Saturday, September 18, 2004

joke or truth?

Snatched shamelessly from [info]minnalavendar.

A guy sat in a corner hitting himself in the head over and over with a ball peen hammer. His friend came up to him and asked him why. "Because it feels so good when I stop."

What does this have to do with anything? It's a message, folks. It's time to stop.

You never know...

...if there will be a tomorrow. There are no guarantees.

Mom called yesterday on the way back from a funeral. There are a lot of older people in my mother's church, so this is nothing unusual. In fact, they recently buried a woman I knew years ago, someone my parents had known for over 20 years. But I was wrong. It wasn't one of the older parishioners; it was the 40-year-old sister of my foster sister who died. There is some confusion over who had the knife first, but she was stabbed to death by her husband in front of their 11-year-old daughter.

I am stunned and shocked. So much death in people so young and full of life recently, senseless deaths that hit like a lightning strike on a clear summer day in a sky full of nothing but blue. Reminds me there are no guarantees on tomorrow.

We plan for a future that may not be there, not because of nuclear holocaust or plague or war, but because of the instability of life. Makes me wonder why we all do it. Do we keep planning because we are programmed from the egg to do so or because to give up and live each moment as if it is our last makes us feel like we're standing on shifting sands and the tide's going out?

Too many people I know are waiting for the right time to have a baby, launch a career, get a divorce, or change their lives, but there is no right time. Holidays come at the same time every year and will continue to do so whether you wait to make that change in your life or not. Birthdays and special celebrations, the next pay check, the next scheduled vacation, retirement, school, going grocery shopping, or having enough money are all excuses we use because we know there will be another month, another year, another decade, another 20 years, but there are no guarantees. We might not have more than a moment or two. What we do with the moments makes a big difference in how we live and what we make of our lives.

I've always said I don't want to look back from my death bed with regret at what I didn't do but with joy at what I did do. But there may be no death bed. Life could end at the flashing point of a knife on the front porch of your home in front of your loved ones. There may be no time to regret anything.

If, as my grandmother always said, bad news and deaths come in three, I sincerely hope my threes have passed with the deaths of Tassos, Beth and Mrs. Pelfrey. And if there is another death to come and Mrs. Pelfrey wasn't the third in my life, I pray it does not find me or those I know and care about before they have anything they've left undone or before they realize where their hearts and their futures lie.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

The Letter

I found a letter in the printer tray that I was sure I had sent. It was a letter to Don, a letter of thank you and goodbye. It was dated 8/10 and contrary to my usual habits there was no envelope. I print up envelopes when I finish writing letters so they are ready to put together and send.

Anyway, I read thru the letter and was conceitedly proud of my writing, but the tears were gone, dried up and taken by the winds because my heart was healed.

I have been re-evaluating my life and choices, getting perspective on my past so I can move into the future without all the baggage that has weighed me down for so many years. Reading the letter now I know I don't need to send it. Don won't read it because it's from me and it was really for me and not for him. He gave me so much and I wanted to let him know how much and to thank him for his gifts and apologize for my blindness and insecurities. I will always be grateful to him for showing me that I am worth loving and that I don't have to settle for being used or allowing myself to be taken advantage of. I will always be grateful for showing me what love really is and how it is supposed to feel because he paved the way for happiness and opened the gate to the cage I built around my heart and myself.

A friend recently gave me a book about writing letters as a way to make peace with the past. I haven't read it, but I am pretty sure I know what is in the book because I have been doing that for the past year. I have looked at my life and the beliefs I held as true, turned them around in the light to see there was so much more there than I knew. It's not that my memories of events are false, but that there is another side to the story, a side I couldn't or wouldn't see.

I sent a letter to my mother a few months back and showed her what I had hidden inside me so that I could also show her that I understand what happened and why and that she didn't really mean to push me away. My enemy has become my friend, and a very close friend at that. I have put the pieces of my past into order and the picture I see emerging has very little of the darkness left in it. The shadows are no longer nebulous and frightening and forms have emerged.

