Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Good news or bad news first?

This has been a day of ups and downs and really ups and really low downs. Thank goodness it is nearly midnight and another day can begin its roller coaster ride.

After working into the wee hours of the morning, nose dripping and sinuses swelling, I managed an hour of sleep at a time between visits to the bathroom. When I finally managed to make a fist and hang onto a coherent thought I checked to find my paycheck had finally arrived -- late (by two weeks and one day) and way too light on the dollar side of the decimal point. At least the rent could be paid and that was of paramount importance. The electric bill will just have to wait another couple of weeks. It will be close, but it won't be late. I was more worried about the rent and that is now taken care of. One less thing to keep me awake at all hours pounding the keyboard only to be shorted beaucoup bucks. But life goes on -- sort of.

The the news got better. I discovered one of my poems entered into a contest won first prize. It's my first official, bona fide first prize for poetry.

And the winner is...

Masks on the Wall

You don't see me;
you never have.
You saw the masks I wore
now hanging on my walls.

Masks on the wall,
a collection of different faces
for different places,
the colors of emotions
for different occasions.

Masks on the wall,
a new face
worn for a time
then cast aside when you
wanted a new and different me.

Masks on the wall,
relics of my chameleon days
when I twisted and turned
myself inside out
to be what and who was wanted.

Smiles for family,
tears for lovers,
frowns in all the right places,
and always just the right faces.

Masks on the wall
are who I have been.
They signify the me you expected,
the me you created,
the only me you wanted to know.

Masks on the wall,
gathering dust.
I don't need the protection,
the deception,
the hiding place.

You still don't see,
you never have,
and now I know you never will.
It doesn't matter
for at last I wear
the real me.

That didn't hurt too much and many of you might have read it before. I'm still proud of it.

I had to give up a gift I gave myself for Yule, a hand-tooled leather bound journal, in order to get my laid away gifts out of hock, but it was worth it and they are waiting to be wrapped (wonder how much wrapping paper I can get for a small handful of change) and given to friends and neighbors tomorrow night during our little Yule celebration. That felt really good and almost obliterated the awful beginning to my day. And then came the email.

For a couple decades, I was a close friend and frequent correspondent with a lovely, talented and prolific writer who gave me encouragement. One time, after reading one of my manuscripts, she called her agent and told him to expect a copy of the manuscript that she felt he should look at an represent. He read it and sent me a lovely note: great writing, fast pace, excellent flow, but not the kind of work he represented. I accepted his verdict without question, as I never expected my friend to coerce or otherwise push anyone to accept work that wasn't up to snuff. I found out tonight during a long conversation that the agent didn't turn down my work because he didn't represent my kind of writing but because he was coerced by someone else, someone who made it their business to make sure I did supersede them in publishing a novel. That person has been revealed to be a negative influence that kept many promising and talented writers from being published, writers who were friends with the wonderful woman who saw in them promise and talent and ability and did her best to see that the road was smoothed a little for them.

Our mutual friend and I talked for a couple hours tonight and the friend told me that just before the writer died she had read a short story manuscript I sent her and was full of praise. Unfortunately, she was going blind and died shortly thereafter, unable to deal with the loss of her sight, and I didn't know how much she valued my writing.

I am amazed that someone who should know better and who was given a wonderful lifestyle in a highly creative atmosphere could be so eaten up by envy and hatred that she would delay or outright destroy another writer's chance to be read and known. What amazes me the most is that the envious woman is someone I called friend and sister because we shared the same birthday, someone I thought I knew. But she is someone none of us knew and that is just beginning to be brought to light. However, her bill has just become due and Rose Wolf, who has relied so heavily on her Ph.D., is about to find out what it feels like to spend a good part of her life behind bars where her education will do her little if any good. Her treatment of Andre Norton and Rose's betrayal of Andre's trust and loyalty is about to come to light.

Out of even the worst circumstances can come good.

Tonight a close friend shared her grief over the passing of a beloved pet and reminded me that friendship endures even when death's cold hand reaches into our lives. A neighbor reminded me that even though I had little, she had less, so I shared what I had. An old friend facing a court battle to right a litany of wrongs asked me to share in gathering up the loose ends of a powerful legacy to help right those wrongs. And a sister reminded me that even when it seems as though love and happiness are running through your fingers like the finest sand there is still hope.

No matter the news, good or bad, it remains news that can enrich or inform your life depending on how you deal with it. I have to keep that in mind when the nights are darkest and the journey toward dawn seems endless. Time does indeed have a way of healing all wounds, but more often it will wound all heels.

That is all. Disperse.

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