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Posts Tagged ‘guest-postish’

|| March 25, 2011 || 5:07 am || Comments (6) ||

Adam P. Knave popped up in my e-mail chat window one morning and has been in my life ever since. He is as likely to tell me that I am wrong as he is to tell me that he adores me; I respect his integrity and his abilities. He is an amaaaazing writer, prolific and nimble-minded and genius in his approach. The internet at large vastly under-appreciates the wealth of good writing he lays out to be devoured for free on the daily; I think the internet is stupid for doing so. Also? Go buy one of his books so you can feed that fool’s cat and your imagination.

Some people are born to grace. Others are born to style. A very few are born to power. The rarest though are born to freedom.  Darlene was one of them. Her life started in the chill air at the base of the mountain and she grew there, tall as a wild flower and tough as a nail.

By the time she was sixteen she wanted to own the world. At the ripe old age of twenty-two she decided, instead, that she wanted to simply know the world, and that by her knowing come to hold it in her self and that would be the best kind of owning. The sort where neither party is lessened, but instead enhanced through their mutual knowing and love and internal ownership. Darlene partied as if she had no tomorrow and cared as if every day would be eternal. She saw no contradiction in her life and would have laughed at anyone who claimed to see one.

And then a thing happened. There’s the desire to label it: A funny thing, a strange thing, an unexplainable thing, a thing of consequence – but Darlene herself would shake her head and raise her eyebrows (She always thought she could raise just one at a time but was wrong. No one bothered to correct her.) and laugh at such a notion. A thing happened. The rest is in the details and the reality of a thing.

The details were this: A rabbit in the road. A small child running after it. A tiny, fuel-efficient car. Night.

The reality was this: The child had been carrying her pet rabbit back home and the rabbit squirmed, dropping free. Of course it ran away from the child, which meant into the road. And of course the child
followed it, blindly grasping with outstretched hands, cooling now out of contact with the fur of their favorite texture. Darlene was on the other side of the street, walking down the block to return a dish to a friend. The driver of the car, a tourist actually, saw the rabbit and started to swerve. He started to swerve right toward the child. However the driver saw the child before his hands moved to swerve and so he went the other way.

And swerved onto the street and into Darlene.

There was no “Darlene dramatically saved the child” or anything of the sort. Events happen. They unfold the way they do. And that’s about that.

Now, what happened to Darlene, you might wonder. You aren’t alone. Darlene herself wondered that when she woke up in a hospital. The doctors gathered around and looked worried. Darlene assured them, through still-slurring lips, that nothing they could tell her would phase her. After all, she pointed out, she was still alive. Anything after that would be simply details and reality, once more.

And so she heard the story of the accident again and at least heard what she after referred to as “The punch line:” Her left leg was gone from mid-thigh down. Those small cars are light, but still heavy enough.

Darlene heard the news, and nodded thoughtfully and chewed on it this way and that, actually working her jaw the way she did when she was chewing on a thought – she actually chewed – and then she looked at her doctor and said, quite simply:

“Well. All right then. Anything else?”

Of course they stood around and kept in ear shot and waited. They knew, by their reckoning, that a delayed reaction was still on its way. News of loss like that didn’t simply wash off someone. It hit and it hit hard. Except Darlene seemed to be a duck where trouble was concerned. And so they started physical therapy and her only questions were on the colors she could get an artificial leg in, and then how durable they were. Would she be able to climb a mountain, learn to kick box, dance ballet or swim – these were her concerns.

She didn’t let on that she had no desire to learn to kick box and always hated ballet as a child. They were, for her, fun questions. It made everyone squirm when they had to keep saying “Well you SHOULD be able to…” as if she would, this time, break down and get upset at the idea that she might not. They refused to catch on.

And so one day, when she was getting ready to leave (a temporary artificial leg in place, and her order for a bright purple, carbon fiber one already sized for and placed) she sat everyone who worked with her, whom she had come to care for, down and gave them each a small piece of quartz.

