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Friends Among Strangers

Peace
Washed over me
Gently, gracefully
As your story unfolded
It was sad, but rang so true
I felt the comfort of friends
Even among strangers
Here, in this strange place
I discovered my truth
The truth I had searched for
My entire life
Right before my very eyes
In the eyes of strangers
Who are now friends
Every ache, ounce of pain
And misery was confirmed,
Understood and acknowledged
My entire life made sense
And peace,
Peace was my
only emotion.

© 2009 Heather Strang
All rights reserved.

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Words

It escapes me
mid-thought
I ask it to wait
just give me time
to find a pen
or something to write on.
But, it doesn’t care
I can be driving
In a meeting
Or in the midst of dispensing advice
and there it will be.
The words, the sweet words
for this blog, for a book
for an article.
There’s no stopping this flood
of words.
They do not have any particular
concern about my whereabouts
or the location of a writing utensil,
they simply bust out and,
I am lucky to catch any of them
at all.
I will recite the first line over and
over hoping to cement it into my
memory.
Sometimes it works,
Sometimes it doesn’t.
And then I am left with a feeling
a feeling that something beautiful
passed through me
something of note.
It’s on the tip of my tongue.
I lay my head in my hands
and beg it
to come back.

© 2009 Heather Strang
All rights reserved.

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Some Days

Some days are meant for this
For snuggling on the couch
For forgetting there’s any work to be done

Some days are meant for lounging
Quietly by the pool
Sun caressing the plants, trees and skin

Some days are meant for creating
All alone, in the zone
Cookies, poems and news articles

Some days are meant for love
With a stranger, a good friend or a partner
Smiling, laughing and lingering on

Some days are simply meant to be.

© 2009 Heather Strang
All rights reserved.

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Gratitude

And the winner is…

Me.
Figure eights
Oranges
Ocean healing
Meditation on red rocks
Green smoothies
120 lbs
And ginger snaps
For days
Jessie who drives like
a dream
Brown boys who send
shivers up my spine
Sexy dances
Books that inspire
Best friends
Chakra clearing
Garden walks
Sunsets
Organic
For real.
Reality TV
People mag
Endless poetry
Writing from my heart
Fresh avocados
Pineapple
Chickens
Bright, bright sunshine
80 degrees
Rumi
12-steps
Kathy Freston
And
Cooking, cooking, cooking.
Waterfalls
Bed & breakfasts
Sleeping in
Naps
Photographs
New, new, new, new.

I am so grateful.

© 2009 Heather Strang
All rights reserved.

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I’ve rediscovered seaweed! The kind you can eat, of course. This is a great lunch snack, paired with baby carrots and hummus or a side salad.

Serves 2

1 can of light tuna, in water, drained (or use salmon or anything else that calls to you!)
2 T of Dijon mustard
2 leaves of arugula or organic greens
cherry tomatoes, cut in halves
1/2 an avocado sliced
2 sheets of seaweed

Mix together tuna and Dijon mustard. Spread 2 TBS on one side of the seaweed, add arugula, cherry tomatoes and avocado. Roll, burrito style and serve.

It’s crunchy with a nice smooth kick from the avocado.
Enjoy!

Happy Eating!
Heather 🙂

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Naked

She was
naked
and lovely.
I could not tear
my eyes
off of her.
Passerby’s diverted
their gaze
Seemingly intent on
the tiles on the floor
rather than the
naked goddess
before them.
Her hair was
heavenly white
with tinges of silver
scattered delicately
throughout.
Her body was
round and full
with freckles gently
covering her cafe
colored skin.
She was poised,
and graceful
lying there.
The pool sparkled in
front of her
while bikinis and
speedos zipped by.
She noticed none of this.
In fact, it’s possible
she didn’t notice any
of us.
She was a goddess
and we were merely
lowly servants
scuttling
around her.

© 2009 Heather Strang
All rights reserved.

