Blog started in Jan 2005: 1st entries for Write in Every Genre. Then the REAL ME begins
It Hurts When I Stop Talking
Sometime in Fall of 1998, when a visit from Dad was infrequent, and primarily at the mercy of his 88 Toyota making the 50 mile journey, I was being treated to lunch. The restaurant was my choice, I think. Sisley Italian Kitchen at the Town Center mall was somewhere my dad had not yet tried, so that was my pick. Either I was being treated to the luxury of lunch and adult conversation without my husband and 5 year old son in tow, or that's just how the moment has lodged in my memory. The more I think about it, they probably were there, but enjoying the Italian food too much to bother interrupting.
Daddy and his lady friend at the time, Anne, came up together and made a day of it with me and the family. We were eating together and talking about some of my scripts, stories, coverages, poems and other creative attempts that really were not seeing the light of day. I think I'd just finished a group reading of The Artist's Way and was in a terribly frenetic mood over my writing. I think I'd just given them an entire rundown on a speculative Star Trek script.
My Dad asked me point blank, “Why don’t you write it?? Anne agreed. It sure sounded like I wanted to write it. Why wasn't I writing seriously? It's what I'd set out to do when earning my college degree in Broadcasting many years earlier.
Heck, I should, I agreed non-verbally.
But, I didn’t.
Blogs can be wild, unpredictable storehouses of moments, tangents, creative dervishes, if you will. I'm getting a firmer handle on my creative cycle. My mental compost heap (which is a catch phrase from Natalie Goldman or Julia Cameron - I can't think which, right now) finally seems to be allowing a fairly regular seepage of by-products. That may be a gross analogy, but I give myself credit to categorize my work in raw terms. It proves that I'm not so much the procrastinating perfectionist that I once was.
Still, I always seem to need prompts and motivation. Being a self-starter is the next step. My attempt to keep up in the Write in Every Genre Contest at the beginning of the year seemed like a perfect point to launch the blog.
|I don't know that I am protecting anything more by placing it here, rather than on Facebook, but since I remember FB terms originally stating that ANYTHING POSTED BELONGS TO THEM, I at least feel better in my own blog space. This is a bit of an exercise, a promise I made to myself and my therapist today. This particular Monday is my dad's birthday. He died this year in August, and besides my sister's birthday plus Thanksgiving (some years they are the same), his birthday will be the first date that I thought might have more to it in relation to coping with grief. It's not like we usually made a fuss. A pie is the preferred special item that comes to mind. Since I lived closest to him -- it was easy to be the perpetrator of the spoiling. And of course a card, although I have a spotty history even with my most beloved friends and family members actually accomplishing my intent.
So, marking this day, since it has not been touched by tears over missing him, I am leaning into where this emotional divide might be crossed. I came across a photo that my Dad held in his FB pictures. A post of mine for almost exactly 3 years ago. I sent him some postcard poetry, and I took a snapshot of it. This allowed me today to reread what I had written to him. Today I feel like I should rewrite it. But I like these lines:
You remain the young father of a drag-slap and yappity-yap….
Where our feet have passed – dear father
– means less than what our ears still do.
I am thinking the rest of it is crap, but this is a nugget, and I want to retitle it too, and preferably finish it before the end of the year. The title instead of, "Journey of a thousand soles" would be transformed to, "Listen to the journey of a thousand and two soles" He was thrifty enough, I could imagine he has only had one pair of shoes (resoled) and I, the drag-slap cripple has squandered a thousand shoes over my lifetime. This in and of it self makes me a bit sad. Still, I have written just this, and it does not compare to the tears I did shed today thinking of the high school students returning to Saugus in California today. How I am much more attached to the past than the present. I cannot avoid my own present, but I guess for now I will still avoid the tears for the more personal tragedies of this year.
|My movie-going Summer-Fall using both Fandango VIP+ and AMC A-list
A-list let's you see up to 3 movies per week Fri-Thu, and I appear to have averaged about 3 per month
Avengers: Endgame (2019) with the family
Tolkien by myself
Yesterday (2019) by myself
Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) my spouse and I
Yesterday (2019) with my youngest
Avengers: Endgame (2019) my spouse and I
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood by myself
Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw youngest and the two of us
The Peanut Butter Falcon sent my mom and my youngest'
while my spouse and I watched Angel Has Fallen in IMAX
Downton Abbey (2019) by myself
The Peanut Butter Falcon by myself
Abominable (2019) youngest, a friend and the two of us
Gemini Man: The IMAX 2D Experience spouse and I
The Current War: Director's Cut by myself
Harriet (2019) by myself
Midway (2019) spouse and I
Ford V Ferrari spouse and I
The Good Liar by myself
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood spouse and I
Last Christmas (2019) by myself
Maleficent (2) my son and I
|Listening to album, The Last Ship, created five or more years ago by Sting (Gordon Sumner)'s semi-autobiographical musical tale. I bought tickets to see the production coming to L.A. in January 2020. So, there's a line in one of his songs within it, which states: Love is the saber, Love is the shield. Only because of this past week, that line of poetry, immediately connects in my mind to my high school yearbook, which is perennially titled, The Sword & Shield. It doesn't matter that a few decades have rolled by since I walked its quad and classrooms. A terribly young student made my alma mater a killing field last Thursday. I have not lived there for a long time, but I know plenty who stay in that valley for its perceived safety and family-friendliness.
