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Quickly the little trees rose above our heads and soon towered over the house. When the cement floor buckled and the branches threatened the wires, he became willing to cut them down. By now they were sixty feet tall. The project required an extension ladder, a hand saw, and finally a chain saw. Richardís hands told the tale, scraped and sore, all his nails chipped off ragged. But then there were the roots to kill, lest those trees make a comeback. So he began digging and hacking with a hatchet. ďBaby, have you learned anything?Ē I asked. He just smiled.
With the site down it is interesting to notice my ennui. I had not realized how much a part of the energy the site itself provides to this exercise. Without the site to post to, I am almost at a loss for words. This has not prevented me from writing other pieces, including a couple of scripts and some short memoirs for the writing fix.comís ďThe Daily TopicĒ writing group. I really enjoy having prompts to inspire me to write. Having to come up with 100 words each day before I dare to rest my head is a great discipline.
For three years I struggled with the romantic side of my marriage. When I became disabled and my career ended precipitously, I fell into a deep depression, the likes of which I have never had the faintest hint of before. This type of deep mood disorder naturally interfered with romance. In fact, it was exacerbated by menopause, which showed up right on time about two years into the depression. I thought my romantic feelings toward my husband would never return, and had pretty much resigned myself to life without passion, when both my mood and my romantic inclinations both rebounded.
I donít know what happened. The clay is the same. The wheel is the same, and my hands are the same hands. Yet finally I am working thin instead of blocky. Luis came by and I spoke with him about it, and how frustrated I had been about my work always being so thick and heavy. He thinks that frustration is a good thing sometimes, when it turns us loose and we fight back against whatever limits we are facing. I was almost frustrated enough to give up pottery altogether. Or was it just that I had a good night?
Iím planning a trip to Spain this coming spring, with a few friends from the local potterís guild. We will study with a famous potter for a week and then travel on to Greece for a second week of Mediterranean splendor. I find myself worrying about being with people who donít know how many pills I take every day. If we should be sharing a room, they will see my array of pill bottles, and then there is the dosage in the early afternoon that can scant be hidden from travel companions. I worry what they will think of me.
"Who knows where babies come from?" the teacher asked. I raised my hand before I checked to see what the other kids did. My hand flew up high and proud. It was the only one in the room. I saw the funny look on the nun's face in the front of the room, and looked around. Everybody was looking at me. Suddenly I was afraid she was going to ask me to explain it to the rest of the class. It wasn't my fault that I knew. I had known the facts of life since I was five years old
My father couldn't wait to tell us. I'm surprised he waited until we were five. The man was simply obsessed with sex. He took the position that he was educating us. He cut out articles from Life magazine to illustrate his points. He was very comprehensive in his explanations. But there was something voyeuristic in his relish of the subject. He wanted us to know, but he was initiating us more than educating us. He wanted an audience to talk about sex, and we were tailor-made. So there I was in fourth grade, with my hand up in the air.
I was the only kid foolish enough to admit I knew. All I knew was what my father had told me. In reality, I was completely innocent. I blushed and put my hand down, slowly and uncertainly, staring blankly at my desk and praying there wouldn't be a question from the front of the room. It was a long time before I admitted to "secret" knowledge again. In that instant, I learned to guard myself. I learned that there was something different going on in my house. I learned that it wasn't normal. I learned to keep it a secret.
snow sticking to concrete
brick walls falling
snow on my face
snow in the window
snow quiet under shouting
echoes of fear
snow white as clean linen
untouched by banging
snow padding the house
drifting in fury
snow calling me out
into cold night air
snow like a down pillow
snow like an angel
snow whispering softly
catching a rainbow
snow reflecting my sorrow
watching me fall
snow lying still
blowing in wind
snow piling in corners
fists falling like anvils
snow swirling in spirals
voices rising like flurries
snow covering all
"I've told you a hundred times. What is your problem?"
"I don't have a problem. Goddamn it to hell!"
"You want me to tell you again?"
"I didn't hear you ever tell me before."
"Well I have. You just don't listen. That's all."
"I do so. I listen to everything you say."
"Then how come you don't already know this?"
"Because you haven't told me yet."
"I've told you. Yes I've told you."
"Well would you please tell me again?"
"I'm tired of telling you."
"No buts about it. You just don't listen."
"Yes I do."
