Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe

In 1809, a baby boy was born. I imagine his mother knew he’d change the world; we mothers know those kinds of things. He triumphed over numerous challenges that made his writing deeper, darker, stronger. He created a truly American literature that separated us from the mother country, transformed literature at the time and formed what literature has become today. We owe a lot to Edgar Allan Poe.

My tributes to Poe include Eddy. Eddy was born from my passion to understand his darker urges. In 1848, he bought two bottles of laudanum (morphine, heroin) from a pharmacist and seemed intent on ending his life. Eddy is the imaginative version of those moments – and what brought him back from the brink.

I was interviewed about Poe’s Mysterious Death on SuperNews Live – Dark Times.

In 2018, I read Eddy at the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Virginia.

My other blogs include A Poe-Cation, The Loves of Edgar Allan Poe, Fast Facts about Poe, and check out my Poe page.

Charles Baudelaire, a French Poet and Poe’s contemporary, recognized Poe’s genius and gifts then, acknowledging that American audiences didn’t know what they had.

We do now. We have for a long time.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe. Happy Birthday.

What if We Chose This Life?

Ivy Getty’s Wedding

Have you seen this photo? I admit it took my breath away. For a moment, I thought it was a scene cut from the Great Gatsby. But there’s no Leonardo to be found. This is real. This is someone’s real life. Of course, in some abstract way, we know people are wealthy and have these lives and obviously get married in an extravaganza such as this. But, for a second, I forgot.

So enmeshed in my humble life, satisfied with my little home and my lovely garden, grateful for my girls, and proud of my job – that my mind neglected to remember that some people have larger lives.

I don’t think I’ve been to a concert venue as large as this scene since the Richfield Coliseum. (So long ago, it was before event centers were named for companies and instead for the cities in which they were built.)

Ivy Getty is a part of THE Getty’s. Granddaughter of John Paul – I know the name from The Getty Museum, which I’ve enjoyed on a number of occasions. They used to offer music on a Saturday evening while the galleries and gardens were opened late. Some people know John Paul Getty descended from the JPG The First who was (once) the richest man in the world.

~

Many years ago, I heard the theory that, prior to our birth, we choose our lives and the events that happen in our lives.

I railed against the idea. There’s a hellava lot of things that has happened in my life that I would have never agreed too. “I would not have pressed that button!” I insisted.

But now, years down the road, all I’ve been through, all I’ve learned, there have been benefits. I’ve gained levels of empathy that some people can’t comprehend. (A person with a P.H.D in Religious Studies once asked how I could forgive someone who had harmed me when they never asked for forgiveness or showed remorse.) I have a deep gratitude for the things I do have and put people before material things.

I am by no means perfect. I falter in my empathy. I’m occasionally short on patience. When rushing, I can be careless in thought and deed. But mostly, I have sought higher levels of understanding about our purpose and place.

And more often than not I think – maybe I did choose this life.

If we are to believe we are here to learn lessons, to become better beings from incarnation to incarnation, to free ourselves from the evils of humanity – pettiness, jealousy, greed etc, then isn’t it probable that we chose hardships that might teach us acceptance, forgiveness, gratitude.

~

If you’ve read this blog for long, you’ll know I was raised in poverty, became a single parent, struggled to put myself through school while raising my children. It might be easy to fall into step with the green-eyed monster and wish for money and power. Wouldn’t that have made life easier? Many of us think it would have or will. However, the financially gifted have their own issues.

John Paul Getty III was kidnapped. His grandfather didn’t want to pony up the dough. So the kidnappers mailed him Junior’s ear. Then a negotiation began. Can you imagine the richest man in the world refusing to pay a ransom for his flesh and blood? Can you imagine your grandpa refusing to give up a paycheck for you?

Streaming services (in addition to the pandemic) has cost higher paid actors their expected income. Health care they were once promised has been affected. We have a whole generation of “stars” who may not be able to live the lives in which they have become accustomed.

In other words, the wealthy have their problems.

One of the reasons I suspect old money doesn’t like to mix with new money or either of those with us peasants is they fear being used, liked, or appreciated only for their $$ and connections. Anyone ever use you? During my college years, I had a few who seemed to only desire my editing skills (such as they are.)

~

I am grateful for the lessons learned. I’m grateful the things that happened weren’t worse. I’m happy I am able to help those I can. Thank you, Universe, for healthy offspring, a brain that works, friends that are true, the capacity to love, the understanding to forgive, the acceptance, empathy, and desire to strive to continue to become a better person. (I imagine these are gifts bequeathed to me from challenges faced and overcome.)

I wish Ivy (Love that name!) Getty and her crew the best. May their marriage be loving and their children healthy.

The Most Hated Man in America – and how white privilege allowed him to escape

Let’s be honest here – had that body cam video showed anything other than a privileged white male, Petito would probably not be dead.

