Thoughtful Thursday-J.R.R. Tolkien

Tolkien

“I sit beside the fire and think
Of all that I have seen
Of meadow flowers and butterflies
In summers that have been

Of yellow leaves and gossamer
In autumns that there were
With morning mist and silver sun
And wind upon my hair

I sit beside the fire and think
Of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring
That I shall ever see

For still there are so many things
That I have never seen
In every wood in every spring
There is a different green

I sit beside the fire and think
Of people long ago
And people that will see a world
That I shall never know

But all the while I sit and think
Of times there were before
I listen for returning feet
And voices at the door”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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My Soul, Born in the South

Werther-porch

Tonight my favorite movie is on and though I’ve seen it a hundred times, I’m watching it again. I was one of those that watched the movie before I read the book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting, as my little kids played around my feet. While they ate their meals. While I changed their diapers. While I bathed them. And after I put the to bed.

The children grew older, and as they did, we bed shared. For comfort, yes, but also for closeness and for me the possibility that I might get a full nights sleep so I could function at work the next day. Often, the cats and a dog or two would crawl in there with us.

After the little ones settled and fell asleep, and before I’d drift off, I’d grab my dog eared copy of Fried Green Tomatoes and devour a chapter. I knew every word, yet the story continued to resonate within me. Was I born in the South in a previous life? Why did the story of Ruth and Idgie effect me so deeply?

I began to know every word of the story, yet I couldn’t put it down. The book fell apart, yet I continued to read it. I would jump from story to story without missing a beat. I felt the promise of new life when Buddy was born, and the sadness of love lost when Ruth died. I felt anger so intense when there was racism, and when Idgie was accused and tried for murder I cried.

As my children grew older and took to their own bedrooms, I continued to read the book. It was now in pieces and I had to tape most of the pages together. I swear to you some nights when I read the stories, I could feel the heat of the day on my skin, while tendrils of my hair blew in the humid Alabama air. Train whistles blew and sweat poured down my back. I was dressed in white cotton, sitting on my front porch, and drinking sweet tea. When I’d finally fall asleep, I’d dream I was as tough as Towanda, that brilliant woman unafraid to bait her own hook and love the woman that was meant to be hers forever.

The kids are grown now, and the copy of my book is long gone. I think about replacing it, but something always sidetracks me. Maybe it’s the fact that I can’t get that time back. Or maybe it’s the fact that I want to write like that, but can’t. Or maybe I can write like that, but I’m afraid to fail. All I know is I’ll watch Fried Green Tomatoes tonight and it will make me feel all the things I used to feel. Maybe I’ll finally start that book. Or maybe, I’ll just know that my soul, it was born in the South, and it will have to be enough.

The Woman in the Room (Inspired by Stephen King)

“You want to remember that while you’re judging the book, the book is also judging you.”
Stephen King, Night Shift

She sleeps a mere ten feet away from me, in a rehabilitation center set atop a little bluff in a busy college town. The walls of our room are painted a celery green. They’re not unpleasant looking, but they don’t wow me much either. The color of the walls are muted, but the drapes are another story. Though washed in earth tones, the design ‘pops’. Little circles of brown connect large dots of sage and spinach. I can’t say I’d have them hanging in my house but I’m sure the designer was going for neutrality and comfort when they designed the place.

I lie in bed, my foot propped up on a cushion. I’ll be this way for at least twelve weeks, then with a little luck and a lot of prayers, I’ll go back to a semi-normal life, though I may never run or dance again. That’s a story for another day though. Today it’s about her, my roommate. An elderly woman, hard of hearing and dealing with dementia.

While I recover, I keep reverting to the short story by Stephen King, The Woman in the Room. It’s an agonizing story about a mother with terminal cancer and the son that takes care of her. The decisions that she and her son come to throughout will make you question your morals and ethics. I surmise that it’s because I’m the youngest person here, single and due to a serious injury unable to care of myself completely yet.

Thick white hair adorns her head and covers her shoulders. She has a smile that must have charmed a few men when she was in her prime. Her hands are gnarled, yet dainty.

“Hi there,” I called out brightly from my adjustable bed, our first morning together.

