If I wrote to you would you answer?
Not because you won’t but because you haven’t.
Is it because of all those things I said on pages? I don’t know what else to say that would erase all those words expressed with pen to paper. On those pages euphoria of time and place got the better of me. And you know why.
If I wrote to you would you answer? Because I’m at a loss…. and lost because of the finish. The finality. The ending. This I know…there are no words that apologies already expressed would or could make it better. Make it different.
That is the sorry. And, yes sadness.
There is no cause to replay the smiles.
The kiss that missed.
Words, without harming intent became gushing sounds of desperation. Looking back that is probably what you heard. They were not those kinds of words.
If I wrote to you would you answer? There will be no other day to ask if you are doing fine. If you are well. There will be no other day to speak of mundane things like friends do. To share the splendor of the moment. There will be no other day leading to days because I have to be done with sorry and sadness.
If you wrote to me…would I answer?
Not to bore you with details but the menu was southern comfort through and through: thin sliced smoked ham, Vermont maple syrup laced with baked beans; collard greens infused with pepper bacon; wine and more wine; peach pie laden with birthday candles and what else? Real Southern Comfort.
War stories recounted years of coloured escapades kept secret and retold only amongst this small circle of precious friends. Birthday presents opened with no preservation of wrappings in mind then quickly shoved to dark recesses too embarrassing to share. A futile gesture.
Jokes bawdy and irreverent.
Tears of hilarious joy fell copiously down cheeks and into smiles.
How many times at a sit-down can you sing that happy birthday song?
My Reader believes that we are what we quote, undoubtedly because of the folder I keep stuffed with scraps of paper of others’ words, albeit quotes, that resonate to the core. The folder on my desk is a cornucopia of borrowed lines. Words written by the famous, infamous, and sometimes nefarious goons who, on occasion, receive their fifteen-minutes of fame. But quotes, none-the-less, that go ringy-dingy in a mind that quickly over-loads with colourful, electric charges that morph quickly into my shouts of “Oh, bugger, I wish I’d said that!”
Personally speaking? I am visual in most aspects, which includes a passionate, colourful artistic view of…most everything. Which most certainly includes my emotions.
Over-the-top? Definitely. Sometimes a fleeting moment. Sometimes not. Mostly? Not.
Quotes have practical uses. I can think of two: 1.) impress friends of one’s memory prowess, or 2) whether it be in words or drawings, capturing that vivid experience that could be lost in transience if not recorded. As a friend explained, “I can’t quite experience what I experience until I write about it…” I agree with that premise, however, my words become the visual jottings rendered by hand in pen and ink.
This has been a year of great personal and parent loss. It has also been a year of discovery of new vistas and relationships. Expectations met and others, not so much. My heart is broken. Will I ever learn? Most likely not in this lifetime.
I am whom I quote: from “In Sunshine and In Shadow” by Mark Halprin…
Though he had never stated it, he felt from early childhood that life was magnificently intense in splendor overwhelming, in sight demanding, and in time very short. And that therefore the only worthwhile thing other than a noble showing in the face of its dangers was the ravishing connection of one heart to another.
FIGUES a la’ DECO
To My Reader, and yes, please quote me… “Carry on…and SPARKLE.”
I’ll be in touch…
It came as a challenge
It came as a dare,
So I went to the studio
And plopped in my chair.
What began as the one
But concluded with four,
It became quite apparent
There was room for one more.
Five FIGS to be settled
In harmonious collusion,
On a bed of fine paper
Seemed the fittest solution.
With pencil and ruler
With ink, paint and co-lour,
Five FIGS emerged quickly
In good humoured ga-lore.
The time was approaching
The hour finally right,
To unleash this wild fetish
Of FIGGY delights.
I breathed hot and heavy
Then named them each one,
On, Fiesty! On, Fester! On, Follie and Fudd
And not far behind came FeFiFoFum!
Think what you will
Think what you might,
BTG’s challenge stands in good stead
And five fractured FIGS bid each a good night.
Do you ever find it difficult to put into words…words that capture the event…that do justice to every sensory, audible and emotion felt? Can you convey, really convey what happened? Can you describe the experience as whole and not just parts of the whole? Can you adequately describe what the mind imprinted, and what now has become a mere block of time with memory images?
Then the words come. Not from inside you but from inside somewhere, someone else. The words are…perfect.
Lyrics to ONE DAY LIKE THIS* by Elbow
Throw those curtains wide
One day like this a year would see me right
Throw those curtains wide
One day like this a year would see me right for life
One day back from England found me sitting in the hair salon chair telling the stylist about the holiday just taken with good friends, meeting new friends, food eaten, places seen. After all was said and done, both story and hair trim, the stylist turned and asked, “Sounds as if you should still be in England…when are you moving back?”
