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Posts Tagged ‘cosmos fucking and related shenanigans’

 
|| January 24, 2013 || 11:43 pm || Comments (13) ||

In the last several months, while hysterical things were happening to our finances, I found myself fantasizing about money over and over.

It’s not like you think. What I found myself fantasizing about was giving away money to people who need it. Just, you know, wandering up to someone on the street or in the Wal-Mart parking lot and saying, “Here. This is one-hundred dollars. You’re supposed to have it.” and shoving the money onto their person before they had time to react; I would walk away before they got their wits about them and began doing something foolish like asking questions or trying to give it back.

I want to give something to someone, I don’t want them to owe me anything, I want to facilitate a blessing when the Spirit moves me. That’s right, I capitalized Spirit. My doing so probably made you squirm in your seat, right?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Six weeks ago we are lolling on the couch together, hanging out, when I tell my husband that this is my fantasy of late.

“Can you imagine,” I say, “Can you just imagine how that would feel, to help enable some financial freedom in someone’s life?

“Just walk around, listening for God, waiting to hear That one, yes, her over there and moving into the gap at the necessary moment.” I say it with excitement and surety.

“I’m going to do this one day.”

Maxim doesn’t flinch when I tell him this, doesn’t bat an eye. This is his endorsement. This is his statement of faith in my mission or me or that the universe is wobbling in just the exact right way. Maybe all three. He is sometimes enigmatic like that, enigmatic in a comfortable way.

Comfortably enigmatic sound like some sort of fictional state, doesn’t it?

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I keep watch on the walls, Maxim keeps watch at the gate. This is good in a friendship. This is completely stellar in a marriage. Keeping watch on the walls and at the gate isn’t always a defensive thing. The Watcher on the Wall sees the first dangers, but that vantage point offers the first advantages, as well. The Watcher at the Gate might take a beating holding back the unwelcome, but also gets to fling wide those gates to receive visitors or facilitate an adventure.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

This past two years has consisted of a bunch of crazy, seemingly-mismatched surges forward. Rocking along and living life and then PUSH and trying to get bearings and oh look this way is up and I have my legs under me and there goes three feet behind me, ten feet, eighteen and PUSH oh God let’s find up again, again, again and again.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

A couple-three weeks ago opportunity came knocking. Like, right on my forehead. I embraced it and probably even dry-humped it a little. I wanted take things to third base with opportunity, but it didn’t have a condom and momma dint raise no fool, child.

With opportunity comes excited planning. Opportunity gets your blood up and working.

About a week later Maxim’s boss showed up at our house and delivered the news right there in our dining room.* There would not be a company soon, because the company would fold in on itself and well, here we are. Let’s pedal as fast as we can over the next few weeks and see what happens.

Opportunity just turned into Just Enough.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Most years Maxim goes to NAMM around this time. The trip was already booked, and so was our room in Birmingham so last week found us down in the city burning through the couple of remaining restaurant cards from our Christmas haul. We went for Italian that evening. A man kept catching my eye, even as we were waiting for a table.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

There seems to be a prevailing practice lately wherein individuals select a word at the beginning of the year to define or guide or gently suggest to the year that it might want to let this word represent it, pretty please, maybe? I have seen genuine anguish slathered across various channels of social media because HOLY FUCK GUYS WHAT IF I BOMB THIS WHOLE DEFINING-YEAR WORD AND MY YEAR IS TOTALLY SO TOTALLY BONED BECAUSE OF IT.

I don’t mean this as snotty, but it’s going to come across that way and so be it: I don’t really have any understanding of this practice, because the words have always tended to pick me. They snuck up and attached themselves to me and by the time I figured out what the the hell was going on it was just a relief to recognize what was up on and go all, “Oh! This year’s theme is ___________.” Most of them have been really good ones, too, the words. Hell, the last decade alone has yielded up kamikaze and warrior and song and spirited. There have been rougher ones like obedience and desire, but even those had benefit, once the callouses softened back up and some of the lumps went down.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

Before we left the house, I spied the grocery money Maxim had handed me earlier. I’d only half paid attention to it at the time, setting it on the taller of our two dressers as he and I talked.

