another ianua, another door

Page One hundred twenty-one

wednesday 23 january 2013

time has wandered into yet another year. every january, through the old roman door with a double face looking both forward and back, time slithers into yet another year. the world’s time, the world’s calendar. but also my own. every time the world slides over that threshold, all the january babies do as well. a long-ago january baby, my personal calendar turns another page each time the world’s does.

I haven’t written on this website for several months. too busy. over forty days of physically strenuous moving. by the time that ended, it was time for the holidays, about which I wanted to make as big a deal as I could in 2012/13. my first holidays since 2007 with an apartment, and some animals. and all of this busy-busy and push-push of course required the almost constant use of prednisone to shut up my immune system. and still I got sick. more than once. really sick.

at each holiday, beginning with thanksgiving, I thought how I had, every year since 2008, been assiduously writing my holiday posts on one of these books or blogs: 2008, 09, 10, 11. but not for 2012. I wanted to be doing it for a fifth consecutive year, but time and energy were both in short supply. it wasn’t possible. so in the interests of the moving and the holidays and the sicknesses, the website has been ignored. I grow ever more angry when I’m forced to ignore these pages, because I see them as much more important than simply something that fills needs of mine. I see them as something for my animals as well. all the animals of my life, the four animals I have at this moment, and, most importantly, those fourteen animals who were stolen from me in 2008 and eventually killed.

a thanksgiving with an apartment again, after five years. a solstice with some animals again, after five years. a christmas with things I had had for fifty-five years, until unhinged, malicious people decided to take them away. really a very huge holiday season, and no words of mine could do justice to the enormity of it.

after new year’s, the birthday. and though on a soul-level I hate this birthday more than I’ve hated any other, on the outside, in the realm of humans and what humans do and get and say with other humans when there’s a birthday, I had more “riches” than I’ve had on a birthday in at least twenty years. maybe more. grateful for that, yes; for a temporary reduction in isolation, in being ignored. grateful. but the fact remains that neither the human attention nor the gratitude cause me to loathe this particular birthday any less or to stop wishing that it had never come.

holidays with animals again. any bored humans can now leave, as I’m about to thank those mahatmas, those great souls, who live with me now and were here to make the holidays of some kind of value again. thank you one thousand times Shiloh-Chailín, and Judah-Meredith, and Cerulie-blue, and Canarie-yellow. do you have any idea what a difference you make.

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read…   Mugsy’s book…    The pygmies keep dancing...

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2013 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved

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streams two

frijasday 26 august 2011

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dense clouds of language lie about the crucial point
                              ~~~  wittgenstein
 
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a 5 and a 2. this is for you, you know that. a 5 and a 2… do I have all my numbers and dates right?… I passed that 5 and that 2 so long ago it feels like a decade… didn’t get to pass them in a house with two cars and two incomes and any kind of comfort born of money and a human. had to pass them hard… the easiness of your years compared to mine causes one of our favorite things, yours and mine: bitterness…

all you needed to do was say that my idea was just as possible as yours… or, later, just to say the word sorry… sorry I didn’t give your thoughts as much credence as I gave my own… so simple to me, so do-able. but wasn’t done. simple words weren’t said. and in that stinginess, everything of value was tossed out… I couldn’t go on without credence.

maybe the value was only there for me. that seems to happen way too much… maybe those letters and calls were only dear to me, and the loss of them for you is relief… maybe the cards and gifts reached my heart and not yours, or not yours deep enough… not deep enough to overcome your me-world… no one must expect from you.

it surprises me that you could get to 5 and 2, that you could read  those hundreds of books, that you could baby a baby who brings home the big bucks for so many years and not know… not know that closeness has expectations built in, on both sides…  you expected from me too. expected my mind (you called it formidable)  to stimulate you… expected to be a writer vicariously, through me… but you wanted it for free. no expectations on my part. and you expected me not to be fragile… that’s pretty damned arrogant, you know. you who have had so much ease and comfort compared to me. you who have never had everything destroyed. to expect me not to be fragile. what right do you have to expect that…

it surprises me to have found that you can’t be honorable for very long. I’d thought you other than that…

