Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Oyster from Below the Deck

The Oyster from Below the Deck

Approaching land, dark blue waters
Transformed steadily to clear teal
The boat anchored, so I dove down
And ascended with something real:
A tightly shut Oyster I held
In my dripping, salt-wrinkled hands
Grey and modest it did appear
Next to bright Polynesian lands
This Mollusk I dared not open
Though desired to desperately
To hold what lay tucked deep inside
And to cherish its mystery:
The rarity of its Black Pearl
Purer than bricks of refined gold
More replicated than love songs
Humbler than the crowned kings of old
Truer than strict grammar lessons
Stronger than a diamond's heartbeat
More simple than sweet melodies
And rounder than these blushing cheeks

And most mysteriously: a
Thirst for Water not even the
Ocean could quench; a depth-hunger
Satiated only by Truth

So closed, the oyster would remain
Back to the reef it did belong
With brilliant clams, not with me
Keeping it would have felt so wrong
Me, the owner of a dented
Treasure chest locked and without key
Understood well, and honestly
My heart's not at all worn on sleeve
So from damp fingers the oyster
Slid, and I learned not easily
That our relationship was not
Mutual - it needed not me
And selfishly, it hurts to think
Of another's longing stare to
Get even a glimpse of the pearl
I've know all along to be there
But I guess that's where surrender
Begins - hands open from the start
Willing to let go once you hear
The Captain say it's time to part

Still, I dream of wearing this rare
Black Pearl safely around my neck
On the land, I will remember
The oyster from below the deck

Kariana Reyes

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Big Bear Lake Writing Retreat

Last month, my friend Shannon and I decided to create our own writing retreat to focus on some individual projects we are working on. We booked an adorable cabin up in Big Bear Lake, CA, and wrote and read until we were both restless. When that happened, we'd hike, explore The Village, and go for tea or coffee (the old soul and crafter in me went to a few lovely quilt shops as well).  Once we were refueled, it was back to writing and reading!

We both wanted to be intentional about writing, but also had individual goals and times of day we write best, so our schedule was not strict but rather flexible. I was typically found wide awake at 6:30 am outside with a journal and mug of hot tea, accompanied only by chipmunks and blue birds, whereas my friend would still be full of ideas at 11:00 pm (when inspiration came to me only in my dreams!).

I think it's safe to say we would both recommend personalized, flexible writing retreats for anyone desiring some focused, intentional writing time away. Nature worked for us, although I know others could be just as productive out in a city.

(You can read Shannon's account of our retreat on her blog, Isle of Books, where she has also written some great book reviews, some having come from our bimonthly book club).