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Coming alive

In May I took my first real vacation since lockdown started in March 2020. I was in beautiful Park City with two dear friends, all of us vaccinated, floating in the hot tub after a hike, when I felt something strange, vaguely familiar and delicious.

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essays

Where? Why? How? When?

Bear with me. I am now going to tell you a long, circuitous story with no clear ending. It’s about becoming “a writer.”

It was right around my 45th birthday (April 2008), that one of my BFFs took me for a birthday tarot reading with a guy named Howard, who studied the cards he laid out for me and said, “Your job is soul-destroying.”

“Why yes, Howard,” I said, trying not to laugh. ”It IS.”

Afterwards my friend asked me what I’d do if I left my career. A surprising answer bubbled up. “Well, I always thought I might write my memoir.” I think I first discarded that thought in college, but a few decades later I shrugged and thought, “Why not?”

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Goodbye Comfort Zone!

“You should rewrite this as a novel.”

That’s what my father-in-law said when he read a very early draft of my memoir in 2009. I dismissed that idea out of hand, because fiction – that realm of Toni Morrison and Thomas Hardy – that was too heady for me. Crafting a whole world, with layers of themes and ideas, that feels like something for the Gods. Non-fiction, which is closer to journalism, closer to craft, anchored by facts and memories, has always felt so much more accessible and less scary for me.

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The necessary power of beauty

“These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty . . . Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen, from one minute to the next.”

John O’Donohue, the poet, philosopher and scholar who died in 2008, wrote those sentences in 2003, in Beauty: The Invisible Embrace. But reading it now, in the Spring of 2021, feels eerie.

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essay

There’s nothing like the exuberance of innocence

Goldenrod, Dandelion, Forest Green, Midnight Blue, Violet, Orchid, Salmon, Burnt Umber. The names of Crayola Crayons popped the curious synapses in my brain. What was Umber? Why would you burn it? I loved the way the 64 crayons stood proudly upright in their four smaller cardboard boxes inside the larger yellow and green one, demonstrating their creative potential. All of the colors fascinated me – even the ugly ones – but my favorite was Magenta. It wasn’t just the color, it was the dignity of its name. Ma-genta, Ma-genta. It was magisterial, vibrant, alive.

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essays

Power in a little tube

A few weeks ago I was sitting in the foggy morning light in my pale blue bedroom, meditating, when a declaration bubbled into my head. ‘I’m going to wear red lipstick every day when the pandemic is over.’

‘Yes,’ I thought, even though one is not supposed to think thoughts while meditating. YES. 

What better way to declare avid participation in the new world than red lipstick? When it’s safe to go out without masks, I’ll wear red lipstick. When we can be in crowds, exuberantly absorbing music and sports and food and culture with our friends, I’ll wear red lipstick. When it’s finally safe to travel again, I’ll stroll the streets in Umbria and Rajasthan, wearing red lipstick. 

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Designed by Kathy Hiscox of Martin Marketing

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About Lisa

Lisa Poulson, a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, was once a tech industry badass, a grieving almost-widow and a faithful Mormon all at the same time. Now a writer in San Francisco, Lisa writes about grief, love and the complex beauty of female power.

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Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.

About Lisa

Lisa Poulson is a voice in favor of the complex beauty of female power, the descendant of fiercely resilient Mormon pioneers and a woman who survived the death of her fiancé four months before their wedding. Lisa lives in San Francisco, where she spends her time absorbing and creating as much beauty as possible.

Join the conversation on Instagram!

Reminder

You are reading of your own will and choice. How you read, act on or don’t act on what you read here is up to you.

Reassurance

While lisapoulson.com does use cookies, which helps us understand how you engage with our site and where you’re from, we do NOT save your personal information - like e-mail, name or address. And, if you join our mailing list or comment on a post, we will not share (or sell) your contact information. We are not responsible for commenters or other third parties here.

Clarity

Lisa Poulson is the legal copyright holder of this blog. Contents may not be used, reprinted, or published without written consent.