On NaNoWriMo

Probably as some repressed form of protest, I cleaned the windows on the lower floor of my house instead of writing even one word on the first day of NaNoWriMo 2018. And yet, the day before (on October 31), I felt ready to begin, in earnest, the very next morning. With the looming, I mean exciting, month-long writing-intensive event, I had cleaned my house (except for the windows), I had tackled the usual daily household tasks leaving nothing on my to-do list and had even handled and depleted any residual pieces of paperwork. I prepped with notes, cleared my calendar, conducted some research, created my characters’ profiles, and located my setting. These files sat minimized on my Mac’s dock. It was all there. But, it wasn’t calling me.

The thing is, I am the A- type of person who needs a clean slate, a free-state of mind, a clear palette and a clean canvas on which to begin a new project. Practical life aside, I have so many ideas running errant with wonky-edged craft scissors through my head at any one time (I am not special among creatives; this, I hear, is the norm), I grieve slightly for the projects falling in a straight line behind the wanna-be leader in the forefront, the “have-to” —much like laundry on the practical side of life.

Thus, dedicating a whole month’s worth of TIME* is perhaps more commitment than I am ready to make. I have been known to write for seven-hour stretches and longer. My longest recorded time rests at ten hours within one sitting. These scores reflect the writing of the 74,000-word novel, REGRESSION, that I recently finished, with editor’s notes, beta readers’ notes, re-writes and all. Queries remain an ongoing project.

And as I satisfy one or more of the arty pursuits vying for my attention, I will likely also build upon this year’s NaNoWriMo with an unspecified word count for [the] BROWNSTONE.

*TIME: I place this human construct on the practical side of life. And, although the creative nature within me generally rules my consciousness, TIME intrudes long enough to keep me just moments away from true free spiritedness. It is this trichotomy that fosters continued conflict among the following areas: One ~ Tasks I am good at: planning, plotting, scheduling, and time management. Two ~ Difficulties with: maintaining routines, and accepting limitations. And, Three ~ Wishing for: full fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants spontaneity.


What is Your Comment, Please?

In my last blog piece, I considered calling Trump (referred to only as #45) as part of an effort to feel less frustrated as an American, watching the daily madness created by him and his administration. So, this afternoon, I did. At first I called the White House Comments Line at 202.456.1111, which answers automatically. I held on for several minutes, when I then noticed, on the website, http://www.whitehouse.gov  another number, the White House Switchboard at 202.456.1414. So, I hung up and dialed the switchboard.

I was automatically put on hold, then disconnected. I hadn’t even spoken yet. I redialed. After several rings, the switchboard operator answered. I said I’d like to speak to the president. She told me, in a not-too-polite voice, to write a letter and transferred me to an automated line giving the address for the white house. I hung up. I know the address. Of course, email is preferred to postal mail, per the website. But, the rude switchboard operator did not offer up that information. And, in fact, the website offers an automatic, fielded-email option.

I’ll try the email another day. I called the Comments Line again. This time, I held on for about four minutes while music played in the background. When it seemed that a human came on the line, I couldn’t quite tell if it was automated or real.

Volunteer Comments Operator:  Hello, what is your comment, please?

It sounded like one of those fake calls, where you think you’re speaking to someone, but there’s a delay and it speaks again, having anticipated what you probably said.

Me:  Hello, are you there?

VCO:  Yes, go ahead.

Me:  I’m calling to speak to the president.

VCO:  I’m unable to transfer you to anywhere within the White House.

Me:  Then I’d like to leave a message, please, for the president.

VCO:  Go ahead.

Me:  I’m calling to say that I’m not happy with the way in which the president is handling his job. I don’t find him to be very honest, concerned or presidential. Regardless of the fact that I did not vote for him, I feel it’s my duty as an American citizen to speak up. Of course, I could tweet about it with others who feel the same way, or post on Facebook, but that doesn’t accomplish anything. I could blog about it and I did. But, I thought that I would call, as well. (I paused.)

