Never Insult a Trekkie: A Lesson for J J Abrams

I am a fan, not a fanatic, when it comes to Star Trek. I grew up watching the Enterprise float around a Styrofoam universe and I have a special place in my heart for William Shatner, despite the whole thing of him being William Shatner. Still, I’ve never been to a convention or a Klingon-translated wedding. I don’t own any kind of Starfleet getup and I never really got into Next Generation (the geeks in the gallery gasp!). I still, however, think J J Abrams is a dick for what he said.

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Yeah, it’s shocking right?! (Geeks in the gallery gasp, again!)
Let me level with you—Maybe Star Trek doesn’t fly your space ship. Kirk getting it on with aliens and Spock’s pointy eyebrows turn you off. Fair enough—I don’t hold it against you. Honest, I don’t. Scifi is not for everyone, the same way Twilight is not for me. If someone tried to convince me to appreciate Bella’s whiny little pouting voice, I would get a bit hot under the collar. Maybe you’re shrugging your shoulders right now, pursing your lips and declaring, ‘So what? So he doesn’t like the original series. Neither did I and the new movie was kickass. Why should I care?’

Well, dear movie-goer, this is why you should care:

The Star Trek franchise is one of the most lucrative in the history of film and television. Collectibles, Memorabilia and Games have grossed approximately $4 billion while the Films & Series themselves post revenues of approximately $1.76 billion. That’s a lotta moula.

Why? Why is a crossover science fiction show that began in the sixties and has been successful despite producing a movie about a whales in the eighties making so much damn money?

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Let me tell you a little something about Trekkies. They are not your average fans. They aren’t your average teenage girls lining up to pout and whine while waiting for Stephanie Meyers to sign their little black books. Scifi fans love their worlds. For them, the moment doesn’t end when the program does. It is alive in their imaginations forever. If science fiction has taught me anything it’s that every world has its wonders. And as long as you look at those wonders in your own world with the eyes of a galaxy-travelled newcomer, you can appreciate them all the more. Star Trek was the first thing—before teachers or experiences or anything—that taught me to appreciate life and to philosophize about what is all means. And I love it for that.

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But enough sentiment. The important part is all that moula we mentioned earlier. Sometimes keeping the magic alive means spending a lot of money. And if you’re going to spend that money, you’re going to be a purist about it. Hitch your wagon to the right teleporting-cart, you know what I’m saying? (the geeks in the gallery nod)

So when these dudes who travel half way around the world and spend hours picking out face paint, you can see how they’re going to be pissed that the man handed one of the highest grossing franchises in the history mankind, the man handed a ship that has been a part of their lives for years, the man handed a storyline that has informed their philosophical development as human beings—that man goes on the Daily Show and has the balls to say he’s actually not that into it? Is he kidding?

He’s just alienated (haha, because this is a Star Trek post) the purists who were going to spend the most amount of money on whatever memorabilia his reboot produces. He just made the most dedicated fans in the world angry that he disrespected the thing they love and treasure.

Doesn’t he get that? How stupid do you have to be?

And furthermore, we’re giving this guy Star Wars? Come on universe! Give me a break!

And sure, you can say he made up for loss of profit from that niche market by making the film more accessible to the average moviegoer. Fair. Maybe he did. But what does that mean for the values of Hollywood? Are the fans only as good as the money they’re willing spend. If a niche market that really loves something isn’t as financially impactful as your average mother-in-law who will throw away her ticket stub while reminiscing about the coming-soon commercials, then is that niche market not worth pleasing?

Maybe we’re dipping too far into sentimentality here. I get that Hollywood is a business. Jobs depend on the success of a film, or the failure. But it still makes me sad that a guy like J J Abrams is so confident in the business model of his film that he doesn’t think twice to shit on the original version, the version that made all the moula he collected even possible.

You can say a lot about Star Trek. It’s geeky, cheesy, too philosophical, overacted, the costumes are ridiculous, etc—but it captured the imagination of generations of viewers. It made the universe a bigger, more potential place. And I wish he would have respected that, if only on tv. I wish he had invested a little more effort in keeping the magic alive.

I got freshly pressed! A retrospective on my blogging experience thus far.

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Hi blogosphere, new followers and old!

