Category Archives: writing

Pen to Paper

It took some focus. I hadn’t taken a pen in hand and actually written with the intention of writing a story or just writing for pleasure, even pain, since, well, a long while.

The first sentence was just a sentence to begin movement. I had learned a long time ago not to expect the first sentence on a first write to ever be first or even last long at all. It was the sentence after that first one and the sentence after that one and that one and that one that gave me a sense of what I could still do.

Writing on paper showed me the past and the future. In college, I wrote on paper. Personal computers were gigantic and felt stale and distant. Not much later, I stopped using paper though and typed everything. It was faster and easier.

But, using that pen yesterday, felt as if I connected a string to my heart. That’s where I wrote from. It all came from my heart.

Tapping on a keyboard now feels distant and almost like work.

A paper and a pen tug at the heart.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/paper/”>Paper</a&gt;

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I Win.

A groan of discomfort plugs into what used to be us.

Age has a lot to do with it.

Age has mostly everything to do with it.

Age and time.

The amount of time they spend on YouTube alone generates hours of mind-numbing transference that leaves my teeth clenched and off-center.

One of them lies on the couch randomly laughing and when asked about it, he replies, “This guy was playing this video game and he finally got these powers that let him punch really hard and instead of hitting the other guy he punched himself!” He laughs again.

“You wanna see?”

Disgust washes over me and I quickly blurt out, “No!”

With his Boca Juniors soccer beanie on and still wearing his pajamas, he jumps up granting me permission to look at his phone. “Here, c’mon, look, I swear, it’s funny!”

“No!” I scream. “It’s stupid. That’s stupid!” More frustrated than ever I proclaim, “This is how you’re choosing to spend your valuable time. Don’t you know what you could be doing. Read a book for Chrissake. My God!”

I often leave to the computer room where I open my computer and sulk.

I don’t pick up a book or even write with a pen and paper.

But, I am superior nonetheless.

The other one hibernates in her room, sometimes locks the door, and takes at least a minute to walk three steps to open it when prompted by my pounding on the door.

Often, I even have to say, “Open the door,” before there’s movement.

Stupid questions follow.

“Have you read your book yet?”

“No.” A glare, the wicked teenage kind, follows and so do more stupid questions.

“When are you going to read?”

“I don’t know.”

“Do you want me to take your phone?”

“No.”

“Clean your room and read.”

No answer.

I walk away before things start flying through the air.

I retire to the computer room.

Ranting ensues.

My phone buzzes.

I pick it up and text away.

I check emails, text more, and realize that we’re halfway through the day and we’ve spent the large majority of it on devices, electronics.

What’s wrong with us?

It’s a conspiracy.

iphone

These companies want to ruin our lives.

They want to take all of our money and now our minds!

My God!

This must end or I shall die!

“Hand over the electronics,” I declare.

Dead eyes stare back at me.

No one moves.

“Now!” I scream.

“After this one thing,” my son says and rolls over on the couch.

“No!” my daughter yells, “I’m reading on my phone!”

“Lies!” I scream. “You’ve got one minute to put the devices on the counter or you lose them for a week!”

I wait a second then begin confiscating devices.

Everyone fights.

There’s screaming. Random bursts of “Crazy!” “God!” and “I hate you!”

Then nothing.

No one talks.

I clean the house.

They grab a book and read.

I win.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/meddle/”>Meddle</a&gt;

Portraits of Love

D&amp;MAngryEvery day.

Four eyes hit me with judgment and love.

Dark lashes fan the flecks of green and yellow floating in a sea of amber.

Love.

Striking out of a pool of black.

Forgiveness.

But, as they grow I forget that they were always doing this.

Waves of black and brown frame her face instead of pigtails.

Wisps of brown float across his forehead, one eye squinting.

Glaring at me.

Darts.

Hit me with a pinch then a sting.

I know every crinkle in their skin, still plump, even now, at fourteen and ten.

They remind me that I’m just like them.

Not above, not below them.

