Creative Arts and Healing
DECEMBER CATCH UP 
DECEMBER CATCH UP

Dear friends, how could Autumn have totally escaped an entry on this blog? I can't answer that. What I can tell you is that, facing our ritual family year end letter, I wrote two different versions, trying to sum up 365 days in the life of me, and, after reading both letters to my husband (a helpful second opinion) he couldn't decide which one he liked better, either! So, to have my cake and eat it too, I submit, below, the letter which is NOT being sent out with a postage stamp, but is available for my devoted or occasional on-line readers! I do vow in the coming year to be more regular in my blogging, so don't give up on me, friends!


Katya’s Holiday Letter

Woosh – again, a year has flown by, filled with outer events and inner dramas, adventure, peace, discouragement, rejoicing – the A to Z of human emotion and sensation, as experienced by one woman who has specialized in setting down the stories of her life (and those of her imagination) one could say “religiously” or “with devotion.” Now I am
aware of moving inexorably towards the seventh decade of my journey (I’ll be 69 on January 23) and embracing the contemplative nature of one’s “golden years ” where one
perhaps asks oneself, “What else?” or “Is this – my life – enough, just as it is?” Resting content on one’s accomplishments, or setting new goals, new trajectories and visions?
Of course the answer has to be both, celebrating the many chapters one has already
walked the earth and made one’s imprint, and charting new territory with seasoned wisdom, perspective, and grace.

If I had a bucket list for my writing life, I would say one book stands out as imperative.
I have so far self published four books: ]Journal Adventure Guidebook, ] a companion fill-in-the blanks “Seedbook” with writing prompts, My Haiku Life, and The Wheel of Belonging, an anthology of faith columns and sermons. Now it is time to focus on another aspect of my teaching/writing life that has been a constant for many years – working with prisoners. I have accumulated anthologies printed at the end of each course, (as well as material from prison pen pals) and I am determined now to put these writings together under the title Prison Wisdom. I do this to honor the humanity of each inmate, but also to honor my own humanity (and the writing I do with my students behind bars), to honor whatever led me to this path and kept me on it for all these years. Bringing this book to fruition – which means seeking and finding an agent/publisher so the anthology can reach many – is my resolution for the coming year. I put my energies into motion and affirm the rightness of the task and the timing.

My life flows on ... teaching -- offering Lifestories and Haiku classes and workshops around town... writing -- I took a poetry class for the first time in 20 years and learned a new poetry form: the pantoum, a 15th century Malayan “folk tune” with repeating lines. The pantoum does not heed a particular syllable count or rhyme scheme but I felt motivated to add that to the mix to heighten the melodic nature of the form. (See next page for one example.) I continue to write Haiku daily – that is, I still believe in the enchantment of my Haiku life – noticing the extraordinary in the “commonplace” – and passing on its pleasures to all willing to listen to the whispers of the Muse.

Bright between the trees / mother moon shines her spotlight / on my upturned face

My cat on my lap / birds chirping their dusk duets/ inside me time stops

My life flows on, in the garden, in the kitchen, in my daily walks, my correspondence with friends and extended family, the books I read, my weekly stints at the homeless shelter (where I’ve prepped and served lunch for two years now). It flows on in my travels -- this year to Ithaca and Senaca Lake, with my college roommate Ann, and to the Detroit area and Pleasant Lake, scene of childhood memories where I visited with long-lost cousins; to St. George Island of course, and, for Tom and my 25th wedding anniversary, an overnight at nearby Wakulla Springs, where we recited our vows again (hoping for another 25!) From far away I celebrated my brother Ron’s 70th birthday (he lives 3000 miles across the continent in Berkeley, CA.)

My life flows on as the American people vote in Obama for a 2nd term, as wars drag on and peace accords are made and broken, as two close personal friends of mine die, one a suicide, one from cancer, and too our beloved cat Missy, now buried in “Catlandia” on our backyard hill. My life flows on through arguments and forgiveness, through celebrations of life’s milestones (like my daughter’s upcoming 25th winter solstice birthday), through dark nights of the soul and radiant moments of joy, from year to year, from holiday letter to holiday letter. Hidden in all this is a form of alchemy, of magic, of spirit renewed time and again, if only we notice, part the veil, read between the lines, grasp the ephemeral and the eternal, mirrored in each one of us...

Pantoum #3

I need an oracle today
a secret mirror that will speak
a shaman to help me on my way
and lead me down the path I seek

A secret mirror that will speak
to the point and without delay
and lead me down the path I seek
no need to stay inside the fray

To the point and without delay
turn into sunshine what is bleak
no need to stay inside the fray
sing me a lullaby to sleep

Turn into sunshine what is bleak
appear in a cloud when I try to pray
sing me a lullaby to sleep
your sacred wish I will obey

Appear in a cloud when I try to pray
a shaman to help me on my way
your sacred wish I will obey
I need an oracle today

Ka

So, in a nutshell, that's my tale, and what didn't appear in it, also did happen, but
a letter can't be a novel, now, can it???

12/12/12

















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