I’d like to be calling for 5 and 2… would like to have sent a gift. longing for the way it was last year…

but I need credence, to be believed and believed in. I went without other things from you, stayed on because of what was good. but couldn’t go on without belief.

little equations learned along the way… the more selfishness, the more arrogance, the more difficult the words I’m sorry. impossible, in the end. an admission of mistake the ego can’t bear. a loss of face that can’t be endured. 5 and 2 is still too young to suck it up and take the loss of face. it passes, this perceived diminishment… it passes once it’s done, once the way is cleared for the bright things to go on…

always it comes back to only me: it was important only to me. it was worth trying to keep, only to me… to you it was a weight. to you it was expectations intruding into me-ness. to you it was all better gone…

when my day comes, will you think? will you write? will you regret?…. no, no and no, I know. know already before I ask the questions. no. people’s favorite word to give me. life’s favorite word to give me…

I remember 5 and 2, and you, and last year, and what was and what wasn’t… I see the empty space where all that was. do you?… no, no and no.

why did you come looking for me, if self-involved was all you wanted to be? why did you even come looking?

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read…    Braon…   Sehnen...   Soulcast

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2012 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 

alan chartock

sunday 12 june 2011

Alan is yet another public radio voice/personality who was a very large part of my own now vanished life. I’m going to discuss something childish and, to me, offensive that Alan’s been doing for the last two days, but don’t let that give you a wrong impression. He has many qualities that I both respect and admire. Like Bob Paquette, Alan is a tireless and passionate champion for his radio station (WAMC in Albany). Also like Bob, Alan does a great deal in the community outside the station doors. But another truth about Alan is that he is definitely a type-A personality (like me), and unlike Bob, who seemed to be one of the calmest people on the planet. Bitter irony that Alan and I, the type-A-heart-attack types, are alive today, while Bob, the soul of calm, is dead now two weeks.

I’ve been listening to the WAMC fund drive this week, something I haven’t done since my life was stolen three years ago. And it’s precisely because of Bob’s death that I’m doing it. I deeply miss Bob’s voice on my radio every weekday morning, a voice that was both beautiful in itself, and also a means for me to travel in my heart back to my own life that’s gone. I decided that the Albany fund drive would be another vehicle to carry me back to what I grieve every day.

Alan has always taken occasional pot-shots at Bob’s station (WFCR in Amherst MA). The two stations are more and more in competition for territory, listeners and donations with every year that’s passed since about 2006. And to a degree, I take those pot-shots at WFCR too. In 2006 at least one person was hired to WFCR whom I loathe, and who, I believe, set out to intensify this competition between the two stations. And this person found in the upper-level management of the station a few people who are weak and were only too willing to be dictated to and pushed around by this newcomer. This handful of individuals have made some changes since 2006 that Alan and I both find heinous, things that no public radio station ought to do. So I understand and share some of his vitriol, which he has been spitting out periodically over the last two days.

But Alan tends to forget all of the others who work at WFCR — dedicated, hard-working people just like his own staff. They don’t get to make the big decisions, they just work loyally and hard, year after year, the way Bob did. Because Bob Paquette died only 9 or 10 days before Alan’s fund drive began, I am both offended and disgusted by Alan’s current jibes at WFCR. That entire staff has just lost a friend, their most important on-air voice, and a tireless worker who had other functions at the station besides on-air hosting. I would think Alan would have the compassion and decency to just keep his trap shut about WFCR at this time of their loss. Their own live fund drive begins, I think, tomorrow, and this is the first time they have to do it without Bob.

If I had the ambition to call Alan, I’d say: Look, the people who make the nasty decisions at WFCR are a very few, and I’ll gladly spit at them with you another time. But Bob wasn’t one of them, so far as I know. He was a decent, kind man who worked as hard for his station as your staff works for theirs. He was as loyal to WFCR as you are to WAMC. And he was too young, at 55, to die of a heart attack a mere two weeks ago. Show some respect.