For the third time that evening, I was moved to put it in my wallet. Half-exasperated, I pulled it down and headed out the door to the car where my husband was waiting for me.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

The man was small, his shirt was immaculate, and everything he did was crisp, efficient, quick. He did not stop moving and he didn’t piddle-ass around. Back and back and back my eyes went to him. I’ve known this sensation before. It’s the one that says I have something to do and I have to do it or it’s gonna bug me so bad that I’d regret not doing it. Which, when written down that way, looks sort of insane and compulsive, doesn’t it?

You’re just gonna have to take my word on this one, the word that I know the difference between mental illness and letting yourself help along something that you don’t have a great deal of understanding about. The line dividing the two, I’m sure, is pretty thin and open to a degree of interpretation on a case by case basis. Or maybe most people just waver oh-so-slightly back and forth over it, in microscopic drunken swoops.

This time was different, too. It was just slightly different.

“Maxim,” I finally said, “Do you have anything on you to write on? I don’t want to write on a napkin.”

He didn’t. He is no longer perplexed by these requests, if he ever was. I went in search of paper. I came back to the table and pulled my fancy pen from my wallet. I wrote down the words that were yelling to be let out and then I pulled out one-third of the grocery money –a twenty-dollar bill– and folded it up in that piece of paper covered in excited, inky loops.

I hunted up the manager.

“Now this won’t make much sense,” I said. I felt awkward. I didn’t care. I tried to hammer the words around the concept so he could at least get a feel for the shape of it. I said three sentences containing slippery words like ‘God’ and ‘anonymous’ and ‘led.’ He let me off the hook, “I go to Highlands church. I get what you’re doing. I understand.” And just like that I was thrilled to realize that it had started, this business of blessing strangers with cash, and that I had to give some twenties away so I could work my way up to hundreds.

Just like so many things in my life, it started before I knew it was time, before I knew I was ready.

I feel crazy-awkward telling you this story, because it could read as if self-aggrandizement is at play here. It’s earnestly not, though. It’s the biggest wash of humility when stuff like this occurs, because I don’t want to interlope on someone’s blessing by basking in it. There are certain profundities that I’ve gotten to witness that I had no claims to but I’ll be damned if they didn’t wash into me, too, just because I had the fortune of standing nearby.

It makes me feel like a Cosmic circus geek. Here, let me contort for you, it’ll be neat!

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

My word for this year is soul, only like this: Soul.

Yeah, this year’s about Soul for me, about putting a little more English on everything I do. It’s about letting the roots go deep because the soil is finally rich enough to sustain them.

The roots go deeper, the fruit goes sweeter, the bugs are still bugs but they have better table manners.

Soul is about caring so deeply for the right things that the wrong ones can’t even catch your eye.

Soul is about a hip shake and a lip turned up in pleasure and a good ole impolite wail cooking itself up right there underneath those collarbones.

Soul is knowing where and when to assign the wail.

Soul tells you important things like,
You have to begin. You have to Begin. YOU HAVE TO BEGIN.

*(my dining room needs some good news –is a little overdue for some, in fact– so if you should see some, sneak it over in a casserole dish)

 
|| September 21, 2012 || 5:17 pm || Comments (4) ||

You got two hours? Mash play and enlarge the view and be mesmerized.

 
|| September 5, 2012 || 2:42 am || Comments (6) ||

Today Maxim got locked out of his PayPal account due to a goofy glitch in the system. There was money sitting in there, money that he needed –we needed– and he started to freak out a little bit in his Maxim way, while I sat over here in this chair plugging Very Important Words (these days all the words that are worth eight cents or more are Very Important Words, I’m afraid) into the part of the ether that in my head is called Clientspace.