Had he not been a privileged white male – he’d not be free and on the run right now.

The most hated man in America – Brian Laundrie – is free due to a system that has always believed the white guy, gave him another chance, let it play out.

While many of us are sitting back saying – WHY DID THEY NOT ARREST OR DETAIN OR QUESTION HIM before he escaped? the FBI and police were also working under the challenges white privilege carries. If you arrest someone without all the proper paperwork, you risk the expensive attorney making a case from the lack of dotted i’s and crossed t’s. They FBI and police were playing it by the book because had they not built a proper case to send the person to prison for life, it would have resulted in a long and costly waste of money that would’ve allow him to walk the streets anyway.

Brian Laundrie is the most hated man in America not only because he seems to be getting away with something what we all feel he did, but because of his sociopathic behavior – he drove Gabby’s van home, refused to speak while he hid at the safety of his mommy’s bosoms seemingly going on with his life as if nothing happened. His parents seem to be sociopaths as well – they went on with their lives as if their child hadn’t just returned without his missing girlfriend.

Everyone who has a child can relate to Gabby’s parents. The horror of not knowing where your child is – the outrage that the person who knows refusing to speak.

But do they relate to Brian’s parents? Maybe that’s why people are pissed off too – while we want to protect our children, how many of us would go so far as to hide our child and help our child to escape a murder charge? How many of us would even be allowed to proceed with life as normal if our child was a person of interest in a missing person’s case?

It seems a mom of two, attorney at a lawfirm, has offered a $20, 000 reward for information leading to Laundrie’s capture. I say we get a gofundme page going and donate more – let’s put a bounty on this guy’s head so large that anyone in the world would turn him over –

because, ladies and gentlemen, his parents have most likely gotten him out of the country. He’s on his way – or already in – a country that does not have an extradition treaty with America. They had enough of a head start. And how long could he hide on American soil?

I have faith he’ll be found. He’ll be brought back. He’ll face charges. And I hope his parents do to.

But let’s not wait until then to talk about the women of color who are missing in the same state without the same media circus.

Introducing: The Red Wing Chronicles (A Stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism)

Love this book!

I really don’t know how many people read my blog posts. For the past year or so, at various times, I have posted several pieces with subtitles like “A stream of consciousness rant, or lament, etc. from “The Red Wing Chronicles (A stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism). This is my latest book- part memoir of my first 30 years or so, and part stream of consciousness rant. Stream of consciousness is a technique in which the writer’s thoughts are quickly rendered into written words with minimal thought or fermentation. James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, and Virginia Wolf have used this technique in various of their works and when it is successful it often is akin to a jazz improvisation in words.

Although the words often flowed, this was a difficult book to write. My childhood was hardly a pleasant one. It was rife with serious illness, bullying and family abuse. The…

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Things I Learned From a 2 Year Old.

Be determined!

Be excited.

Make the most of every moment.

Sing!

Gumballs can be used as marbles. (Use what works)

Play! (Park playlands make for a great workout!)

Spend the least time doing things you don’t like.

Laugh!

Don’t worry about what other people think.

Hug hard.

Nothing is really out of reach. (Goes back to where we started.)

*

imagine what we might accomplish!

Infinite infancies

Remember childhood? The dreams we had, the music we listened to, the beliefs we held so firmly in our grasp. Life was tasted. Every moment. So exciting.

Did we fix anything? Change anything? Make that difference we wanted to?

Are the children in Africa fed and warm? Did the the Great apes stop disappearing? The pandas repopulate the wild?

There’s still so much left to do, even more than when we began. And still we play with our time as if it’s infinite.

Troglodytes Unite! uhm, on zoom?

I’m not a materialist. I don’t run out and buy products for the newer, better version. I don’t sway toward bells and whistles or shiny objects. .

When I wrote on my fb that I was getting a new TV after not having one for more than a year, people seemed to collectively gasp. Prior to that, I had an old model – I joke it still had the tube in the back, yet it wasn’t quite that bad.

I don’t own a microwave or a blue ray player and only updated my phone last year.

I’m not a troglodyte. I definitely keep updated, especially in regards to teaching with technology. I’m certified by a national online teaching organization. I train regularly with new learning software.

I’d like to know the ins and outs of more programs like photoshoppe and whatever else I have on this computer.

However, therein lies the problem with technology. There is SOOOO much. And I feel like I’m starring at one screen or another all day every day.

So not having a new whatchamacallit is my way of engaging less with the screen, attempting to live more inside myself than outside myself. I’m not sure how much it works. And it may take more will power than less technology.

So now I write….

This morning began as perfect set up for a good writing day. I walked the dogs in the cool air, rain dripped daintily from the sky, neighbors waved from their patios. I brewed a beach bellini tea and plucked a fig fresh from the tree. What could go wrong?

Life happened.

Paperwork of the financial type, grading essays, responding to emails.

