Saturday, March 19, 2005
I feel as if I'm on the brink of a great chasm and the other side of the trail is too far from me to safely jump across, but I know there is a path here, a narrow bridge that will lead me safely to the other side. I just can't see it right now. In many ways it is like the chasm that Indiana Jones faced in The Last Crusade where he was supposed to have faith. He closed his eyes, put his hand on his heart, and took a step into the void, landing on the path. A scattering of dirt and gravel showed the path to those who would come after him.
So what does this have to do with thunderstorms? It is that breathless moment when the air is pregnant with violence and crackles with electricity. It is that breathless moment before the skies open and the clouds gather like doom above. I feel skittish and excited and aroused and my body feels like lead even though I know this moment, this second in time, is just the calm before the cleansing violence of the thunderstorm.
I can hardly wait for the skies to open, for all the gathering forces to descend and wash away the debris and detritus of the past, until purple forked tridents light shoot and streak across the black weighted ceiling above and fill the air with ozone and crackling life, strike the ground and fertilize the earth, make it ready for the seeds to come, the seeds that will become trees and bushes and flowers and life giving crops.
There is an excitement in thunderstorms that Mary Shelley took and with which she molded life from death and that birth, frightening as it seemed at first, became a promise that even death could not destroy.
What the lightning touches is instantly changed and though it seems as though the very form and function it originally held has been destroyed, in its place is a new life, a new beginning. After the thunderstorm all is clean and new, shining and sparkling with rain and bright sunshine that uncovers the beauty previously hidden beneath the covering dust.
Hold your breath, watch the skies, and listen for the rumble in the distance because the thunderstorm is coming and with it comes a new beginning.
Light leaden skies above and melting snow below and all around in this 39-degree heat wave. The sun is out and sparking crystalline fire from the snow covered ground and it's quiet here as always.
My thoughts speed outward to Chaco Canyon where Bev and the kids are exploring the ancient Anasazi ritual site and to a friend who had surgery on Monday. My thoughts are also with the friends I shared with one who is now in a more peaceful state and my tears are for my loss and what the rest of the world has lost as well.
Death does not frighten me. It is another journey for me to take, an adventure to a place I have known before and yet will not know again until it is time for me to visit there again. Silence has been my friend but today it is seductive poison that tempts me to find solace in sleep and dreams, dreams that take on a strange and dangerous tone where I battle forces that consume those around me and threaten to consume me as well, but I know how to combat them and I gather those who are willing and teach them the skills they need to survive. How magic and Jane Austen and a world over 200 years in the past could come together is beyond me, but I know that the outward world changes the inward world, the world of hearts and minds and people, never really changes. The words used are different, but the thoughts are always the same -- to search for and find happiness. Sadness, destruction, emptiness -- they frighten me because they are the opposite of life. They are the black holes of the soul that drag us inexorably into the darkness and twist our hearts and minds.
I need more sun. I need to bathe in the ancient streams of hearts and minds united in the desire to be one with the universe and with each other, to find the guiding light of the Infinite, to be at peace and in the arms of one who cherishes me as I cherish them.
I need spring.
Thursday, March 17, 2005
Today has been a very sad day. A close friend, a mentor, died at 2:23 a.m. in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She was 93 on our birthday, Feb. 17, and she will be missed by many. She was Andre Norton, a woman who was the inspiration for and the godmother of fantasy and the first woman to be taken seriously as a science fiction writer. She shepherded many other writers into the public eye and co-wrote many books with new and upcoming writers who went on to greater things. Most of the women in science fiction and fantasy owe Andre for blazing the path, which was amazing for a woman who was brought up in the Victorian tradition and who never went beyond a high school education or traveled.
Early on, Andre was classed as a young adult writer and most of the established writers considered her beneath them, and although the characters in her book were usually young people in the first flush of power and life she created worlds and characters that still resonate today.
One of the saddest things about a celebrity passing is those who wish to profit from the celebrity's fame and hard work, and even to blacken their name in the cause of making money by casting them in a sensationalistic and negative light. Such, I found out today, is one of seven writers who shared the same birthday, a disappointed, mentally unstable woman who Andre welcomed into her home, nurtured, and cared for most of her life, and who intends to pay Andre back for her own lack of success and notoriety by writing lies for publication.