(Clientspace is inhabited, just so you know, by other fools zooming around on their keyboards and jockeying for the eight-cents-or-more words and making pewpewpew noises at all the other kamikaze writerfolk who want to eat their lunches and steal their house payments, how dare they.)

It was simple: “Maxim. Just call them. It will be no big deal, I promise.” He was also having an issue with getting client e-mails through his domain, so that fueled his angst even more, because not only could he not get to the money that was already there and his, he was losing money that potentially could be his if he were only given air and opportunity. He was doing that thing where he channels his mom and something that is not truly fussable gets fussed over because it is more convenient and safer altogether than Fucking Way The Fuck Out Completely over the big deal stuff (and there is a veritable fuckton of that leeching at our ankles, let me just tell you) that could cause a collective nervous breakdown around this joint should we let it give us our marching orders.

Stuff is not the boss, okay? Not even the big deal stuff.  We are the bosses and sometimes stuff gets all snipey and back-bunchy and whoops, there we go, letting stuff get the better of us just because it’s being obstreperous. Stuff is an errant child and it is up to us to not let it drop its drawers and shit in the living room.

So, at one point about fifteen minutes in, Maxim pushed himself away from the desk, saying “I’ll be back in a minute.” My only response to that was a silent, “Thank. God.” because I had a deadline, you know? Me and Maxim and this everybody working out of the house thing….well, there are some kinks yet. There are no stabbable offenses thus far, but we are teetering Damn Closetm to hit-you-with-a-hammer-in-your-sleep-so-that-you-can-fully-understand-the-true-weight-of-interruption offense. The ongoing battle against writerly interruption has stepped up its motherfucking game, is what I’m saying. Sometime in July he asked me to devise a system by which he might know I was working and not longingly window shopping Amazon for fancy things like new music and helium tanks, so I came up with this,


My husband asked for a better indicator of when I was working, so I designed a simple notification interface for the back side of my lappy.

only that didn’t go so well, because that is a cheapo sticky note (someone perpetually makes off with the good ones [ed. note: SCOUT, ALL TEH MUFFINASSES KNOW IT'S YOU WITHOUT MY HAVING TO TELL THEM] and there are better things to waste money on these days….things like toilet paper and electricity) and it kept falling off, causing Maxim to say, “Hey, is the sticky note on the floor on purpose, or on accident? Because I need to know if I can interrupt you or not.”

Yes, the exasperated sound coming out of North Alabama is me, Entire Rest of the World. I’m sorry, I’ll try to keep it down over here.

So back around to it: Maxim came back into the room some twenty minutes later, armed with his shoulder bag full of important things and his hands full of paperwork, announcing, “I’m going to go sell some stuff because I need a boost to my ego. I’ll fuck with PayPal and e-mail when I return.”

“Great!” I said back brightly, “I’m making BLTs for dinner, so take your ti-iiiime!”

And I thought him a very smart man in that instance, because instead of caving to drudgery he did what he knew he’s great at and what would make him feel like rock star so that he could power through tedious, frustrating mess that he gets no joy from.

This year, man. This year in our lives. Some people know one chunk of it, other people know other parts of it, still others know an entirely different slice.  Suffice it to say it’s been hit after hit after hit. What sums it up for me, I guess, is May the thirty-first. That afternoon I got an e-mail from BlogHer announcing that I was a Voices of the Year Honoree for this year. AIRHORN!! RIDICULOUS AGOG FACE! SELF-PRIDE! ALL THE ELEVENTY!!1! IN MY HEART! because, to be real honest, there was a lot wrapped up for me in that acknowledgement. I’ve long felt overlooked by much of this community because I don’t fit the regular mold (hint: Nor do I have any real plans to going forward. Love me, hate me, I’ma do me no matter what side of the coin you call for yourself). This year’s list of honorees is an incredible roster, and whoa nelly, that was vindication in and of itself, to be bookended by such talent, and sitting in the company of some of my favorite voices in Cyberia. So, you know, super-high.