But I don’t have the ambition to call Alan, so I write this instead. This I can do without the anxiety attack that would come from talking to people I don’t know well. And though I called many people at four different radio stations back in my own life, PTSD and anxiety are much worse now, and now I can’t do such things. But back in the day, some of the radio people also called me. And, to whip out the irony again, two of the radio people who telephoned me in the past were Alan Chartock and Bob Paquette.

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read…    The death of Bob Paquette…   Being toward death

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the death of bob paquette

monday 30 may 2011

A man named Bob Paquette died this weekend. Don’t know yet whether it was on Saturday or Sunday. Don’t know how. Presumably these details will be forthcoming from the radio station where he worked. Our local public radio station, WFCR in Amherst.

I didn’t know Bob Paquette, but he was nonetheless an important part of my life, especially my own life, the one that a herd of slavering humans took from me more than three years ago…

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Now it’s several hours later, and the radio station has just given out more details. Bob was fifty-five, a gay man who left behind a husband (gay marriage is permitted in Massachusetts), died of “an apparent heart attack,” and did many more things in the community with his presence and his voice and his name-recognition than I ever knew about when he was alive. They still haven’t told us whether he died on Saturday or Sunday, and maybe that’s a little oversight they haven’t even noticed. They are reporters, yes, and should give us all the details. But they’re also his colleagues and friends, and they’re very upset. Their loss is on a completely different plane from mine.

The station has also sent those of us on its email list a photo of Bob. Finally, eleven and a half years after first hearing his voice, I know what he looked like. But now he’s gone.

In November 1999 I became a public radio listener. I could no longer afford cable TV, so I had turned to radio for sound and company, and within a year was so converted by public radio that I remain grateful to this day that financial duress drove me to the old fashioned (I thought then) notion of listening to radio when I wasn’t in a car. Bob’s voice was the second one I met as a new listener. That voice was beautiful, to my ear at least. And since he was the local host of NPR’s longest and flagship show, Morning Edition, I heard more of his voice than of any other at the Amherst station.

Over these radio years I’ve heard dozens and dozens of listeners call in during fund drives and say that their local radio personnel are “members of the family,” “good friends,” and other such phrases that describe bonding. And if such a sense of bonding can occur among people who have family and friends who love them, among people who are not drastically isolated and alone, imagine how much more these radio personnel mean to a person who is devastatingly all alone. I had my animals until three years ago, and that was a tremendous companionship, but in the realm of human beings, I have been for the most part unconscionably left alone by people since 1995, even by people who have professed to care about me.

Into this very deep void came the radio, and most especially the staffs of the three public radio stations I ultimately ended up using: Albany, New York; Keene, New Hampshire; and Amherst, Mass. Bob’s beautiful speaking voice, his sense of humor and his constant presence, the stability of it, were a huge part of what public radio poured into the void for me. His voice was one of my six absolute favorites on all of public radio, both local and national (the others, still living as far as I know, were Susan Forbes Hanson, Priscilla Drucker, John Montanari, Lisa Simione, and Mary Darcy). His voice every weekday morning from 5-9, and in the afternoons on occasional news spots, and paired with a co-worker’s during fund drives, was like a friend talking to me every day, a friend I could count on. His voice was a part of my own life, the one now gone.

Of course I feel the sadness that any listener who never actually met Bob, never knew him in any way but the radio way, would have. Fifty-five is too soon to go. I wince these last two mornings not hearing him talk to me over the airwaves. I can empathize with the amplified grief his friends and loved ones feel. But for me there is an element of loss that is unique, and is also, I’m fully aware of this, selfish: Bob Paquette’s voice and personality coming to me over the radio were a large mosaic tile in the larger work that was my own life. Many, many tiles were stolen from that picture in 2008. So many that the picture no longer exists in any recognizable form. Bob was one of the tiles I had left, since Morning Edition is one of the few radio shows I can still listen to now that my animals are gone. My grief is for that as well: one piece of the very few that remained to me now taken, leaving even less of my own life for me to touch in this new, barren existence that is mine now. Made more barren by the loss of a radio friend, a companion and stable constant whom I never even truly met.