“Hey,” she yelled. “I’m E, and I broke my back.”

“Oh my Dear, I broke my ankle and had it reconstructed,”  I announced.

This little woman yelled back, loud enough to drone out the throbbing sound of a diesel truck, “I’m hard of hearing and I can’t hear a word you say!”

With effort and my walker I hopped over to her and repeated what I said. She smiled and shook her head, but I know she still didn’t comprehend one word. Right before me she transformed into my Grandmas N, H, G and B. Four fine women that were more than wives, mothers, grandmothers, and great grandmothers. They were women once. The kind that charmed. The kind that felt fear. The kind that felt everything we women have felt throughout our lives. Sexy, desirable, exhausted, even dead inside.

My Grandmas all battled growing older, while I battled my emotions watching them deteriorate and eventually surrender. They died at different stages in my life. A young adolescent girl, a teenager, a young wife and mother, and a wife and mother of teenage children. Each of their deaths effected me differently. At my youngest, it was barely a blip on my radar, at my oldest, gut wrenching.

Miss Cotton Hair had to be assisted with all aspects of self-care. Teeth brushing, toileting, washing, and dressing. Those are things we take for granted, and here I am doing them on one leg. The staff here are sweet but not too sugary. They do their job with tender loving care. We shared breakfast on that first day. I tried to chat, but she could not hear for shit. We communicated with smiles, and she ate everything on her plate.

Throughout the day she carried on conversations with herself. Sometimes with her children who weren’t there. She moaned and cried out because of her injury. She did physical therapy like a trooper, yet after she had her clothes changed she was convinced her son was coming to pick her up. To take her home. He wasn’t. He did come and visit that evening.  His conversation skimmed the surface. He didn’t ask much about her care. Or how she felt. It unnerved me. That woman bore him, the least he could do is ask her how she was being treated.

Don’t get me wrong, not all humans should be parents. There are some kids that have had enough, dealing with the neuroses and self-destruction of their parents. They must preserve their own hearts and sanity. They must put up barriers to protect themselves. I don’t believe that’s the case with sweet and confused Miss Cotton Hair. I’m guessing that the son only sees her in one role, that of mother.

He read her the paper. Talked about his life. The kids and wife. She’d respond, but he didn’t acknowledge the weight of her replies. Didn’t ask her about any of her life stories that will die when she does. Stories of how she danced all night and drank champagne with a young soldier on New Years Eve. The first time she fell in love. What her 13th summer was like. How it felt to kiss her husband at their wedding. What it was like the first time she had sex. What her biggest fear is.

Inside the shell of the old woman beats the heart of a girl. One that used to giggle and flirt. Or sipped soda from a straw in a small town soda fountain. That collected lightning bugs in jars and danced in the grass on a sultry summer night amid sheets still damp from the humidity.

Remember, we will all be there one day. We’ll be old. If we get lucky that is. Stay strong and healthy but have fun. Share your stories with your kids whether they want to hear them or not. Listen to your parent’s stories too. LISTEN! Even if they’ve never left their home town, they have lived. We need to know more. We need to know that they are a man or woman. That they are a dignified, passionate, strong and weak human.

The “Look” Challenge

 

Thank you to my dear follower The Reclining Gentleman for including me in this challenge. I am writing a book. Don’t have much done yet. But I bang away at it a little each day. I didn’t know if I would find the word “look” in the manuscript, but I did quite a few times. I’ve included two paragraphs. They’re rough. I’m sure I’ll re-write them a few more times.

THE CHALLENGE

The “Look” Challenge is for bloggers who are also writers. It is a way to let others sneak a peek at your work. Here’s how it works. You search your manuscript for the word “look” and copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post to let other bloggers read. Then you tag five blogger/writers to invite them to the challenge.

So here are two paragraphs that I will share.

Ian struggles to speak. He pleads, “Maggie please, stay.”

But Maggie is stubborn and she has made up her mind. He’s finally at a loss for words. He can’t make her stay. He looks into her green eyes and sees everything. All the pain he’s caused and all the sadness. Everything she has had to endure to love him. Ian can see all the way into her soul and knows that he has to let her go. He releases her hand. She turns and walks away. Maggie tries with all of her might not to turn around and go running back into his arms. To the familiarity of him. She heads down the concourse of the airport. Eager to get on the plane that will take her home. Or what used to be home. She always thought he would be her home.

