A Little Walk in the Woods…

Thank you pussy willows for literally stopping me in my tracks with your silent soft buds, giving me the chance to hear the songbirds against the clear sky and feel the cold gentle breeze brush my cheeks.  As I stepped closer to you, and the icy melting pond, I noticed a busy chipmunk sipping droplets of water as they slid from above where they were once frozen to a bare branch.  You may have seen the way that chipmunk freaked out noticing me so close.  I had to laugh.  And when the hawk dipped into our precious scene reminding me of something I tried not to remember what.  Thank you pussy willows.  I felt like I could have stayed with you forever.  I will take you into my dreams tonight.

 

Extramarital Affairs

I had an affair when I was married to Roger Knapp who died in March of 2008.  When our children were young we were asked to be in a cousin’s wedding together and so I am pictured in their wedding album, much to the bride’s horror.  This woman makes sure I know how disgusted she is by my face.  She keeps me in the frame labeled “whore, cheater, gold digger, liar” for reasons she may or may not understand.  This is okay.

As I write this, I am married to another man I love.  I remain faithful and true to him as I, once again, am interested in creating a strong marriage. Whenever someone wants to hurt me or him or our marriage, they bring up the subject of the affair in which I participated as a married woman decades ago.  This, also, is okay.  It’s not like the affair is a secret I’ve kept from him.

I understand why I had the extramarital affair in the first place.  I understand what choices I made and why.  I take great care to make sure I do not retrace those steps as it is not a place I care to live or visit again.

Why must I write about this here?  Because I write.  And I am free.  And I always will be. I was born that way.  Loving people understand freedom and want it for themselves and others.

 

#MeToo?

My rapist could be played by Susan Sarandon.  She raped me and my sweet young family for years and I’m happy to say everything is okay (even for the one who has been dead for ten years).

I am grateful to my mother and mother-in-law, Irene, for warning me repeatedly.  Why I ignored their admonitions, when I had nothing to gain from a relationship with this rapist, was not easy for me to understand but I worked hard to find the answers.  Her partner rapes innocently if there is such a thing.  He is unaware.  She knows exactly what she’s doing. They are well-matched.

I’m here to report that it is possible to move beyond the pain,  freely, with love and kindness.  There is no need to become a bitter, harsh, badass, designing Christmas cards that flaunt resentment. Happy people are not dumb.  They are not avoiding the truth.  The past is kind.  It is always over.  Pain in inevitable.  Suffering is optional. I’m happy to be rid of my rapist who could easily be played by Susan Sarandon.  Something tells me she’s not satisfied yet. People like her are insatiable.  There is never enough (for them).

And, as for the men by whom I’ve been harassed or assaulted:  they are either 1) grown up married and living beautiful lives 2) off to parts unknown and I wouldn’t know where to find them or 3) dead.  You do not have to report.  You can live a beautiful life free from the pain of the past.  Here’s hoping Dr. Christine Blasey Ford can.

Battle of the Sexes

Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs fair and square, right?  Right!  Bobby Riggs boasted he could be any woman even she had two serves and the doubles boundary while he played with just one serve and within the singles line.  He was wrong.  He lost to Billie Jean King in straight sets,  6-4, 6-3, 6-3 in Houston on September 20, 1973.

On that day, I was a ten year-old quiet child.  I watched the whole match from a secret place in our California home while dozens of adults, mostly women, cheered on Billie Jean King.   I didn’t understand all the hoopla. Of course she was going to win.  I was a good tennis player and knew a 29 year-old woman would beat a 55 year-old man with those terms.  And I’m so glad she did!

Why did she agree to such a biased match-up?  He was an asshole who kept baiting her and she wanted to prove him wrong and shine a light on women’s tennis. Thankfully, she accomplished both goals with her victory.

50 million people tuned in to watch the match on television.  Over 30,000 watched the match live at the Astrodome.  Very few of us talk about the terms of the match.  Speaking for myself, I just don’t care that this substantial fact is left out of the historical narrative but maybe I should. This is how history is written and risky investments are pitched –  leave out certain important information that doesn’t line up with the desired narrative.  Sell it!

