Category Archives: letters

Today is August 28, 2017. I am alive and well.

The words! I collected them in all shapes and sizes, and hung them like bangles in my mind.   Hortense Calisher

Words are like shoes on the hooves of a horse, created by a blacksmith, marking the earth as she gallops, the earth a ready piece of paper.

Sentences propel me forward. I walk a mile with the word love on the tip of my tongue. I love the way the sun circles my chin. I love the way light lets me see the little Shih Tzu ten yards in front of me. Love mixes with my saliva creating a wet kiss. I kiss the cheek of my friend than wipe at it with my index finger leaving only a bit of residue. When it dries I kiss my friend again!

The word God rests in my palm, relayed to the bark of a tree I touch. I imagine gnomes in the trunk tunneling beneath the roots mining for ore. I shake Christy’s hand. God rests between us. God rests inside us. God brushes my ankle like a lizard looking for shade beneath my pant cuff.

Words are bees. They can produce honey or sting.

They make names and reference points. My friend Pat lives with two cats, TIkka and Lily, in a one bedroom condo below a Spanish tile roof. The three of them watch the moon from the patio, steady in the sky, winking in response to their stare.

Even if wordless words will still attach to me. A person says of me, “she toppled to her left landing on the grass a foot away from the picnic table.” Words later will feed me potato salad and slices of cheese.

I am glad for the scratch marks produced by my pen and the Times New Roman that marches across my monitor as I punch the letters of my keyboard creating, yes, words, sixty six words a minute.

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Today is July 24, 2017. I am alive and well.

So, I need your help. I have to date received 20 rejections from agents regarding my second book, Emma. I rewrote the query in the hope of making it stronger. Below is my new version. I would love it if I could get a yay or nay from you; nay you wouldn’t read the book based on the query, or yay, you would. Thanking you ahead of time. me

Emma, the Giraffe at the End of the Hall follows my book Mind Without a Home: A Memoir of Schizophrenia. Kirkus review called Mind Without a Home “inventive, jaggedly lyrical, and disturbing.”

Emma is my continued journey away from the crippling effects of schizophrenia. Unlike years ago, I am addicted to life. Life shows up in good form and in bad. The dark isn’t a terrible thing; it’s simply a moment without batteries. My mind is treating me well; dust stops at my ears. I am moving like a swan in sneakers without webbed feet. I am a little beetle surfing the air on a green leaf.

I make a home outside the psychiatric hospital with a lover, Guy, and two Shih Tzus. Seven years go by, and I remain hospital free.

I lose the lover and dogs without losing my mind. Guy was good to me for as long as he could be.

The book comes at a time when people with mental illness are targeted in the media after  hellacious acts on their part. The percentage of those challenged with mental illness committing a crime is really low. My account lets people know that someone living with schizophrenia can be a sane and productive member of society with no tendency toward violent behavior.

The book is imagistic, metaphorical, not always lucid but lucid in its own way; the hat covers my grandmother’s head allowing the air to slide along her nose. I still hear voices no one else hears. I still think things like there is a plate in my head that I need to dial into. And the other realities still exist.

Today, I am comfortable single with many friends to be responsible to. I am loved beyond the edge of language. A great sense of peace occupies my days.

I would be happy to send you more, or the entire manuscript, to help you decide if it is for you.

That is the end of the query. Someone told me I needed to drop one of these two sentences,”I am moving like a swan in sneakers without webbed feet” or “I am a beetle surfing the air on a green leaf.” Which one do you think I should cut out?

Again, thank you for your help.

Kristina

Today is July 10, 2017. I am alive and well.

Prior to sobriety, I was often lonely even in crowds of people. If I could have been at home with myself that might not have been the case. There was no coming home to myself and I was absent emotionally in my relationships with other people. I was a door with a rusty lock and a broken bell. I was a scratched window covered in grime. No one could get in or see in even though I was desperate for human contact.

Enter sobriety. Everything changed. Especially my social life. Especially my spiritual life. People wrote letters and dropped them through the mail slot in my self imposed door. They scrubbed my window clean, drying it with newsprint so as not to leave streaks. With effort, I opened the door. I looked out through the glass. There was dinner and coffees and movies and truth telling. So much so that it become a bit overwhelming. I am still an introvert. I now enjoy my own company with God at my center.

So today as a woman alone in her home, I will seek comfort from the spicy mustard colored walls that surround me and the ever present feeling of Spirit. The truth is, I am only as alone as I want to be. I can either set aside time to meet a friend or more importantly, marvel in the sense that all is right with my life. A bird just hit the window outside my study and bounced off. I too, can be that resilient. There are many ways to be in the world–four quarters make a dollar as does one hundred pennies, ten dimes, or twenty nickels. Currently, I am the paper dollar–a little frayed around the edges but still capable of buying two chocolate eggs. Cadbury. Fabulously delicious.

Today is January 30, 2016. I am alive and well

This is dedicated to two women whom make certain I don’t go without food or coffee. Guy also contributes to my financial affairs, although this is not about him.

Love Letter Written with a Wishful Penny Attached

I borrow letters from the alphabet at no cost to anyone. The letters never run out but occasionally get lost in the paper clips and rubber bands, the empty ice trays or rolls of toilet paper. How do I curve where we are headed without falling into the abyss of tired “Gs.”

This is about love. “Js” jump at the chance to be involved. I can handle one jack rabbit jumping over the name John; a dear John this is not. I’m trying to say this is about love. About love being so much more than a penny. Although, pennies can decorate an evening on a porch of a restaurant known for its linguini and musicians tucked in corners of the building, on low, serenading everyone.

I have little to offer others than letters and toothy grins. It’s a stretch for me to get this on paper because there is so much I want to give. I usually trust that most written words find their niche; they roll over on a line and butt up into a sentence. Sometimes an exclamation settles it, but usually it’s a period. Love is not lost with a dash. A dash simply means something else is a attached, maybe the geranium I spotted sitting in the window of Pete’s Pizzeria.

It feels like I am moving further away from you while enlisting all these words to form paragraphs. It was not my intention to write paragraphs. I was going to turn all this into a poem. My printer has plenty of ink. My type is showing off; it’s more useful to me than a magenta crayon. Crayons have to be sharpened and, well, magenta is too bright for me right now. I’m thinking more gray. Did I mention the band serenading the patrons?

How many letters ago was that? “A few,” you say, and aren’t I glad you finally showed up. I do know you were there all along like one does a dog leaving a muddy trail across concrete.

I am reminded of a poetry class I once attended. I would write long stretches of words and turn these stretches into the professor. At long last, the professor said “Kristina, I have yet to see a single poem from you!” So I wrote a poem, a very bad poem that contained poison ivy and love gone wrong.

My love for you is raw and bridled, reflected in the flank of a horse. It’s not sexual. There is no kiss that follows hello and walks away with a promise. We are not attached by anything greater than an intimate friendship; intimate because we show up to dinner vulnerable, willing to share anything that belongs to us, lingering just below the edge of consciousness.

I’m winding down like a girl who does “around the world” with her yo-yo, her yo-yo landing safely in her palm.