Rhetoric from a drowning heart

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…. and I think we should take down all the Confederate monuments and put them in museums or some type of memorialized area, out of public view.  This way the monuments will be safe and protected, people can still go visit them whenever they want, and they will still be an important part of our history.

Right? Just like we put Indians on reservations, safe and protected, and part of our history. It’s not like we only remember them when they’re protesting pipelines or whatever.

We are not a stupid people, and we will not rewrite or forget history.  Right?

I’m a yankee living in the south, a few hours south of the heart of the Confederacy. What I think and feel and believe about southern heritage means very little to people who have lived here all their lives. My neighbors and friends are heartbroken that Confederate monuments are being removed because they see value in its history. As an outsider why should I care about southern heritage? Well, for one because we all live here in these United States. I am forced to examine the words. What is southern heritage? How about northern heritage? Is there such a thing, and what does that look like? Money? Liberalism? Industry? Politics? The arts?  What is western heritage, and what does that look like? Do we have a tex-mex heritage, or a far-northwestern heritage, those folks in Seattle or Idaho? What does mid-western heritage look like, what kind of flag do they fly to represent their mid-western ways?   What does heritage mean by definition, and to me personally, and to each person in our country, and have we relinquished the word in favor of stereotype?  I don’t know.

My paternal family came from England and Ireland. My maternal family have English and Dutch backgrounds. I was so proud of my Irish “heritage,” something that I could only touch by way of poetry and song. I burnished that pride based on heroics of Cormac but didn’t trouble myself too much to understand the Troubles. I have a Heinz 57 bloodline, as do most of us, so I no longer fly anyone’s flag in pride. Right now, I’m just trying to figure out how to preserve history, to heal wounds, to discover what friendship and unity and taking care of each other means and what we have to do to get there.

What Does Your Flag Remember?

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Quickly! Quickly Betsy, fast as ever you can, we need to see each other from a long way. Make the flag of canvas or cotton or linen, use everything you can, but we must carry our message into the field and beyond when we’ve taken out those lobsterbacks!

Quickly! Quickly, Constance, as fast as ever you can, we need to see each other from a long way. Make the flag of canvas or cotton, linen or silk, use whatever is at hand, but we must carry our standard into the field so the Yanks know we’ve forced their retreat, our message clear!

Ah. Ackh. This flag tastes like ghost pepper, my eyes and nose and mouth are thick and throbbing.  That’s all right. No biggie. Sliding this flag off this stick 1-2-3 and you’re mine now, pathetic, race-hating antifa motherfuckers!

Ah. Ackh. This flag tastes like ghost pepper, my eyes and nose and mouth are thick. That’s all right. No biggie. My friends will douse me down with water. We got some good Go-Pro footage of everybody hollering and jeering, until they decided it was time to come and get us. Now? My flag tastes like salt and blood and I dunno what. The flag isn’t really the thing, it’s more like, standing up for what’s right.

Maybe they’ll remember Heather’s name or maybe she’ll have some 15 minutes of fame in her deceased state, you know, walking along a street wanting to stand against bigotry and white nationalism. I don’t know whose face or what place to mark that she was here. Seems like we all have to make our mark, somehow, something that says we were here. We did something. It meant something. We want our times and times and times to remember what we stood for. The little girl of me wants to remember the best of us.

What does your time, your greasy fingered baby-back rib in the front of a cave mark, stand for? Was it peace? Did you stand for neutrality to escape getting your ribs cracked because you took a stand? Or did you lick your fingers clean?

(the women’s march on dc included very specific instructions that we were not allowed to carry signs, banners, or anything sharp or cudgel-like, and we followed that rule. we carried lots of 8 x 10 inch paper, cloth, pillowcases, hats, shirts, lots of people walking to and from the mall with one goal in mind, and that goal was not to stand behind a shield, and beat you with a stick or throw bottles filled with urine or cement. why was that rule not in place in charlottesville? i await the governors reply)

We smear meanings on the wall, things we want to remember, things we teach our young. Something happened here, and smear that moment on your face so you know you are part of it. Your cannon mates, your tent mates, the buttons on your tunic, that bit of cloth that tells us where to rally, or retreat, and did you understand what it all really meant?