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who’s been visiting and interacting on my site. I gotta admit–I never expected too much out of blogging. I kind of did it for the hell of it, you know? An everybody-else-has-one-and-I-should-too kind of attitude. I originally intended to just to post some writing pieces, sprinkle in some poetry, maybe the humorous anecdote or two to add some variety. A sideshow type deal. 

But I was really surprise by the quality of bloggers I met through messages and comments and posts. I was more than surprised–I was inspired. Y’all are pretty awesome, in a very real honest way. Obviously, there’s bad apples in every bunch. But all you have to do is click ‘unfollow’ and they’re rooted out, in a sense. It’s an pretty cool system and I got comfortable.

This happened to coincide with a time in my life that my father showed up after ten years of absence and a lot of heartache. I’m living abroad and I’m a bit disconnected from home. Although I have friends, coworkers, flatmates, etc here, I felt uncomfortable dumping that on them. No one wants to be the girl who starts talking about Daddy issues at the pub a month in…

So, I wrote a little letter to my father. And, in the middle of the night, I posted it on here to see what people would say. And I was blown away by how encouraging and kind the comments back were. I mean, really awesome stuff. And, even more incredible, I actually felt better. The words typed on computers half way around the world, by fingers of complete strangers I will never meet and can only recognise by gravatar handles–those words helped me. I felt a little less alone in it. Even if my friends didn’t know that I was struggling to wrap my brain around my–ugh!–family problems, the people belonging to those gravatars did! That’s so awesome. That’s so special. Modern technology is wicked cool.

So, I’ve recently been freshly pressed. I’m pretty pumped about it–I am a writing student, after all, so to my vanity I do love recognition of my writing. But, more importantly, I just want to thank everyone who’s read what I’ve written. Everyone typing on their laptops, desktops, tablets, smart phones, etch a sketches–whatever you’ve got. You really have helped me figure this stuff out, if only because I knew someone was reading. If only because I know I wasn’t alone out here.

Thanks. 

Blog on, blogosphere. Keep typin’.

The Writer in Him: A Poetic Question

Anyone ever date one of those pretentious writers who likes adventures because he wants to write the next-great-soul-exploring-eye-opening-bestseller/moneymaking/famefanning novel? Well, I did once. Alas, the old adage rings true: This too shall pass. Although I think the memory of our parting stayed with him for a few weeks after… In any case, happy Friday WordPress. I’ll be trapped at work tomorrow (yes, yes, it’s terrible), so really I’ll be reading your wonderful posts to break up the monotony. Have a lovely weekend!

 

 

The Writer in Him

 

 

 

It was the writer in him

Grimacing and grinning

Sowing and sinning

Insinuating beginings

That didn’t have endings

Sending false signals, pretending

It wasn’t a story

When that’s all it was to him.

 

And it was the writer in him

Blubbering and blistering

Broiling and brimming

Flaming and kindling

A fire kept from dimming

By his constant fingering

Lingering glances my way

And eyes meant to say

It wasn’t just a story

When that’s all it was to him.

 

But it was the him in him

Who said he was sorry

The party was only partly

postponed by his metaphorical farting

the rest by the writer

Edward scissorhandsing inside him

Skipping and thriving

Stretching and writhing

Looking for stories in young girls eyes and

Saying he loves me

When it’s more than fiction,

It’s lies.

 

But then, my ultimate question:

Was he or the writer in him

Whose balls, when struck with force, I kick in?

Dear Tommy: A Short Story

Dear Tommy,

 

It was the summer I wanted to be Hunter Thompson and Tommy got pretty serious with coke. An abusive relationship, he called it. But I never knew who was abusing whom.

It was the summer before college, when drug people were my people. There was this sense we were floating on the same ocean, and everyone else was bustling about on the shore. We could speak to the land dwellers. We could text them, even. But they didn’t feel the vibrations. They weren’t dizzy the way we were dizzy. They weren’t riding the waves, man. 

 

Sweet little Leila caught ADD and we had adderol. We sliced open her pills, crushed the granules and drew lines on Tommy’s cell phone. Leila got first whiff, being the supplier and all. From then on, she was good people. Sweet little Leila grew her brown hair long and pierced her eyebrow. She belonged to it.

