Sunday, 19 January 2020

notes on a (writing) process

i do not wait to be inspired to write. i block off time every morning to work on something original, often flash fiction, prose, poetry... you know, just words strung together in a way that makes sense to me. might be 5 might be 100. i do not wait though yes, i can feel uninspired. if so, i let go and step away for some time, breathe, drink some water, walk around, talk to the cats, do the dishes, stretch, whatever. just changing channels can do wonders. then i may work on #wip edits as i always have a single wip occupying my every day mind and heart.  focus on the immediate work in progress will bring me back in alignment with the gods. or if it's a really bad morning or im exhausted past the point of coffee making a difference, i may read a few pages of Nabokov, some classic or even a contemporary, or some flashes on wordpress and find my way back to inspired. i like to listen to a little jazz or classical in the background, soft, helps me get there. going out for a walk. prayer. if my wip really is taking off and im getting excited towards finishing, i may devote entire nights or weekends to the work. i have been known to take a week's vacation from my day job and devote the entire time to writing. for me it's mostly practice, the writing process, practice and devotion. i will be reading my work at the Sacramento Poetry Center via Jennifer Pickering this afternoon, and she asked me to talk about writing process for a little bit so im cutting it up here first.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

january 18

Today i am preparing some words for a reading... i am fighting... i am grieving the loss of a spiritual teacher... i am celebrating the winter in california... i am breathing... i am thinking and trying to stay in gratitude... i am in the past... the future... i am breathing into the moment... i am curious... i am noticing how sensitive i am... i am noticing how angry i can get... how easily i can give up... how resilient i am... how i use my awareness to find my way back and fight for my right to be fully awake and alive... i am lucky... i am fortunate... my life has been funny... tragic... almost monotonous at times with repititions... never dull... life is a reality worth facing not running from... full of things i love and hate and have to accept... fear and anger and sadness are various forms of energy is what i realize when i breathe into these feelings... and underlying all of the feelings, good and bad, underlying all of these diverse forms of energy... i become enlightened... to the truth... is a wish to live and to love and be loved.

jammies from deedees

How could i harbor ill will toward you when you were wearing those panda bear pajamas? i asked you to take them off so we could go on fighting but you would not. you were making funny sounds that only pandas make. you wouldn't eat the soy burgers i cooked us for lunch. i found you terrorizing all the plants. the kid was still at school. i shoved you in our pet carrier and took you to the sanctuary and released you deep in a forest and coaxed you up a tree and ran away. i was at home reading the newspaper days later when i heard and saw your paws on the glass. you were staring at me and your head was swollen with white hairs growing heavy on your face. such dark circles under and around your eyes. i felt bad but i was glad the kid was at school. i opened the door and you bolted in on all fours. you climbed the staircase by the banister and went to hide. i found you in the laundry basket with all our clothes. i talked to you softly to make you understand. the basket started humming and i realized it was you. all my anger subsided. i could tell your heart was happy so i determined to let you live. i bought myself a new set of ocelet jammies from dee-dees, same place where we got you the panda. remember? now we are ordering all our oats and seeds and salads in bulk from south america. thank god we got a kid with fingers and tech-savvy to help us out. how else would we survive?

kiss my toes

For a time we lived in squalor before we won the lottery on a simple scratcher that won us two hundred dollars which we fought about how to spend. then decided to use half of it to pay our landlord back and took a hundred to the casino and made a thousand. then paid off the rest of our debts with half of that, took five bills to another casino and made five thousand. then got in with a black market and doubled. then took a trip to Hawaii (on half) and made love on the beach. then tripled the remainder on bitcoin. we bought a used Tesla. drove it to Reno and lost a quarter of our earnings on blackjack but stayed with it, switched to craps, and made it back and then some. we saw our luck was alive. sank all our profit into the dark web for a windfall. flipped a few houses in the city. now we live like kings and queens and pay someone to clean up after us. you have your drone armada taking up half our six car garage. i liked to watch you race them on the weekends. i have my yoga studio on the mezzanine floor. i can now stand on my head for five minutes, and kiss my toes. isn't it funny how we still start our day with a pot of coffee, cigarettes, and our defiant kinda love? that's something hard living gave us. that's something real and coded with a tang pushing off the aura. i love you. let's never let it go. 

this story by Katya Mills can be found also on Wattpad.

go on

i want to see the best in you
this trying time

                the window
was left open sullen faces
walking by

back to the books
until i find one
to the stove for some
warmth

maybe prayer

i foster the light i
castigate the shadows or else
to be subsumed

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

14.20

your fingertips might really start pressing and then you know you're telling the truth. don't stop just let it all out. don't answer your phone of give in to the cats crying for attention. don't go and adjust the light or the thermostat. for god's sake don't go near social media! keep typing. don't censor your thoughts no matter how awful they may seem to you. they are only thoughts. the magic dust is the truth you are telling. people will be outraged. people will love you and hate you for it. don't stop just keep letting it go. your truth is more valuable than anything else!

Monday, 13 January 2020

the classics

they say there is life outside but i do not believe them. it's been twenty years since the last tree stood down on earth. over half the remaining population has bought tickets for their planned migration to mars. those who can afford to have. we really burned this earth. only photos remain of whales and lions and elephants. the census comes now every 3 months and by last measure humanity numbered under five million. the elders have memories of forests and birds and snails. i have not enough money to afford to go. i guess this is my fate. i burn these books but only to stay warm. i've long since exhausted titles by climate change deniers. biographies of pop culture icons. poorly written ghost writer crap. god forbid the day i have to tap into the classics.

