was still there for me

For me
not because you had to be
not to take a report
not to perform a test
but because I might need

Kind eyes to comfort
a gentle voice to console
a warm hand to hold
an advocate in a cold exam room

So now, years later
those are the things I remember
and embrace
not the evil someone did to me
but the compassion you gave to me –
a stranger in need


Hello 2015

January — the month of new beginnings.

For years now, my family has gone to Sullivan’s Island (SC) on January 1st to celebrate the new year with the Dunleavy’s Polar Bear Plunge.


A couple thousand people attend the event, some as plungers and some as observers. I have been the latter, holding towels and dry clothes as my husband and sons have taken the plunge. When asked about running in with them, the answer was “One day.”

Well, January 1, 2015 was the day.  For some reason, everything just clicked and in the ocean I went.  It was a wonderful day and a great beginning to 2015.

I belong to a knitting group (even though I am a beginner-level crocheter, they let me join) that meets about once a month.  These women have taught me so much about living life fully.  We are at different stages with a variety of life experiences, which has helped us form a close, supportive group.

During our January get-together, the knitting circle created vision boards.  We picked out images and words for what we wanted in 2015.  Here’s my board.

Vision b

Then on January 11th, I achieved a much anticipated goal.

When I was in college, I saw the band Concrete Blonde in concert.  From that moment on, Concrete Blonde was my favorite band.  I’ve listened to their albums hundreds of time.  The band has gone their separate ways, but lead singer Johnette Napolitano is touring.  Her set list includes songs from Concrete Blonde as well as from her solo career.  Johnette has been my muse for years.  As I write, her music often plays in the background.

On January 11th, Johnette played at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, Georgia – a venue a few hours away.  I got tickets to the show for my Christmas present.  Finally, I was going to hear Johnette Napolitano sing in person again.

My husband and I arrived in Decatur early enough to walk around.  We found an interesting store …..



…. full of eclectic art work featuring lots of goats and other farm animals as well as unique gift items.  We stopped for coffee, where I got a “new” name.

starbuck cup


Then it was on to Eddie’s Attic.  I posed under the “Playing Tonight” sign.



I thought this was as close as I’d ever be to my ideal.  On entering the venue, I found a seat about nine feet away from the stage.  Opening act Laurie Sargent was great!  Then Johnette Napolitano walked directly in front of me as she made her way to the stage.  It ended up that I had the best seat in the house for the performance.  The show was AMAZING!

After the show, I got to meet Laurie Sargent in person.

Laurie Sargent

It was an incredible evening.

It has been a wonderful start to 2015 full of family, friends, fun and fulfilling goals.  I having a feeling that this is going to be a fabulous year.

WordPress Family Award


Thank you Amaryllis Turman for selecting me for the WordPress Family Award.  Having started blogging in February 2013, I feel that I am still quite a novice.  I’m learning — some things quicker than others.  Before I started Cosmic Chaos, Amaryllis sat down with me and walked me through WordPress, showing me the basics and helping that light bulb go off.  She helped me realize I could blog.  Amaryllis, I appreciate your encouragement and support!

Now, for the rules for this award.  1) Display the award logo on your blog; 2) Link back to the person who nominated you; 3) Nominate 10 others you see as having an impact on your WordPress experience and family;  4) Let your 10 Family members know you have awarded them; and  5) That is it.  Just please pick 10 people who have taken you as a friend, and spread the love.

So my award picks are:

1)  sshalsnoy’s Blog – following a writer working on her first novel.

2)  Evelina Galli – fashion, art and life all with flair.

3)  Poetry, in its coldest form – poetry and essays.

4)  Valeriu dg barbu Blog – writing, poetry, poems, lyrics, remedy of soul

5)  Poems & People –  inspiring poems.

6)  charlottecarrendar – supporting another Charlotte, especially one who also embraces her connection to spiders

7)   Cristian Mihai – fellow writer

8)  I Should Be Writing Right Now – fellow writer

9)   Anacephalaeosis – poetry, theory, scholarship and more — I’m inspired.

10)  A Holistic Journey – searching for self in the mist of everything we do.

Creative Collaboration

I’m working on a favorite project.  Last year, I was one of the coordinators for a collaboration of the local writers guild and artists guild.  The result was the exhibit “Mirror Images:  Art to Words | Words to Art”.  Nine local writers and artists were paired for a total of 18 participants.  The writers gave a inspiration piece to the artist who created an original artwork in response.  The artist did the same for the writer who then created a new poem or one page narrative.  The results were spectacular.  So we are repeating the exhibit this year.  The underlying theme for the exhibit — creativity sparks creativity.

We have many repeat participants this year and a few new ones.  As a coordinator, I get to pair the artist and writer.  The rule this year was that participants can’t have the same partner as last year.  The reason is simple:  part of the collaboration is to stretch ourselves in our craft.

As a writer it is easy to get into a rut — the same storylines, the same type of characters, the same themes.   “Mirror Images” challenges both the writer and artist to find inspiration in something new.  Even when the artist and writer have different styles.  In the end, the lesson is that our work doesn’t always come from sudden inspiration.  It truly is a craft that needs to be practiced and honed.  Once we start looking around us, we find the things we need for inspiration whether that be from nature, current events, grief or other creative souls.

Food for the Soul

In the mist of everyday life—the challenges of work, family and just getting by—it is easy to get stuck in a cycle that saps the creativity out of you.  That’s why it’s so important to surround yourself with people who inspire you.  I’ve been so fortunate to foster friendships with area writers, artists and inspirational people.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon another creativity gem, the SC Book Festival  in Columbia, SC.  The SC Book Festival is a program of The Humanities Council SC.  Each year the SC Book Festival brings local, regional and national authors together for a weekend of panel discussions, presentations and book signings.  On Friday, Writing Workshops are offered for a fee.  The programs on Saturday and Sunday are free.

The SC Book Festival is a wonderful chance to meet authors who have made it – who have actually been published—and hear their stories.  It is also an opportunity to realize that these are real people who had real struggles who persevered to make their goal.   Their stories are food for the creative soul.

Kitchen Confidential

My kitchen table has been an embarrassing  mountain of unclaimed stuff and miscellaneous paper for months.  It has been on my top list for decluttering.  However whenever I cleaned, I left the table for my last task because I dreaded dealing with it.  I would sort through several days of mail, put bills to be paid in our monthly bill organizer, drop grocery ads into the recycling, and shred junk mail offers.   But there was always more.  Eventually, I would make stacks and shift items from one side of the table to the other, finding obvious items to discard in the process.  Then I would get stuck and stop.   More stuff would get added to the table as new mail was delivered and our automobiles were cleaned.  The table just looked worse than before.

This weekend, my husband stepped up and went through the junk covering our table.  As I worked on the dirty dishes and kitchen counters, he sorted, threw away, organized and — a couple of hours after he began– managed to clean the whole table off.  It looks great.  And I’m very appreciative of all his hard work.

Now our challenge is to be disciplined enough to put things away daily to keep the table clean.

Like everything else in my life, (1) it is a work in progress and (2) I can’t do it alone.  To stay clutter free is going to take a team effort from the whole family.  Let’s see if we are up to the challenge.

Last week I shared a link for the website of a writer and artist who inspired me.  This week, I’d like to introduce you to another of my inspirations — author and creativity coach Cassie Premo Steele.

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