More Thoughts from My Journal


Saturday has arrived. It’s Mid-Autumn Festival or “moon-cake” holiday here. I slept through the moon’s rise and fall last night, but I’ve seen some beautiful pictures on my WeChat feed. Tonight I’ll be sure to take a look.

We might be locked down but that hasn’t kept us from having access to the outside world…which means lot’s and lot’s of deliveries of moon cakes from family and friends. Both sweet and savory of all variations. I’m personally a fan of the “meat pie” versions, which are savory pork mix inside a flakey pastry. I limited myself to only one though as I’m trying to look less and less like a full moon myself these days.

I’m sitting in the garden. I’ve shown this view before, but it doesn’t get tiring to me. I’m blessed to have such a beautiful spot to write in. My wife and I just received our Chinese “Green Cards” meaning that we can stay and retire here. It’s a big financial and emotional relief to have that option although still aways on the horizon.

A Rare Selfie

I don’t know why I’m showing my face today. I’ve shared a photo of me and my dog Jack once before, but my face was mostly obscured behind a ball of fur. Maybe I’m coming to terms with myself in some way? Maybe I’m just coming clean with all of you about not being a cartoon pig. Haha.

In response to my less than ideal medical news, I’ve been losing weight. I’ve lost 10 pounds in the past three weeks — about 5% of my starting weight. I’ve still got aways to go, and I’m sure the progress will slow down, but I’m proud of myself for getting this far.

I feel like I’ve lost most of my weight from my neck and face though so I’m turning into a reverse bobble head. Haha. My daughter said I’m looking more and more like our dog Jack since he has a small head compared to his body. Isn’t it common for loved ones to start taking on each other’s looks?

Well, I’m about to join a fellowship session. Part of my recent spiritual exploration. I missed last week due to an overnight hospital stay. I’m not sure what you will make of my random thoughts but thanks for coming along with me.


Be well,

Monty


Thoughts from My Journal


I’m feeling a bit low today. I want to write but I’m uninspired. So I sit with my fingers on the keyboard and type the obvious. It’s a beginning at least.

I’ve recently received some disappointing news health-wise. Nothing critically dangerous, but significant. It’s a wake-up call for sure.

I want to be left alone, yet I don’t want to feel lonely. I just want to sit across from someone I love and not have to say anything. To feel whatever I’m feeling without explanation or reason.

There are two guards dressed in blue medical gear outside my house. I’m locked down due to a covid case at my office. They cast a wide net and I was caught. Today is day two of what is likely to be seven. Unless there is another positive case…then its hard to know.

I’m tired and a bit hungry. An effect of the diet that I’m on to address the aforementioned health issues. It’s a good thing that I’m doing and I’ve already lost about a quarter of the weight I need to. It’s progress. But its not easy and its taking its toll on me.

My dog, Jack, has been nosy lately. As in he comes over and aggressively uses his nose to push me. I wonder if he can sense something is wrong? Or perhaps he is feeling a bit needy himself?

It’s Friday morning and I’ve got some meetings ahead of me. I don’t feel like pretending to care today. That’s a dangerous feeling at the beginning of a work day. It’s when I get myself into trouble being too honest. Perhaps writing this down will be enough of a reminder to bite my tongue a bit.

The battery is winding down. 18% and falling. I guess I will have to wrap this up soon. Or not. I could always recharge. Just like myself. I could do a bit of yoga or get on the bike or meditate or just breath. I know it works from experience. I also know I often choose not to. What a strange creature I am.

I don’t usually journal. I like to write shareable content. This is not really shareable or interesting, but I’m still going to post. A writer is not always interesting. This is an honest peek into my mind. Un-curated. Un-edited.

Well, that’s not quite true. There is always a bit of a filter on. It keeps you and I both safer. Trust me on this.


Be well,

Monty


What’s in a Name?


Today marks a new month and if not factually, at least emotionally, the start of Autumn for me. On this morning’s eve, I was happy to discover that @murisopsis from A Different Perspective is offering up a new poetry challenge. I participated in her ‘poetic scavenger hunt’ last spring and found it super inspiring. Lots of new forms to learn and experiment with. This time the theme is Names, as in poetic forms that feature a name (e.g. one of the prompts is to write a poem in the form of “Amandas Pinch” — a form I’ve personally never heard of before). There are thirteen prompts in total so this is more manageable then a daily commitment challenge. Check out all the prompts and the way it works here and join in if your up for some poetic puzzling.


Be well,

Monty


A Perfect Morning


A cool breeze under mostly clear skies. 

Home brewed iced coffee. Black and bold.

Sitting in the garden watching commuters go by…

But I’ve still got time.