We got creative with our addictions. A little of yours, a little of mine, and a little of the stuff nobody should want. We felt like chemists. One line adderol, plus two powder, plus a shot of whatever was around, plus gum that shit and you had a hell of a high. 

It was a hell of summer. I fancied myself a radical. We thought Baltimore was above the influence. Above weed and free love. High, up on a whole other level. I wrote pages and pages about American swine and the uselessness of breathing. Stories that began in Congress and ended in Pizza Hut. Or, more often, didn’t end at all.

 

One night we’re smoking something or other on my porch and Tommy asks what I write about, anyway. He’s leaning against the side of my house, picking at the peeling white paint mindlessly. Lost in it. I can still see him. Deep brown eyes staring off under overgrown dirty blond hair. Strong jaw jutting out, but still tucked away somehow, like he didn’t want to seem too defined. Lips just a little parted, enough to look ready for action but not committed.

“I don’t know.” I say. 

“No, really,” he takes a swig of the cheap Chardonnay we were into back then. “Tell me a story.” 

There’s this twinkle in his eyes, like he’s hungry. Curtis, another guy who belonged to it, nods his head and makes out some kind of encouraging words. He’s a big lumbering guy, with dark frizzy hair that stands up straight, like its been electrocuted.  Even crouched down on the porch, he looks too large. Awkward, like he’s on the wrong planet. I guess we all related to that. I shrug and hit the bowl. 

“Well, there’s this one about this guy,” I hit again. “Buck.”

“I like that name,” Curtis says.

“Let her tell the story,” Tommy whispers harshly. 

“Well,” I start. “Buck’s this circus guy, right. He cuts things, like metal, with, like, rusty scissors.”

Time’s a funny thing for drug people. It’s fast and slow; tides coming in and going out on top of each other, with the force of a monsoon and the size of a ripple after a small pebble falls through the surface of a pond. Sometimes we talked for hours and sometimes just seconds, but it all passed the same. That night, I may have discussed Buck on end or I may have mentioned him. I’ll never know.

“And this circus performer,” I continue. “He lives in this dystopia where Fox News runs the world.”

We laugh. 

“And he decides that the world has gone to shit. And, like, everybody’s got this pain balled up under their ribcages. And so he goes on this journey to find God and the source of pain–the reason it all is the way it is and not better.” I shove my head into my hands. “I don’t know. It’s stupid.”

“Naw, man.” Curtis furrows his eyebrows. “Deep.”

Tommy boots. Dark red with green chunks and a dank, acidic smell. We watch and wait. He finishes.

“Man.” Curtis hits.

“Sorry. Shouldn’t have railed that addie.” Tommy’s eyes are bloodshot, rimmed with red. He looks like a drug addict. It occurs to me he is. We all are. Grunge. Alternative. Kids without a cause–both genesis and crusade. Hell, I wasn’t even sure if we were breathing. Or, for that matter, if we should have been breathing.

“Don’t sweat it.” I shrug. “The dogs will clean it up tomorrow.”

The next morning I let the dogs out and the evidence is gone as easy as eating breakfast. 

 

I always wondered if my father knew. I like to think he didn’t. I like to think he worked long, hard hours as the Red Ginger line cook. I like to think that it tired out his eyes and dulled his mind, so that by the time he stumbled in and dropped down on his bed, he couldn’t figure me out. I like to believe all that so I don’t have to believe he knew and did nothing for me. That he never asked where I was or who with because he never suspected it was all wrong. I like to believe my father was as good a father as circumstances allowed, even if he wasn’t a good father. He’s all the family I have and that means something to me. I loved my father. Of that, I was almost sure.

 

It was the summer we didn’t go places, we showed up. Popped up, out of whatever oblivion we came from. A puff of magic smoke and there we were, sloppy and flopping about–fish out of water. We weren’t land dwellers and when we came to shore, we tried to bring the waves with us. 

So one day or night we show up at Curtis’s place. It’s the kind of decorated formstone row house that line the city streets. Muted purple paint with green trimming and a busted second story left window covered by fraying duct tape. Flanked by identical abandoned shitholes, barely boarded up and home to faceless spotters and rats. A black magic type dream catcher hanging over the door next to an ivory cross. We mixed more than drugs, in those days.

