Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Creativity

A Thought went up my mind today —

Here’s indisputable evidence of Emily Dickinson’s ability to capture everyday experiences with an economy of words. My comments follow.

A Thought went up my mind today –
That I have had before –
But did not finish – some way back –
I could not fix the Year –

Nor where it went – nor why it came
The second time to me –
Nor definitely, what it was –
Have I the Art to say –

But somewhere – in my Soul – I know –
I’ve met the Thing before –
It just reminded me – ‘twas all –
And came my way no more –

c. 1863

Emily Dickinson Poems, Edited by Brenda Hillman
Shambhala Pocket Classics, Shambhala 1995

I love this poem from Emily, especially the opening suggestion that her mind is a chimney. The poem itself is amazingly clear and simple, without losing its mysterious reference to the Thought.

In fact, we could spend a little time right now trying to figure out what Emily’s as yet unformed Thought was. Isn’t that what interpretation of poetry is all about? Emily’s poem is like a tongue-in-cheek joke as she sits back to see what we might discover about her deep Thought. So deep that not even she could remember or articulate it.

They say that if you’re a writer you should always carry a notebook to record all the stunningly insightful Thoughts that pass through your mind unbidden. Brilliant Thoughts! Creative Thoughts! Catch them before they fade away! You might use them someday. Right?

Well….the problem for me, and, I’m guessing, for most writers (including Emily), is that we’re an amazingly Thought-filled tribe. We don’t control the incoming tide or the evaporating mist of our precocious insights.

Just maybe, instead of carrying around scraps of paper or heavy notebooks for our genius thoughts, we should carry around butterfly nets! Then we could run around in meadows capturing those flighty bits of precocious wisdom and turns of phrase before they flit away!

Or then again, we might console ourselves with the Thought that having experiences like Emily’s is a sure sign we’re writers! Bravo! It’s our trademark! How else to explain and celebrate our brilliance?

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 24 October 2017
Smoking Chimney image found at
Butterfly net image found at
Daily Prompt: Trademark

Wheels within Wheels or…

Why I have hope for my children and grandchildren.

I know. It sounds presumptuous. The world seems to be going to you-know-where in a handbasket. Whatever that means. I think that means going downhill fast. Possibly exploding into smithereens at the bottom.

I’m no Doubter. I fully accept the reality of climate change and, in particular, the reality of our abysmal human contribution thereto. Yet we seem honor-bound to look the other way, or helpless in the face of measurable warning signs.

Nor am I a Pollyanna, as we used to say way back when. I don’t wake up, see the sky falling and smile cheerfully, whistle a happy tune, or go about my business in denial. Everything isn’t chirpy, cheery or going to be all right.

I’m a pragmatic, realistic, down-to-earth woman who also happens to be intuitive, imaginative and energized by a challenge. I’m also a woman of faith, though I don’t expect God or a Higher Power to swoop down and rescue us at the last minute.

Life—past, present and future—is complex. Wheels within wheels spiral up, down, in, out, all around. In no way capable of being fathomed,  controlled or predicted.

I’ve seen yesterday’s disasters lead to today’s unpredicted miracles. And vice versa. Not because they were good or evil in themselves, but because they contained within them the possibilities for both good and ill.

Wheels within wheels are already turning this way and that, moving in directions we may never experience in our lifetimes. The future is unknown. And yet…the unknown already contains the seeds of tomorrow’s brilliant solutions and horrifying disasters.

I live in a world my grandparents and my parents didn’t expect. We haven’t self-destructed. Nor are we heaven on earth. We’re still made up of wheels within wheels, finding ever-new ways to accomplish good and evil.

I can’t guarantee things will turn out well for those I most love. Nonetheless, I have faith in our Creator who offers multiple opportunities to exploit wheels within wheels for good, not for ill. I also support and applaud human creativity that turns complexity into brilliant, often simple solutions that turn out right.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 June 2017
Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Wheel

Manufactured faces

Manufactured faces gaze
From magazines and brochures
Scattered around the waiting room
Wherever I turn my eyes
‘They’ smile knowingly
If not mechanically
Picture perfect features
Enticing sirens of perpetual youth
White skin gleaming
Radiant in life
And in death

What do they know that I don’t know?
Is this happy heaven or happy hell?
I seem to have lost my way.

