This page contains bits of writing from my thirties and forties. Most of this is student work from Deb McColl's South Pasadena artist group and UCLA Extension Writers Program.
Earlier this year I found all this in a box of old papers. . . . typed it into the computer . . . and mixed in some photos I took this year.
- Nori, 2022


"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint', then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh
My Encounter with Vincent van Gogh in a Dream

I am walking through a field - it looks like the countryside of the Netherlands, maybe 60 or 70 years ago, because there were no smokestacks anywhere. I see an old man dressed in a brown wool jacket and hat, tromping through the field warrying a wooden easel, a portfolio and a leather satchel. I follow him hoping he'll talk to me. I ask him his name, I call out to him. He keeps walking. I catch up to him and tell him we must talk. I want to know more about him, but he is gruff.

He lets me walk with him to his house. From the outside it looks like an ordinary country cottage, small, surrounded by willow trees, with an arching garden gate overgrown by a borough of vines and tiny pink flowers. The grass is overgrown, the leaves from the previous fall have settled into green clumps. I look inside - it is dark with only a dim oil lamp, the windows are thick grainy glass that doesn't allow much light to enter. In one corner is a stone fireplace. The room is cluttered with unsold canvases, dust, and unpaid bills.

I wait patiently outside on a stone bench, finally the artist comes out to greet me.
What is it you want?
I want to talk to you, for we have much in common.
I don't have time for this guess work, he said. I am busy.
Excuse me sir, but you must teach me to be an artist. I was told that if I got in touch with you, you could help me.
No, I'm sorry, but a woman cannot be an artist Go away now. Thank you very much, but a woman has other duties besides this lonely, unkind life.
But sir, I have to explain something. I am from the future. You and I are the same. I am you in a future life.

All at once his expression changed. he knew I was serious since we were one. He looked at me first as his child, then as his mother, as a brother, and finally as himself, as if looking in a mirror. We both embraced the other's spirit. In his mind he showed me how I must work - how frenzied a mood he adopts - when he paints. I felt the intensity of purpose and conviction he felt when he stroked the canvas and I knew that I could feel that way. That was already etched inside me from some past time.


Parents can be good friends, since there are strong blood ties. They can also drive you nuts, like when my mom & dad got divorced. They can be thoughtless.

Parents are better once you become friends with them. When you become a grownup they have to respect you more and you become more like equals. They let you get to know them better. You find out how much you are like them. If you're lucky, you like them. If you're not lucky, then they continue to drive you crazy.
Parents are nuts
they breed nuts kids.
Everyone grows up
and then they're friends -
Friendly nuts.


Lying is like writing fiction because you make things up.


It's good to sit alone in solitude, especially in nature when you can watch ducks take their morning baths. Or in a comfortable, clean room somewhere, maybe with a view, or unusual architecture or art. Listen to music or sounds of nature - birds, water, wind. Feel the sunshine and slight coldness of stone seat. No need for TV or drugs - just feel the presence of self and appreciate the sights & sounds. No need to void out the self - make it nothing, but accept what is there. Gently guide the mind to quiet its senseless tape loops, its damaging sad, lonely and fearful thoughts, to train it to feel okay in solitude.


Warm air
Sandy earth
Sunshine on my face & back
I felt I didn't write anything important but I liked it.
Everyone sounds calm, refreshed, many soothing adjectives.


Standing in a sandy, grassy garden, my feet sink into gritty, warm earth. Reminds me of sand dunes in Oregon where Dave and I hiked one time, or playing on the beach as a kid.


I follow a trail of bread crumbs it leaves me.
I am following the trail of my soul
My soul is the bigger me - the part that knows God, the part that has experienced many lives and dimensions I am unaware of. It is my true self, yet it is a mystery to me. It calls me to work, but will not tell me what that work is to be. I follow a trail of bread crumbs that it leaves for me. With each test I become more myself, more one with my soul, what my soul guides me to be.
I want to uncover my spirit
I am uncovering my spirit
My spirit is by nature buoyant and happy but because of some things that have happened in my life spirit is sometimes covered or unhappy. I want to uncover my spirit and let its happiness out.
My real childhood ended abruptly when I was thirteen. I wanted to be a teenager, but gradually - not so sudden. I didn't want to throw all my toys away at once. But the way it worked out I was forced to do it. I traded my dolls and tea cups for boys and drugs; my stuffed animals for hitchhiking into Hollywood. I didn't want it to have to be like that.


My family
what de do
dat astro astro Family me
my they big
my dey strong
big bad pig pad
how deget they be
so power to make me
make me be
the appendage of their big
a link on the chain of
that lineage


I used to have a disturbing recurring dream - It was about the first guy I loved, right after my parents separated. I was sad and confused about my family - no more love, it was all over just about. At that time fell in love with my best friend's brother. It was an obsession for many years. But what else was there to hang onto? I finally forgot about him but then this dream started: I would dream that he was there with me. He would sometimes be nice (accepting) and sometimes reject me. I thought it had a lot to do with whether I felt accepted or rejected; whether people loved me, whether I could love myself.