I miss you, Bob Paquette.

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read…   Alan shartock…   Being toward death

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streams… one

tuesday 24 may 2011

what was I to her, by the time it ended…   maybe just another bit she forced herself to do…  another disruption of solitude… don’t forget the dreaded expectations. she can’t stand expectations. self-involved to the core, but that shouldn’t have surprised me. shouldn’t have, but did…   what did she come looking for here…  I only know hints: the life of the mind…  godlessness…  a dead-end street that still exists, but doesn’t…  so what were the things that looked like caring, that looked like meeting expectations, that looked like open-heartedness? were they clever sleights-of-hand? were they genuine, but flimsy, couldn’t last?…   books, books, books…  not understanding that you can go past that… that things can happen that erase parts of you you thought were unerasable… having it so easy, by comparison, being so wrapped and comfortable…  wrapped up and comfortable and self-involved, but still wanted… wanted for the past, and the present too. wanted for the mind and the godlessness and the bitter poems and the gratitude of being wanted…  wanted to mail cards to… wanted for the words every day, the thread to another… wanting to be believed. would she want her thinking doubted. I could have doubted certain things, I could have thought her exaggerating, whining… could have, but didn’t. loyalty made belief and the past made belief, but why not both ways…

was I just one more great weight to be lifted…

tinkering with things she gave me… the things I can touch and the ones I can’t… tinker with the ones she wouldn’t give, know that it was only the one, that certain weighty one that I couldn’t get past… validity… no, no, on this I won’t agree to disagree, not on this failure to give character to character…  why not I’m sorry… why not this: I should have said your thoughts were possible, at least possible… I knew that we were dealing with a problem child… I should have said your thoughts were possible… why not I’m sorry…

because it doesn’t matter… another great weight has been lifted and why ask it back…  does it matter…

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(photo by an anonymous contributor)

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leaving, along with april

thursday 28 april 2011

On my way to this blog, I saw a WordPress feature with the line: Can you write in coffee shops? Of course such a question made the mind of a lifelong writer wander over my own personal answers to that question. In my life before the internet entered it in a big way, which wasn’t until 2008, I wrote and wrote, since nine years old. I wrote, for years, in notebooks in bedrooms, or at picnic tables. College years expanded my writing-process horizons: I wrote in bars (in those very long-ago days when I drank), restaurants, cafés, parks, and more. Besides the usual notebook-in-a-bedroom scenario, I began writing on napkins, paper towels, Bierdeckel in Germany, and on any ink-absorbing, portable surface I could find when no notebook was to hand. Poems for many years, and journals. But later I added short stories to the practice, beginnings of plays, beginnings of novels, and one novel that actually got written to its end. The person who is compelled from childhood to write, if I am any testimony, can write just about anything and just about anywhere.

But, a lifelong writer with PTSD who gets yet another trauma foisted on them, the worst one of all of the traumas, gets changed. At least this one did. It’s no longer possible for me to write fiction, so there go all the unfinished short stories, plays and novels that before 2008 I had vague plans to return to someday — when I had got myself and my animals to a reasonably safe place with a reasonably safe/sane landlord. This never happened. Instead there was destruction, theft, death, homelessness, secrets and lies. No fiction can come out of me anymore. Even poetry, the genre I’ve been writing the longest, is most of the time too difficult to read and too difficult to write. All I can write now is the truth. The truth about people and events in my years, and how they affected me. The truth about my animals.

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I came to this blog today, or so I thought, to write about my newest loss, and then saw that feature that took my mind down the byways of my writing life, such as it has been. What did I want to say about the newest loss? That I’d feared for several months that it was creeping up in ways both subtle and not? That I’d hoped the moment would never come (as I always hope) when some word, or action, or lack of same, would shut me down to the point where I wouldn’t be able to go on in the relationship? I suppose I wanted to say all of those things, and others.

