This is the Forest Primeval

""This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,
Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.
Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

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Stagger Onward Rejoicing

This wasn't what I thought my joy-filled great adventure of my first week on the road would look or feel like in the imaginary Hollywood movie script I wrote in my head as I sold my belongings and packed up the remaining pieces of my life over the past month and a half.

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Where the Rubber Meets the Road

I am writing this blog on Wednesday night on an airplane flying from Albuquerque to Oakland, because on Sunday morning (when I usually write), I will be saying goodbye to my home and driving away from Santa Fe. Thus the title of this blog, you might be thinking. . .but really that rubber on that road is maybe a tertiary meaning. . .

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The Buick and the Cadillac

This has been a L-O-N-G week of days that have started at 3AM and ended close to midnight, most of which have consisted of about 15,000 plus steps (according to my weary Apple Watch) with heavy boxes in my hands. In fact, I can hardly type without wincing, because almost every finger has a hairline crack.

My week began with a 500 mile drive, middled with sorting through 60+ boxes (28 of which just went to the shredder -- yippee!!), and ended with three days of setting up and overseeing an "estate" sale. None of which could have been accomplished without the generosity and kindness of many many loving people who pitched in to make this all possible.

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May Day Mayday

I've been on the road again for almost two weeks now -- and as I always try to do, I have practiced joy every day. . .which often seems easier when I am traveling. There is always something new to see, do, discover -- and that always brings me joy. As does spending my weekends at horror conventions talking with horror fans about the love we share for my father. But there is one aspect of being on the road that does not bring me any joy -- the feeling of always being behind in my work. The emails that go unanswered, bringing second emails that can be testy reminders of the jangling To Do List in my head. (As if I could forget!)

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Monster Kid of the Year

This weekend I was awarded my very first horror award: I was named the Rondo Award Monster Kid of the Year, as voted by the fans. As any horror fan knows, this is a big deal! It is given to the person who has done the most to preserve and promote the horror genre.

A few years ago, I wouldn't have known what the Rondo Awards were -- nor would I have aspired to receive one. Now, I couldn't feel more honored to have been given an award that means so much to me.

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Three Words

I had dinner last night with a charming and funny Welshman named Ilt, who travels the world for his job as a location manager for the movies. He had just come back from Vietnam and Japan.

Wherever he goes, he plays a little game, inspired by his time spent at Wadi Rum in Jordan. There, the description of T.E. Lawrence kept echoing though his mind. Lawrence wrote of the monolithic rockscapes: They are "vast, echoing, and God-like". Ilt finds his own three words to capture the essence of every place he visits.

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The Privileged and the Pilgrim

Hidden meanings. We all love to find them. Playing Beatles songs backwards to uncover hidden Satanic messages. Whole literature classes devoted to unpacking the meanings underneath the words -- as if the beautiful story in and of itself was not enough. Poems. Parables. Koans. Perhaps our belief that there are messages everywhere just waiting for us to find them one is means of assuaging our anxiety about living in a Great Unknowing, our desire to find at least a key to the Great Mystery.

For those of us who tend to be silver-lining types of people, Pollyannas at heart, when something difficult occurs, we tend to look for the greater good, for the lessons we are learning, for the hope and the healing.

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My Red Shoes

When I was a little girl, my family and I always watched The Wizard of Oz when it came on television every Thanksgiving weekend. In this age of instant gratification, it is lovely to remember the eager anticipation of seeing someone in person whom you have missed (Facetime is NOT face-to-face) or of seeing a beloved film for which you had to wait every year. People who service in the military or who are in long-distance relationships still experience this, but the blessing and curse of technology has largely rendered us a now-or-never society.

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Don't Speak

I wrote my blog for this week, but I just don't have the heart to post it. So, it will have to wait. 

Problem is, I'm fresh out of words. After a slaughterhouse of a week, I find I am left with far more questions than answers. So, I plan to spend this Sunday welcoming spring among the wildflowers here in Austin. I pray they will have some of the answers I need -- the ones that come without words, but with the reminder that no matter how tough the winter, we will all bloom come spring

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Room for Blooming

In the wee hours every morning this week, I have woken up with these words running through my head: "Maybe the sorrow born inside this moment is the gift we've been waiting for -- just had to own it."

They're lyrics from part of the refrain in a song I love by ALO (Animal Liberation Orchestra) called "Room for Blooming". The rest goes like this: "In the story how we grow, become the humans that we always were heading for -- just needed room for blooming."

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And the Nominees Are. . .

Last weekend, I did something so unlikely that I actually took myself by surprise. When the ballot came out for the annual Rondo Awards (the best horror events, publications, compilations etc of the previous year as voted by horror fans), I nominated myself as a write-in. But before I tell you for which award, I should share why it was such a totally uncharacteristic thing for me to do.

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The Scent of a Century

Saturday would have been my mother's 99th birthday. (She passed in March 2002.)

I decided to "spend the day with her". Even though she was someone who never celebrated her birthday, I realized that I had written blogs this past year in honor of both my father's and stepmother's birthdays. So, the idea came to me to spend the day connecting with my mother's legacy of joy to me.

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Dog is Love

My journey back to joy started one month before my 49th birthday -- in March 2011. I looked at myself in the mirror and I thought, "I'm doing everything right. I have everything I thought I wanted. And I'm miserable. I can't keep doing what I'm doing." Miserable, of course, is relative. I had a wonderful partner, a beautiful home, a successful business, and two amazing dogs. But what I didn't have was my soul. Somewhere, far too far back for me to remember, I had lost it. 

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I wrote my blog post on Friday. This isn't it.

This has been a rough rough week. My Friday blog post was written in a brief moment when the dark clouds parted and a little sunshine came through. I'm not feeling that sunshine this morning, and so that post will have to wait until I once again feel what it says.

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The Art of Joy/The Joy of Art

One of the perks of having spent so much of my life traveling is that I have friends all over the world. This past week in New York, I had the pleasure of visiting a number of them -- and even introducing a few of them to one another. On Thursday, I met with a friend whom I have known since elementary school, and then introduced her to a new friend from seminary. It was so much fun seeing them connect -- and to have two ends of the timeline of my life meet in a new middle! 

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Tears of Joy

I never cried until I was 24 years old.

When I was old enough to understand, my mother explained to me that crying meant you were "feeling sorry for yourself". She reminded me how much I had to be grateful for and made it absolutely clear that crying was unacceptable. Punishable, in fact. And so, I didn't cry. Not ever.

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The Joy of the Ordinary

This is the first week when I have gotten to the weekend with nary an idea about what I wanted to write in this blog. To be honest, it's been a rough couple of weeks. Some serious soul searching and big, difficult decisions, along with driving 1,500 miles back and forth to Texas in three days, has left me feeling pretty depleted. My daily practice of joy has felt lackluster at best. 

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The Public Eye

Growing up in the public eye back then was certainly not what it is now -- with long-lensed paparazzi stalking celebrity's every move. 

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