Flags, unholy acrid, captured and desecrated. Flags damp in the dew of morning on the way to capturing you.  Flags rising up, defying a surrendered past, denying defeat and demanding glory, wanting to tell its silken story to a crowd that sits restless in chains or brings its thin pole down and down and down upon you, race-traitor.

We will remember you, in your place as we savor gobbets of meat from the fire.

Growing Up

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Interesting things happen when people put their confidence in you.  Suddenly you have to perform. I’ve heard Hollywood stars say, “Fake it ’till you make it,” and that resonates. I think most of us do the same daily, because our ancestor, that shadowy Prometheus, pushes us out of our comfort zones into the hallways we’ve wanted all our lives. We’ve got the fire, we stole it from on high and now we’re not sure what to do with it, but by god we’re not going to give it up.   Sometimes the hallways aren’t the dream we dreamed they would be, and that’s all right. We find ourselves in new lands, new challenges, successes and failures await.  Will we fight or will we succumb?

I must have asked my coworkers how to get to the building in Manhattan where the boss was sending me. I’m not sure he believed in me, but he assumed I was capable of finding my way in the garment district. I was happy that he thought I was capable, perhaps I’d esteemed myself at the front desk and I wanted to continue to perform and elevate myself in the company.  There was no internet for me to ask, like some kind of Magic 8 Ball or Medusan cauldron how to get around. I was still living at home but had my own car, and I had to figure out Manhattan on my own.  Best I can recall I told mom I’d call her when I got there at some point, as cellphones and Android were not available.  I got there somehow by the Beacon train and walked some blocks to their building, excited to be dressed fairly fashionably (for a country mouse, anyway), walking around like I knew what I was doing, smelling the smells, observing everything hungrily, and warily. In the office, I observed the goings-on, ate their delivered subs with relish, no pun intended and made small talk. They gave me very little to do. I got home somehow and the next day was interviewed by the boss.  He didn’t send me there to observe the office so I could become a fixture there, something I was hoping for. It appears that I was a spy, a weak one, nothing more, telling him what was going on while he was away. I told him what he wanted to know, then he put me back into my receptionist chair where I felt weak and ineffectual.  I wanted to climb higher, all that ambition without internet or cell phone. Well. I left his company eventually because I was tired of cleaning the bathroom, pitting dates, repackaging soaking, stinking apricots, and dealing with a zealous employee.

I drove to Omaha last July because I wanted to (and for many reasons.) I laugh now thinking about how we relied on his magic talking box to help us find a restaurant nearby.  God, the soaking Blue Ridge parkway in West Virginia, steaming after the rain….  I drove through Tennessee and Alabama so I could see what makes this world, my world. I am grateful for GPS to get me through the wrong turns I made. My spiral-bound road atlas is large and I’ve traced pink lines across the places I’ve been so far.  I drove those lines without calling momma for directions or my dad for anything.

I’m faking it until I make it as a person. A woman. A writer.  And I’m not ashamed to say it.

Things I Won’t Get Used To

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Yesterday was a perfect beach day, well for me, anyway. I’m the Goldilocks of being outdoors unlike some of my neighbors who are beach pros. For me, I like it not too hot, not too cold, and no wasps in sight makes it all just right.  The wind was high yesterday coming out of the north, northeast, kicking up high waves and blowing the heat far off the sand. The high, curling rollers kept the lifeguard’s skilled eyes busy.

It was a good day to sit on Samantha’s towel beneath the umbrella her husband held firmly down in the sand mound to keep it from blowing away, watching their son, a new beach pro, fling the world’s best toy with a simple yellow shovel.  She unfolded what was going on in their lives and what the future holds for them. Big changes for everyone, everywhere, it seems.