VCO: [silence]

Me (continuing):  Here’s what I think he could be doing differently and better — he should act for the people of this country; he should act like a president; take care of Puerto Rico; cover birth control for women; protect a woman’s right to choose; protect the 1st Amendment as strongly as he and other GOP and NRA members swear by the outdated and dangerous 2nd Amendment; stop playing cat and mouse with other world leaders; protect children’s healthcare; protect those under DACA; NAZI’s are evil and white supremacists are too; stop tweeting all the time with crazy messages at colleagues and others. And, if he doesn’t like the job, he should consider resigning and restoring some level of dignity to the United States of America. That’s my message.

VCO: Okay, thank you for calling. I will give him your message. Have a nice day.


So, do I feel any better? Eh, maybe? Yeah, no, not much. The Volunteer Comments Operator didn’t take my name or phone number, and I don’t know if I was being recorded or if my phone number was retained. Maybe they (the group of VCOs — how many could there be?) compare notes (written? verbal?) over drinks at the Capitol Grille at Happy Hour? Maybe it’s all a ruse and they simply listen (or not) and that’s that.

What are the chances that anyone’s comments actually go anywhere, besides into an operator’s ear? Would anyone actually receive an email, or does it go directly into a spam or junk file? And, because I didn’t speak in 140 character sound-bites or offer ego-boosting praise, I likely just wasted twenty minutes of my day, a bar of battery and my breath.

Maybe tomorrow, I’ll call again.




A Frustrated American ~ and My Freedom of Speech

Maybe not the biggest problem, it would seem these days, but one really big problem that we face is the ease (read: need to self-preserve some sense of sanity) in which we fall into a sense of complacency due to the fact that every day we see, read and hear (no matter how we may try to avoid them – again, read: need to self-preserve any sense of sanity) disturbing and distressing reports of what #45 and the GOP propose, tweet and enact on a constant basis, throughout the day, every day, and even in the early morning hours.

It’s a strategy – the daily diversions, pivoting and constant crazy, we can’t keep up on each last item about which to be concerned and distressed and disturbed. So we let the rage fall away when it takes new form, such as incomprehensibility and disbelief. But, NO! We must be outraged every minute of the day to prevent the type of control that is working its way into this country. Being enraged and outraged every minute of the day is tiring, depressing and unhealthy. And, as humans, we need to self-preserve some sense of sanity. So, we watch the daily crazy in segments that the night time comedians wrestle with and transform into information somewhat more, but never really, palatable by injecting humor into the insane. Wow, to have that job, and to have the job of journalist during this administration –these people deserve credit for having to listen to, analyze and report to the American people by way of network news, newspapers, etc. (those entities, which are currently being threatened with suppression). I know people who only get their news via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and This Week Tonight with John Oliver. And, recent additions to the lineup include The Jim Jefferies Show (his stand-up piece on American guns is outstanding) and The Late Late Show with James Corden. This is their attempt to help the rest of us cope and to keep some sense of sanity. These shows make it easier to hear, but never to deal with, as the hosts cannot, themselves, they say, fully accept the current state of affairs.

Following the very surprising result of the 2016 election, I called my representatives’ offices multiple times to express my concerns about policies and practices that I felt needed to be protected. I knew they’d all be on board, because I had voted for them and they share my values for what is reasonable and sane for this country. I just called again, last week, following the most recent gun-done mass murder. I honestly didn’t know what to say, but felt like I had to call someone. So, I expressed my frustration that, as an American pleading for increased gun control and regulations (I’m not pro-gun, at all, but I’m not so delusional to think that this racist-at-the-core, gun-loving country would ever completely give up the gun), and I knew that my representatives are, again, on the same page, but what else can I do? Call the NRA? Call the (mostly) republicans on the take from the NRA? There’s a great list that I found online of lifetime monies – in the millions ‑ amassed by the top ten receivers in Congress. All three clerks to whom I spoke on the phone “Shared [my] frustration.” And, one even went as far as to say, “It’s beyond too late [re: gun control].”

Obviously, I felt no better – but not by their fault. So, I ask again, what can I do? Call the NRA directly to plead for American lives? Call (mostly) republicans on the take from the NRA to plead for American lives? Call #45 (I certainly wouldn’t tweet at him – although early on, I tweeted that someone should just take away his phone, for heaven’s sake)?