Tommy, Leila and I stumble out of whatever bus got us there and skip down the street, up the uneven concrete stoop steps. We bang on the wooden door–short staccato raps that sound like rhythm to us. 

Curtis answers. He’s wearing black boxers that are too tight and a grey wife beater, with a red stain over his right nipple. Funny, the things you remember.

He stands in the doorway, eyes a hazy shade of half-shut.

“What?” He mumbles, lips barely moving. 

“We came here,” Leila begins, before looking at me inquisitively, “for a reason.”

Suddenly, we can’t remember.

“Come chill with us,” Tommy flashes a stupid smile and puts two thumbs up. 

I chime in, “We’ve got shrooms.”

Leila’s gone silent on us. Shrooms. Pesky things. Sometimes you’re so in it, you can’t escape. And sometimes you’re under water and nothing’s really happening down there. 

“We’ve got shrooms,” I repeat, maybe once, maybe more.

Tommy nods enthusiastically. Curtis just blinks.

“Naw, I’m good.” Real drug people never say no. We’re lost for a moment, but we recover. 

“But, why not?” Tommy asks, stupid smile morphed into a drooping jaw and wide eyes.

“I’m quitting.”

I’m silenced.

“Quitting what?” Tommy asks.

“Everything.” Curtis’s face doesn’t move. “I’m done.”

Leila sits down on the stoop and buries her head in her knees. Tommy gets angry fast.

“You fucking scab. Turncoat traitor.” Angry drug people are unpredictable. Rage can turn violent, or dissolve. Sometimes it fizzles. Sometimes it fans. When you’re living so close to suicide, it doesn’t seem strange to be irrational. Hell, life is irrational. And in the words of Kurt Vonnegut, we didn’t ask to be born in the first place. 

Tommy punches the wall with his fist. Nobody flinches. We’re far beyond that. His outburst leaves a blot of red blood on the flaking purple paint. 

“Chill, man,” Curtis says.

“Bullshit you’re quitting.” Tommy breaks out into manic laughter. “Bull. Shit.” He’s howling like a hyena. He doubles over and tugs at his hair with both hands, blood dripping from his slashed knuckles. “You can’t counter counterculture. It’ll beat the shit out of your fat ass.”

He’s in an uproar.

“Keep it down, man. I’ve got neighbors,” Curtis says. He turns to me. “I keep shaking.”

I look him up and down. Tommy’s still shrieking, but I can’t hear it anymore. 

“You don’t look like you’re shaking,” I retort in a voice that doesn’t sound like mine. It’s high pitched, almost childish. It sounds like I’m begging him to not be shaking. It sounds like I’m shaking.

“I had to drink a little to get to sleep.” He clears his throat. “Whisky helps it.”

Tommy shrinks into a ball next to Leila, clutching his knees to his neck and humming. His face is bright red and blue veins push through his temples. 

“You should get clean,” Curtis says to me. “I don’t get why we turned to it in the first place, really.”

Neither did I, but I don’t say so. I pull my kids down the stoop and we get home somehow. But as the purple line clanks away down the block, I look back and watch Curtis standing in the door through the dirt caked window, his eyes still half shut, and I think I see him shaking. But I dismiss it–probably just the bus vibrations. 

 

We had chemical imbalances to begin with. They gave us drugs to right us, and when the serotonin and dopamine in their prescriptions wasn’t enough, we got our kicks elsewhere. We grew up in a place where the American dream waned and the people were left behind. This wasn’t charm city, but a confused conglomerate attempting to resurrect the dream that was. And when they couldn’t, there was always a different dream calling from the shadows, lurking behind the construction sites and grant money that never went to where it should. The city had chemical imbalances to begin with. We righted ourselves because we couldn’t right the streets. And who could blame us for that?

 

One night I found myself sucking Tommy’s dick behind the concrete ruins of one of Baltimore’s industrial era masterpieces. The kind of place that used to bustle, and now just sits there for kids to graffiti and bums to pee on. I’m not sure why it happened there, or how, but we both knew it would someday. I guess that moment felt as good as we supposed any other would. 

He finishes and I get up off my knees, wiping my mouth with my shirt. It’s dark and we’re coked out. Jitters. Heart beating fast. Feverish. Unsure if it’s happening, or just dream. Still, unsure.