Maybe one day just like this…
*ONE DAY LIKE THIS Credit: Songwriters: G.Garvey/C. Potter? M. Potter/P Turner/R. Jupp
Many thanks to James who not only delivered a print of his I purchased to our Seaford Hill House Bed & Breakfast, but spent the entire next day with us. We climbed over stiles, and walked through sheep pastures. James then took us to OUR BENCH, had a photo taking marathon, and then showed us his beautiful view of the Seven Sisters white chalk cliffs in Seaford. Thank you, J. Always, R. The link to his professional website is HERE.
What can you write about…a bench?
Why would you write about a bench?
It is something you sit on.
It comes in all shapes, sizes, and materials.
You can sit on a bench alone.
With a friend.
With many friends. Old and young.
With strangers. Old or young.
Benches can be found…anywhere.
In likely places.
In unlikely places.
In surprising places.
Benches relieve tired bodies after long walks.
Benches give moments to view the view.
Benches evoke memories of words spoken…
And sometimes words left unsaid for silent reasons.
This bench reminds me of home.
The England home I left behind.
My lovely and cherished friends.
Who remind me,
Yes, I can
Come home again.
Accreditation: All effort has been made between James, jdtphotography.co.uk and myself to meet all copyright laws and honour his professionalism. Please click on the provided link to visit his website and view all his work. My admiration for his view of the view is understated and…endless.
Thank you, James.
Yesterday was one of those delirious yet delicious happy days. Therefore, this is going to be one of those delirious yet delicious happy stories that may not go down well especially if My Reader woke up this morning in a bad-ass mood and is not in a delirious-delicious happy receiving mindful place. I’ll be kind and ask My Reader to leave the room so as not to ruin it for everyone else.
Just leave and don’t slam the door. (My Reader…such a puttz.)
Alone. At last.
Yesterday and two days prior…we received not inches of rain but yards of rain. Rivers in the streets. Flood watches. Moisture records set. It is green and lush here for a reason but to receive three months worth of wet stuff in three days is almost asking too much of Northwest Humankind. Be patient. This isn’t the happy part.
Yesterday. It’s raining. I’m on my way to meet The Daughter for lunch. I’ve just come from the doggie wash . Dog is in the back looking clean, fluffly and white-on-white but smelling like the rotten egg damp dog that she is. Life is good. So very good. The wet dog smell? Not so much.
Here’s the beginning of the happy part…
…..it stops raining and (here’s the happy happy part) the sun comes out!!! Traffic practically stops.
No kidding and true story.
Traffic. Stand. Still. Stop. Now aren’t you glad you waited for this…
Enter Lyle Lovett*.
Cars stop long enough for me to dig through the dog biscuits in the console and find the Lyle Lovett and His Big Band CD. Sun is still out. Zowie. Glorious sun. Windows rolled down…in hopes for a quickie left- arm tan line. Music begins and I’m in love all over again….I’m dreaming Texas-Two Step dancing’ with Lyle (he‘s leading)….singin’ harmony (she’s the alto-tenor) with Francine.
I’m just a peachy-keen-smiling‘-and-feelin‘-that-sunshine-singin‘-fool! Lovin’ it Maximum!!
I LIKE CREAM IN MY COFFEE…FLOUR TORTILLAS…CHEESE BURGERS…
…DOES THIS MAKE ME A SHALLOW PERSON…HERE I AM….
I’d just forgotten how, on an albeit brief sunshiny day, Lyle made that sunshine last just a bit longer… and how I’m still very much in love with him. The understanding: in a non-obsessive sort-of way.
The rain (and some predicted snow) returned.
My Reader returned and snidely commented that I’d forgotten to mention another favourite Lyle song…
IF I HAD A BOAT
…which makes My Reader so much more than a puttz…
Francine, Sweet-Tea, can you give me a call? Let’s talk…..
*I’ve previously confessed my love (not to be confused with an obsession) with Lyle in a previous story.
It‘s around here somewhere……………..
I’ve got a confession to make: I’m in love with Lyle Lovett. I’m fairly comfortable making this declaration out loud in writing because the only person who reads JOTS is on holiday. (I do so hope My Reader remembers to bring me a present.)
You must realize by now that Lyle and I have a long distance relationship. Very long distance. He lives in another state. I live here. He’s on stage somewhere. I’m still here. It’s not the distance that gets in the way. It’s the fact that we’ve never met. My Reader says that could be a problem. Could be…
There’s probably not much I don’t like about Lyle. I love his hair and the way it curls straight up. I’m not sure if that’s natural…straight curls…but it looks like he’s always in a good mood because his hair is so…tall. I imagine walking into a room and Lyle saying “Oh, I’m so happy to see you’re still here!” but his hair says it first. Tall hair. Hair that shouts genuine surprise at seeing someone in love with you. A good thing. (Please, don’t tell My Reader I said that.)
I like the way he stands. Straight and tall. Like his hair. Tee-shirts. White tees under button-down collar shirts. I like how he wears them. I just like how he wears.
I like the way he shows up in movies. Out of the blue. Through a door. Around a pick-up truck. There he is. Like a gift.
