I’ve moved a lot since I graduated from Grade Twelve. At least twenty times. I downsized every time! I gave away things. I gave up things. I sold things. I lost things. I don’t miss most of those things.
I gained as much as I lost!
There are two things I miss.
Words. I miss words.
Words that I wrote.
The first is a short story I wrote when I was sixteen; there was an unicorn and a black rose in it. For years after, I searched out information on black roses. (This was before the internet). Were they possible? Could you grow pure black roses? This was a topic I researched from 1975 until the 1990s and I still don’t know the answer. I know you can create black roses by dying them. I know that there are red and deep purple roses that will look black in certain types of light. But to grow a genetically perfect black rose; still impossible I fear.
But back to the story. I sent it into Seventeen magazine. I got back a form rejection slip with a very encouraging note written on it in someone’s handwriting. I’ve lost the note as well. I remember thinking “Now, I am a writer!”
The second of my words that I lost was a romance novel.
I wrote it as an experiment. I wanted to see if I could write 50,000 to 70,00 words. This was the length of a Harlequin romance novel back then.
My first draft. My only draft. I write shorter now: blog posts, essays, memoirs. I’ve not attempted anything longer. Maybe I will. Maybe this November. It was a typical 1980s romance. It was probably staid and priggish. My friend Twyla liked. She was the only one who read it. I did nothing with it.
Though, it might be in my hope chest. So might the short story.
I’ve moved the hope chest here, there and everywhere but I seldom explore deep in its depths. There are bombs in there – my wedding pictures, my parent’s after-divorce letters and other such emotional flotsam and jetsam!
I try to stay away from bombs even though there might be treasures also strewn within the minefield!
Thus, these things I’ve left behind may never be found!
I was born in 1949, and by the time I was 10, I figured out that my hope chest was not aimed in the same direction as everybody else’s was. And that life was going to be very, very complicated. And that I could either be provocative and declamatory, or shy, retiring and scared. ~Dorothy Allison
If you follow my book commentary tag, you’ll notice that I read a lot of depressing (quasi-realistic) fiction – mysteries, dystopias and apocalypses pepper through the books I read.
I am old (oldish, middle-aged if I reach my death goal). Thus, I’ve seen a lot of disasters occur around me and occasionally impact my everyday, work-a-day life.
These disasters/tragedies in my life coupled with fear and tension and the worry over the possibility of apocalypses or struggling to live in a dystopian world leaves me too often fearful. I’m tired of living with fear.
The older I get, the more it seems as if disasters are over-running our media sources. It took weeks for everyone to know the Titanic had sunk; it took mere hours for everyone to know about what had happened at the Boston Marathon.
I was a teenager in the 1970s and it seems that the 1950s were the last idealized time to grow up. It’s all about perception.
Jeff Guinn, in his book Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson (N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 2013) writes:
“There was a lot going on in America and the world, much of it tragic on a larger scale, that was featured on front pages and broadcasts. News of wars …. there seemed to be no end to those stories. The root causes were complex, and people were sick of thinking about them.” (p. 333)
As a child of the 70s, Manson was the first bogey man to worm his way into my frontal lobe. I have vague recollections about Vietnam and Kent State but Helter Skelter was the first book that made me think that the world might not be safe. If a famous actress (Sharon Tate) wasn’t safe, how could I be safe?
Then the Patty Hearst (she was rich) kidnapping happened and the world shifted just a little bit more into bad and evil.
Things were looking up – the Berlin Wall came down and it looked like maybe all of us (human beans, inhabitants of planet Earth) would choose hope over fear.
The day that a Korean airplane supposedly invaded Russian air space I was a nanny for a sweet baby girl and the worry penetrating from the news drove us out of the house to take a calming walk and to rationalize all the reasons war was not imminent.
When 9/11 happened I was working in a school library where the news was on all day which only feed the young students’ worries. How could I tell them that their world would always be safe when I knew otherwise?
How many disasters (man made and otherwise – Katrina, Sandy) can one expect to impact her life span?
I read, write and think too much (or so everyone keeps telling me!).
What do I learn reading dystopias, apocalyptic scenarios and mysteries.
I learn how to survive.
I learn how to fight.
I learn that we are more the same than different.
I learn to have hope because every mystery is solved, the apocalypse rarely happens and if it does we learn how to get beyond it and I know how to recognize the signs of a world becoming a dystopia and can thus do something before it is too late.
What do I learn when I read, write and think?
I learn that hope is stronger than fear.
As the earth is springing back to life and luxuriating in Summer’s heat, I am anticipating Fall…
I am not in the mood for Summer movies; big, loud, action-filled blockbusters.
I want something fun & scary.
I want a movie that leaves me wondering. A movie that leaves my assumptions in the dust. A movie that surprises in its absolution. A movie both predictable and unpredictable. A movie that I have to pay attention to. A movie to watch with my eyes wide open.
My movie queue right now is ripe with horror, both old and new.
I am looking forward to watching Rosemary’s Baby develop.
I will travel back to Alien before seeing Prometheus and remember in delight watching the Alien series all in one shiver inducing night with my baby sister as her young son slept upstairs with the grandparents.
Bereft of cable this summer, I peruse Under The Dome on my computer and bristle at the slow connection (it takes me an hour to watch a 41 minute episode). I’m reconsidering cable!
I long for the mysterious, the suspenseful and the unexpected. I long for ghosts and evil children. I long for aliens and monsters.
Winter was too long. It came before Halloween and left after Easter.
Winter was too cold. I shivered in my bed and shivered during my daily walks and huddled under piles of blankets seeking warmth.
Winter was too icy. I fell. I broke my wrist. I felt fragile and alone.
There were ghosts.
There were memories.
Then it got too hot so I stripped down to my bare bones and I started watching horror movies.
The Cabin in the Woods surprised. I went ah, yes as they introduced the Director (so perfect a moment).
Stoker made me think. Evil is never obvious.
Mama made me cry.
Last night, I watched Warm Bodies again.
And I may watch it again. I’m not even going to try and describe it.
Expect to say it is a sweet, hopeful movie about what happens after the end of everything.
The end of everything you think you know.
The end of everything you think you want.
It’s has connections with those who also were involved in The Others – which is a lovely, unconventional ghost story.
The truth is that even as I yearn for ghosts and fall in love with zombies, I know I would be one of the first to die.
I am ill prepared for disaster and the end of everything.
Perhaps knowing this is the reason that I am in love with horror this summer.
I am preparing myself for what is in the fog.
Preparing myself as to how to treat Zombies.
I am learning how to survive by immersing myself in the unsurvivable.
I may be watching scary movies but I am not scared.
I am curious.
Are you curious also? Immerse yourself in Warm Bodies.
Fall in love with horror.
Fall in love with the unlovable.
Prepare yourself for survival.
Don’t be scared.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I’ve heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.