From the Ashes a Fire – Vol. 4

All of the elements have powers of destruction and creation: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, and even, from our love of movies, the fifth element of Love. All of these are interconnected and even weaved into us. We hold the elements as metaphors to our being. There isn’t a work of art, a story, a song, a poem, that doesn’t draw from the well of elemental symbolism in some way. We liken our passions to the crack and snap of burning flame, our calm can be linked to the gentle lapping of ocean to shore and our tremulous times to the rolling crashing waves churning the seas, a gentle breeze likened to soft memory – a gale to rage, and Earth–the tie that binds–holds us all together and centers us.

Of all these, I love Fire the most. Fire is the base of creation in a metaphorical sense; I’m a poet by nature so working with Fire is what I do. Fire is raw emotion: love, hate, fear, anger, rage. It’s the flame that sparks hope and keeps it burning; it’s a match struck in the face of fear and dropped into gasoline. Fire destroys, yes, but it destroys to heal and to forge new. It is our passions and the fire behind them that keep us working every day to be better, to do better, to become better. It’s that flame that lives in all of us that gets us through the hard times.

It’s that flame–that Fire–which drives us to strive for more.

There will be times when you’re at your lowest point.
You are the ash of a Phoenix with clipped wings that will never rise.
You are a broken levy,
unable to control the drowning of your household,
Strive.

Strive” by Carvens Lissaint and Miles Hodges

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“What matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”
– Charles Bukowski

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“Poetry is just the evidence of life.
If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”
– Leonard Cohen

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“The generous Critic fann’d the Poet’s fire, And taught the world with reason to admire.”
– Edgar Allan Poe

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“The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.”
– Voltaire

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“Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from The Eternal.”
– Dante Alighiere

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“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
– Maya Angelou

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“You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame;
how could you rise anew if you have not first become ashes?”
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra

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“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.”
– Rumi

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 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/Karen-Cusolito-Lights-Her-Artwork-on-Fire-179732741.html

Ecstasy by Karen Cusolito (source)

“Stick Boy liked Match Girl,
He liked her a lot.
He liked her cute figure,
he thought she was hot.
But could a flame ever burn
for a match and a stick?
It did quite literally;
he burned up quick.”
– Tim Burton
The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy & Other Stories

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“Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.”
– W.B. Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire

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Dive For Dreams

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)
trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backwards)
honour the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at this wedding)
never mind a world
with its villians or heros
(for god likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)

– e.e. cummings

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http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/Streichholz.jpg

Lighting a Match by Sebastian Ritter

Writer’s block

If I dared write
I would carve my words from a rock;
scrape a line with a flint
sparking off malachite,
or smell the sulfur linger from a struck match
as I flare what I feel to the world.
I would give you cadences Cuillin-sharp
or rolling as the ocean;
line breaks dangerous as a
ravine;
assonance subtle as the dying wind.
I would write of tears and dissolve your page.
I would write of drought
and you would scrape the dust from your hands.
The tinder of my parched heart
would spark forest fires.
I would growl a word
and you would hear the thunder.

Helen Nicholson

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“Anybody can become angry — that is easy, but to be angry with the right person and to the right degree and at the right time and for the right purpose, and in the right way — that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy.”
– Aristotle

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“The biggest problem for me was feeling that as I became more balanced and a better man that I wouldn’t have the fire to create from.”
– Nicolas Cage

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Attached to this
Ephemeral burning house
You yourselves light the fire, kindle the flames
In which you’re consumed
– Bankei

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“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”
– J. R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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The Invitation

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own, without moving to hide it, or fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own; if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, ‘Yes.’

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

– Oriah Mountain Dreamer

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Thank you for spending some time here with us this weekend! Be sure to stop in next weekend when Christy will blow us all away with the next element in the series. Until then keep your fires burning bright and don’t forget to dance like you just don’t care! Have an excellent week, Jennie

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Don’t miss this week’s fire-themed music playlist on YouTube:

Need even more of a music fix? Jennie and Christy’s personal playlists can always be found in the footer (when viewed on-line). As always, feel free to share your words in the comments; we love hearing from you!

