Showing posts with label The Muse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Muse. Show all posts

Monday, October 16, 2023

On The Porch


 I asked the group of six that had been meeting weekly under the Maple if they wanted to continue. They told me they would continue whether I recorded their meetings or not. They were doing it for themselves, and if recording their conversations would be entertaining or informative to others, so be it.


They kicked my butt and told me to keep going, not to bore people but to trust that recording their conversations was valuable. But they were going to let’er rip and forget that I am listening.


So let the tape roll…


Last Tuesday: ON THE PORCH:


Hot spinach dip in a fondue pot on the table, chips to dip. Drinks available.


Shal came through the gate, grinning a big Cheshire cat grin.


“Well, Hello, Shal,” said Ollie, standing from her chair and waving him in. “You look happy.”


“I am.” He hopped onto the porch where the group had moved from the maple tree, poured himself a hot cup of coffee, and said, “Hi, everybody. Ollie, I like your porch, and that it is enclosed on three sides, and with that patio heater, it will keep us comfy until December. And I believe that tree standing in your yard is still our protector and observer.” He gives a salute.


“Yep, fall fell this week. The rains came, the lawns turned green, and the fields are so brilliant they glisten when the sun hits them.”




“Shal,” said Twinkie, “what do you have up your sleeve? You look like you hit a jackpot.”


“I did. I’m going to be a papa.”


“Really? Shal, that’s wonderful.” Ollie moved around the table to give him a hug. The others gather around, shaking hands, hugging, and slapping him on the back.


“We were about ready to go to a fertility specialist.” He paced, too excited to sit or maybe nervous about telling his friends something so close to his heart. “We wanted to be pregnant by the time Allison was 35—missed it by a year. She’s 36 now. I’m 40, and we’re a little tenuous about telling people, wanting to ensure the pregnancy sticks. But I couldn’t wait to tell you guys.”


“Isn’t it fascinating,” said Ollie, “that this happened after you began meditating?”


“Oh my gosh, that’s right. I have been meditating still, for Allison said I was calmer and more at peace when I meditated. Oh, this fascinates me. I had not put it together. I thought something else caused a pregnancy.” 


The group laughs.


“How’s Allison going to manage?” Ollie asks. “She’s a Physician’s Assistant. I know she loves her job.”


“I might become a house husband, well, not all the time. Allison said she didn’t wait all this time for a baby, only to let me raise it, so we are working it out. She will work a couple days a week, I will go part-time. I can do that with my job, and we’ll share.”


“I’m glad you guys have that option,” said Sally. “I’m happy for you.”


“Oh, I had qualms about bringing a child into the world, after that Covid thing, and the lock down, the school shootings and all that. But Allison said that a baby is evidence that the world will continue. So, I’m accepting that. We’ll home school if need be. Maybe that child chose to come in now, who knows what plan he or she has up that little baby sleeve of hers, his, whatever.”


“You are the shot of joy we needed, Shal.” When we have a joyful moment, it magnetizes more joy. It builds. And what is more joyful than new life? 


‘I love watching babies giggle, blow bubbles, and kick their feet like those feet were the best invention ever. I’ll babysit so Mom and Dad can have a date night. You’re making me want to go out and get a puppy.”


“Old Laffe there might object,” Shal looked at Ollie’s dog asleep under the table where Ollie had placed a large rug that gave him plenty of room and the others a warm floor if they wanted to take off their shoes.


“Maybe it would give him a longevity shot.”


“You know,” says Ollie, “all these things, babies, puppies, make our life more fun, and you know that ‘Neurons that fire together wire together.’ And that applies to experiences, learning, and mind talk. It fixes them into the brain.”


“Up with brain juice,” says Twinkie. “By the way folks, Alan kissed me.”


“Twinkie, really?” said Ollie, somewhat concerned that he was taking advantage of a love-struck girl.


“Yep, really. I think he means it.” He told me he tries not to get involved with a student. I guess it’s somewhat like the student falls in love with the teacher, and the teacher should not take advantage of that. Last Saturday, as we were taking a break from the hot room with that blazing kiln, we walked into the forest behind his studio and down a path there. When we came to a fallen log, we sat on it and talked. He had a problem with my name, Twinkie. ‘You are not a Bimbo,” he said. “You are the most UP girl I have ever met.”  


“’You can call me Shirley, my given name, if you want,’ I said.”


 “‘How about Twink? That suits your lightness,’ he said. 


 “And not as fattening as a Twinkie,’ I said. He laughed and fell silent. We held hands for a while just sitting there. It was not an uncomfortable silence, but my nerves were a wreck. I thought I was going to die of longing. And then he turned and kissed me.”


“So cool,” said Sally, bursting into tears, shocking everyone.”


