Joli's Journal

Joli's Journal


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5 entries this month

A Handful of Dust

03:23 Dec 29 2008
Times Read: 1,167

I read and re-read Eliot’s Wasteland,

Agonizing over German lines

Like an old woman who writes in the dark,

Scratching mad thoughts into the varnish

Of the desk where her bottle waits patiently.

"And what care the cats?" I ask,

Les chats de Paris who delight my father away

From the fine musées et les Champs-Élysées,

The cats who stretch in the windows of shops

And drape over gargoyles baked in the sun.

The street’s sleight of hand conjures women

Who hide their hands, hurrying around prams

And Al Capone’s twin peddling sex and sin

To venerable men who forget their friends

And the impending scent of a funeral den.

My sister’s shoes reflect the hemline

Of my mother’s skirt. I wear their castoffs

Like yesterday’s news, still playing dress-up,

Toes pointing inward, most unlike a lady -

Most unlike the lady they dream I will be.

"And what care the cats?" I say,

Stretching in windows and nuzzling gargoyles

While magicians cry,“Is this your card? Is this?”

The cats who bat at tired old beards that smell of gin

And scratch their veiled thoughts in the dust.



11:24 Dec 29 2008

Magical .. yet sad.

22:16 Dec 29 2008

Tickling and teasing; the way you play with words. You cast upon them your enchanted spells; gesturing them into dance and frolic, the reader left your unwitting toy. And I'm left weakened to the knee, casting about humble words in failed attempts of appreciation -- "Superb".

06:38 Dec 30 2008

I really like the flow of this. If I were to describe it as a physical sensation I would say that it's like sitting high up in a mulberry tree that's swaying in fall wind. Warm and yet so cool.

20:44 Dec 30 2008

I love this with the images of cats lazing and looking bemusedly at the people leading their important lives.

22:41 Jan 08 2009

madame you never cease to amaze me


HockeyMouse, SavvyCat and BroomGirl

19:03 Dec 19 2008
Times Read: 1,253

About 2 years ago, my husband decided he didn't want to be married anymore. It was rough. Really rough. The girls were crushed.

A number of things occur in times like this...the world becomes a lot less familiar. You feel weak. Face it, you are weak. Your children will sense this. They will exploit it.

"Mommy, you know what will bring us closer together as a family? A kitten."

Like a cheap card table...they heard me blocks away as I folded, not a "no" left inside your normally sensible heroine.

So entered our lives, Savoir Faire "Savvy." She is a lovely girl whose spine melts away when you pick her up and she becomes a warm ball of purring love.


I wish the story ended here, but, alas...you knew it was a setup! I must interject here that I am afraid of mice...not just normal afraid...THIS kind of afraid:

This is important because Savvy likes to hunt mice and catch them. She likes to bring them home, without a scratch on them and free them in my house. Remember me...Clarice with a shaky gun knowing Buffalo Bill is going to leap out and kill her? Yeah, that's me, only instead of a shaky gun, I wield a broom as though it is both shield and weapon. Yes, I become Mammy Two shoes from the Tom and Jerry Show, yelling "Oh lord, there's a mouse in my house." Only, I say "fuck" a lot more.


If I encounter my foe, my big move (my only move) is to hockypuck him to one of the doors I immediately open. You'd think they would run right out, wouldn't you? A cat, a dog, and a crazy woman with a broom...you'd be wrong. Soooo wrong. They run under couches and climb and jump. They jump...freaking leap when they're afraid. This eases my terror none at all. I DEMAND that the rules state they must remain on the FLOOR.

So, here's how the game goes...cat and dog run after mouse...I see where they are and fling furniture aside, shaking the broom at anything I see, screaming and expletives flying. I am mindful all the while that my fear is irrational. Knowing does not help...it does not help! Occasionally, Savvy will press her paw down on the mouse's back, effectively pinning it to the floor. She looks up at me. The dog looks up at me. I say, "Don't look at me, I got nothin." I can almost see the cat shrug as she lifts a paw and the chase is on again!

Eventually, even the neurotic and pathetic get a break. I score a door net! I rush to close the doors. I slide down the wall in a rush of cold relief, the adrenaline begins to subside and my claw-like fingers loosen slightly from their white-knuckled grip on the broom handle. All is going to be well again. Order is again restored.

