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
Today, September 19th, is Talk Like A Pirate Day.
Para Abnormal Comic by Dave Lowe
Pirates were my first love then came cowboys. I yearned for wide, open spaces free from the conflict of the reality of school where I was tolerated or ignored. I wanted someone to rescue me and pirates seemed most up to the task. I wouldn’t have to make a decision. I could be kidnapped by a handsome, devilish rogue instead. It didn’t matter that I lived on the prairies about as far from the sea as one could get. It didn’t matter that pirates weren’t real (at least as far as I knew – we only got local news back before the internet told us everything we didn’t want to know)!
Pirates were handsome. Pirates were rogues. Pirates were devilish. They may be unkempt but were never smelly. They may be thieves but they had honor. A pirate code was a code of conduct for governing pirates. The pirates would draw up their own code which provided rules for discipline, division of stolen goods, and compensation for injured pirates. They took care of their own and once kidnapped, I would belong somewhere. I would be with people who wanted to be with me. (Lets just ignore rule six for now shall we)!
I’ve always been a sucker for devilish rogues with questionable morals. Rhett Butler is the man with the plan in Gone With the Wind. He knows what he wants and goes for it. Never mind the fact that I would run from a real man who acted like he did. I’d make him walk the plank and send him far away from me right quickly.
Though if he spoke to me like this, I think I would possibly swoon. Le sigh…
Dear Scarlett! You aren’t helpless. Anyone as determined and selfish as you are is never helpless. God help the Yankees if they should get you. — Rhett Butler to Scarlett O’Hara
I want a man who sees me as strong and capable well also loving me passionately!
Oh, Christian, why do you always play such bad, bad boys?
Who wouldn’t love a man whose best friends are monkeys and parrots?
And such monikers they had – Blackbeard, Bluebeard, Calico Jack!
“This heres me man, Calico Jack!”
They winter on tropical islands. They have adventures that require scavenger hunts and treasure maps. They have plenty of money to shower you with gowns and jewels. Their treasure chests contain numerous pieces of eight!
X marks what spot?
Okay, do I want to ensnare a pirate’s heart or do I want to be a pirate
like Anne Bonny and Mary Read?
Remember talk like a pirate today and
follow me, follow me away to the sea!
August is my busiest month.
Actually, it starts at the end of July with my mom’s birthday. She was 75 this year. We had supper at my Eldest sisters that Friday. I worked until 1 pm and then my mom and younger brother and his youngest came into the city to pick me up. Part of my gift to my mother was to go home over that long weekend and help her with her company. She finds having people over for too long exhausting. So, when I can I go home and be the disciplinarian – my mom has forgotten how to say no (at least to her grandchildren and great-grandchildren).
It was a busy weekend. A lot of travel. Both out and back into the city, Friday at my sisters and Sunday at the lake. I was gone from Friday to Monday night. My mom, brother and nephew drove me back Monday night and stayed over for the Ex parade on Tuesday. Ex stands for Exhibition which, in this part of the country, still mostly stands for Summer Fair. That is, an exhibition, usually competitive, of farm products, livestock, etc., often combined with entertainment and held annually by a county. Not that there’s much of an emphasis on Farm products here in the city but there are still a few such displays.
After the Parade they went home and I relaxed, at least for a little bit. Didn’t have long to rest since I was back at work on Wednesday and my Eldest sister came up Thursday night so that we could go see Blue Rodeo at the Ex. At the Grandstand. Outside. In the Rain. Thankfully, the Grandstand has covered seating. It’s been a very rainy summer. I was unaware of how many Blue Rodeo songs mention the rain (and I’m sure they sang everyone of them that night).
Friday I went back to work and my sister used my apartment as home base as she explored the Fringe.
Friday evening she picked me up from work, neither of us could decide on where to go for supper – neither of us really cared. We decided to start a restaurant file so that the decision is easier next time. 😉 We just wanted to eat, not make decisions.
Friday night we had tickets to Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan‘s Anthony & Cleopatra. Anthony and Cleopatra led me back to Rome which had much more violence and sex than I remembered. I’ve spent this weekend re-watching the series.