…to be continued



P.S. You can find all the conversations on Substack, plus a little extra in between. 


Jewell D's Substack



Saturday, March 11, 2023

"Twould Be More Fun..."

“Twould Be More Fun…to Go by Air…but We Couldn’t Put …These Signs up There--Burma Shave.”


Remember those? 


As you drove along the highway, usually on long strips of isolated roads laden with sagebrush, you would come upon a little sign…then another...and another followed by “Burma Shave.”


We kids loved to see them—we would read one aloud, wait for the next one--maybe an eighth of a mile down the road—read it and the next until the punch line, and laugh as the last sign, “Burma Shave,” rolled by.


The above sign quote was from Charles Kuralt’s book, A Life on the Road. It took me back to Sunday mornings when I sat mesmerized in front of the Television, watching Kuwalt sitting in a chair, no props, simply a chair, where he spun out tales of small-town America.


For twenty years, Kuwalt roamed the back-roads of America and gave America back to Americans on the CBS Sunday morning TV show On the Road with Charles Kuwalt. 


How I envied his job.


And then we moved to San Diego, where John Sinor wrote folksy essays, similar to Kuwalts for the San Diego Union-Tribune. I envied his job too. His tagline was “Every day problems of everyday people,” 


“A tough-looking but harmless lizard adds to our annual dessert hike. For a moment, I thought I was looking into a mirror.”—John Sinor.


As it turned out, although we didn’t know it, we bought a house right next to his. We were on the edge of a canyon, so nobody was on the other side of our property. However, I never took the chance to become acquainted with him--too bad. 


I remember his story about the little white deer who roamed Presidio Park in San Diego. No one knew what happened to her mate, but she, a lone deer, would, on misty mornings, give happen-chance viewers a belief in magic. I never saw her and didn’t know she existed until I read Sinor’s column where City officials worrying about her safety as she would sometimes be seen on the road, decided to move her to safer territory. Someone shot her with a tranquilizer gun and used too much tranquilizer.


Bambi all over again.


And now I think about those signs, the physical ones alongside the road that made us laugh, the inspiring writers who made us want to create something of value, and last night another sign came up-- about the spiritual nature of we, the people.


I got a glimpse into how the universe works. 


Our lives are made of bits and pieces, signs, showing us the way. 


Look what we have been through, little biological bodies carrying a soul we didn’t know we had for a long while. We had an inkling but couldn’t quite get it. We went into psychology, physiology, and anatomy to get a picture of what we were about. All the while trying to eke out a living while also trying to make sense of this complex condition called life. We muddled through—the good, bad, and ugly--but if bad was all we were, we probably wouldn’t be here today.


Remember what Steven Pressfield said about cleaning the way so the Muse doesn’t soil her gown on the way in?


She doesn’t always come, but she sometimes does, and often after years of labor. (It takes enormous sweeping to clean our emotional/spiritual house or years of wandering in the wilderness before bumping into the giant Sequoia.)


Many a creative has felt the Muse’s effects, a formula that presented itself whole and complete, an answer to an equation that made itself known, a writer who read over his material and said, “Who wrote that?” 


These sorts of events often happen after you have swept your house. 


Burma Shave went out of business in 1963. Change happens. They sold to Remington.


Change happens with the signs too.


Last night I watched Nanci L Danison speak of her death experience and felt that lady was spot on.


She added more signs into the link of signs—how we are biological animals of the earth with an eternal Soul, how we’re had God all wrong by believing in a Patriarchal being who lives outside us and is kind and compassionate on the one hand, and doles out punishment on the other—demanding sacrifice, admiration, and who sends people out to kill and do atrocious things. And would send his creations to eternal punishment, for heaven’s sake. 


We are afraid to stand up to that whatever, for fear of death and eternal damnation. 


On the other hand, some say, “God is Love,”


Love, smove, you say, it doesn’t feel like it.”


“I’m both enamored with and terrified by Jesus’ audacious ethic,” writes Barney Wiget, vagabond preacher. “His Sermon contains some of the most fetching words ever spoken and, at the same time, the most unachievable to live under human steam. Love your enemies, do something good for the person cursing you, and do it without telling anyone you did it seems pretty out of reach to me!” 


The biologist in me liked that Nanci Danison said, “We are all animals.”


The spiritual person in me liked that she said we are souls, a part of the God being, 

a part of The Source. She sees the two, the biological entity and the soul, as separate.


I have hesitated to go to this place, for I know everyone has their belief system, and we want to respect that. So? What am I afraid of? Just say it. The last sign might say, “The Source in Within You.”