So many times I have said that I wouldn't change my past because if I take away one moment, one experience, good or bad, it alters who I am at this moment. There are much straighter and quicker paths to enlightenment, but the path I chose was dark and full of detours and difficult stretches. It has been a long and arduous road at times, but it has always been an adventure and I am glad to have traveled it all the same. I am lucky. I know more about myself than most people ever discover and I know that I am only limited by my fears.

There may be one more letter for me to write, a letter that will be difficult, not because I am holding a grudge but because I doubt that she will understand or accept what I have to say. She has never looked past the surface at anything and she is not likely to in this life. But I will write the letter all the same. I may find it in my printer a month later or I may send it. Whether I send it or not is not the issue. Getting rid of that last frayed and battered bit of baggage is the issue because until I unload all the old baggage I cannot replace it and move on...and I want to move on.

Socrates said the unexamined life is not worth living and on some levels he was right. The one thing he left out is that you have to live life before you can examine it and that means taking chances and being willing to make that leap of faith even when you land in the dirt or slide into a mud hole. Endlessly examining every moment as it's lived leaves little time to live and grow and change. Socrates also forgot that once you examine life you still have to keep living and moving forward or you will get lost, paralyzed like Narcissus who became lost in his own reflection and died.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

So this is what it's like...?

Ever want something so bad until you get it? Something you were willing to sacrifice for, prayed for, maybe even offered the devil a deal for? Me, too. Not what you thought it would be, huh?

I love writing. It's my favorite form of communication, next to person-to-person interactions and the telephone. I've been writing since I was eight years old with a very derivative Edgar Rice Burroughs type girl lost in jungle finds lost civilization kind of story. I won a few awards in my school years and even kept a diary for a while until the contents of that diary landed me in grounded hell far too many times. Then a totally new experience gave my writing back to me and I haven't stopped since.

All I ever wanted to do was write stories and articles and interviews. Now I can. I thought I'd paid my dues, but evidently someone raised the fees because I'm paying more dues in the form of keyword-rich advertising writing, which is about a step above writing punishment on a blackboard about 1000 times every day for weeks. This is what I wanted. The writing life.

But there is a glimmer on the horizon. Seems a fellow writer (although a tech writer) in Brussels likes my romantically twisted mind and hired me to write some soft erotica for him. He's even paying me in advance when I deliver the whole story to the piece I sent as a sample. And there is more work on the horizon from that quarter, which makes me very happy. But there's a catch. Not a big catch, but a catch all the same and he is willing to let some other writer do the task who feels more comfortable with it.

I have to write about two women, take it to the edge and don't spare the erotica. News flash. If you haven't already guessed it because of my chaste and celibate status, I'm straight. Yes, folks, I'm what the gay community calls a breeder...and I have done my share of breeding.

It isn't that I haven't had my fantasies about what it is like to be with a woman, but the key word here is fantasy. I have a very vivid imagination and I know basically where all the parts fit and what accessories can be added...sort of like Barbie and Midge go to San Francisco kind of thing. (Yes, I know it's a stereotype) But I have no actual experience. I know what turns men on and I know what turns me on, but I have no clue what turns two women on to each other since I prefer a partner with are more prominent type of plumbing. I don't know if I can write about two women who are attracted to each other and take them to the bedroom (or kitchen, living room, loft, bathroom, whatever) door and make someone believe it.

I can write about anything under the sun, even things I've never done or tried because I'm a great researcher and interviewer and I have a modest technologically advanced background, but lesbian love? I'd be more comfortable taking two guys down that primrose path. I know what men like and I have lots of gay male friends. We talk. And since we have the same interests (men) I can write about what one man finds attractive about another man.

It wouldn't work for me to try it from the female perspective because I know so little about what turns a woman on about another woman. But I guess I'll give it my best shot and wait for the lesbian community world-wide to shoot me down and tell me to stick to men. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I should learn a lot from this experience. Who knows? I might even learn something about myself. You just never know.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Someone has been spying on me...

Someone, who shall be nameless, has mentioned that I seem different. Now I am familiar with psychic phenomena and intuition, but am I being transparent or something? Even my parents are acting strangely. Well, strangely for them.