In the past, for I don’t know how many decades, I would stay in certain relationships for years. Years that I waited and waited for certain issues in those relationships to end, to be dealt with and dismissed. Finally let’s just get past this particular thing… but the getting past never happened, ever. Now I don’t wait years anymore. Not even two years. If a certain little monster in a relationship keeps rearing its head and that monster is never sent into its little cave forever, never to be seen again, then I go. The mental weariness from the appearance of human stuff that is hurtful to me, and heavy-handed, and that I don’t deserve, isn’t something I can take for years anymore. I can no longer take it very long at all. I look back over life and wish I hadn’t ever put up with such gunk for more than a couple of years before walking away and saving myself many more years of mental and emotional assaults.

As always, at the end I am confused. So many mixed messages come from human beings. What was I in the life of this person with whom I now seem to be parting? As always, I had hoped to be something good in a person’s life, an asset. A flawed asset, of course, as every person is flawed, but on the whole an asset. Was I an asset for a while, and then did I become something else? In my constant losing battle to figure human beings out, at least the ones I get close with, I think this is the thing that usually happens: people start out with me wanting something from me. I am penniless, so it is almost never anything material that people want from me. They have wanted things like my brains, my wry humor, my shoulder to cry on (I have no problem with this, as long as their shoulder is there for me too), or my free rides or free babysitting or free advice about their sick animals. Many people have wanted to be entertained by me, both intellectually and in other ways. They have wanted such intangibles, and I have usually been slavishly willing to provide them for people I like and care about and hope to keep in my life. But what they also often want is for me to “get better” in the beatific light of their friendship, that they deem should heal all wounds. Magic will somehow eradicate depression and PTSD and physical illnesses and poverty. Some people want this miraculous healing to a greater degree than others do.

But people want what they want for free. At least in my life they do. They want whatever they want from me without having to give in exchange the things that I’d like from them. Or if they launch a campaign to give some of those things, they soon tire of it. They don’t want emotional obligations to me, they don’t want the obligation of behaving honorably in the context of the particular relationship we are having. They don’t want to discipline themselves to remember, and this is especially important since the events in my life that began three years ago, that I have lost much more all in a moment than they have ever lost in the same space of time. That I was thrown out on the street, and this has never been done to any of them. That they live in houses and I live in a ponystall. To remember how much I’ve been through these last three years, and how much stinking luckier they all are than I have been. That when we part after a visit or a phone call, they return, for the most part, to their houses and their cars and their hubbies or doting children, and I return to a ponystall and no car and no person at all to be a daily companion and support for me. I return to the emptiness left behind after the stealing and killing of the only beings who did give me daily companionship, and to the shuddering memories of everything that has happened in the last three years. I return to things I can hardly bear anymore, and I need people who profess to care about me to remember this. To remember that after our phone call or visit, I will return to the same deprivations and nightmares every single day, and wake up again in them the next day, and that daily contact with some other person who cares about me —- something all of them get —- is something I need, and it is not weird or freaky or too demanding, since as far as I can see all people need this.

And I need to be believed, and believed in, as I think most people do, by the people who profess to care about me.

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When any relationship ends, it leaves behind a hole, at least for me. The hole where the good things about the person and the interaction with them were. This time the hole is deeper, because this particular person had more significance for me than anyone has had in decades. And then there are the precious vestiges: the letters, the gifts, the photos. These things to be poured over and touched when the hole aches, pathetically, I suppose, enshrined as sacred artifacts of a person and a time that were so important to me, and in which, for a while, I felt safe. Why can’t the safety hold, is one thing I’ve always wanted to know. Why do the knives and thorns eventually have to be wielded, little stabs here and little stabs there, until I can’t stick around and be stabbed anymore. Why can’t the fact that I feel safe with them move any person to refrain from pulling out sharp instruments, from taking from me that safe place that I need? Why does there seem to be some kind of salacious enjoyment in the cutting, in the slicing up of safety and gratitude? Are human beings just that universally energized by exercising the power to hurt?
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(women are clippings)
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the properties of soil

satyrday 12 march 2011….   turners pervs

and a greenfield satyr as well, yesterday… we know him as Matthew.                                       

just meandering again. it’s almost the ides. but I and mine were wasted before the fifteenth, so what are the ides to me.

