Short Story

The Muffin Lady

A childhood story from
Lynette Jenjen Douglass

THE MUFFIN LADY

The years between four and seven were some of my favorite years of growing up!

We lived in a neighborhood of middle-aged and elderly people. I had another pair of grandparents, Grandma and Grandpa Hoppie, and there was another aunt, my favorite person in all the world, Aunt Lizzie!

I really liked Lizzie because she not only made the most delicious muffins, and she had a black and white cat named Buster. She also let me help her do things, like make muffins and work in her backyard.

There was one day that I spent with her that is never to forget. Summer had just begun and all the flowers were beginning to bloom. There were daffodils. purple crocuses and tulips, alongside a bunch of weeds. This was the day I learned what weeds looked like and why my dad pulled them up and threw them in the garbage! These were ugly looking and from that day on, I was more than eager to help in Lizzie’s as well as our home garden!

Most importantly, I discovered the joy of being needed and able to actually do something constructive. I felt really important that day and proud to be able to do something that needed to be done!

After we pulled most of the weeds in Lizzie’s backyard, she rewarded me with a plate of her yummiest muffins, applesauce and pecans. They tasted so good with a glass of cold milk and it was definitely time for a nap!

I lay on her soft couch and she put a blanket over me! Her soft and perry black cat crawled beside me and I will forever treasure the fresh scent of green grass, the wonderful smell of fresh flowers, the taste of Lizzie’s applesauce muffins, and the warmth and purring of a loving black cat!

Mixed Media · Poetry

Insomnia

I converted a section of the poem into a Photoshop brush and created a mandala. I then layered the mandala with a pattern and clipped out a section.I converted a section of the poem into a Photoshop brush and created a
mandala. I then layered the mandala with a pattern and clipped out a section.

A conversation with my psychiatrist inspired me to write the poem. He asked me why my feelings of hopelessness led to thoughts of suicide. I answered that I thought there was no point in living. He asked me, “What is the point of dying?”

Insomnia
by Tara

What is the point of living
With the struggle for sleep?
But what is the point of dying?

What is the point of living with a storm twisting inside me, turning itself inside out and leaving
The streets bleeding gold rivers of dirt that seep
Through the sheets with the sweat? A fallen rose, dying

Scatters its petals in the gutter. What is the point of living
With the waters that keep
Rising and flooding the banks of my eyelids, threatening

The lowland cottage that I built inside myself, seeping
Up through the floors, ruining the ribbons that I keep
Tucked away in drawers, ruining the snapshots of summer dying

Into fall and winter? What’s the point of living
In the deserted streets of my mind, where I weep
And wander searching

For torn packets of sugar, scattering
Themselves in the wind, searching for fragments that leap
From my fingertips, searching with the sound of lightning dying

In the distance? What is the point of living
With the cockroaches that creep
Down the walls of this tiny room inside my heart, crawling

Across my skin? It’s 3 a.m., time for housecleaning.
The pile of dishes inside the sink is deep.
I toss out the tulips dying

On the windowsill, and I struggle to keep
the conversation in mind about the urge to leap.
Perhaps the point of living
Is to struggle to the point of dying.

Poetry

Misophonia

Misophonia

by Pam Winter

Sound Sufferer, Sanity Sucker, Serenity Slapper, Soundless Sobbing.

Small sounds – Huge problems
Breathing, chewing, chomping, slurping, bowl banging
pen clicking, keyboard tapping, whistling, walking…

Eyes engorged with sound,
synapses tied in a jumble of knots
implode with another breath.

Trapped in a crater of insanity
noise echoes, brain howls.
emotions erupt
fragments bombard.

I cringe,
gut ravaged.

Revel in silence

Misophonia, a neurological condition, is real.
Many in the medical community don’t understand and dismiss it,
often believe it’s a mental health issue.
People suffer in silence,
withdraw from family, friends, society, feel alone in a sea of triggers.

I shut down at dinner tables, cringe when people type on key boards, breathing puts me over the edge, gum snapping sends me outside my limits.
I can’t get away from sound.
When I was a kid my dad smacked his lips, I tried to mimic him hoping he’d notice and stop eating like a pig, but he didn’t.
I was afraid of him, so I suffered in silence.
My brother had asthma and snorted, a cousin had inner ear problems and snored.
I was afraid of the rage I felt with each inhale and exhaling breath.
So I clenched and suffered in silence.
My motto became shut down and half smile, I didn’t know what else to do.
Tension crunched in my brain,
I’ve lived on the edge of sanity, my nerves shattered,
face scrunched, my body clenched with the assault of each sound.

Now, I understand, my brain is just a little different.
When I get triggered by people eating or breathing, I bristle and move away.
I still shut down and half smile, people sense my energy shift and think I’m a bitch.
Sensory overload is the way I live, misophonia, a brain thing, it’s real.
Researchers are studying it, are learning, but don’t have a fix.
So still, I suffer in silence.