We stand there, Tommy’s pants wrapped around his feet. I can’t stop swaying back and forth, but I think it’s in my head. Tommy doesn’t seem to notice. I sniff and smell chemicals and harbor winds. Cum and blood. My nose is bleeding.

Tommy jerks his hand towards my face and I flinch, but he’s just wiping the blood away. 

“It hurts,” I whisper.

“Just a dream within a dream,” he whispers back, an allusion to something we read a long time ago. 

“I’m in the red,” I stutter hoarsely, breathing uneven. “We’re in the red, you know.”

He nods. We lock eyes.

“I love you,” He mouths, barely audible.

I don’t love him. I don’t know if love is even real. Sometimes I think it’s just some great conspiracy used by the poets to sell books. I wasn’t radical. I was broken.

“Do you really believe that?” I ask. 

Tears drip from his eyes, staggered. He’s not crying, so much as dripping. It occurs to me that that’s what we’re doing: dripping. Dripping into waves. Into nothing.  Ruins that bustle no more. And the vibrations are an illusion. Hollow.

“No.” His eyes look through me. “No, but I wish I did.”

 

It’s a thing rare to get straight in this town. For most, the old factories that frame the city mutate into concrete catacombs, where the ghost of the great American dream mingles with the souls of people who died belonging to it. People who died because they belonged to it. 

Leila straightened out, but we all knew she would. She was a swimmer, even if she did belong to it. Swimmers are a slippery bunch. You can count on them to dive to shore when the sharks come around. She was in it for the thrill, for bucking her parents, for doing something stupid the summer before college. She joined a sorority and learned to do coke socially. She drifted to shore, and I doubt she’s looked back with anything but amused nonchalance. 

Curtis went on to work at the same manufacturing plant his father did. I hear he’s something of an alcoholic, but in an acceptable way. A few beers every night with the boys and then home to the girlfriend and son, who will grow up, experiment with drugs, and work at the same manufacturing plant someday if it stays open. If not, he’ll find another one just like it. That’s American engineering at its best. 

Leila and Curtis weren’t like me and Tommy. We were doomed by the drugs inside us, by the feelings that stirred and twisted and tortured us. We did drugs to keep from killing ourselves some other terrible way. But it doesn’t really matter, why I was the way I was, or Tommy, or Leila, or Curtis. We spent that summer together in the red, on the waves. And that’s got to mean something. God, I hope it means something.

Tommy moved to California that Fall and I haven’t heard from him since. Sometimes I look for him on my computer keyboard. I search for his face in the blank documents on my screen. I write about lost men, looking for answers in places that don’t have them. Sometimes I think I find him in sentences about longing and apathy, but then I lose him. A fleeting silhouette of the boy I once knew, I love him now more than I thought I ever could. And for that, I hope he’s dead somewhere, because wherever he is, he’s not clean. 

Then there’s me. I went to college and my father kept on pretending everything was alright, but it wasn’t. I wasn’t alright. One morning I woke up and felt done in. Beaten. Bushwhacked by my intolerable habit of breathing. So I did something about it. But that something didn’t work and when I woke up I was told I could make myself a better life. Put a little polish on the old breathing act. 

So, I did. And I shook like Curtis. And I booted like Tommy. And I went silent like Leila. And I found clarity, and all of that. And it hurt, and it still does, and sometimes I wonder if it’s better this way. There’s a song by Bright Eyes about drugs. I think about it a lot. 

 

I wouldn’t recommend it

But it is one way to live.

Cause what is so simple by the moonlight

By the morning never is.

 

He’s strumming my soul right there. In the words of Billy Joel, another poet, And so it goes, and Tommy, you’re the only one who knows. I thank you for understanding, even if this whole nostalgic explanation makes no sense at all. Knowing you existed, that another person on this planet has felt the red dizzy them up and take hold, makes it so much better. Thank you, Tommy. That’s what I want to say. That’s all.

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Happy Mother’s Day

My first Mother’s Day not spent with my mother–and goodness is it strange! Scotland’s ‘Mothering Day’ occurred way aways back in March, so the festive nature of the holiday isn’t really felt about Edinburgh today. And while I love my city and I have a million and a half chores to do (eg shopping…), I would give anything to be back in New Hampshire with the crew of women who raised me.