When he comes over, everything else comes to a screeching halt. The house fills up with his high-pitched banter, and the dog wiggles herself loose with excitement. Not yet four feet tall, he dominates the house when heís in it. His spirit drives life to new heights. There is nothing humdrum about it. His young mind is so active, if you watch you can almost see it working, making new connections by the minute. He wants to play, and I do my best to become his playmate, though at fifty nine years old, it is not such an easy thing.
Before he comes, the house is quiet, dark even and still. The dust settles. The plants quietly grow in their pots, and the dog sleeps in a curled up ball on the rug in front of the fireplace. He explodes like sunshine breaking free of the clouds, comes in already talking about what he wants to do next. The excitement is contagious. It disturbs the stasis, stirs up the dust, wakes up the dog and propels me to new levels of energy output. Mom Mom he says, letís play some games. Before he came it was just an ordinary day.
My father had a box called the ďbudget box.Ē It had a silver dollar glued onto the lid. It was an old cigar box. In it he had envelopes for each of the monthly bills, including food. There was no envelope for clothing though, so when we needed shoes it was an emergency. We learned to put pieces of cardboard in the soles of our shoes. We never complained. We were just a bunch of happy kids. ĒDrink water,Ē he would say and then heíd laugh, because he knew he was going to buy us all the milk we wanted.
Keeping cool on the hot trail in the middle of August is an art. First off, you have to trust your own sweat to cool you. The wetter you get the better. Even when thereís no breeze at all, a wet neckrag will keep your temperature from spiking and stave off heat stroke. You move slowly and take advantage of any shade you may find, even if you have to squat down to get into it. Shade and water are the air conditioning of the outdoors. I often sacrifice some drinking water for my neckrag. It is always worth it.
We refinanced our house, paid off our credit cards, and now comes the challenge, to live on our income without using credit. Suddenly, buying clothes or books or new shoes or a new jacket is a big decision for me. If I want to fix my car, I have to have the cash to do it. Meanwhile, every day new offers from credit card companies come in the mail. But I remember what Stephen Covey said, there are two kinds of people in the world: those who earn interest and those who pay interest. You know which kind you are.
I'm so tired, all my usual defenses are at low ebb. My emotions are running up and down my skin, like waves. I feel good, at ease with everything, present to the amazing miracle of being alive. The cat is sleeping in my favorite chair, next to the warm wood fire. The dog is sprawled out on the rug. I don't know how she takes the heat in that heavy Siberian Husky coat of hers. The other cat is on the bed, waiting for me to come caress her, and my husband is curled up under the covers with a parallel agenda to the cats. It's a quiet night.
I'm no movie reviewer. I just either like the show or I don't. "Religulous" was less funny and more depressing than I had hoped and expected. Bill Maher is an amazing person. He actually believes nothing. How do you get through life without ANY beliefs at all? Or maybe that wasn't his point. Maybe his only point was to point out the rediculous beliefs of the world's major religions. And he really found some idiots to interview. He even found a christian church designed just for gay people to get straight. I have to give him credit for the effort.
Iíll write 100 words in Word, that way I can easily count them, not by going one, two, three along the lines, from left to right, so tediously. Just click on ďword countĒ and the machine does it for me. I donít have to wonder how to count contractions, or numbers. My computer knows all the rules about such things. Me, all I have to do is type. So this is a ridiculous entry, no point to it. Just words on the page. Like a Seinfeld skit, rather pointless and inane. At least inane would be something. Oh well then.
Today Colin Powell endorsed Barack Obama for president of the United States. This is the most solidly American figure I can think of. He is the John Wayne of politics in America. Everybody respects Colin Powell. I am a lifelong progressive Democrat. Colin Powell is one of the few Republicans I personally hold in high esteem. I would vote for Colin Powell. This is a great day for America. Sometimes during this campaign, I have worried about my country and where we are headed. Colin Powell today has given me back my faith. I feel proud to be an American.
I went to a discussion today about the economic crisis in my country. An economist provided us with a quick and dirty orientation to what happened and what we might do to correct the problem. It seems that speculation in the financial markets is the main culprit, but he had at least one suggestion for how to make that kind of trading less attractive. He suggested we implement a speculation reduction tax to discourage rapid trading of securities. The shorter time a security is held, the greater the tax. This would encourage long-term investment. It sounded good to me.
