Looking at Words

Stack up words
Brick by brick
Count syllables
Tick tick tick

Build a story
Create a wall
Peek over the top
You can’t see me at all

The poet writes
And hides within
Shows you beauty
Reveals sin

I was reading a book (it doesn’t matter) in the waiting area at the salon. I read the little description on the cover and then the authors bio blurb on the inside back cover. As I finished the first chapter (while waiting to get my hair cut) it occurred to me that the author had inserted himself into the book, not as the narrator but in the voice of the father figure. The further I read it became obvious that the author was also speaking as the best friend. I managed 5 chapters before being called back for my turn in the chair. During my haircut the book’s owner returned to reclaim it. I will not be searching it out to finish. But it got me to thinking about how we try as story tellers and writers to both reveal ourselves and at the same time divorce ourselves from the story. Some writers are better at it than others. People have assumed that I am my characters. I’ve been asked if I have ever been in an abusive relationship, faced death, worked in the military or the police force, and if I’ve ever been divorced. The answer is no, none of the above. Yet I have felt many of the same emotions that are universal to many situations. They overlap and so yes, I’ve been afraid, terrified, ashamed, cowed, berated, ordered, commanded, in love, out of love, rejected, comforted those dying and those grieving. I’ve marshaled the troops (I did raise 2 boys) and formulated a battle plan (I worked in a hostile work environment for many years). However I am not a sociopath or psychopath. I am not a recluse or a crazy cat lady. And so I continue to reveal myself in this blog as I write about my ordinary life and I draw on my observations and my emotional experiences to flesh out the characters in my stories. In case anyone was confused…

Looking for Meaning and Truth

How does it feel to gather
A random emotion bouquet
Carry it or wear it or rather
Place in a vase for display?

Would you shelter together
Hold hands or link arms
Bolster courage in bad weather
A physical barrier against harms?

When all events seem against you
And fortune abandons your cause
Do you seek friends or solitude
Or take comfort in prayer or laws?

It is in times of trouble
That the measure of the soul is seen
Until that critical bubble
Even the atheist appears serene

When on the brink of death
You see life as deeply flawed
And drawing your last breath
Call out loudly “My God!”

We are a very stubborn species. I’m sure everyone is aware of at least one person who has taken a position that they have defended despite all evidence that they are mistaken. Either out of an inability to admit an error or a refusal to accept fact, they persist in their position. I’m pretty certain we all know more than one person. We could even be that person on one or more occasions. The thing is, when it is all said and done, we are faced with death. Some believe that death is final nothingness. Others believe it is a passage into paradise. Still others believe it is merely a means to recycle into another being in this plane of existence. It comes down to a question of an eternal soul. Is the belief that of an eternal soul that is reunited at death in the presence of the creator, or a soul that is eternal and is reincarnated into different physical manifestations based on how well you behaved the last time, or perhaps that the soul doesn’t exist as an eternal creation? There are many who profess that there is no God and there is no heaven or hell. They say that it is only the here and now. And yet in that final moment every one becomes a believer…