am in, as periodically happens, an intensification of the chronic, monopolar depression. haven’t felt like doing much new writing, and so what. there’s plenty of old writing to organize. haven’t felt like doing much of anything.

am on Twitter, since last summer, and have very mixed feelings about the whole thing. some of my followers are engaging, both their tweets and their interests. some are much less so. I now have some foreigners in my mix: germans and dutch and aussies and turks and greeks. this makes me feel a little teensy bit like a less ugly amerikan. some animal people and autism people and atheist people and science and book people are among my little group. I have a doctor, and a dentist, and a veterinarian. some come from the lunatic fringe to follow me, and I block them. haven’t I had enough lunatics destroying everything that mattered to me? don’t misapprehend: compared to just about everyone else on Twitter, I have almost no followers, and follow almost none. but even the small number I have is beginning to be hard to manage. because I’m a weirdo who actually likes to read the tweets of most of my followers, and perhaps retweet or reply to them. and you really need to keep your gang manageable if you want to do that.

today there was a tweet from one of my autism people, called Andrea. she put up a quote I’d never seen before, and it is absolute truth, and I wanted to have it somewhere on my website:

 

                 People are like dirt. They can either nourish you
                 and help you grow, or they can stunt your growth
                 and make you wilt and die.
                                                                              ~~~  plato

 

as if it weren’t already abundantly clear, many of the humans of my years decided to stunt and wilt and kill me, rather than nourish. I’ve always liked Plato.

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internet phd’s

Page One hundred twenty

wed 23 feb 2011

In the three years I’ve been writing on the internet, I know I haven’t done nearly as much reading in blogs as a great many seem to do. But I have done enough, I think, to give me a reasonable sampling of what’s here in cyberspace to read.

One of the good things that the internet is, is an equalizer. Anyone who can get to a computer, whether they own that computer or not, can write a blog if they wish to. On any subject they like. No one needs to wait for a publisher to want their words, or to have the money to self-publish. All over the world, most people have the chance to write. This democratizing effect of the internet does a lot to thin the line between those who get to publish their words and those who don’t. There are people who abuse the internet, to be sure, just as there are lunatics and predators and abusers in the flesh life. You need to exercise the same cautions you would with people you could actually see, and some people are much more cautious than others.

So lots and lots of people get the chance to write. This is good. But it’s what and how so many people are writing that I find largely unappealing and uninteresting, and yet again I am staunchly in a very small minority in my opinion. Even tweets on Twitter fall into this same pattern that has so disappointed me in blogs. Namely this: so many people are self-appointed experts. Experts on every hobby, every art, every emotional state, every life situation, every political situation you can name, and that’s only a short list of the things everyone’s an exert on. So many blogs, so many tweets, are telling us what to do and exactly how to do it. How and what to cook. How to parent. How to care for animals. What photography is. What music is, and how to write it. How to lose weight. How to respond to pain. How to heal. How to make tablecloths. How to write your memoire. What books to read and movies to see and music to hear and gadgets to buy. On and on and on and on. Do this, think this, feel this, follow these instructions. I wince when I see these things, and hope that my periodic recommendation of a book isn’t being construed as another in this endless list of instructions.  I make an offering: if you’re interested in this particular subject, I found this book helpful or informative or extremely well written. Take a look at it or don’t. It’s no big thing to me.

My father might have responded to this kind of internet writing with one of his favorite quips: Who died and made you king? Precisely. Who told anyone that they have the last and best word on animal care, or nail care, or anything else.? So many on the internet pontificate like honorary PhD’s in their chosen subjects.