May the thirty-first, continued: Later that night we learned that Sam is to be deployed to Afghanistan for just under a year. My heart fell down to my toes and just dribbled out the ends of them and onto the carpet. Good thing we’re going to get rid of it anyway, this hideous carpet, because once you get heart-stains on it they never really go away.

Yeah, super-low.

That’s what the entirety of this year has been like, over and over and over again, with so many circumstances both big and small. I am yanked through the clouds at dizzying speeds, then I am flung so viciously against the hard plane of ground that I make dents.

Last week’s cloud flight was the announcement that Sam and Randi were expecting a child. This week’s cratering out was the phone call –on Labor Day, so cute– that Randi had miscarried. The eedle yellow and mint sleepers I have thus far gathered for this child (who I’d already had adventures with in my mind’s eye) sit on the table next to me as I type, in fact. They will go to the local foster parent resource center tomorrow.

It has taken me all the way up until September, but I’m finally learning part of what this year wants to teach me: Just don’t make any plans, either to the positive or to the negative. Just sit with it, this instance in this hour in this day. The Adapt and Overcome portion of my brain was dormant, a little rusty from comfort. It took a minute to get it humming.

There’s still so much looming, I can feel it. I’m not afraid. That seems such a strange thing to say, given all that’s gone on this year and the complete lack of surety here in this place that we’re still inhabiting. I may have hiccups of despair, but I’m not afraid and I’m okay and that counts for something. Some days that’s all there is and alright then, alright.

When he returned today, Maxim came bearing a box of Triscuits; he was convinced they would score him a gratitude lay. “This is what we’ve been reduced to,” I exclaimed in delight, “Triscuits are marital baubles!” We laughed together, long and deep and with giddy gulps.

 
|| April 8, 2012 || 1:42 am || Comments (9) ||

I didn’t take a picture of it. I didn’t take a picture of any of them. Hell, truth be known, I thought each and every one of them would be trucked back home with me.

I didn’t think that anyone would or could appreciate what I was trying to convey to, oh, the World At Large.

It’s not just about getting the money and ushering people on their way. It’s about hearing them, about receiving their story. Where is the art hitting them, in the face, the guts, the spirit?

I sold ‘if’, ‘amok’, ‘go’, ‘onward’ and ‘vivid’. Looking at it like that, doesn’t it look like some strange, staccato portry, like some theme is emerging?

No? Then I’ll go you one further: I traded ‘pow’ away. Rather, my kid did. He traded it for an empty round vial nestled into a cage of leather. I pretty much equate ‘empty’ with ‘potential’; I can’t help it. ‘Pow’, incidentally, was that boy’s first word. Not ‘dada’ or ‘mama’ or anything remotely like what I expected (he’s super-good at Not Remotely Like What Anyone Expects). His first word was ‘pow’ and he’s pretty much been living up to that shit since his heels hit fresh air and the doctor announced him with a triumphant flourish.

I came on the day I was due, POW. You never saw that particular bit of magic coming, Mom, now did you? No, son; no, I did not. You took the lead from day one. If I’m any kind of mother, though, you’ll never know that until you have kids of your own.

Someone pondered ’spirit’, but then left it on the wall. Just as well; it came out slightly crooked anyway, and I probably should tear it down and remake it.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

The fact that I didn’t take a picture of it only struck me later that night, when I was turning over the day’s events in my perpetual-motion, over-excitable brain. It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a picture, though, because the buyer gave me a story, and my God, why on Earth would you ever prefer the flatness of a thing As It Was to the full and round something that it becomes when shored up by a personal story told to you in frank, even tones?

I knew the whole time I was painstakingly laying it out in its long, lacy brass frame that ‘onward’ would have a purpose and then I stood in the middle of the little shack that last year wasn’t even there to hear the woman say, in essence, “Here is why I connect with this thing that didn’t exist last week in this place that didn’t exist last year. Old things have passed away and now it is time to walk in the newness of life.”