“Now, what you got to understand is this isn’t no healing crystal stuff. But look at that, in your hand, there. It’s impossible. It’s atom aligned and grouped in a specific way, every time, to create crystalline structures. Reliably. No matter what you do, those babies will go on and dance their dance and create their own thing and refuse you. Because it’s what they do.

“Now me, you all worry, I can see it. Don’t lie. But me, I’m like that crystal. And no, I don’t mean fragile and easily shattered. I mean I’ll form my own structures, no matter what you might think is going to happen. Because when I leave here I’ll be in the world and won’t ask for a lick more than I had before. Because, me, I had everything.

“I had myself a home to be in, and the world to be in and a good vehicle and the sun and the moon and the people. I had books to read and show me other people and places and times, and I had myself some television and movies to do the same. Distractions could distract but none more than the morning dew on a flower, reflecting the sunrise, while a cup of coffee steamed, making my cheek as wet as the petals I gazed at.

“And now, well I got the same things, don’t I just? I’m down a leg, it’s true, and I did like that leg, I admit. It was ticklish and the big toe had a tendency toward ingrown nails and overall it was a good leg, it did its job and was a comfort to me, to be sure. But I’ll never have to think about shaving it again, or if the joints will last until I’m old, or a hundred other tiny worries and bits of upkeep. I ain’t glad to be rid of the leg, but I can see both sides of the issue.

“Even that ain’t it though. I lost a leg. In exchange for a kid not losing her best friend in the world or worse – the other way around. Small price to pay, in this world, and one I pay gladly. So when you think of me, remember that bit of quartz I gave you. Nothing you do will force it to not try and be itself. Y’all should do the same. Like I do, and plan to keep doing.”

Darlene stood and left them there, in silence. Soon enough she was gone, off into her own life again. A life that she lived in order to know the world, that she might own it in her heart. A world where the world would grow to know her, and own her in its heart just the same. She still partied as if she had no tomorrow and cared as if every day would be eternal. She still saw no contradiction in her life and would have laughed at anyone who claimed to see one. And sometimes, just sometimes, she would kick them with a metal re-enforced artificial leg, right in the shin.

Because she could.

|| March 24, 2011 || 6:51 am || Comments (5) ||

The conversation that predicated my sitting down to type this went like:
“I’m unfamiliar with ugly birthdays. What do they look and sound like?”

“Slouching towards the barcalounger, they stumble with uneven steps.  This one calls itself ‘45′.”

“Forty is ambling toward me. It’s a couple weeks away, and I’m smiling at it.
“I don’t even have to get my birthdays drunk anymore, that’s how terrific they are.”

“Forty was actually rather anti-climatic for me.  It just was.  I don’t feel whatever I think it should feel like. ”

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

When I was six and standing near the merry-go-round

(don’t get me started on merry-go-rounds and the criminal lack of them in the modern child’s world. Holy God, modern children are such pussies, Muffinasses. When you treat your children like intensely breakable things, you will wind up with intensely broken adults….you heard it here first)

a little girl named Perry approached me. She was one of the most beautiful girls I had ever seen; even at six years old I knew that her slightly-vulnerable gorgeousness would beat people senseless before they even realized they’d been struck at all.

“I cain’t come to your party, Jett.”

“How come?”

“Momma says we cain’t buy you a present, so I cain’t come.”

“It’s okay,” the obliviously shitheaded six-year-old me said with an easy shrug, “you don’t have to get me a present. You can just give me money.”

I am quite horrified when I remember that moment. I had no grasp of the notion of poverty, having known only good things and no want in my life at that point. I didn’t know any better, but still: I blame that six-year-old, I judge her harshly.

When I went home and told my mother, she wasn’t angry at or caustic with me. In fact, she was very patient, though matter-of-fact. “You can’t say things like that, Jett. It’s not polite. What Perry meant was that they didn’t have enough money for a gift, and her mother thinks it would be impolite or embarrassing to send her over without one, so she is keeping Perry home.”

I just wanted my beautiful friend there. I had ruined it. I could have just said, “Come be by me on my day; that will make me happy.”

