Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some day...

Yesterday I was whining and complaining to my husband about how I want to be a writer more than anything, but the idea of coming up with an original idea and creating complete characters is too overwhelming to me.  He agreed, and said if a person could live in their imagination then they could write a book.  Their imagination would be their book. I replied with a statement affirming I live in my imagination almost 24 hours a day.

Sad, isn’t it?  Well, maybe I exaggerated just a tad.  Maybe I’m not in my imagination the whole day.  Parts of it, certainly.  While I sleep, absolutely.

My sleeping dreams are the source of most of my day dreams.  Sometimes I will dream something so incredible that I will think about it for days thereafter.  In an effort to try to turn my dreams into a real story I could use I try to add to it, or change things, but I always get stumped at some point and can’t move forward.  I can come up with full strings of dialogue in my head, but they never quite make it down on paper.  Just like James Taylor’s song, “worked on a letter, but it never made it out of my head...” Pardon, but I had to throw some James in there somewhere.

Music is another stimulus of my imagination.  When I put my ear buds in and turn my iPod way up I am locked in my own world and those around me are my characters unaware.  That man walking in the parking lot in front of me is just somebody that I used to know.  Sweet dreams are made of my time behind the music.  In my mind I’m already in the Carolinas.  It feels like I’m 17 again.  I have to be careful though, because sometimes I find myself walking to the beat, and I would not want anyone to see that dreadfulness.   

Maybe one day I will get beyond that stumped point, finish a story and get it all down.  Until then, if you see me with a glazed look in my eye, just know I am really hard at work.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ring, Ring, Ring

I can trace my social life through my relationship to a telephone.  My mother was a telephone operator so the telephone was a prominent feature in our home.  Ours (584-7839) was a black one with a rotary dial and it hung on the kitchen wall right next to the door between the kitchen and the living room.  When it rang I would not answer it, not for any reason.  The selectively mute me did not answer the phone for fear it would be someone on the other end to whom I did not normally speak.  Why startle them?

That phone had a long cord that could reach around the door into the next room.  So when you needed privacy you would stretch the cord and go as far away from the kitchen as possible.  If my father saw this, then heaven help you.  He did not like to see objects being used excessively and that stretched cord was too much for him.  

My older sisters shared their own line (582-6689) (I think), so when they moved out of the house I took it over and had my own private line.  By then I spoke to most people, and only my friends called that line anyway so I was safe.  I kept that phone until I got a job after college and my mother told me I had to pay for it.  I decided the kitchen phone was good enough for me.

To a teenager in my day the ring of a phone held infinite possibilities.  And if you were not there to answer it you would never know what treasure could be on the other end.  Later, in college when I was lovesick for one reason or another, the phone was a lifeline.  “He” might call.  I, of course could not call “Him”.  That was not the social norm.  What grief that receiver and numbers 0 – 9 could cause.

When I was married and out on my own I needed a phone to conduct household business and talk to family.  The romance of the ring was gone.  The phone was just another utility bill I had to pay.

Now I carry a phone in my purse, and I can be reached any time, any place.  Ironically, I have no social life to speak of, so it doesn’t ring often.  If only I had a cell phone in my lovesick years life would have been so much more enjoyable. Irony stinks.

These days I conduct most household business over the internet, so the phone in my house is only there because it is tied to my home security system.  It rarely rings unless some telemarketer needs me to take a survey, or a politician really needs my vote.  Or if there is an emergency.

So last night when my house phone rang at 10:39 I got a little panicked.  When my phone, home or cell, rings after 10:00 p.m. it should only be because someone is sick, hurt, or dying.  When my phone rang, my heart sank and I jumped out of bed and ran into the living room to answer it.  I narrowly missed stepping on a sleeping cat as I fell across the sofa to reach for the closest telephone in my proximity.  “Hello?” I asked anxiously, certain to hear a gasping voice asking for help.  Instead I heard a chipper female voice asking to speak to my husband.  I replied with a “No” in a voice laced with undertones of “are you out of your mind?”  There were other undertones I expressed, but I try not to use those words in good company.

About that time the answering machine picked up so my “who is this?” question was drowned out by my taped voice telling the unknown caller whose residence she had reached, and would she please leave a message.  She did not.  Nor did she leave her number on the Caller ID.  It read only “Blocked Call”.

My husband insists he does not know who the unknown caller was, and I believe him because I trust him.  In all truthfulness it was probably just a random prank call by someone who picked our number out of the phone book.  Nevertheless it left me in a foul mood to be sure.

So, just a word of warning, Blocked Call.  Do not call my house that late again unless you are lying in the road, bleeding, and in dire need of assistance.  Only then do you have my permission.  And maybe, just maybe, I’ll call 911 for you.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Reality is sad but hopeful, too

One thing I was adamant about fitting into my recent trip to New York was a visit to Ground Zero, the site where the twin World Trade Center towers once reached towards the heavens.   For awhile it looked like there would still not be time in seven days to fit it in, but at last we managed to squeeze it into the final hours of our time in the city.