Nails on a chalkboard.

The dream like setting beckons, the adoring characters wait. The world I was so lovingly creating has come to a standstill.

I am filled with liverwurst sandwiches.

This is why writers have phoneless, internet limited, no contact writing retreats – which are harder and harder to find.

Can you imagine even being disconnected these days? I used to say – “nothing is going to happen that you can’t hear about an hour later” – to my students to encourage them to put down their phones. But I, too, feel that same tug of addiction these days. The world moves fast. Don’t get back to someone and you lose an opportunity.

Our insta-world expects an insta-response or you’re history.

I just want to write. I want to sit down and not have to worry about anything else except the setting, timeline, character arc, beauty of language, reasoning of scene.

I’ll take the transitional cuppa, the stroll in the garden, anything to get back into my writing state…..

until the next interruption.

Dreams of Dying in a Mad World

Freud had his issues, definitely, but he did bring us dream interpretation. He wass the first to propose that dreams mean something other than our mind taking flight during the night. Some of his suppositions about meaning were probably incorrect.

There are modern interpretations, spiritual interpretations, and personal ideas of what each dream might mean to the dreamer.

When I was young, I kept a dream diary. I began to wake up multiple times a night – after every dream – and scrawl furiously images and events. Sometimes in the sleepy morning light, I was unable to make out what I’d written. Over time, however, I did see a pattern in the dreams. A message, if you will. My mind was working on my day time issues. And I wrote more.

There are a number of dream dictionaries, dream meaning sites, and even people who do dream interpretation – I totally want that job! Sometimes it’s easier for others to see the meaning in our dreams than we do, depending on how well they know us.

Dreaming of death means, according to these sites, a big change or a new start. I don’t know if I believe that.

Dreaming of loved ones who have passed has a number of different meanings depending on who you talk to or what you read. Some will tell you that you are experiencing visitations. The dead are dropping in to say hello because it’s easier than trying to drop in during the day when you’re reasonable/logical mind is ruling the roost.

I don’t mind when the dead drop in on my dreams. I saw my mother recently. She looked better, and happier, than she had in years.

There’s a school of thought that believes that the best writing comes from the same places these dreams come from, released from the logical mind.

Some of my best writing has come in the middle of the night, somewhere between the dreaming world and the waking world, somewhere between the logical mind and the mystical possibilities beyond our waking consciousness.

I need to do more of that… more sleeping or not sleeping, more dreaming, more writing in those twilight states. I think my writing is more free, more interesting, maybe getting back to what writing is all about. Not the waking world of publishing and promotion, but the inner world of expression and possibilities.

*the title is inspired by the song by Tears for Fears – Mad World – featured in a dreamlike movie, Donnie Darko.

To Infinity and… I’ll Stay Here, Thanks

Richard Branson flew to space, then Bezos and his blue crew. A friend of mine wondered about their choice. I said, hey, they’re filthy rich; they’ve been all over the planet. They need something new.

Those who know me know I love travel. I have a deep seated need to experience new spaces, new places, new cultures and people.

For a sliding moment, I felt sorry for these billionaires whose only novel rush might come from a space flight; however, I rejected that thought quite quickly as reductive. They have the cash, why not fly to space?!

And what about the lucky soul who won the extra seat from the person who had to cancel? (First, imagine that! No refund on that ticket!)

I, like many of you,, cannot afford to go to space. But would I want to? I have to ask myself this question. I used to dream of winning publisher’s clearing house, occasionally wish I could guess those lottery numbers. Hell, I’d take finding a wheel full of cash along side the freeway. (I’m not sure why I would ever be on the side of a freeway looking at tires, but stranger things have happened.)

Given the current state of the world, I’m concerned about getting on a plane because of all the f’n nutty people acting out after a year of being locked in. Everyday someone’s being an asshole, refusing to wear a mask, smacking a flight attendant, or trying to open an emergency exit while in flight (did you see the woman duct taped to the seat?!), and getting yanked off a plane by the police.

Bottom line – I’m not ready to fly in our atmosphere. I’m not sure I’d want to fly out of it. Then I heard the trip to space was only ten minutes long. Ten minutes? I’m risking my life for 10 minutes? Yeah, I don’t think so.

When can I spend a week up there? Call me when they have a Starbucks and a CVS. Kitchy shopping. Trinkets to bring home. First painting done in space. Where I can sip space tea next to an asteroid crater. Hike the lunar landing site. Let me know when we can see how real aliens live and tour old space ruins.

I guess there’s still plenty to see and do here. For me, anyway. The natural beauty of New Zealand awaits. There’s an owl sanctuary in Spain, cocoa farms in Costa Rica, the ruins of Pompeii.

I’ll be here. Gaging my luck, I’ll plan my next flight to NC to see my bestie.

Maybe someday space. But not now. I’m writing.