Saturday morning we went to the local Farmer’s market and then shopping until the early afternoon. By four, my sister had headed home and I had an hour and a bit to clean my apartment before I went off to see my one and only Fringe play. This year is the first year that I’ve only seen one play and spent so little time exploring the Fringe scene outdoors. We, my sister & I, usually see anywhere from three to five plays but this year I was just too busy!
So, honestly, I guess you could say that a lot of my August, so far, has been about exploring the nature of disastrous relationships.
A cynic’s eye view of love. My eye view of love. Definitely not into the summer love or Summer of Love mythology. LOL.
Nobody writes love poems about me anymore (but they did. Oh yes, they did!).
So, my August thus far. 2 1/2 days of work, 5 days of family, 3 days of work, 4 days of family, 5 days of work, two festivals, 2 birthdays, 1 Farmer’s Market and too much money spent and the month is only half over.
You know, I don’t think I mind being this busy.
I had two different posts planned for today and then a book made me cry three different times today. 😦
I should have stopped reading the first time it made me cry!
It wasn’t going to become a happier story. It was a realistic fairy tale – I should have known there would be more tears.
The subtitles alone foreshadowed this: Follow, Gone, Swan, Iron, Rose, Snow, Thief, Changeling, Confession, Faithful. Ten words. Ten images. Ten short tales reminiscent of the Grimm Fairy Tales. Old and ancient. Reeking of history.
This is the book. Doesn’t it have an enchanting cover. It is The Story Sisters written by Alice Hoffman. I don’t read everything she writes but both Practical Magic and Green Angel are particular favourites of mine.
According to the list in the front of this book, she’s written twenty-five other books. I’ve read a few more of hers but these are the ones that tear at my heart.
These books about sisters, family, true love (which I do not believe in); these are the ones I can’t put down, that fill me with regret, that I want to buy for all my sisters and nieces – to force them to read.
I want to shake these girls, these women (both the real and the fictional) and say : “pay attention, this is important.”
“In every fairy tale there were always three sisters: the eldest was brave, the middle one was trustworthy, and the youngest had the biggest heart of all.” (p. 52)
According to this, I should be the kind one, the caring one: I am the youngest of three original sisters in a family composed of two sets of sister (the three from the first marriage, the three from the second, and interspersed between us three boys). This is a fairy tale – things appear in threes or sevens or nines. Pay attention.
I am not kind or good; I am mostly nice. “She’s so nice.” It’s such an insult because to be nice is to ignore the core of who I am – to choose to put everyone else before one’s self.
“[the mother] should have never allowed a separate reality to be constructed. (p. 88) The world they lived in should have been enough.” (p. 89)
I’m a day dreamer. A maker up of stories. A reader. A bookworm. These imaginary worlds have always been saver then reality. This was the greatest gift my elders gave me – they allowed me my books and my dreams and this is what kept me alive, content, blessed.
“A secret, after all, was only a secret if no one heard it.” (p. 91)
Secrets are dangerous. Secrets change things. A secret is only a secret if someone knows you have one and wants to know it too. If no one cares that you are keeping secrets then no one cares about you. Remember, this is a fairy tale. There will be challenges. There will be secrets. There will be pain.
“In fairy tales, people rescued each other. They made their way through brambles, trickery, witchery, spells.” (p. 191)
“I only own myself, but all of me is mine.” I don’t wait for rescue. I can’t wait for rescue. I don’t believe in Princes. I save myself. Only. Always. It is scary to be alone, to not trust. To be pragmatic not romantic. In my deepest heart there are kisses and sorrow and wishes and dreams. I remember. I want.
“Maybe some love was guaranteed. Maybe it fit inside you and around you like skin and bones.” (p. 289)
Maybe it doesn’t devour you. Eat you up alive. Haunt your dreams. Break your heart and soul and being. I’ve not found out yet. I don’t think I ever will.
So, I cry over a book about risk and sisters and love in all its many guises.
And oddly enough, a book about tomatoes. Tomatoes that are green and pink and yellow and gold. Heirloom Tomatoes: Cherokee chocolates, Golden Jubilees, Green Zebras, Rainbows.
Tell me a story. Save me. Make me cry.