Next to the site is a museum dedicated to the terrorist attack of 1993 and to the events of that tragic day eleven years ago when airplanes commanded by terrorists and full of innocent people flew into the towers and brought them down.  The museum also pays tribute to the attack on the Pentagon and United 93, all fallen victims of the hands of terrorists. 

The museum is of full images, and quotes, and remnants of things that belonged to the victims and of the building itself.  The atmosphere inside the museum was like church, a solemn reverence for what it represented. The only sounds I heard were the occasional muffled sniffles, mostly coming from myself.

The item that caught my attention more than anything else was an airplane window found in the rubble on a nearby street.  As I stood in front of the display case I thought about the last thing the person sitting next to that window saw through it.   Was it the blue sky that was so prominent that day?  Was it the inside of an office? Was it flames?  Was it God?

If you look closely at the picture I took you can see my ghost-like reflection, as if I am the spirit of the person in the seat looking out; as if my spirit remains there, trapped in the wreckage.  I did not stage the photo that way, but the irony of it seems appropriate for the situation.  In a way we are all trapped in the wreckage of that day.

After the attacks of 9/11/01 America vowed to rebuild and overcome.  There was a surge in patriotism and we displayed our red, white, and blue as a banner of our resilience.  We would show our enemies that we could be victorious no matter what was thrown at us. We were like roosters crowing at a new day.

Well, if you think the terrorists did not win that day, think again.  Their mission was accomplished.  History is now divided by life before 9/11 and after.  Life in the US of A was not perfect before, but has taken a downhill plunge ever since.  Our economy has fallen with the towers, while our suspicions of everyone and everything are heightened.  We are living in a time where the politics of the country are dividing us into extreme categories, instilling bitterness and hatred on each side, instead of uniting us as a compassionate whole. Our leaders are more concerned with their own personal agendas than the agenda of the country.  What will it take to finally heal the wounds inflicted that day?

After we left the museum we crossed over to the memorial site.  In the footprints of the towers are now twin fountains, or reflecting pools, with water flowing down calm, peaceful falls. Along the top ledge of the fountain's wall are the inscriptions of the names of the people who perished in each particular tower and the plane that hit it.  The names of the victims of the Pentagon and United 93 have been added as well.

There is a gap between the top of the lower fountain wall and the upper ledge, and you can reach in and touch the still water where it pools.  To be able to run my fingers through the cool water was so refreshing on that hot August afternoon. From that flat pool the water falls deep into another pool, and then falls once again into a seemingly bottomless pit.   

Around the memorial site it is business as usual.  The new buildings to replace the towers are bright, shining and rising tall.  It will truly be a spectacular site when it is all done and the construction clutter is cleared away.

One World Trade Center
Seven days of walking through city streets left me practically limping through the museum and memorial, but I do not regret a single painful step.  I am thankful for the opportunity to have seen the site for myself.  It gave me time to think, and ponder if there is a lesson to be learned there amongst the shiny glass, smooth stone and cascading water.  Should we as a country rebuild from our foundations, once again experience the cool, calm waters, and then clear away the clutter and get on with it, business as usual?  Or should we continue down the path we are currently on and plunge mercilessly into a bottomless pit?

If you are curious as to why the events of 9/11/01 are important to me you may be interested in reading my blog from last year.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What is the rainbow connection?

Maybe it’s because of the rainy weather we’ve had this summer, when we weren’t in a drought of course, but I have been stumbling upon an unusual amount of rainbows lately.  I round a corner, or a curve in the road and ta-daa, there it is.  I have to admit the sight always makes me a little giddy.  I have to wonder if it is there just for me to see; a sign of sorts.  Of course I grab my camera every time I see one, always trying to get that perfect shot.  I’ve been lucky a couple of times, but capturing a rainbow is not an easy thing to do.  They can be an elusive thing, hence why I haven’t yet to find that pot of gold.  Try as I might that dadgum pot of gold must dissipate with the rainbow itself.

Rainbows do not linger, they fade quickly.  So when I see one I take the time to stop and look and remember what it means to be privy to such a sight.  It is a sign of a covenant between God and the earth that He will never again send a flood of water to destroy the earth.  The thing that I find most interesting is that the sign is not only for us to see to remember God’s covenant, but it is also a reminder to God.  He thought it so important that He needed something to remind Him.  Amazing.

Gen 9:12-16  And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.  And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh.  And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 

I am by no means a biblical scholar, and I am not qualified to pontificate on what God meant by this covenant.  I only know what He said, and that was no more world-destroying flood waters.  He did not say anything about other ways He could use his might to remind us of our sinful and destructive ways.

It still makes me wonder if He is sending me a personal message, other than one to Noah, when I see the colors appear in the sky, or the spray coming out of the garden hose, or even the projections from the prism hanging in my kitchen window.  Meanwhile, I’ll continue to stop for a minute, enjoy the show, and keep up the hunt for that pot of gold.