I didn’t know any better, but it doesn’t feel like that excuse fits the hole it is trying to fill.

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

I was the kid with the gigantic parties: My parents buying two fistfuls of wristbands for the amusement park, my parents  building a gigantic bonfire and pulling horses out of the paddock for rides, my parents renting a whole skating rink in Tulsa.

Somehow, it was never obnoxious, though. I think this was because –while I thought they were great and all– I never staked these events for bragging rights. It wasn’t, after all, my money that had made this terrific thing happen, it was my folks’. They weren’t doing it to be ostentatious or showy, either. My parents were doing it because they both loved a good party and were both born with a top-fueled hosting gene and they loved me beyond the scope of anything I could fathom. The parties were fun, but ultimately not what I cared about, I don’t know why. I was grateful to have them, but I don’t remember being garrotted when they wafted away in the mist that was my parents’ marriage.

Imagine my slight shrug as I say this to you: They just weren’t that important to me overall, I don’t know why.

Over the years, I’ve always been happy and delighted to receive birthday calls, cards, thoughts but I have never placed much emphasis on my birthday save for a couple that I viewed as milestones. Twenty-five, thirty: Those were  both important to me somehow. The ones before and after? Not especially so. We all know that guy who heralds his coming birthday for the six weeks leading up to the thing. I am usually the exact inverse of that.

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

I was born, shouting and holding my own head up, on the first of April, nineteen seventy-one. Hospital staff, in keeping with the spirit of the date, told Henry I was a boy. For the first twenty or so minutes of my life, my father had a son. Later that day my extended family gathered around the nursery window, most all of them, clogging up the hallway with their exuberance and their staggering numbers. My first birthday party happened as I stretched and retracted in a hospital bassinet; I was surrounded with unbelievable amounts of love from my first day on the planet.

In truth, I think that’s why I didn’t need a day of acknowledgment or adulation fixed solely on me over the years.  I was told I was special in a myriad of ways every waking day of my life.

Oh my God, what a treasure, you know?

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

This year I am forty and I am doing it differently: I’m throwing myself a party. Forty is a big damn deal, and worthy of celebrating. I’m not having some existential crisis. I’m not wailing at the death rattle of my youth. I am reveling in a life that has been and continues to be a gift. I’ve got it good, I’m excited about that, what’s not to celebrate?

So I’ve asked some friends to surround me and help me do so. Just as if I’d throw a party in facespace and everyone would laugh and enjoy one another and swap stories, so it will be out here in Cyberia. I’ve asked the aforementioned friends to show up to the party. This is how I charged them:  The theme is: write a love letter to me. My definition of ‘love letter’ is pretty broad and kinda loosey-goosey. It goes something like this: When I hear Emmylou Harris sing ‘Red Dirt Girl’ I think she’s written a love letter to me. When I get mail in the mailbox –even junky, tree-killing shit– I think the postal service has written a love letter to me. When I can sleep through a night, my body has written me a love letter. When a picture, a word, a song, a gesture dings a nerve or delights me, it’s a love letter.

I am blessed to have a host of people in my life that will say ‘yes’ when I ask something like this of them, so starting tomorrow, wander over here for a few minutes of every day over the course of the next two weeks. There’ll  be something new in this space each day from stellar people I love. I am very(!) excited(!) at this prospect. “We’ll live like KINGS! Damn hell ass KINGS!”

It takes a fortnight to celebrate good and proper, after all.

|| December 18, 2000 || 3:13 am || Comments (0) ||

So I get this invite in my email

–am I coming in clear? Is this thing on? Can you copy that?

this invite in my email, and it’s to this great party
you know those parties, those great parties that everyone wants to be in and you’re never invited to

And I freeze up for a bit because whatever shall I wear?

What if I say “shall” in a sentence?

Men have been put to death for that.

So I face my fears and dive right in:

  • Get your randomly-generated Wacky Sentence right here!
  • For you llama-lovers, here’s Ten Tips For New Llama Owners!Remember kids, “Don’t buy babies younger than 4 or 5 months!”