Got a call from my mother out of the blue today. She is going on and on about wanting to come back here to visit and she and my father have decided my idea of taking the train, especially since there's a station about 10 miles from here, is a great idea. Mom wanted to go on the Silverton train when they were here last year, but time and my father would not permit. Besides, it was snowing in that area and Dad was driving the motor home, which is not a good idea when crisscrossing the Divide. Well, the motor home is at Raper's being raped and slowly demolished, but not being sold. It's a $16K motor home and Dad is giving it away for $2000, which sounds like highway robbery to me. I told him he should get at least $7K or $8K out of it, but at least don't let it go for less than $5K. But I'm just a daughter and no one listens to me, except about taking the train to visit. Well, one out of a thousand isn't so bad.

My parents also mentioned they have more chickens, guineas like [info]divineneutrino's, which came by way of Beanie and her husband who got them from his boss. More chickens. I did not know, however, that guinea fowl were so fragile. Guess two of them had dislocated hips and that can happen pretty easily. Too bad neither Dad nor Beanie are on LJ so they can contact [info]divineneutrino personally and find out more about this kind of fowl.

My folks also found out, but I didn't tell them, that I don't have a tape player so they sent me one along with a little note attached to a little ten-dollar bill. How sweet. When I picked up the mail (it has been a bit longer than usual) my box was nearly empty except for four long yellow cards that said I had packages and mail. Come to think of it, there was only one package and lots of mail, but there should have been more packages. I guess I'll have to go back to the post office sooner than planned. No big. Anyway, I got to take home a nifty little carrying tray full of mail. No checks from clients, but that should be remedied soon. No checks from writing contests I've won, but a lot of good wishes and concentrated energy from any quarter who'd like to participate could remedy that as well. I'm hoping for big five-digit news on Monday.

In the meantime, someone is trying to convert me to country & western music and has hit the right chord with me. That does not, however, mean I am giving up rock & roll or classical or any of the other head banging metal I enjoy, just that my tastes are expanding. Grandma always told me you should never say you don't like something until you've tried it. How'd I know I'd be eating those words? In fact, I tried tofu and found out it's not so bad either and eat it occasionally, mixed, of course, with fresh dill, arugula, fresh scallions, nopales, leaf celery, and dandelion greens, among other things, but it still could use some spice. I've added dill seed and hope to soon be able to use my very own home grown peppers from my very own pots in my very own living room. (too many very owns?) Well, my plants are growing like crazy in here and proving me with much needed oxygen, so I'm proud of my pale green thumb.

Still, I feel like I'm being watched. Guess I'd better stop sunbathing nude and nearly nude on the deck. Who knew trees could be so nosy and mouthy at the same time? I thought that was the wind, not the trees whispering.

Innocence is found not in the face, but in the heart.

Sunday, September 12, 2004


Friday night I was knocked offline and my phone service was down for a while due to high winds and lashing rains. Couldn't get any work done, so I went downstairs and read a book, watched a movie, and listened to the fury of the wind and watched it bend the pine trees nearly horizontal. (got that, John? HORIZONTAL not vertical)

I finally went to bed to the hum of trees creaking and rain thundering past the windows. The wind was stomping around on the roof and lulled me into fitful sleep, which had nothing to do with Mother Nature's temper tantrum. I rather enjoy her tantrums because they make me feel energized. The only thing missing was the sizzling ozone crackle of purple forked lightning flaring in the black sky to make me feel aroused and excited, but that would not have helped me get to sleep...rather the contrary.

The next afternoon, I went out on the deck for some rain-washed, sun-warmed air and just to feel the sunshine on my bare skin and suddenly noticed one of my pine trees in front of the deck was missing--or rather down. It lay at full length, tangled, ripped roots pointing up at me, obviously uprooted forcibly by the winds. Luckily, it fell away from the deck or I would have noticed it sooner when it scratched against the windows when it fell onto the deck.

