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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

On the Corner

I noticed her as I searched for the building where my interview was. My thoughts were on direction but something about her standing there on the corner all alone, holding her sign, made me think of another time and another place. Even as I parked in the building's lot I couldn't stop thinking of what makes us do the things we do. If I call myself a writer (and most days I like to) then the world was my ocean of material and here was an immediate morsel I couldn't in good conscience ignore. Or so I told myself. Besides, I had about thirty minutes to kill before my interview. Who knew what could come from a casual conversation? I had moved here to explore my writing opportunities and it would be wrong to ignore one thrown in my face. This inner conversation boosted my confidence that she wouldn't hit me with her sign if I approached her so I set off around the building to see if she still stood on the corner. I adopted an air of nonchalance, as if I were just walking around. It was my disguise.

She was older, maybe even close to my own age. I smiled as I got close and she smiled back as she walked past me. I realized engagement would have to be instigated by me. Her sign read "Lord forgive us and our nation" on one side and "Let God love you" on the other. An interesting combination. Do we have to be forgiven to be loved?

I stepped back and smiled again. She stopped for a moment with a hesitancy that I ignored. "Could I ask you a question?" I said as she stared at me, never letting the sign down. "Is that an abortion provider? Is that why you're out here?"

"Yes," she replied. "They do abortions here up to nine months. People come from all over the country to get abortions here cause there are only three states where they do abortions up to nine months and New Mexico is one of them. This guy," she pointed to the building behind her, "has another office in Dallas. They can't do them as late there so he sends those people over here."

The whole time she talked to me she kept edging away, back out to the corner to hold up her sign. I found it odd that someone who would stand on a street corner holding such a sign showed no real desire to engage someone who walked up to them. I did ask if she had many people stop and talk to her. She said yes, that "we" have some turnarounds from the cars passing by. I don't know who the "we" was. Maybe there are others who are there at times and they do the talking.

I'm not writing this to take a stand on the abortion debate. It's an issue I have some issues with myself. In my experience I have found those who protest to be reflections of the trouble within that debate.  Sometimes I think we satisfy our own needs more than others by doing something like standing in front of an abortion provider with a sign that speaks not to the people passing by but to a vision of an upset deity. And perhaps there is the root of the problem. Maybe it wasn't the people passing by she wanted to connect with. Maybe she was making a point more to her God than to the people going into that clinic. I have to wonder if she needed to let God know she was on the job and if that wasn't the real point of her actions. Surely most of the cars passing by on the busy street in front of her couldn't even read the small print on her sign. And if they guessed what it might refer to I cannot imagine that many gave it more than a passing thought, yea or nay. It would, in my opinion, help her cause more if she engaged in one-on-one conversations with people but that didn't seem to be something she wanted to do with me. Speaking one on one appeared to make her uncomfortable.

So I left her to her penance, wishing her luck but not saying what for. And she didn't ask, just smiled and went back to her corner. When I drove by after my interview she was gone, her time of servitude over, I suppose.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Deja Vu

I’m sitting in the Aztec Restaurant, the same little restaurant I used to write in when I first moved to New Mexico.  Within its simple atmosphere I would come as often as I could afford to splurge on eating out (at times it was only a soft drink or tea and they were gracious enough to never complain about how long I sat) and dream the dream of all writers. 

There’s an interesting sense of déjà vu as I work at one of the same red vinyl tables, on my laptop now instead of in a notebook.  Since I’ve come to accept that change is my only constant, it seems an appropriate time to look back on the difference between now and then, and maybe even to look at the similarities.

I’ve published two books, experienced a small touch of success with the writing I took up again on moving out west.  Though I still dream the dream, I also know the reality now and it whets my appetite for more.  I’ve studied and graduated, created a career and left it behind and learned that life can be both kind and brutal and you can love it in both conditions.  I’ve watched my children grow and spread their own wings and they have each given me the greatest gift possible – the title of Grandma. And I’ve given Mother Earth back the mortal bodies of both my mother and my father, trusting her to send their spirits on their new path while I washed my grief clean with tears.