Speaking of gifts. Lyle’s words spoken in melody and sound are my undoing. It’s his gift of thought. I told you I loved him. Now you know why.
I don’t have a pick-up truck but I do have a front door. He hasn’t shown up.
Out of the blue.
Standing straight and tall.
Silently asking to come through.
At first it was curiosity and wondering about a word. Then mental machinations and mindless wanderings took the high road and soon profound curiosity became a fever-pitched research obsession.
It was all about a word, and the word was G-R-E-A-T-N-E-S-S.
A good word GREATNESS. A great word.
Greatness (n.): from the adjective GREAT to describe: A great distance; a great while; a great achievement. Or, used as an adverb to modify an adjective: One of the greats; greatly missed; you are great, I am great, we are all great.
And that’s the question: greatness? Huh?
I’m waiting for the TEDWeWantYouToTalk people to call me because I think I’m on to something. Something great…
Hans Eysenck’s book, Genius: The Natural History of Creativity (‘95) points out that a personality trait called “…psychoticism…chief among those [whose] cognitive features is a tendency to over-inclusiveness, i.e., an inclination not to limit one’s association to relevant ideas, memories, images, etc….” Does that just not describe someone you know? Someone who walks a bit off-kilter with a hitch and a bump? Who sees the other side of the moon on a clear day? The creative person. The bravest person you know, e.g.,
Van Gogh Cassatt Hockney Hopper
Eliot Wilde Twain Thurber
Joplin Bernstein Haydn Handel
Leibovitz Toedtemeier Rauschenberg Siskind
…and perhaps the person whose mirrored reflection you, you and you might already see?
Another title, The Arrival of the Fittest: How The Great Become Great (2009) by noted author Bill Dorris, argues the point that those who obtain greatness are credited with solving a “problem”…in a field of study or perhaps a societal malaise such as Woody Guthrie providing a voice for the outcasts of the Great Depression. Well, maybe. We must then ask the bigger question: What is it all about? Do individuals (or societies) know that the underlying order of life [with] additional hard work…may determine the outcome of purpose and design, great or not, due to choices presented and ultimately made? Then there’s this: Do we find and/or define greatness as a destination or a destiny?
Daughter says her greatness comes from the passion and pleasure that being a fibre artist gives her, with or without affirmation from the professional community she subscribes to. She says, “I believe in me. I just do it.” Greatness comes from acceptance.
Long-time friend Jim: “Greatness I will leave to others. I am content to do my thing and raise my kids to find greatness in their lives. That will be my legacy.” Greatness comes from reorganizing energy, emotional fulfillment, meaning.
I just know the TEDWeWantYouToTalk people are going to call me and I will be prepared to deliver the goods: the greatness of goods that comes from believing. In ourselves. Individually. Collectively. You, you and you…and me.
“Some people are born to make great art and others are born to appreciate it. …
It is a kind of talent in itself, to be an audience, whether you are the spectator in the gallery or you are listening to the voice of the world’s greatest soprano.
Not everyone can be the artist.
Which brings me full circle to yesterday’s quote, which continues to ring true in finding courage, and in finding one’s own individual greatness…
“If you know something well, you can always paint it,
but people would be better off buying chicken.”
My Reader brought the post in today and set it down on the table. “You’ve received a letter from your lovely Irish friend. You know…the one who lives in Ireland.” Slicing the envelope I quickly but gingerly pull out the sheaves of brightly coloured paper and begin reading heart-felt words written half-a-world away from this place I call home.
This is not about what the letter said…well, perhaps…but first I want you to know something about the drawing above. My Reader is happy I’m done with it, and wants you to know why. This is why: I’ve painted this image four times trying to “get it right”. The expectation of perfection, as usual for me, is keenly sought. Fear of failure to perform, to put on paper what I see in my mind to be captured with colourful imagery, first and foremost. Always. Of course.
The second and third attempts? Back to the drawing table.
This final attempt I’ve decided is as good as it is going to get. I’m done. My Reader is tired. I’m tired. Time to move on.
“You are boring me. Get to the point if you have one,” says Reader.
“If you know something well, you can always paint it,
but people would be better off buying chicken.”
It is good this fear of failing…keeps the focus where it should be…out of the hen house.
“Are you done?” Reader asks.
I’ll be in touch…
My Reader probably heard the rumour?
The rumour that all the weather men in the Pacific Northwest finally got it right?
Rain, snow, sleet, ice, winds, blizzard conditions, freezing rain, more snow, resulting in driving hazards, walker nightmares…slips and slides on wheels and heels.
Weather conditions we don’t usually get…we received with a vengeance. All in three days. Plus, they say, just the one more. Predictions say it will all be gone by Monday morning, leaving long-winded weather conversations with friends and strangers; images of cross-country skiers using city surface streets as unlikely playgrounds; and neighbourhood inclines as future Olympic one-man sled qualifiers.
And…benches covered in white velvet…
“I often lay on that bench looking up into the branches. It was particularly fine at night with the stars above.” Georgia O’Keeffe, American artist