If you Google the debate about the terms of their match, you will not find unedited footage of the match. What you will find is this article by “Cecil Adams”.  Evidently, such an esteemed writer, who won’t even show his face, has an assistant who can access the unedited footage. Right.

Of course, my (and millions of others’) memory could be wrong.  One thing is true – we who saw the match, actually watched every moment, will be dead soon.  And this excellent movie (which deserves some Oscars) will live to tell the story and share all the really important stuff.

From: Hollywood Elite

Message received: Never make fun of others (except the president).  Don’t be cruel to any living thing (except the president).  Be a good sport (unless your candidate loses).

We love you and you almost dismantle everything you claim to stand for with each twinkle in your eye every time you make fun of the president and his family.  You enjoy it.  You encourage others to do the same.

I wonder if you could keep working to impeach or replace the president without making fun of him?  Could you?  What would be so bad about that?  Please try.  Thank you.  It would be a shame to lose all you have worked for with one irresistible target you keep hitting and hitting and hitting (smiling with every punch).

 

Peace.

I write here for Peace, my true love.  It brings me the balance I crave during this short human time that sometimes feels unbearably long.  The human time, for me, is like an Artist’s Residency.  I observe, adjust and create.  Repeat.

I’m far from private.  A simple web search will tell you more about me than you’ll learn in a lifetime about many people.  I’m quiet.

Here, at AmyKnapp.com, I am not Gg.  I am not Gingerbread Amy.  I am not a mother or a daughter or a friend or a writer.  I am not even Amy Knapp.  I am the spirit that resides in the body some of us call Amy Knapp.

I am reminded time and time again that I could benefit by more grace in certain situations.  Sometimes these situations seem so outrageous, grace seems out of the question for anyone, especially me.  Still, I will explore grace and more grace.

Years ago, I noticed I get as excited about my family as many people are about celebrities.  I watch people all amped up about meeting or seeing or bumping into someone famous.  That’s how I feel about the people I live with, sleep with, eat with, fight with, and celebrate with.  In thinking about this, I recently asked family members to sign their 8 x 10s for me and, luckily, now I have a beautiful growing collection for which I am very grateful.  They are my superstars.

Sure, some family members are too busy to sign a picture, or think I’m foolish and corny.  Someone even dismissed my efforts since “everyone is a fan of their family, Amy.”  Not true in my experience.

Now, I’m going to go say hello to God by looking at a tree for a long time. It’s nice to be loved wholly and eternally.  I’m grateful for this residency and the close companionship available at all times.  Such sweet peace.

The capacity to be alone is the capacity to love ~ Osho.

Brandon Jeffords!

When we met, I was struggling.  Most days, it felt like I could barely breathe.  He was a first-year art student at Ringling School of Art & Design.

Together, we created two books, Caps & Crowns and The Color of Noodles.  His dream was to work in film animation and create a loving family.  My dream was to live peacefully with my husband and daughters, a loving family, creating art. Our dreams came true.  I like to think we helped each other.

Thank you Brandon.  I will remember you forever and wish you years and years of love and work, as Jung said, “Work is love made visible.”

 

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Easy?

 

He says it’s easy for me because I married money.  This tells me so much about him and says so little about me or men I married.  In 1988 I married a man I met when I was 18 years old.  I loved this man and we shared precious dreams of our future.  We shared two beautiful daughters. He died in 2008, ten years after our unfathomable divorce, from which I emerged unrecognizable to myself.  In 2014 I married a man I met when I was 49.  We share an amazing life full of love and laughter.  We care for too many children to count.

So now, still, he, this person I love, says I married money. I am sad for me and for him.

His mother is dying.  He says she did not support him.