This isn’t what I’m looking for when I take the time to read what regular folks who aren’t being published by New York or London or wherever are writing. I’m not looking to be told how to proceed or what to think or how to feel or how to write. I’m looking for the person. If someone is writing a cooking blog, I don’t want to simply read lists of ingredients and procedures that are the only right ones in the world. I want to read what you cooked today, and why you decided on that particular recipe. What are the flavors and textures that you like about this dish. Who did you serve it to, and did they enjoy it. What is it that you love about cooking and baking; in what ways does it feed your heart and your creativity. What is the joy and beauty in it for you. What kind of a day were you having when you decided to make this dish today, and what was the weather like, and how were you feeling. I don’t want to be told what to do, or what to think, or what to feel. I look for you to say words that make me think about something I haven’t thought much about before, or think about it from a deeper perspective. I look for you to show me what makes you motivated or pleased or angry or discouraged. I look for you to tell me who you are.

Does it sound like I’m telling you how to write your blog and tweet your tweets? Maybe it does. But that’s truly not my intent, because I know perfectly well that I don’t have the last, best word on blogging or tweeting or anything else. I’m only telling you what I as one person am looking for when I go about reading in the shadowy micro-chip world of cyberspace.

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the size of the inner self

Page One hundred eighteen                                                                                                       

Friday 11 February 2011

My father was a small man, when you measure in terms of physical size.  Small men, I think, often feel they are less masculine and taken less seriously than taller men — they have this extra little stab to the male ego that taller men are spared. Even as a child, before I became a small adult myself, I could see that taller adults didn’t treat the small adults in my family quite the same way they treated other, taller grown-ups. This is something I’ve talked to short people about over the years, and I’ve found many who’ve noticed the very same thing: we short folk are not real grown-ups, and don’t need to be taken very seriously. We are not granted the same adult status, and all of this happens in the bigger folk way down there in the subconscious. We are patted: on the back, on the shoulder, on the top of the head. Perhaps we are akin to poodles. We are chuckled at when we’re upset. So many more examples there are of short people being infantilized. And if I have found that attitude extremely infuriating and demeaning as a woman with no fragile male ego issues, how must harder must it be to be a short man.

But on a different level, my father was enormous. His enormity is one of the reasons I’ve never married, though I’ve always wanted to be married. Yes, it’s Freudian, and yes, it’s also to many a tiresome cliché, but I’ve witnessed it too many times to deny its truth:  many people seek out in their spouses a lot of the qualities of their opposite-sex parent. And I fall into that category, though I didn’t become aware of that until I was in my thirties. I was seeking in men the very best parts of my father, and to this day, at this cronehood age of 58, I haven’t found them. Not enough of them in one man to make him someone with whom life could be shared.

Of course, not only the great things about Dad were huge. Some of his flaws were pretty darned big too, and certainly I haven’t been looking for that in prospective husbands. I’ve wanted the flaws to be much smaller than they were in the proto-type. Well, I think anybody would.

Inside, at the part of the self that can’t be measured with a yardstick or shot with a camera, my father was a huge temper, at times. Hugely spiteful and mean, at times. Hugely afraid of certain things, but did anyone but me ever see that? Enormously insecure and in need of ego-boosting, which he mostly didn’t get. Remorse. One of the things I wish I’d been able to do differently while he was still here.

But if he was terribly afraid of some things, and never spoke directly about these “unmanly” fears, he was as brave as Heracles in many others: Physical pain, hardship, deprivation, discouragement, the guns shot from ships’ decks in battles at sea. He wasn’t afraid of hard work. Often when we were young he had his full-time job for the defense department, as well as one or two part-time jobs. In addition to all this he did most of our car repair, most of the remodeling and painting and repairing in the house, took care of the yard, grew a vegetable garden every year, and still made time for many family outings, and to come to our little school performances, and to play baseball in the yard. He had a prodigious memory and a penetrating intellect. In his forties he finally got his GED, and was the top scorer in New England for that particular sitting of the exam. He was devastatingly (to me) musical, could pick up just about any instrument you can name and learn to play it by ear. As a little girl, I thought this was nothing less than amazing. I still think it’s pretty damned great.