She bought one for herself, but the important thing is that she bought ‘onward’ for a friend. She told me that it was perfect because that friend had lost everything she’d had to the tornadoes; her whole art collection was gone and now it was time to start rebuilding that particular aspect of her life. “So it’s fitting, the fact that it is made of found things, that it’s a piece of artwork that says ‘onward’. It will make a good start to her new collection.”

I watched her smiling face hanging out of a car window the next day. They were headed home, she and her friend for whom she bought the piece. I beamed at her, we waved. She was beautiful, so beautiful. I never did tell her about what the tornadoes did here. It was enough that the knowledge I have of them deepened my heart for her friend’s experience.

Onward.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

I’m hearing the tumblers click. The Mayans forgot to mention that 2012 would equal struggle and magic in plentiful amounts and that I would be lucky enough to see the value of both. This is a Theme in the world right now. I don’t know if you know that. All over and all over I have been talking to people that are being reborn, getting new eyes, giving over to fatigue and frustration and saying, “I am done with being this way. There is a better one and I am going to look it in its big scary face and say ‘HERE I AM, HERE I COME!’ while wearing a silly-ass grin.” They (you) are ready to make a new world. Which, you know, would make the Mayans correct: The world is ending. Some people –as, you know, Some People are wont to do– maybe took that little bit of hinting to mean something more literal than originally intended.

To which I say, “Sorry Mayans. Our bad. Thanks for trying to give us a little supernatural ‘FORRRRRE!’ Good looking out. Really.” And then I pat the Mayans and they are happy and forgive us for being so short-sighted with the whole world-exploding-and-annihilating-mankind thing. We always carry things too far, we humanity-folk (some of us, in fact, got like ten truckloads of whatever dab of DNA is responsible for narcissism and histrionics, holy shit, right?).

“Oopsies!”

The Mayans will be happy to know that crooked spirits are being torn down and getting remade.

You, dear reader, may be relieved to know that, in fact, you are not the only one. Not by a longshot. Godspeed.

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

“It seems that all my bridges have been burned / But you say that’s exactly how this grace thing works / It’s not the long walk home that will change this heart / But the welcome I receive with the restart”

Instead of doing something that makes sense for a person of a writerly  persuasion and, oh, writing a bunch of things about the massive changes in my life over the last four months, I’m gonna catch you up to right now (because, oh trust me, right now is a Pretty Big Fucking Deal overall) with a timeline done in an annoying ‘100 things about me’ style.

Here we go!

1) My estranged father called me from Nashville in mid-July telling me he’d be there the next day.

2) I spent the whole of that day Losing My Shit before deciding, all zen-like, that I’m happy with who I am and screw anybody who didn’t think I was enough, even if they were the lender of half my genetic material.

3) That visit went well. Remarkably well.

4) In August, through twisty-turny strangeness, my job came to an end.

5) Both my boss and I cried, admitted we didn’t understand why this was  happening, but that it was supposed to happen.

6) He made the transition from paycheck every week to no paycheck every week pretty comfortable for me, all in all.

7) That first day I was out of work, Maxim texted me one word: “FREEDOM!!!”

8 ) I began to set my sights on writing and making art as a means to, you know, feed the people that live in my house.

9) I just so happened to win a full pass to the Summit of Awesome put on yearly by Hello Craft.

10) It was held in Baltimore.

11) I had about twenty-five bucks in my checking account when I won the pass.

12) My father was diagnosed with an aggressive, inoperable lung cancer.

13) I knew the whole ‘reunited comfortably’ thing would have a catch.

14) Oh Universe, you’re sofa king cute.

15) Through a timely combination of some small miracles and some people’s generosity, I got to go to Maryland.

16) I got to sit down with a couple of really savvy, really influential people and pick their brains.

15) I came back motivated as fuck.

16) So far,  so good, but I’m not where I need to be by a long shot.