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You May Enjoy These Past Words for the Weekend Volumes:

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49 comments

  1. Great selection …

    What about Fire by Arthur Brown. 1968!!! Taught Alice Cooper everything you know

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    1. That video is a trip, Graham! It makes me want a hat-o-fire. Who needs a flashlight or even a reading lamp when you have a hat-o-fire? (But dear god considering how clumsy I am, that could be pretty dangerous, haha.)

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    2. I’m with Christy, that made me want a hat-o-fire! How did I not know about Arthur Brown? Thank you for sharing this, the video was great, seriously loving his flaming hat! I’m going to guess that King Diamond must have been influenced by him as well, I’m recalling Diamond’s makeup being almost exactly the same!

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      1. Loads were influenced by him. I remember that performance and my brother buying the single. Carl Palmer was later in his band and Atomic Rooster was essentially his backing band without Arthur.

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        1. I remember back in high school everyone saying it was Alice Cooper who was the one who had been the influence for the others. Obviously they were quite wrong! Thank you for sharing the video and info about Arthur Brown, I can’t believe I missed him in all my music listening through the years!

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  2. C.K., Jennie, Diddy, Girl-on-Fire,

    HUGE CONGRATS ON YOUR DEBUT EDITION!!!

    This was brilliant–smokin’ hot!–and I am so thankful to have you as a co-currator/goddess of word.

    While, of course, I love Buk and Cohen (what a great way to start, even if you may have been indulging me a bit, LOL), you opened my eyes to some new gems. OMG, that spoken-word “STRIVE” had me feeling like I could take on the world (and also made me miss the stage and open mic nights of my youth). And the intensity of Nicholson’s “Writer’s block”? Wow.

    I would growl a word
    and you would hear the thunder.

    Love that.

    Your words smolder — I still hear the thunder rolling.

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    1. Thank you, Christy! I forgot how much fun it is to rummage around looking for quotes (and music and pictures) and then to put them all together! You, of course, know how much I’ve loved your Words posts since discovering them, being your co-curator? I can’t think of anything better than working words with my soul twin.

      Buk, I love his stuff! Cohen too but yeah, I know you love them 😉 And you had to know I was going to bring the poetry hard lol I LOVE Miles Hodges, I haven’t seen anything from him yet that doesn’t leave you feeling. He’s kind of like my Jonny Lang of slam poets.

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  3. And oh, your music kicks ass.

    One of my favorite “fire” songs is “Fire Woman” by The Cult. OMG, I had the biggest crush on Ian Astbury. Well, technically, I had the biggest crush on Ian’s hair.

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    1. I would have paid good money to have hair like that! The Cult is awesome!

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  4. Always be the flame, never the moth.

    Thanks for visiting and following my blog. I look forward to future connections!

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    1. Hi Gloria, thanks for visiting us as well. I just saw the name of your upcoming book of short stories, Men With Long Hair. It made me smile considering how I was just telling Jennie above how I had a crush on a rock singer’s long hair.

      Having been both the flame and the moth at different times in my life, I do think being the flame is preferable. Though you reminded me of a favorite poem, “The Lesson of the Moth”:

      and before i could argue him
      out of his philosophy
      he went and immolated himself
      on a patent cigar lighter
      i do not agree with him
      myself i would rather have
      half the happiness and twice
      the longevity

      but at the same time i wish
      there was something i wanted
      as badly as he wanted to fry himself

      That closing always gives me pause.

      Again, it’s so nice to connect! Warmly, Christy

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      1. I really laughed when I saw that you were confessing your crush on long hair. Great timing!

        I think that the “be the flame, not the moth” reference is from the musings of Casanova. Being the flame certainly worked for him:)

        Thank you, too, for sharing the poem. It does indeed give pause.

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  5. Loving the fire theme. Adore ee cummings: “Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.”

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    1. cummings is one of my top favorite poets. I had way too many to go in this post to start (including the poem in the quote you used!) and had to cull them down to one, since I know he’ll show up in my posts often. Talk about a hard decision! I’m glad you enjoyed the fire theme! 🙂

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    2. That’s beautiful, Britta, thank you! And I’m so happy you commented, yay! Never feel like you have to have something witty to say (per your other comment), haha, geez, I would never comment if that was the case. I just spew out whatever nonsense is in my head. But damn girl, if you’re going to quote cummings, I’m gonna have to step up my game. 🙂
      Love ya gorgeous! -c

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  6. I agree with Christy that this is smokin’ hot. I totally love coming to this site each week and seeing the new picture on the header and reading all your cool quotes, songs, poems, etc. that you come up with for the new theme. You all have done an awesome job with Words for the Weekend.

