Too Cute For Halloween

When we celebrated Halloween back home in Detroit and Chicago the rule was the scarier the better. Then we moved to Oklahoma. You’re pretty much considered a Satan worshipper if you dare celebrate down here. And if you do – the unwritten code is please keep it “friendly.”

My 18-year-old and I had to find a middle ground. I did friendly, he wanted gruesome.  Thought I’d share some of the shots with you.

This freaked out both of my grown sons and died under mysterious circumstances. They tell me the motor went out, but I'm thinking he was murdered.
To make up for Mr Scary-Blow-Up-Ghost's untimely demise, D-man decorated the front garden, complete with a fog machine for effect.
I know -- too cute for Halloween, right?
Even my ghosts aren't all that scary -- but they are cute!
Can't forget my scarecrows.
Then there's Fred, my "indoor/outdoor" decoration. NOT. His innards are missing. The rain disintegrated them. But at least his eyes still light up and change color.


We live on a dead end street with very few houses actually celebrating Halloween. I don’t get many trick or treaters. But I do love to decorate. Some of my friends celebrate today as the Day of Dead which is fun as well. Other’s ignore today. How do you celebrate All Hallows Eve at your house? I’d love to hear about it.

Voice: Who Speaks For You?

Photo from istock.

You can’t find your voice if you only let others speak for you.

I love the photo from istock. The person in the middle standing out in red with their arms in the air seems so freeing. A visual “ME! I’m here!” in a sea of beige. It speaks to me and so does the quote about letting others speak for me. I think I’ve spent most of my life handing off personal power and pieces of my identity for peace.

I’m only on week two of my voice studies and my brain is already overflowing with Ah Ha moments and inspiration. The assignments have been relatively simple really and yet scary at the same time. I have an Associates Degree while everyone else appears to have a Masters in Lit or higher – heck yes I’m comparing. It scares me.

It’s no coincidence that I would find a writers voice class in the same season that I am questioning my own beliefs about life in general and wondering whose voice really transfers over. Is it my voice people hear or is my version of someone’s expectations? Since I don’t know the answer, I believe that is a question worth exploring.

My journaling goes beyond the lessons these days as I look at why I choose certain phrases and where opinions come from. Am I being rebellious? Am I being afraid? Am I being a parrot? or Am I being me?

Writing has become enjoyable again.  They don’t know me. There are no expectations of specific character and behavior. I have the freedom and permission to try on voices like a teenager tries on clothes. There’s no box to fit into.

This class is as freeing as the day I learned how to do stand up — granted I hope and pray writing produces better results.  Or maybe the fruit that seed planted *is* growing. Maybe stand-up is just another part of the path of finding myself again. Once I learned how to tell jokes on stage – kill or die trying – other things (like going back to being a Democrat) don’t seem nearly as formidable. I’m eyeball deep in Republicans, trust me when I say that changing back is a bit formidable. Other questions do arise however:

  • Just because I’m a Christian does that mean I *have* to talk about God all the time?
  • Can I have opinions that are left of center rather than right?
  • Can I talk about something else like how hard being middle-aged is sometimes?
  • Can I talk about love or nature or even sex.
  • Can I talk about the really sexy artist/poet that makes me melt?
  • I’m a Mom but do I have to talk about my kids?

Can I swear?

Anne Lamott does.

I remember the first time I read Traveling Mercies and I saw the F-word. It knocked my sensibilities right out of my socks and caused me to double-check the jacket. Yep, she’s a Christian.  My eyes lit up, I giggled and looked around wondering if anyone had heard what I just read. Then something magical happened, my soul settled deep into my reading chair and by the end of the book – I wanted dreadlocks too.

Wanting them and actually getting them are not the same thing. Trying them on for size? Totally worth it.  I just didn’t know how I was going to do that. I finally had my chance while on a cruise with some new artist friends and had my hair braided on the beach in Costa Maya last Spring. They lasted all of 12 hours. Dreadlocks  aren’t me after all — the wires kept poking me. I finally sat straight up in bed at 2 in the morning and spent two hours taking them out.