________________________________________________________________________________________________

Maggie chuckles to herself and heads out of the terminal to find a restroom. She checks her watch and realizes that she has plenty of time to make her meeting. She freshens up, and repairs her makeup. She only wears eyeliner, mascara and lips stain. The darkest red stain of course. She wants to look half way decent to meet the woman that got to marry Ian. To live with him. To love him. She looks in the mirror and thinks to herself, she doesn’t look too bad for a 42 year old woman. She can still turn a few heads with her red hair, green eyes and statuesque body. Her silly freckles across her nose. She checks her watch again. Decides it’s time to find a cab and head to her hotel.

OK, tagging 5 other bloggers. I’d be fascinated to have a sneaky look over the shoulders of these while they write:

As Long as I’m Singing

Moonbeam McQueen

Brainsnorts

Boomie Bol

Creative Noodling

The Booker Award

The Booker Award Nomination

I feel like such a shit because it took me so damn long to acknowledge Magnolia Beginnings for this lovely nomination. It wasn’t hard for me to come up with five favorite books. I’m kind of a book whore. It was extremely hard to whittle it down to only 5 but here it goes.

Along with being nominated, the nominee is to list their top 5 favorite books.  I hate to play favorites, but I think I can manage to list 5 books that have had a significant impact on me.

  1. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells : This is probably the first book that got me interested in the post-apocalyptic genre. There was something so intriguing to me about the world coming to an end and then being re-invented. The protagonist must then travel back in time to try and save the future. What a great read.
  2. The Stand: Unabdridged by Stephen King: I read this book every damn summer. It goes with me to the beach, pool or the back porch. I have read it so many times I can recite the dialogue. There is something about Larry, who is my favorite character that I can identify with. Probably because he’s all kinds of fucked up but he’s a good man at heart. Read it. You won’t be sorry. 
  3. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson: This is by far the saddest love story I have ever read. The story of a former porn star that is severely burned and then is visited by a woman that says they were lovers many lifetimes ago. For me the most heart wrenching part was the story of the young child who’s lungs are so severely burned by a reaction to a medication that  she will never recover. With all of her strength she walks to the bed of our unnamed narrator, crawls into his bed, holds his hand, prays for him and then they both fall asleep. He wakes to find that she is still holding his hand but she is no longer breathing. It took all of her strength and breath just to die in his arms.
  4. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg: Idgie Threadgood is one of my all time heroes. I love her spunk, her ability to drink, and to tell it like it is. She didn’t take shit. Even when she stood trial for murder.
  5. Rage by Richard Bachman (Stephen King): This book is no longer in print because the subject matter is all too familiar to us in these trying times. It is about a young man with a gun that holds captive a roomful of students and a teacher. King said that after Columbine, he couldn’t bring himself to re-print it. Fortunately, I have a collector’s copy. It contains three of my favorite Bachman Books. Rage, The Long Walk, and The Running Man. All three stories are kick ass!

As I said it’s hard to play favorites.  There are loads more I could list, but these I felt were the most impactful—at least at the present.

Participation in the Booker Award means adhering to the following rules:

  1. Nominate 5-10 bloggers and let your recipients know.
  2. Post The Booker Award picture.
  3. Share your top 5 books of all time.

So I’ll now include my nominees:

http://boomiebol.wordpress.com/
http://youjivinmeturkey.com/
http://kylemew.com/
http://birdmartin.wordpress.com
http://www.theeyeoffaith.com

Congratulations to my nominees. I’ll be looking forward to reading what 5 books you post as your favorites.

If It’s the Beaches

Harry played this for me once. Made me cry of course. Thought of it today while I wished for a beach, a pin up style swimsuit, paper, a pen, a bottle of tequila and a story to write. Got a good story floating through my sparkly mind. A love story. With a sad ending. Or maybe I’ll leave it open ended. Maybe. We’ll just see…..

