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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Paper or plastic?

It’s really not fair to say I “hate” e-readers.  After all, I’m coming to you through the magic of electronic media.  But my response is usually a little reactionary whenever someone mentions their fondness for their Kindle. 

I see the value of a Kindle, Nook, what-have-you if your lifestyle requires large expanses of time spent in a moving vehicle.  But they are not, and can never be, a proper substitute for a book made from paper.

A quote from the legendary Ray Bradbury in which he addressed a writer’s conference some years ago sparked this train of thought. 

‎"You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads."

This is a man after my own heart.  A large part of the appeal of a paper book is in the smell.  New or old, doesn’t matter, one whiff takes me back to childhood when my public library was magical – to adolescence when I discovered Poe, Shakespeare and Arthur Conan Doyle, devouring every Sherlock Holmes story.  Twice.

I’m also one of those crazies who lends her books out to friends (but only the ones I REALLY trust) and keeps a list of who has what, so I can be sure to have it returned.  I have, in fact, snuck into a former friend’s house to pinch a book I had loaned her after she insisted she had already returned it.  And I do, on occasion, return to books I have read to look up a passage that affected me, quote a passage that inspired me, or prove my husband wrong. 

Printed words on paper seem so much weightier as well.  Perhaps it’s the prejudice of the internet, where Wikipedia not only contains some wonderful discoveries, but honest mistakes and manipulations of willful ignorance.  Scammers and spammers abound, and Truth in Advertising laws seem impossible to enforce. 

No, e-readers can never hold a place in my heart.

And yes, I see the irony in that.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Charlie’s big nothing

The Grand Canyon was the biggest nothing Charlie had ever seen.  There was something tangible, palpable about that nothing.  It was almost an entity unto itself.  Photos he’d been shown gave an approximation of the depth and the width, although even the photos were deceiving.  But the reality of it was something else completely. 

A gentle breeze swirled; no threat of gusts shoving him off the edge but nonetheless, he was wary.  Those breezes, even they seemed preternatural!  Occasionally (no, surely not) he heard his name whispered into his left ear.  He’d heard nothing in that ear for 11 years.

Something echoed in the canyon.  Dusk painted the walls of the canyon the colors that his art professor told him didn’t exist in nature.  Could she have been so wrong?  But there was his name again, most certainly in his left ear.  Charlie began to sway.  Feeling dizzy, he backed away from the edge of the canyon.  His unhearing left ear never detected the truck.

 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Nostalgia

Nostalgia is a harsh mistress.  The rhythm of her dance weaves between your heart strings, tangling itself inextricably if you let it.  Her veils waft over the pain, the heartache, the loneliness.  The bright light of remembrance gleams off children’s smiles, full moons over the ocean, family gatherings full of laughter.  Fears are masked with bright Mardi Gras masks, gilded and bedecked with grand peacock feathers. 

Beware.  Nostalgia is a harsh mistress.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Interference pattern.

Sometimes a life doesn’t come together in a neat and orderly way.  Sometimes the things that you find meaningful and important don’t play well together.  It has been suggested that a certain level of maturity corrects that, but I disagree.  I think it can only be corrected by a certain level of apathy.

I’d rather have the interference pattern of a rich and varied life.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Words to live by

“She burned sorrow and fear like fuel…”

The words of Claudia Roth Pierpont, describing Zora Neale Hurston.

Intended as a poetic description of a life full of struggle, it also serves an accurate portrayal of anyone who would survive this existence without total capitulation to hardship, loss and betrayal.

They are, in fact, words to live by.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The White Rose

white rose1

It turns its face to the sun, radiating grace and purity, with its roots in dirt, compost, cow manure.  Such beauty arising from such filth.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

No tears

Claire wondered how she had acquired the reputation for making people cry.  Or rather, she wondered why people seemed to weep so easily over such relatively unimportant things.  There was no question that people cried in her presence with some regularity.  The tears frequently came on the heels of something she said, and she was always surprised when it happened.  What did people hear in her words that she couldn’t?

Perhaps the question wasn’t why did other people cry, but why didn’t she?  From the time she was very small she had wondered why she didn’t cry much.  Even in situations where it would be expected, there were no tears.  When she tore her knee open deeply enough to expose ligaments in a bicycle accident, there were no tears.  When her father died leaving her with an uncaring stepmother during her teenage years, there were no tears.  When the first man she ever cared for date raped her and then tossed her aside because he chose a life of drugs over her, there were no tears. 

So now, having seen so much pain in the world, in her own life and in the lives of others, there is only irritation when tears flow because a woman gets no empathy describing her descent from debutant and privilege to middle class school teacher.  There is only irritation when tears flow because Claire stands up for herself when wrongly accused.  There is only irritation when tears flow because circumstances prevent her from attending a friend’s function. 

This, then, is how Claire acquired the reputation for making people cry.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Shimmer

 

Shimmer

                     --- Carolyn Nicole Phillips

 

Shimmer,

glimmer,

the light of wonders growing dimmer,

shimmer,

glimmer,

evil's victory chance getting slimmer...