I worked on it quite a bit and after a few years the dream went away. But now it's back again once in a while. I also think about the guy sometimes.
Other times I feel whole, content - like now I don't need him, I don't need to be "in love" to be complete. Being in love was usually painful. I could never really receive love in the proportion or the amount of it I gave or felt.


Nonsense Writing

One big pink refrigerator rats in the flower garden. No one to care No one to watch the sun rise & sneeze on the warring faction. Turn it off I can't read this anymore. Wish I was in Dixie - got to get back to the moon, too. Time to go - yipes! Walk to the harmonic divergence and sell all your gold. Time has passed away unwanted, have to look at crying bread loaves. Sliced to sell selling like hotcakes and zebras lunching. Running onto the lily pad, hoping hopping hopping jumping up to the blackboard eraser chalk, selling everything in sight, buying selling and writing, nothing left to write help help.

The quails are running home, have to get them season tickets or they'll sell the house out from under my feet. Why don't alligators fly home for the winter? We have to get the place fumigated or we'll be invaded by people from outer space. They'll be here soon, so get the programs and seat the dignitaries before you go back to your bunkbeds. We have a long way to go before we can rest.

There's not a boat in site - quick put on your parachute - get ready to dunk. We must be getting on because it's already starting to rain. And sleet or sun or shine or hail, we must deliver the mail. Now it's too late the potatoes already exploded and we must turn out the kitchen. So call the plumbers because it's already Friday and there's little to do. Mexican butterflies invade the desert emptiness and swim with the birds through endless sunsets with mythical belongingness and stillness of words. We packed the packet boats with pocket fuzz and dust. The VW fell in the big pothole and we said "So?!"

We had an old store along the highway. Remember it well, I do with its big pink refrigerator, bloated, holding grama's leftover peach & pumpkin pies - holding the pies, ready for anyone hungry to come along. Waiting for nothing, no reason necessary to reach into the fridge - come out with something.
Cars went by in a continuous stream like a heard of jumpy roadrunners, running along, having a race along the long asphalt strip we called Highway 10, stretching along, going off to nowhere, coming from nowhere, but always buzzing with the running of herds of those metal roadrunners.
Every so often one comes flying off from the herd and stops here for a fill up and maybe a donut or a soda from the big overstuffed pink refrigerator. That's okay you can get it yourself. Gramma doesn't mind and you're welcome to it.

Don't have the store anymore - all been replaced by a big shiny 76 station, all run by people who don't care much - just work there, take your money, sell you some gas, put your coins in a big shiny metal and glass machine. While the old pink refrigerator rots in some junk yard and my family sold out and moved to the city & dad died & brother got a job pumping gas.


One thing I'm putting off

I have always wanted brook trout for breakfast. Not to eat, but to have breakfast with. We'd sit together in a little Tokyo bar and sip on a beer or two at breakfast time. Just me 'n him, my little brook trout. We could play some music for each other. He is learning to play the elegant songs; I the rough, brassy marches. We harmonize perfectly.

The only problem is, what we've never had was a song, me and my brook trout. We need a songwriter and an agent. It's off to the big city - Hollywood - I'll write but I don't know if I miss you. Perhaps. Anyway, Mom told me to grow up and win the Nobel prize - I don't know if they have one in music but I sure can use the money.

I'll stay in my friend's old shack until that time. It's rundown. They don't own a bed, even. I'll contemplate serious environmental issues like, "It may already be too late for the pandas," and I'll think of my little brook trout and how we'll make millions together!


Rumi + fill in
Late by myself in the boat of myself
I notice it's early for the things I must do
later find the boat and stay in it
waiting for time to tick away.
I stay in the boat
I try to stay just above the surface
but then sink in - washing away in the growing stillness Let go and just sink in.
When I die
it will be stillness again
why wait for that day.
It may be a long ways off or very near.
But whenever it comes I will be ready
For years copying other people
has been shallow. I must find my own words to speak what is on my mind.
It must be getting late
The door is round and open
Creativity invites me to see what is inside myself
and what is at the core of this world
who could ignore this invitation
when the soul lies down in that grass
it wets everything in the dew of
remembrance and refreshing
we will find the grass
The clear bead at the center changes everything
and thank god it does
The frustrations of this life fall away
as we realize it was all meant to be
everything played out as God intended
our mission is accomplished
and we can finally rest in true peace
I become a waterwheel in time and future wanderers fall over the buckets that I created and left turning on this earth


Once upon a time people wondered what if there were things that nobody could explain. They put together all the great scholars and scientists to study the matter. However, foxes stole their contemplations and they all ended up on balconies curling their warm toes in the sun.