Nature has been fickle this year. Summer never really made more than a cameo appearance, sneaking away just when you were sure it was here to stay. Spring snuck in under the radar and stayed close to the ground. Now autumn is making her appearance, gilding the aspens and setting them quaking like gold coins on their slender branches in the wind. Winter will be here all too soon, softening the skeletal fingers of the aspens and freezing the colored leaves from the beautiful purple, gold, and bronze branches of the scrub that now fill the gullies and vales with green shadows, hiding the deer while they graze and mate.

All my plants are inside and have decided summer is here safe inside the thick log walls, leaping for the high pitched ceilings in an attempt to make the best of the warmth and filtered sun thru the deck door windows. The pepper plants I brought in a month ago are full of blossoms that spread their gold and rich orange throats waiting for the fine yellow pollen to hit the shy stamens and begin the pregnant pepper pods that suckle the remaining color and energy from the blossoms as the green pods swell, bloat and push thru the withered colors like babies pushing against a mother's womb.

This morning I found a new blossom, a squash blossom full of golden promise. I looked for the last cannister of film, but they are all full of pictures and my camera is empty and waiting for one more chance to do what it was meant to do--chronicle the birth of another life in my secluded aerie.

Dill seeds are ripening and turning brown, almost ready to pick, as the new dill shoots reach fragrant green feathers into the spaces between and waver toward the warm fingers of the sun beyond the windows. Chamomile flowers are changing and growing and sending the scent of apples on an errant breeze when the windows are open. Tomato plants will soon blossom and offer little green globes to ripen and mingle their juices with the ripening lentils in the next pot. Flowers and greens and life blooms along the wall of windows, safe within the thick log walls and away from Nature's tantrums, winds and capricious winter-tinged moods. And the air is rich with the scent of ripening among earth and sunshine.

Sunday morning mists

So much of my life is under the cut right now, which leaves me with a quandary about what to say and what not to say. Strange for me since I just let everything spill out onto the keys. I'm not one to hide my life, my thoughts, or my whining about whoring my writing or finding ways to be creative about the same old crap. However, there is good news on that front and a creative challenge as well.

Friday I received the incredible news that my bid had been accepted, along with my sample, to write low key erotica. What is that? Erotica that sets the stage but stops before things get too graphic so the reader can finish the story in their mind. You might call them pre-masturbatory fantasies. I set them up and the reader takes the story from there. I hope I can remember how it all works. Might need to scare up some volunteers to answer questions and allow me to pry into the shadowy recesses of their intimate lives and mine their fantasies and realities for my art. Sounds like a good deal to me. I ask the questions, the volunteers answer the questions and enlighten me with their fantasies and romantic activities. They don't have to go into the really intimate details, but the foreplay should be fascinating.

This place is beginning to look like a visitor's haven for a change. Had another visitor yesterday who arrived fairly early (for me) and we spent the day reminiscing and talking and getting to know each other better. We also watched a movie they brought to share. October Sky, which is based on the Homer Hickam, Jr. book, Rocket Boys about a Coalwood, West Virginia boy, Homer Hickam, to be exact, who gets out of the future planned for him under the ground mining coal and into the skies on a rocket. The movie & book are also about the people who inspire us and families.

The actors are a mix of seeming unknowns and one or two semi-notables, like Laura Dern, who plays the schoolteacher who inspires Homer, and Chris Cooper, who plays John Hickam, Homer's father. True to Hollywood though, they took the name of the book and changed it for the movie. At least they used an anagram of Rocket Boys and turned it into October Sky.

The movie is very well made and a wonderful treat to watch. The ending should have you in tears, unless you're a soulless, hard-nosed unromantic. October Sky is a movie for the whole family and definitely one to watch with someone close to you.

Now I need to get the book and read the rest of the story. I hear it's better than the movie, which, in this case, is going some. I wonder how Homer Hickam feels about seeing his life become the stuff of dreams, legend and fantasy.

By the way, Homer Hickam, Jr. works for NASA and worked on the space shuttle. Not bad for a boy from Coalwood, West Virginia who had two choices for a future: a scholarship for football or walking into the Hades of the coal mines, before a teacher inspired him to look to the sky.