Be well,

Monty


The Orchard on Putney Hill Road


The road home from school passed by an orchard;
A fence protected the harvest from our thieving hands;
But there were several old apple trees that reached over the fence and hung their wares for our taking;
It was a long ride home; all uphill;
Too hard a ride to be weighted down with heavy overgrown apples in our hands —
So we stopped and ate some on the spot,
My brother and I;
A fond memory.


Be well,

Monty


The Night Cricket


‘the night cricket’s humble prayer‘

“Doesn’t Every Poet Write a Poem About Unrequited Love” by Mary Oliver

What is the night cricket praying so incessantly for?
Persistence is a virtue they say, but I sometimes have my doubts. How can she hear God’s answer if there is not a moment of peace and quite?

My son called last night. Asking for money again. Has he taken a lesson from the night cricket? Is this his way of praying? If so, his prayers seem to get answered in the end. Persistence, I guess, at work?

I much prefer the silent prayer. It provides a comforting symmetry with the silent answer. And a more restful sleep.


Be well,

Monty


It’s Time to Stand


Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.

“It Was Early” by Mary Oliver

It’s Time to Stand


‘Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.’ Mary Oliver observed poetically.

I read her words today for the first time,
And the second,
And over again and again.

The message is simple, yet profound,
You see, I’ve been seeking guidance on prayer of late,
And here it was delivered upon the page waiting for me.

The words were conveniently highlighted,
Having impressed other readers before me,
I am not the first to journey on this quest. I am not alone.

I am not alone. Wherever I stand,
I will be among good company; I will be blessed.
It’s time to stand, and I do.


There is something very compelling and comforting about this idea. Prayer doesn’t need to be complicated. Words don’t need to be memorized or even thought up on the spot. Prayer can be as simple as taking a moment to stand still and accept being blessed.

Be well,

Monty


The Wanna-Believer


Today I pray for the first time,
As a wanna-believer,
For a taste of life’s colorful palette;
To feel your love, your acceptance;
To accept that I’m worthy of your forgiveness.

Today I pray for the first time,
Maybe not with belief, but with want;
A wanting too deep to be filled alone;
Too wide to be crossed in this world;
So I seek a higher passage.

Today I pray for the first time,
Welcoming your presence;
Not needing to understand;
Eyes shut so that I might see;
Heart open so that I might feel.

Today I pray for the first time,
To accept that I cannot change without help;
For the courage to receive your hand,
And find peace through your wisdom;
Amen.


Be well,

Monty


Sweet or Savory?


I always thought I was sweet, but lately I’m wondering if I’m more savory. We are ultimately all complex in temperament and taste so not singular in any one direction, but I’m talking about my basic, fundamental, flavor.

I’d be insincere if I said I was never bitter or sour. For sure there are times when I’m feeling particularly astringent and have a bite, but those are just fleeting moments. I’m genuine in my forgiveness and much prefer to let it go.

I admire those of you that live life to it’s spicy fullest. You bring a touch of heat to all of us and it’s fun and thrilling. But that’s not me. Oh, I love some heat culinarily, but my hypothesis is that I’m using spice in my diet in compensation for my relatively mild profile.

I’ve been known to be a bit salty. My editor a.k.a. mom once suggested I might want to tone down all the cussing in my writing. If I was truly salty I would have told her off, but I didn’t. I thoughtfully considered her point. The why behind her suggestion. I’ll still get salty at times, but a little bit of salt goes a long way. No need to be heavy handed with it.

Which brings us to sweet. This is definitely my comfort zone. Not candy sweet. But that kind of sticky pastry sweet that melts in your mouth and goes directly to your ass sweet (peppering in some salt just for fun here). This is my “goto” both when needing to be comforted and wanting to comfort. There is something warm and delicious about a sweet moment with a loved one.

But lately I’m feeling my true center is more savory than pure sweet. Like a stuffed french toast with a smokey cheese center. Wonderfully sweet on the outside, but offering something more interesting and multi-dimensional on the inside. A bit of umami. Tickling the taste buds with nuanced curiosity. Pleasant but unpredictable. Sometimes paired with a touch of heat, a pinch of salt, or even some sours or bitters.

I’m not sure but I think this is the result of aging well. Not exactly fermented. Perhaps cured? I’m not sure, but on the whole I like my new flavor.


Be well,

Monty


Playing with Tea Time


I’m playing. At times I may call myself an author, a poet, an illustrator, or other such titles, but at my essence I’m a child at play. I play around with words and images, with colors and ideas, with emotions and patterns. I am curious to see what comes of it. But mostly I’m just playing and having fun in discovery.

In the below exploration I’ve worked with one of the figures in this “Tea Time” piece (which is also new and not shared before, so enjoy) and experimented with subtraction techniques (i.e. erasure) and seeing what the result would be. I’m partial to “Playing with Tea Time II”. How about you?


Tea Time
Playing with Tea Time I
Playing with Tea Time II
Playing with Tea Time III

Be well,

Monty