My father was a small man. And he was also a very big one. Twelve years gone now, and so much business that was never finished. As with all humans, I cannot have unequivocal feelings about my father. I find people extremely mean and difficult to bear, and he was no exception. All that is truth. But so is the rest: the large excellences of the man who was my father. I wanted to tell him these very things before he died, but wasn’t allowed. Because of the particular nasty dynamics that go on in my family, I was shut out from his dying and from his funeral and from his burial two months later. Shut out of all it. I didn’t get to say those things to him, and now never can. So I say them here, at the twelfth anniversary, to micro-chips and html.code and faceless shadows who might read. Say them, perhaps, to nearly nobody, but to fill, in at least a small way, the need to say them.

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(tapestry & elf at www.gaelsong.com   ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

(the text is green because this Greek man was born on St. Patrick’s Day. in March he liked people to call him O’Nakis)

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all photos, graphics, poems and text copyright 2009-2011 by anne nakis, unless otherwise stated. all rights reserved.

 

snowflakes

Page One hundred seventeen

Mozart’s birthday (i.e. Thurs 27 Jan), 2011

The Snowflake…. text by Libbrecht, photos by Rasmussen

I mentioned in a post last week — and at the moment I’ve forgotten which one — my failed attempts on Jan 18, 19 and 20 to see some really good snowflakes with a magnifying glass. Most of what I got to see were small ice-clumps with ice-needles sticking out of them. Turns out that wasn’t the fault of my equipment. It was the kind of snow we were having. All we got on those days were the needle flakes, and in their early stages of melting they clumped together. Also saw a number of teeny hexagonal ice plates, evidence of a six-pointer that had already deteriorated. I was very disappointed at the time, and feared that this would be all I’d ever see.

It was in the book noted at the top of the page that I first learned I could look at details in snowflakes with nothing fancier than my reading glasses and a drugstore magnifying glass, and I only learned it last year. Way too late to have this particular kind of snowflake fun with my dogs and cats. Total cost for this fun: six bucks for eyeglasses and ten for the magnifier. This book is full of nothing less than dazzling photographs of snowflakes, and great scientific text that’s written in a very reader-friendly fashion. If you like snow at all, you should really experience this book. I couldn’t read all of the text, of course, because I have such a hard time reading print books now, but I did get through some of the science gems here and there.

Two days ago, on the birthday of Robert Burns, I had the snowflake experience I was waiting for. We had the perfect weather conditions, finally, for nearly perfect snowflakes. These crystals that were falling Tuesday morning were so nearly perfect that as they drifted slowly onto the sleeve of my coat, I could already see with just my reading glasses, before I ever plied the magnifier, wonderful dendrite formations. And when I magnified them, they were as amazing to me as the photos in the book. Maybe even moreso, since these weren’t photos. These were the real, living snowflakes I was looking at, just fallen from the sky.

And in the midst of this great adventure that cost me all of $16, there was sadness too. How much I would have loved doing this on my winter walks with my black dogs, on whose black backs the snowflakes would have shown up beautifully under my glass. Body heat would have melted them quickly, but I could have had some great sights before that. And I can imagine the grudging tolerance that my very good dogs would have given me. Stand still now, Mommy wants to look at your back. And they would stand still, casting me this look of weary but longsuffering patience. Because as any dog knows, when it’s the dog’s idea to stand still, it’s a great idea. But when it’s the human’s idea, it’s merely another human idiocy that a good dog has to endure.

And as always in these thoughts, in these imaginings: what if I still had Mishi and Brainse today, and we were doing this together, the way we did so many things, and they were casting me those looks. What if despicable, viciously aggressive humans had never done the things they did, and my dogs and I were under these snowflakes at this very moment. Where did my dogs get taken to? The people in Turners who know still refuse to tell. How long were they allowed to live before they were given the needle, and where and when did their deaths happen? What became of their bodies? Those certain people in this cesspool who have those answers steadfastly refuse to give those answers to me.

As much as I love those crystals that I saw with my glass, in equal measure do I abhor these humans. As much as I loved those two dogs, and love them still, in equal measure am I sickened by these humans. Give me a dog, give me a snowflake, give me a firefly. But a human being in Turners Falls is a rancid, poisonous thing.

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(snowflakes are clippings)

read…  Mugsy’s book

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