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Magic

Observing oneself
is fascinating stuff.
Watching the mind
scurry around
like an ant eager for
food, seeing it grasp onto
anything it can
to continue the madness.

Humanness is a perplexing
conundrum.
Always seeking to
define
make sense of
categorize
and judge –
people
places
and experiences.

Synchroncity is magical.
The continual surprise
Of the stars aligning,
Of two seemingly
random events
bolting into one another
in a way no one could have
predicted.

Observation lends itself
to our humanity.

Synchronicity reminds us
we are magic.

Posted by Heather Kristian Strang in Uncategorized Read More

I wanted to give everyone plenty of time to read the beautiful interview (and poem) from the lovely Sage Cohen. And guess what? I turned in my first book – of poetry – to the publisher last week. Sage actually inspired me – she encouraged me to trust myself, my voice and to believe that modern day poets are absolutely relevant in today’s world. Thanks Sage!

Onto the poetry…

Meditation

Whispers echo across the cliff
I turn with a start
And the ocean breaks ferociously
The red rock crumbles softly

My eyes close effortlessly
But then, the thoughts come
Fast and furious with fears
And hopes and dreams

Voices carry me through the fear
Into the quiet and deeper still
Suddenly, it stops
The ocean, rock and whispers on pause

I feel the universe shift
Shivers cover my body
And images flash before me
We go deeper still

Fear is gone
Peace is its replacement
I know what to do
I know exactly what to do.

I open my eyes.

———————————

Support

In a group full of strangers
We all tell our sad, sad stories
We cry
Shake
And comfort one another.

I am not shaking.
I am watching them.
Careful to not be exposed
Careful so they do not see
the resonance within me.
It is my turn to talk and my voice
Cracks and breaks.
I will not cry
I will myself to stop the tears
I am not ashamed
I tell myself, but my face tells another
story.
Sipping my tea
Hands cupped around it
As though it were my last hope,
I lie.
I say that I am fine.

We all know I am not.
Shaking our heads in silent
understanding,
We continue on.

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As you all know, I love a slow cooker. So feast on this comfort meal any time you desire a change of pace in the meal department.

Serves 4

6 c cubed & toasted Tapioca bread – I love Kinnickkick Farm, but can’t find their web site.
1 small onion, chopped
2 c of cherry tomatoes, divided in halves
2 c artichoke hearts, marinated and chopped – Costco has a great choice for this.
8 oz of dairy-free cheese, grated – Trader Joe’s soy mozzarella is a good option.
4 organic/veggie-fed eggs
2 c almond milk, unsweetened – I recommend Blue Diamond brand.
1 t sea salt

In a bowl, mix eggs, milk and salt together. In crockpot stoneware, combine bread, onion, tomatoes, artichokes and half of cheese. Pour egg mixture over bread blend. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.

Cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3 hours.
Hint: This is fantastic reheated.

Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe? Post it here or direct us to your blog!

Happy Eating!
xoHeather

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Q&A with Sage Cohen, Author of

Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry

a new book from Writer’s Digest Books

How does poetry make the world a better place to live?

I think poetry fills the gap left by the so-called objective truth that dominates our media, science and legislation. Many of us want to comprehend and communicate the complexity of human experience on a deeper, more soulful level. Poetry gives us a shared language that is more subtle, more human, and—at its best—more universally “true” than we are capable of achieving with just the facts.

How has integrating the reading and writing of poetry into your life impacted you?

I will risk sounding melodramatic in saying that poetry saved my life. I stumbled into a writing practice at an extremely vulnerable time in my early teenage years. Poetry gave me then, as it does today, a way of giving voice to feelings and ideas that felt too risky and complicated to speak out loud. There was a kind of alchemy in writing through such vulnerabilities…by welcoming them in language, I was able to transform the energies of fear, pain and loneliness into a kind of friendly camaraderie with myself. In a way, I wrote myself into a trust that I belonged in this world.

Do people need an advanced degree in creative writing in order to write poetry?