Really, what can one American do? Or, rather, the lot of us, as it seems that most Americans are sane (or trying to preserve their sanity) and are not in line with the crazy antics of #45 and the chaotic joke that is his administration. At least I could feel as though I had tried to express some measure of normality by saying directly:  please stop the madness; stop the crazy; act for the people; act like a president; take care of Puerto Rico; cover birth control for women; protect a woman’s right to choose; protect the 1st Amendment as strongly as you swear by the outdated and dangerous 2nd Amendment; stop playing cat and mouse with other world leaders, who have nuclear weapons and seem to be so tempted and eager to use them; stop throwing paper towels at people (just rude!); protect children’s healthcare; protect the undocumented children (and now productive residents) who came here under DACA; NAZI’s are evil, white supremacists, too; stop tweeting bullshit and bully-shit at your colleagues (and anyone, really!); and please, please seek immediate professional psychological help. In fact, resignation from the presidency is not out of the question in order to return some level of dignity to the United States of America.

How Fibromyalgia May Ruin My Job at the Gym

Denial, and maybe subconscious pride, kept me from admitting (during the interview process) that my Fibromyalgia would prevent me from performing, what is, for seemingly everyone else, a reasonably easy job at my local gym, where I have been regularly working out for years. I didn’t lie, I just didn’t really consider the physicality of the job – I was more focused on the “front desk” aspect. I didn’t even realize it’s an “on your feet” front-desk role. I’d seen the ad, on a wipe-off board, one afternoon as I was heading out from a good workout. I was excited to see exactly what I wanted (a part-time, front-desk job).

Sometimes I work out too hard (another example of my denial regarding my medical-condition) and am then (the next day) sorely reminded of my limitations when I am completely unable to move or raise my arms or climb stairs. Other times, I am sensitive to my body’s clues, and I am more gentle to myself. Those days, my delicate state is actually more than obvious to me (but only to me, because Fibro is an invisible-symptom syndrome), and because I know that light exercise is important for Fibromyalgia management, I suffer through twenty minutes on the elliptical.

But, now after two months of six-hour shifts involving constant standing and lifting and bending (and cracking my head on a raised platform), I realize I did myself and my employer an injustice. This situation not only adds physical stress, but also emotional and psychological distress, which amplifies the physical toll on my body. Moreover, I still somewhat want to refuse to admit that my age of 52 years contributes to any body aches, pain and stiffness that is now my constant companion. As I’ve been a gym member for close to thirty years, going more often at times and absent at other times, I’ve always been a physically active person. In fact, when I was on couch and bed rest during my two successful pregnancies, respectively, I repeatedly dreamt of running, since I was forbidden to do so during my waking hours.

So, the realization that I probably need to leave the job is depressing news. And, an epiphany at the same time, maybe. It is another moment when I’m woken up to my limitations. I seem to, at these times, acknowledge, research, see doctors for symptoms, and then, in short order, go back to ignoring the truth, although never the pain, because that’s not possible. For example, I saw a podiatrist yesterday for plantar fasciitis in addition to my complaint that my foot pain and stiffness is constant upon standing and walking. He treated the plantar fasciitis and regarding the pain and stiffness, he basically told me, “You have Fibro, so just deal, stretch and if you have to quit your job, quit.”

Following that appointment, I spent yesterday frustrated and crying. My pity party lasted pretty much the whole day and without a resolution to the question: “What do I do about my job?”   —   In fact, I took the job to conquer the boredom that can come from a solitary existence as a fiction and, as-of-yet unpublished, writer. And, as I used to work full-time at a school, an unending social party of students, teachers and parents, I was feeling a little lonely.  I thought a part-time gig may help me focus on finishing my book. But, I have been spending the days that I don’t work at the gym, managing my heightened symptoms. The epiphany may just be that it is time to own up to my Fibromyalgia and focus on my health above all else. All the rest (and my book) will follow.



Timelessness— Fear & Freedom

We think in terms of time— Always and forever. This minute and for twenty-four hours of the day. In the past, too. We ask ‘how much time do we have?’ ‘how long will it take?’ and the simplest, ‘what time is it, now?’

