Storytime 8: A Ray of Safety

Another night.
Another dream.

Silent like the last.
Space – soft, dark and close –
held her still.
Yearning misty tendrils wander gently;
golden yellow rays of light
bleeding out around the edges.

Inside one, a vision of safety.
Mamma wrapping babe in warm song,
A’crooning for gentle sleep.

She fell deeper into the dream.

CJ Copyright 2016

 Storytime is a series of entries that, together,
form an unfolding story.
Read each as an individual piece
or, start at the beginning (bottom)
and read up to the present installment.
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Are “I-Statements” Selfish or Helpful?

An interesting question came up today during one of my communications classes. We were discussing ‘I-statements’, the technique of talking from one’s own point of view, revealing how another’s behavior is impacting one’s self.  “I-Statements” are commonly recommended as a way to communicate during conflict to help create less confrontational conversations. 

For example, “I am uncomfortable with …”, “I become anxious when …”, “I was concerned for your safety when ….” “I feel like you aren’t interested in what I am saying.”

Is all this “I” talk selfish, however? To many, it seems so, and I understand that. 

It appears that context may be an important consideration. All that “I-talk” might be selfish, self-centered in a regular, social conversation. However, in a conflict, the option is more often a “You-Statement” which usually carries a tone and intention of blame and judgement. That just fires the conflict up more by triggering defensiveness:

“You are irresponsible.” “You are selfish.” “You don’t listen.” “You interrupt.”

In the end, we felt that a hidden message that comes with using “I-statements” during a conflict is a pretty good reason  for why, “I-Statements” are probably pretty great and really not so selfish at all:

My “I-Statements” are information designed to let you know where I am – how I am feeling – as a result of what you are doing or saying – information that gives you insight into the impact of your behavior/words. I am offering you the chance to further explain, or shift your behavior out of respect for me, without judgement or malice.

I am respecting you by not name-calling or judging you.  Rather than attack you, I am letting you know how you are impacting me so you can choose your response with me in mind. I am providing you with the honor of an informed choice. I hope you will also respect and honor me. 

In short, I am giving you information rather than attacking or hiding from you. 

My Maple


The leaves on my tree start life as fragile shades of green.
They tentatively unfurl pale lime,
sometimes golden.

They grow toward summer.
Slick rubbery surfaces become verdant labs,
energy pads;
an alchemical mission marrying sun, dirt, and water from who knows where.

Some leaves are breezy cool;
blowing their rustle in bluish notes.
Some are robust and greedy.

The pale hide under the canopy.
The bold hang far out at the edge of things
edges crisp before their time.

And then the fall.
Oh, let me tell you about the fall.

Pale leaves turn incandescent –
glowing to become their own sun.
They gather steam for a final run;
cycling from verdancy
to hot tomato red
and brilliant ruby.

They dance a holy conflagration,
a fire dance;
blazing tribute to the golden orb of life.

Till one-by-one they float down.
Leaving the ground a colorful mess,
branches bare,
and a wintery view to the sky.

Dedicated to The Chutney Chicks.

2015 copyright



It’s never too late.


It’s never too late,

Or in my case, too early,

To be whoever you want to be.

There’s no time limit.
Start whenever you want.
You can change or stay the same.
There are no rules to this thing.
We can make the best or the worst of it.

I hope you make the best of It.

I hope you see things that startle you.
I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people who have a different point of view.

I hope you live a life you’re proud of.

And if you’re not,
I hope you have the courage to start all over again.

Eric Roth

Storytime 7: Pea or Oleander?


Rosie and her pink pig walked away.

Wrapped in weeks of invisibility,
She followed.

Nourishment comes in many forms.
She craved the food of human contact.
Her eyes hungered to meet their own.
Her ears wanted for linguistic spice.

This promise of sustenance –
Was it pea or oleander?
Nourishment or poison?

She watched.
She would see.

2015 copyright

 Storytime is a series of entries that, together,
form an unfolding story.
Read each as an individual piece
or, start at the beginning (bottom)
and read up to the present installment.
Sign up to follow if you’d like to receive notices of additions.

Picture of wild peas is from LaPalma Island blog.

Poem: One River One Boat by Marjory Wentworth

M Wentworth

South Carolina’s Poet Laureate, Marjory Wentworth, wrote the poem
One River One Boat” exclusively to be read yesterday
at our state governor’s inauguration.

Unlike previous inauguration committees,
this year’s committee decided
not to include the poem citing time as the issue.

One River One Boat” deserves to be heard.
South Carolina’s US Congressman Jim Clyburn
read it on the US House floor yesterday
and admitted it into congressional record.
See a video of his comments and his reading of the poem here.

Another of my state’s citizens
was moved to do her own reading of the poem.
Brenda Peart. I hope you don’t mind my including
a link to your reading here. 

Thank you Brenda, Thank you Rep. Clyburn. Thank you, Marjory.

This will get you started … please link and read through to the end:

One River, One Boat

I know there’s something better down the road.
— Elizabeth Alexander

Because our history is a knot
we try to unravel, while others
try to tighten it, we tire easily
and fray the cords that bind us.
The cord is a slow moving river,
spiraling across the land
in a succession of S’s,
splintering near the sea.

read on ….

Marjorie Wentworth is a beautiful writer.
My favorite poem of hers is Dancing Barefoot in Atlanta.
Find it and others in Undefined Magazine page 49.
Find an article about Marjorie Wentworth on page 43.
And, Marjory’s website features
her poetry, blog, and writing about being a writer.

Creating: Creating Machines


“The lightning spark of thought generated in the solitary mind awakens its likeness in another mind.” — Thomas Carlyle

Sometimes, creating is an individual thing. A seed of inspiration comes and we go with it. We call it ours. We grow it.

Sometimes, creating is a group thing. We clump together to set a goal, learn a subject, probe the issues, work through the differences. We try to respect each other’s style, each other’s gifts. As we progress, a spark of inspiration comes to one or more of us. Contagious, one spark begets another and we find we are creating together in ways we could never have created alone.

What is this creating ‘machine’ that we become?

This machine combines genuine parts: skill, point-of-view, idea, inspiration, humor, curiosity, conflict, insight, resolution, and evolution. This machine grow us into a unique whole that is much more than the sum of our individuality.

Different teams bring to life different dreams; dreams that surface and ride on observation, analysis, synthesis,  generation,  experimentation, implementation …  

A team’s chemistry may draw out certain qualities; a different team may draw others.  One may find it hard to be productive in one team, but amazingly prolific in another.

Passion, knowledge, a sense of freedom from fear, freedom from  limitations or the challenge to overcome them; all of these shape one’s willingness and ability to contribute.  Balancing the elements can be tricky.

That’s why a truly meaning(full) creating machine is such a powerful thing …

Creating machines create industry.
That’s why we try to foster these things.
Is one evolving in your vicinity?

Treasure it. Protect it.

Grow that machine as you grow something green …. recognize it, acknowledge it, feed it. Give it fertilizer, water, and some air to breathe.
Prune only if absolutely necessary. Sometimes grafting two ideas, projects, or teams may help things.

And, when time comes to reap the rewards, celebration with Thanksgiving.
Because, nothing feeds the next crop quite like being grateful for what you got.

Gentle-people, start your engines! Let the creating begin.

2015 copyright