Friday, January 31, 2014

Myth & Magic on the back of The Year of the Wooden Horse

Gung Hee Fat Choy Happy New Year the Year of The Wooden Horse. The Safety Pin Cafe began the process of weaving the common and ordinary magic of story, place and mythic journeys. The characters found in the story of The Safety Pin Cafe share the whimsy, cultural poetry and timeless connections. But, not everyone can see the cafe, or recognize the doorway that begins on a day a duck could love.

It makes no nevermind is the password. Those who are ready for the medicine find it.

Today with the start of the Lunar New Year, a second medicine story, a work-in-progress is now showing to an intimate audience. Together with this handful of friends I invite audience participation and, The Joy Weed Journal is read for the first time. Over the next month or so my audience and I will talk about what shows up for them. Like the aging border witch Joy Weed, I tread the edges of society and culture and experiment with new ways to bridge time and evolution. I tinker with the limits and discover through experiencing. That's what happens when one is sensitive.

If you would like to read the medicine story, it rides in on the back of the Lunar New Year's Wood Horse. To read it click here.

Bang those pots to clear out the old, eat your long noodles and yummy dumplings, cut a slice of moon cake and share it with those you love. Happy New Year of the Wooden Horse!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

TROUBLE: Another Toast Story

" THE TROUBLE COFFEE & Coconut Club (its full name) is a tiny storefront next door to a Spanish-immersion preschool, about three blocks from the Pacific Ocean in one of the city’s windiest, foggiest, farthest-flung areas. As places of business go, I would call Trouble impressively odd....Trouble’s specialty is a thick slice of locally made white toast, generously covered with butter, cinnamon, and sugar: a variation on the cinnamon toast that everyone’s mom, including mine, seemed to make when I was a kid in the 1980s. It is, for that nostalgic association, the first toast in San Francisco that really made sense to me. Trouble’s owner, and the apparent originator of San Francisco’s toast craze, is a slight, blue-eyed, 34-year-old woman with freckles tattooed on her cheeks named Giulietta Carrelli. She has a good toast story: She grew up in a rough neighborhood of Cleveland in the ’80s and ’90s in a big immigrant family, her father a tailor from Italy, her mother an ex-nun. The family didn’t eat much standard American food. But cinnamon toast, made in a pinch, was the exception. “We never had pie,” Carrelli says. “Our American comfort food was cinnamon toast.”"
My friend, Jt, the person who inspired the character The Gypsy Woman in Medicine Story #1: The Safety Pin Cafe is always on the prowl for good stories. We have been pals for a long time and that says something for the tsunami and drought experiences,  that is life in general or made specific with illness and trauma, wipe connections and friendships out with little hope. We in many respects are two ends of the pole with her Taurus opposing my Scorpio. Fortunately for me, and perhaps for our friendship, I am a committed student of astrology and turn my obsessions and tight-fitted control-isms over to a power greater than myself and that power includes the stars (and the moon!). With time, quite a lot of it, I feel and open to the quality of Taurus a Scorpio like me needs. Astrologically? My North Node of the Moon is in Taurus and in my daily life that means feeling at home with exactly where I am in my own skin. Taurus loves a cozy home! So, The Gypsy Woman emailed me with a toast story this morning. Another toast story. Another toast story you might ask? If you ask, it might be you have not read, nibbled and swallowed the medicine and speciality on the menu from The Safety Pin Cafe.
"A plate of fine bone china, only slightly chipped but sparkling clean was arranged with cinnamon toast cut into stars and moons and ... ducks."
There is surely a magical and mythic connection with border witches, fringe-dwellers and human beings who find themselves in precarious positions. TROUBLE's owner, Giulietta Carrelli lives a story close to my heart. Her inventiveness and her facility with what I believe are the safety pins of common magic, is what will save us all from the inflated Ideas and entitled rule-makers. TROUBLE is a tiny space with a world of safety pinned in places that include childhood at its best; tastes that last and best of all the belief (that is Carrelli's) "The smallness of her cafés is [a] device to stoke interaction, on the theory that it’s simply hard to avoid talking to people standing nine inches away from you. And cinnamon toast is a kind of all-purpose mollifier: something Carrelli offers her customers whenever Trouble is abrasive, or loud, or crowded, or refuses to give them what they want. “No one can be mad at toast,” she said.

TROUBLE and its owner are small and recognizable in the San Francisco China Beach area. It's vital this recognizability: one of her safety pins. John Gravois puts it this way in the Pacific Standard article, A Toast Story "More than a café, the shop is a carpentered-together, ingenious mechanism—a specialized tool—designed to keep Carrelli tethered to herself."

“I’m wearing the same outfit every day,” Carrelli says. “I take the same routes. I own Trouble Coffee so that people recognize my face—so they can help me. Carrelli also found safety in simply being well-known—in attracting as many acquaintances as possible. “People are taken aback by her, but she reaches out.”” 

The interview and article in Pacific Standard Magazine is an inspiring and connective story that beats the drum for common magic and the vitality available to us all. It's a story about toast and safety pins, facility in the face of impossible odds. Like the border witch with a name often mispronounced, (PALE ... say Pah-Lay not Pale) TROUBLE comes with big, lace-up boots necessary when walking on the wild side.What a world this is and all the more reason to keep being who we are at The Safety Pin Cafe: "We continue to make life as artful as imagination will allow; and turn the rest into myth"


Stay tuned for Medicine Story #2: The Joy Weed Journal coming with the Lunar New Year.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cooking up more magic on a Cancer Full Moon: "The Joy Weed Journal"

in the Quonset in the woods
The second medicine story, "The Joy Weed Journal" written from the real Safety Pin Cafe (our Quonset in the woods) is ready for 'a showing.' What is 'a showing' ?