The time I was able to spend with them since I lived so much closer allowed their passing to leave me with memories rather than regrets.  Regret is an emotion that is only beneficial for a few short seconds.  After that it wears on the soul to no good end so I try to send it on its way as soon as possible when it visits.  But I do not in my heart regret moving west; I only grieve the pain that sent me here.

My lack of regret has been a gift of this place I now call home and I try to remember to thank the local spirits for giving it to me.  Years ago the phrase “go west, young man” sent many a gentleman to these lands to look for gold, fame or fortune.  If I used that phrase to someone today it would be to tell them this is the mother lode for creativity.  From a landscape that can inspire everyone from poets to horror filmmakers to a multi-ethnic culture that celebrates the diversity of each tribe that imprinted their ways and their stories on the fabric of this society, New Mexico is a loaded mine of the purest form of treasure for those looking to release their creativity into the world.  And as I sit in this familiar place, I start again to dream, to look at the world in that old familiar way and wonder what the coming years will allow to bloom in my life.  I can feel the excitement starting just thinking about it. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

In my journeys I have been accompanied by some amazing people whom I'm proud to call friends. Over the next few weeks I hope to introduce you to some of them. Today I get to start with my friend Laura Martin, who makes music from the heart.

My name is Laura.

I'm a musician struggling out in the world to make a difference. I've been told on numerous occasions that if I ever want to 'make it' I have to view myself and my music as a product or a business over seeing myself as a person. This is something I've struggled with for a very long time for multiple reasons, the first being that I've always had a hard time valuing my own ability and the second...well...what I love about music is the heart behind it and something about selling myself seems too separate from my goal of connection.
That's what music is to me, connection. I listen to music to feel something, to relate, laugh, smile,'s all feeling. I've recently started promoting myself on every social media I could find but in doing so I don't feel any closer to my goals.
I grew up in a small town in New Mexico and recently moved to Austin, Texas in hopes of pursuing my music career and expanding what I know of the world. It feels incredible to be a part of such a large city as opposed to a tiny little town that closes by 9. There is music and art everywhere I look and I don't think I've ever felt more inspired. Being here has finally opened my eyes to what I truly want, what will make me happy.I realized that it's not the idea of fame or fans (though support and ego stroking are wonderful things) that keeps my passion for music going, it's breathing it. Living it. In a place like this you don't have to go out and find the 'music scene' because it's everywhere. I don't think I understood just how desperately I needed to move to a place that was bursting with creative people, people who appreciate any and every talent.

Here, I am not a business or a product, I am that girl at the open mic with the cool guitar. My music has made me a part of a community, a part of a group where I feel accepted and appreciated, known or unknown. I feel welcomed. Thanks Austin, TX for embracing me with open arms and making me feel more at home than ever before. With my incredible husband and my beautiful guitar by my side, I feel so alive and determined to share who I am and what I love as humbly and honestly as I can. Thanks, Debbie for letting me share that with you and your readers.

If you want to stay posted on my adventures here in Austin, check out my blog at link should take you where you need to go! That's all for now!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for many more wonderful blogs from the intelligent, witty, talented and beautiful Debbie Doggett.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Blowing in the wind

