It's almost like there are these periods where our relationship is smooth and steady, and then there are times when it's like standing on the edge of this gorgeous, wonderful waterfall and just letting yourself drop, knowing that there's a safe pool of water ready to catch you at bottom. You take the plunge and you're in wayyyy over your head, but oh man, it's exhilarating, it's breathtaking, it's just incredible and you feel better than you ever have before and the water is cool and refreshing and exactly what you needed.
Sam is my waterfall.
- LJ entry from 8/2005
July 1 1961 - August 31 1997
As soon as I heard of Princess Diana's death, the chorus of an old song began running through my mind. I think it is apropos to the moment.
Now I understand
What you tried to say to me
And how you suffered for your sanity
And how you tried to set them free:
They would not listen; they did not know how --
Perhaps they'll listen now.
(Don McLean's "Vincent")
Diana was a lady in the truest sense of the word, and the world has lost a bright star today.
For me, Diana was a symbol of magic and wonderment. I am grieved and heartsore at her tragic and senseless death. I feel for her children, for her family, for her friends, but I have to admit that most of all right now I am grieving for the loss of a lady who made me feel that the days of Princesses in bowers and Knights on steeds were not truly gone.
The only time that I can remember having felt this way was when I found out that there was no Santa Claus.
I have never purchased a tabloid, never opened one. All that I needed do was glance at the covers to know that they were garbage. But I share the guilt for her death with every other person who was fascinated with her.
My parents had JFK, Dr. King, Janis, Jimi, and RFK. My sister had John Lennon. The 20-something crowd had Kurt Cobain. Ten or twenty years from now, my daughter will ask me, "What did you do when you heard that Princess Diana was dead?"
I will reply: "I cried."
Sam successfully defended his dissertation yesterday!
He is now DOCTOR Samuel McWhorter.
I am SO happy and SO proud, and SO glad it's over!
Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
[desiderata - max ehrmann - 1927]
Ian went to his prom with his best friend Sadie on Saturday night, this is the first of the pics. :)
I posted the story of the implosion of my second marriage over on E2 about a year after it happened. I'm reposting it here, but adding to it the story of just how I met Sam, and how that changed my life. Don't want to lose this, you know? And my friend Nancy Smith is interested in hearing more, and thinks this testimony is important, and since I consider her a very wise woman, I'll do it.
( Read more...Collapse )
I'm digging through my hard drive looking for the PDF file of my book, and ran across this old essay I wrote for Written By Me about a million years ago. Enjoy!
Okay, I've often said that I do not critique poetry. I guess that I lied. In a sense. I'm not really going to critique any particular poem or poet here, because I do not do THAT. BUT.
There is some truly Bad Poetry out there, folks. Poetry that I have read that sends me running for the bathroom to vomit out my dinner. Poetry that makes me want to jab my eyeballs out with a pencil so that I will never accidentally run across anything similar to it, ever ever ever again.
Douglas Adams discusses horrible poetry and the desire of the Bad Poet to force other people to listen to it in his first book, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, wherein a species of particularly horrible aliens takes great pleasure in torturing their victims by reading Vogon poetry to them, poems that run along these lines:
"OH FREDDLED GRUNTBUGGLY
THY MICTURATIONS ARE TO ME
AS PLURDLED GABBLEPLOTCHETTS
ON A LURGID BEE!"
This goes on, but I think you get the point. Please tell me you got the point, because my eyeballs are now bleeding from having had to even type that in and spellcheck it.
Now, just what is a bad poem, other than the above example? Please bear in mind that this is all solely my opinion. You may think MY poetry is Vogon poetry, and you are welcome to your opinion. But I have my own ideas about Vogon poetry, and since this is MY rant, I will spew them forth here. If you disagree, I invite you to write your own rant and send me the URL (firstname.lastname@example.org). I would love to see what you come up with as Vogon.
HOW TO SPOT A VOGON IN HUMAN DISGUISE:
(All poetry examples used herewith are from my own twisted brain, so if you think you recognize anything here as your own work, you are a Vogon.)
1) If they use cliched and overused rhyme schemes, such as
"Nothing can ever break up our love
It was given to us by God above
Your touch is as tender as if you wore a glove
And your eyes are as gentle as a dove"
Then you can be pretty damn sure that there's a Vogon in the house.
2) If they feel that they must stick to rhyming poetry, but they have clearly not read their poem aloud to see if it really rhymes, you have discovered a Vogon. Example:
"Yesterday I had had it
I said we were through
And I want you to know
It was really rough!"