We dance this dance together.

Flawed.

Crazy.

Fun.

Angry.

Little.

Fierce.

Human.

Love.

Written by Lisa Chesser
Portraits

To Warm the Soul

Connection
When I wrote about how my grandmother had suffered through Alzheimer’s disease and my struggle with losing her both mentally and physically, the response from fellow bloggers warmed my soul almost as if they were sitting right next to me allowing me to rest my head on their shoulders.

"I'll make ya laugh."
“I’ll make ya laugh.”

Passing Through Madness

Blogging, changed my life because the connections I made became even more meaningful than some long-time friendships and brought other people with similar depth and interests closer to me.

When I write, I connect to a place hidden from the me who I think I am or the me who I want to be or the me who everyone wants me to be. I may start with an idea or a purpose, but within a minute or so, I find the me who I really am and sometimes that secret me connects to another hidden being, someone I never knew existed.

I know other bloggers feel the same.

When I first started blogging, it was here at WordPress. I really knew nothing else. I just knew that I wanted to write and connect with other writers. I’d been busy teaching after being a full-time mom and my relationships with the working world and friendships in general felt stunted and, well, disconnected.

So when I read through all different kinds of blogs, I found myself laughing, nodding, and often-enough crying. So I thought about the idea of creating my own blog and just knew that I had to open up as well.

Four years ago, I was Freshly Pressed with a post about my children’s “Refrigerator Art” Refrigerator Art Changed My Life and the connections I made have lasted to this day. Even the talented Cheri Lucas Rowland liked my post, and here I am writing inspired by one of her discover challenges.

The same people who “liked” and “commented” on that post also comforted me when I wrote about struggles with Scoliosis Exercising My Scoliosis Demons and the loss of my grandmother .

At various times over the years, life became so overwhelming at certain points that I considered and reconsidered leaving WordPress behind. Being a teacher and a mother challenges the best of us, let alone being married and attempting to continue writing and educating yourself. Then throw into the mix health concerns and the death of someone who meant the world to you.

But, it was and is the connections I’ve experienced here that have kept and do keep me blogging. They keep me brave, smart, bold, and loved.

 

Passing Through Madness

She was so much more than this.

Sometimes we have those momentary revelations that we write down and act upon or we just forget them, passing them off as frivolous or a lapse into madness, a simply unacceptable thought or notion. This happened to me more than once in the last year. I never bothered to write any of it down until now.

I’ve been away from WordPress and all of you because everything seemed nothing and then nothing seemed everything.

Now, here, I write what lingers, the remnants of love, peace, and an overall sense of wonder at how fragile and temporary everything we know and understand really is. My grandmother spent the last few months spiraling into madness. She began shutting her eyes and turning off the world around her. She tore off her clothes and screamed for her mommy and daddy. She tapped into a static frequency, her voice sounding like a message from another universe when she said, “Why do we waste so much time? Why don’t we visit each other more?”

My desperate screams of “I love you” breaking into her madness. I found that those were the only words that she understood until her last breath. My tears met the words, “Don’t cry. Come on over and I’ll make ya laugh.”

I spent the next two months visiting her in the hospital and helping her son look for an assisted living facility. Somehow the universe helped us find someone crazy enough to take her and she spent her last few weeks of life surrounded by cats and dogs who were rescued, just like her.

When I’d visit, she’d bounce from one thought to another, then suddenly she’d cup her hands around her mouth and make a sound like she was hollering but it was almost a whisper, “Mom, we’re coming.”

She’d gaze into a far off place and say, “Oh, mom’s got that look. I don’t like it when she just sits and stares like that.” Then, she’d shake her head.

I stopped calling her grandma and called her Bobbye Jean or little girl because that’s who she was. I began to realize that she became grandma for me then the rest of us. That wasn’t who she really was. She was none of those names the world, her family, had given her, the names she accepted and even embraced, creating them to give herself a place here.

She had begun her journey into madness, which I know now was her path to peace. Her revelation had come.

