This Journal is Friends Only.

This journal was public for eight years. Now it is friends only, and expected to stay that way, in the interests of personal privacy and because I now think that intimacy should take some effort. I'm still more than happy to make new friends, so feel free to add me if we have things in common or you think we will connect on a personal level and I'll check you out and add you if I don't see a reason not to.

If you followed this journal when it was public and have specific posts you wish were still public, please let me know; in all likelihood, I'll cheerfully make them public again for you.

If you are interested in my work as an auspex and/or wise woman, please follow me at either wrenstarling or at my main account at Dreamwidth. Thanks!
Jenny 11

Second Chance Idol: What the heck WAS that?

She stumbled. It was green. And, um...blobby. To pursue or to run away? A question for the ages...a question of character. The smart person runs away. The curious person pursues. Smart AND curious people are in something of a pickle. Hey, pickles are green! She could really do with a pickle right about now. (What does an ADHD person do? Thinks about eating pickles and forgets all about the blobby thing until seven hours later. But her son isn't here right now.)
Okay...in the end...she is smarter than she is curious and she runs away.

Home. Safe. Pickle consumption imminent. Oh, god, she better not be pregnant again! Twice was ENOUGH. (Even though she really, really loves her boys and has never truly regretted them for a second.) Okay. Time for a walk. Possibly there are green blobby things everywhere; she was just on a short walk so her very rapid return trip was hardly reliable data.

Cautious (because smart, curious people are), she begins to walk. So far, the only green things are the hedges, nicely boxed by the neighbor who is much more landscape-conscious than herself. She would have moss or something like that if she could so she wouldn't even have to mow, but her husband is not ready to be that non-conformist and it's not like they can afford the cost of redoing all the landscaping like that anyway. Right. Green blobs. Was that something? Out of the corner of her eye, she could almost, but not quite, swear she saw something minty green and gelatinous. It's gone now. And here comes Bob around the corner of his house, waving hello. She waves back as appropriate. Could Bob be possessed by a green gelatinous being? Or have, in fact, been one all along? Wasn't there a movie like that? What was the name of that movie about blobs? DUH. The Blob. So original. If The Blob is happening in reality, she really doesn't want to know. Having the world ACTUALLY end like a second rate horror movie is just too tragic to know about in advance. So, either Bob is not a blob or she really, truly does not want to know.

With one last suspicious look around that yields no further gelatinous sightings, she turns sharply around and heads into her house, stopping first to check the mailbox. Nothing in there but some goo.


You have GOT to be kidding me...

Second Chance Idol: Nothing Good Will Come Of This...

She shows up to school late. Again. After the last humiliating episode in which her fourth grade teacher tore up her mother's note and threw it in her face, she cannot face going in. She tries to catch her mother, but too late. She panics, cries; finally a woman walks by and helps her call her mother from the pay phone.

Nothing good will come of this.

An abrupt transfer to a new school, where she finds a best friend and teachers that inspire and support her.

She hangs over a toilet, having puked the last of the vodka from her system, annoyed by the non-stop lecturing from the recovering alcoholic who helped her to the bathroom after she started tossing her cookies during Rocky Horror. Later, she will call her parents and they will tell her how disappointed in her they are as they put her to bed.

Nothing good will come of this.

The memory of walking and talking and heartfelt connection with a friend who would later die much too young, much too tragically.

This BOY takes her on a mysterious drive, ending up at a forest preserve. They walk together and when she stops to sit and have a smoke, he asks her out. She has just been dumped by her boyfriend of two years and this boy is young and cocky and they have almost nothing in common besides the D&D game they met playing. She informs him that...

Nothing good will come of this.

Seventeen years (and counting) and two beautiful boys.

Her father kills himself in a fatal medication reaction the day of her long awaited baby shower. SURELY...

Nothing good will come of this.

She never has to doubt that his death was unintentional; he'd never have done it on that day of all days!

She sits in her room, struggling, and writes:

Midlife Crisis

I am lost and alone
in a sea of possibilities
Worst part of it is
no one actually knows

I don't know how to tell them
I don't know who I am anymore
What I want or don't want
If I even care.

There's my path, right over there
But my feet aren't on it anymore.
I'm floating somewhere above and behind,
Staring at the trees that line it.

I'm thinking of nothing
Of suicide, sometimes. Pointlessness.
Of obligations. Plans. Love.
But mostly I'm just staring.