Change. Water, mirror, child, grass, sand. All subjects I study for a piece that I’m working on that touches on proof of time, but the subject of me still can’t get over some of the things she sees. She slowly adapts to change.  Change means I’ve had to get used to seeing guns worn on belts in public, and dealing with how I feel about that.  I’ve always believed that once you come to the beach and sit down, listen and watch in silence, you will never want to check your watch or social media. Something about the sand, the waves and the breeze, where we come to sit together or miles apart, makes us one somehow. You cannot be the same once the ocean puts her finger on you, but here was a man who wandered the shingle with a revolver on his waist. I cannot understand why.

The first gun I saw in public other than law enforcement was at the laundromat. Just a dude doing his laundry, Glock on hip. Ho hum? It’s not like we live in the elder wild west where anything goes, no sheriff in sight to lay down the law. Norfolk has its hands full, but our neighborhood is kind and stable, and the beach is certainly well patrolled.  The dude washing his laundry was exercising his 2nd amendment right, and I’ve slowly gotten used to it.  But the dude on the beach left me speechless. I wondered if the lifeguards are trained to deal with gun things? I mean, who could feel so insecure and afraid they need to carry a revolver on their hip on the beach? You hate seagulls that much? Or hate people who tease you for wearing white socks and Adidas flops with shorts and a cut off t-shirt, or maybe it was your bandanna you needed to defend? Why in the world, in all the places of the world, did you hang a revolver off your brown leather belt that belonged around a pair of Lee jeans instead of board shorts? What was going through your mind as you prowled the wet sand, staring off into the water like you were looking for some shark we needed to be defended from? I dunno. Maybe it was a drug thing, and I dislike typing that more than you know.

With some conversation and reflection, it appears that many people here on my beach are carrying where I hadn’t had a clue. They’re good, gotta give them credit. But my question remains: Why are you carrying a weapon to the beach? A place where we are all here for the same reason, feeling that same feeling?  There are children on this beach, and I’m not worried about you but I am worried about what seeing a revolver on a hip might mean to them as they grow up. Well, I guess since you’re permitted to carry concealed it won’t bother anyone. Maybe you believe you need to be prepared 24/7 for a personal affront, or you need to be prepared 24/7 in case a neighbor or fellow beach-goer is in dire need of protection before the cops can come?  Is this the world I live in? No. No. And no.

I watched a little guy pushing teeth through his gums laugh while mom held him as the ocean waves pushed and lifted him from behind. I watched a little girl lie on the sand in her floral print dress waiting for the waves to lick her ankles and tickle her feet.  I watched seagulls swoop down on a camp in search of food while the humans were away laughing in pummeling, frothy water. I think of my neighbors who live a quarter mile up the way where there are no lifeguards, and we tend to know each other’s dogs names better than our own.  I don’t want to get used to knowing that we are carrying guns openly or concealed because it makes me feel like we are all too afraid. Afraid of each other, afraid of the unknown. Don’t tell me it’s all about being prepared. There are no cougars or lions or packs of wild dogs coming for us down here on the beach.  What y ou call preparedness is what I call fear.

I believed there could be no fear here on the beach, before our mistresses of water and wind. I am not ready to relinquish that belief, and I believe I will never need to.

Transition In The Key Of Me

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The year many of our beach dogs died. The year humans reclaimed the beach from weather, tacking on 20 feet and taking away sandbars. The year of travel. Of making friends. Reclaiming silence, peace, writing, reading. Self.