We act based on the structure of time— ‘a 9 A.M. meeting,’ ‘next month’s re-inspection of the car,’ and ‘medicine should be taken morning, noon, and night.’

We dream in segments of time— ‘planning summer vacations,’ ‘raising children/empty-nesting,’ and ‘retirement,’ otherwise known as the golden years.

All time is not created equal. While ‘timeless’ describes certain people and styles, certainly ‘retro’ celebrates those that relish the past. Likewise, while some of us (homo sapiens  ~  200,000 years ago, in Africa) eschew the parameters created by the construct known as timekeeping, others depend on the almighty clock like an evening cocktail.

Time flies, and time stands still for no one. Creative flow ‘stops the clock’, or, more accurately, shifts our consciousness within the ‘passing of time’ realm. Advancement, enhancement and expansion are only possible when the clock stops counting down. When we ‘lose our time’ (coined, perhaps, by Edward Norton’s character in Primal Fear, 1996), we come out the other end with the realization that Earth has not stopped spinning (on its axis, which takes 24 hours and was developed by the ancient Egyptians).

By middle age, we consider the ‘bucket list’ challenge, knowing that we don’t actually know how much more time we have on the planet. Global Warming and Climate Change Truth! aside, we think and dream about, and perhaps, act on, pursuits not previously achieved during the time that we were growing up, getting educated, getting married, raising children, getting unmarried, getting remarried, greeting grandchildren, attending to aging parents, working and paying bills (most of which today, is aka ‘adulting’).

Children (birth to Kindergarten) and the elderly with dementia (Currently “more than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimers.” per Alz.org — plus the rest of the world’s numbers—) live moment to moment, a sense of timelessness. Babies and small children suffer no ill effects from the absence of time. However, when an aged (or, more tragically, an early-onset-affected) adult becomes, first, confused about and, second, aware of ‘losing their time,’ it is an altogether different sensation than that of one who still knows what time it is. A lifetime of structure, rigid timeframes and memorable timelines sets the tone for order and keeps chaos at bay. Imagine the panic produced, then, by not knowing if it is Monday, March or the next millennia. Days run into night and night after night, they may think it is day.

This is when time may truly meander or it may simply stand still. It may seem, and we can hope, that as ‘timelessness’ permeates their world, those with the disease will feel fear become freedom.




Valentine’s Day Traditions RePost

[Originally Posted on Feb 13, 2013]

