Thursday, September 28, 2006
Freelance nature and science writer, Chris Clarke of Creek Running North wrote an interesting post in response to the
Online Article from Nature.com regarding the discovery of the 3.3-million-year-old bones of a female toddler from Ethiopia, whose remains illustrate the evolutionary link between primitive apes and modern humans.
The creationists will deny this, claim the Link is still Missing. After looking at this photo for a time today, I find I pity them. They cannot feel the sublime and terrifying sense of heritage you and I share with this little girl. They cannot see the family resemblance, cannot look into those three-million-years-vacant eyes and know that they are kin to the chimps and gorillas, and thus kin to the lemurs, to the snakes and frogs and sharks. What a lonely, pallid life those ideologues must lead, with only a book of stories to fill in for the whole living world.
Friday, September 22, 2006
I took the kids to see Jungle Jack today. It was so cool. He brought a Dingo, a tortoise, and the most adorable little leopard kit you ever did see.
The munchkins loved it and so did I, except for the fact that I'm lookin mighty old and fat in this photo.
Time to start working out again.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow; a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
By William Shakespeare
Please check out the essay by The Fat Lady Sings over at Motherless
She is an insightful writer and deserves our support.
Monday, September 18, 2006
There was one bar on my route called The Salt-N-Peppa. It was really just a brothel, posing as a bar.
It was a seedy little place in a bad part of town. A tiny doorway, hidden in a long row of dismal gray storefronts led into the long, dark, shotgun style room. A big black woman sat at the entrance like a disimpassioned Buddha, checking I.D.’s, and refusing admittance to anyone who smelled of suspicion.
“Here’s the deal girly; I let you sell your flowers in my place, and you cut me 10%.”
Night after night, I would enter the dank smoky room, and walk up the aisle, slowly offering my wares to the nameless shadows in the booths. Sales were always low. The johns knew the price of lady favor, and the women, well; they were working girls, more interested in putting money in their own pockets, not mine.
One night, after a particularly dismal string of bad luck, I entered the bar, feelin’ mighty low. The madam picked up on it immediately. It was her stock in trade, you know. Her antennae could sense a desperate woman from a mile away.
“Sit down here next to me sweetie. Take a load off. You look hungry. Jack, get this girl a BLT and a beer. When’s the last time you ate?”
“Um, day before yesterday, I think. A Boloney Sandwich. And some oranges. There’s an orange tree in the trailer park, but they’re mostly rotted this time of year.”
I ate gratefully while she prodded, and listened, and nodded and cooed, like a gentle ol mammy, just willing me to fall into her bosom for refuge.
I won’t lie, and say I did not consider her offer. I did. I was dirt poor, desperate, and scrounging for meals like a stray dog on the street. But I knew in my heart, that hunger was nothing compared to the hollow look in the eyes of her stable girls. I thanked her for her kindness, and politely declined, as I picked every last crumb off the plate. She told me her offer would always be open, should I ever change my mind.
With that, I got up to sell my wares.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her tap the side of her nose, like old Saint Nick, in secret signal to her ladies.
Then, something amazing happened. As I walked the aisle, each one of the girls began to gyrate and wiggle and coo at their Johns.
“Ohh baby, buy me some of those pretty flowers…”
“I’ll make you SOOO happy if you get me some of those.”
“Come on darling, just a little sweetness for your sweetie…”
By the time I reached the back of the room, my box was empty. I was so moved, I began to cry. I saw the madam smile and beckon me to the front. I took a deep breath, and began walking with tears streaming down my cheeks. As I did, the girls started putting the roses back in my box one by one, with knowing smiles, and pats on my back.
When I got to the front of the bar and faced the madam, my box full to the brim, I set the roses down, to settle up.
“You keep it honey. A little gift from the girls.”
I melted into her arms, hugging her hard, crying “Thank you, Thank you so much. Ya-all are the kindest people I have ever met. I’ll pay you back, I promise.”
“You can pay us all back by getting on out of here…and don’t never come back.”
I nodded, knowing exactly what she meant.
I handed her a dozen of my best red roses, kissed her on the cheek, and walked out into the steamy darkness, of the dim lit streets, never to return.
I received an e-mail this morning from novelist John Baker. He wrote:
"Thanks for your blog. It kept me out of trouble today, and I'll be back
What a HOOT! An unsolicited e-mail from a professional writer living worlds away. Imagine that. It has sent my little brain a bubbling.