It took me by surprise, to realize a day or two later, where I was focused on all the details of that day, and even felt I was being annoying to co-workers stating several times in shock, "that is my school," "I went to that school," "Saugus was my home." Other people were not in that same headspace -- a day or two later other people do not know I went there, are freshly receiving the information, and it is clear they can say they are sorry, but not really care.
|I know what I used to love about school...all levels of school...there was challenge, and the opportunity to share, speak, write or draw without too big a fear of lasting judgment. The best unknown when you are young is that this process is occurring. THAT IS THE BEAUTY OF GETTING OLD and looking back: reviewing one's actions, pleasures, successes and failures.
I got triggered by something I read today -- starting with the Letters to the Editor, and then back to the original Opinion piece -- an article in the paper I work for about a Hanford, CA woman, allegedly a habitual meth user, being charged with murder by the D.A. due to the stillbirth of her latest child, a son. It didn't happen until I began writing a compassionate response that I even knew myself, my past self that was fiery and opinionated in college, one that was informed by many courses and discussions in Women's Studies.
This is the article
And this is my comment left in support of and after the hardened, negative responses to the Editorial Board's view.
Now there are additional published responses rejecting the Editorial Board's opinion here, on top of the comments listed. I read the Board's main point as the slippery slope of interpreting the law to the detriment of women, when that was not why "fetus" was added to the law.
No one has addressed the general disregard of her healthcare providers (did she have any?), nor the full disregard of Ms. Becker's sexual partner(s). This charge of murder seems like a call for a stoning. Does no one see that skew and the injustice? The 21st Century is much darker than has been imagined -- particularly for women. I cannot fathom how anyone of either sex could leap to the charge of murder without deep questioning and clear-eyed viewing of this punitive bias She is so very young, and seemingly not in a location nor circumstance that empowers her whatsoever. May she have many step to her defense.
|I just watched the video recording of the 40th Annual Media Access Awards. It has been professionally produced like other Hollywood award shows over the last 4-5 years or so. I was a paid office worker involved with that group in 1990. Then it was groundbreaking for us to have the Casting Society of America and Variety and Hollywood Reporter involved. Now, to their credit, they have all the unions involved. It has been a good year for inclusion.
It is such an odd realization that I do not always remember people's names. I have historically been better than my spouse at recalling folk's names, but now, even for the life stories I tell... there begins to be slight drop outs in information. I recall that on the first day of my job with the Media Access Office, I negotiated/accepted a donation from someone of note. And yet, I no longer am sure who it was a spoke to on the phone that day. If I had the financial books to look back on, I could confirm it. My stab in the dark tells me: Loreen Arbus. I have a near-photographic memory, but it too is not perfect. I can see Loreen Arbus' name printed on a standard blue bank check -- so is that a weird thing to remember? of this not remembering, I guess it is frustrating, because I do clearly remember receiving a $200 dollar check the next year from Cindy Costner (Kevin Costner's wife at the time. See, I can remember the amount, and I know it is correct.Yvonne was new as the Office Manager in that Wells Forgo property on Ventura Blvd., Encino.
|Life sometimes just pushes you along in its current. And sometimes you are the road trip driver. Sometimes the passenger. As the passenger, you might see some interesting things that the driver does not get the luxury to consider. Right now, I feel like I have found the perfect hollowed out curvature to a massively large rock; one that with a few more millennia could be a cave opening. Despite realizing there is no hiding in this proto cave, I hold here for further instruction, or for a rise in the tide. Anticipating flow, but wanting to already be in the cave.
|Grief counseling insight spoken directly by my therapist today, reminded me that as hard as losing my dad unexpectedly may be, I need to think about the time I did get to share with him. That gratitude is so easily lost when you feel out of kilter. It seems so basic: gratitude.Whatever our being together looked like on the physical plane, at whatever point along that timeline, I can focus an appreciation for each . And everytime I remember in an attitude of gratitude, each memory -- it makes what we talked about, or listened to together that much more REAL and solid and TRUE. Does he get to have that insight and experience too? Logically, (or maybe from most people's perspectives, this is more emotion than logic) on "the flip side" I must hypothesize that the function of memory remains.
|Commitment to write as a columnist, or blogger, or poet, or other type of author, for me, is less a drive and more a gentle way of being. Thus, I can find comfort in my inability to churn out a day-to-day output. Instead, it comes in fits, and may happen annually, quarterly, manic-ly day and night...but never in a demanded, someone is lashing at my heels to force out the thoughts way -- I do not know what mechanism is actually present at those times I care to move from my own innerspace to output.