As I think about what to do for my fiance and our kids for tomorrow’s annual celebration of all things red and heart-shaped, I wonder, too, about what it all stands for. If I say, “Oh, it’s no big deal, we show our love every day,” one tends to choke on the sugar. Likewise, to buy the biggest (and, therefore, most expensive) card, is to recognize that the effort is major overkill, and quite frankly, a big waste of money. Money that could be better spent enjoying a filet mignon or lobster dinner. Lobsters are red, after all. Well, when they’re cooked, they are. And, if you order the filet rare, as it should be ordered, well, that’s blood red, too.
So, how does someone in love demonstrate publicly (because isn’t everything, today, publicized?) their love for that one true, special somebody who they have either chosen to spend their lives with and simply couldn’t possibly live without — or in the case of being stuck with someone because maybe they once were in love, but now just stick around for the false Valentine’s Day offer of the love that once was — show to the waiting world what one considers acceptable, maybe passionate, love-torn proof? And, as difficult to make sense of that sentence is, so is our love — and so is the answer.
However, because I do choose to spend my life with the one, true special someone I simply couldn’t possibly live without, I will, most likely…buy chocolate!
Who doesn’t love chocolate? And, flowers? And music? And dinner? Especially in a French restaurant! Filet Mignon is French!
So, whether it’s succumbing to the pretense of showing the world how much you love your somebody or genuinely thirsting to quench any question of the depths of your desire, you can never go wrong with something heart-shaped and red.
That’s here, of course. (Here being the States.) Let’s consider some other traditions from around the world. I found on the most wonderful little website, Penumbra from the UK — novareinna.com (http://www.novareinna.com/festive/valworld.html) some other Saint Valentine’s Day rituals.
And, in giving full credit to this very cool site-source, I can honestly say, that if I choose to do otherwise (not the standard chocolate option I so quickly chose above), then some of these others may just make the difference in making the distinction between what we choose to do versus what we are expected to do.
For example, in “Italy, Valentine’s Day was once celebrated as a Spring Festival, held in the open air, where young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens to listen to music and the reading of poetry. However, over the course of the years, this custom steadily ceased and has not now been celebrated for centuries. In Turin, it was formerly the custom for betrothed couples to announce their engagements on February 14. For several days ahead of time, the stores would be decorated and filled with all manner of bon-bons.” (Personal note: as my fiance is 100 percent Italian, that would indicate that tomorrow, February 14th we could stretch this a bit and actually pick a date for the wedding.)
And,”In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on two different dates…February 14 and March 14. On the first date, the female gives a gift to the male and on the second date…known as White Day and supposedly introduced by a marshmallow company in the 1960s…the male has to return the gift he received on February 14. Thus, strictly speaking, a Japanese female has the luxury of actually choosing her own gift. Chocolate is the most popular gift in Japan. However, since most Japanese females believe that store-bought chocolate is not a gift of true love, they tend to make the confection with their own hands.” — Ah, see, we’re back to chocolate!!
“During the Australian gold rush period, miners who were suddenly in possession of money from the new-found wealth of the Ballarat Mines were willing to pay a princely sum for elaborate valentines and merchants in the country would ship orders amounting to thousands of pounds at a time. The most extravagant Australian valentines were made of a satin cushion, perfumed and decorated in an ornate manner with flowers and colored shells. Some might even be adorned with a taxidermy-ed humming bird or bird of paradise. This treasure, contained within a neatly decorated box, was highly valued, being both fashionable and extremely expensive.”
Whichever convention you fancy…just remember that it’s only one day a year – and you have 364 others to show the person you love … your love.

Cornered, I let my arms drop…

Cornered, I let my bare arms drop to my sides. He leans in close with his pasty white, sweaty face. I smell the sickly sweet stench of his rancid breath as he hovers within an inch of my eyebrows. He reaches for my neck, but I crouch down and squeeze past him, my legs scraping the rusty metal guardrail behind me. I focus on an escape path just to the right and between some parked cars. But, I cannot move. On all fours now, I try to scream, but I make no sound. I claw at the dirty pavement and dare not look back. Just as I feel his massive grubby paw grab my right foot, I shoot straight up in bed. Terrified and shivering, I hear a pained groan escape my own lips.

~ ~ ~

The alarm on my iPhone trills at six-thirty a.m. I roll over and hit snooze. I feel like I have been run over by a Mack truck, or maybe something between a hangover and the flu. I close my eyes and the image of my nightmare returns to me. I start to sweat, and discounting any benefit to remain in my king-size bed, I turn off the alarm and throw my legs over the side. Wincing and wearing only panties, I immediately notice the bloody patches on the backs of both legs. Now I am really freaked, but with my boyfriend, Jordan, out of town, I have to try to put this nightmare out of my mind. Can I, I wonder? I throw on gray yoga pants, careful to avoid my injuries, and a white hoodie.

Walking barefoot past the white double-entry front door of my first-floor luxury apartment and toward the galley kitchen to get a cup of coffee, I double check to see that the front door is locked. It is not locked. I rack my brain trying to remember what time I had gone to bed and why is the door unlocked? Nightly, I have a habit of running through my before-bed, secure-the-fortress routine multiple times. It is not so much an OCD thing but more likely a paranoid thing. It goes like this:  program the ten-cup coffee maker, check that the gas oven is off, turn the latch on the dining room sliders, hit the gray Audi’s remote lock button enough times that I hear the beep as do, probably, all of my neighbors. And, finally, I lock the front door. So, did I last night? And, why don’t I remember?