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    1. And I look forward to seeing your happy comments each week too, Char! You always make me smile. I really am grateful for all of your support.

      Am I the only one that had a Jim Carrey flashback when I said “smokin’ hot?” I’m not even sure what movie that was, The Mask?

      Hope you’ve enjoyed your weekend and that the fam is doing well. Is Ginger enjoying Fall? The pups here are having a grand time running through the leaves that have started to fall. They’ve been hit with Autumn Fever–it’s quite fun and contagious.
      -C

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      1. The Mask sounds right–but I’m not 100% positive. The fam is doing good. My oldest gets married in 11 days, so we’re hoppin’. Ginger is acting a little senile in her old age. She all of a sudden loves the garage–like she won’t come in anymore unless I offer her a treat. Weird! Maybe she likes the colder floor in there or something. I don’t know. It baffles me.

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  7. Excellent collaboration! Well done all. Sorry – I can’t do the Rap thing so the 1st one was a cringe (yes I’m old and possibly grumpy). The Cult…hmm not so much, the others however…. yes *nods*. Loved the quotes and how did I guess Ms CK that you would love fire the most 😉 …burnt saucepans anyone? Keep up the good work 🙂

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    1. Burnt saucepans, yes! That was the proverbial spark, so to say. And silly, grumpy girl, we don’t watch The Cult videos for the music. As if. hahaha (actually I do love their music too, but that’s my decade.) If you click the hyperlink under the slam poetry video where we shared the quote, you can read the poem instead of listen if you prefer. It’s still a powerful message.

      Great to see you Jenny, thank you!
      Christy

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      1. 🙂 I shall pop back and take a squizz
        You are welcome ~ once again – keep up the good work 😀
        Jen

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    2. I don’t know how you could have ever guessed I love fire the most! 😉 And of course, as Christy said, flaming saucepans was the spark for starting off the elements with fire! Hmm, I didn’t think of the Slam Poetry as rapping but, in it’s own way it kind of is, isn’t it? I always just thought of it as a louder form of spoken word, though not all of it is. I know a few that you’d love actually, no rappiness to them!

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      1. Ah yes fire and burnt pans sprang to mind 😉 Yup *nods* I think it is – you will have to give me a link or two then and I’ll tell you how I feel about them 🙂 x

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  8. whiteladyinthehood · ·

    I love that your doing a series on the elements. This one on Fire was fantastic. I enjoyed the Aristotle quote – I’m a pretty easy going person and sometimes I have a hard time with anger – I just don’t know what to do with it at times, but it’s a part of me like every other emotion. I really appreciated that quote today.

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    1. Here’s the quote! (I also merged my two comments into this one.) Happy weekend, c

      “Anger is like flowing water; there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you let it flow. Hate is like stagnant water; anger that you denied yourself the freedom to feel, the freedom to flow; water that you gathered in one place and left to forget. Stagnant water becomes dirty, stinky, disease-ridden, poisonous, deadly; that is your hate. On flowing water travels little paper boats; paper boats of forgiveness. Allow yourself to feel anger, allow your waters to flow, along with all the paper boats of forgiveness. Be human.” ~ C. JoyBell C.

      ***

      Hey girlfriend, I hear you on the anger — I repressed mine so much growing up that I turned myself into a volcano. It would come out in passive aggressive hisses and spits until finally I would erupt and blow in all directions. (One of the main reasons I had to quit drinking — it turned me into the Hulk “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”)

      I’m going to look up a C Joybell C quote for you shortly. You should love it. xo, Gringa

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      1. whiteladyinthehood · ·

        Perfect.

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        1. Thought you’d like that. Certainly another–and less common–way to look at anger as a healthy, human emotion.

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    2. I had a horrible anger problems as a kid, much like Christy said I’d repress it till I blew. At some point one of the counselors I had started seeing in my mid-teens told me to write it out whenever I got angry so at least it was going somewhere other than the storehouse in my head. It helped. I could write it out, look at it, and determine if it was justified anger or misguided anger, what to do with it or about it (if anything) and then I could throw it away.