As I begin to be concerned about my eyesight, my slowing at the keyboard, and my ability to have other people read, or more importantly, pay for what I have written, it only starts to feel like a race I must take part in now. Yes, I am confronted with my own mortality in playing over these last weeks since daddy died. He passed from the physical into the next phase, like the lovely desolate satellite of our earth does; I was here for only one cycle it seems. I wanted to be that astronaut who not only walked his uncharted surface, but to care for him in that completely solitary assignment when all the best minds launch you there, but can only send you for a short trip and with few companions. I still reconcile myself and try to comfort the shaking, weeping me who discovered him lifeless -- wanting instead to be the brave explorer who not only took in all available data that had been gathered from afar, and resolutely made the trip there to that very moment, but found the Scientific method and every imagined scenario was not going to be satisfied in that voyage.
I dance around the straight forward (as I always have) because my expressing sounds more lovely in its meandering form. Better than, "I thought I would be with him to tend to the transition, and I believed I was staunch and brave to hold even a cold hand, to close his eyes in that time." Even as I write that, trying, to be descriptive and blunt, I see that it still ends with the beating heart of a poet. Am I meant to suffer? How Buddhist a thought.
I can console myself further knowing I stood firm in his having choice and his independence; forcing others at times to give his power back to him, when they were more inclined to question those who should oversee or attempt to control his few remaining pervues. That would not have suited him. I know I prefer the man I knew and could be exasperated at; some degree of sharpness, but his own brazenness, where perhaps, so many had asked that he not be that. I feel my own children did learn the blessing of gratitude at least. That you should show the gratitude even if it does not come in the flavor you'd most like every time. He was a 31 flavors...and if the tiny spoon sample was offered, you felt obligated to choose that flavor, unless you truly had a revulsive reaction to its taste, (but then, it is ice cream after all), so you continue to go back for more opportunities.
Perhaps, even in death of the physical, I still have not run out of those opportunities. As I go through papers and photos, I wonder at both the drive and the laid back way of being, and discover we did have patterns in common. So this relationship is not over, and although my whole being could not do the symbolic ritual cleaning and leading on a new path, perhaps that was not mine to do. And like I often do to myself, I move too far ahead in my planning to savor the actual moment.
I do feel I missed a moment and was instead like a spectator that was asked to move along...and maybe that is where I experienced the hurt the most on that late afternoon two months ago. Being hurried along by the sentinels of the Universe as if I was not ready. How I hate being treated like a child, but delight in remaining one.
|I received many compliments from family and friends attending the Celebration of Life for my dad this past Sunday. I feel I only did what I wanted; gave it the attention to detail that was my style. There was music and words and sharing by others. There was a location and a selection of specific people, there was a specific level of treating those who attended to a taste of who he is, what he loved. I imbued it with ritual - nothing that I drew anyone's attention to. really only I knew. His cremains were placed reverently and draped in colorful cloth on the piano that was played throughtout. I only made the pianist aware that he was placed there. And consciously, I only think two other people and myself knew his cremains were there, and receiving the glorious reverberation of that piano played so masterfully. I felt a blast of joy at one point in the music, and I know it was heightened by the seat I choose. There were little pauses and stutterings and expressions that I don't think I even heard right, the first time, but nothing bothered me. By the time we'd made it through, I had accomplished what the whole prior near-month had been about.
|When my grandmother died, (and she had only been on one day of hospice, so it is difficult to remember if that made it more or less a shock -- more, due to her only surviving one day, or less, the understanding that hospice is preparing for the death) within a few sleepless hours I was writing in tribute to her.
My father died suddenly, at age 71, just two weeks ago. In the first week, I was able to list a half dozen memories of gratitude for our shared experiences, and I also wrote and published his obituary. I think these were good pieces of writing.
Two weeks, moving into a third, though and I am worried that I am not writing the stories.
I can write the details, the facts, but no one will be moved by a litany. That makes my writing an accomplishment, but not a draw. I need to know what I can do to write with a return of emotion, joy, even anger...It's not that I am not feeling anything, I'm just stuck in not expressing fully what I am experiencing, or am I? I don't even know.
So far, the only other things I have written down are realizations:
I feel like shredded taco meat, if shredded taco meat could feel itself being that hot, drippy mess that it is
I have always been a Journalist -- Today, I wanted to note down that I feel comfortable counseling myself through the early grief in the loss of my father, due to being a life long "journal-er". And in that moment that I hesitated to add the right sounding suffix to the word, it dawned on me that "journalist" was the apt title I had been denying myself
Both of these realizations say something about my appreciation of the blog format
The rest of the grief process needs time, whether related to my writing or avoidance of writing more.