A flash of grey at my periphery. Oh god. The window. I forgot, for the love of god, to close the window. The cat shoots me a sympathetic look that says with a lick to her left paw, "That was close, it almost got away!" and the chase is on again.

The girls were right. She has brought us closer together as a family. How? The laughter. They think this ritual is hysterical. My spastic rodent response is nearly more than they can bear. They share it with their friends and my co-workers. When I protest, they remind me of "naked baby pictures" and I am chastened. Some. As long as I'm successful in keeping it off of YouTube. That would be a little more family closeness than I ever looked for :)



23:15 Dec 19 2008

Remind me to get you a hockey stick for christmas... you shoot right or left?

I'll burn an illegal curve into it, that should get the mice out the door faster...

23:53 Dec 19 2008

I can't stop laughing, the whole scene is sooo vivid and beautifully told.

What you need is for someone to come to the rescue!!

01:17 Dec 20 2008

$20 to the first daughter of yours that gets all of this on Youtube....

Wonderfully told!!!!!

02:25 Dec 20 2008

LOL this is great, and sooo true of how I feel about it as well... I do believe the rules should clearly state all mice/rodents shall stay on the floor. Also all bugs shall die on first strike.

07:33 Dec 20 2008

If they put up the image on youtube, I can help you with a lovely montage of embarrassing pictures of them set to some interesting music:P

14:08 Dec 20 2008

$20? I'll provide the camera and pay $50!

All to benefit the center, of course.. ;)

15:38 Dec 23 2008

You tell a wonderfully vivid story.

Now Tom and Jerry come to mind along with the broom wielding, bandana wearing, big hip bearing Mammy.

Too funny!

01:29 Dec 25 2008

Ha.. you should have come to the little camp with us in Vermont... Khornesone had to catch the damn thing with his hand. He learned two things that day...One.. they can run along insulation and two.. after throwing it out into the lake, that they swim rather well... Why he threw it in the lake I dont know but he did.

Anyways.. good mousers are hard to find it seems. I know ours shake the damn things to death untill their heads snap. We cant even have the little fake ones in the house... they tear them apart.

I think I can loan you one of our kittens but they demand pets daily and wet food on sundays.


Writing With Joli

05:44 Dec 18 2008
Times Read: 1,286

So, you want to write, but you're stuck. How about a writing exercise?

There are two focusing exercises that I use. Come on into my brain and play...let's see if we can get you writing :)

1. Tackle a small project first. The Japanese wrote using concise language. Each syllable was vital. this is an exercise of editing out the unnecessary...sweeping away your cobwebs.

It doesn't even matter if you think the outcome is great...when you are done, you will have completed a writing task. Your brain will have stretched like a runner before a race. You will be in the zone.

OK, let's get started: A basic haiku format (traditional) used syllable counts in 3 lines

Line 1 has 5 syllables - Evergreen needles

Line 2 has 7 syllables - Wearing white in the still wood

Line 3 has 5 syllables - Dreaming of sparrows

A haiku traditionally focused on seasons or nature in at least one line of the poem. Make sure you count your syllables:

Ev er green need les = 5. If you struggle with this, rest your chin on the back of your hand, about where the knuckles are. Each time you feel your jaw drop, that's 1 syllable :)

Now you have a finished piece of writing that follows a revered tradition that dates back at least as far as the 1600s. I wrote mine while writing this tutorial just now, so it's not beyond you. You are ready to tackle anything!

2. Imagery cues. I use this a lot. I like to paint pictures with words. To get my brain ready to do that, I think about what topic I might like to cover. (If you are having a block, pick anything...this is about process and getting your brain in gear.)

Once I have my topic, I look at pictures for those that catch my eye. I think about why they grabbed my eye and I try to write what I see. You can do this exercise with books, magazines, artwork in museums, or on the street as you're walking. For our purposes, we'll Google. I don't have anything prepared. I want you to come along as the process unfolds.

OK, for a topic... I might like to explore loneliness and isolation. Those are great cathartic subjects for me. I'm leaning toward maybe a female who sits alone and watches the world go by at a pace she feels out of sync with, not knowing how to be a part of it.

(My topic is a bit abstract. It doesn't need to be. Yours might be as concrete as the shine on your car's new paint.)

OK...I am going to begin with googling "lonely" and hitting Images. I see a man beside a beach, a cartoon of a stick figure and a rain cloud, an image of a man in an alley, and a figure sitting on a cliff, silhouetted with water behind her.