Lost and alone in a sea...
At sea.

Nothing good will come of this.

The words allow her to finally say something to her spouse, who understands and supports her.

She is still stumbling around, trying to find her way all over again.

Surely nothing good will come of this.

Jenny 11


For those who want to, here's this week's vote at LJ Idol.
On the down side, even if I survive the general vote, there's a contestant only vote that could still result in my elimination! Oh, well. There's always Second Chance Idol, I just hoped to have more time in the main competition before I got bumped!
Jenny 11

Lj Idol: Ultra Deep Field


Drenched in Green

Fall into me.
Get lost in my damp growth.
From the blue-black I come,
Insects and worms my hidden fuel, my nursemaids,
Cool death, my old friend, my sacred nest.
I stretch upward, always upward.
I meet the sun – the sun!
Warm and welcoming,
Life flowing through me,
In and out and out and in.
I am alive. Alive. So alive.
And now
I grow!
I am green and
I grow.
I am abundant.
More than any one thing,
I am all things!
Life and death,
Dream and waking,
Gift and giver,
Take from me, please!
I grow.
I am abundant.
Let me feed your soul.
I will keep you warm.
I will keep you whole.

Special thanks to elfinecstasy, who linked to the photo and who knows a thing or two about colors.
Jenny 11

Foxy Lady




The small fox trots softly from the woods, a sly smile on his face as he answers the supplicant's call; quietly, "Yes?"

It's a boy. It's almost always a boy. Girls, even young ones, almost always know better. But boys...boys are his bread and butter. This boy is blonde and scruffy, in a t-shirt, jeans torn at the knees, dirty sneakers. The fox chuckles softly and hopes he can make this lesson fun. He is sly and sneaky and viciously clever, but he is not, is never, vicious. His supplicants amuse him, but he loves them, their enterprising spirit, their determination. This one is talking at him now.

"Oh, great god of deceit and trickery, who has done this to me? I am a girl! I don't like this boy body; it's not mine! Please, oh, please, help me get the right body!"

Well. That showed him! He ought to know better than to judge by appearances, master of that-which-isn't-what-it-seems-to-be that is he supposed to be! He walks closer to her, catches a delicate line to the chin, an angle of the body that whispers femininity. Oh. "So sorry, girl. I didn't see you there! Hanging on a washing-line three blocks away is a red and black patchwork skirt. Fetch it without being seen and return to me."

Tessa runs to do his bidding. She looks all boy as she scrambles over the fence of the McAllister house and furtively snatches the skirt, hanging just as the fox told her it would be. Hoping against hope that this is all the dangerous god will ask of her, she returns. The fox tells her to wear the skirt, and so she does, twirling in it. It fits her perfectly, the wavy black lines over dark red on this patch and the tiny black flowers on white on that one appeal to her eye. It is her skirt, meant for her. She wears it over the torn jeans, tucks the black t-shirt into the waistband. She looks adorable.

Shenanigans watches her twirl and smiles his sly smile. “Now, girl, you must prance in your most girlish prance down the center of your street when the sun is high and bright in the sky.”

Tessa sees his smile and puts the steel into her spine. She must be brave and fearless, or she will pay dearly for crossing the fox. She spares a thought for the consequences but she must act with the careless courage of a child of Shenanigans. She does as she is told, making it into a little parade, carrying a baton and encouraging others to follow behind, smiling and laughing and dancing.

Everyone laughs. The neighborhood is amused. They are not so amused when she comes out of her house the next day in the skirt, this time with girl shoes and a white blouse. What is this? Odd. Strange. Acceptable?
Her parents are not amused. They have fought so hard to keep her safe from those who do not understand boys who are really girls and now she betrays them. But the McAllisters are long familiar with being different and she is snatched safely into the very home she stole the skirt from, given a bedroom and a place to hang her skirt.

That night, the fox slips between her parents as they sleep in their bed. He softly nips their ears and then growls low. Suddenly each is in the wrong body. Their frightened eyes meet and suddenly they feel steel pouring into their spines even as their vision returns to the one they have seen every night for twenty years. They’ve been warned and seen the light. In the morning, they are at the McAllisters' door, wearing each other's clothes in silent solidarity, apologies on their lips and in their open arms, into which Tessa runs.