Two weeks before she passed, I sat in front of her while she sat in an old, black wheel chair, which the nurse had put her in because it was sturdy and she wouldn’t fall over.

She had opened her eyes again, and she looked straight at me. I thought for sure she recognized me. Bending her boney, spotted arm, she propped her fist onto her hip then lifted her chin and looked down on me. “Am I pretty?” she said.

I was startled for a second still wanting her to recognize me, to give to me, to be grandma again. Then I realized it was all over. She was dying, and I needed to help her.

I sort of spit a stifled, salty a smile and laughed a laugh of realization and, well, love. “You are so pretty, just about the prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long time.” She then babbled and repeated, hand on hip, “Am I pretty?”

I said, “You’re not just pretty, you’re beautiful.” She acted like a princess and said, “I know I am.”

I kissed and hugged her. I fed her. I watched her as she fell asleep in the wheelchair. I visited again.

When asked her name, she sang, “No-oel, No-oel,…” word for word, perfectly, and in tune. I spent the holidays listening to the song, asking my daughter to play it on the piano.

On December 7, 2014, I drove to her down the winding pathways to the house she was passing through. She sat with her head bowed in that old wheelchair, a blind dog, who had had a stroke also, was resting at her feet.

I cut and cleaned her nails, her body slumped over, her hands limp. I lifted her head to find eyes with barely a pupil. There was no black, just a sea of clear blue.

I kissed the back of her neck and spoke to her, “Don’t be afraid. You need to go now. Mommy and daddy are waiting for you. Your angels are waiting for you.”

Her breathing increased as if she were on the last laps of a race. I left her knowing it was over and later that day she was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest.

I miss her.

I look for her everywhere. I imagine she’s in the wind, the trees, my dreams, but she’s gone.

She’s finally found her peace, the quiet in between.

She was just passing through, like all of us.

Teen Advice in Snippets, Weekly Writing Challenge

Writer’s Challenge Note:  I ran out of time for editing too much, but I did what I could in bold. I’ve been an editor for too many years so I know the value of it; however, here in WordPress World I found myself so much more at ease with writing, so much more confident and content that I didn’t feel the need to slash all my words. I simply commanded them and they stuck. I don’t think I could’ve experienced this without WordPress.

Snipping away at yourself makes for a difficult day, let alone life. A general glance strikes you as a hit with another’s eye. But, really, was it a glance at you or was it something else entirely? You don’t even consider that until years later when you’ve grown older and you realize these snippets never really mattered to anyone but you because, well, just because.

Teens, and often enough Tweens, live in a bubble built upon self-interest and self-conscous slaps to the face. They riddle themselves with bullets shiny and new. Shiny because their “friends” polish them and new because it is new to them.

This age group which is about 11-17, sometimes as old as 18, roams around with so much pain because at the same time that their bodies are changing, they see the world for what it is, and it is not so pretty and sometimes neither are they.

If any of us adults could fast forward teens to ten years later, we might be able to spare them all of this needless pain. We can rewind though for ourselves.

When I walk backward to that day when I found myself taller than the boy I liked, a pimple sprouting in the middle of my forehead, hair too frizzy to feather, voice too soft to cheerlead, butt too big to wear short shorts, lips too small to call sexy, I want to take myself by the hand and walk myself forward.

I want to lie down next to me and tell myself stories about what happens afterward, how life changes, why I shouldn’t be afraid of myself, and why I should definitely stop trying so hard to fit in with everyone else. But, to that girl, buried in her day to day dramas of a changing body and a chaotic life, the gift of sitting next to her older self might not help at all. It could even land her in an insane asylum.

But, here we go anyway.

Listen Lisa, feathered hair looks ridiculous except on that “inappropriate” poster your uncle has of Farrah Faucet. Everyone eventually grows a pimple on the most embarrassing part of their body for the whole world to gawk at because this is what makes you human. Worry about wrinkles, trust me, they’re much worse. Your butt is perfect, perfect for roller skating, perfect for running, perfect for swimming, and perfect because you have a body and you’re not a boy. But, you don’t appreciate this because girls are told to starve themselves or forced to do so because advertising and fashion magazines say so. They blast it from their bony butts perched on their fake everything.