Seventeen years ago, my life, which I had trusted up till then, kicked me out onto a freaking highway with traffic whizzing by me on all sides.  With very little warning I found myself scrambling to pull together some semblance of a new path that wouldn’t allow me to be run over by a passing whim of fate.  I told myself I should see this as a second chance, a do-over in which I could change some things.  And I did.  I made choices, good and bad, and learned there is a great deal of possibility in the universe.  I finished the obligations and responsibilities I’d begun before my detour and felt a sense of satisfaction with their outcome. 
Today I stopped the car and got out of my own free will.  Perhaps it’s wrong to try an old technique to gain a new perspective but I thought, hey, it worked before.  And this way I have a small bit of control over the impending consequences.  Or at least a bit of warning that they’re coming.  Every fool has his mantra and mine seems to be “change”.  Back all those years ago I lost the belief that life has any sort of permanency beyond letting us wake up and breathe enough mornings to call our existence living.  Then one day, true to its nature, it changes the plan on us.
At least this is the truth for some of us.  There are those out there who have lives with connections that keep them in place, like tie-downs in case of windstorms.  They don’t get blown off path and they never feel like they’ve been chunked out into a maelstrom.  But there are some of us who the universe apparently sees as dandelion seeds, meant to be carried along by the wind for the purpose of planting a kind of beauty not everyone can accept.  Or meant to blow in that selfsame wind until we reach the next plane of existence.  We touch down now and then, to plant bits of this and that along the way before we’re taken off on another torrent of change to face new landscapes, new highways.  And we always hope that what we leave behind roots and grows, allowing us a legacy of beauty that is some comfort along the road.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Traveling the interstate over the last few weeks, I’ve been more aware of the communication signs provide.  Or should I say aware of the lack of communication they provide.  They either came too late, didn’t contain the information I needed or didn’t communicate well with a car whizzing by them at 65 miles per hour.  I’ve gone miles out of my way because of a missed sign.

As I traveled I found signs served an interesting side purpose as well.  They became a tool for people to send their opinions and frustrations out to passing strangers, sort of a non-confrontational means of being heard.  Hard to argue with a handwritten sign posted on a closed door, although I know some folks who might find a way to make their opinion of the sign heard.

We are creatures who need to express ourselves and signs provide a way to do that.  Written communication allows for careful thought and preparation in a way that verbal communication sometimes doesn’t.  Words are important tools for creating doorways to ideas and the more thought we give them the better they work, the better they serve our need to be heard.  That need and its inevitable outlet remind us we are also a community, a living entity made of up of various organisms with different needs and ideas.  How we communicate those ideas and express those needs is vital to how well we function.  A body that listens only to its muscles is going to be out of balance.  A community that hears only one side or listens to only one voice will soon find itself out of balance too.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

And time keeps moving...

And time keeps moving…

It is no small thing to grow old.  That’s my take on the aging process.  One day you add up the number of years of your life and that number is no longer as small as it should be.  You begin to compare your days with all that has gone on around you and the effect can be daunting.  So can things that once appeared easy to do, like getting out of bed all in one motion.  I’m reminded of the scene in The Electric Horseman where Robert Redford comments that some parts wake up faster than others.  All of mine seem inclined to sleep in.

Time’s passage makes you aware of the hidden cost of the neglect you didn’t worry about in your twenties.  Every time you went “oh, it’ll be okay” will come back to haunt you.  Muscles remember and your bones know how to get even.  And they can do it without your cooperation.  Your brain is on their side when it comes to this revenge.  Actually your brain is taking its own holiday so it really doesn’t know or care what the rest of the outfit is doing.

All is not despair, though.  What is left is a purer form of desire than I had as a younger woman, and a greater longing for the things that occupy my heart.  Though my body may resist the physical impulses I try and connect it to, my soul flies higher than it ever has before.  And it complains less about the trip.  Age has enabled my soul to dream and to believe with a power that doesn’t depend on my physical state and time has allowed it a vision that sees further than the known world. When I was young and I watched my older family members sit in the sun with their eyes closed I assumed they were only sleeping.  Now I know they were flying free in their own minds, released from the physical limitations their bodies were forcing on them.  All of the places and people who filled their memories gathered round them on that mental journey and they could see and understand all those things that eluded them before.

But I know where all that physical energy has gone.  I’m watching it right now as it jumps around the living room to the music on the Mickey Mouse show.  It has been reformed into the younger bodies of my grandchildren and I can’t say I regret that.  I hope it serves them as well as it did me so when their time comes they have as much to remember and to dream about as I do.