17) I’m getting my ducks in a row and hanging out my ‘official’ shingle soon.

18) Until then, I’d like to announce that I am your girl if you need a writer or editor. Plus some other things. I’m good at lots of things, I swear. Just ask me.

19) OH MY GOD, HIRE ME.

20) My father decided that chemo was a no-go for him and that he’d like to try the homeopathic/naturopathic route toward ridding himself of cancer.

21) His oncologist pissed him off by pushing-pushing-pushing him to start chemo yesterday.

22) He told his oncologist to never contact him again.

23) My sisters immediately called me to shriek and to rally me toward Bossing my father.

24) I opted to tell them to mind their own business and to support the man’s right to live OR die how he saw fit.

25) I’m not The Boss of that man. Nobody is, really.

26) Everyone decided to make nice and let our father go about this cancer business in his own way.

27) Fancypants herbs and complex teas, it is!

28) Life rocked on for a minute or two.

29) I worked on BlogWorld Expo’s Virtual Ticket in the fall. It was a cool gig.

30) In case you do indeed want to HIRE ME, HIRE ME NOW, I have swell references from that whole deal.

31) My Etsy businesses, Pretty Gritty Things and 256 Eclectica, started gaining steam.

32) Commission work! Steady sales! I may not have to panic about money after all, right?

33) My father came down and brought a trailer full of tools and materials.

34) We collected even MORE materials, salvaged from various sources.

35) We went down to Butch Anthony’s farm on Poorhouse Road to build a shack for the 2012 Doo-Nanny.

36) It’s most of the way finished. I still have to put some siding boards on, but I can’t wait for you to see it.

37) I have an art shack at the Doo! It’s gonna be called Story House. I have some ideas on how to finish it out.

38) Scout had her gall bladder out. Goodbye, carefully-saved Christmas funds. Hello, Scout’s comfort.

39) Life is never dull. NEVER dull.

40) There was some peace. There was a little bit of quiet.

41) My father wanted all us girls to go to Missouri for Thanksgiving.

42) Most of us did.

43) I spent the first Thanksgiving ever since we were married away from Maxim.

44) I did not like it, but it was a necessary evil.

45) He got all sorts of cool stuff done around the house in my and the children’s absences.

46) Hmmmm, I may have to consider this leaving-on-Thanksgiving thing again.

47) The visit was AMAZING.

48) I learned that I have two cousins that are published authors and one great-grandaddy who was a bootlegger.

49) (I fucking well KNEW we had one of those in the family somewhere!)

50) Missouri roads are swoopy and well-maintained and just basically fun to drive.

51) I got a ticket on the way home.

52) I won a scratch-off for one-quarter of the ticket’s value on a bathroom stop shortly thereafter, so there’s that.

53) I unpacked, slept a couple of nights and then re-packed.

54) I went with three really amazing writerly people to my Delta homeland.

55) As I predicted to myself, there were ghosts waiting for me there.

56) ….but there were stirrings, too.

57) And laughter. Holy Ghost and the Father also, what laughter.

58) My soul got shook. I won’t speak for anyone else’s.

59) (but theirs did too, der)

60) My brain was set to ‘fog’ for a week upon my return….but not in a necessarily bad way, see?

61) I decorated the Christmas tree.

62) My father called.

63) He talked of going out west for a few weeks.

64) Two weeks prior he’d said firmly, “No more road trips for me. I smoke more and I don’t stay as rigidly to my program when I’m away from home.”

65) I understood.

66) ….so when he talked of going to Nevada for a month or so, something started to not feel right.

67) Other things he said also tripped wires on my insides.

68) I asked pointed questions back to back.

69) He had no time to dance around them nor wriggle out from under them.

70) “Do what you want,” I said, “but I’m going to respectfully insist that you get the second scan you promised us girls before you get on the road.”

71) He was going to drive out there, you see; never mind his waning health or the potential for things to take a turn for the sudden worse.

72) He got the scan.