Absolutely not! Sure, poetry has its place in the classroom; but no one needs an advanced degree in creative writing to reap its rewards. What most people need is simply a proper initiation. I wrote Writing the Life Poetic to offer such an initiation. My goal was that everyone who reads it come away with a sense of how to tune into the world around them through a poetic lens. Once this way of perceiving is awakened, anything is possible!

Why did you write Writing the Life Poetic?

While working with writers for the past fifteen years, I have observed that even the most creative people fear that they don’t have what it takes to write and read poetry. I wrote Writing the Life Poetic to put poetry back into the hands of the people––not because they are aspiring to become the poet laureate of the United States––but because poetry is one of the great pleasures in life.”

Who is Writing the Life Poetic written for?

Practicing poets, aspiring poets, and teachers of writing in a variety of settings can use Writing the Life Poetic to write, read, and enjoy poems; it works equally well as a self-study companion or as a classroom guide. Both practical and inspirational, it will leave readers with a greater appreciation for the poetry they read and a greater sense of possibility for the poetry they write.

What sets Writing the Life Poetic apart from other poetry how-to books?

The craft of poetry has been well documented in a variety of books that offer a valuable service to serious writers striving to become competent poets. Now it’s time for a poetry book that does more than lecture from the front of the classroom. Writing the Life Poetic was written to be a contagiously fun adventure in writing. Through an entertaining mix of insights, exercises, expert guidance and encouragement, I hope to get readers excited about the possibilities of poetry––and engaged in a creative practice. Leonard Cohen says: “Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.” My goal is that Writing the Life Poetic be the flame fueling the life well lived.

What makes a poem a poem?

This is one of my favorite questions! I’ve answered it in my book, but it’s a question that I’m answering anew every day. And that’s what I love about poetry. It’s a realm where invention is not limited entirely by definition; there is room enough for the endless possibilities of the human. Every time we try to draw a line around what a poem is, something spills over into the next frame, shifting the point of view and demanding new names: olive, token, flax, daffodil. A poem is all of these, or none of them, depending on the quality of light and how the blade in the next room stirs the night.

What do you think people’s greatest misperceptions are about poetry?

I think the three greatest stereotypes about the writing of poetry are:

  1. That one has to be a starving artist or deeply miserable to write great poetry.
  2. That reading and writing poetry are available only to an elite inner circle that shares secret, insider knowledge about the making of poems.
  3. That poetry does not fund prosperity.

I hope very much that Writing the Life Poetic helps offer alternatives to some of these attitudes and perceptions.

I’d love to conclude with a poem of yours. Would you be willing to share one?

Of course! Happy to!

Leaving Buckhorn Springs

By Sage Cohen

The farmland was an orchestra,

its ochres holding a baritone below

the soft bells of farmhouses,

altos of shadowed hills,

violins grieving the late

afternoon light. When I saw

the horses, glazed over with rain,

the battered old motorcycle parked

beside them, I pulled my car over

and silenced it on the gravel.

The rain and I were diamonds

displacing appetite with mystery.

As the horses turned toward me,

the centuries poured through

their powerful necks and my body

was the drum receiving the pulse

of history. The skin between me

and the world became the rhythm

of the rain keeping time with the sky

and into the music walked

the smallest of the horses. We stood

for many measures considering

each other, his eyes the quarter notes

of my heart’s staccato. This symphony

of privacy and silence: this wildness

that the fence between us could not divide.

About Sage Cohen

Sage Cohen is the author of Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry (Writers Digest Books, 2009) and the poetry collection Like the Heart, the World. An award-winning poet, she writes four monthly columns about the craft and business of writing and serves as Poetry Editor for VoiceCatcher 4. Sage co-curates a monthly reading series at Barnes & Noble and teaches the online class Poetry for the People. To learn more, visit www.writingthelifepoetic.com. Drop by and join in the conversation about living and writing a poetic life at www.writingthelifepoetic.typepad.com!

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