Sunday, September 5, 2010

Peacefully Reflective

A wind travels from the northwest, pushing the chimes to play a subtle tune, leafs turning in the breeze their chorus, rustling between notes. This is the poetry of silence, the kind you fold into fours and place into your breast pocket.

It's a necessary background that unearths memories from my distant past. Ones that make me turn around and look, to smile and to grieve. It makes my age visible to those who've never met me, no need for a photograph. My dreams never fully realized, and with that I must make peace.

Current technology makes life easier, less cluttered. But where is the beauty in easy? I ask myself this, and more so today as I felt inner conflict rear its adorable head. Where do I fit in? How can I? My truth based on experience misunderstood by the young bloods - innocence lost.

Their way is so much better, they say, hardly requiring any skill at all. Why keep music CD's holed up in your closet when an IPod handles infinite music? And before CD's people would say, "Why are you hanging on to vinyl when you can play music in your car on a cassette?" And so on and so forth.

But there was something to be said for listening to "Stairway to Heaven" on a turntable, a tiny needle hissing, revealing that even a spec of dust has a voice.

Paper books? Growing up, that's all there was. Walks to the public library because Mom said it's better to read than watch television. Television. Three channels to choose from, all in black and white. Off I'd go to the library, my dog following at my heels. Inside I'd scan the spines, head titled, always in the new release section, sometimes not. Thirty minutes later I'd check out, walk down the steps to find my dog waiting right where I left her.

Curl up in a chair with book in lap, or stretch out beneath a shade tree, book balanced on bent knees, that was part of the experience. Flip the page, look at the date stamps, wonder about who wrote in those margins. Wonder about the author's path. Sitting beneath a lamp, roll a fresh piece of paper into the typewriter. Or write it longhand first, like Dickens or Alcott. Mistake free or several start overs. Tears spilled on ink.

Technology. Computer age. Spell check. Digital press.

My first job I worked in the local J.C. Penney. Manual cash registers. I learned to make change. Count back the bills and coin. Simple task that utilized gray matter. Mistake free. Onward to adulthood I went, jobs in law firms. Typing briefs, summons and complaints. Fifty-five words or more per minute, mistake free. No computer, but an IBM Selectric typewriter, which at the time was the new wave of technology. Still, no mistakes. Spell check - a dictionary a standard book on every secretary's desk.

Gray matter exercise.

So today I reflected on all of that and wondered about my three completed manuscripts. How I could cut, copy and past passages, or delete them entirely. Imagine Steinbeck looking down at all of that? Still, my heart-dream was to see my work in print. I hoped that it would sit on a library shelf and be plucked out, taken home and spent with a human curled up in a chair, the television gathering dust in the corner.

Memories serve a necessary peace.

I was fortunate to have lived in simpler times, every minute a poetic passage. My dream of seeing my work in print lost in the new technological wave, I have found solace in the fact that I lived my personal truth.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


My stomach shouldn't have to swallow my heart so early in the day. But after reading the newspaper and then sitting down to devour my favorite blogs, I'm left with that queasy feeling one gets right after hearing that they need a root canal.

Except root canals are necessary. They are something out of control and one has to suck it up and take it. Reading the news and blogs are a different beast. I am in control of how they make me feel.

But some days their content is just so unbelievable that my moral compass spins. Ignorance and corruption. Ridicule and deceit. Ignorance under the guise of liberal. Indeed.

Change is good, I keep telling myself. That without it there is no growth. But when the changes involve shifting truths near and dear to my heart, it's time to step back and, well, cry. It's not the growth I'm looking for. In fact, it's the type of growth that starts with just one microscopic bacteria, innocuous at first until left to its own device. And then it grows beyond a cure. It has found a way to defeat any and all antibiotics.

It's an evil too big for the good to fight. It kills the spirit before it has a chance to fly. The end of hope, the robber of innocence.

Not how I want to begin the day, and perhaps by its end I'll have seen a tiny ray of light that beckons me from the darkness. But for now it has a leg up and I feel beyond its control.