The aroma of French Roast brewing pulls me back to the present moment. So, I had set the coffee to start. I run to the sliders. They are secured. For dinner, I had ordered Chinese take-out; no need to check the oven. But, in my growing state of panic, I check the oven anyway. It is cold. I run, despite my body aches, back to the front door and grab my car keys from the black metal wall hook, hesitating only a moment to notice the black dirt beneath my nervous-chew fingernails. I fling open the front door and rush to my car in the trellis-covered and paver-finished driveway. I wrap my hand around the silver driver’s side handle and stop cold. Through the smashed window, I see drying blood smeared across the white leather seat.


Little Streams of Consciousness

I cleared some cobwebs and found my pen.

~ ~ ~

Contrary to public opinion, the hare raises no tail.  She prefers to count on her floppy ears for balance as she sets across the fallen tree spanning the width of the trickling creek.  It’s rained every chance the clouds have had of emptying their load, and so the creek now stands at two feet wider than its familiar berth.  Not really trickling, then, the hare thinks.  The hare burst into a full-on race with the clouds above as they burst their seams, spilling down all around her.  Drops splattered up toward the now slippery log forcing the hare to slow down, lest she fall into the creek.  Slow and steady, she made time, though, to reach the northern edge and rejoin her pack.

~ ~ ~

Without his cane, the old man stumbled and briefly caught himself against the blue sky.  Falling two-fifths sideways and in-between his shoulders, he stopped thinking and just let it happen.  Fighting would be futile. Fighting would not help him or his companion.  He couldn’t see the guard any longer.  He thought that maybe the guard had fallen off the cliff at the moment it all turned around.  Not being able to see the other side of the cliff from behind the mountain, he knew he’d lost touch of his surroundings and all may as well be lost to him.  But, to go on, he must.  Struggling to gather the weight of an old man, he shoved at the ground beneath him and was soon up on one knee.  Using the remainder of his strength, he teetered but rose up like a fledgling phoenix.  Once up, he straightened to his full height, reaching for youth.  Behind the bushes, he spotted his companion and walked slowly and carefully to retrieve his old, reliable friend.  Once supported, he again, looked the world squarely in the eye.

~ ~ ~

Forced to surrender under the familiar circumstances, she laid down her musket and raised her hands and her head.  Swiftly, she was taken prisoner by the two bandits wearing face masks.  Their shifty eyes still bare, she looked into the shorter man’s.  She inhaled sharply and shallowly at her recognition of his pupil-less gray orbs.  This was no man.  She quickly looked at the taller one, but he had just as quickly turned away.  Panicked now, she searched her spinning mind for a plan for escape or rescue, and survival.



Pictures & Portraits

I’ve just begun reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, somehow having missed reading it when working toward a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, just a few years ago.  They say timing is everything, and as I’ve written before, I believe in my first blog post, I always seem to find some connection or timely aspect to my life while reading anything, really.

The Picture of Dorian Gray is no exception. I picked up this book in the fiction section of the Cherry Hill library, while walking toward Science Fiction/Fantasy for a few books for my husband. I had recently thought I’d want to read this, although, I don’t recall now what had sparked the interest.  This morning, I started the book, having just finished reading and loving Amy Tan’s The Hundred Secret Senses from 1995.  From what counts as our own library, I found Senses on the “To Read” shelf, although I don’t know from where it came.  Perhaps the woman, Linda, from whom we bought our house and some of her own library six years ago next week.

Almost one year ago, we were in Ireland but our focus was on James Joyce’s legacy, not so much Oscar Wilde.  We were in Dublin exactly one week after the annual Bloomsday celebration of June 16 and all things Leopold Bloom, protagonist of Ulysses, 1922. Yet, I don’t recall searching for Oscar Wilde-known pubs while there, as we did to meet up with my long-time friend (7th grade pen-pal) and his family at Davy Byrnes, one of a few frequented pubs of Joyce while at Trinity College in Dublin.

And, while twice in the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, I don’t recall looking for Wilde’s grave site, but I do remember looking for Gertrude Stein’s and Jim Morrison’s and finding Chopin’s.  Joyce, himself, is buried in Switzerland and was influenced by Wilde, although Wilde might repeat, “There is no such thing as a good influence, Mr. Gray.  All influence is immoral…”   As The Picture of Dorian Gray is a novel of aesthetics (among other concepts), also, too, is Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist.  