      I love that poem Christy shared with you, it’s how I feel about anger now – let it flow so it doesn’t become part of you 🙂

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      1. whiteladyinthehood · ·

        The storehouse in your head – that was a great way to put it. I always think of it as the box in my heart I keep locked. LOL. You’re exactly right, you have to throw the anger away if its misguided. Sometime my mantra is you only control yourself. you only control yourself.
        Thanks for sharing your insights and Gringas poem was spot on.

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  9. She steps up to the plate, and knocks it out of the park.
    Wow — a fantastic debut, Jennie.

    This one really stood out:

    “The biggest problem for me was feeling that as I became more balanced and a better man that I wouldn’t have the fire to create from.”
    – Nicolas Cage

    I had often wondered if we had a peachy life (balanced) would we still have the capacity for incredible music, writing, art, poetry, and so on. It sparked such a curiosity that I did research and found that when people have hardships it’s like ‘cheating’ and they gain access to the right hemisphere without wiring, and the left hemisphere becomes the interpreter of what they experience over in ‘la la land’. lol

    I also learned that when people are given lots and lots of nurture and support, the brain can wire to do extraordinary things in the arts and beyond. I remember being in a conversation with someone who was insistent that people who live in ‘nanny’ type countries, where their needs are met by the government, such as medical, education, family support, etc, are not very good at innovation. So I laughed when I discovered that the very countries he was referring to were ranked as the top 2, well above the U.S. :mrgreen:

    I love all the metaphors in this post and look forward to listening to the tunes. Thanks so much for the time and effort to put this together. You and Christina are a dynamic duo. xoxo

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    1. Hi Victoria, I know Jennie will pop on later, but I couldn’t help but share a piece from a Tom Waits interview with NPR. As you (and many) know, I live a sober lifestyle (by choice, most days, LOL), but one of my sober kindreds is Tom Waits. He shared the same ‘fear’ that I once had — once you quit drinking, do you lose part of yourself? Do you become more, or less, or yourself? Are your abilities enhanced or diminished? Thank you, Victoria! xo, C

      (Has sobriety affected his creative process?)

      “No. I don’t think so. I mean, one is never completely certain when you drink and do drugs whether the spirits that are moving through you are the spirits from the bottle or your own. And, at a certain point, you become afraid of the answer. That’s one of the biggest things that keeps people from getting sober, they’re afraid to find out that it was the liquor talking all along. . . . I was trying to prove something to myself, too. It was like, ‘Am I genuinely eccentric? Or am I just wearing a funny hat? What am I made of? What’s left when you drain the pool?’

      “You know, maybe the drugs and alcohol are more of a vacation from reality, you know? Yeah, am I just wearing a funny hat? Am I just trying to say weird stuff, or am I really peculiar, genuinely?”

      (GROSS: Did you want to be peculiar?)

      “Well, I wanted – I’ve always wanted to be curious and provocative, I guess, and interesting, and interested in this kind of sparkling, you know, sapphire we all call home, you know. I always wanted to be mystified by it all – and rather fascinated with life itself. I think maybe when you drink, you’re probably robbing yourself of that genuine experience, even though it appears what you’re doing is getting more of it. You’re getting less of it. And it takes a while, when you’ve had a rock on the hose like that for so long. It takes a while for the hose to be a hose again, you know, and for things to start flowing.”

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      1. Oh wow — what a fantastic interview, Christina. How much reassured can you get, right? The silver linings that come from having a past in addiction is that you have a unique perspective — being on the outside looking in, and can compare notes.

        Sometimes, well often, people become addicted to lower their inhibitions, to ‘feel’, and to express what they don’t think they can say or do without the substance. My step-father was a very shy person, was once an alcoholic. When he drank, he ‘came out’. But he eventually learned that that wasn’t the ‘person’ he wanted to ‘come out’. Since he stopped drinking, his shyness, for the most part, subsided. Having a loving, supportive wife and family ‘brought him out’.

        When my mom and step-dad met, over 40 years ago, he was a functioning alcoholic. He had a heart of gold and my mom saw it, even when he didn’t. His drinking problems started when he was in the Koren war. The military encouraged drinking after hours to decompress. But, he chose to quit, and that tells me what an incredibly strong person he is, with a strong will to live and an enormous capacity to love not only himself, but others, too.