September is coming. It begins my season of change. The world celebrates New Year’s as the new, like one big, happy, unbloody period, but September always felt like the real chapter for me. I feel September coming as I sort the ingredients of last year. So many sleepless nights. So many sunrise and sunsets. Countless wave sounds to catalog with mere words. Empty shells and sea glass have become homes for hermit crabs and the sea glass is rarer now. Great herds of seaweed would beach themselves and reek on the shore until they dried out to become part of the sand, but not now.  I know the wind now. I understand the lightning a little more. I am free with the truth because I have nothing to lose.  I write. I will always write. I have a vision to build a body of work so that I can publish something with some meat on the bones, something people will like at least, or remember, at most.

I think back on those times I left home to see Iron Maiden and friends for a few days. There was a plan for a meetup. A hotel. Sightseeing for a little while. A tavern for dinner, a hole in the wall for the tribute band to play the night before. Attending the concert which was a holy thing. Hugs and love and the return home. I always felt like I needed to straighten up the house before I left. I guess I felt like if I left things in disarray while I was out having a good time it would weigh on me.  And now, as I approach September, I see I’ve done it again: my home is in top shape. I gathered books, CDs, clothes for donating. I trashed things that I was holding on to that was time to let go. Hand-washed a pile of delicate blouses. Everything in its place, keeping only those things that matter, shedding all the rest because I have to prepare for the next chapter.

My neighbor is distraught that I am seeking employment. She appreciates my presence and likes that if she asks I will go with her to grab coffee or new lawn chairs or simply listen whenever she needs. I reassured her that I’ll still be around, but I felt the seismic shift in her when I said I’m going back to work. That’s all right. She will figure things out and get used to it, just like I’ll have to get used to wearing bras and socks and shoes again.

These next two days will be interesting. I wonder what I will do with my silence, my time. All I know is that my house smells like coconut, courtesy of the wax burner. Neighbors are chatting, coffee mugs in hand, fluffy white dogs in laps in the the newly-constructed bench in the courtyard. That wasn’t there last year, m’dear. I will contemplate a wasp sting, a child’s graduating, a man’s love, another man’s spirit, books that make me breathless and books that make me wonder how did this get published, sniffing out the trail of a new tattoo, and reorganizing my energy for a new path, the next path.

Finning, Press Secretary-style

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I am awake and aware, moving steadily through my world. I was resting a little while ago. I do not need much rest. Now I saunter my body through seas in search of small, struggling things that fit in my mouth to satisfy the low ache inside. When it is satisfied, I glide and glide and glide, aimless. I have seen four turnings and the whales tell me all I need to do is glide and eat and sleep. They will tell me what to do when it is time. I believe them.

Something touches me, and I can no longer glide. I am rising though I did not choose to. I feel up though I feel it is too high, I should not be here for any reason.  I tumble into a place where I cannot breathe, a strange new world.  I’ve never felt this before, where is my water that pours into my gills that makes me everything?  I struggle, but not too much because I want to conserve my breathing.  And now I feel tugging things on my body here and there and there, and it feels like nothing I have ever felt, and I need a word for this feeling, and the whales tell me this is what it means to hurt.  I am hurt, falling, it seems. I am hurting.  I am. I want to breathe. And soon I do when I am reunited with my world. Water crosses my gills limply as I drift down.  I know my swimming tools are gone. I breathe in a stultifying way, but it is not my living way.

I am drifting down because my swimming tools are gone, and I ache. My back and my flanks and my far end hurt, dear, sweet parts of me I can no longer touch and will not reply no matter how much I reach out to them.  I am drifting down.  I suppose this is okay because we can’t all survive as the whales tell me.

As I drift down into the cold, dark water, colder and darker than where I should be, I recall everything the whales said to me. I paid them little mind, believing their antics were pretentious and showboating, but I heard some of what they needed to say. Once our world was near silent. All anyone could hear was the turnings of fisheries, the struggles of female sharks trying to get away from the males, happy breachings, puffers making nests to entice a mate, anarchist octopus thinking a little too loud. The whales told me the new noises came and they learned their ways, suffered slaughters of generations, but they also told me that they met gentle hands whose hearts beat true, hearts that held no lies.