To this blighted rose I offer this piece of advice: Do not suppose you will get away with your lies because there is another who knows the truth and is not afraid to publish it. So beware because the road you now venture onto will cost you dearly. Your lies and your perfidy have now come to the light and there are those who will not stand by and allow you to tarnish the brightness of this great lady's star. You have been warned.
I am sad to lose my mentor and my friend, but in a way I am also happy for her because she is beyond pain. To Andre I offer my love and my remembrance of all your generosity and the wonderful gift of your friendship and teaching. It is because of you I found my way.
Sunday, March 13, 2005
...don't dish it out.
There are times when friends are in a place in their minds where they do not and cannot understand what you're saying. One of my long time friends is there right now.
I have offered moral support when needed. Right now she's being a bitch. She is frequently.
Twenty years ago she ran away from the man she loved because she thought he was putting her in second place and she wasn't good enough for him, even though they had plans to marry and he was stunned by her disappearance. Fourteen years ago she went looking for him. He didn't respond, probably because he was married at the time (and still is), and said that he wrote her a 12-page response that he tore up and didn't send. He also showed his wife the letter. Time marched on and eight years ago he contacted her. She was still married at the time, as was he, but they continued their online correspondence. During the past two years she has entered into some iffy sexual relationships in hopes of goading him into action. More times than I can count, she has almost run away again because of his friendship with me and because he is friends with many women, making her feel once again she is second to everyone else and not good enough for him. I have badgered, bullied, and talked her out of running away every single time. I have even taken him to task for his actions and lack of action. In response he has become more attentive.
What she doesn't know is that he has told me more about his feelings for her and where they're going than he tells her, a confidence which I cannot in good faith break without hurting both of them. So instead I offer suggestions in how to handle the situation, suggestions she is now throwing back in my face vehemently because she "...knows him better than anyone else after knowing him for over 20 years. After all, he came looking for me 14 years ago." Okay, so her math and memory are faulty and she knows him better than anyone else. She knows him so well that she ran away from him before and has nearly run away many times in the past eight years. "This conversation is over," she told me. I know the tone. I've heard it before, too many times to count.
Despite her own assets, she persists in casting herself in a negative light, in rating herself below everyone and anyone else...unfortunately including me most of the time. And yet she persists in telling me how to run my relationship with the man I love without knowing anything about him, without having talked to him for more than a couple seconds, and really not liking him, me, or herself most of the time.
My suggestions proceed from an intimate knowledge of the man she claims to know so well, the man she ran away from, the man she won't even tell how she honestly feels and what she wants from him. I want to help. It's in my nature. She sees me as interfering and trying to tell her what to do. She feels her grasp of the situation is better than mine and that her instincts are better than my knowledge. Right. Her instincts ruined their lives 20 years ago, and ruined the life of his children and the woman he married instead of her. Her instincts ruined her own life and nearly got her killed by the man she married, putting her young son in the position of finding his dead father's body. Her instincts put her in emotional and physical danger last year when she taunted, teased, and sexually involved her with two men, one who was married and one who ended up in jail. Her instincts made her the target of a "friend" who harmed her in every way possible, ran off all her real friends, and nearly destroyed her. Her instincts are really good, aren't they?
I'm not saying my instincts are any better, especially when it comes to matters of the heart, but I'm not relying on instincts; I'm relying on the hours and hours of talks her fella and I have had and the respect with which he regards me, the truth of the situation he won't or can't tell her because he's worried about her having an emotional breakdown.
I know what you're going to say: Stay out of it. And you're right. I should stay out of it. It just bothers me that she knows me so little, trusts me so little, that she doesn't realize what I tell her will help her. Oh, well, I guess it is true that the ones you help out of friendship can't see the forest for the trees and they will hurt you at every opportunity -- because they know best.
Add to all this the fact that she has written some unfair things about me and other friends who have allowed her to say what she feels, but when they, and especially I, do the same she demands a retraction or an edit to put her in a good light. Guess what? You're not always a nice person. Sometimes you're a bitch -- like now. Sometimes you're selfish, elitist, and petty. But then everyone is at some point. I'm still your friend despite our differences, but, honey, if you can't take it, don't dish it out. You get what you give.
I'll shut up now.