Lisa, if you would just listen to me, really listen with your soul, not just your ears, you’d understand that your lips don’t need to be enormous and red. You don’t need all those kids to like you. You don’t even need one. You’ve got a grandmother who one day will get sick and need you to take care of her like a baby, so enjoy her now. She’s your best friend. There’s a sister hanging out with some really mean girls and she needs a shoulder to cry on. There’s your mom, who loves you so much, but works too much to know how to show it anymore.

There are so many reasons to forget this teen drama and look to the beauty around you. Take my hand and remember this as you go through that.

You’ll thank me someday.

 

 

THIS WAS THE FIRST VERSION:

Snipping away at yourself makes for a difficult day, let alone life. A general glance strikes you as a hit with another’s eye. But, really, was it a glance at you or was it something else entirely? You don’t even consider that until years later when you’ve grown older and you realize these snippets never really mattered to anyone but you because, well, just because.

Teens, and often enough Tweens, live in a bubble built upon self-interest and self-conscous slaps to the face. They riddle themselves with bullets shiny and new–shiny because their “friends” polish them and new because it is new to them.

This age group which is about 11-17, sometimes as old as 18, roams around with so much pain because at the same time that their bodies are changing, they see the world for what it is, and it is not so pretty and sometimes neither are they.

If any of us adults could fast forward them ten years, we might be able to spare them all of this needless pain. We can rewind though for ourselves.

When I walk backward to that day when I found myself taller than the boy I liked, a pimple sprouting in the middle of my forehead, hair too frizzy to feather, voice to soft to cheerlead, butt too big to wear short shorts, lips too small to call sexy, I want to take myself by the hand and walk myself forward.

I want to lie down next to me and tell myself stories about what happens afterward, how life changes, why I shouldn’t be afraid of myself, and why I should definitely stop trying so hard to fit in with everyone else. But, to that girl, buried in her day to day dramas of a changing body and a chaotic life, the gift of sitting next to her older self might not help at all. It could even land her in an insane asylum.

But, here we go anyway.

Listen Lisa, feathered hair looks ridiculous except on that “inappropriate” poster your uncle has of Farrah Faucet. Everyone eventually grows a pimple on the most embarrassing part of their body for the whole world to gawk at because this is what makes you human. Worry about wrinkles, trust me, they’re much worse. Your butt is perfect, perfect for roller skating, perfect for running, perfect for swimming, and perfect because you have a body and you’re not a boy. But, you don’t appreciate this because girls are told to starve themselves or forced to do so because advertising and fashion magazines say so. They blast it from their bony butts perched on their fake everything.

Lisa, if you would just listen to me, really listen with your soul, not just your ears, you’d understand that your lips don’t need to be enormous and red. You don’t need all those kids to like you. You don’t even need one. You’ve got a grandmother who one day will get sick and need you to take care of her like a baby, so enjoy her now. She’s your best friend. There’s a sister hanging out with some really mean girls and she needs a shoulder to cry on. There’s your mom, who loves you so much, but works too much to know how to show it anymore.

There are so many reasons to forget this teen drama and look to the beauty around you. Take my hand and remember this as you go through that.

You’ll thank me someday

See You In the Next Life Joan Rivers

Seeing her face plastered all over the news brought me right back here. I wrote about my sister, Jill Michele Melean, who’s also a comedian and actress like Joan Rivers. When they met, it was magnetic. My sister never forgot her time with Joan because it was genuine. Experiencing authenticity in Los Angeles tends to be a rare event.

When she gripped Joan’s hand when appearing on Fashion Police, my sister felt the energy of an Olympic Torch being passed to her. This is what I mean. Being a comedian in Los Angeles, let alone being a woman comedian anywhere, takes guts and resilience. When Joan and Jill connected, it set off fiery sparks that ignite when two people walk the sam plateau.