If he believes his mother did not support him, let me take a minute to tell you how much she supported him his WHOLE life.  Every single step of the way, she was there with food, shelter, intelligence, money, comfort, candy, handmade Halloween costumes, lots of Christmas joy, tons of resourcefulness, and utter devotion to his wellbeing. I was there.  I witnessed it.  To say she did not support him is like saying my mother never cared about my tennis game.

If he does not think she gave him enough money (or anything) over the years, then there truly is not enough money to be enough.  She could give him every dime, every remnant of her existence as a human, and it would not be enough for him.

 

#NotMyPresident

To all the American citizens using the hashtag #NotMyPresident – rest assured you will not be beheaded for your dishonesty.  You are free to be liars in this beautiful country.  Also, you are free to leave.  As with a strong and loving marriage, you are free to leave.  Become a citizen of another country, maybe one you love?  That might be better for you.

Live honestly.  Be truthful with your hashtag #NotMyPresident.  Why not?  Try it! Be true to your word.  It’s amazing.  None of us are true to our word all the time but it is just such a noble and rewarding pursuit, I can’t help but encourage you and remind myself.  This one isn’t hard.  Just leave.  Board a plane.  Fill out documents.  Renounce yourself of this country and your burdensome citizenship.  If this country, in which you are free to make fun of anyone anytime, is too difficult for you, leave. Please.  You deserve peace.

And then, use the hashtag #NotMyPresident with truth.  The truth will set you free.

Blessings to you on your journey.

 

Thanksgiving 2017

It’s 5:13 am, Thanksgiving 2017.  I am filled with gratitude and look forward to the crowd of voices coming my way in several hours.  There will be baby voices.  There will be voices that have been around for more than eight decades.  There will be  the presence of loved ones whose breath has become air.

This is the fourth year my husband and I have hosted.  We enjoy each year as there is always an important insight and life-affirming lesson waiting for us.  We struggle each year with all the details and suggest this one is our last.  We are clear about this – we are creating a family Thanksgiving, not a party.  Yet, the bigger the family, the more it feels like a party.  Still, I cringe when anyone calls it that and suspect some relatives do it just to make me cringe.  I could be wrong.

Philip Burke celebrates Thanksgiving with fellow Buddhists.  Can we join? I wonder.

Philip is a painter whose work is widely recognizable.  His twin brother is married to my cousin, which is how we are acquainted.  He gets an invitation to our Thanksgiving as we want my cousin’s husband to know we love his family, which is our family, because we are a universal family, although I’m not sure how everyone is the world will fit around our table.

I wrote a play once – Fine Arp! – in which a character briefly wished a painter dead so her painting would increase in value.  This play is not about Philip (although I did use him as the artist she wished dead) and the play is not about me (although we own a Philip Burke original).  I thought Philip might find the play funny.  He didn’t.  I needed an artist so I picked the one in closest range and it happened to be a him, a man I wish many happy fruitful years of life.

The stars are shining bright this morning outside my window and I think I see Suzanne’s sparkly smile, my Grandma’s almost-black brown eyes, Papa’s big ears, and Jody’s long brown braids of the 70’s.

It will be a perfect Thanksgiving.  It always is.

We enjoy a mature respectful and fun relationship with each other as we continue to discover healthy ways.

On Writing

Some people call me a writer.  I love it.  I don’t call myself a writer.  I say “I write.”

I barely take myself seriously as a human, much less a writer.  I’m very serious about being a whiff of light making a brief appearance as a human on planet earth.  What does that even mean?

I know.  I’ll try to explain.

This might sound crazy but I believe every human is born with everything she needs for a beautiful life. How can that be?  No food!  No water!  No education!  No money!  Right.  That baby’s got it all.  I can’t explain any better than that because the truth is…hold on…that baby doesn’t really need her human body.

When my daughters were born, I looked at them and thought…it’s all there.  Just like the whole apple tree and all the apples exist in the apple seed.  It’s all there.  And so, I got very busy tending the soil doing everything I could to make a good and rich place for those seeds to grow and flourish.  My daughters are now beautiful loving and creative adult women and that’s between them and God, as it was from the beginning.

