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Monday, October 31, 2016

Down the Rabbit Hole


Happy New Year in the old Irish tradition.

It was like that for a while. Black Dog weather. There are advantages to having the old BD by my side. I brutally edited some of my own work. It's the best place to be for this writer. Of course I isolated and had the misfortune to share with a good friend over lunch who left me far worse off than the condition she found me in.

At the end of this bleak weak I forced myself out the door to get some groceries and on my way back another friend called, intuiting I'd lost the run of myself, and said he's meet me for fish and chips at our local pub. He's one of those great listening guys who never offers solutions, he just listens, dredges up some similarities in his own life and offers comfort. They're a rare breed these friends.

He left me far better off than the condition he found me in.

Isn't that life though.

I find accumulation of challenges and downswings and disappointments and worries press down on me so hard at times that I sink further into the hole with very little encouragement.

The loss of Ansa has been terrible. I've been trying to be a pillar for my friend who lost her daughter. The mess next door and the loss of 100s of more trees weighs heavily. And I'm waiting on some more medical tests to sort out some baffling health issues which have impacted my mobility. I've lost interest in my community, which is understandable, I suppose, as measures were never taken in the past to implement and enforce a town plan and zoning.

The bright side is that I entered two pieces in a competition, I saw a wonderful show (a treat from Daughter)on Saturday which had us both gasping for breath we were laughing so hard. I can't remember when I last laughed like that.

And Grandgirl has suggested, and strongly, that the three of us hoof off some time in the spring together to celebrate the completion of her undergrad and her stellar academic year.

Something to look forward to.

Like the Old Man said.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Basil and Clover



In late October
The indoor Clover
Charms me.

Clover?

Bought as Basil,
Which flickered and died
Much like my old flame
In another life.

In its place sprang Clover,
Nervous, tentative.
Until assured.
Then draping fetchingly

Greenily, greedily
On window ledge.
Smiling over kitchen sink
Nestling with Herb.

Clover clings tightly to life,
Thirsty, solid, faithful
Stolid companion in this
Far too empty house.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Oh Me Nerves


So the anthology is off to a friend for formatting. A virtual friend in California whom I met through an online writers' group. Da Webz: she is amazing. VF has since become a well established author in the sci-fi genre while raising four daughters under the age of 7. And helps out fellow authors with her expertise.

I like the cover which features my office and an old fashioned lamp and a photo of my parents which seemed to fit. I wanted to show modern technology in conjunction with the old fashioned timbre of some of the stories/memoirs/poems within it. The photo is meant to be blurry with clear text. Not sure whether it works or not even though I am enamoured of it.

I've never taken on such a humungous, soul destroying, exhausting task in my life. It ripped about a year out of my life between rewrites and revisions and formatting, repaginations, four levels of editing and banging my head off my own keyboard. I would never do it again. Sympathy and compassion (except from other writers) was in short supply along with the challenge of the writers' impatience to see the book in print.

I think it will sell well locally as it truly is a type of compendium I'd see in the old days. Bits of everything.

A few of my own and Daughter's pieces are in it. One writer pulled a piece that was her best: afraid of relatives' judgements. A lovely piece, sadly never to see the light of day. Her substitute piece never made the final cut as it was so inferior.

It's done now and I can move on to my languishing 3 novels and the CBC Short Story Contest.

Freedom.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mixed Emotions

Living with others has its trials and tribulations. I get to the conclusion I don't share the sandbox well unless the visits are of short durations or with the type who have profound knowledge of or have simpatico of the other. In sync as it were and I have a few of those.

I'm not terrific around smokers, I'm talking the fierce, smoke-gulping kind who need constant hits of the drug. (And I was such a creature until nearly 30 years ago. So I have an understanding.)

A friend who stayed with me all last week to Monday past, in my age range, has yet to quit nicotine. So my time was spent waiting for her to finish, to start, or to plan the next intake from the white tube. Not to mention detours to buy the weeds. And the house freezing as she bounded in and out.

It's been years since I've been around non-social smokers so it took a fair degree of tolerance and understanding from me. I found resentments piling up as I waited yet again for her to come back into the restaurant or the car or the house.

I thought toting a book to occupy me would be rude. But I found my subtle android screen-sucking would entertain me and remove the puss off my face.

But still...often she ran into stranger-smokers outside and as she's gregarious could light up yet another in their company as they chewed the fat between drags.