Immediately, I am drawn to the alley and the figure on the cliff. I click on the images to see them at full size

In this one, I think about what strikes me. In the alley, the darkest point is the figure. The alley itself is bright, seeming to spotlight the person. I imagine the windows being accusational and the doorways echo the sounds within in a mocking fashion..."she" is not welcome/does not belong here.

I open Word and write a few lines about my experience with that image

Where streetlights are spotlights

Her shadows hold fast

While she slogs past windows

With her mother's eyes behind every pane

Pulling her coat tight round her frame

To ward off the laughter of doorways,

In on the joke of the welcome mat

I would repeat that process with enough images until I had lines to work with...material!

I go through my lines and play with the ones I like, which then becomes a surfing exercise within my own imagination...my springboard.

If I get stuck, I can repeat the process with other images in that search, or look up even another related topic. And voila! You're writing :)

Please let me know how these exercises work for you. I hope you enjoy! Keep writing.



14:06 Dec 18 2008

Excellent suggestions and ideas even for an experienced writer.

16:55 Dec 18 2008

Don't worry, the VRtards will promptly ignore your sage advice in their hurry to push out "The Life and Times of a Misunderstood Spirit: A Journey Into the Blackness of My Indelible and Miserable Essence - Part Four of Seven". I hear they were mistakenly introduced to the concept of rhyming this time.

20:18 Dec 18 2008

Bad poetry that rhymes...that's like a kick to the head followed up by a complimentary enema.

07:36 Dec 20 2008

I am going to choose to push the thoughts of complimentary enemas out of my head and say that when I next do some writing, I will try this:) Thank you:)



20:21 Dec 11 2008
Times Read: 1,313



Well Rehoboth

18:30 Dec 01 2008
Times Read: 1,482

I have drunk from the well of “What does it matter?”

Cupping my hands to convey life to my lips.

I am an unsatisfactory vessel, leaking precious gifts

Through the fissures of my fingers,

Spilling it all upon the earth who suckles greedily

At the bosom of my great folly.

Barefoot and bowing before my own reflection,

I uncurl my toes and give away all purchase,

A footing ever tenuous upon the shore.

The water reaches up for me,

Gently clasping me to her chest

Cool and soothing to my fevered flesh.

I have pulled air into my clockwork parts by day,

Struggling at night to exhale the truth of myself,

My ragged breath a plea for metaforgiveness

While I kick and flail, always searching for buoyancy,

Always searching for buoyancy. I need stillness

Like the river reeds need the wind to stroke their hair.

Suffuse the light blue, please, my God.

Cast the blue shadows across the water

Where the ripples yet remain.

Receive my breath and my life,

The soft blue light lacing my lashes closed.

Love me so I may struggle no more.



18:36 Dec 01 2008

Thank you to all who troubled to write me and ask that this section remain open. I don't know how often I will write here, but I never expected the messages I received. So, from time to time, I will add my scribbles for those who have expressed that they find some enjoyment here. I'm touched by you all.

18:37 Dec 01 2008

The last verse of this is so beautiful, it exudes peace. The line "I need stillness like the river reeds need the wind to stroke their hair." makes me purr. I love that mental image so much. It makes me think of the way grass ripples like the sea in fields, my favourite thing in the world to watch when I was growing up.

Thank you for posting this:)

18:55 Dec 01 2008

"Barefoot and bowing before my own reflection"

I love that image. :)

19:05 Dec 01 2008

That was wonderful.

19:30 Dec 01 2008

*stands in quiet awe*

19:36 Dec 01 2008

Nothing I can convey in praise of your gifts to the world can rise above "urhhgg, Grog likes". But that is only the case because it is impossible to find words that are other than shamed when held against your art, in the hope of describing these pieces of you. I have never before seen such a peacefully written, relaxed transition from the struggles of life to the welcomed embrace of perfect slumber.

Welcome back

05:27 Dec 02 2008

"Where the ripples yet remain."

For a second I thought you wrote.. "Where the NIPPLES yet remain."

I said to myself... no... Nipples? This can't be my Joli!

19:45 Dec 02 2008

Yet another gem ... so intoxicating!

03:06 Dec 11 2008

I am glad that you still post here so that we can read it. You have no idea how your words move some of us.

Thank you for this gift.

17:56 Dec 16 2008

Please, let me add my ten pennies worth.

"Geez, you're good!"

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