As I drift down into the cold, dark water unable to swim because my swim tools are gone, I feel tired.  I am ready to rest because it’s been a long day, and that’s all right. I am glad I lived a little life, sultry and honest, loving the deepest blue, as I drift wondering who would hurt me so, but I’d still rather berth in the unknown than come before my people and lie and lie and lie to them. I hope the whales will remember me to you.

What Do You Intend To Do?

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I told him I was going to the Jersey shore for the weekend. I think it was a surprise, but maybe not so much.  It was my intention to receive a modest spring sunburn, to get pounded by Atlantic waves, and take some time to sort the rocks and beans and ribbons, thank you notes, condemnations, confessions, hopes, dreams, sorrows, love and confusion that occupied my mind. It was my intention to get up before sunrise, run across the road, sit on a blanket and watch the sun come up. I lost my phone, I dreamed a dreadful dream, I awoke well before dawn and ran across the road terrified that I’d missed the moment. I sat on the sand in full dark watching layers of light build, relieved, so relieved I hadn’t missed the moment. Stars were still present. My mind was preoccupied with the loss of my phone and memories I had no way to shake. Layers of light built out there on the edge of water sky as I intentionally watched the sun rise and used my kindle to record the moments.

Living intentionally means I have a vision for what I want my life to look like, I have reminders that trail me in blogs, on scraps of paper, on the black board hanging on my frigerator. Living intentionally means I choose to get up early and watch the sun come up, or I prepare for meeting with the Sundowners so we can say goodbye to the day. Living intentionally means I think of what I want to eat and drink and wear and prepare for the day, best I can.  Living intentionally means I listen more than I speak. That I choose to say “yes” or “no” and not feel guilty either way.  It means I understand what healthy human rhythms look and feel like, and I choose healthy… or not.

Living intentionally means I am not a pinball. I don’t wake up when your flipper knocks me out of bed. I’m not your silver ball driven by flippers, springs, gravity, and luck (yeah, good luck wit dat) ringing up points that are exciting but cannot move my feet across the ground avoiding life’s unseen mines.  It means I cook a healthy breakfast instead of buying it at the drive-thru, I rent movies at the library instead of signing up for Amazon prime, I buy foods that will feed my body for the week and foods that will also satisfy cravings, because what is life if we only drink water and eat tree bark?  I intend to enjoy my food.  It means I am taking small steps to live the life I want and need to live, no matter what’s going on around me.

Intention means I’m not living at the whims of life, reacting or responding well or haphazardly. No matter what life I choose to life, the sun will rise in the east and set in the west, the moon will glare in my window so bright, so intrusive in winter, far fainter in summer.  I will hunger and thirst and struggle, and I carry it all with me to bedroom and bathroom and wee living room. Intention means I will write, edit, and send my work out every day because it’s all I’ve ever wanted, all the while fighting my greatest foes. Intention is valiant, sturdy, knowledgeable, while living day to day feels like being a pinball.

Any honest, reasonable person knows it’s hard to choose getting up in the dark to see a sunrise when in a couple of hours we have to shower, get dressed, feed the kids, drive to work, work, work, come home, endure the fallout of the day and hope there will be peace in the bed we sleep upon.  Happy are those who can sort their intentions and move on them as best they can.

Jaws, Cinematic and Beyond

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When we were young, sometimes mom and dad would let us watch TV in their bedroom. Perhaps there was a show on the TV in the living room that we were not allowed to see… or maybe it was some night the babysitter had the remote control so me and brother would invade mom and dad’s room and watch the tube.  One night I recall watching “Jaws” in their room and I was shocked by the things I saw. Sheltered, I’d never seen anything like that, and I’m sure Mom would never approve, but there it was in all its toothy, briny glory.  Funny, I never had shark nightmares then or now. Only Godzilla remains my subconscious nemesis.