In class when people eat or drink or breathe a little loud, I can think of nothing else; my focus is trapped in each crunch, each crinkle of wrapping, each sip, each breath.
One day a fellow classmate was writing vigorously, I could hear nothing else,
each scrawl was an assault to my senses, a punch to my brain.
People click, tap their pens in thought,
that’s all I can hear and can’t write another word.
How do I go through life like that?
I suffer in silence

The other day at a PwA meeting two people mentioned they have misophonia.
OMG, I thought; thank you for sharing. I exclaimed “I love you.”
I thought I was alone, so alone.
Now I have allies, now I can see the ‘me’ in the ‘them’ and know they suffer too.
If there were three of us in a meeting of ten, how many more of us are there?
How many more people suffer in silence?
We are not alone,
As I write this, tears are flowing down my cheeks, I am not alone.
Thank you Path with Art,
WE ARE NOT ALONE.

Pam Winter

Poetry

Lost Friends

Being a part of Path with Art for so long
People coming and going
Some staying, like me
Friends
Many, many friends
But what about those friends who drift away?
Remember Eric?
Where is Eric?
Blind
A nice guy
Young
A gentleman
Where is Owen?
A professional dumpster diver
I loved learning
about that underground culture from him
He narrated the first ever podcast
created by Path with Art students
I ask JJ
“I’ve reached out to him with no luck. I haven’t heard from him in more than a year.”
How is Adam?
Now married
Busy, busy, busy
I am sure
Where is Sol?
Canada?
How is Andrew doing?
San Francisco Giants fan
Bay Area aficionado
Where is Ruanda?
She is dead
For months I did not know
I ask Holly one day about her
Holly shares the sad, bad news
We never did go to the Seattle Aquarium
Made plans
Interrupted by life — and death
Cancer took her
I discover this poem by her

Worthless.
I know the feeling in worthlessness.
And find it hard to describe because
I’ve swum in the sea of worthlessness.

Thank God someone has been documenting this
The lives of ordinary people
Often forgotten and neglected

Poetry

Unfinished Objects

Title: Flower Center — This is an example of an unfinished object that I have in my collection. I experimented with fluorite beads and copper wire to make a flower center. I still need to create the petals. The numerous unfinished objects in my room inspired me to write a poem.
Flower Center

This is an example of an unfinished object that I have in my collection. I experimented with fluorite beads and copper wire to make a flower center. I still need to create the petals. The numerous unfinished objects in my room inspired me to write a poem.

The following poem captures a moment in my life when I felt a great deal of confusion. This confusion spilled over into my artwork. I created collages and doodles that lacked focus. I had trouble finishing my projects.

Unfinished Objects
by Tara

Royal blue scraps of felt, periwinkle blue Strips of ribbon,
Meandering trails of tiny triangular mirrors…
Alyssa loses the composition, trapped In tangled emotion.

She mourns the connection, tossed like a needle Into the ocean.
Her thought’s thread, thin like hair, snaps and disappears.
She loses her motivation, caught in tangled emotion.

Royal blue scraps of felt, periwinkle blue Strips of ribbon
Tumble to the ground as she tries to explain what Went wrong in tears,
While playing with the thread of an unfinished object,
From a collection vast as the ocean.

The boxes spill and flood over in slow motion.
The beads vibrate on the floor, their sound waves Are caught in the shattering of mirrors.
Alyssa loses some unformed objects, trapped in swirling emotion.

Royal blue scraps of felt, periwinkle blue Strips of ribbon
Swirl back together in piles, their ripples disappear.
She kneels and gathers them together In a wave of devotion

And picks them up one by one.
Then slowly, the clutter clears
And loses it’s currents of emotion.

She rethreads her needle, pulling through her fears
Then drops the needle again. The eye disappears
In royal blue scraps of felt, periwinkle blue Strips of ribbon.
She loses her composure again, trapped in tangles Of emotion.

Poetry

Artist

Title: Striped Pattern — I drew the artwork with pens and markers, then photographed it with an app on my phone. I then manipulated and layered the image in Photoshop to create the end result. I like playing with patterns in Photoshop because it offers me an opportunity to practice mindfulness skills.
I drew the artwork, titled Striped Pattern, with pens and markers, then photographed it with an app on my phone. I then manipulated and layered the image in Photoshop to create the end result. I like playing with patterns in Photoshop because it offers me an opportunity to practice mindfulness skills.

I tried to write this piece as a longer blog post, but I had a hard time emotionally processing the act of writing. I decided that a poem would be the right medium for the material because it conveys its message more efficiently.

Artist
by Tara

I am a bipolar-type, too-rapid cycler.
I am a schizotypal schizoaffective.
I am a bipolar.
I’m a borderline — give me Paxil.
I’m a goddess — lay me down.
Tie me up.
I must be a murderer.
I have bipolar disorder.
I experience depression.
I am an artist.