I have come through Catholicism, Protestantism, Atheism, Unitarianism, Science of the Mindism, and the Law of Attractionism, to a new understanding. Most all isms carry a sign, a piece of the lineup that tells the joke, but crash into the others before completing the run. 


Nothing has changed my mind from ancient beliefs that God is too big for us to understand. For example, I’ve read that some Native Africans say God does not live in a Church, but in the forest and the fields and on the mountain when the rains come.” 


My model is that God is like the ocean, and we are the drops in it. We are all a part of the whole.


But that model is my need to have a visual picture, something to explain the unexplainable. Scientists are now studying consciousness, which is probably another aspect of Source by a different name. We are getting pieces and signs and slowly piecing them together. 


Another explanation is that God exploded himself into all souls. With our human bodies, we are the little antennas, like neurons from God, feeding back to The Source. In this manner, Spirit knows what it feels like to be flesh and boney creatures, to love and be loved, to bring forth offspring, to find our spark of creativity, and to look in awe at His paradise. 


Maybe when it said in the Bible to worship God, it meant more like “Look out in wonder, and appreciate it.”


If we thought we were all in this together, we would act differently. The biological entity looks out for itself, for its nature is to survive. The spiritual entity has another agenda.


“I hold that a writer who does not passionately believe in the perfectibility of man has no dedication nor any membership in literature.”
— John Steinbeck, Nobel Prize acceptance speech, 1962


Monday, January 3, 2022

Did This Happen at Your House?

"Christmas, that holiday, that comes every ten years when you are a child and every ten days when you are an adult," (Tom Robbin's) tiptoed on down our street on Christmas night. The following day using the new-fallen snow as a skateboard, it skidded right into 2022.


Daughter dear suggested that we perform a ceremony at midnight on New Year's Eve. So, at her suggestion, we wrote out irritations from the past year (some I'd say, not all), put them in a bowl, and struck a match to them. 

We smoked up the house and set off the fire alarm.

Good thing we only wrote out some of those irritations.


A thought: Little Boy Darling's birthday is next month on 2/2/22. (A time of balance.) Ground Hog's Day too. He can keep doing it over until he gets it right.


In thinking about my Newsletter, The Muse, (I'll keep doing it until I get it right.) I'm pondering: What's a Newsletter supposed to say?

  • Why am I writing it instead of just blogging?
  • Does it sound like a blog?
  • Who wants to read it?
  • Why charge?


I guess I'm writing it to offer suggestions where a person can read more if they want. I can throw everything in one basket, so to speak. And I love the idea of The Muse and sweeping the house in preparation for her visit. 

Some people have a stroke of genius, which is to say, the muse has visited them. Don't get too puffed up when the muse comes, though, and neither take too much blame when she doesn't. (Haha, some balance here.)


In the Muse Newsletter, I can offer things I'm pondering, not assuming, of course, that you don't have your own ponderings. I wonder, though, are two ponderings together better than one?


If I were a scientist, I would hope the muse whispers an answer to some dilemma [‘m having. However, I'm a writer, so that's my reference point. Writing, unlike scientific discovery, is something everyone can do. It doesn't have to be creative writing or even good writing. Journaling is a way to take another look at an event, sad, happy, whatever. A happy event? Relish it. A sad event? Lay it to rest. 


"And what, you ask, does writing teach us? First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is a gift and a privilege, not a right."

— Ray Bradbury


I just finished Tibetan Peach Pie, Tom Robbin's book about his life, thus the Christmas quote. Man, that man can use similes and metaphors. He spent an entire page extolling the virtues of jelly donuts after hearing that President John F. Kennedy, addressing an audience at the Berlin wall, said, "Ick bin ein Berliner."

A novelist in a spy novel said, "Ick bin ein Berliner" meant "I am a jelly donut." A magazine picked it up, and people believed it without checking. 

 …it would be suggested that Kennedy had got the translation wrong—that by using the article ein before the word Berliner, he had mistakenly called himself a jelly doughnut. In fact, Kennedy was correct. To state Ich bin Berliner would have suggested being born in Berlin, whereas adding the word ein implied being a Berliner in spirit. His audience understood that he meant to show his solidarity.

At the climax of his speech, the American leader identified himself with the inhabitants of the besieged city:


 "Freedom is indivisible," said Kennedy in his illustrious speech (Second only to "Ask not what the country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”) "and when one man is enslaved, all are not free. When all are free, then we can look forward to that day when this city will be joined as one and this country and this great continent of Europe in a peaceful and hopeful globe."

His conclusion linked him eternally to his listeners and to their cause: "All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words Ich bin ein Berliner."


Even if Kennedy had called himself a jelly donut it would have endeared him to the people, the same as he did that day.


Okay dokey, let's give this the old college try:

 This will only go to my email, no fancy do-das to fill in.