But on the bright side, one of my chores is scouring Ryanair flights for a weekend trip to Paris in July to meet my dear old mum for the weekend and to pretend that watching the Tour de France is entertainment. We’ll see how the latter goes…

In any case, happy American Mother’s Day from a girl sending love to all the moms who done right by their kids. Congratulations!

A Brief Thanks to Moms

I’m very close with my mother. As some of you are aware, it’s been a rocky road with my father. But my mother’s that special type of parent who would kill for me–no questions asked aside from, “Where do you want to bury the body?”

 

Because of my dad, I’m only too aware of how lucky I am to have a great mother to advise me, love me and show me how to be a good parent. I have limitless respect for mothers, single, married, remarried–what have you. So to all you mom’s out there (especially mine) thanks for doing the job! Even when we yell at you for making us clean our rooms or being a bit pushy on real estate advice (I didn’t make it to the open house, mims… I think they’re giving the flat to someone else), just know we push because we’re comfortable with you. That’s probably not fair, but you’re the person we trust the most if you’ve done your job right. Sometimes that makes us bratty. But like our explanation for why the dog attacks the mailman, it’s because she loves ya 🙂

 

Love you mims!

 

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award Nomination!

This is WAYYY overdue. A good while back Melonie Ann from Melonie’s Poetic Life nominated me for this way awesome award that made me really happy until I promptly forgot about it. I was in Italy at the time and decided to post when I got home.

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And then I got home and did laundry and pretended to actually check my email and the happy warm fuzzy feeling of being appreciated by my fellow bloggers was temporarily lost! No need to fear–I got a second wind of it today when I was looking through some old posts and found the nomination! So Melonie, thank you very kindly. You’ve made me super happy twice with this nomination 🙂 Everyone check out this lady’s blog. Stellar stuff 🙂

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So, 7 things about me (this is always the toughest part…)

1. I don’t like ricotta cheese.

2. I think blueberries are wrong unless they are from Maine.

3. I’m very low maintenance with creature comforts, but I love my tempurpedic pillow. I sleep way worse without it.

4. I also love my iphone. Siri’s my girl.

5. Les Mis has NEVER floated my boat, on stage and in Russell Crowe’s incapable vocal chords (although he’s quite nice to look at…)

6. I am very distrustful of cats, in general. What are they plotting in those little heads? I don’t know, but it’s definitely sinister.

7. Dogs are man’s best friend. Period. I would take a dog over a person to snuggle with ANY night.

Now,  nominating bloggers!

1. The Ancient Eavesdropper (creative stuff!)

2. Busy Mind Thinking

3. John WD MacDonald

4. Melissa K Martin (awesomeeee poetry)

5. Spontaneous Creativity

6. Blog it or Lose it

7. Write it Here, Joel (inspiration stuff!)

8. Words of Birds

9. Word Wabbit

10. The Read Room

11. Poet Recreations

12. Deb Scarfo

13. Tin Can Traveler

14. Words of Birds

15. Ajaytao

Thanks to everyone for following/reading. Have a great week!

I wish my father were a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal, violent psycho or at least a loser of some kind

Strange thing to wish for, eh?

But I do. I wish my father was reprehensible. Some kind of monster, big or small. The kind of guy you would expect to leave his family—to leave his wife for his pregnant mistress and ten years later, to tell his daughter she isn’t allowed to see her sisters again. That’s the kind of thing a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal and/or violent psycho might be expected to do. I could understand that. I could wrap my brain around it. It would make sense, however much my childhood didn’t make sense. People would make sense.

My father is not a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal, violent psycho. He’s a professional from Poughkeepsie who watches football on Sundays and pays his taxes on time. He likes The West Wing and a cold Budweiser. He makes the occasional joke and laughs when things are funny. He has pizza nights with my sisters and their mother and he genuinely enjoys his family time, although there is the normal amount of inter-family bickering, as to be expected. He’s boring. Dreadfully, terribly, monstrously dull.

I tell my mother I don’t understand what she saw in him. She’s a free spirit, eccentric with her head always in the clouds. Wickedly smart, in an unexpected way. Interesting and a great conversationalist, if you have an open mind and a healthy sense of curiosity  The kind of woman who quit her steady job to write a rock opera musical—for Jesus. And still thinks that wasn’t an outlandish decision.