3) If there is... creative use of line lengths, such as:
"I wander in the bright sunshine
Roaming hither and fro amongst the hills and dales and dancing in the daffodil fields with my finger in my nose
and my heart calls out for you
as i look at a lovely purple pink yellow orange green giagantically fully in bloom cabbage rose.
Call the Intergalactic Terrorist Squad, you caught a Vogon.
4) If as you read their many 'works' you feel like you've fallen in a Hallmark shop and you can't get up.. guess what? It's a Vogon.
5) If the poem is filled with strange and creative spelling and grammar, such as:
"I wondered down in them there feeldz
Two gather my rosebuds wile Aye may
But then I felled down on my knees
And instead to my God I did Begun to Praye."
Oh well hell, what else can the author be but a Vogon (although, to be honest, I could not bring myself to spell as badly as a true Vogon generally does)?
These are just some of the many ways to spot a Vogon and his or her poetry. I am sure that each of you has run across a Vogon in the past, and will discover new ones in the future. Perhaps you are a Vogon yourself, or have been one (as every poet has at one time or another, yes, including me. I have reams of crap I would never share with the world because the Geneva Convention strictly forbids torture, regardless of what they do at Gitmo).
If you are a Vogon, you don't have to remain one. Any Vogon is free to break out of the trap of crappy poetry. There is only one way to do it. Write. Write often, and write honestly. Throw away that rhyming dictionary you got in the office Kris Kringle last year and write the words of your HEART, not of your head. If your head tells you: "Oh wait, that didn't rhyme", tell it to shut the hell up and to stop trying to rule your heart. Let the words flow straight from your soul to the paper (or monitor, as the case may be). Just let it flow. If it happens to rhyme, nifty, your soul gave you a rhyming poem. If it doesn't rhyme, nifty again, your soul gave you another kind of poem. If you have to struggle for it, it is not real, but Vogon.
Vogons are not a race of aliens. They are the demons we knew as our Sophomore English teachers who taught us that a true poem rhymes, a true poem follows a particular meter, a true poem uses flowery phrases that mean nothing and only sound pretty. They taught us that Byron and his peers were the only true poets ever to come down the pike, and they ignore amazing great poets like Maya Angelou, Sylvia Plath, T.S. Eliot, e.e. cummings, poets who just let their emotions dribble down through their bodies into their fingers, out through their pens, onto the paper, and into the hearts and souls and minds of millions.. and often without a 'sensible' rhyming pattern.
Vogons are not aliens. They are us. But we don't have to be Vogons unless we want to be.
Don't be a Vogon. Write from your heart. And help save me from having to jab my eyeballs out with a pointed object.
So my friend Paula died yesterday morning. And I've been going through some major changes about this today.
I've been overwhelmed with grief, almost cripplingly so. I'm doing fine, and then all of a sudden, I'm sobbing over the loss of my friend. And this was filling me with incredible amounts of guilt.
Last November, my grandmother, Irene Reiser, died. She was almost 94 years old, and suffering dementia to the degree that talking to her on the phone was pretty useless. She lived in Boston, and I'm in Texas. The last time I saw her was in 2001, and I knew at that time that it would probably be the last time I ever saw her.
But this was a woman who helped raise me. I spent so much time at her house that I considered it another home. She loved me unconditionally and without reservation, and I returned her love with everything I had in me.
Yet I feel more grief over losing Paula, a woman I'd only met face to face once, than I did over losing Grammy. And thus the guilt.
Until Sam put it all in perspective for me.
I knew Grammy's time was almost over. She was very old, had lived a very full life, and for the last year or so of her life, I was expecting the phone call any day. I had time to prepare, and really, did a lot of my grieving during that time, during the time that I would call her and have to sometimes remind her that I lived in Texas now, that I was no longer married to Koji, and that sort of thing.
Paula's death was very sudden and very unexpected. One day so alive, so vibrant, so THERE, and then suddenly... gone. And that's a shock to the system of anybody who loved a person who has died. There's no warning, no nothing, just a post on Facebook and LiveJournal and the end of a life.
So the guilt is gone. Of course I loved my Grammy, and just because my grief for Paula is so profound, that doesn't make me a bad granddaughter.
Thank God for a husband who can put things into perspective for me. May we have the forty years Paula and Bill had, and may they be as rich and full of love as their years were.
And I hope that Paula and Grammy are sharing a laugh together up in heaven, and discovering a kindred spirit in each other.