The first thought this concise little e-mail provoked, involved the craft of writing. John, in very few words, piqued my curiosity, like a kitten in a yarn shop. What could I have possibly posted to keep that man out of trouble? What sort of trouble? And who the H*ll is this devilish imp of the U.K.?
Aha yes, in one short sentence, he set up suspense. The mark of a true writer.
Second, I would like to say, the internet sure is cool! I love connecting with all of you wild wonderful cybersouls out there.
I remember back in college, when I studied the French impressionists. Oh, how I delighted in the idea of Monet, Degas and Van Gogh sharing ideas and forging friendships. It was such an eye opener for me to realize, all these great masters played upon one another.
Creativity does not live in a vacuum. There is no such thing as a completely original idea. We all stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, like players in a grand game of leap frog, trailing back to the dawn of time.
Beyond that, my mind jumped to my current focus on the study of the writers craft. In a recent round table discussion with Nita Sweeney, our group explored the use of dialogue identifiers, or tags:
-The boorish clown in whiteface guffawed heartily...
My current little mind game has thus been to dress up in my Glenda the good witch costume, and bop through my books, whisping my magic wand and asking, "Are you a good tag or a bad tag?"
In addition, just for fun, and Oh, what fun it is my friends... I have gone back through my novel-in-progress, (Working Title: The 9483 pages of vomit on my hard drive) in an attempt to eliminate as many tags as possible.
Some techniques I am using include:
-Using the voice of the character to offer identity clues
-Using dialect (with caution)
-Have the character speak on a subject, or from a point of view, which only one character knows about.
-Use of location to communicate who is speaking.
We explored a piece during the round table, wherein the author managed to write ten pages of pure dialogue without using one single tag. Pretty amazing.
"It's fun to see how far one can go without the crutch of a tag. Try it." Kelbell said with a wink and a smile.
Sunday, September 17, 2006
One is silver and the other's Gold."
You plunge a daggar in my heart.
Then sulk away in shadow
Leaving me to bleed.
You call to appologise.
You want to erase the slate
To move forward
To put the past behind
But my heart is not a slate
and the wounds
Have not healed
Now you are angry
Because I bleed
Now you blame me
For lack of trust
Now you belittle me
For placing boundries
And drawing lines.
I love you like a sister
I understand your pain.
I know the bottle calls to you
From every screaming, quivering cell
In your body.
And I DO love you for who you are
But I will not be stabbed again.
Can you, Understand?
"No one will be coming today. The summer is over. I am not happy. I should be, I've been complaining for weeks now about how emotionally fatigued I am. These children wore me out with their questions and need for one on one contact. One girl has a voice that resembles a clarinet with a split reed. However, she was the one who never missed a day of helping with barn chores, singing all the way through. Halfway through the summer, she knew exactly how to take care of everything in the barn, and how to do it, and being happy to do it. Now I will walk to the barn alone, with a bit less enthusiasm for my hobby. I will gather my eggs, knowing that none of them will be broken before they reach the house, but I won't feel happy about it. There are so many other examples of how we enriched each others' lives, but yet we took it all for granted that it was 'just another day'."
Well said Kath. I am missing the spilled milk and broken eggs too. Well, at least a litte bit. LOL
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Alas, the diagnosis was fatal. We lost Lady Cottonwood, and our protective Papa Spruce.
The bones of our brown barked wonders were chipped into mulch, and scattered lovingly along the woodland paths behind our home.
My little army of neighborhood munchkins banded together, and worked their cutie- patuties off, hauling mulch with me all morning. I rewarded them by cooking up some hotdogs, and churning a batch of homemade ice cream. Then I surprised my sweaty woodland kinder-nymphs with an Awards Ceremony. Silly string, glow sticks, and balloons went to recipients of "Dirtiest Kid, Sweatiest Kid, Kid who spilled the most mulch, and Kid who carried the heaviest bucket, etc.
We made a big deal of the formalities, and the children LOVED it. They pushed themselves beyond their limits, committed an act of service to an arthritic ol' hippie lady, connected with nature, succeeded in the completion of a large task by working as a group, and then topped it all off with a Bodatious PARRR-TEE!!
*Not a bad way to spend a summer day.
When all the hub-bub was over, and the quiet hour of gloaming rustled across the breeze, I sat back in my rocker on the deck, and reflected:
Joyce Kilmer (1886-1918)
I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.
The Poet, Joyce Kilmer served in WWI with my Great-Grandfather, Will Sands, and Will's son, my Great-Uncle Inky. Will was the leader of the military band.