This year, as I prepare for an extended trip abroad ~ although neither Paris nor Dublin appear in the itinerary ~ I ponder the pictures I would normally post on Facebook.  It seems that I have primarily used Facebook for travel pictures on past trips.  And, since I had once or twice made the apparent social media mistake of posting political or topical comments, beliefs, or trends and was met with an unsatisfactory response rate, trip pix were safer.  Perhaps Facebook is not the place for let’s make the world a better place information, but instead for the simple information of one’s constant whereabouts and the photographs that accompany such a trip, duration not-designated.

However, similar to the artist’s point of view in Dorian Gray, “When I leave town now, I never tell my people where I am going.  If I did, I would lose all my pleasure.  It is a silly habit, I dare say, but somehow it seems to bring a great deal of romance into one’s life…” I consider the connection to my recent thoughts regarding my posting practices.  As I wrote above, I picked up The Portrait of Dorian Gray at the library.  It is, in fact, a Barnes & Noble Classics book, and it appears to have possibly been donated to the library, as there are underlined marks and notes in the margin.  Made by whom, I don’t know.  Page six:  in reaction to having read, “The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it,” the unknown prior reader has written “is romance opposite of transparency?”  Are our lives becoming less romantic with every social media site post?

“…we have invented a realism that is vulgar, an identity that is void.”

I have a friend who recently told me that she doesn’t go onto Facebook, because she doesn’t want to see everyone’s vacation photos when she hasn’t left the state of New Jersey in over ten years.  I see this friend once a month at book club (our next book is The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant.  Dorian Gray is an ambitious addition to my monthly read).

I thought about what my friend said, and I respect her view.  We know our friends in how we relate to them on a personal level.  Face to face, vs. Facebook.  So, what becomes a public picture of the persona is defined by what we post.  A persona with a curated life, carefully created by ourselves in how we choose to post the parts of our lives that we really only wish to become public.  Have our relationships with friends become more complex – the dividing line resting somewhere between the physically social and social media?  Do we need to weed out the excesses of the public persona to find the person we know in private?

In line with transparency and in keeping it 100, I have often thought about posting a picture of myself as I clean the bathroom – gloved hand deep in the toilet bowl scrubbing with a machine washable, reusable wipe because ew – toilet bowl cleaners just spread the filth around everywhere those bristles touch.  And often, other random potential postings come to mind, those of which if the audience were anonymous, I might actually follow through with ‘send.’  For example, a selfie of doing sit-ups on the kitchen counter, captioned, “they tell me abs are made in the kitchen.”  Silly, moments of thought – funny quips and photos of chance throughout the day caught between the serious moments of life.

So, who to tell?  With whom to share?  I wonder if the ability to send a thought out into the great void has reduced spontaneity and wit within our close, personal relationships.  As I debate the pros and cons of posting, this time while I am away (whether it be on Facebook or maybe Instagram), I am aware that what my public persona posts is forever out there.

They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.    ~ Oscar Wilde




A Short Note On Reading Alice

A Short Note On Reading Alice

Even as an English major, I don’t think I have ever read Alice in Wonderland.  Maybe as a child. Maybe my mom read some or all of it to me. Maybe I had one of those child classics books. Maybe I had to have, as I have always known “Alice” and the “Mad Hatter” and the “Rabbit Hole” and that Lewis Carroll wrote it in the 1800s. But, to say I know the details of the story, I would be lying. I don’t remember them. Nor have I seen the Johnny Depp version or any other movie version.

This bothers me. And, as my living room doubles as a library filled with the classics that both my husband and I brought to the party [isn’t there a party in the story?], there was no doubt that on those shelves, I would find a copy or two of Alice in Wonderland.  

So, since the “Queen”, or rather … my 92-year old MIL ~ with Alzheimer’s ~

Loves for me to aloud read,

I most definitely see

an opportunity!

Ironically, I wonder if I will remember more of the details, myself.



Writing by Marnie Mitchell-Lister

DoubleU = W


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