73) I saw it.

74) It is the sort of thing that makes you go, ‘Fuuuuuuuhhhhhhck.’

75) Impressive yet terrifying, I guess is the apt decscriptor?

76) He told me not to come.

77) “Not time,” he said, promising to tell me when it was indeed ‘time’.

78) Psh. Yeah, right.

79) Likewise, he told my sisters not to come.

80) Fuck what that fool says: I’m grown and I do what I want.

81) My whole family came in for Christmas.

82) It was a grand time, what with my parents and all the kids there.

83) For the first time in twenty-five years, I didn’t bake a single Christmas cookie.

84) My heart was seized.

85) I tried and tried and tried to bootstrap some Christmas spirit.

86) Didn’t happen.

87) No, you don’t understand the profundity of this: I am an ay-number-one Christmas dork.

88) Christmas Day was beautiful and peaceful and rich.

89) My aunt called, Don’t wait to come. Come now.

90) I met my baby sister in St. Louis a week ago.

91) We went out and got shitfaced.

92) Dear Tony the Hotel Shuttle Driver, Thanks so much for your patience and understanding and also stopping at Schnuck’s so that two drunk girls could shop for breakfasty foodstuffs. Love, Jett

93) The next day my Uncle Ron fetched us from the big city.

94) My father cried upon seeing us.

95) That was only the third time I’ve ever seen him cry in my whole life.

96) He patted me for the first half-hour we were here.

97) He started chemo.

98) We are caring for him in whatever manner we can, in any which way he will allow .

99) He’s starting to feel terrible physically.

100) We are in this Cancer Bubble, my father, my sister, and me.

And that’s the last four months in as brief a fashion as I know how to convey them. Now you’re up to speed. Now I can start writing here about all these things. Lord knows I’ve been writing everydamnwhere else about them.

 
|| November 14, 2011 || 10:02 am || Comments (9) ||

There are lots of things I haven’t talked about in this space lately. LOTS. There have been so many changes to my life and my internal workings in a very short amount of time. I’ll get to those things in due time, I reckon. Right now I want to talk about something that happened yesterday.

Yesterday found me traveling around Facebook a little bit. I don’t do this very often. Truth be told, I hate Facebook a really, really lot, and that’s why those of you that have friended me on there don’t see me there much. (GO TEAM TWITTER!)

Despite my hatred of it, though, I have two accounts and one is devoted to friends and family. Some of you know this, because you have me friended on both accounts, which I hope at the end of the day isn’t weird for you…..or boring, as there is duplication and overlap. A funny aside is this: My friends Rod and Megan, who just so happen to be married, each follow one of those accounts and not the other. This makes me laugh.

So I was on the more private of the two accounts and about to drop a message on the wall of a childhood friend when I noticed a name at the top of my screen: It was Mike Ess. Of course my eyes did that big cartoony AOOOOGAH thing and I was immediately presented with an opportunity for unnecessary indecision and angst.

Which meant, of course, that I was presented with the opportunity to crowd-source Twitter in a completely inappropriate and overly emotional way. Hahaaaa, what a dick, right?

That’s the thing, though: I own my dickishness. I’ve always been big on accountability, as long as I can remember. “I did that, and I am proud/not proud (circle one) of it.” I’m bold as the day is long in that department. One thing that has never come easy to me, though, is apology.

I have been working the shit out of my apology muscles the last five or six years. It’s not always enough just to tell people that you were wrong. Sometimes they need to hear the amends. Sometimes, whether we know it or like it or not, we need to hear them, too. It settles something in our souls, it fills in a divot that we yanked out in our wrongdoing.

It fundamentally fixes shit in a way that I can’t properly articulate, you dig?

So I was all, “AhMahGah, panic-panic, I have this opportunity I wished for, AhMahGah, do I jump on it?” That has, dear Muffinasses, been a recurring theme as of late. You think I’d get it without having to sit and navelgaze after the fact, like now.