I’ve watched Jaws so many times I can’t count over the years, either for the pleasure of dialogue or some background noise. Rarely do I watch the movie these days with eyes fully focused on the screen, surveying and drinking in the landscape.   Last night was a game changer.  The Virginia Aquarium and theater is 20 minutes away (as the GPS crow flies), and I left an hour before the movie. I mean, who needs an hour to get 20 miles? However, I forgot the daily congestion on the interstate. With some dodging and deep breaths I found a nice parking place, got my ticket and discovered the movie had only started 3 minutes ago instead of 15.  I was lucky.

The screen is enormous, the sound overpowering. I wished to have a seat center, rear, but I didn’t get there soon enough to have that choice. I wound up kind of center and a chair in the aisle.  It took me a while to get used to the enormity of sound and vision. I brought my knitted poncho because I knew I’d be so cold in there, and I used it to hide behind the flesh-rending scenes. (I’ve danced that dance before, and I don’t need to dance that scene anymore.)  Sometimes the sound was too loud, so I had to close off my ears.   The screen was bigger than our house. Chief Brody’s fingernail was the size of a soccer ball.

On this enormous screen I saw things I hadn’t before and felt grateful and blessed as a writer to see them. Why didn’t I notice the blood on Quint’s hands as he interrogated Hooper? I knew that Spielberg provided the voice of the Coast Guard at one point but never actually heard him, recognized him until last night.  Quint’s fisherman chair was beaten and worn in ways I never noticed.  Robert Shaw removed a tooth, put it in an envelope and never put it back.  The audience was quiet for this movie. No cellphones went off, no babies cried. I wonder if we were all here for the same, tense reason, wanting to fill the same need–nostalgia, bigger than life? I wonder how many came just to hear Mr. Shaw deliver his soliloquy, that soliloquy, equal only to Hamlet?

I heard some young people in the parking lot who said they’d never seen the movie before. I wanted to ask them all kinds of questions, but did not approach because I was afraid my enthusiasm and need for answers might make me look like a crazy person.  I wanted to know why they came, what did they think of it, do they believe great whites are vengeful, and so on. Instead, I drove home into a sky filled with a thrilling fight in my south, Thor smiting his foes in the clouds.  I headed “west” on the interstate towards home and the sky ahead was filled with high, building clouds and flashes of lightning that could make one believe the gods are at war, but there was no sound and no rain. As I drove with windows down, a fighter jet came low across the road as I fought to keep my hair out of my eyes with my left hand, maneuvering lane to lane with my right on a homeward trajectory.

As I drove, I secretly wrote the thing about this movie and a certain moment, wondering where it will lead and hoping it will go.  I won’t tell you here, because it’s still in progress.  I watched a movie, enormous in story and physicality. I drove home on dark roads watching a storm flash orange in blue clouds.  I am blessed, again.

A Tired Morning

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Some nights, it feels like the dream will never end, and when I wake I am already tired.  Then I read emails and the 800-pound tired sits with me on the bed leaving me in stunned silence with a decision to make: flop back down to try and seek another hour’s rest in hot, strong sunlight or get up and get moving. Guess I chose to get up and work through the morning.

I’d known her for a long time. She was my friend, someone I used to work with. She was so very tall and big… a big girl (this is no lady) this girl with long, fair brown hair. (She reminds me of someone I knew in another life.)  She was in tank top and shorts, and she was leaving. And she left. All I remember right now is feeling heart-hurt for the loss, and that feeling seemed to go on for a long time.