I don’t have to copy someone’s look or voice or opinion to fit in. And if I do then they aren’t my tribe.

I don’t have to be Anne Lamott or ee cummings or CS Lewis to be a writer. I don’t have to live off of someone else’s faith to be a Christian either.  I just have to be wholly me whatever that entails.

This post written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. October 26, 2011. All rights reserved.

Poetry Walking

If you cannot be a poet, be the poem.  ~David Carradine


Johnny Depp refers to Angelina Jolie as “poetry walking” during a post production interview while filming The Tourist and I love that image. Is he speaking of her body, her eyes, her scent? Maybe it’s the way she carries herself or how she speaks. Poetry walking has an understated sexuality to it as well as sensual imagery.

As a woman this makes me weak in the knees.

As a poet this inspires me.

What *is* poetry walking? I’ll spend a good part of November exploring that.

Writing prompt for my nablopomo sisters – if you are so inclined – what is poetry walking to you?



Poetry: I Believe

I’m studying voice right now and writing a lot more poetry.  I’ll admit this isn’t the voice I’m used to hearing from myself. It’s raw and unedited. I usually reserve those pieces for my journal.  November is the whole national write a novel month. Rather than write a novel, I’m going to gather, edit, and write my first poetry book.  It’s time.

I Believe

I believe that if our eyes meet across a crowded room and my heart flutters you either have a flask in your pocket or a criminal record.
I believe  that love is a choice and not always an easy one. I believe in skinny dipping, the beauty of the human form, the healing power of creating art, and that laughter is a gift. I believe that green tea is a lousy alternative to a good cup of coffee, that God is real, that I have a purpose even if I don’t always know what it is. I believe that life can only be lived in the now. What was, was. Don’t look back. Trust should be earned and blind trust is detrimental to the soul, that gossip can ruin lives, there are no accidents, there is no such thing as a do-over button, but there are second chances, being able to say goodbye is just as important as saying hello, and I believe that while some fear is healthy
I don’t have to be it’s bitch. Deana O’Hara

Written by Deana O’Hara for Redemption’s Heart. All Rights Reserved. 10/23/11

Let’s Talk About It. Fear

Carnival of Souls
Image via Wikipedia

To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another. ~Katherine Paterson

October is a great month to look at fear. Of what are we afraid? Why Are we afraid? What does being afraid look like? I know what it looks like on me; blushing, shaking, eyes to the floor, chest flutters. Fear is messy and painful to watch.

My youngest will watch scary movies all month on purpose because he loves being afraid. He’s crazy and 18 and male so.. go figure. Me? Even though I face a lot of my fears by going onstage or submitting a piece of writing, I’d rather not deal with fear most of the time. I would rather run away and sleep, paint, write or even drink (sometimes more than I should) than honestly face my fears. I’m learning though that if I do not face my fears, they will as Katherine Paterson says, “grab me by the tail.”

Some seasons just suck. My summer this year is no exception.  Between putting my beloved collie of 16 years down in June and two months of other people in my life behaving badly all I wanted to do by September is run away to my cabin at the lake to paint and write. I did not get to do that and yet I survived.

I am much better now thank you.

Fear can really grab me by the tail when I’m hurting. That might sound strange to you, but it’s the truth. When that happens I remind myself to be gentle with my expectations and take things as they come.

One good sign that fear has grabbed me by the tail is I start taking people’s emotional temperatures before I speak. It’s manipulative really and I justify that behavior by telling myself I do not have the emotional energy to deal with someone else’s emotions so I better play it safe and watch what I say. I wind up exhausted and my feet hurt from all those egg shells I make myself walk on and yet I continue.

Do you know what I discovered this month? I’m afraid of letting people see me hurting.

To fear is one thing, don’t be it’s bitch.

Ain’t that a kick in my egotistical behind?

I like answers more than I like revelation. Knowing this about myself is one thing and it’s a big thing, now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do with this new knowledge.

Writing prompt: Would you share with us the last time fear grabbed you by the tail? What did it look like and how did you deal with it?