Whenever my sister felt down, she remembered Joan and steadied her shaky footing.

That’s what our heroes give us. That’s why they live on.

Read more at Woman of Steel Uses Laughter as Weapon.

For some chuckles in between the tears, check out Jill’s website and YouTube 

 

Calling Alzheimer’s

Expecting to dial your grandmother and for her to pick up the phone leaves you hanging on to nothing. Loving someone with Alzheimer’s disease is like dropping a container of tacks on the ground and trying to pick them up quickly. It just doesn’t work like that.

Reflections
Reflections

You move slowly and it hurts. The tips of your fingers spit blood.

My grandmother has been losing her ability to function normally for about 8 to 10 years. I knew it when she started wetting the bed. I denied it when she called me by my mom’s name. I ticked it off as a common, just tired, momentary memory lapse. I mean, don’t we all forget things?

But, here I am calling her, wanting her to pick up at the recovery center, knowing that even when I’m lucky enough to get her, she’ll call me her sister or her daughter.

I saw her today and she recognized me after I said, “It’s Lisa.” I didn’t want her to call me another name. I just wanted to be me. I wanted her to know me.

She did. We talked. We laughed. I fed her and she giggled making fun of herself being fed like a baby and wearing diapers. I could’ve stayed all day. But, I had to go home to my own family. And, I knew it would get difficult later. I really didn’t want to see it.

I had been at the hospital when she hallucinated and thought I was “teasing” her, trying to hurt her. She screamed at me. I couldn’t do anything. I could only leave and pray.

No. Not prayer.

I Know. Just know. It’s life. It’s just life.

Then, I could only remember. I could only cry and remember her holding my hand through life.

I could remember holding her now spotted, wrinkled hand, swollen with arthritis and thinking that it was the most beautiful hand I’d ever held.

As her memories slip and slide, crashing into each other, disappearing, mine kindle into a fire so hot that I feel burnt. Not crisp though. Those memories burn, light my way into a deep understanding and a perception that having not seen her this way, I may have just clopped through life with the rest of us.

But now I know, I’m very sure, that there’s a light that will never go out. All thanks to a woman who many say has lost her mind. In the midst of confusion…she doesn’t remember someone or forgets who she’s talking to, she’ll smile and throw up her hands, “Oh well, doesn’t matter.”

I throw up my hands too now. “Oh well,” I think, “You’re getting closer to your light.”

Then I pick up another tack.

 

 

DP Challenge, Snapshots: Spears for Eyes

Her eyes bit into hers and, what a shame, since love often resided there. Brown spears sprung from a deep darkness pooled into circular rounds, cushioned only by a sense of humanity. To blink would’ve meant she’d lose her stance, her power.

A black ring outlined the severity of her response to her mother who could only break with sorrow at having realized her daughter stood stronger than she did.

The daughter’s eyelashes frayed her lids, framing the centers with honor and pride. Those eyes waited for no one, bowed to nothing, spoke to all, especially the figure she knew no longer posed a threat.

The mother’s eyes paled in comparison, a light green, tired and worn. They ached and blinked too much. The black spears, once strong, were scattered and bent, blending into the green with no real destination. The black ring blurred and swirled, knowing no boundaries.

So, the mother’s eyelids fell half-mast, cradling the idea that life need not be a fight. She bore no resentment or anger at losing this battle with the daughter she loved more than life. She even offered what little strength she had left to the daughter who suddenly blinked, then bit her bottom lip to punish herself for such weakness.

Her eyes took her mother’s strength with a glorious grin that crinkled the edges of her Egyptian-eyeliner handed to her by the gods who’d traced them at birth. She breathed and her eyes flew open much wider now when she felt the sensitivity of that strength.

The pump of it meant they remained connected so that to hurt one, would hurt the other.

Locked together, mother and daughter.

Spears for eyes.

DP Challenge