Looking to the Future

Yes it is that time of year once more – the time when many do a retrospective of what they wanted to do and what they actually accomplished in the last 12 months. Sorry, I’m not buying into it. For today I’m thinking about my blessings and what I’ve got to be grateful for. In an effort to remain positive as the new year creeps forward I give you “The List” (in bullet form):
♥ I have health – no small thing considering all the possible germs lurking in the world and all the maladies age can make me susceptible to.
♥ I have wonderful sons. They are smart and kind and employed and have never been in trouble with the law. And the big plus is that they do not live in our house and do not rely on us for daily living assistance.
♥ I have a wonderful partner in life (Sparky) who I love even after 36 years of marriage.
♥ My home is in one piece and all the plumbing works and all the wiring is functional and the furnace is still ticking along.
♥ I have a part time gig that provides me with some “mad money” that is easy to do and fun too! And the big thing is that it doesn’t cut into my nap time!
♥ My extended family is all good – they have health and mental acuity. That is to say they are doing great despite age (the youngest at 1 yr and the oldest at 87).
♥ I have wonderful friends that make my heart happy. I have people to talk to and go places with and even do fun activities, and sometimes get into a little trouble (but nothing that would land us in jail or the hospital – I am sensible after all)!
♥ I am financially secure. That means that I can enjoy hobbies, buy what I want (within reason – I’m not out there purchasing a yacht), and travel where and when I want.
♥ I have a support network comprised of friends from a diverse background who are always there for me. I just hope I’m on their list of blessings as I attempt to give to them what they give to me!
♥ I have my faith. There are many who doubt and question and are still searching. I have found my place and I am secure and confident that I have found my truth.
♥ I have this wonderful blogging platform and community. I’ve met terrific people who are now friends (mostly xangans) that I even get to hang out with in real life! I love having an outlet for my words and thoughts. I enjoy those who comment regularly and even like those who don’t. I blog because it makes me happy and I’d continue even if I had not a single reader.
♥ I have the ceramic studio. Even though there are some issues and annoyances, I love being able to create in clay. My next project is to make some clay pendants… The studio won’t start classes until the middle of January and I’m very anxious to get back to playing in the mud!
♥ My car – I love my little car. Her name is Summer Blue which is also her paint color. In the summer I average 70 mpg (I’ve seen 99 mpg a couple of times). In the winter I still get 45 mpg consistently. I love it! And even though my car is small, I’ve not had any issues with winter driving. Still Sparky put 2 traction mats in the back “just in case”!
♥ I’m thankful for Netflix. For free. I didn’t think I’d do much with it but it is good for binge watching series and exploring movies. I don’t need to rent or haul myself to a theater to see a movie especially if it is one I determine I really don’t want to watch. It is so much easier to just turn it off rather than walk out of a theater and realize that you paid $10 for the ticket…

So there is my list. I won’t say it is a complete list because I’m thankful for lots of little things like pelican foot prints on the beach, sunsets, soft bunnies and wagging dog tails, chocolate and Oreo cookies. But you get the idea. I’m sure that as soon as this posts I’ll slap my forehead and say “Oh not I forgot this that or the other thing!”

Looking Brand New

Happy New Year! This is the first day of the year 2020 and I’m excited. This year will hold some new adventures and events that I’m going to list for your reading enjoyment. Since I don’t do those Christmas card brag letters, this is the closest I will get. Hold onto your socks!

* This is the start of the first whole year of retirement marking the first year that I will not have a guaranteed income, which personally I find a tad terrifying.
* 2020 will be our vacation outside the borders of the USA. It will be a relatively safe excursion to Geowoodstock in British Columbia, Canada. I’m excited.
* I signed up to be more involved in some church activities which I hope will be more fun than work…
* I have been inspired to make some ceramic pendants for necklaces. I have been experimenting but have not perfected them yet. Stay tuned!
* Sparky will be scheduling a hernia repair shortly. He has never had to have any surgery so I’m sure this will rank up there with major calamities. He’s pretty pathetic when he has a cold. I am anticipating a 100 fold increase in whining and crabbiness. I’m hoping not but my realistic side is bracing for impact.
* The driveway will need to be replaced this year. It has been cracked but is now sinking in one section. The problem goes back about 20 years when a large maple tree in the side yard died. The roots are finally disintegrating and the void left has caused the cracking and sinking of the cement. It will be costly but it has to be done.
* I’m determined to finish an inventory of my hammered aluminum collection. I started it a long time ago so I have a starting place…
* We will be traveling to visit friends and family most likely when the weather is guaranteed not to be freezing precipitation.
* There is a possibility that Sparky will get his wish and we will get another pet. I’m thinking a fish would be OK.
* I hope to attend some more theater productions. We have 2 thespians in the family and they both had major roles in Matilda the Musical. It was well done and they were both fabulous!
* The Elkhart Symphony will present Holst’s The Planets and son#2 will be performing with them. We will definitely be in attendance. We’ve considered becoming season ticket holders…

So that wraps up what I anticipate for this new year. Of course the world is an uncertain place so there are likely some changes to this list either by design or by accident. I will keep everyone as informed as is possible (likely there will be no graphic photos of surgerized individuals). I hope you are looking forward in this new year and the beginning of a new decade instead of looking back.