"A 'showing' (my emblazonment) isn't a show," the program explained, "it's a work-in-progress, presented to an audience as part of a show's development. Theatre is an art form that needs an audience -- and puppets really, really need an audience before they can come fully to life. Your presence allows us to share the Hoggler's story as it exists so far, to hone the show's material, and lets our puppet characters start making their first steps out into the wider world."
 - from Terri Windling's blog post about a puppetry program in-the-works
In much the same way described above for a puppetry show the medicine stories that I write are works-in-progress and come to life as theater when presented to an audience. The summer presentation of The Safety Pin Cafe is an example of that sort of magic and homeopractical  medicine that I create. I'm playing with the craft and the art of putting down the story, allowing the story and asking for an audience to play with me. Except for checking the grammar, the voice of culture, and the flow of my stories, when they seem right enough I let the magic out. In that way, the story is alive, not constrained, and very much open for evolution and becoming in harmony with all-that-is.

I'm discovering that rather than fitting these medicine stories in formats that used to work for me (like facilitating workshops) the slow and patient work of integrating truly whole magic is allowing different venues. That allowing is the gift of magic: transformation. Here is one of those different venues: "A showing." Using the internet as my stage with its spacious virtual corridors and fragrance-free environments particularly sweet for my present heightened sensitivities, this blog allows an audience to experience the story; and in return the story and storyteller feel the exchange, stay open to change thanks to your comments and feedback. It's always the beginning of the unknown when I birth new stories/blogs. It's a risk, and an adventure and a heroic journey.

Stay tuned with an invitation to be part of "a showing."

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Riding in on the (Year of the) Horse

We finished building our moveable tiny home Vardo For Two in 2009, The Year of the Ox. Pete (born in the Year of the Ox) and our friends Doug and Lois parked in the ferry lane bound for our first landing on the Kitsap Peninsula.
This is not us, but it is a vardo drawn by horses in a ferry lane. It's now 2014, The Year of the Horse. 

I discovered a new website authored by Susan Levitt and find her information and her style to be clear and confident with a strong Pisces-influence. As with most of what I write, I start with a seed idea that has been intuitively informed and begin. The search and discovery phase is one of the most enjoyable stages of creating, it's all about play! and fuels me for the writing itching to be put down. Levitt is Pisces-a-plenty with a website to promotes her intuitive-psychic signature quite beautifully, I think. Here's just a snip from what Susan Levitt writes about the Year of the Wooden Horse, 2014.

"Keep in mind this year that Horse energy is free spirited, wild, willful, and independent. Horse has a refined instinct that acts fast, on the spot, unlike Horse’s opposite the Rat who thinks and plans before acting. The time for pondering and planning was 2013 Snake year. Horse year is time to act fast, buy that home, launch that business, travel the world, make a big purchase, get a promotion at work, have a breakthrough – take a leap and fly. If it’s right, then there’s nothing to think about. Just follow instincts. Even if you miss the mark, you’ll have all of Wood Sheep year 2015 to get cozy and enjoy life’s comforts in all their artistic forms."
My husband and I are an Ox and a Pig. We are different in big ways with our gifts that spread the joy of being fully alive. The Ox is steady and hard-working and being Cancer as well it is his greatest desire to be steadily helpful and nurturing to his kit and kin. Family is at the core for a Cancerian. The wheeled home we live in was built by that Ox-infused energy, it's that same energy that has found ways and means of making known his qualities where we have nested. He volunteers, he helps people move, he anticipates the next step and plods ahead. Born in the Year of Pig I love a cozy, fun place to be. Partying (used to be) such fun for me. Love of a cozy home remains what I cherish, and partying not so much. What happens for a Scorpio-Pig is an interesting thing: feeling all the deep and often dark places of mucking about in the dirt (which is what "Earth" means ... dirt!) I age with the awareness of being honestly at home. My sensitivities to chemical over-use and a highly artificially fragranced world challenges me to find peace (home) with the ordinary. One day, one night at a time the ordinary makes itself known and loved and I learn to hear them because as botanist and inventor born into slavery George Washington Carver knew "If you love it enough, anything will speak to you." Through the experiences of being ill and sensitive to the ordinary, I am learning to listen, hear, and write it down/give it back. It's the exchange of gifts that is the common magic.

The Year of the Horse brings quick changes according to Levitt's description above, for those born in the year of Horse, it's the instinctive wisdom of responding that allows a seasoned jumping horse to fly from one edge of a precipice to the other side as if guided. And, in fact, the horse can do that. I look at the grace and speed of horses and am amazed at them but know them very little. Only once have I ridden a horse, and I was never in sync with it and still wear a worn tailbone from the long ago trail ride. Such is it for a pig. Instead of being one of those creatures who is involved with the quick and free spirited independents of 2014, I will probably make my way into the Year of the Wood Horse content to explore the creativity of common magic that has began to write itself through me. Winter has seasoned The Safety Pin Cafe, tempering the old habits that linger, impatience among them. In place of some of that impatience I am relishing the gifts of being more fully present. Exchanging the carbon dioxide of my breath with the oxygen rich gifts the trees give me. Appreciative and grateful to the waves of the internet world, the first medicine story has been ready more than 300 times. Who you are readers, I know of only a few. But ... it makes no never mind thank you all!

The medicine of story is a consistent gift, and one that I give thanks for because I love to play with it and it loves being played with. The second part of The Safety Pin Cafe is mostly finished, but I postponed opening it up to be read on the 1st of January. It seems that story wants to begin with the Year of the Horse. Look for it to be my gift to readers coming with the second new moon of the Gregorian Calendar, Chinese New Year, very nearly midnight January 30, 2014. The Joy Weed Journal is its name, and those private writings will be available here on January 31, 2014.

The Joy Weed Journal ... medicine story #2 rides in on the Year of the Horse