Sunday, 12 January 2020

before you lose it

speak my heart i
may not cross
you

the hum of the engine faded we
could see the tea
whispers

a season of
upsets a family
of misunderstanding

beat my heart
speak my heart
that i may
be true

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Friday, 10 January 2020

full moon. 2020

yes this was the being and yes this was becoming and yes this was remembering all the stuff you hoped i would forget and all the things i hoped i would forget. coming back to me now. in deep sleep or fully awake opening and closing my eyes. believing. hoping to feel and not avoid the pain. go into it, my darling, go into it and learn. what can you understand by a screaming howl in the night? that the moon is full and makes no difference if it's out of sight.

coming home

from a quiet corner you could make out 
only the inflections of the broadcast
on national radio 

fatigued from the week's 
adventures she lay over the bed and he
in the chair

boots long kicked to the floor
in the hallway sniffed about
by cats

turning themselves before the 
heater between volumes 
on the bookshelf

 the sun's last light
dying on the underbelly of 
palm fronds

Thursday, 9 January 2020

prozac nation

i was in florida and depressed when i discovered prozac nation. i think i liked the film better than the book. then it came off the screen, off the page and into my life. my therapist referred me to a shrink who asked me questions, looked me over and kicked me around some, then told me he was prescribing me prozac. i thought what a farce and walked out the door! i think i made it another five years before i ended up on ssri's. life got a little easier as i sorted out the shit in my head with a therapist. the pill made it easier to get out of bed but it wasn't prozac and it wasn't sunshine and it didn't solve any of my problems. it's like a cast. to be held together pharmaceutically for a while until you can handle it yourself. for two years i was in the sunshine state and i couldn't see the sunshine until long after i left.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

un

coffee and water
cold nose of a cat a couple
 jumping jacks
 ina lamp lit room
old oak desk
i have had for a quarter
century this silence
amid brief blasts
of furnace

Monday, 6 January 2020

chess

not even nabokov by the light of a coal miner's headlamp can deter them. the child prodigy blindfolded, paraded around all of europe. these tumultuous nights and dreams. i am paraded around the same. i awake to cry my heart out before sinking back reluctantly into sleep. there are a couple pieces yet on the board who guard me. the cats curled up by the edge of the bed, the tea candle burned off. my friend who answers my call, day or night.

january 6

black and green teas with banana and chocolate and herbs were opened into the air from large glass jars. we had passed through the line and when i looked back i saw someone i had not seen in years, and i called their name over several conversations in the busy morning store. the class would start soon and my friend who is expecting her first child in eight months accompanied me for the exercises and sun salutations. today i will go home after and run the sacramento river until i strike gold. it's easy to lose your balance in the world if you take your finger off the pulse. last week i pulled out on Broadway and started west. i was in such a state of peace i hardly flinched when a car heading east on the other side of the median rolled sidelong into it took the bark off a palm tree!

Saturday, 4 January 2020

isolate 4

our huddled loneliness of days past
years of silent waning
income fixed
far below the surface
of need

we had one another
and even then

we were for us what no one
knew or could
 see

the resurrection of love moved
like science after death
exact. our synchronicity the fuel
against the ennui

electricity of being caught
living this way
   otherwise isolate
  lost

then came masquerading in wax
taxing the spirit fallen
 away

 the heart of ink we smudged
we tore in diverse ways
apart

     barbed wire knifed
 squeezed like cash
touched to fire

pinned on the arm
to fade

Friday, 3 January 2020

the day we got away

the kid didn't want to go to school
he tired of being picked on
he ducked out of second period
and never came back

an old man had found a bench on
a hillside road off the main drag
it was quiet you could hear
the birds and squirrels
chasing round

he gave the boy an orange
they dropped the peelings
on the ground

happy god crossed our paths
said the old man to the boy
who smiled and thanked him
for the orange and offered his
blade for the cutting

Thursday, 2 January 2020

january 2

the sun was up and stretching its light across the sky and land. there was a concert on the radio, the vienna philharmonic. i spent the day kicking around the house, my papers and books everywhere. i wrote a couple of cards out by hand and started but could not finish them. i had pale pink paper and  ink the color of an oak barrel. it's not that i don't have much to say. a winter morning, the cats are nosing behind fabric to stay warm. every few hours i seem to be at the stove preparing coffee or tea. i am hunting around for action in the story i am writing. a slow process and every word counts.

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

January 1, 2020

Reminiscing on the year past, I see how I had a great adventure and achieved a lot. After publishing a book at the tail end of 2018, I took a couple months and focused on youtube readings. Then I started working on a new project, a novella, based on a piece I wrote in my twenties, and got into the groove of an early morning writing ritual before work. Usually awake by 5am to write until 7am. I published a poem or brief prose piece daily on my website. I got promoted to supervisor at the nonprofit where I have been working for 6 years now. In management for the first time in my life. I kept a therapy caseload. I was told by many clients how I made a difference in their lives. I volunteered all year at the GHC clinic doing therapy with couples and kids. Two thousand hours towards obtaining my psychotherapy license. I see clearly how my biggest obstacle is myself! I sometimes fall off into a negative frame of mind particulary when stressed or fearful, or triggered by some past trauma. I am working towards bouncing back quicker from these setbacks and maintaining my optimism, which I believe is the gold standard for success in this world! I hope to continue to strengthen my relationships, give more to my community, and persevere with my creative projects alongside my professional life and career. I hope to read more books this year! I hope to complete this novella and stay close to the communities I have come to love in Sacramento. I wish you all the best in 2020! May you believe in yourself and, god willing, press on!  - Katya