Must I write?  Yes.  So call me a writer or don’t.  It’s all true.

The Fires Burn

What will you do for money?

What will you do for sex?

What are you willing to die for?

What will you do for an Oscar?  An Emmy? A Pulitzer?

What will you do for a beer?

What will you do to be widely read?

What will you do to protect your children?

What?

The answers will become evident with time.  Burn burn burn.

5 Things Durango

My husband and I are currently excited about our new book, The 5-Things Travel Guide.  In case we don’t get around to writing it (a very real possibility) here is the concept:  for each location, we give you the top 5 things to do, according to us.

We found ourselves in Durango.  Here are the 5 things:

  1. Ride the train to Silverton (or wherever it is going)
  2. Get a picture with Whinney and Friends.
  3. Have pizza at Fired Up.
  4. Order the country breakfast with orange juice at Jean Pierre (the French French baker!)
  5. Drive the Million Dollar Highway

Rose

If I believed anyone needed me to be any different (even by a single cell, thought, or atom) in order to be well themselves, I might be inspired to change.  But I don’t.  No one needs me for their wellness.  And still, I change.  Second by second, day by day, year by year…I change.  And, I never change.  I always will and I never will.  Money in the bank.

 

5 Things Wolfeboro

With summer on its way, we will be flooded with guests from all over the world.  Here is our 5 Things Wolfeboro list:

  1. Enjoy the lakes.
  2. Hike Mt. Major.
  3. Visit Spider Web Gardens and walk through the cutting garden.
  4. Walk the rail trail.
  5. Have an ice cream at Bailey’s Bubble and listen to the band in Cate Park while enjoying the town docks and Main Street shopping.

Open Letter to Shonda Rhimes

Dear Shonda Rhimes,

You’re right.  You are a liar.  You can live in Vermont and make jam whenever you want.  You don’t need more money.  I know this because I live in New Hampshire making gingerbread houses and while I may be as rich or richer than you I doubt I have more money in the bank.  You will live in Vermont when you really want to live in Vermont.  Nothing will stop you.  I read your book.  You will say yes.

Year of Yes reminded me that we all invent our friends, and maybe everything else along the way too.  In 2003, I drew myself a new friend, Gg, and began writing for her.  I had a friend I loved, one I’ll call Randy.  Sadly, she inspired me to be my lowest self.  Randy reveled in my descent.  Nothing thrilled her more than to hear me curse. I only did so when things were painful.  Randy also wanted my things.  She would end up sleeping with my ex, coveting time with my kids, and preparing chocolate-covered bullshit as if I would swallow without noticing.  Who could blame her?  She’d seen me do it before.

When Randy banged him it came as no surprise. She would take him any time she could.  I didn’t know it then but I drew myself a new friend, Gg, because I needed one who would inspire me to rise up and away from all she represented.  I miss Randy now and then but I don’t miss hearing her make fun of others .  Maybe you miss Pam or Ken sometimes?

Gg is my Cristina Yang.  She made me braver.  She opened doors.  She laughs at the devil.  Gg is not famous!  I say this with delight because it’s like having the whole resort all to ourselves.

Our resort includes people like Amanda and Christine, rich women who astound me with their goodness.  They are talented and kind, a rare pairing.  The pool is surrounded with palm trees and people like Wendy, who I’ve known since I was 10 years old.  We grew up making tacos and playing tennis together.  We rarely speak, write, or communicate in any way other than thought.  Love without all the chatter and gossip.  I feel like I could tell these women anything but I won’t.  I simply don’t enjoy speaking that much, except with my husband and kids. I have no friends on Facebook.   I’ve never shared a single word with some of my closest friends:  Wayne, Martha, Byron, Deepak, Eckhart, Louise.   I may stop speaking English all together.

I love French but Spanish loves me and I’m finally mature enough to know which relationship is better.  My mom is fluent and my husband and I just returned from the Dominican Republic where it’s all thatched roofs and Big Ass Fans.  We had a magnificent time with wonderful people like Juan Carlos and Gabriel. Fantástico is my new favorite word.  I choose Spanish.