Oh, it will be a long road. Two houses do not make a town. But two houses are two houses and more will come.

That night, the fox flips reality on its ear for Tessa and her body matches her soul.

Shenanigans trots back to his woods, tossing over his shoulder as he goes, “Happy unbirthday, little girl!”
Mars Sunset

LJ Idol: Throw The Little Ones Back

My father. My father was a fisherman. (Or he was a man who fished, but I think he'd prefer the former.)

I remember standing on a dock on a lake in Wisconsin. I was maybe seven or eight years old. We were literally on our way out, annual camping trip over, but we hadn't fished. The weather had been bad or something; I don't remember. I think my shirt was orange or red. I remember orange and red, anyway. I do know that the sunlight sparked on the water. Or was it gray and gloomy and I am conflating memories? Either way, my memory today is of sunlight sparking on the water as we caught tiny bluegill after little bluegill, hoping for one just big enough to keep. Not that we would have kept one anyway, since we were leaving, so I don't know why we were determined, but we were. (We being me, really; I don't think my little sister, at four or five, really cared and my parents certainly knew we weren't keeping any.) I suppose there was always an outside chance we'd take one home if it was perfect; but, of course, as anyone who has fished off a dock populated by little bluegill could tell you, they were all too small. So we fished (not for long...we were leaving after all) and tossed back fish and left.

I don't know why I have that memory. Nothing of note happened. It wasn't the first or last time I fished off a dock on a camping trip with my family. I genuinely don't know why.

But I'm glad. I'm glad for every memory that I associate with my dad. We were very close and he died very tragically and way too soon. Not so soon that he didn't walk me down the aisle, and that memory is there, too...my dad tripping over my train as he walked back from walking me down the aisle, just like he did in the rehearsal and we all laughed and said he should be careful not to do it in the actual wedding. But he did, and we laughed again, inwardly, because we were all trying to be serious, of course. My dad was not a clumsy man. He was always incredibly capable and able. There was nothing my father couldn't do. Well, except not yell when he lost his temper, which he did all the time, but I was just like him and so I understood, even if it was really awful because my dad was booming and dark and, therefore, scary, even though he would never have dared to lay a hand on me. (My mom would probably have killed him on the spot. Not for any reason other than that she was just a tad fierce about her children.)

Anyway. Memories. Sometimes the little ones matter. Sometimes the little ones are what you have. I take it back; there is one memory of my dad I'd like to forget. I stood and looked at him in the casket at his funeral and I did it, and I really looked, because it seemed the thing to do, but I hated every second of it and I couldn't get out of there fast enough because my father was DEAD and that wasn't really him and yet it was and I just had to get out of there. My poor husband, trying so hard to support me and bewildered by my sudden rush to leave at the end because I had to get out of there because I kept seeing my father in his casket and I was going to lose it and I couldn't explain.

I was nine months pregnant. My dad, in a rare reaction to the medications he'd recently been on, shot himself the day of my baby shower. He was not depressed. He did not, in any way but technically, commit suicide. My long awaited first child was born not even a month after my father died.

The last memory I have of him is saying goodbye. He'd come to our place to go through some old records they'd left with us before we got rid of them to get any he wanted to keep. He picked a few out to take back with him. He put his hand on my belly and smiled at me and walked to the car. The last thing I ever said to him, as is and has always been my habit with the people I love, was, "I love you! Bye!". That one I wouldn't throw back for anything. That one kept me whole and sane in a broken and insane time.

P.S. Oh, I remember! We fished till my sister caught one, because she really wanted to. It may have been her first time fishing, maybe. Now, throwing little sisters back...that I could kind of get behind. (Just kidding, Kate! Really!)
Be Yourself

LJ Idol: Am I Crazy?


No, I am really, truly not.

Did you know that crazy ultimately means "shattered"?

I'm not shattered. I've never been shattered. I am one of the most whole people I have ever known. I was BORN whole.

Don't get me wrong. I've been through shit. I've been through shit BECAUSE I'm whole. Because my personal integrity was so fucking total that I couldn't break myself apart if I tried.

I cannot show you just parts of myself. They are all so deeply intertwined, so totally one whole, that you get me, all of me, every time.

I am always a mother. I was a mother when I was a child. I mothered anyone and anything that would let me till I finally had children of my own and that energy could be directed where it was always intended to go.