        Hope you’re enjoying this Sunday. Looks like we’ve got some cold weather headed our way. Oh wait, I forgot, you’re not living in the southeast anymore. lol.

        Love you!
        ~V

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        1. I forgot, you’re not living in the southeast anymore.

          Shhhh…. don’t tell my heart that; it doesn’t know yet.

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          1. Awww — see, I spoke from the perspective of seeing your heart.

            *listens*

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          2. See, now I have to share this. One I know you are quite familiar with, but it’s such a classic with so much feeling. 🙂

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          3. Yes, ma’am. Love Ray. That song makes me cry. Used to have that on my RoS “About” page until I talked myself into taking it down. *sigh.*
            Love you hun, Happy Sunday!

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    2. Thank you very much, Victoria! I am so happy you enjoyed it 😀

      I had to use the Nicolas Cage quote, I always had this picture in my head of writer’s in opium dens or banging away on the typewriter with a bottle at their right hand, depressed and angry. As a kid I really thought all musicians, artists, writers, had addiction and depression issues because that’s the image that was put out. When I stopped drinking and working on “me” part of me was really afraid that that was what made me creative. I was actually surprised when I discovered that one could create straight. And actually do it a bit better when you could control the stream of words lol

      I’ve since discovered what you’ve just mentioned, both people from hardship and those from nurturing environments are just as equally capable of creating great things. They do create differently but, different experience makes for different ways to creation.

      I am still so excited to be working with Christy on Words, I actually reacted pretty much like a kid who was just handed the keys to the candy shop when she asked if I’d like to work with her. 😉

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  10. […] weekend is my debut post on Words for the Weekends, From the Ashes a Fire. Christy and I are covering the theme of the Elements over the next five weeks (only four elements […]

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  11. Wow, I’ve just been inspired to set myself on fire! Let’s see how this works (strikes match)……

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    1. *blowing out match* No! No, ES, metaphorically set yourself on fire, not … *sigh* 😉

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      1. Oh….. ummm, could you help me stomp out my tail! Ow, ,owww!!!

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        1. *tossing bucket of water on ES’s tail* I figured that would be better than stomping on your already abused tail! Silly squirrel! 😉

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  12. Wow this is great! I love your writing about Fire, and then reading about The Invitation- I think I am going to quote that on my blog soon.

    Thank you for sharing and I cannot wait to read more!

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    1. Hi Sunshine! I’m so glad you came to visit — I still think you have the coolest name ever. I’m glad we met via Ms. Ninja 🙂
      If you click the author’s name, “Oriah” under The Invitation, you’ll find the poem in full. It’s beautiful isn’t it?
      Thank you for dropping by — Christy (and Jennie)

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    2. The Invitation is great isn’t it? As Christy said you can click on Oriah’s name and it will take you to the page where you can find the full poem. There’s many pieces to it, I chose the part here because it went best with the theme but the whole poem is just beautiful.

      I’m glad you stopped by to read! Thank you, Sunshine (and I’m with Christy on you having the coolest name!)

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      1. Aww thanks ladies! You girls are too sweet. Can’t wait to read the next post!

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  13. Stick Boy and Match Girl is good fun. Loved that.

    This one haunts me more than a little: “The biggest problem for me was feeling that as I became more balanced and a better man that I wouldn’t have the fire to create from.” I still equate unchecked passion and recklessness with a certain desirable freedom and creativity, though I personally can’t control the burn. For a long time, I worried balance would put the fire out, possibly completely, but I’m quite happy to see it still can burn and in a better and brighter way than before.

    Thanks for another great batch!

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    1. I’m a huge Tim Burton fan, I couldn’t help but put in the Stick Boy and Match Girl one. 🙂

      I mentioned feeling as though I had to have that Cage quote in this on another comment, because I know I worried a lot about losing that creative fire for a long time. So it was a quote that hit home for me. But no, balance doesn’t put the fire out, as you said, it still burns and in a better and brighter way! Which is a beautiful thing! 🙂

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      1. I see that now and sorry I missed what was a thoughtful, interesting exchange. The comment section is great here. Love Burton too. Pretty sure we have that book, reminds me of the ghashlycrumb tinies (sp?).

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