I love her dearly but dear gawd, if I added up all the time waiting for her in various locations, I would be canonized.

How do others deal with this?

It's not a topic I've ever seen addressed.

She's gone back to the homeland now, so my life has been returned to me to do with as I will.

And she's never been interested in my blog, even if she had the expertise to locate it for Google is beyond her.

Monday, October 10, 2016

It Goes Like This


So yeah, I'm getting a grip. I'm lining up the acceptance modules. Pragmatism is on order. I'm drawing the zen bubble around myself.

I was away for a week. And on returning home, I was faced with this newly dug crater next door. Crater? It measured about 60' X 20'. It matched the other former crater (now a ginormous shed) up the hill beside my tigeen in size. Oh lawd, sez I, another mother of a shed, this time plonked beside my house. Many more trees had been removed. Some extraordinarily old, over 100 years. A great wind barrier against the fierceness of the weather which at times blows in off the ocean. Now gone. Irreplaceable.

Yes of course outrage set in, rapidly followed by a kind of hopeless depression as the people who bought this land many years ago are perfectly entitled to do what they want with it as there are no land use regulations or zoning laws in this town. It's a haphazard mix of commercial and residential. Even though industrial blazes in the past have nearly wiped out the residential sections. I've brought up this high risk zoning on more than one occasion to be met with raised eyebrows and zero interest in changing the status quo.

So now I listen to happy residents sawing up these beautiful old trees for winter fuel and the sounds of diggers all days long, adding to the fill across the read which may accommodate more sheds.

I propose the new name of our lovely old town could be Shedsville.

So there you have it.

Friday, October 07, 2016

House Memories


It's mainly silence. But I believe a house holds both visual and aural memories forever. So now and again I hear the tinkling of a dog-collar as the tag briefly strikes the collar-hook it's on.

Or a rustling from where the dog bed was.

Or the slurping of water from one of the two bowls on each end of the house that I kept filled.

And then at night, I still say goodnight to her. The last couple of years the stairs were too much of a challenge for her. I still look to see her heartbroken face lifting up to watch me go up the Mount Everest of stairs and turn at the top to look down and catch the remnants of that enormous sigh of hers.

I still don't walk on the area of floor in my bedroom where her bed used to be for years.

Lying in bed at night I sometimes hear a deep groan which is creepy in the extreme. But this is a house memory forcing through the anguish of a previous resident who died of cancer here, far too young, many, many years ago, leaving her teenage children with an elderly father. It could be her enormous grief lingering on. Now mingled with mine.

I now close the three inside doors to the family room when I have the fire lit. To conserve the heat. I couldn't do that before as Ansa needed access everywhere. I look up from reading or knitting and see the faint outline of her sitting, back towards me, staring at one of the doors aa if there was a magic trick to opening it and she was patiently waiting for the technique to reveal itself.

I find my right hand still going to the backseat to have her kiss it even though it was a long time since she was able to ride in my car.

I still have the remains of her dog-food in a kitchen cupboard but gave away her cookies from the jar that was always stocked. Her car gear is in the garage. I find her water flask particularly poignant as after a good long hike I would pour some into her car-bowl and after she was finished drinking she would lick my hand in gratitude. I tear up even thinking about it.

I still can't finish a sandwich without tearing off a corner for her.

And leave the remains of my morning egg for her to enjoy.

Our little routines, so automatic when we lived together, now so deeply heartbreaking.

This house remembers.


And PS - more on my previous post soon. I am still processing but I am OK and the overwhelming support I received has eased my outraged shock remarkably.

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Life at "Home"

"Home" is subjective, isn't it?

Do you ever write about stuff you can do nothing about?

Trying to sort out feelings like anguish, disturbance, fear, uncertainty?

I've been triggered badly and I'm trying to sort it all out, for there is absolutely nothing I can do about any of it.

I think: I have to make serious changes.

But my very livelihood and future security is completely threatened. And, I repeat, there is (seriously)nothing I can do.

This all happened while I was away. Shock and horror prevailed when I came back on Sunday, and still does.

I hate this feeling. I can't change it. I'm not like Barbara Bush. Though some can do this shelving. I can never do it. I have to pick at it until it unravels or something else distracts or.....

But I feel the earth shaking underneath me (not just a metaphor) and life will never be the same again. Serious evaluation and taking stock is happening.

More later when I develop a coherence to my thought patterns.

And you know how I do that? By talking/writing about it with a trusted few.

Until my world rights itself again.