I was always a mystic. Even when I went years steadfastly refusing to have anything to do with it, my mysticism still leaked out when I wasn't looking and no one was ever surprised by my spirituality. There's Jenny, communing with the trees again.

I was always a philosopher. No, I never bothered to try to hide that one! My small talk always turns deep...or meanders into awkwardness because, seriously, why the hell would I talk about meaningless shit when I could talk about meaningFUL stuff, maybe get some of my questions answered, get a new perspective, verify or alter my theories...yeah, that's good stuff right there!

I came into the world a force to be reckoned with. Big, bold, serious, smart, terrified, bossy...a list of words as long as my arm, and I still am. Me.

I am whole. Unwillingly, brutally, epically whole. Love me or hate me, I cannot be anything other than myself.

I learned to accept that some people should just take a look and walk away, and that's okay. The people who stay? They love me. They fucking love ME.

And I am so very, very blessed in the safety of that love that I am reasonably confident that nothing will ever truly break me.

For all the people I love who are so very, very shattered, I live and love as hard and fierce as I can, wholeheartedly. I don't know any other way.
Jenny 11

LJ Idol: Introduction

Just because you are good at something doesn't mean it is your life's calling. It took me a lot of years to finally learn that. I'm a good writer. I have always been a good writer. Sometimes I've had brushes with great writing, but we'll stick to calling me a good writer; not because I'm humble, but because I am well-read and know perfectly well that there are hundreds, maybe thousands or even hundreds of thousands that write way better than I ever will. I'm pretty sure that the number doesn't hit the million mark, though, so I feel pretty secure with "good". Anyway, why am I writing this, then? Because, after all, I AM a writer. Writing, I like to say, is my first language. Talk to me in person and I will repeat myself. I will get ahead of myself. I will stumble and I will fail to successfully communicate sometimes. All of that happens a lot less when I write. I like writing. I like using words, letting them be all they can be instead of just the utilitarian tools they spend most of their time being.

I'm also a mother, a soon-to-be ministerial student (but also an atheist! Yay for Unitarian Universalism!), a spouse, a wise woman, a bird oracle, bisexual, deep, creative, intuitive, reasonable, rational, analytical, skeptical, a realistic optimist or optimistic realist, and probably a thousand more things, but there's my off-the-cuff me.

Ready for some poetry? Here's what I consider an example of one of my brushes with being a great writer. (Hey, I forgot to put "poet" in that list, didn't I? Oops. :))

Self Portrait

I stare in the mirror.
Green eyes stare back through rectangular spectacles
set on a round face.
Nose slightly too large, cupid’s bow lips tilt slightly down on the left side.
Silver streaks through hair that, despite the romance novel provenance, can only be described as chestnut.
This, then, is me, aged 37, mother of two children, beloved wife of fifteen years.

Still, inside me, the Milky Way swirls in mad, beautiful spirals.
Wild horses run through green, green fields, wind whipped manes trailing.
A little girl cowers in fear, hiding behind billowing, stifling curtains.
A prancing princess, a jaded, sensual madame, a wicked witch flash by.

There is all this to me and more, like the promise of some bad commercial, but real.

The greatest gift of my childhood was being a child for elderly people.
Trembling hands and white hair and gentle, gentle touches and smiles.
I loved them, each and every one, and I was old and young at once and I always would be.

And here I am, turning the wheel of my life, shifting downward even as I work out five days a week
For the first time in my life, I understand the magic heat that suffuses a body at just the right point of exertion, where you slip outside time for a while.

Time, which has always been so fluid for me, no wonder I wear a watch,
to hold on to the fleeing moments,
to check where I’m supposed to be and what I’m supposed to be doing because my mind has too many other things to do.
How was I ever, ever bored?

Who am I? Who are youuu, asked the caterpillar, and I answer
With silence ticking in my ears
I am my father’s daughter, my mother’s challenge, my grandmother’s pet, my grandfather’s angel.
I am my husband’s world, my children’s strength, my loved one’s comfort.
I am a mad, wild, boring, safe, wicked, sensible, something or other of a thing.

There’s light in my eyes.
There’s love in my (old, old) soul.
There’s one foot in front of the other
One way or another.

I’m walking my road.
What about you?

I'm 39 now, and life knocked me off the exercise wagon, but the rest of it is still true. Welcome to this part of my journey. I hope we enjoy walking together.