It’s Friday, March 25. I’m sitting in a nearly deserted, picture-perfect, calm, shades of blue cool color-coordinated waiting room. Not, I’m sorry to say, the plastic surgery (yes!) waiting room above. A plastic surgeon, on site only once a week, is going to remove two suspicious growths from my skin. Due to unforeseen developments, the wait will be longer than anticipated.

Upbeat music plays relentlessly. Every chair, magazine table, shelf and counter space offers indoor advertising for the miraculous powers of plastic surgery and the good life. I search in vain for a normal magazine or newspaper.

Alas, I didn’t bring a book or even my iPad. All I have is my writing journal. Into which I enter the thoughts above.

An hour later, things finally get underway. I also learn a thing or two. The surgeon is probably in his late 30s or early 40s. I’ve often assumed plastic surgeons are in it for the money.

This one, however, doesn’t fit that stereotype. His primary work doesn’t involve what I’d call elective cosmetic plastic surgery for the wealthy seeking eternal youth, or even for the rest of us with routine things like suspicious growths. He does this only one day a week, at this site. A break from his demanding schedule.

The rest of the time he’s at a downtown university hospital doing what he loves most. A form of intricate, creative plastic surgery. Most of his patients are women who’ve had mastectomies or trauma victims whose skin needs repair. He loves the challenge of each case, and knowing that what he does helps people recover from life-changing events.

I left feeling chastened and grateful I’d heard a bit of his story. Well worth the wait.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 27 March 2017
Photo of spectacular plastic surgery waiting room found pinterest



she woke early this morning
green thoughts flowing through her veins

This small poem came into my consciousness as I was waking up this morning. I was surprised and heartened, given my state of mind late yesterday when I wrote Intimidation. Something came through my spirit as I slept and wiped the slate clean for today. An ordinary day made extraordinary by this gift and the stunning image that later came up on my screen saver.

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 2 February 2016
Image found at – Kintai Bridge, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan

Response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Clean

A Blank Canvas Reimagined


I can’t get A Blank Canvas out of my mind. Sometimes, especially with distressing or puzzling dreams, I’ve written the next scene out as I imagine it might be. But this dream was different. Here’s what I’ve written instead–

No woman is an island….

Gentle swells of water
Calls from seabirds
The sounds of waves
Lap against my ears
Tree leaves rustle

The greatest adventure of my life
In the company of others
Keeping it simple
Floating in deep waters
Singing life with my words Read the rest of this entry »

A Blank Canvas | Part 3 of 3


It’s late summer, 1951. We just moved from El Monte, California, to a house near Savannah, Georgia. The front yard faces the river you see in the photo above. I’m 7 ½ years old. I don’t know how to swim; a half-mile wide river flows in front of our house.

Not long after we move in, Read the rest of this entry »

I Love Lucy!

Very short post today, dear  friends, with one purpose: to introduce you to Lucy, my new pacemaker! I’ve given this very deep thought in the last several days, and concluded that a pacemaker isn’t just another gadget. Read the rest of this entry »

My Mother, My Ally?

September 2009.  I’m still working on Week 1 in The Artist’s Way by Julie Cameron.  The writing exercise asks me to name the voices of my Allies and Enemies.  Not imaginary voices, but voices of real people who in one way or another encouraged or discouraged my creative self-worth.

My top three Enemy voices
When I was young I never told anyone I wanted to be a writer or an artist. Read the rest of this entry »

Affirmations and Blurts

It’s September 2009.  I’m beginning a long-overdue sabbatical, and am determined to get back to personal writing.  I’m excited about using The Artist’s Way as my guide.  Twelve weeks of structured exercises every day.  I love it!

Well, maybe not all of it. Read the rest of this entry »

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