The Musings of a Geeky Blonde Bombshell

Help me Obi Wan. You’re my only hope.-Princess Leia-Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope

Geek, geek, geek. Nerd, nerd, nerd. Derp, derp, derp. Me, me, me. Yes, this sparkly girl is a closet geek, nerd, derp. Whatever you want to call it. I am. There’s nothing more fun than watching the Star Wars Trilogy on DVD on a cold, snowy afternoon in the middle of a long Michigan winter. Of course you must be wrapped up in your favorite blanket, with a bowl of fresh, buttery popcorn and a huge glass of Diet Coke with lots of ice. You must watch episodes IV, V, VI. Because I, II, and III suck ass! I watched I and II. But you couldn’t pay me to watch episode III. For the love of God I want to go smack George Lucas across the face for taking some of my favorite childhood memories and shitting all over them. I, II and III are drivel.

Of course I have the entire Twilight Zone library on DVD. I’ve watched them all at least once. But what I really like to do is watch them all on the SYFY channel on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Roger Darling watches football all day. I watch the Twilight Zone marathon. I watch it in bed. The only time I stop is when I nap, need to pee, eat, or drink something. Roger walks in to check on me from time to time. When he gazes at me through the bedroom door, he sees I’m still transfixed by the episode I’m watching. Doesn’t matter which one it is, I’m still mesmerized.

If it’s dystopian, post-apocolyptic, fantasy, sci-fi shit I want to watch it, read it, devour it. I love video games, but I can’t play them, because I have terrible hand-eye coordination. And the controllers confuse the fuck out of me. I love comic books too. I so want to go to the San-Diego Comic-Con. I would be in geeky girl heaven.  All those characters, and the spectators dressed as their favorite super heroes. Ah bliss! Of course I would have to be dressed as Wonder Woman. Ha!

Geeky computer shit makes this silly sparkly girl’s heart go pitter pat. One of my favorite websites is geeksaresexy.net. There’s every kind of geeky thing you can think of all in one place. Love, love, love it!

Screw romance novels, they do nothing for me. Give me the love story of  The Lord of the Rings trilogy please. All of the love stories actually. Even the love and obsession of the ring. Of course my favorite love story in the series is the love between Aragorn and Arwen. Love and immortality, they kind of go together, don’t you think? I mean, would you really want to live forever without the love of your life? That would be merely existing. And who wants to just exist? I know that I sure wouldn’t.

So grab a book by J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis or a host of many other authors. Find your old Star Wars movies on DVD too. Bring out your inner geek from time to time. Or your outer geek. Whatever the case may be. It most certainly doesn’t have to be put off till a snowy and cold day during a Michigan winter.

For the Love of an Old Book

Literature is my Utopia. Here I am not disenfranchised. No barrier of the senses shuts me out from the sweet, gracious discourses of my book friends. They talk to me without embarrassment or awkwardness. – Helen Keller

There’s nothing like standing in a used bookstore, perusing the titles of old books. Trying to find the perfect novel to read. I love books. The smell. The yellowing pages. The creases in those pages. The broken spines. The history of who read them before me. What they imagined as they took the story in. I visualize them leaving fingerprints on the front and back cover of the book. Did they read the last chapter as I often do? Read it quickly or savor every word? Where did they read it? On the beach? In bed beside a lover? In the car? Where?

I try to read slowly, but I always end up devouring every word. Roger Darling finds it funny that I can have four books going at the same time. I can’t help it. I must read. Everything. I have a Kindle. I don’t like it much. It’s not a book.

I have an unabridged copy of The Stand by Stephen King. He was my favorite author when I was growing up. The book is 25 years old. It’s HUGE! I don’t even have the dust jacket anymore. That’s okay, the spine isn’t broken yet. And I’m the only one that’s read it for the last 25 summers. I read it on the beach every damn summer. Every damn summer. Stu is my hero. But Larry, he is my favorite character. He is so tortured by his past. By his future. By the stand that he will be a part of.

I use my Kindle but it’s not my favorite. It’s not a book that I can hold onto. Feel the pages of. Feel the history of. I’d rather shelves full of old, musty books. Let my Kindle gather dust. Let my bookshelves gather dust. I’ll be sure to displace some of that dust, when I grab my copy of The Stand to read this summer.