For in this hand I hold a key,

before a door of ancient stone,

where shines a light of the cosmos.

On the other side,

I see a cosmic waltz,

of celeste and spiriters,

in shimmering ecstasy.

Shimmer.

Shimmer like these,

with stained glass colors bouncing off your eyes,

waves of glitter trickling down your thighs,

Shimmer like diamonds dancing in the skies,

Beams of soul drenched wonders spouting lovely lies...

I feel a spiriter coming to me,

shimmering like the rising sun,

cutting up the colors of man,

red, yellow, black, and white,

all lovely a sight...

Coruscate!

Coruscate all the colors!

As the sea emits sparklers of salt,

on sand so white,

on a beach that holds a promise...

Shimmer,

like the cool lyrics of the eternal drink,

Glimmer,

like the waters of Constance,

Constance and beauty behold our brotherly, sisterly link.

I shimmer

With winged angels three,

I shimmer

as we venture out to the Constance Sea,

I shimmer,

I feel the Spiriters taking over me.

I shimmer like the jade of an ivory mist,

I shimmer,

like the fire of ancient souls...

behold...

as my body is turned to gold.

I shimmer.

I glimmer.

As the universe around me grows dimmer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Crucible.

 

A hot wind blows today.  This day would be a crucible, if I let it.  It could transform me or it could destroy me.  I wait in the corner, watching myself from a distance, waiting to see what I will decide. 

Solar_Flare

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Lavender Quiche

 

Setting:  A charming small town in middle America; brick streets lined with trees, art galleries, used book stores and upscale boutiques.  An outdoor cafĂ© on a perfect Saturday afternoon.

 

WAITRESS:  How was your lunch, ladies?

SHE: (big smile)  It was just fine, thank you.

Waitress smiles and leaves.

ME:  Why did you tell her it was fine?  You didn’t like your lunch.

SHE:  What was I supposed to say?

ME:  That you didn’t care for it.  Or that you made a poor choice, that it was interesting, but not to your liking.

SHE:  What difference would it make?

ME:  Well then at least you wouldn’t be a liar.

SHE:  (pauses…and then laughs heartily.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It’s not what you think.

Crosswords

Puzzles

You must write in ink.

Tantrums

Cross words

It’s not what you think.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Being the center

It’s a small shift in thinking.  Self-help gurus and yoga teachers remind you to “stay centered,” implying, at least, that you stray from the center pretty regularly.  That you have to take action to come back to the center.

But it occurs to me that you can’t “come to the center” or “stay centered” because you are the center.  You are the center of your own life.  You have no choice.  You are already there.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Living

Living

--by Harold Monro (1879 – 1932)

Slow bleak awakening from the morning dream 02228_sonomacoast_1680x1050
Brings me in contact with the sudden day.
I am alive – this I.
I let my fingers move along my body.
Realization warns them, and my nerves
Prepare their rapid messages and signals.
While Memory begins recording, coding,
Repeating; all the time Imagination
Mutters: You'll only die.

Here's a new day. O Pendulum move slowly!
My usual clothes are waiting on their peg.
I am alive – this I.
And in a moment Habit, like a crane,
Will bow its neck and dip its pulleyed cable,
Gathering me, my body, and our garment,
And swing me forth, oblivious of my question,
Into the daylight – why?

I think of all the others who awaken,
And wonder if they go to meet the morning
More valiantly than I;
Nor asking of this Day they will be living: 
What have I done that I should be alive?
O, can I not forget that I am living? 
How shall I reconcile the two conditions:
Living, and yet – to die?
Between the curtains the autumnal sunlight
With lean and yellow finger points me out;
The clock moans: Why? Why? Why?
But suddenly, as if without a reason,
Heart, Brain, and Body, and Imagination
All gather in tumultuous joy together,
Running like children down the path of morning
To fields where they can play without a quarrel:
A country I'd forgotten, but remember,
And welcome with a cry.
O cool glad pasture; living tree, tall corn,
Great cliff, or languid sloping sand, cold sea,
Waves; rivers curving; you, eternal flowers,
Give me content, while I can think of you:
Give me your living breath!
Back to your rampart, Death.

I Believe I’ll Change My Name.

 

The Jeep commercial tells me my name is what makes me unique.  That it says who I truly am.  I think not.  It’s just another label.  Another way by which people categorize me, put me on a shelf, and then direct their attention to more important things.  Like themselves.

A name is a way for someone you’ve just met to place you into a slot so they can remember you.  So they don’t have to think too much about where you fit in.  Is your last name ethnic?  You belong in this slot.  Is your first name gender specific?  You belong in that slot.  Does your name remind them of a character in a book they hated?  Slot number 3, please.

Maybe I’m overly annoyed by this because I’m about to slide head first into a mid-life crisis.  Or maybe I’m just tired of having others tell me who I am and what’s important to me.

Or maybe, just maybe, I want someone (anyone) to see me just once without judgment, without trying to reduce me to a few labels that can be quickly filed away.

Yes, I believe I’ll change my name.