The next part of the dream (or maybe a different one entirely, who knows it carried on so long) found me in a parking lot outside a very large industrial building. Looks like it’d been there awhile, the usual dents and creases, rust, and spots of paint paler where they scoured off some graffiti. I had one job to do. (Can you hear the meme? I sure could.)  I had one job, and it seemed like nothing and no one wanted to cooperate and help me get this 55-gallon blue poly drum on a pallet, into a truck, and shipped to its destination. One drum. What was in it? Where was it going? I have no idea, but the job was all-consuming to me.  I went inside the building to get a bill of lading to get this process going. The cavernous room was poorly lit. Girders and beams covered in dark masses of cobwebbed dust in the high ceiling. It was quiet inside.  Several really wide, long wooden tables were centered in the room covered in papers. Most of the papers had already been written on. Everything was a disorganized mess. All I needed was one blank bill of lading, and I couldn’t find one anywhere on or below the tables. Another co-worker, I’ll call her “Cindy” was there also flipping through papers, and now I can see a bunch of guys in tank tops, white towels hanging around their necks because they were hot, just standing around not doing a thing.

My cellphone (an old flip phone) goes off. It’s my dad. He wants to know if I shipped out those books yet. Apparently he told his co-workers he would arrange to have some books brought in so they could have something to read, like a small exchange. The books are piled high on a pallet in my building for some reason. I was supposed to know who’s book belonged to who, and ship them. The books are old, worn, faded jackets scuffed and torn on the edges, titles no one would recognize, books that you walk past at flea markets. Instead of me shipping the barrel in the back of my mind, now I’m opening book covers, looking for names and addresses and there’s nothing there. Another impossible task. I’m angry and verbally abusing my father (not yelling) but saying awful things to him about this problem he handed me. It’s his fault that I can’t get this task done, why is this my problem, on and on and on. And he just stayed on the line and took it.

I awoke feeling tired and terrible for yelling at my dad. I know it’s just a dream, one that means so very many things. Waking up feeling tired and terrible isn’t the worst thing I suppose. I would read far worse things soon enough, and deal with the day and this sadness hour by hour. Another hot, humid day where the sky is sweating on us. I’d like to go back and dream up some rain.

Sugar Effs, Breakfast of Champions*

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There is moment in the movie Sound of Music where Dame Commander Julie Andrews sings, arms outstretched, twirling around in a gorgeous field of flowers surrounded by cold, impressive mountains.  The internet latched onto the scene and uses it to create memes (amusing item[s]…captioned picture or video or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media — Merriam Webster.)  I do not know if Dame Andrews has seen any of these memes, but something tells me that a woman married to Blake Edwards would find them amusing at the very least.

I had that meme, captioned in bold white letters that said, “Look at all the Effs I do not give” in mind when I wrote my previous post. It was appropriate at the moment, and I’m sure it will be again every now and then.  I didn’t include the meme hoping the words would get the message across.  Isn’t everyone tired of blunt internet tools banging on our weary brains? Well some of us are anyway.

I think about Dame Andrews and the life she’s had so far: her tough childhood, iconic roles, the loss of her soulmate Blake Edwards, and the needless, criminal loss of her singing voice. There’s a woman who could spend a lot of time cursing the darkness.  There was a pause in her creative life, but she never completely succumbed to all the effs she could not have given, a la the memes.  She continues to sing, act, and she’s written piles of books (32) on her own and with her daughter. She continues to be a woman, mother, grandmother, actress, writer, and everyone who meets her says the same: she is as positive and wonderful in person as she is onscreen.  Authentic through and through.

There is irony (and some humor) in using a happy woman singing a happy song in a meme that expresses displeasure at best, misanthrope worst. Neither of us knows what it feels like to be hanging on by a fingernail to life or sanity, but we’ve had our share of life things that we work through in equal and unequal measures, no matter where we are on the globe. She reminds me that the trick is knowing how to hold onto happiness, blessings, caring, giving — life — no matter how effed up things feel.  So I take a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, the stuff that reminds me it’s time to go back to giving a Royal Eff, to get focused and stay focused and not let the paltry shit get me down, to keep the pen moving and the love flowing no matter what the volcano is spewing. Isn’t that what winners, those persons who find happy moments and contentment in their lives no matter how small, wind up doing after all?

 

*Perspective, yo.