In WWI, France, the fighting was so intense, the band traded their instrumentss for guns, and joined the boys in the trenches. Will and Inky fought alongside Joyce, and witnessed his death.
This is a photo of my Great-Grandfather leading the musical portion of Joyce Kilmer's funeral.
Mulching the yard with my kids, leads me to think of a poem, that ties to my history, and inspires my dreams.
That poem, for me, is a symbol. A symbol of my purpose in this life.
I want my life to have meaning. I want to use my energy to promote conservation, so that my Great, Great, Great Grandchildren will be welcomed and loved by our dear Mother Earth.
And I want to be remembered, and have just a little tiny piece of my spirit resonate across eternity.
That would give me such great peace, at my death.
That's why I write. In the hopes that my billions of clumsy random keystrokes, might one day produce some little something, inspiring and memorable, like the poem "Trees" by Joyce Kilmer
I don't seek greatness or fame in this life, but I do desire, to use my life, to drop one small pearl of perfection, into the eternal, rippling waters of time.
I admit, it's part ego; part, giving the finger to the Reaper. But it is also, even more so, a desire to give a tiny humble something, as a thank you, for this wonderful life.
Joyce Kilmer's Great-Granddaughter says, "Though some call him a "great poet," I believe it is fair to say that his work showed promise; that had he not been struck down in his prime, his talent would most likely have developed in later years into something approaching greatness."
She is right. He may very well have. But life is short; often too short, and greatness is not the real gift anyway.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
A friend of mine was on the local news this morning promoting energy conservation. She appeared with a person dressed in a pig costume. The Energy Hog was her prop to educate us about ways to conserve energy in our homes.
I called her up after the show:
"Ms. Hubbard? This is the ACME talent agency. Your television appearance was HOT! Celebrities have been calling all morning. They want YOU to appear with them for promo's, meet and greets, and public appearances. Angelina and Brad, Tom and Katie, Jimmy Carter...They're all on board. We would like to sign you...wait...excuse me...Yes, I have Ms. Hubbard on the phone right now...Oh, I see.
Um, Ms. Hubbard, my apologies ma'am.
It seems they want the Hog."
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I was in my kitchen making toast for my son when the first plane hit. My eyes were glued to CNN, just like yours.
When the second plane hit, my kitchen burst into flames.
A piece of bread had gotten stuck in the toaster, and ignighted. I realized our country was under attack, just as I turned to see a wall of flames engulf the honey oak cabinets of my kitchen, and spread across the ceiling like a hungry monster.
It was beyond bizarre.
Luckily, my husband is a fire bug. Our home has five fire extinguishers, three smoke alarms, and a fire escape ladder, strategically placed around the house.
I had always wondered if I would be able to figure out how to work the darn things in the middle of an emergency. Lo and behold, I did. I remember looking at my son as I put out the flames, positioning myself between him and the danger. His mouth was agape, and his eyes were fixed upon me, as I battled the burning blaze. I think my little man viewed me as Super Mom that day.
My husband rushed home, and we began the process of sanding and restaining the cabinets, and cleaning the smoke scarred ceiling while watching the events of our nation unfold.
My son was wide eyed in disbelief when it happened. He was only four at the time, but he still remembers that day, and often points to the still visible scars on our cabinets as a reminder.
Our country experienced a collective consciousness on 911, and even though I was safe in my home, in far off Ohio, the flames and terror were right there, before my waking eyes.
I really do believe, deep down in my heart, that the fire in my home was a manifestation of the larger energies at play, on that fateful, horrible day.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
My hubba Hubba Honey bleeds scarlet and gray. He graduated from OSU, and has held season tickets to the football games for as long as I have known him.
Our tradition is that I accompany him to the season opener each year. I like that game best, because the alumni band joins the current band on the field to create a four way script Ohio. I don't know why, but it always gets me all choked up to see those old alums shine up their instruments, relive the glory, and stand in pride as the current band bows down in homage to their predecessors.
This year, The Ohio State Buckeyes opened their season with a bang, lighting up the scoreboard for a 35-12 win against The Northern Illinois Huskies.
Illinois bragged they could beat the Bucks, mainly due to the talents of Garrett Wolfe the nation's leading returning rusher, wearing jersey #1.
In spite of his zig zag moves and bullet like speed, The Bucks made it clear who is really number one. We're the number one team in the country baby!
At the end of every game, coach Tressel has our team address the band and sing the schools alma mater, Carmen Ohio. I like that. And I admire Tressel for creating the tradition. As a coach, he understands, leading his team is about more than winning. Its about honor, on and off the field.