She explains it to me. He was her rock. Her normalcy. Her calm. He was the guy who could sit with her cousins and have a beer while she was off chasing pipedreams and gambles. When she came home with a million thoughts interweaving through her brain, he would suggest take-out Chinese. He took her hiking and let her wander off to stare at some interesting rock formation while he dutifully followed behind. And he loved her. He was normal and he loved her. She found comfort from her own busy mind in that.

I was born ten years into their fairly happy, stable marriage. I know it’s not my fault they divorced, yadda yadda. I don’t blame myself or carry any deep seeded sentiments of self-loathing. But, I am aware that the existence of a child between them created some problems. Nothing to do with me—I was busy goo goo gaga-ing and figuring out diapers.

My mother tells me she wanted to be my caretaker. She wanted to nurse me to health when I was sick and rub my back when I was sad. She wanted that to be her role, only. He wanted to be my caretaker too. He would turn to her when she was comforting me and ask for a turn. And in my mother’s quiet but determined way, she would respond, “No.” His role was to comfort her, and hers to comfort me. That was the hierarchy in my mother’s world.

How do I reconcile that? The man who left my mother for a woman fifteen years younger; the man who raised me half my life and then dropped off the planet; the man who now wants to be friends again—that man is the kind of man who wanted to hold his child when she was sick. That man reminds me on our first phone call after ten years of the various nicknames he gave me when I was younger. The nicknames I loved.

What can I possibly think of men now? My mother taught me to stay away from drug junkies, pathological liars, conman criminals and violent psychos. Those are the ones that will hurt you.

My father isn’t a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal or violent psycho. He’s an easy-going old Jewish man from New York who definitely stops for pedestrians in the crosswalk. He’s the kind of man your mom approves of, because he’s nice and he loves you. He’s the kind of man everyone thinks is safe. But he wasn’t and now what am I to think?

I wish to god my father were a drug junkie, pathological liar, conman criminal, violent psycho or at least a loser of some kind. That would make sense, at least.

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An Artist Lost: A Short Allegory of Sorts

ImageAnd when she closed her eyes, she liked to believe the world was cloudless and all the people were holding hands in lines around and through and under each other, atop the crust of the earth. And there was enough tension in their grasps that no one fell into the water, or off the vertical ledges, but all stood tall, feet grazing the skin of the planet, yet none so heavily that he or she was tied to it. And with the smallest of force, they would gingerly push in one direction, and the lines would move around and through and under each other, each person smiling as he or she passed another, remarking upon the weather, or the economy, or some such small talk. 

And in the middle of this perfect interwoven tapestry of people holding hands and making small talk, she was dancing around the world, between her sister and brother, feet just barely skimming the skin of the planet. And she was happy with this cloudless world, where everyone and everything fit into each other, constantly moving towards new climates and new economies. 

But in the midst of her euphoria, the image turned to nightmare and her mind wandered from where she wished it to go, and suddenly the clouds overtook the sky and all was lost in a deep descending fog and there were no places to run to. And the talk turned to debate about religion and war and the people clutched each others hands like vultures with their bounty, violently jerking the line this way and that, so that her feet was dragged through the tough terrain in a barren desert. And her brother and sister, no longer smiling, turned to her with ashen faces and squeezed her hand, demanding she pull her weight; demanding she choose a religion and support the war and push the line forward and backward and through and under. 

And she tried–God how she tried–but her hands hurt and she couldn’t stand herself up far enough to push properly, and the talk of God and death made her head hurt and she found herself pulling her hands away and raising them to her head and crawling into a ball in the crevices of a desert. And then the lines broke down and everyone went off to their own deserts and learned a new trade and forgot about the world that was, because life had moved in a new direction. And she was alone in a hostile climate, where the economy was always down.

And with the nightmare past, she opened her eyes and searched the faces of her brother and sister, father and mother, and found ash and clouds. And somewhere in the labyrinthian tumble of life, she grew up. And the story kept going, and growing, and never stopped or waited or even hesitated, but she learned to take up a new trade and left such fantasies behind. 

Another artist lost to reality.