And, like you, the word diversity bugs me the way it’s used today.  I prefer using homogeny to describe the world I like.  Maybe I’ll get a bumper sticker:  HOMOGENY.  I’ll watch people egg my car and call me racist but I don’t mind if the world is all the same:  kind, loving, generous, forgiving, smart, efficient, patient, punctual, respectful, thoughtful, creative, funny, happy, prayerful, and bright.

So Shonda Rhimes, keep lying to all us liars out here.  We’ll keep tuning in.  Simply wearing our bodies around is sort of a fib isn’t it?  We can’t help ourselves.

Enjoy Vermont.

History

Albert Einstein is famous but few people know how he believed history should be taught in school and I agree with him.  According to a book I just read, Einstein believed we should highlight individuals who have improved society by their independent thought and creativity and that should be called history.  Of course, everyone’s idea of who those people are would be different so here’s mine:

Temple Grandin

Peace Pilgrim

Millard Fuller

Albert Einstein

Ellen DeGeneres

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Abraham Lincoln

Byron Katie

Why I love McDonald’s

I’ve eaten there since I was a kid and, to this day, I love a good Big Mac twice a year or more.  Plus, everyone I know who’s worked there for at least one year has gone on to become happy, healthy, gainfully employed or successful in their own business with gratitude for the golden arches and most everything and everyone else.  Additionally, I don’t know anyone who’s ever gotten sick after eating at McDonald’s, probably because cleanliness matters more than a cool culture, at least to them.

 

 

Immigration

I had open borders.  Everyone was welcome.  We were robbed blind and injured badly.  Still, I am open, I said.  I build bridges not walls.  Again, robbed and injured.  Now I understand that walls are not bad.  Walls are walls.  Bridges are not good.  Bridges are bridges. Vetting is not bad.  Vetting is vetting.

These days, I appreciate looking into the background and motives of those wishing to enter. And we welcome many.  We are strong enough to help and prosper together.

Healed.  Stronger and wiser.

Your home is your country.  You are free to leave the door open while you are at work and while you sleep.  You are free to clothe, feed, insure and care for all who enter.  That sounds lovely to me.

A cell wall is a structural layer surrounding some types of cells, situated outside the cell membrane. It can be tough, flexible, and sometimes rigid. It provides the cell with both structural support and protection, and also acts as a filtering mechanism.

If you are having a difficult time with the election results (I understand), please watch this.

5 Things Newport

My husband and I are currently excited about our new book, The 5-Things Travel Guide.  In case we don’t get around to writing it (a very real possibility) here is the concept:  for each location, we give you the top 5 things to do, according to us.  Here’s our list for Newport, Rhode Island.

  1. Cliff Walk – this is a beautiful and long walk.  Wear a bathing suit and pack a towel on a hot day so you can jump into the Atlantic Ocean.  Otherwise, just walk and enjoy the view on any day.  Gorgeous!
  2. The Old Stone Mill, Touro Park at night.  It looks so much prettier at night!
  3. The International Tennis Hall of Fame – even if you don’t like or appreciate tennis, this place is worth a stop.
  4. Sail an America’s Cup sailboat!  Such a great way to be in Newport.  The crews and captain are very friendly and it’s a blast!
  5. Any Mansion.  It’s Newport.  See a mansion.

The Good Book

I don’t care what anyone believes about the Bible and I don’t think God cares either. It’s an ancient text that has survived multiple attempts to wipe it off the face of the earth and, though I’m not at all religious and do not attend church, I’m grateful.  So very very grateful.

 
Proverbs 3:5

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.

1 Thessalonions 5:18

In all things give thanks.

Psalm 37:4

Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Romans 8:28

All things work together for good to those who love God.

I love the God who is beating my heart.  God knows I’m not doing it.  And one day, right on time, my heart will stop beating.  And that won’t be me either.