I'm ashamed of the Americans who are so afraid of Barack Obama that they make up spurious rumors to associate him with terrorists and accuse him of being anti-American. These people are driven by fear. They're also racists. They will come up with all sorts of lame excuses for why they won't vote for Obama, but the real truth is that they are racists. American is a racist country. The whole world is watching this display of pathetic small-mindedness. American, it is time to grow up. Look around you and see that Americans are all colors, all creeds.
We just attended an economics discussion. A professor from our university gave us a crash course in banking, the credit system and why we are in a crisis. He also discussed some things that can be done to resolve the problem. Unfortunately the current bailout wasnít one of the solutions. He did make me feel even more strongly and urgently the need to elect Obama as president. And he suggested we follow the lead of other civilized nations and enact a ďspeculation reduction taxĒ to inhibit uncontrolled speculation in our financial markets. He made a lot of sense to me.
Iím not sure how many scripts Iíve written now. Itís kind of like Richard and his poems, there are just getting to be a lot of them. Some are better than others. Some are good, some are very mediocre. Each is a slice of life. Whether I succeeded in elevating that slice of life to something compelling to watch, to read, to listen to, well that is what varies. All my scripts are believable, as far as that goes. The question is are they interesting? Do they reach out and grab you? Do they make you think? Well, do they?
I wrote a whole story in 100 word segments. It took a whole month to get it done. Then I posted it on writing.com. The one comment Iíve gotten was that it moved along at a good clip. Interesting. The discipline of 100 word segments makes you edit out what isnít pertinent. It helped with the pace. For a story with a minimal plot, that is mostly about the relationship between the two main characters, a good pace would be something youíd want. And getting to the point. I was really pleased to see that the story worked after all.
Today, we got a photo from Ethiopia. Itís a picture of our sponsored child, Abel. He is our second sponsored child in Ethiopia. Our first child was Yoseph. When Yoseph turned 25, they closed his case. We have his home address in Addis Ababa, but itís been over a year since weíve been in touch with him. We really developed a relationship with Yoseph and his family over the years. It seems really odd now that he has grown up, that we are no longer helping to support him. It was a part of our lives for so long. Odd.
Odd to have replaced him. Yoseph finished school and became a construction worker. We helped him to buy tools so he could get advanced training. He was born on the same day as our own daughter, June 3rd, 1981. I am ashamed to think that this past year I didnít even send him a birthday card. People do come and go in our lives, but sometimes we just drift apart. When the mechanism that connected us is gone, we fail to pick up the thread and keep it going. I find I miss Yoseph in my life. I will write.
What is all this paper? My world is buried in a huge accumulation of paper. All kinds, from plain white paper with black marks to full color posters with beautiful graphics. Every day I get the mail and bring a new batch of paper into the house. Every installment of new paper repeats many of the same things that were in the last batch, and the one before that. A few bills, we must be careful not to lose them. A few credit card offers, we must be sure to destroy them. And a lot of requests for donations. Right!
Sometimes, I sit down and compose 100 word paragraphs on my word processor. Itís nothing more than rambling about different things that come to mind. Sometimes, like now, I donít have a whole 100 words to say. Most of the time, I have to cut things down. Things I wonder about: why are there Mayflies in October? Why is a new idea to write about so hard to find sometimes? Why do I bother with this exercise, when I could be writing something else? Why is it such a drag to clean house? Why is it so easy to sleep?
The tension is almost too much now. Every day is another round of polls. My brain has become hard wired to CNN. Who will be our next president? Will the map go blue or red? Will Sarah Palin be one heart beat from the White House? Actually in the White House, one heart beat from the presidency...it's too much to contemplate. The woman gives me hives. The barely educated really are trying to take over my country. The most likely thing to happen is election fraud. If he can't win it, he'll steal it. I can't sleep until Tuesday night. Shit!
I went down to the campaign office the other day, to make some calls for Barack, help get the vote out. I talked to people who said he's a Muslim, as if that was a reason not to vote for him. I talked to people who said he isn't an American, that his birth certificate is a forgery, that he was born in Kenya. I talked to people who said there is just something about the way he talks, to which I say you are all a bunch of racists, you are not that stupid, but you ARE that bigoted.
Every day the McCain campaign takes the innane attacks to new levels. It's ridiculous, and yet there are a lot of American citizens, voters, who listen to this crap and believe it wholesale. I was waiting in the hair salon this afternoon, and one of the operators was telling a customer they are not voting for Obama because he wants to take our guns away. This is a complete and total fiction. And it is on the basis of mostly fictions of one kind or another, that people will elect the next president of the most powerful nation on earth.
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