A couple friends were all like, “Stupid. I love you so much, but you already know the answer.” And so I sent a message to Mike Ess.

Hi there Mike….

I don’t know if you remember me, but we went to school together at Greene as kids. I’ve wondered about you on and off over the years, and I happened to stumble across your profile because we are mutual friends with K on here.

Sometimes I think about the fact that I wasn’t always very nice to you, and I want to take this opportunity to apologize for that. I’m sorry for any way that I treated you unkindly. I really did like you; I thought you were interesting and unique.

I hope this finds you well.
Blessings,
Jett

I logged in this morning to find this:

Hi Jett,
I do remember you. I hold no ill feelings toward you at all. I was not one of the popular kids in school……a little geeky actually. You were always nicer to me than most, I thought you were cute actually….maybe had a crush on you at one time.
I have since school been in the Army as a Recon Scout for the 1st Cav division, got my medical assisting degree and raised a couple of awesome kids…….never had luck in relationships so I stay single most the time. LOL……just like school I guess. : )
You owe me no apology for anything done as a kid, but thank you.It shows you are a wonderful person……I always thought you were.
Mike

For all the ways that I try to be cognizant –I mean really awake– and self-aware, sometimes I wonder if I know anything at all about myself, you know? Am I as lacking as I think I am? Do I give myself enough credit? More importantly: Do I give myself too much?

Thank you, Michael, and all the people like you, who are far more gracious than many of us would be were the situations reversed.

Thank. You.

 
|| August 20, 2011 || 2:56 pm || Comments (18) ||

Somewhere in the neighborhood of two weeks ago I pinned a photo to one of my Pinterest boards (the one entitled ‘loud as words’, where I post up images that are striking or powerful to me). It was this one, an AP file photo shot by Al Steinkopf on 20 December 1940.

eva and the others

The faces it depicts are those of Jewish children living, at that time, in a Polish ghetto (one in Szydlowiec, to be exact) under Nazi occupation.

A few days later I got an e-mail from one of my beloveds, a pocket person from way, waaaay back:

The girl, the defiant girl in the center, slightly unfocused…

She is the maternal grand aunt of my biological father.  She is related to me and to him because she was defiant.  She stayed in Nazi occupied Poland and helped Jews escape until she was captured in 1943 and sent to Auschwitz. She worked with Simon Wiesenthal, the famed Nazi hunter, until her death.

She was the only member of his family that gave a damn about us after he died.  I think I get my devotion from her.

I have dim memories of her.

And her chicken soup recipe.

Her name was Eva. The photograph had struck me, but now –in a very real way– I am connected to one of its subjects.

But yep that’s her.  It makes me wonder how many quiet legends are also a nurturing figure in some boy’s room, adjusting his blanket as he stirred in sleep.  Just a sense of some indomitable Spirit passing through his life.

That that Spirit may have touched your life is frankly mind blowing.  As in physics and metaphysics I can’t comprehend were messing around with us.

And I know it is because I know you, but I would bet real money that she was the one that you identified with.  Visually she’s in position to be seen first, but I think she would be seen even if she was obscured by another child.

I’m about to set sail some experiments in my life. One of them involves telling a big story and a central character to that story is your basic snapshot; it has the feel of a good idea’s infrastructure….but we’ll see.  Another of them involves the realtime recounting of history in a vibrant and personal way. Something akin to a voyeurnal, but more exacting and more moving. In time I’ll be inviting all of you to come with me, some in more hands-on ways than others.

The longer I live, the more purposeful ‘accidental’ connections seem to become, and they leap out at me more often. I’m there, part of you, and you’re here, part of me. It’s messy and painful and sexy and expansively, terrifyingly wonderful. Take my hand. Let’s go look for the dots so that we can link them up. Then let’s tell everybody who’s not paying attention aaaalllll about them. Let’s feed them Eva’s chicken soup; it’s seasoned with defiance and care.

Let’s be seen even in obscurity.